MARCH 2017 RSA R30.00
9 772075 405004
// Proton KR3 // Family of Ninjas
// Tech Tips // ZX10R Masters Cup
// Win VR46 Fan Club membership
FOR THE UTLIMATE GRIP
1002 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 1
W E L C O M E
While on my recent trip to Spain, for the world
launch of Ducati’s new SuperSport, I came across a
100% dedicated MotoGP channel whilst chilling in
my hotel room. They had past, and current MotoGP
races as well as great features such as Rossi and his
past and current enemies. It got me thinking, I wish
we could have a MotoGP show here in SA. I used to
love watching Dave Petersen and Richard Knowles
on a show called Pole Position. I even made a couple
of appearances on the show. It was great seeing all
the behind the scenes stuff that one won’t see on the
normal race day coverage. I think it’s time we try get a
show like that back on TV....
The MotoGP testing from Phillip Island was on while
I was over in Spain, and the dedicated MotoGP channel
showed all the coverage from the test. Even though
it was all in Spanish, it was great to see the on track
action and hear from some of the riders, who did do
the odd interview in English. This got me really excited
for the new MotoGP season. There is so much talent in
the current field and the times are closer than ever. Last
season was epic but I think this season might just be
All eyes will surely be on Vinales and Marquez, who
after the Phillip Island test, seem to have started up a
feud. Marquez was not happy with Vinales, who passed
the champ whilst on a long-run, disrupting his rhythm,
or so he says. This has started up a rivalry now, and if
Marquez didn’t already know that he was going to have
his hands full with Vinales, he does now, as the new
Yamaha rider has dominated pre-season testing so far.
We have a full run down from the final test of the
season in this issue.
Back to my trip to Spain. We have the EXCLUSIVE
world launch test of the new SuperSport machine
from the Italian firm. A great bike that is sure to be a hit
here in SA, not only because of it’s seductive styling
and ride, but also it’s price. One of the best priced
motorcycles on the market today for sure. All the info
you need is in the article.
The other big EXCLUSIVE we have in this issue is
the world launch of Suzuki’s new GSXR1000R. It’s been
a long time coming but the Japs have finally released
their new weapon. No SA journos were sent on the
world launch, but we here at RF do everything we can
to bring you all the latest news and tests, so we got hold
of our mates over in the States, Ultimate Motorcycling,
who gladly supplied us with their world launch test. A
great read, and by the sounds of it the new GSXR is a
bike to be taken seriously.
I cannot wait to do our “Survival of the Fastest” test,
where we will put all the modern 1000cc superbikes up
against each other to see just who is the King. This will
hopefully be featured in our May issue, as we are still
waiting for the new Honda CBR1000RR and Suzuki
GSXR1000R to land here in SA.
There is a base 2017 Suzuki GSXR1000 model here
in SA, but kept very under wraps. I did get the chance
to test it, but it was literally just before I had to send this
mag to print, so did not have time to get it in this issue. I
have posted my thoughts up on our Facebook page so
be sure to go check it out.
Oh yes, we have another great EXCLUSIVE. Dave
Petersen recently tested the Kenny Roberts Proton
500cc GP bike at the Day of Champions held at
Zwartkops. Yes, this is the actual bike that was created
by the American legend and raced by Aoki in the
500cc Grand Prix championship. Dave sent us a great
article with some pics. Amazing to have such a bike
now living here in SA, and for the lucky few who got to
see and hear the bike in action at Zwartkops, I truly am
jealous! Even more so of Dave, who got to ride it - The
The month of February was a tough one for the
biking industry. We lost two great men, who are both
legends and will never be forgotten.
Gavin Ramsay and Clive Strugnell both lost
their lives, and we would like to send our deepest
condolences to their family and friends.
I personally knew both men very well, and had
some great memories with both. One of my fondest of
Gavin was being able to race against him. I remember
him rocking up at one of the Kyalami National races on
an Inala sponsored Yamaha R6. I was a young hotshot
back then, and when I saw him in the pits I thought
I was going to teach this old man a thing or two. Oh
how I was wrong, instead being taught a big riding
lesson by the Springbok. He was a true SA legend and
a great man.
I had grown very close to Clive over the past couple
of years. He was heavily involved with us here at RF,
supplying us with great articles and helping us out with
what ever was needed. Clive had a huge knowledge
of everything 2-wheels, and his stories and contacts
were mind blowing. I loved the memory mentioned at
his memorial. Clive was stopped by a policeman for
speeding many years back (one of a thousand times I’m
sure). When asked what his name was, Clive confidently
answered “Barry Sheene”. That made me laugh as that
is just the answer I would expect from Clive.
Both men will be missed, but both lived exciting lives
and made the world a better place. We dedicate this
issue to both these extraordinary men.
Until next time, ride safe!
EDITOR & DESIGN:
082 782 8240
074 104 1074
011 979 5035
2 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R
Let the new LED headlight guide you
as you embrace a hell of a ride on this
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performance and equally evil
looks, this BEAST 2.0 clearly isn’t for the
faint of heart. If you think you’ve got what
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Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing and observe the applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations!
The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.
Photo: R. Schedl
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 3
Contents MARCH 2017
38: SA RACING: ZX10R MASTERS CUP
26: WORLD LAUNCH: SUZUKI GSXR1000R
40: FEATURE: TECH TIPS
44: MOTOGP: PHILLIP ISLAND TESTING
72: FEATURE: FAMILY OF NINJAS
54: WORLD LAUNCH: DUCATI SUPERSPORT
80: FEATURE: PROTON KR3 500
4 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
BMW Motorrad and LEGO made
this cool hover ride concept
The LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure model is surely
a neat kit to keep you and/or your kid busy for an hour or so to
build it on a rainy day. However, that kit can be transformed
into a cool hovering concept which is also a real thing now.
It all started with the partnership between
BMW Motorrad and LEGO, creating the
R 1200 GS scale model you could build
from LEGO. The kit has been on sale since
January 1st, 2017.
However, not many know you can
extrapolate a bit from the initial adventure
motorcycle design and end up with
the Hover Ride Design Concept. The
alternative version is a futuristic concept
full of emotion and creative energy, and it
is not based on technological plausibility. In
short terms, the concept is kinda like the
Star Wars Speeder.
Now, BMW Junior Company, which is
an innovative BMW Group training unit,
decided the little toy is awesome enough
to be built in real life. Thus, the Hover Ride
became a real full-size replica recently.
BMW trainees in the second to fourth year
of their course used the serial-production
parts of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure to
build a life-size model of the LEGO Technic
Hover Ride. Numerous components –
such as the front-wheel rim modified to
form a propeller – were specially made for
the project, demonstrating the youngsters’
“It was incredibly inspiring to see
colleagues from different disciplines
working with our trainees. Everyone
involved in this project learned an awful
lot,” says Markus Kollmannsperger, trainer
for technical model-making.
At the moment of writing, the full-size
model of the Hover Ride Design Concept
is being presented for the first time at
LEGO World in Copenhagen. From
there, the futuristic machine will travel via
Denmark to various sites such as the BMW
Group Research and Innovation Center
Munich and BMW Welt.
6 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
All bikers reved up
World of YAMAHA was the meeting venue for the second
anniversary Ubuntu breakfast run and more than 900
bikers in a controlled convoy rode through M1 South to
the end up Venue in Westonarea Sports ground.
All the 9 provinces in SA including
SADEC countries same day same
time had sunday the 29th January
embarked on a breakfast run as a
form of strengthening friendship,
brotherhood and sisterhood. ALSO
promoting safety as other road users
don’t respect bikes. Biking is a culture
where South Africans can learn the life
style as regardless of colour, race or
gender are so United and friendship is
so solid that been regarded as family.
No fuss moving solution
for your motorcycle
We love motorcycles, but it can get a bit
anoying moving them around in the garage or,
especially if you are a bike salesman, around
the showroom floor. Well, here is a simple and
effective solution - The X-Glider!
Proudly designeer and manufactured in SA, the
X-Glider allows you to move your motorcycle
quickly and easily! It features the capability to
carry bikes that weigh up to but not exceed
600kg ( so no Harleys... just kiding).
The X-Glider is made with durable, long lasting
solid steel construction with powder coat finish
and comes with a 12 month warranty.
Price: R4295. Visit http://www.xramp.co.za/ for
this and other amazing products from the guys
8 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
To enter simply post
a picture of your bike
on our Facebook page
and say - My bike
needs an X-Glider!
Competition will run for the next 2 months - entries close 30th
April 2017. Winner will be notified via Facebook.
Thursday 30th March 8am - 5.30pm
Friday 31st March 8am - 5.30pm
Saturday 1st April 8am - 3pm
Sunday 2nd April 9am - 2pm
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to you by
DUNLOP ON NEW SUZUKI
TT star Michael Dunlop switches from BMW to Suzuki for 2017 season
Michael Dunlop will campaign the all-new
GSX-R1000R on the roads this year after
signing to ride for the Bennetts Suzuki
Dunlop has a history with the team after
winning a stack of TTs with them on BMW
machinery and will make his debut at the
2017 Vauxhall North West 200 before
moving on to the Island.
The 2016 Superbike and Senior TT
winner and current out-right lap-record
holder will get his first ride on the new
GSX-R1000R he will race this season at
a shakedown test at the team’s Mallory
Park base, before heading to Spain for
tests at Cartagena and Almeria.
“I was chatting with Steve Hicken for
Come watch all the MotoGP and
WSBK races on our big screenS.
We will be showing the
first MotoGP race at
Qatar live from 8pm!
a while, and obviously we’ve worked
together a lot before. With the new
bike coming it’s been a bit different and
we had to gather up exactly what was
happening. We just needed to see what
was going to be able to happen and to
see where we were both going to be at
this time,” said Dunlop.
“I know Steve and I know Stuart though,
as people, and I know they can take
a new bike and get it right. This is a
good team and there’s a good link with
Yoshimura. It’s going to be interesting this
year. I’ve been helping the team build my
own bikes and it’ll be good to have a run
around at Mallory for a shakedown before
we go to Spain.”
OF THE YEAR
SA’s World Champion takes top award
2016 FIM Moto 3 World Champion Brad
Binder was announced as the Bridgestone
SA / SAGMJ Motor Sportsman of the Year
at a function in Johannesburg Wednesday
evening 22 February.
Binder was recognized for his dominant
performance on his Red Bull KTM last
Binder was also awarded the Circuit Rider
of the Year Award, while KTM 390 Cup
winner at home and in the UK, Brandon
Staffen took Junior Rider honours.
“Brad thanks Bridgestone, the Guild and
its members for this great honour and
he congratulates to all tonight’s winners
and nominees for their contributions to
motorsport while flying the South African
flag,” Binder’s longtime advisor, confidant
and sponsor Rob Portman said on
accepting the Bridgestone SA / SAGMJ
Motor Sportsman of the Year on Brad’s
”Brad is an exceptional talent who
comes from a tremendous family with a
tremendous story to tell — his ultimate
goal is to win the MotoGP World
Championship for him for, for his family
and for South Africa and this award will
only help heighten his resolve to pull it off.”
Join us at Ridgeway Racebar for all the motorsport action!
LOWER LEVEL STONERIDGE CENTRE
10 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
Pic by GP-Fever.de
BY THE BEST.
Official MotoGP tyre supplier
MICHELIN Power SuperSport
MICHELIN Power Slick Evo
Available at your nearest dealer
to you by
REDBULL KTM LAUNCH MOTOGP ASSAULT
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing starts new era in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 2017
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing begin a
new era in 2017 with the presentation of
the Austrian brand’s 2017 MotoGP team
at the new KTM Motorsports building
in Munderfing (Austria). The entry into
the premier class of MotoGP racing
makes KTM the first manufacturer to
have a factory team contesting all three
categories of the world championship.
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Director)
“We are very experienced in racing but
of course to enter at this level of MotoGP
is another dimension for our whole
company. But we love pressure because
we are racers, so it’s nothing special for
us to handle. Of course the last weeks
and months have been an adventure and
a huge effort by the whole company, so
I have to say thank you to our board and
Mr. Pierer for putting their trust in us so we
should prepare to enter MotoGP. All this
would not have been possible without all
the other disciplines we raced before.
For us, it is a dream come true. We have
built up young riders in all the disciplines,
and we stick with them, through good
times and bad. It was sad that we
nurtured many good young riders in the
Red Bull Rookies who could go to Moto3
but then it was somehow horrible to lose
them in Moto2.
“Just imagine what it would have been like
to have a world champion like Brad Binder
having to leave us. Now we are doing
Moto2 we have closed the gap, so our
kids can stay with us through their whole
career and all the classes.”
Thomas Überall (Red Bull Motorsport
“Yes for us Heinz Kinigadner is the
probably the reason that we are here. He
was one of the first athletes I met when
I started at Red Bull, and he was also
the one who brought me into this KTM
family. Now after all the success and with
Pit joining the Motorsport Department in
2007, everything moved a step higher,
and we started to win in Offroad, and in
the US and everywhere. Then with Moto3,
it was a big jump into road racing. It was
clear for us as an Austrian company and
one with such a long history with KTM
that we had to join this project from day
one. We’re looking forward to the same
success as in offroad, and naturally also to
win the MotoGP title very soon.”
Mike Leitner (MotoGP Team Manager)
“First, I’m super happy to see that. All the
company worked like crazy so we would
be able to have a moment like this to start
the project. To be fair, what we have seen
since Sepang is very nice. We had some
issues after Valencia. We tried to fix them,
and the designers and everyone in the
company worked very hard, we went in
the right direction and I think the riders feel
the same. But there are many challenges.
“The most important thing is that we
keep the two boys (Smith and Espargaro)
motivated and that we can deliver what
they feel is good for the lap times and with
their feeling on the bike. I think that’s our
main goal and everyone here is working to
Pol Espargaro (MotoGP Factory Rider)
“It’s beautiful, and riding the bike is
beautiful. It feels really good. KTM is
very new in MotoGP compared to the
other brands. We are making huge steps
forward, and we’re improving. Every time
12 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
we jump on the bike we are closer to the
others, and it is great to see the evolution.
I just want to say thanks to KTM for
putting their trust in me and this project.”
Bradley Smith (MotoGP Factory Rider)
“This is something that you have always
wished for and that you’ve worked for
throughout your career. Finally, when you
get the opportunity, there’s the pressure
that goes with it, but I certainly embrace
the opportunity I have. Pol and I and all
the team will be working incredibly hard.
We’ve been busy with the winter tests,
and this is just the beginning. I’m excited
to see what 2017 brings.” Speaking about
his recent injury, Smith also confirmed that
he is back to full fitness.
Aki Ajo (Moto2/Moto3 Team Manager)
“First, we are all so proud to be part of this
project, which is something incredible. But
yes, it’s difficult after a good season. There
are very high expectations after such good
results last year. We need to keep our feet
on the ground because every season is
different. Especially now with this great
project in Moto2, we have to start from
zero. We cannot expect to start winning
races immediately, but of course, that is
our target. We have raced in Moto3 with
KTM for many years, and it’s been great
every year because we were always close,
and fighting for the title. So for sure this
year we try to do the same.” Turning to his
Moto3 riders, Ajo said: “No pressure, boys.
