Dirt and Trail August 2017 issue

RobRidefast

Dirt and Trail August 2017 issue

Ride More Stress Less

www.dirtandtrailmag.com

AUGUST 2017

AUGUST 2017 RSA R29.50

17008

9 771815 337001

First Ride

YAMAHA

YZ125

CAN AM

MAVERICK

X3

• 2018 Sherco’s

• Botswana Desert Race

• Rover National Enduro

• Tri Nations & KTM 450

• Roof Honda 350 twin

• Choosing the right rubber

& loads, loads more!

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P

J O S H H A N S E N

PHOTO: MILAN

ARMOR FOR THE PURIST. OUR ALL NEW 3LACK LABEL LINE WAS COMPLETELY REDESIGNED FROM THE GROUND

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Our goal is not to just make great product, but to make product that

serves the greater purpose of keeping the riding experience pure. We

all throw our leg over a bike for the same reason, in search of the

experiences where we forget about everything but the moment. PURE

refers not only to this but our syndicate as well. Individuals like us that

keep it pure and simple and above all stay true to themselves and to

living life on two wheels, whatever it takes. Pure Moto. Pure Shift.


EDITOR: ROLEY FOLEY

A motorcyclist knocks on the door of a

house at 3.30 in the morning and asks for

a push.

The house owner is well angry and tells

him to clear off and slams the

door.

When he goes back to bed

and tells his wife she says

he’s miserable old bugger

and should have helped the

guy because they broke down

once and asked the same

thing to another homeowner,

who indeed helped them out.

So he gets out of bed, goes

back downstairs and opens the

door and shouts out,’Hey, do

you still want a push?’

And he hears a drunken voice cry out,

‘Yes please, I’m over here on the swing.’

Ride safe out there - see you on the trails!

CONTENTS: AUGUST 2017

THE TEAM:

EDITOR:

Glenn Foley

foleyg@mweb.co.za

DESIGN:

Rob Portman

rob@ridefast.co.za

ADVERTISING:

Sinead Foley

foleyg@mweb.co.za

Kyle Lawrenson

lawrensonk@mweb.co.za

ACCOUNTS &

SUBSCRIPTIONS:

Anette

anette.acc@mweb.co.za

Office no (011) 979-5035

(011) 979-0053

CONTRIBUTORS:

Kurt Beine

Grant Foley

Richard Sutherland

Zygmund Brodalka

Garth Roberts

Byron Rudman

Sean Hendley

Tristan Foley

Paddy Moore

Elza Thiart Botes

22: COVER STORY: YAMAHA YZ125X

30: FEATURE: FIRST ROOF BIKE

34: TESTED: CAN AM MAVERICK X3

42: READERS RIDE: FAR EAST TRAVELS

TO SUBSCRIBE

CALL 011 979 5035 OR EMAIL

anette.acc@mweb.co.za

Digital or hard copy.

56: FIRST LOOK: 2018 SHERCO’S

70: FEATURE: KTM 450 ON TRI NATIONS

4 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Piston and Gasket Sets

Cranks, Conrods and Camshafts

Cylinder Kits, Rebores, Main Bearings and Clutch Plates

VALVES,STEM SEALS AND SPRINGS

Email:G124@mweb.co.za

no 4 Fifth avenue

Northmead

Benoni

011 425 1081/4


ought to you by

GS Traders News

We came across this cool store in Centurion – GS

Traders trades in – well – GS’s . They have a great

variety of bikes on the floor – so if you are looking for

clean used – or selling yours – give them a call.

2 Maple tree crescent Centurion.

082 892-4203 Peet.

New Polisport kits and

protectors now in SA

Bike Product Services are the official importers

of the Polisport brand in SA, and they have just

un-packed a new shipment of re-styling kits for

the Yamaha YZ125 and 250, including new lumo

yellow, as well as a full range of engine and clutch

covers for all makes and models.

What’s even cooler is the new range of Neon yellow

kits for 2017 KTM and Husqvarna models.

Dealer enquires Welcome - Contact Ryan Wilkins

011 918 4911/1046 / Cell :079 034 6565.

Email: info@bikeproducts.co.za

On that note…

During a press ride for the new BMW G 310 R in

the States last month, they stopped for lunch at a

seaside restaurant near Malibu and BMW had the R’s

sibling, the G 310 GS, parked in the dining area. The

G 310 R is an important model for BMW worldwide,

without question. But just as the R 1200 GS is the

company’s best selling model, will the G 310 GS to

be the best seller in the new G line of smaller BMWs

and maybe the best selling BMW of all?

Of course everyone went over to check out the little

GS. For those who didn’t make it to the EICMA

show in Italy, this was a first chance to leave greasy

fingerprints on the mini-GS.

Comments were almost universally positive. While the

G 310 R has a family resemblance to the S 1000 R,

the G 310 GS looks even more like a scale model of

the R 1200 GS…

Should be fun!

distributed by

6 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


ought to you by

Husqvarna puts Vitpilen

401 and Svartpilen 401

concepts into production

It’s often hard to get excited about concept bikes

because by the time they actually reach fruition

they are watered down shells of the original design.

Husqvarna has introduced production versions of the

Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401, which look nearly

identical to the concept bikes shown at EICMA two

years ago. The Witpillen was at the recent bike show

at Kyalami.