Also in Moto2, we have such great riders,
so our targets need to be very high.”
Brad Binder (Moto2 Factory Rider)
“Stepping up from Moto3 to Moto2 will
always be tough but I haven’t set a goal
to be honest, I just want to get on the
bike and improve every time I do. Just
keep working as hard as possible and see
where we end up.”
The KTM RC16 was rolled out at the end
of October 2015 at the Red Bull Ring in
Spielberg (AUT), and since then the team
has conducted more than 50 test days on
various GP circuits. Test rider Mika Kallio
(FIN), also rode the racing machine as a
wild card entry in the final round of the 2016
at Valencia in
points when the
in Qatar at the
end of March. At the same time, the Red
Bull KTM Ajo Team, with Brad Binder (RSA),
and Miguel Oliveira (POR) riding the KTM
Moto2 machine will be on the grid in the
medium class of the Motorcycle World
KTM has been the most successful brand
in Moto3 since it’s introduction in 2012
and is the current title-holder after Binder
won the title last year. Binder now moves
up to Moto2. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Team
will race the 2017 season with Niccolo
Antonelli (ITA) and Bo Bendsneyder (NED),
together with other teams who also
compete in the series on the KTM RC250
GP. All riders in the Red Bull MotoGP
Rookies Cup also compete on the Moto3
bike. This competition, which is important
for fostering up-and-coming talent, is
about to start its eleventh season.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 13
to you by
KTM OUT TO MAKE BIG IMPACT IN MOTOGP
“Our Most Hated Rival” – KTM’s Long Feud with Honda
Team launches are always a little
combative. They are, after all, the places
where factory bosses, team managers,
and riders stake out their intentions for the
They loudly proclaim that they are in it to
win it, that their goal is to be champions
sooner rather than later, and that they are
plainly superior to their competition, both
in talent and in engineering prowess and
ingenuity. Team launches are a place for
Even by normal standards, though, the
words spoken at KTM’s team launch
were more than ordinarily abrasive. In an
interview with Austrian broadcaster Servus
TV, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer took plenty of
potshots at his rivals.
He boasted of KTM passing BMW in
terms of sales, adding that beating them in
racing would be hard, “because they don’t
race any more”. He spoke of competing
against the Japanese manufacturers.
“We love racing, and we love beating
the Japanese manufacturers.” But Pierer
reserved his sharpest ire for Honda.
Speaking of the surprise decision to
compete in Moto2, he joked that the spec
Moto2 engine was supplied by “our most
hated rival Honda”.
He also noted that KTM’s entry into
MotoGP brought balance to the MSMA,
the manufacturers’ group that has a vote
in the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP’s
rule making body.
With three European manufacturers
against three Japanese manufacturers,
they were in a position to prevent Honda
from bulldozing through proposals.
“Honda tries everything,” Pierer told
Servus TV. On the one hand with money,
they shower the promoter with cash, and
if that doesn’t help, they pull all sorts of
tricks. Now there’s a balance in the Grand
Prix Commission. That’s important.”
Why the venom for Honda? The two
manufacturers have a long history of
conflict, in many of the series they have
raced in. But the feud started in earnest
with the birth of Moto2.
After great success in 125s, KTM entered
the 250cc class with a two-stroke twin
14 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
and met with immediate success. Hiroshi
Aoyama and Mika Kallio had both won
races on the innovative parallel twin,
as KTM had been extremely innovative
with the machine, also debuting fuel
injection on the bike.
So when the FIM and Dorna came up
with a plan to replace the 250cc class
with 600cc four-strokes, and the class
that would eventually become Moto2,
KTM was furious.
The Austrian factory, like many others in
the paddock, sensed the hand of Honda
behind the decision, as Honda had a
long and illustrious history of hating twostrokes,
and trying to kill them off.
In the late 1970s, Honda had tried but
failed to compete with two strokes using
the remarkable oval-pistoned
NR500, but that bike was
never fast enough or reliable
enough to beat the twostrokes.
Honda had been
forced to admit
defeat and built
which would go
on to become
But their historic aversion to two-stroke
engines remained, and so the move
to reboot the intermediate class as a
four-stroke class immediately raised
suspicions of a Honda plot.
When the Moto2 class was announced,
KTM immediately pulled out of Grand
Prix racing, dropping their 250cc team
for the 2009 season, then pulling out of
125s a year later. KTM vowed revenge on
Honda, and withdrew to Austria to mull
over their future.
Best Served Cold
When the Moto3 championship was
announced, KTM seized the opportunity
with both hands. While Honda had built
a mildly-tuned engine down to a budget,
to stay within the price cap imposed
by Dorna, KTM built a thoroughbred
racing bike using its 250cc four-stroke
motocross engine as a starting point.
KTM won the inaugural Moto3
championship in 2012 with Sandro
Cortese, and would have had a clean
sweep of the top three had it not been for
the remarkable talent of Maverick Viñales,
who got the horribly underpowered FTR
Honda to do things that were entirely
Honda was furious, and accused KTM of
being unfair. They were violating the spirit
of the rules, said HRC vice president
Shuhei Nakamoto, by building an
expensive race bike rather than a cheap
machine for nurturing talent. KTM were
unimpressed by this, pointing out that the
rulebook said nothing about the spirit of
In 2013, KTM supplied all of the
top talent in Moto3, sweeping the
championship once again. The rules
were altered to force manufacturers
to supply identical engines to any
team that had signed a contract, in
an attempt to prevent some teams
having de facto factory status, and
an unfair advantage.
Anything You Can Do, I Can Do
It was Honda’s turn to extract revenge.
Throughout the 2013 season, Honda
kept putting off an announcement of their
plans for 2014, causing many Honda
Moto3 teams to lose their nerve and
switch to KTM for the 2014 season.
This suited Honda, as they had a trick
up their sleeves. For 2014, they would
supply just six riders, but they supplied
them with the all-new Honda NSF250RR,
a full factory machine capable of
stomping on the competition.
Honda had accused KTM in 2013 of
circumventing the price cap rules, by
supplying a cheap engine but charging
€200,000 for a chassis and support.
Their bikes in 2014 cost double that,
and nearly half a million euros by 2015,
despite both engine and chassis having a
price cap. Alex Márquez took the title on
a Honda, beating Jack Miller on a KTM.
For 2015, the rev limit was reduced from
14,000 RPM to 13,500, forcing KTM to
build a new engine for the Moto3 class.
At the end of the season, in which Danny
Kent became Moto3 world champion
on a Honda with the Kiefer team, KTM’s
racing director Pit Beirer accused Honda
of cheating by exceeding the rev limit.
That turned out to be an artifact of
the Dell’Orto spec ECU, and the way
the Honda engineers were managing
the transition into the rev limit. KTM’s
accusations were rejected by Dorna after
studying the data.
In 2016, it was KTM’s turn to get their
own back, Brad Binder winning the
Moto3 championship with ease, and
with four races to spare. Honda had
no answer, and no riders capable of
providing an answer to the domination of
Binder and the Red Bull Ajo KTM team.
A Feud for the Ages
Stefan Pierer’s remarks need to be
seen in the context of this long and
bitter history. The blood feud that exists
between KTM and Honda is alive and
well, and likely to continue into the future.
An observer prone to conspiracy theories
might even suggest that KTM’s RC16
MotoGP bike bears so many similarities
to the Honda RC213V for a very good
reason. KTM will surely want to beat
Honda in MotoGP, but to do it with a
version of their bike that is like Honda’s,
but better, would be sweetest.
Rivalries are a key part of any sport,
and alive and well in MotoGP. Pierer’s
attack on Honda at the launch of KTM’s
MotoGP project is a timely reminder
that rivalries exist just as much between
factories as they do between riders.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 15
to you by
THE WINGLET LOOPHOLE IN MOTOGP
Yamaha first did it, and now Suzuki and Aprilia have also cracked the code.
Winglets may have been banned for 2017,
but the drive for aerodynamics development
continues. This time, however, winglet
development will continue on the inside
of the fairing, rather than the outside. The
development ban applies solely to the
exterior surface of the fairing, and not the
What this means in practice is that while the
shape of the fairing must be homologated
at Qatar, with one update allowed during
the season, that only applies to the outer
surface of the ducts, and not to the vanes
(the small struts or winglets inside the ducts
which control the airflow and can be used to
alter downforce) inside those ducts.
Development of aerodynamic control
surfaces will still be allowed, as long as the
changes remain on the inside of the fairing.
An eagle-eyed reader at MotoMatters.
com spotted the gap in the regulations.
Section 220.127.116.11.10 of the FIM Grand Prix
Regulations reads as follows:
Only the external shape, excluding the
windscreen, is defined in this regulation, so
the following parts are not considered as
part of the Aero Body: windscreen, cooling
ducts, fairing supports, and any other parts
inside the external profile of the bodywork.
When reached for comment by email,
MotoGP Technical Director Danny Aldridge
responded, “You are correct in the fact that
I only control the external shape/profile of
the fairing. Meaning, Yamaha can in theory
change or adjust their inner supports as
often as they wish. When the regulations
were being discussed with the MSMA, this
was one of the criteria that they requested
in the wording of the regulations.”
The shape of Yamaha’s new fairing helped
to give the game away. As you can see
in the photo by Andrew Gosling below,
Yamaha’s fairing consists of an outer duct
fitted to the exterior of the fairing, with two
supports or vanes on the inside.
Yamaha can alter the position, size,
and shape of those supports to suit the
characteristics of each different track, or as
they learn more about the performance of
their ducted vane fairing.
On the Thursday, Suzuki and Aprilia
also rolled out their new aerodynamic
fairings. Both took a different approach
to creating downforce and aerodynamic
surfaces to Yamaha, as you can see in the
photos shared on Twitter by WorldSBK
commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast
regular Steve English.
The solution selected by Suzuki most
closely resembles the Yamaha design,
though its placement is very different. Where
Yamaha chose to put its duct on the upper
part of the mid fairing, Suzuki have added it
on the side of the nose.
Clearly visible in English’s excellent picture is
the central strut or vane which will provide
downforce. Suzuki are free to modify this
vane as much as they like.
Aprilia’s solution is very different, consisting
of an open aerodynamic duct either side
of the nose. Downforce in this design
is generated by the shape of the inner
channel, and the shape of the outer duct.
There does not seem to be as much room
for internal modification of the duct as on
the Suzuki or Yamaha.
Aprilia’s design may also spark debate
over what constitutes the outer surface
of the fairing. The wording of the rules is
ambiguous, though an initial reading of the
rules suggests that the inner surface of the
duct is not considered to be a part of the
“external profile” of the fairing.
The wording of the new regulations also
makes clear that the ban on winglets was
only introduced on the grounds of safety.
And in a sense, the rule makers were bound
by this, as the Grand Prix Commission only
has the right to ban a technology on safety
grounds, if the manufacturers in the MSMA
want to allow it.
By having enclosed, smooth surfaces on
the outside of the new aerodynamic fairings,
the manufacturers are complying with the
rules on safety grounds, while continuing
their development of aerodynamic fairings
and exploring the effect of downforce on
Though many senior officials inside Dorna
feared the cost explosion which will likely
ensue from allowing aerodynamics, the
genie is out of the bottle, and they have no
grounds to ban it.
With Yamaha, Aprilia, and Suzuki having
unveiled their aerodynamic solutions, we
now await to see what Ducati, Honda and
KTM will do.
Ducati has already hinted that they are
keeping their aerodynamics under wraps
until Qatar – either the test, or a private test
before the race. Honda remains evasive,
but is likely to also have some form of
aerodynamic assistance before the start of
Only KTM has shown no interesting in
developing aerodynamics so far. But as this
is their first year in MotoGP, the Austrian
factory already has a massive list of areas
its needs to work in first.
The good news for riders of road
motorcycles is that the designs being
tested in MotoGP are far more likely to
make it onto road bikes than the previous
generations of winglets.
Getting type approval for motorcycle fairings
with internal aerodynamic devices is far
easier than for fairings with external wings
attached. How quickly this technology
actually trickles down to street bikes
remains to be seen.
16 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
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This competition is EXCLUSIVE to
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SA TEAMS LAUNCHED
FOR 2017 SUPERGP
3 new teams launched for 2017 season.
The 2017 SuperGP National
championship is set to kick off on
Saturday the 25th March at the
Killarney circuit in Cape Town.
2016 proved to be a great year for
the championship, with improved
numbers on the grid and world
Big names like 3 time SA champ
Greg Gildenhuys and 4 time SA
champ and title favourite, Clint
Seller, all returning for 2017. Throw
in the likes of 2016 runner-up and
rookie of the year Michael White,
among others, and this years
championship is set to be one of
the best yet.
We feature 3 teams that recently
held launches to show off their new
sponsors, riders and livery for the
Make sure you make it to the
SuperGP races this year, it really is
a world class spectacle with world
class riders putting on a world
MiWay Superbike Team
Anassis Racing announced MiWay Insurance as the new title
sponsor of the team that will compete in the 2017 Super-GP
Champions Trophy season. The Pretoria-based team is widely
regarded as South Africa’s most successful superbike team, with
an average of one championship win per year, 12 wins and 26
Reigning champion, Adolf Boshoff, remains part of this successful
team and will defend his Super600 title joined by rookie rider, Dino
Iozzo. “This will be the year that determines his path in racing,”
said Anassis. “Adolf is one of the biggest talents that have come
through the ranks, and we see great things ahead for him.”
Team ace, Clinton Seller, will return on his MiWay Racing, Anassis
prepared Yamaha R1 to reclaim his SuperGP title from 2015.
The most successful rider in the past 20 years has built up an
incredible list of achievements since he joined the team in 2011.
With 4 National titles, 50 wins and 75 podiums in 91 starts, he is
the main title contender for the grand prize at the end of the year.
Great to see a big company like MiWay come in and support
motorcycle racing. Let’s hope more take note and back this
amazing sport. MiWay will also be giving away 2 bikes this year -
A brand new Indian Scout and 2016 Yamaha R1. Check out page
67 in this mag for more info.
HI-TECH Racing Team
This talented, young, exciting team consists of three adept riders competing in three
different Championships this season – Byron Bester #12 competing in the Super600
Nationals Championship, Luke Mac Gregor #93 competing in the Super600 Regional
Championship and Luca Balona #45 competing in the 250cc Junior Cup Regional
Championship. This is a team we here at RideFast Magazine will be following very
closely this season, as their official media sponsor, we will be bringing them as much
coverage as possible in issues to come. The team is backed by Hi-Tech Elements,
Grange Workwear Performance, Armadillo Concepts, Omega Fibre Glass, ACC Billet
Engineering, RideFast Magazine, Motul, GFP International, X-One Custom Suits, Just
Displays and MotoTyres.
Team Paramount Tracks Kawasaki / RSA Racing
This is a new team for the 2017 SuperGP Championship, with
top riders Daryn Upton and Ivan Van Niekerk taking the reins of
new Kawasaki ZX10R models. The team is backed by Paramount
Tracks - Transport Holdings - Fourways Motorcycles / Kawasaki
South Africa - Mean Wraps - Woolich Racing - Racetec Exhaust -
Expand A Sign and Motul.
Both Daryn and Ivan are considered top runners, both wining
championships at regional level and Daryn a race winner at
National level. The team is run by RSA Racing Shop owner Jamie
Pienaar, who has massive amounts of experience in the world of
18 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
to you by
SCHULTZ READY TO TAKE ON NEW CHALLENGE
Young Capetonian ready to take on the world in new SuperSport 300 class.
Great news for young Capetonian Jared
Schultz, who has been offered a contract
to compete in the inaugural WSS 300
championship to be raced as part of the
WSBK 2017 European rounds. Jared has
put pen to paper to race for the BWG
Kawasaki racing team.
This opportunity is yet another step in
Jared’s racing career and his first full
This will be a fantastic opportunity to build
on the experienced gained last year in the
KTM 390 world cup final and will also see
Jared returning to circuits such as Assen and
Donnington where he achieved good results.
This is indeed a huge opportunity for Jared
to showcase his talent and a chance to work
with one of the more established teams in
the pit lane.
“I’m very excited and nervous at the same
time, I think I will do well because I have
some international experience and have
raced on some of the tracks, I am very
comfortable on the 300cc bikes. I know the
competition will be tough because there are
a lot of riders with more experience than
me. I will know where I stand once I have
tested the bike. My aim for the first race is
top 10 and then take it from there.” Jared’s
It’s great to see another young South African
racing on the world scene, and we wish
Jared the best of luck and will certainly be
keeping up with his results over the course
of the year.
For more on Jared, and how to get
involved as a sponsor, check out www.
Karl Schultz (Dad) and Jared
with the legend Ron Haslam
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The iconic Bell helmet brand is now back in SA - big and better than ever
and the Bell brand also has a new big name wearing their lid - 2016 Moto3
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Langston Motorsports is the new importer of the Bell brand in SA and
has just sent out the first shipment of the new “Star” range to deralers
nation-wide. The new “Star” range consists of the ProStar - which is
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Featured here we have the “Star Pace” - a Helmet that has been
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The Star range is available in a various range of colours, so visit your nearest Bell stockists to see this
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Now available in - Cortech brings a wide range of products to performance
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Cortech SA have a wide range of top quality products available - gloves,
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Featured he is their top of the range Adrenaline RR One-Piece Suit, priced
at R16,999, which is available in various colours. They also have a great
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their full range check out their website - www.cortechracing.co.za.
24 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
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26 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
Suzuki’s long-awaited GSX-R1000 finally breaks cover for us to actually ride,
and at Phillip Island Circuit in Australia—one of the world’s fastest world-class
racetracks. The new Gixxer 1000 comes in two models, and we rode the upper
echelon GSX-R1000R model, which is a step up from the base GSX-R1000.
Words: Arthur Coldwells (Ultimatemotorcycling.com)
As I scythed the big Gixxer past a line of
cars on the two-lane highway I found
myself wondering why everyone was
driving so slowly. Glancing down at the
speedometer I realized I was topping 160 kph; far
from them going slowly, it was I who was travelling
way too fast without realizing it.
That was the problem with this bike—it was
just so darn light and agile, yet so stable at speed,
that I constantly found myself going a lot faster
than I thought. The motor was incredibly powerful
and, combined with its light weight, the bike was
untouchable by anything else on the road. It was
quite simply, The King of Sportbikes.
And that was in 1987 on my GSX-R1100.
In the intervening 30 years, the GSX-R has gone
through many incremental, and six generational,
changes. Some improved it, some not so much.
The 1000 came along in 2001, and it was an
immediate success. To date, the GSX-R1000 has
garnered an astonishing 12 World Endurance
Championships and 10 AMA Superbike
Championship titles in 15 years.
I have personally kept in touch with the Gixxer
model, as I raced a GSX-R750 SRAD in the late-
1990s at both the Club and AMA level. I bought a
new GSX-R1000 in 2005 from my local dealer who
told me it was “The best turning machine on the
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 2 7
“To say that I
would be an
market,” and I bought my current K7/
K8 machine in 2008—a bike I still
ride regularly. Forget about it being a
nearly ten-year-old motorcycle—it is a
remarkable machine, period.
Unfortunately, in a way, that
turned out to be a problem. The
GSX-R1000 has been so good that
Suzuki has been able to rest on its
laurels. The bike hasn’t
seen a significant
as far back as
so defined the
the bike “Run,
the Gixxer in
good stead. The bike is still
an incredibly powerful, sweethandling
machine that does
everything superbly well.
However, it has lagged behind
in some key areas—notably in the
new electronic rider-aids. Also, the
Gixxer’s peak power has lagged just
enough behind the competition that
Suzuki doesn’t have a bike on the
World Superbike grid in 2017, either
factory or satellite.
So when a new GSX-R1000 was
announced a couple years ago, it
whetted everyone’s appetite—not least
mine. We already comprehensively
reviewed the technical aspects of
the new GSX-R; suffice it to say,
the (patented) variable valve train
technology in a monster horsepower
motor, a redesigned chassis with
even more aggressive rake and trail
numbers, and Suzuki’s new electronics
suite to keep it all in check, hinted that
Suzuki might be poised to regain the
coveted King of Sportbikes crown.
I tested the all new flagship version
GSX-R1000R at the world-renowned
Phillip Island Circuit on the southern
coast of Australia. To say that I was
intrigued would be an understatement
of gargantuan proportions.
Prior to Phillip Island, I visited
Suzuki’s world headquarters in
Hamamatsu, Japan and watched
the first US-spec GSX-R1000R
come off the production line. I first
visited Suzuki’s Takatsuka engine
manufacturing plant, and then on
to the Toyokawa final motorcycle
assembly plant (full story in next
month’s issue of this great mag).
I came away feeling that all the
workers at Suzuki have enormous
pride in what they do; every single
person seems to have enormous
passion to produce the absolute
best—and the employees clearly
have the discipline and corporate
culture to succeed.
28 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
The dash setup on the base-model GSX-R1000 and the up-spec GSX-
R1000R are the same, but the display inverts the colors on the R model. All
of the info is there—including a fuel gauge (!), a first for the GSX-R line. The
small crown of lights at the top are shift lamps, which engage in sequence
until the center blinks, letting you know you’re about to hit the rev limiter.
These simple switches on the left bar control the dash, and all menus.
Companies are finally getting the hang of this—the GSX-R1000 dash is a
quick study and easy to use.
Worker after worker was absorbed and intent on
the tasks at hand; the pride in each particular task was
almost palpable. Each employee is acutely aware that
everyone is a small, yet vital, cog in a huge machine.
If a worker’s job is not done correctly, then the whole
machine stops—so no one gets it wrong.
The level of quality control at Suzuki is breathtaking.
For instance, every single crankshaft— about 200
are made daily—goes through a process of forging,
machining, hardening and final polishing, and is then
inspected by hand using a small microscopic camera.
The inspection goes so far as to check the internal
oil channels and pathways to make sure everything
is perfectly smooth and unobstructed. This level of
detail examination was carried through every part of
the motorcycle and its assembly. The employees at
Suzuki take every aspect of its manufacturing very, very
seriously. It is very striking to witness.
I have never ridden Phillip Island Circuit before
and, although I have plenty of track experience, I can
now say I haven’t ridden anything like it either. I spent
most of each session in a full racing tuck, and most of
each lap in 4th and 5th gears, well into triple digits. As
challenging as it is, boy, is it fun!
Pulling out of the pits on my first lap, the GSX-
R1000R felt comfortable and light. The Suzuki design
engineers are obsessed with making their machines
user-friendly, so no big surprise there.
The three-quarter-inch narrower chassis was
definitely noticeable; the bike seemed lighter, even
though in actuality, it is not. I felt instantly comfortable
and at home on the bike. While it is definitely compact,
it fits my six-foot frame well.
The reach to the handlebars is relatively short, so
the new Gixxer isn’t a neck- or shoulder-breaker. The
footpegs are high and rearset, yet they don’t make
my legs feel uncomfortably cramped. I rarely touched
down the pegs during the day, so clearly the height is
30 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
Pulling on to the circuit and leaning the bike into
Turn 2, the GSX-R1000R went quickly and naturally
to almost full lean angle. When I then discovered the
corner tightens up into a long exit, I had no problem
dialing in more lean angle and simply absorbing the turn
with no problem.
On a later lap I went in a little hot and found myself in
the middle of the corner running wide. I had to focus on
bringing the GSX-R back across my projected line. To
my surprise and delight, the Gixxer not only managed
it seamlessly and easily, it exited precisely where I was
aiming and I was able to get back on the gas at my
normal point with no loss of momentum.
Accelerating down the long-ish chute towards Turn
3—the legendary Stoner Corner —I was shocked at
how quickly the GSX-R1000R motor picked up, and
how quickly it went to triple-digit speed. Suzuki has
stuffed a lot of usable horsepower into that smooth,
Fortunately, for as potentially violent as that could be,
the new ride-by-wire fueling is perfectly mapped and
the feel at the throttle couldn’t be any smoother. The
bike simply leaped off each corner with a rapidity that
In addition to the power, the thing that really stood
out was the rock-solid stability of the 2017 Suzuki
GSX-R1000R chassis. I wasn’t expecting the bike to
be nervous, but its aggressive 23.3 degrees of rake
(compared to 23.8 last year) and 3.74 inches of trail
(3.85 in 2016) might imply a stability trade-off for a
machine that has additional agility. Not so.
Whether I was furiously hard on the gas, hard
braking from top speed at the end of the straight, or
changing line mid-corner, I couldn’t upset the handling;
yet, the motorcycle still feels light and quick-turning.
The wheelbase is just over a half-inch longer than its
predecessor, but I think the big change to the weight
distribution is what keeps the GSX-R so balanced and
the front so positively planted.
Suzuki rotated the motor backwards six degrees,
and the measurement from the swingarm pivot to each
axle dramatically changed. From the pivot to the front
axle is now three-quarters of an inch shorter, and from
the pivot to the rear axle now just more than an inchand-a-half
longer; the net effect is putting more weight
on the front.
“Whether I was furiously
hard on the gas, hard
braking from top speed
at the end of the straight,
or changing line midcorner,
I couldn’t upset
the handling; yet, the
motorcycle still feels
light and quick-turning.”
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 31
I survived a potentially ugly incident
on only my third lap when I got it wrong
out of the final turn on to the straight and
ran a little wide at around 195 kph. As
I hit the slippery rumble strip with some
lean angle, the GSX-R1000R shook its
head quickly three times—and it then
immediately went back to razor straight
with no input from me.
Once my heartbeat had settled down,
I was amazed at how quickly the bike had
composed itself, and how the shaking
handlebars didn’t transmit anything
through the chassis to the rear. The 2017
Suzuki GSX-R1000R is a bike that wants
to stay stable whether it’s leaned far over
or upright in a straight line; unlike some
superbikes I’ve ridden, it doesn’t want to
Lesson learned, I figured out the right
line after that, and in my later sessions with
increased confidence, coming on to the
straight throttle pinned in fourth gear was
pretty stirring, I can tell you.
I had the traction control set at 3 (out of
10 total, with levels 1-5 recommended for
track riding) and on the competition-spec
Bridgestone Battlax Racing Street RS10
tyres, the rear was spinning up with the TC
holding it in a minimal, controlled slide. The
yellow TC light was flashing, so I knew it
wasn’t my imagination, but I was superimpressed
at how the TC simply held the
rear without it going over my head. The
performance was consistent, lap after lap,
and I simply don’t have the skill or desire
to do that without electronics help.
Phillip Island is not a wheelie-prone
circuit—the speeds are simply too high.
Still, it bears mentioning that the 2017
Suzuki GSX-R1000R (along with the
new Honda CBR1000RR and last year’s
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R) does not have a
dedicated wheelie control—it’s built into
the TC. However, the TC does use pitch
(back and forth) data from the IMU (inertial
measurement unit) and doesn’t rely on just
the difference in wheel speeds to mitigate
wheelies, so it works well.
On one cool down lap, I experimented
with trying to wheelie by simply whacking
the throttle in first gear. In TC setting 5, the
front didn’t come up at all; in TC3, it came
up about a foot; and in TC1 it came up
a bit more than that. To do a full powerwheelie,
I had to turn the TC off and then I
could do as I pleased.
Howling out of the Stoner Corner and
up the straight on the GSX-R1000 is
motorcycling’s equivalent of smoking crack
cocaine. I’ve never done the latter, but the
former is so ridiculously addicting I assume
the correlation is right. This is maximum
grin-inducing stuff as the Suzuki’s 200
horsepower smoothly rushed in. It was
32 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
“Overall my first impression is that Suzuki
has regained its “King of Sportbikes” crown.
There are several outstandingly capable
machines with which it has to compete, but
with the Suzuki GSX-R1000R I felt incredibly
connected on every level, and with every
part of the machine, that it bewitched me.
The combination of outstanding class-leading
horsepower harnessed in one of the most
agile-yet-stable chassis’ I’ve ever experienced,
will undoubtedly make this bike a winner.”
34 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
At 10,000 rpm, the variable valve train
comes into play and retards the intake timing
to a maximum of six degrees, enhancing the
Suzuki’s top end power. At that point, the two
small green lights flanking the shift light at the
top of the instrument pod come on, quickly
followed by the two amber lights at 12,000
rpm. Finally, the white shift light in the center
displays at 14,000 rpm.
However, there is little to no need for the
lights as far as I was concerned. I revelled in
that insane, howling, screaming motor as it hit
its crazy 14,500 rev limit—and this is a motor
that keeps pulling all the way until the limiter
forces me to stop.
I confess I hit that limiter multiple times
just because I could—what an experience.
Fortunately, the limiter is soft, so while there’s
some popping through the pipe as it activates,
there’s no hitting a wall—it’s just time to change
up a gear.
I was seeing over 290kph on the clock each
lap before I hit the brakes for Turn 1. It’s very,
very fast, and difficult to judge just how insanely
quickly you can go through it. There’s a nice
handy white line painted across the width of the
straight at the 200m countdown to Turn 1, and
I used that as my braking marker. With all four
fingers, I found I could grab the brakes quickly
and hard without any snatch or overbite from
the brakes. The Brembo callipers grip huge
330mm T-Drive rotors; the combination works
powerfully, yet with a ton of feel.
In my first session I felt a minor shuddering
coming up from the front end when really
hammering the brakes from this speed, so for
the second session I had a Suzuki engineer
add a half turn of compression damping to
the front BFF fork; that cured it. Clearly, the
hard braking was over-compressing the front
fork, so just that tad of additional compression
damping cured it.
Hard on the brakes from that speed I often
feel some movement from the back end as
the rear tire is just kissing the tarmac and big
braking forces get transmitted through the
chassis—except that the 2017 Suzuki GSX-
R1000R didn’t do it.
The standard ABS includes Suzuki’s new
Motion Track Brake System that reads data
from the six-axis IMU, which constantly monitors
pitch, roll, and yaw. The TC and cornering ABS
use that data as well. The system modulates
brake pressure to keep the rear wheel down and
the chassis in line.
Suzuki claims it is especially effective during
hard braking on downhill sections of track,
and the entry to Phillip Island’s Turn 1 is a
perfect example of that. Suzuki also claims the
system encourages the use of more aggressive
brake pads for better initial bite and more total
The redesigned slipper clutch and flawless
blip-downshifter don’t hurt either—the
latter’s operation being so smooth to engage
the downshift was barely perceptible. The
combination of technologies has an amazing
effect on hard braking stability. I have been
feeling the rear end of bikes wandering a bit
under hard braking for years and, although
they’re not necessarily alone, Suzuki has
completely eliminated it on the 2017 GSX-
The GSX-R1000R comes with the ubercool
looking Showa WSBK-style suspension
with the oddly named Balance Free Fork with
remote reservoir and the Balance Free Rear
Despite the dreadful marketing nomenclature,
the suspension is awesome. It’s sensitive enough
that if you want to adjust it a little, it has a
noticeable effect. Of course, you can quickly and
easily undo any adjustment if you get it wrong.
After adding compression damping to the
front, I found the rear was starting to squat a
little under very hard acceleration coming out
of the corners; in the very fast final turn on to
the straight, it created a little waggle at the
Clearly, I had changed the weight
distribution under power, so I had two clicks of
compression damping added at the rear. I liked
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 3 5
how the GSX-R1000R responded
to these small changes, and was
thoroughly impressed how beautifully
it handled after that. The fork shudder
on the brakes had gone, and so had
the slight handlebar shake—as I
said, this is a very stable machine
that wants to play nice.
Another absolute standout
on the 2017 Suzuki GSX-
R1000R is the bi-directional
quickshifter for the new
The quickshift system
movement, as well as
stroke, shift-cam rotation,
and throttle valve position.
Using that information, it
retards the ignition on upshifts,
and opens the butterflies for
The net result is that gearchanges
are the smoothest I have ever felt on a
motorcycle, and there are some pretty
good ones out there, so that’s really
saying something. A couple of times
I realized I hadn’t quite pressured
the lever enough, yet the next gear
still engaged smoothly with no false
neutrals. The gears mesh together
perfectly; they simply go from one to
the next one, whether you’re going up
or down the transmission, in an almost
It is easy to see that the GSX-
R’s bodywork has been completely
redesigned; there’s method behind
that, of course. Suzuki spent a lot of
time in the wind tunnel getting the
bike’s slipperiness where they needed
it, and even items like the fairing bolts
now have flat heads to enhance that.
The overall fairing width has been
reduced by over a half-inch, helping
with the reduced frontal area, and the
new gas tank makes it easier to tuck
in. I appreciated it on the straight, as
I was able to get my chin on the tank
without difficulty. Tucked behind the
bubble, the windblast was definitely
minimized and clearly helps the highspeed
Other items to note are the easystart
function (just a quick prod at the
button lights the motor as long as the
bike is in neutral), a low-rpm assist to
help avoid stalling, and launch control
for racing starts.
The new LCD instrument pod
has a black background on the R
model, and six-levels of brightness
adjustment. Although this isn’t a pretty,
coloured TFT display like some
competitors, the display is clear and
easy to read. Most importantly, the
information is very well laid out, so I
have no complaint with it.
The all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000R
hugely impressed me. I only had one
day on the one track to test it, but in
that short time, the motorcycle didn’t
just impress me—it blew me away.
Suzuki has achieved that with a
screaming motor with humongous,
yet controlled power, and an agile
chassis that is also among the most
stable superbikes I’ve ridden. Those
fundamental needs for fast riding
are wrapped within easy to ride
ergonomics that fully integrate you
with the machine.
The feedback from every system
is precise. I could feel everything the
GSX-R was telling me, whether I was
accelerating hard out of a corner with
the tire just past its limit of traction,
or braking hard into a corner with the
front buried into the tarmac and then
turning-in. I felt completely connected
to the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R.
2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R key specs:
Engine: DOHC inline-4
Maximum power: 199bhp@13,200rpm
Maximum torque: 118Nm@10,800rpm
Redline: 14,500 rpm
Cooling: Twin-fan aluminum radiator; aluminum oil cooler
Fuel delivery: Ride-by-wire; electronic throttle bodies
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh w/ quickshift
Front suspension: Showa Balance Free Fork
Rear suspension: Showa Balance Free Rear Cushion
Front brakes: Radial mount Brembo Monoblock calipers w/
four 32mm pistons; Brembo T-drive 320mm floating disc
Rear brake: Single piston Nissin w/ 220mm disc
IMU: Six direction, three axis
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
Seat height: 825mm
Lean angle l & r: 56 degrees
Fuel capacity: 16.5l
Curb weight: 203kg
Colours: Metallic Triton Blue; Glass Sparkle Black
GSX-R1000R Price: R310,000 (estimated - arriving end 2017)
Base model Price: R239,950 (arriving end March)
36 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
Red Square Kawasaki ZX-10R Masters Cup
Back on track
The first bit of 2-wheeled racing action for 2017 kicked-off at Zwartkops Raceway with the
ZX-10 Cup men at the Day of Champions. Words & Pics: Paul Blackburn
The first round of the Red Square
Kawasaki ZX-10R Masters Cup 2017
Championship season kicked off this
past weekend at the Zwartkops Raceway
in Pretoria. Part of the annual Day of
the Champion, it promised to be an
unforgettable day. The days leading up to
race day were dogged by miserable rainy
and cloudy weather. However, come race
day the racers got greeted by a typical hot
and sunny Highveld day.
Superpole got off to a fantastic start
with Graeme van Breda (IVID Kawasaki)
taking pole position. Second on the grid
would be Sven Grune and locking out the
front row in third was Jaco Gous. Gareth
Bezuidenhout qualified in fourth with Teddy
Brooke (Brooke Refrigeration) alongside
him. Brian Bontekoning rounded up the top
6 starters on the grid.
Race 1 - Graeme van Breda took an early
lead from the start. In the opening laps he
built a comfortable gap and never looked
back again. This left Sven Grune, Gareth
Bezuidenhout, Jaco Gous, Johan le Roux
(Avidan Trading), Teddy Brooke and Brian
Bontekoning to fight for the second step on
the podium. After a few laps Sven Grune
and Gareth Bezuidenhout pulled away
slightly to battle for second.
Behind them Jaco Gous and Johan le
Roux got involved in their own battle for
position leaving Teddy Brooke and Brian
Bontekoning in their own challenge. Further
back Stewart Christie (Eastern Vet) with some
new found pace got involved in a good scrap
with Sanjiv Singh. Positions were changing
hand over fist in all the various battles.
Season newcomer Sfiso Themba started
a remarkable race amongst the backmarkers
matching their pace. Sliding into the
kitty litter in turn 5 saw his race come to an
end. When the chequered flag came out it
was van Breda who took a comfortable win
over Grune with Bezuidenhout finishing a
close third. A dice to the line saw Gous pip
Le Roux for fourth. Just 0.063 of a second
separating the two over the line!
Race 2 - If race 1 was anything to go by
then a heated campaign was expected
in race 2. The spectators sure got their
money’s worth as the race kicked off. Once
again Graeme van Breda took an early lead
from the start but could not open as big a
gap as he did in the first race.
However, the great excitement and
frantic racing was right behind him for
second position. This battle was between
Sven Grune, Gareth Bezuidenhout, Jaco
Gous, Johan le Roux, Teddy Brooke and
Brian Bontekoning and in this race they
stayed together for all 10 laps!
Grune had his work cut out for him as
Gous found new pace and were all over
him at every turn, whilst Bezuidenhout
and Le Roux was keeping him honest
directly behind. Brooke and Bontekoning
however had their own ding-dong battle
immediately behind and complicated
matters to fight the guys in front of them.
Further back saw Stewie Christie in
another great dice with Sanjiv Singh.
Sfiso Themba was also back in the
second race and right back on pace.
Something not expected from new
campaigners after an off. This shows great
courage and it can be expected that he
will pick up pace as the season progress.
He also received Rider of the Day for his
As the chequered flag came out it was
van Breda who took the win in front of
Grune. Following close behind Grune was
Gous finishing in third. Bezuidenhout came
fourth and Le Roux rounded up the top 5
for the race. However, a mere 1 second
separated the finishers from second to
seventh! Brooke came sixth and seventh
placed man was Bontekoning. This sure
promises to be one of the most exciting
seasons for the Red Square Kawasaki ZX-
10R Masters Cup!
38 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
Photo: H. Mitterbauer
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A simple do-it-yourself method for accurately lining up your bike’s wheels.
Welcome to the RideFast Garage - A new feature we will be bringing you every month, where we will
offer some techinical tips for your motorcycle, or motorcycle riding gear.
This month, we look at a quick and simple way of checking your motorcycle’s wheel aligment.
Is your bike handling strangely? Tyres
wearing out asymmetrically? Chain making
funny sounds? Believe it or not, a serious
misalignment of the front and rear wheels
can be the cause of all these maladies.
Now, you’re probably thinking that
you’ve already checked the alignment
marks on the swingarm so the wheels
must be aligned. Not so fast. While these
alignment marks are better than they
used to be, there’s no guarantee they’re
right, considering the inherent variations
in manufacturing and the often prodigious
amount of slop in the axle blocks.
But there is an easy way to check
alignment that needs no special tools
beyond a track stand—assuming your bike
doesn’t have a centerstand—and a length
of lightweight rope.
Also make sure you have a good quality
chain fitted, like Regina, and make sure it’s
not set too tight or too lose. A quality chain
such as Regina can make a big difference
in how your bike rides.
STEP 1: Your tools for the job: lightweight
rope, a track stand, and a positive attitude.
STEP 2: Start by putting the bike on the track
stand and wrapping the center of the length
of rope around the front of the tyre as shown.
You want it placed so the lengths of rope
heading rearward are as high as they can be
without hitting the brake discs or bodywork..
STEP 3: Pull the loose ends of the rope
toward the rear wheel, trying to keep the line
taut enough that it won’t slip down the front
tyre. A piece of duct tape will hold the string
onto the front tyre if you’re having trouble.
40 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
Brought to you by
STEP 4: Draw the free ends of the string back until they just touch the tread at the front of the rear
wheel. From this angle, look at the front wheel again. There should be a small gap between the
rope and the trailing edge of the front tyre; that gap should be equal on both sides. Sight down
the bike from one side then the other. It will be obvious when the front tyre is not pointing straight.
Turn the handlebars until it is.
STEP 5: With the front wheel aligned, once again
bring the rope to the leading edge of the rear
tyre. Draw the ends inward until the rope just
touches the leading edge. Be careful that you
don’t pull it so far that the rope bends. Again, if
you look at a low angle, it’s very obvious.
STEP 6: Now look at the gap from the rope
to the trailing-edge tread. It should be the
same left and right. If the gaps are different,
the rear wheel is not tracking the front. If the
rope touches the rear of the tyre before the
front, it’s way out of whack.
STEP 7: If the wheel is perfectly aligned, this gap
will be the same on both sides. If the gap is larger
on the left and smaller on the right, the rear
wheel is cocked in the swingarm with the front
of the tyre to the left of center. If the larger gap is
on the right, the tyre is “facing” slightly right.
STEP 8: If you’re smart, you’ll mark the
axle blocks when the wheel is properly
aligned for quick reference later. Or you can
maintain alignment by turning the adjusters
the exact same amount each time you set
98 years old in 2017 with over
325 World Championships
In 2016 Regina celebrated it’s 97th anniversary. The
company was founded in 1919, initially manufacturing
chains and free wheels for bicycles. The production of
motorcycle chains began in 1939, bringing early success
and victory after victory ever since. Over a period of more
than 90 years, many trophies in every discipline and
category, both road and off-road, were won, resulting
in more than 325 world championship titles. But the
biggest success is using the races as test ground for
ultimate product and technology development, resulting
in exclusive patents: Z-Ring, Chromized pin, shaped
bushing, etc. Applying these technologies to series
production makes the real difference between Regina
and all others. Therefore, Regina is the undisputed world
leader in research, development and production of
chains for every motorcycle.
We also encourage you to get involved, so if you have any tech questions
you would like our experts to answer please feel free to send them to rob@
ridefast.co.za. There will be a prize up for grabs every month so make sure you
send those questions, or if you have any tricks you would like to share with us
please do so. This months prize is a Regina chain to the value of R1200.
Patented Z-Ring Technology
Specially designed for application on high powered bikes, these chains are able to offer exceptional
performance thanks to the patented Z-Rings.
Assembled with high alloy steel pins and plates, solid bushings and rollers, shot-peening of plates, pins
and rollers are pre-stressed for performance-enhancing, assuring excellent resistance tom mechanical
stresses of the later superbikes.
The new generation seal rings, featuring a special-designed conical shape on their inner side, represent
the evolution of previous X-Ring and Z-Ring designs.
Patented “Z-Ring” section
The Z-Ring flexes when assembled, creating a spring effect that guarantees the seal will not decrease
The special Z-Ring section provides enhanced chain
flexibility. The conical section
enhances the assembling
on the bushing. The
between the plates
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Z-Ring keeps the ring
lubricated and increases
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 41
RF magazine play.indd 1006
2014/12/27 8:44 AM
44 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
Things heat up
MOTOGP TESTING - PHILLIP ISLAND
A Spanish rivalry hots up, an Aussie makes big strides, rookies are
coming fast, and ‘The Doctor’ is behind the eight ball.
Three down, one to go: threequarters
of MotoGP pre-season
testing for 2017 is in the books
after last week’s three-day hit-out
at Phillip Island, and with only a
pre-Qatar blast to come before the
season starts at the Losail Circuit
in late March, we now have a clearer picture of
who’s on song – and who has plenty to ponder in
the next five weeks.
As he did in Valencia at the end of 2016
and Malaysia in January, Maverick Viñales set
the benchmark time across three days at the
Victorian coastal circuit, but assessing testing is
rarely as simple as going by what the stopwatch
tells you. Several riders made striking
progress as the Island test rolled on,
while others headed back to Europe
knowing they’re not yet on the pace,
and – worryingly for some – not exactly
knowing why either.
Here’s what we learned after
the Australian test, which was
(for Phillip Island standards)
blessed by unusually
stable and sunny weather,
not something we
often see in October
when the MotoGP
for the race
Viñales is fastest, but Marquez is the front-runner
Viñales has made quite the impression at Yamaha
since coming across from Suzuki, and his day
three time of 1min 28.549secs (considerably
faster than pole position at the Island last
October, incidentally) showed how quickly he’s
meshed with his new machine. Impressive, sure –
but what might have been more ominous for the
rest was what Marc Marquez was able to do on
the Repsol Honda, particularly on day two when
teammate Dani Pedrosa battled illness and didn’t
ride a lot. Marquez did a mammoth 107 laps (“my
hands are destroyed,” was his rueful comment
afterwards), and 44 of those were beneath 90
seconds – a fearsomely consistent pace
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 45
that put the others in the shade. Replicate that over 27
laps in October’s race here, and he’ll win by a country mile.
The reigning and three-time world champion was
second on the overall timesheets at the end of the test,
but fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow knew better than
to read too much into that. “Marc showed his hand a
little bit,” the matter-of-fact Brit said, “but he has some
(time) in his pocket, trust me.”
The niggle between Viñales and Marquez is real
An on-track moment inside the final two hours of the
test on Friday suggested that Marquez sees Viñales –
not Viñales’ Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi or Ducati
defector Jorge Lorenzo – as his main impediment to
achieving four MotoGP titles in five years by the end
of this season. With Viñales on a long race simulation
run, Marquez emerged from the Phillip Island pits and
shadowed his Spanish compatriot around the track for a
few laps before Viñales pitted to shake him loose.
Coincidence, or not? Was Marquez trying to
unsettle Viñales? The champ protested his
innocence, as he might. “There was some gap,
but I was able to recover this gap. Then I followed
him two laps and it was interesting to see a
different bike,” Marquez said afterwards.
Viñales was a little more expansive. “The
track is four kilometres – strange that
he was there, where I was,” he mused.
“It’s not normal. You are doing your race
simulation. Someone pulls out … you
cannot stop. After five laps that he was
behind, finally I needed to abort the race
simulation.” Watch this space with these two.
46 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
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Should Rossi fans be concerned?
‘The Doctor’ celebrated his 38th birthday on
day two of the test, and the celebratory cake
might have been the best things got over three
difficult days Down Under. He was under the
weather for much of the test away from the
bike, and when he was on it, things weren’t
a lot better, according to the man himself.
Yes, it’s ‘only’ testing, but 12th on the overall
timesheets was cause for consternation. “I
think the bike has good aspects, especially
the engine, but for sure this test was more
difficult for me than the one in Sepang,” Rossi
said after the final day. “I’m not very happy,
and we need to try to do better.”
More than the eye can see
He spent all Friday testing parts, and
struggling with a front tyre that he felt was
too soft for his needs. “I suffer quite a lot with
both tyres, especially the front,” he said. “For
sure this temperature and these conditions
are completely different to the Grand Prix. It
was a bit too soft. But sincerely it was not
my main problem. We tried to work a lot
on the pace for the second half of the race
because we suffered there last year.”
Rossi was pleased with the new engine,
and concluded that the new chassis
Yamaha had brought was the one he
would be using in the future. He spent
a lot of time working on settings,
running through a big program
handed to him by Yamaha. “We
work a lot. We try to improve the
feeling with the bike, especially
with the old tyres. We take a lot
of data and make a hard job.
But at the end we don’t fix
our problem so we have
to try something else for
But Rossi may not be showing all his
cards. Reports from people inside the
paddock suggested that Rossi had not really
been feeling his best throughout the test. He
had been holding something back, fellow
Paddock Pass Podcaster Neil Morrison was
told. It is possible that the travel is starting
to wear on Rossi, and the busy PR program
Yamaha put him through between the Sepang
and Phillip Island tests took it out of him.
By the time the flag drops, his program will
be different. Especially once MotoGP returns
to Europe after the first three races, and
Rossi gets back into his rhythm, he will surely
be a factor. So far, the Yamaha M1 has made
a big step forward – every part the engineers
brought was an improvement, not something
that happens every year. It is probably the
best bike on the grid, and with Viñales and
Rossi aboard, it will be tough to beat.
48 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
“I think the
bike has good
for sure this
test was more
difficult for me
than the one
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 4 9
Ducati – halfway there...
After two days of struggle, there was
also good news for Jorge Lorenzo. On
Thursday, there had been signs of despair,
but the Spaniard finally managed to find
some pace with the Ducati Desmosedici
GP17. Both Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso
finished in seventh and eighth, Lorenzo a
tenth behind his teammate. The Spaniard
had gone out in the early part of the day
and pushed to set a time, exploring the
limits of the bike.
It had helped him understand where the
performance envelope of the Ducati was
to be found. “My goal was to improve the
feeling and understand more the way to get
a bit closer to the maximum with the bike we
have,” he said at the end of the day. He had
aimed to run a string of laps in the 1’29s,
and had succeeded in that. The Ducati was
still weak in mid-corner, he explained, and
adapting to that was not easy.
“Still it’s very difficult for me, because
they are completely different bikes,”
Lorenzo said. “They need the opposite
way to ride, the opposite way to take the
maximum from the bike. Ducati doesn’t
have corner speed for the moment, so you
need to keep braking a lot of time, and you
need to be aggressive with the throttle, onoff.
It’s a completely different way of riding.
So little by little I am starting to understand
this much better, especially today, but I
still need more time and more kilometres
to take the maximum with this bike. But
for sure I want to improve the bike to turn
better in the future. “
Phillip Island is a particular track
As a racing venue, the Island – with its
succession of sweeping corners and
stunning scenery – is one of the best on
the calendar. As a testing venue that teams
can learn from to tweak their bikes to most
tracks? Not so much. There’s nowhere
quite like the Australian circuit elsewhere
across the 17 other Grand Prix venues,
and with only two slow corners of note and
an abrasive track surface that tortures the
tyres (the hottest tyre temperatures all year
are recorded through the final two turns
of the track, the never-ending left-handers
that lead the bikes back onto the startfinish
straight), there’s not a lot you can
learn in Australia that applies elsewhere.
Honda often struggles with traction out
of slow-speed corners, so to see three of
them in the top five on the timesheets and
four inside the top nine was no surprise
given Phillip Island’s characteristics. Will
that be replicated at the stop-start Losail
layout in a month’s time? Doubtful, so
watch out for those fast Ducati’s, they will
certainly be challenging for the win...
Miller’s pace is genuine
The fourth of those Hondas inside the
top nine was Jack Miller’s Estrella Galicia
0,0 Marc VDS entry, and the Australian
could barely contain his enthusiasm after a
three-day test where he carried the team’s
workload by himself with Tito Rabat back in
Europe recovering from injuries sustained at
Sepang last month.
Miller was clean, didn’t fall once, was
inside the top 10 on all three days and
completed over 80 laps – more than three
Grand Prix distances – on each day. “For
the first time in a long time I feel like I’m
in charge of the bike and not the other
way round,” Miller joked on Friday, and
he’s clearly benefitting from the work done
behind the scenes with vastly experienced
Spanish engineer Ramon Aurin, who teams
up with the Aussie for the first time this
season. After a solid showing in the Malaysia
test, Australia was another step in the right
direction for Miller, who is in arguably the
best physical shape of his career as he
starts a crucial contract year in 2017.
50 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
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The field tightens
Lorenzo’s improvement through the course
of the test was solid, going nearly 1.3
seconds faster over the three days of the
test. Progress was made by many riders
over the three days of the test. That saw
the field get a lot closer together in three
days, the gap from first to last being cut
from over three seconds on the first day
to under two seconds covering 22 riders
on the last day. Take out Karel Abraham’s
time, who went slower on Friday than he
did on Thursday, and there is just 1.651
seconds between Maverick Viñales in first
and Sam Lowes in twenty-second.
Given that Viñales improved his time
by over 1.4 seconds from Wednesday to
Friday, to end up with a lap time which
has only been bettered by three riders
in the past, the improvement, even at
the back of the grid, is impressive. Sam
Lowes took 2.1 seconds off his time
round Phillip Island over the three days.
Alex Rins was particularly quick, going
2.3 seconds faster and ending the test as
sixth, and four tenths ahead of his more
experience teammate. Bradley Smith was
2.7 seconds quicker on the final day than
he had been on the KTM on Wednesday.
The times are illustrative of just how
close the field is, once you look past the
two men at the top. Take out Viñales and
Márquez, and less than a second covers
Dani Pedrosa in third and Scott Redding
down in twentieth. Sam Lowes, last on
the Aprilia, is less than 1.2 seconds off
Pedrosa. Almost anywhere you look on
the timesheets, three tenths of a second
would give a gain of four or five places.
Strong rookies again
With the field so tight, it is hard to single
out riders who are struggling, and riders
who are close, but not quite there. Clearly,
both Monster Tech 3 riders are in the
zone, despite Johann Zarco only finishing
in fourteenth on Friday. His race pace on
his long run was close to that of Andrea
Dovizioso on the Ducati, and both Andrea
Iannone and Alex Rins on the Suzuki.
Jonas Folger took top honours in the
Tech 3 team on Friday, ending the test in
fourth and with good race pace, doing
a long run at the end of the day after a
crash, and dropping his laps into the low
1’29s before the checkered flag brought
proceedings to a halt.
Alex Rins had a strong test, faster than
his more experienced team mate on the
last two days of the test. Andrea Iannone
had been stuck doing the bulk of the test
work, going through electronics settings
and working with new parts to try to help
with grip. That had meant that Iannone
had not had a chance to go for a lap
time with a new tyre, something which
others, including Valentino Rossi, had also
missed out on.
The riders head home now, for a
couple of weeks break before the next
test at Qatar. The teams and factories
have three weeks to study the data from
the Sepang and Phillip Island tests, and
concoct solutions to their problems in
Qatar. When that test is done, the season
will be nearly upon us. Once battle is
joined in earnest, then there will be
nowhere left to hide for the MotoGP field.
52 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
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Trade-in assistance between R15,000 to R45,000 on various
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DUCATI RIDE PLAN
Prices subject to change without prior notice. Terms and conditions apply.
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Ducati South Africa Official @DucatiRSA Ducati_SA
56 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
As I barrel down the 800m long
front straight I glance down at
the dash and see a speed of
230kph. I quickly have to grab a handful
of front brake, and even some back
brake, as turn one is a 2nd gear 90º
right hand hairpin, The bike stops with
complete ease and lets me throw it in
with no fuss, hitting the apex beautifully.
At this point I have to remind myself
that I am not on a new Panigale racer,
but rather a sport-road bike, as Ducati
labelled it in their briefing.
A sport for
This is when I immediately knew
that Ducati’s latest creation is a serious
player in the market.
The world launch of the SuperSport
took place in Seville, Spain, where
we would put the new bike to the
test around the rather demanding
Monteblanco circuit, as well as the
even-more-so demanding tight and
twisty roads that surround the gorgeous
historic town. Being a former racer, I
was excited at the prospect of riding on
a track I had never seen before. I did
Since we first layed eyes on it at last years World Ducati Week, we have been biting our
nails in anticipation of this new SuperSport machine from Ducati.
Words: Rob Portman
some research before I left on the trip
and discovered that the Monteblanco
circuit is not for the faint at heart - a true
sport bike lover, adrenaline seeking,
elbow and knee scraping junkies circuit
- 4.4km of fast and tight turns, long
straights and a uphill right hander that
will really test both you as a rider and
the machine you are on. I thought it
rather brave of Ducati to put us journos
on their new SuperSport machine
around such a demanding circuit. They
were obviously fully confident in the
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 57
sporty side of the bike - they don’t
call it SuperSport for nothing.
So what is this new SuperSport?
Is it a traditional 600cc racer? Is it
a new Panigale racer? Is it a sports
tourer? Well, let me answer those
questions for you right now…
A new breed of sporty bike
The SuperSport is not a 600cc racer,
nor a new Panigale super bike,
and yes, it is in a way a sportstourer,
although I think there is
more emphasis on the word sport
rather than tourer. As I said earlier
Ducati have given it the ‘Sport-
Road’ bike label. My first question
to Paolo Quattrino, the leader of the
project, was ‘what does Sport-Road
bike mean?”. He very confidently
answered “It’s a unique in the market
bike that offers a blend of Ducati
cool design with sport performance,
versatility and accessibility. Sport
made light, fun and easy.” A very PR
answer indeed so I asked him what
their target market was? “It’s a bike
for those eager to ride sports-style
on everyday roads. Fun and versatile
with true Ducati sports styling and
zest, the SuperSport makes riders
feel like racers: every day. A bike that
will not intimidate but rather install
confidence in the rider. We have done
research and seen a big gap in the
market for a bike like this - a everyday
kind of bike for every kind of rider.”
A good answer I though, as this
pretty much covers every motorcycle
enthusiasts wants in a motorcycle.
Ducati have very much focussed
on giving the bike a very sporty
feel, and one can recognize that
immediately just by looking at the
bike. It’s very sporty looking, with a
strong family feeling of the Panigale
incorporated in the overall design.
Its a dynamic, polished, visually
compact, light machine that is Ducati
to the core.
Love at first sight
This bike will have you at hello! The
SuperSport is a gorgeous piece of
kit that one can only really appreciate
when up close. It’s a bike that has
already won an award for its styling
- taking the honour of most beautiful
motorcycle at EICMA Show 2016.
A very big title indeed for a bike that
has only just been released.
Something that immediately
caught my eye, when I first saw it
displayed in the hotel lobby, was the
fact that no screws or bolts are visible
on the fairing. Very slick and really
does add extra sazz. Ducati really
are one of the best when it comes
to styling bikes and have once again
shifted motorcycle design one step
forward - exposed fairing bolts are so
The other stand out point was the
raised clip-on-bars and more touring
styled seat - which looked very
58 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
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Seat Height: 870mm
Fuel Capacity: 30L
DUCATI RIDE PLAN
174 Bram Fischer Drive, Randburg - 011 919 1600 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.ducati.co.za
Ducati South Africa Official @DucatiRSA Ducati_SA
The Ducati SuperSport takes the 937cc Testastretta
motor from the Hypermotard 939, which pushes out a
healthy and enjoyable 113hp, and puts it into a relaxed
sportbike trellis frame, but it moves the power lower in
the rev range while also swapping for longer final drive
gear ratios. Ducati claim that 80% of the 96.7Nm of
torque is available at just 3,000 rpm. They’re also added
in Ducati’s Safety Pack (Bosch ABS and traction control)
as well variable riding modes - Sport/Touring/Urban.
The SuperSport makes excellent use of new Trellis
frame design developments that exploit the engine
as a fully stressed element. Both cylinder heads are
connected to the main steel frame: the seat sub-frame
- again made of steel - is, instead, connected to only
the vertical cylinder head.
Like all true Ducati sports bikes, the SuperSport
features adjustable suspension and a single-sided die
cast swingarm that is light yet extremely rigid, giving the
bike a decidedly technical, professional look.
As on all Ducati’s, the SuperSport is fitted with top of
the range Brembo brakes, very similar to those seen on
the highest-performing sports models.
So it all sounds great, and certainly looks great but
would it meet expectations? After a good nights rest it
was time for me to kit up and find out…
We tested the SuperSport S model out on track, which has Ohlins
suspension front and back as well as a quickshifter with auto-blip fitted.
They were also fully equipped with gorgeous Akrapovic twin pipes -
World SBK styled twin Akro’s also available and as you can see, they look
awesome! The optional extra Sport pack was also fitted.
The Sport pack includes: Carbon front mudguard / Carbon fuel tank cover
Articulated racing lever kit / Billet aluminium covers for front and rear
brake fluid reservoirs
We arrived at the Monteblanco circuit at 9am and were
immediately split into 2 groups. I was pleased to be in
group one and out on track first with the road ride later
in the afternoon.
We were given two 20minute track sessions to put
the bike through its paces. This was the first time I got
to sit on the bike. It was comfy, but defiantly leant more
towards sporty than touring. The high set clip-ons and
revised footpeg positioning do give it a much more
relaxed riding position and the seat is more
plush than on most sport bikes.
60 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
For the track test, we were given
the SuperSport S model, which is equipped
with fully adjustable Ohlins front and rear
suspension, as well as auto quick up/down
shift (an option on the base model), and a
colour coordinated rear seat cowl. Both the
base and S models are fitted with grippy
Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres, ideal for road
and track riding.
It took me around 3 laps to learn the
circuit and get comfortable with the feeling
of the bike. I was immediately impressed
with how light and agile the bike felt. Even
though it’s a bit on the heavy side, weighing
“The engine has been
designed to offer good
amounts of torque through
the rev range rather than
big horse power figures.”
in at around 210kg wet, it really did
not feel that heavy and was easy to
handle. Ducati were clever and fitted
the SuperSport with a 180 size
rear tyre, helping disguise it’s
chubbiness and highlight the
agility of the bike.
The gorgeous sounding
unique Testastretta engine
pushes out 113hp, not
big figures, and I could
feel that it did run
out of steam a
bit especially at
higher rpm. A
a bit more
power, but I
had to remember
that this bike is not aimed at a pro like
myself, but rather the everyday rider, so in
that regard the power is perfect. The engine
has been designed to offer good amounts
of torque through the rev range rather than
big horse power figures. It did punch out
of the turns nicely, although the traction
control set at 3 did restrict power delivery
out of the turns quite a bit. The ABS was
set at level 2 for the first session, and while
the brakes did do a great job at stopping
me, I did not really enjoy the spongy feeling I
was getting from the ABS system.
So for my second session I made a few
changes, dropping traction control down
from 3 to 2 (8 levels available and can be
switched off), and ABS down from 2 to 1
(3 levels available and can be switched off).
I also asked the mechanics to stiffen up
the suspension a bit, as I could feeling it
wallowing a bit in and out of the turns. We
went from 8 clicks of compression down
to 4 front and back, this would help with
braking and overall feel and grip.
The changes were a delight and in the
second session I was really enjoying both the
bike and the circuit. I felt more in control of
the bike, the power delivery was a lot more
responsive coming out of the turns now that
TC was set a level 2, and the brakes a lot
more responsive and friendly at level 1.
I was scrapping just about everything,
in all the turns, from my knee sliders to the
exhaust. Ducati say that the bike and Pirelli
tyres are capable of 48º lean angle, and I’m
sure I reached that just sending sparks and
metal flying in the process.
Overall, the SuperSport S impressed
me out on track. It’s a nice track day
machine and a very good option for those
new to track days. Somebody coming
from a proper sports bike might find it a
lille bit lacking.
62 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
ADVENTURE BIKE TECH 011 609 3904
BIKING ACCESSORIES 012 342 7474
BIKING BRAKPAN 011 744 4660
CAYANNE 011 462 4390
CENTURION YAMAHA 012 661 6212
CYTECH 011 433 8850
EMD 012 667 1041
EASTCOAST MOTORCYCLES 031 566 3024
FACTORY RACING 011 867 0092
FULL THROTTLE 011 452 2397
FAST BIKES 015 297 8601
FOURWAYS MOTORCYCLES 011 465 1540
GAME SERVICES 011 425 1084
GPS 4 AFRICA 082 412 9359
HOLESHOT 011 826 5163
JUST BIKE TYRE 012 661 3582
KATAY RACING 011 475 9274
KCR 011 795 5545
LINEX YAMAHA 011 251 4000
MOTOMATE 011 234 5274
MOTOS KTM 018 468 8108
MOTONETIX 011 805 5200
NICK CYCLES 011 395 2553
NS 2 STROKE 011 849 8495
OFF ROAD CYCLES 012 333 6443
POWERSPORT 011 894 2111
PUZEY 011 795 4122
RANDBURG MOTORCYCLES 011 792 6829
RAD KTM 011 608 3006
RACEWORX KTM 011 027 8762
RUSSEL CAMPBELL 011 452 0504
SHIMWELLS YAMAHA 011 362 2182
Out on the road
This is where the SuperSport really had to
shine, as this is where the target market
would be using it most. Yes it’s more than
capable out on track, but still, most of its
mileage will be done out on the road.
It needed to be everyday friendly, and
all the signs point to it being just that.
While the riding position is slightly better
than most sports bikes, it’s still very racy.
There is plenty of leg room, but that’s
for me, the average size man. I do think
Avatar’s will battle a bit on this bike.
For the 250km plus road ride we
were handed keys to the SuperSport
model, or base model if you like. So, the
fancy, more racy, Ohlins suspensions
is replaced by very capable Marzocchi
front forks and Sachs rear shock, that are
both adjustable for spring pre-load and
It also loses the quick shifter and auto
blipped, which is a pitty but is available as
an optional extra (I highly recommend this).
I set off with the bike is Sport mode,
with ABS set on 2 and TC set on 3.
Again, just as on the track, the
handling was superb. It’s very stable, and
the suspension is very plush giving you
loads of feel and control. The brakes are
strong but friendly. All the instruments
are easy to understand and perfectly
accessible. You can adjust riding modes
and electronics on the fly but you will
have to take some time out at the
begging first to understand just how it all
works. It won’t take long at all.
The screen is adjustable with two
positions. I set it higher when out on the
longer roads and it offered good wind
protection, with no buffering what so ever.
My eyes lit up when I saw a trail of
tight, twisty bends come up. With all the
torque available at such low rpm, there is
no need to scream the bike and be in and
out of gears. I simply put it in 4th gear
and let the torque and engine braking
guide me through. Didn’t even have to do
much braking, just roll off and the engine
braking would slow me down enough,
and then when I wanted power, it was
there, not in abundance but more than
enough. Again, and I know I’m going on
about the handling but it’s just so good.
Agile, precise and stable, everything you
could want and expect from a Ducati.
For the second set of twistys I decided
to shift into Touring mode. This mode still
offers the full 113hp just in a smoother
delivery, and also sets the TC to 4 and
ABS to 3. You can manually change this
though. I found this a bit to laggy and dull.
Really no need to go to Touring or Urban
unless road conditions are a bit dodgy or
wet. Sport mode is very easy to use and
enjoy so I just decided to stick with that.
64 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
“My eyes lit up when I
saw a trail of tight, twisty
bends come up. With all the
torque available at such
low rpm, there is no need
to scream the bike and be
in and out of gears.”
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 65
After 150km on the bike I was starting
to feel some effects of the sporty riding
position. Although the bars are raised,
I was still getting a bit of pain in my
wrists, but nothing serious and nowhere
near what you would get after the same
distance on a proper sports bike. My
shoulders were also starting to feel
strained as it is a bit of a stretch to the
bars, again, nothing one can’t deal with.
Hats off to the suspension, even
thought it’s not the fancy Ohilns like on the
S model, it still delivered. It just floats along
and it has nice damping for the road.
I felt no vibrations at all - it’s really
smooth and effortless.
After a total of 300km riding on the
road, we arrived back at the track and the
test was over. My bum was a bit sore as
was my wrists and shoulders. But we did
do a couple of photoshoots, which can
be hard work so I had to take that into
It’s certainly not a bike for massive long
distances, the lack of cruise control and
heated grips tells you that, showing that
it defiantly does have a more sporty side.
But it’s more than capable of the everyday
commute, and outride.
It was a long day of riding and I really did
get to put the SuperSport to the test. It’s a
great mix of performance and comfort.
The electronics are brilliant, styling is
exotic and trendy, handling is sharp, stable
and very versatile, while the brakes are just
perfect. It’s almost a like a Monster with a
fairing, loads of fun.
While I do wish it had a bit more overall
horsepower, the 113 on offer does the job
just fine and will attract a wider market.
The SuperSport is aimed at a very large
target market. If you are that rider, male
or female, young or old, who is looking to
add a bit more sporty excitement to your
commute or outride, without sacrificing
comfort, and a bike that you can enjoy and
be in control of on racy roads or on track,
then this is a bike you really should look
at, especially the S model, which is great
value for money.
Ducati SA will have the SuperSport
available soon for demo rides, so make
sure you call them to book.
Pricing is very good, considering where
new bikes prices are going. The base
model is at R169,000, while the S model is
at R188,000 in red and R191,000 for white
silk. There are a host of optional extras
available, from Sport to Touring, even cool
looking and spacious side panniers.
2017 Ducati SuperSport key specs: Engine: Testastretta 11°, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled • Displacement: 937cc • Maximum power:
113bhp@9,000rpm • Maximum torque: 97Nm@6,500rpm CHASSIS Front suspension (base): Fully adjustable 43mm (1.7 in) usd Marzocchi forks. S model: Fully adjustable 48mm (1.9 in)
usd Ohlins forks • Rear suspension (base): Progressive linkage with adjustable Sachs monoshock. Aluminium single-sided swingarm. S model: Progressive linkage with fully adjustable
Ohlins monoshock. Aluminium single-sided swingarm • Front brakes: 2 x 320 mm (12.6 in) semi-floating discs, radially mounted Monobloc Brembo M4-32 callipers, 4-piston, radial pump
with ABS as standard DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES Wheelbase: 1478mm • Seat height: 810mm • Fuel capacity: 16l • Curb weight: 210kg • Colours (SuperSport): Ducati Red with Ducati
Red frame and Matt Black wheels • Colours (SuperSport S): Star White Silk fairing with Ducati Red frame and Glossy Red wheels - Ducati Red fairing with Ducati Red frame and Matt Black
wheels • Base Price: R169,000 • S model red Price: R188,000 (R191,000 white/silk) WARRANTY & MAINTENANCE 24 months unlimited mileage / 15,000 km or 12 months
66 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
• Prizes consist of one Yamaha YZF-R1 2017 motorcycle and one Indian Scout 2017 motorcycle.
Visit and like the Anassis Racing Facebook page for details
on how to enter - www.facebook.com/anassis.racing
Bike will be given away at this years Africa Bike Week, East London, 29th April. T&C’s apply
These terms and conditions apply to all competitions conducted by 23 Racing CC t/a Anassis Racing in
partnership with MiWay Insurance Limited (MiWay), whether on the Anassis Racing or MiWay website, any other
website or by any other method whatsoever, unless expressly stated otherwise.
By participating in any of the competitions conducted by Anassis Racing, as mentioned above, you agree to
be bound to the terms and conditions set out herein. Anassis Racing and MiWay reserve the right to amend
these terms and conditions without notice to the participants. It is your responsibility, as a participant in
the competition, to inform yourself from time to time of the terms and conditions that are applicable to the
competition in question.
• This competition commences on 1 March 2017 and runs until midnight 29 September 2017.
• Prohibited Participation
• A person who is:
• The winner of the Indian Scout motorcycle will be announced during the Africa Bike week, which takes place
from 27-30 April 2017.
• The winner of the Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle will be announced during November 2017 at a date to be
• The motorcycles may be branded, and if branded, will be on the sole discretion of Anassis Racing and MiWay.
• Prizes cannot be exchanged and are non-transferable.
responsibility is on the participant to ensure that he/she furnishes Anassis Racing with the correct contact details.
• Anassis Racing will endeavour to deliver prizes to winners within 2 weeks of the winner being announced and
verified by Anassis Racing. Delivery will be to South African addresses only. Anassis Racing will bear the delivery
cost. Alternatively, Anassis Racing may, at its sole discretion, require the winner to collect the prize(s) at the
Anassis Racing headquarters, based in Pretoria.
• Winners of the prizes shall be solely responsible for all of the costs and expenses of and associated with
• a director, member, partner, employee, agent or consultant of Anassis Racing, MiWay or the advertising agency
running the motorcycle giveaway campaign; or
• Anassis Racing and MiWay do not guarantee, warrant or make any representations whatsoever regarding the
quality of the prizes.
• Anassis Racing and MiWay reserve the right to substitute the prize at any time without notice to the participants
with a prize of equivalent or greater value, if it is deemed necessary or expedient, in Anassis Racing or MiWay’s
opinion, to do so, or if circumstances arise outside of Anassis Racing or MiWay’s control which necessitate
• under the age of 18 years; or
• residing outside the borders of the Republic of South Africa.
• a spouse, life partner, parent, child, brother, sister, business partner or associate of a person referred to in
paragraph 2.1.1 above; or
possessing, using, servicing, licensing, owning, registering, maintaining and repairing those prizes.
• Winners possess and use prizes won in competitions entirely at their own risk. Anassis Racing and MiWay,
their members, partners, employees, agents, representatives, advertisers and sponsors shall not be liable for any
accident, injury, harm, death, damages, costs and/or loss sustained by a participant as a result of the possession
• Entering this competition gives Anassis Racing and MiWay permission to use the entrant’s information for
product promotions, marketing purposes and information gathering.
• Only entries in an entry format approved by Anassis Racing will be considered.
• The competition draw will take place on the date specified on the relevant competition website page displayed
on the Anassis Racing social media platform. After the competition draw, the winner will be announced in the
manner referred to in paragraph 5 below.
or use of prizes won in the competition.
• The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into for any reason whatsoever.
• Any participant who breaches or attempts to breach any of the above terms and conditions will immediately
• Anassis Racing and MiWay reserve the right to cancel the competition at any time without notice to the
participants or if circumstances arise outside of Anassis Racing or MiWay’s control which necessitate such
• Entry formats approved by Anassis Racing are in the form of short message services (“SMS”) and online entry
forms, and/or social media campaigns. All SMS, online and social media entries received will be combined and
• Winners will be notified by e-mail, telephone or identified on the Anassis Racing Facebook page, as determined
in Anassis Racing sole discretion. Winners will be expected to be available for photographs, to appear in print/
articles, online, on television and/or radio as Anassis Racing and MiWay may consider necessary, for which no
fee will be payable to the winners.
cancellation, as determined in Anassis Racing discretion. In the event of such a cancellation, all competition
participants agree to waive any rights that they may have in terms of the competition in question and
the winner will be selected from those combined entries.
• Only one entry is allowed per person for each motorcycle giveaway competition – whether by online entry
form, SMS or social media.
• In respect of entries received by means of SMS, only the account holder of the cellular telephone number
• The competition draw will take place on the date specified on the relevant competition website page displayed
on the Anassis Racing social media platform. After the competition draw, the winner will be announced in the
acknowledge that they shall have no recourse whatsoever against Anassis Racing, MiWay and/or their members,
directors, employees, agents, representatives, partners, sponsors or promoters.
• All Anassis Racing competitions are conducted in terms of the requirements of section 54 of the Lotteries
Act, 1997 and the regulations issued pursuant thereto. http://us-dn.creamermedia.co.za/assets/articles/
drawn from the SMS entries received will be eligible for the prize. The entrant might be requested to reply with
additional information to confirm the information and details provided.
manner referred to in paragraph 5.3 below.
• Anassis Racing will use its reasonable endeavours to contact prize winners for seven successive calendar
days after their names have been drawn. If a winner cannot be reached within that seven-day period on the
telephone number or e-mail address supplied, the prize will be forfeited and another winner will be drawn. The
• Anassis Racing and MiWay competitions are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated
with, the social media platform that they are promoted on.
D U N L O P Q 3 T Y R E T E S T
Marketing campaigns for tyres are filled with catchy buzzwords touting their performance. So
much so that we as journalists have started to ignore them. And no two buzzwords are more
fashionable these days than “carbon fibre,” the light yet strong material so popular when it comes to
performance materials. Words: Rob Portman Pics: Gerrit Erasmus
Now Dunlop is extolling the virtues of
carbon fibre in its latest sport tyre, the Q3,
the successor to the popular Q2. CFT, or
Carbon Fibre Technology, is the buzzword
acronym now and it stems from the use
of carbon fibre filaments extruded into the
rubber used to form the Q3’s sidewall.
The benefit, Dunlop says, is lighter feeling
on turn-in, better stability at full lean, and
more composure driving out of a corner.
Beyond the performance benefits, with
advancements in manufacturing efficiencies
and processes, the Q3 will cost exactly the
same as the Q2 before it, in all sizes.
Continuing the acronym soup, the
Q3s continue Dunlop’s Intuitive Response
Profile (IRP). For the Q3, this means a taller
profile and a more aggressive taper on
the sides compared to the Q2, resulting
in slightly quicker turn-in and a greater
contact patch to the ground at maximum
Multi Tread (MT) technology is Dunlop
speak for dual compounds and the Q3
has them. A tough, cool-running, longwearing
compound in the centre is flanked
by softer compound rubber on the sides
for traction at any lean angle. Two nylon
carcass plies and two aramid reinforcing
belts help the tyre maintain composure
68 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
We fitted the Q3’s to our 2016 Kawasaki ZX10R - a bike with great
handling capabilities and big power figures. The Q3’s did not
disappoint and helped highlight the bikes agility, and what was
even more impressive was how the rear tyre handled the massive
amounts of abuse that came from Rob’s trigger-happy right hand,
releasing the 200hp from the motor.
during cornering and braking. In addition
to these elements, the rear features a
continuously wound Jointless Band (JLB)
to keep the tyre diameter from expanding
at high speeds.
Unlike other tyres with quick warm-up
abilities, however, the Q3 doesn’t utilize
any silica in its design, says Mick Jackson,
Manager of Product Development, who
comes from Dunlop’s UK race team,
having worked extensively in Grand Prix
and World Superbike before joining Dunlop
USA in Buffalo, New York. “Instead, the Q3
is all carbon black, infused with different
polymers, which allow it to warm quickly
and provide great grip.”
Looking at the Q3’s tread pattern, it
looks very similar to that of the D211 GP-A
DOT race tyre, however, with fewer, yet
longer, center grooves. This allows for
better water dispersal but with the same
rubber to void ratio as the Q2.
Using sophisticated data acquisition
instruments, Dunlop engineers determined
the Q3 has 8% more drive grip, plus 5%
more corner stability than its predecessor,
allowing for a 0.5-second improvement
in dry lap time around Dunlop’s test
track with test rider Rich Conicelli at
the controls. More impressive is the
1.4-second lap time improvement on the
2km wet course.
Think about that: race teams are thrilled
when they slash tenths of a second off
lap times. To cut 1.4 seconds around a
2km course, in the wet, is a huge amount.
Again, using data acquisition, the Q3
recorded 8% better drive grip, 10% more
braking stability and 15% more cornering
stability compared to the Q2 in wet
conditions around Dunlop’s test track.
Does it all work?
If the numbers are to be believed, then
Dunlop has created one incredible tyre.
Of course claims like this deserve to be
verified, and that’s why we just
had to put the new Q3 to the
test on the road and track.
Using carbon fibre in
promotional materials is sure
to grab attention, but I’m happy
to report CFT is more than
just marketing fluff – these
tyres deliver. Under braking,
they feel sure-footed with little
squirm. Initial turn-in feel quick,
with confidence inspiring grip
at full lean. The Q3 would simply
slam to full lean and immediately carve
toward the intended apex with impressive
precision and neutrality.
RedStar Raceway in notoriously a
tough track, for rider, machine, and
especially tyres, but the Q3’s performed
better than we could have ever expected,
and even after 60 hard laps of testing, tyre
wear looked good with plenty more still on
offer for the ride home.
It’s difficult not to be anything less than
highly impressed with the Dunlop Q3. It
delivers confidence-inspiring grip just shy
of a race tyre. For the rider looking for a
high performance street tyre that will also
handle hard lapping in the fast group at
your next trackday, look no further.
The Q3 now in SA in popular sizes for
most current sporty motorcycles. 180, 190
and 200 rear sizes are available with RRP
price of R4100inc vat for a set.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 69
1955 ROYAL ENFIELD RACER
What, 140KPH? On this old thing, looking at the skinny wheels and the rather large drum brakes. Yup
– them old school racers must have had monster Cahones… we took it for a little spin at Zwartkops
Race track. Words: Glenn Foley
Dion de Beer
with his pride
This is a fairly famous bike in South
African racing circles. It used to be ridden
by Tiny Mariner, he of the famous Mariner
racing family from Port Elizabeth. As far
as we know, this is the only Royal Enfield
of its type in South Africa.
A few years ago, motorcycle
enthusiast Dion de Beer bought the bike
with the view to restoring it to its original
race glory - and that they have done. The
bike has unwittingly won 2 concourse
competitions at the 1000 bike show
(It wasn’t actually entered). Best Royal
Enfield on show. And it runs beautifully.
Originally manufactured in – wait for
it… 1955 – guys that’s older than most of
the toppies at the top of the motorcycle
food chain here in SA. A full 62 years old
– and it still hurls itself around the race
track without a limp. Most impressive.
A bit of history:
In 1909, the Enfield Cycle Company
began business making parts for the
Enfield rifle. This legacy is reflected in the
company logo cannon, and their motto,
“Made Like A Gun”.
They manufactured motorcycles,
bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary
engines. The first Royal Enfield
motorcycle was built in 1901. The
original British concern was defunct by
1970. The Enfield Cycle Company is
responsible for the design and original
production of this Royal Enfield Bullet, the
longest-lived motorcycle design in history.
The 500 Bullet was originally a
British overhead valve single cylinder
four-stroke motorcycle made by Royal
Enfield in Redditch, Worcestershire, but
now produced by Royal Enfield Motors,
70 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
she accelerates actually feels quite fast,
but why is my nose so itchy? And my
eyeballs are bouncing as the Zwartkops
track becomes a blur. No such thing as a
balancer shaft back then, so everything
buzzes as you hurtle along. Next corner
Ok – remember the brakes – the gears are
a bit more positive as the bike gets hotter
– open wide… old school super single
racer at its best.
Like we said, throw everything that
you thought you knew about racing… no
electronic aids, no quick shifter, no wide
race slicks or anything like that. This is
how it used to be cool – when men were
men… and they raced primitive machines.
What a great little machine. Beautifully
crafted. Not something we’d like to race, but
it is fantastic to see old bikes like these still
rolling. Dion is busy with a very Rare Honda
750. When it’s done, we’ll run a feature…
A huge Amal carb
feeds the engine.
the successor to the British company, at
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in India. The Royal
Enfield Bullet has the longest production
run of any motorcycle having remained
continuously in production since 1948.
The Bullet marque is even older, and has
passed 75 years of continuous production.
In 1955, Enfield Cycle Company
partnered with Madras Motors in India
in forming Enfield of India, based in
Chennai, and started assembling bikes.
The first machines were assembled from
components imported from England.
In 1957, Enfield of India acquired the
machines necessary to build components
in India, and by 1962 all components were
made in India.
Dion found a pic of an original Enfield
racer and the game was on. Controls
had to be moved around – the gear shift
had to be moved from the left side to the
conventional Right side of the bike – and
the brakes had to go to their proper place.
To this end, along with the rear sets and
the performance pipe, Dion fabricated all
of this in his workshop. The bike looks
Next up was the fuel tank, faring and
seat – naturally nothing like this is available
off the shelf, so he and his son David had to
manufacture it all. From scratch. Guys you
need to see the bike to understand how
nicely it’s all been done. It looks factory.
(The bike was missing triple clamps), so
Dion made a set. It was a challenge to get
it to all lined up. The faring is an Aeromachi
that they cut and moulded to fit. Up front,
you’ll find a very neat SRA tachometer.
Engine wise, they fitted an aluminium
barrel, fitted an oversized piston and
bigger valves. An AMAL carburettor feeds
the power mill.
Riding this bike was a real experience. We
were not kidding in our opening paragraph
about how brave these early race pioneers
were. Take everything you know about
modern superbikes and throw it out of the
First up – to start the bike takes a
Yup! Big Boy scooter. Back the bikes up,
spin the rear wheel, the big boy is the
compression jump starter and the big
thumper chugs to life. Deon has got his
Mrs, Sue well sorted in this department,
she has a scoot to buzz around in the pits
– and he gets his own auto start. The short
pipe makes an awesome growl.
Perching on this bike – yup – perching
– it’s pretty small and narrow and a longer
slab needs to kind of pretzel themselves
onto the bike. The little seat is quite
spacious so the rider can move around
quite easily. Hit first and roar out onto
the straight. The bottom end torque on
this 530 odd cc beasty is pretty cool, hit
second, you need very positive input to
change gears, third – and here comes the
corner… hit the brakes…. Hold on… what
brakes? They feel kind of spongy and slow
the bike rather than anything really positive
– your eyes widen as you frantically gear
down to slow further – and lean… she
actually turns pretty well… Flip just made
it… holleee cow that was fun! Check the
seat for bite marks…
Hit the throttle and down the straight
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 7 1
A family of
Kawasaki has a full range of Ninja’s available - from the very sporty,
everyday friendly to the mind-blowing beast that is the ZX10R. They have
also just added a new member to the family - the Ninja 650.
Words: Rob Portman Pics: Zenon
72 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
The Kawasaki Ninja is the
trademarked name of several
series of Kawasaki sport
bikes, that started with the
1984 GPZ900R. It’s now firmly
established in the motorcycle industry
and one of the most loved, respected and
trusted names around.
When you buy a Ninja model you know
you getting the best of sporty, cuttingedge
technology around. The model range
has grown immensely over the years, and
once only catering for the experienced
rider, now features a range for riders of all
levels - from novice to experienced.
For 2017, the Ninja family has had
a new member added, or should I say
updated. The Ninja 650 has been around
since 2006, undergoing minor changes
over the years, and for 2017 has had even
more. We were invited along by Fourways
Motorcycles, the Kawasaki dealer out
in JHB, to test the all-new Ninja 650.
While there we noticed that they also had
a demo Ninja 300, and ZX10R model
available. So, we sneakily grabbed the
keys for all three bikes and took them out
for a spin on the busy surrounding roads.
The Ninja 300
One ride and you’ll understand why the
Kawasaki Ninja 300 is a very popular
learner and commuter motorcycle.
It is a thoroughly refined, agile, forgiving,
smooth, attractive and well-built package
that will not only suit many learners, but
also a wide variety of rider heights and
abilities. Even experienced riders might like
one as a second bike for commuting and
In 2016, the lightweight sports bike got
even better with bold new racy colours,
improved instrument visibility at night, a
slipper clutch ad ABS standard.
If you love aggressive and angular
styling, you’ll love the Ninja 300 with its
“Transformers” design. Very clever of
Kawasaki to give it similar graphics to the
ZX10R, so at a glance, it really does look
like a supersport 600.
The build quality is exceptional with
high-quality surfaces, even on the engine
casings, with small and even panel gaps
and top-shelf feel in the controls. Amazing
for such a bargain bike.
While the Ninja 300 may look small, once
you throw your leg over the bike it seems to
fit. It may look like a crotch rocket, but it’s
not. The handlebars are deceptively high
and easy to reach with just a slight lean
forward. The rider’s seat is flat and firm, yet
comfortable. The pillion seat and high pegs
are only suitable for short journeys. In all,
the riding position will suit a wide range of
rider heights and be capable of most tasks,
except long-distance touring.
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 73
The biggest attraction in the top-selling
Ninja 300 is the parallel-twin engine. It’s
the most powerful in its class, but more
importantly it is a mechanical quiet,
smooth, refined, flexible and forgiving
engine and transmission. While the engine
only has 39hp of power at 11,000 revs,
it won’t make you leave brown stains in
your pants, it is enough to use and enjoy.
It spins up freely and revs at 7000 in sixth
gear at 100km/h. Despite the high revs,
it never feels buzzy or over-worked. You
have to rev it and use the gears to get
the best out of it, but the six-speed box
is so positive and lightning quick you will
enjoy the task. You also won’t hit any
angel gears along the way and neutral is
very easy to find. The clutch is also nice
and light, so you won’t get a sore wrist
from all the gear changes. But even if you
aren’t into MotoGP gear changes, the
flexible engine has enough torque (27Nm
at 10,000rpm) to forgive the lazy or
inexperienced rider. Novice riders are also
forgiven for clumsy downshifts with the
slipper clutch preventing dangerous rearwheel
lockups on hasty gear changes.
The throttle is very easy to use, making
it dead easy to perform slow-speed
manoeuvres such as feet-up u-turns.
This is aided by a tight turning circle
thanks to the bars being high enough to
clear the tank and not jam your thumbs.
The smooth throttle also allows you to
easily maintain steady speeds and not be
inadvertently caught out by police radar.
Brakes are very positive with good
initial bite and plenty of feel. The
lightweight two piston Nissin front
callipers and single petal-shaped 290mm
disc supply more than enough stopping
power for the 172kg bike. The lightweight
ABS unit is smooth and reactive.
Handling is agile. There is very little
weight to fling around and the high and
comparatively wide bars for a sports bike
make it easy to flick through traffic or your
favourite section of winding road. Yet it
doesn’t feel nervous on the highway or
get blown around in the turbulence from
trucks and vans. Commuters will enjoy the
upright ring position which allows good
vision and visibility in traffic. However,
while the wing mirrors don’t give much
rear vision, they do provide good blindspot
views and are blur-free
at any engine revs.
The large fairing vents
and a radiator fan do
their best to expel heat
when stuck in summer
traffic. Speaking of heat, it
won’t burn a hole in your
wallet, either, with miserly
fuel economy of about
It’s very easy to keep
everything in check, with
everything from the Economical
Riding Indicator to fuel gauge
featured on the racy multifunction
Priced at R79,995, the Ninja
300 is a versatile package that
will suit many novice and even
74 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
The new Ninja 650
The previous generation Ninja 650 models
have always felt like outcasts to me, never
really fitting in with their more sporty family
members. But the new 2017 model looks
better than ever. The bike’s lines are now
much sharper and more angular, putting
the 650 more in line with the company’s
supersport Ninjas, and the odd looking
exposed shock absorber is gone, having
moved to the centre of the frame and
connected to the swingarm by linkage.
The biggest, and most noticeable change
is the frame, which is now an all-new steel
trellis design that weighs an astounding
8.6 kg less than before. And that’s not the
only component that’s seen a reduction in
weight: the wheels, swingarm, engine and
various other components are lighter than
before, bringing the total weight savings
RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017 75
to 19 kg, which is unheard of in a single
model upgrade. Hardcore racers would be
hard pressed to remove half that amount
for the racetrack.
Steering geometry is more aggressive
and much more sport-bike like, with less
trail (99 vs 110mm) and a steeper rake
angle (24 vs. 25 degrees), while wheelbase
remains at 1,410 mm. Just how sporty
is the new geometry? Those numbers
now almost match the geometry of the
ZX6R (within half a degree and a couple
of millimetres). And the wet weight,
at 192 kg, is identical to the 6R’s wet
weight. The 41 mm conventional fork is
retained, but it has been retuned primarily
to compensate for the weight reduction.
The rear suspension is more progressive
in compliance, mostly due to the newly
I was hoping for a bit more changes
to the motor. While it was good, it always
lacked a bit of bite. The 646 cc parallel
twin’s basic specs, like bore, stroke
and compression ratio are the same
as before, but cylinders no longer have
steel liners, which reduces weight and
brings the cylinders closer together for
a narrower engine. Within a redesigned
cylinder head are new cams with slightly
milder timing, while the throttle bodies
are 2 mm smaller in diameter, at 36 mm.
These changes combine with revised
engine mapping to increase peak torque
by 2Nm to 48.5, while increasing available
torque in the lower rev range. Gearbox
ratios are unchanged, but the clutch is
now mechanically assisted to reduce lever
effort, and incorporates a slipper function.
Even with all those changes I would still
like more out of the motor. Euro-4 emission
restrictions do hold Kawasaki back quite a
bit, so I think once you add a good slip-on
pipe you will get plenty more out of the
motor. This is the first thing I would do.
The riding position has been reshuffled,
and feels slightly more sporty. Seat height
has dropped 15 mm to 790 mm, which is
relatively low for a sport bike, but this does
make the bike more accommodating to lady
rider and guys like Sheridan Morais (sorry
bud, always have to throw your name in
when height is mentioned). The ergonomics
are much more accommodating than any
supersport machine, placing you into a
modest forward lean with a very easy reach
to the handlebar.
The new 650 feels a lot narrower
between the knees and it indeed feels much
lighter, whether at a standstill or at speed —
a 19kg reduction in weight will do that.
The gorgeous dash tells you everything
you could, and would need to know.
Clutch effort is light, the bike launches
with very little throttle, and it accelerates
smoothly, but with a light throbbing vibration
that gives it an almost big-twin feel.
Although the engine isn’t electric smooth,
it is mostly vibration free until about 110
km/h, where some buzzing is felt in the fuel
tank and seat; the handlebar and footpegs
remain buzz-free, as do the mirrors, which
offer a clear, almost unobstructed rear view.
Steering is light and neutral, and the
feedback from the contact-patch inspires
confidence — an especially welcome
handling trait when having to dodge
everyday chaotic Fourways traffic.
You do have to scream the bike a bit to
get the best out of it. The engine feels best
when gassing it from about 5,000 rpm,
and it emits a very satisfying intake howl
when you do so. I do get that ‘I want more’
Handling isn’t a worry, as the 2017
Kawasaki Ninja 650 is stellar. Featuring a
shortish wheelbase, and a fairly aggressive
24 degrees of rake, the Ninja 650 is a
remarkably agile machine. Requiring little
input, most will likely appreciate how
compliant, and forgiving the new Ninja is.
Whether you’re gallivanting around the city,
or headed out into the twistys, the Ninja 650
can handle it with ease.
Braking is progressive and has a
confident braking feel from the basic tripledisc
setup, without suffering the pangs of an
overly aggressive initial bite.
The best part of the new 650 for me has
to be it’s styling. It’s impossible to ignore
the completely redesigned look, drawing
from the Ninja ZX6R and ZX10R. The
bold, aggressive styling, and tightly fitting
bodywork is impressive. On the same note,
the revised swingarm is a fine aesthetic
addition, as well as being functional.
Middleweight bikes play an important
role in motorcycling. These machines help
maintain the sport, and may very be the
way riders enter the fold. In this case, the
Ninja 650 does the difficult task of offering
something for a huge swath of riders.
New riders will find its ease of use
inviting, and experienced will ride the 2017
Kawasaki Ninja 650 to its full potential
with a grin. Kawasaki has improved
upon one of the staple models in terms
of performance, and especially in looks,
without forgetting the core demographic
that this bike supports—the next
generation. Price: R129,995.
76 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
The ZX10R is a animal not to be messed
with, especially one like this, that has some
extra go-fast goodies on. The Fairways
Kawasaki demo bike is kitted out with a
gorgeous, roaring SC Projects pipe, so it
will never not be heard in traffic. It also has
had it’s ECU flashed, which means more
unrestricted power and the added autoblip.
The ZX10R is plenty powerful enough
but with all this takes it to the next level.
Take the Ninja 300, combine it with
the new Ninja 650, and you still won’t
match the power figures of the mighty
ZX10R. 200hp and 113.5Nm of torque are
available at the simple twist of a grip. Thank
goodness for the electronics package,
which features traction and wheelie control,
very much needed on this bike.
The ergonomics of the bike let you
know it’s a flat out racer from the moment
you climb on. The ‘bars are wide and
racey, while vision through the mirrors
is exceptional at low speeds but quickly
deteriorates when the revs rise – you can
tell someone is there, but not who or what.
You don’t feel the vibrations but the mirrors
let you know they are there. Where on the
track the high ‘pegs seem natural during
your shorter ride sessions and cornering,
on the road they are a just a little cramped
after the first hour in the saddle I did feel a
bit sore. As mentioned the ‘bars are wide
and an easy reach, which allows for a
relatively upright and comfortable position.
I noticed a little strain on my wrists on
longer rides but a good three-hour loop
with a single quick stop for petrol left me
mainly wishing for a softer seat, with no
neck or back strain. The ZX10R for sure
enjoys more open roads asa pose to niggly
town stuff, where It did feel very frustrated.
There is noticeable heat once you’ve
been riding a while, mainly at the ankles,
however this is not unbearable.
The best part of the ZX10R has to be
the engine, and how it delivers the power.
Rolling past bottom end the intake growl
starts and the acceleration really develops
and it’s easy to reach 100km/h in first before
even thinking about second gear, such is
the deceptiveness of the power delivery.
You know you’re moving and that the bike’s
fast but in typical superbike manner this is a
machine you could get into serious trouble
with the law on if you’re not paying close
attention to the speedo! It’s not just that the
bike is fast, all the superbikes these days
are, it’s the fact it’s so hard to tell that you’re
going quite that fast, especially through the
twisties where you can power along at a
very quick pace effortlessly.
Riding below 100km/h you’d be hard
pressed to need anything more than third
gear, with quite tall gearing, which is a bit
frustrating when setting off in 1st gear, but
offers good pull from 3rd gear onwards
almost anywhere in the rev range from
5000rpm. Above 6000rpm you get swift
acceleration. There’s no hint of lugging
the engine once revving either, even a few
times when I was a couple of gears higher
than was really necessary and just
cruising along. It doesn’t have the
bottom end of the other superbike
class machines but it makes up
for it up top and means it is a nicer
ride at legal speeds. Power above
10,000rpm is staggering, however,
on the road unless I was going to
try running around in first gear there
just wasn’t the opportunity to really
test this part of the rev range much
without entering bike confiscation
and straight to jail territory.
The ZX10R is exceptionally
nimble and while handling isn’t
what I would call telepathic – with
the bike going where you want
almost before you think about
it – incredibly sharp and very
controllable, a huge improvement
on the previous model. Your input
and concentration is necessary
but the ZX10R rewards that with
some breathtaking cornering, with
a sense of stability that I can’t recall
having experienced before to such
an extent. This is no doubt thanks
to revised chassis geometry, the
longer swingarm and revised weight
balance and centre of gravity, not to
mention lighter crankshaft, which make the
new generation of ZX10R a much more
The Brembo brake package, with M50
calipers and matching master-cylinder
providing good modulation and stopping
power but without a heap of initial bite.
At 206kg wet weight fully fuelled the
ZX10R carries the weight well, from
pushing it around the garage, through
to riding at both low and higher speeds,
where changes of direction or changing
your line mid-corner are effortless,
requiring only small inputs. The Ohlins
electronic steering damper also ensures
it stays inline when hard on the gas,
particularly at the track and is mounted
atop the triple clamp, fully visible, as a
great piece of bling.
The fact I could as happily ride the bike
through the usual horrendous JHB traffic
as I could go for a fang through the local
twistys is also a huge selling point.
Not only is the engine a belter, with
a nice controllable bottom end, that
develops into a blistering mid-range (and
top end, if you can find somewhere to
appreciate it – like the track), but the
handling is just sublime. This machine
and its electronics gave me absolute
confidence every second I was riding it.
Definitely organise a test ride if you’re
even the slightest bit interested.
78 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
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lives in South Africa
If you attended the recent Day of Champions at Zwartkops, you might have seen and heard a
500cc Grand Prix bike out on track. Yes, your eyes and ears were not playing tricks on you, it
was an actual Kenny Roberts Proton 500. Words: Dave Petersen Pics: Paul Blackburn & Dave Petersen
It all began with an early telephone
call from good friend and competitor
Rory Nesbitt. He was enquiring
whether Kenny Roberts would be
prepared to sell one of his Proton KR3
500cc Grand Prix bikes.
Rory had been trying to obtain a
factory spec Grand Prix bike from the
golden era of GP racing. Some might
say that we are now immersed in the
golden era with the immense rivalry
we are witnessing between Rossi,
Marquez, Vinales et al.
Older MotoGP enthusiasts dispute
this vehemently. They are of the
opinion that the era of the factory
500cc 2-stroke bikes provided the
best racing moments in history. The
smell of scorched Castrol 747 oil
combined with real racing fuel and
the high pitched whine of highly tuned
2-smokers was an experience that
new fans cannot comprehend.
The problem with that era of racing
was stagnation of technological
80 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
development. All of the competing
factories had settled on a proven
formula of V-Four motors fed by
carburators and reed valves directly
into the crankcase. These engines
produced close to 200 ponies. More
than sufficient to test the best Michelin
and Bridgestone tyres to the limit.
Three times 500cc world champion
Kenny Roberts had secured Marlboro
cigarette money for a number of years.
This enabled him to manage and own
the official Yamaha race team. His
riders were highly paid and well looked
after. They were winning races and all
seemed well in their isolated world of
grand prix racing.
Kenny Roberts by nature, was
always looking to move ahead of the
opposition. He had been instrumental
in obtaining better conditions for
grand prix competitors and saw a
much larger landscape for his beloved
sport. The technical stagnation was of
concern to him.
The first mould of the KR3
Modenas KR3 gen-one motor with hand made carbs
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His team of technicians were known
as the brain’s trust in the paddock.
Antipodeans Mike Sinclair and Warren
Willing constantly urged Kenny to try
and sway the Yamaha factory away
from their existing technology. The other
conundrum facing Kenny was that as
long as his star rider Wayne Rainey
continued winning races on the YZR500
the Yamaha factory would not invest any
more cash in development.
Wayne was riding the Marlboro Yamaha
well beyond the limit and it was only a
matter of time before it all ended in tears.
Wayne’s career ending accident at Misano
in Italy was a tipping point for Kenny.
Yamaha had finally pushed him over the
edge and the embryo of plans he had to
build his own machine was fertilized and
ready for harvest.
Kenny and the brain’s trust began
making enquiries within the Formula
One world about engine and chassis
manufacture. His team had the nickname
of “The Evil Empire” and when he
announced to the world that he was going
to build his own machine there were many
in the paddock who looked forward to the
demise of the “Evil Empire.”
Nobody believed that a home made
bike could take on the might of the land
of the rising son. When Kenny announced
that the engine would be a THREE cylinder
unit they thought he had lost his marbles.
The reasoning was that a V-Three
would produce equivalent power to the
V-Four’s. Grand Prix regulations also
allowed for less mass on two and three
cylinder bikes. Team Roberts set about
building a 500cc machine with similar
dimensions and weight to a 250cc
machine. The first generation Modenas
KR3 was built with the aid of Tom
Walkinshaw racing based in England and
weighed in at 120 Kgs. Power output was
The bike was reasonably fast. The
main problem was engine vibration and
after a lack luster season with French rider
Jean Michel Bayle accompanied by Brit
Jamie Witham, the brains trust decided to
re-design the engine layout utilizing two
upper cylinders and one lower in the vee
fibre body parts lies
an angry engine that
190ps at twelve
82 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
The new model was much smoother to ride and the team
were the first to experiment with electronic rider aids as well
as D2 telemetry. The name was also changed to Proton
courtesy of the Malaysian manufacturer.
The Proton KR3 came of age in the year 2000 but rule
changes allowed 990cc four stroke prototypes to compete
alongside the 500cc two strokes. The writing was on the
wall for Kenny and it would not be long before his team had
to follow suit with a four stroke bike.
One could say that the KR3 simply missed the boat and
was a year or two late in development. Also, Kenny could
not entice any of the leading riders to ride his machine.
Hence the lack of results. The highlight for the Proton KR3
would have to be Jeremy McWilliams’ pole position at Phillip
Island against the four stroke opposition.
Back to the future and Rory’s enquiries via Robbie
Petersen saw the purchase of not one but three KR’s. They
now reside in Durban and Rory has painstakingly rebuilt the
machine that Nobby Aoki raced in the grand prix.
As nominated test rider I was a bit nervous in throwing
my leg over the saddle of this diminutive machine. When a
bike has not run for fifteen years you do tend to take it very
easy in those first exploratory laps.
Unfortunately we did not have the correct connection
for the engine management programme. We simply had to
go with the settings as per the bike’s last race at Brno in
Czechoslovakia. As turns out the settings are perfect.
The KR was displayed at the recent Day of Champions
event held at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria. As
I clambered aboard for a few laps around the tight and
twisty circuit bystanders were simply enthralled with this
unbelievably rare machine.
The exhaust note is flat to say the least. It almost sounds
like a Vespa scooter. This due to the big bang firing order
of the three cylinder power unit. Do not be fooled by the
noise. Beneath those gorgeous carbon fibre body parts
lies an angry engine that produces almost 190ps at twelve
This combined with an all up weight of 120Kgs equates
to a rocket ship of a bike. I honestly believe a current
national rider would dip well under the lap record at
Zwartkops on the KR3. That is if he could come to terms
with the immensely powerful carbon disc brakes and the
very different 2-Stroke power delivery.
I did ask Rory what it was like to work on and he
exclaimed that it was a jewel. Almost like a Swiss watch.
Every single component is manufactured with one thing
in mind and that is to go around a race track as fast as
possible. Team Roberts were extremely mindful of simple
maintainence to the point that no hand tools are required to
remove the bodywork, radiator or fuel tank.
The internal gearbox ratios can be removed and altered
in a matter of minutes. The suspension is limitless in
adjustment as is steering rake and trail. It is simply gorgeous.
I had to share the track with the Historic Motorcycle
Group and a big thank you to them. I do hope taht I did
not interfere with any of their personal on track battles
but heating the fabulous Bridgestone slicks as well as the
carbon brake discs does require some aggressive riding.
The KR easily lofts the front wheel in third gear at close to
170KPH. What a thrill to do so. Hell I even felt like my hero
Kenny Roberts for a few moments out there.
This is by far the best motorcycle I have ever ridden and
what an honour bestowed on me by owner Rory Nesbitt.
was so fast on
the Proton KR3
What’s sexier? Sorry girls, this time all eyes are on the bike...
Owner Rory Nesbitt (left) with his KR3 at the Zwartkops Day of Champions.
84 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2017
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