The Svartpilen (or Black Arrow) and Vitpilen (or White

Arrow) are what Husky is referring to as their “Real

Street” line of motorcycles. In an effort to separate

themselves from traditional naming conventions such

as “café racer” or “scrambler,” Husqvarna is opting to

let the bikes speak for themselves. Bravo, Husky.

Both bikes share the same four-valve, liquid-cooled,

375 cc DOHC single pumping out 44 horsepower

at 9,000 rpm and 27 foot-pounds of torque at 7,000

rpm. Fuel is delivered via a 46 mm throttle body

controlled by a ride-by-wire throttle. Power hits the

pavement by way of a six-speed gearbox aided by a

slipper clutch.

Cool stuff this – you can read all about them in our

sister publication RideFast Magazine when they arrive.

Unruly Behaviour

What if you did a radical motorcycle jump, made a

really well done video about it and posted it on social

media, but along with the fame and followers you

also got arrested?

Some people are demanding that’s what should

happen to USA’s Kyle Katsandris while others are

defending him after he posted a video on Instagram

of jumping his motocross bike over Highway 60

near Moreno Valley, California. Morning traffic flows

underneath as he flies gracefully across the four-lane

road.

Local TV stations reported that they were told by law

enforcement that the incident is being investigated.

The incident brings to mind a video made by a

former motocross racer turned real estate agent in

California who depicted his commute to work with

stunts on the road, drawing

some unwanted attention

from police.

With nearly 24,000 followers

on Instagram, Katsandris had

plenty of people to come to

his defense, saying the stunt

wasn’t really that difficult or

dangerous.

Our opinion – flippen

spectacular! Would love to see what the coppers

would do if someone pulled it off here…

Meanwhile in Russia…

We have no answers, only questions. But it

happened on a motorcycle, and you know at Dirt

And Trail mag we always try to wow you with hardhitting

journalism.

But seriously,

it’s a bear in a

sidecar…. Check

out our facebook

page to watch

the vid. www.

facebook.com/

dirtandtrail

distributed by

8 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com

BUILT TO GO

AS FAR AS

DARE TO TA

BUILT TO GO

AS FAR AS YOU

DARE TO TAKE

THE 2016 2-STROKE ENDURO MODEL RANGE.

THE 2016 2-STROKE ENDURO MODEL RANGE.

The joy of the ride is often in finding routes that nobody else has used – reaching

destinations that few others would dare to aim for. The 2016 Husqvarna Motorcycles

The joy of the ride is often in finding routes that nobody else has used – rea

2-stroke enduro bikes rely on exceptional agility, a broad powerband and light

weight –

destinations

letting you easily

that

explore

few others

wherever

would

you

dare

choose

to

to

aim

go.

for. The 2016 Husqvarna Mo

2-stroke enduro bikes rely on exceptional agility, a broad powerband and l

weight – letting you easily explore wherever you choose to go.

Please make no attempt Please to make imitate no the attempt illustrated to imitate riding the scenes, illustrated always riding wear scenes, protective always clothing wear and protective observe clothing the applicable and observe provisions the applicable of the road provisions traffic regulations! of the road traffic regulations!

Photo: H. Mitterbauer The illustrated vehicles The may illustrated vary in vehicles selected may details vary from in selected the production details from models the and production some illustrations models and feature some illustrations optional equipment feature optional available equipment at additional available cost. at additional cost.

Photo: H. Mitterbauer

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2017/01/20 8:53 PM


ought to you by

Golden tyre back in SA

The Italian brand, GoldenTyre is gaining more and

more ground not only in the Extreme Enduro scene

but also in Moto X, Rallyraid and X Country.

Goldentyre riders recently took five of the top eight

positions at Erzberg 2017.

The 2016 Dakar and 2017 Sardinian Rallies were

both won on Goldentyres.

These tyres are now back in in South Africa.

Goldentyre SA started supplying these tyres to the

local market in May this year with excellent feedback

from riders across the country.

“We have stock of the world famous GT216AA Fatty

front and GT216X Gummy rear tyres that Jarvis and

Gomez swear by”, says the local importer based in

Durban.

Contact your local tyre distributor or visit www.

goldentyre.co.za to get yours.

e mail: sales@goldentyre.co.za for more information.

Trade enquiries are welcome!

New Africa Twin Rally

created?

An Italian-built Africa Twin Rally special-edition

caused a stir last week when a corporate video

seemed to show Honda’s new version of the popular

adventure bike.

The truth is slightly more convoluted. The Rally

offerings seen in a new Spidi promotional video –

and another by an Italian magazine which tested the

bike in both manual and DCT forms – was built by

Red Moto, Honda’s official importer in Italy, aiming

to capture a slice of Dakar-cool for the mid-market

adventurer. The expensive, numbered limitededitions

wear high-end parts, modified bodywork, a

one-piece seat, and borrows heavily at the front-end

from the firm’s 450 Dakar

replica. It’s a thorough job,

and if you think Honda

aren’t in on the ruse, then

think again.

“The Africa Twin Rally has

been created in partnership

with Honda’s Italian off-road

distributor (Red Moto) for

sale in Italy only in limited

numbers.” The key phrase

here is “in partnership”,

suggesting a level of

collaboration unlikely to

have existed unless Honda

were interested in the

results, and public interest,

of the transformation.

New Adventure model later this year?

More interesting still, is that our Honda sources

suggest that we will see a new ‘Adventure’ model

launched at this year’s Milan show in November.

While it won’t be as radical as the Rally version built

by Red Moto, we do expect it to have more rallyfocused

suspension spec, a larger fuel tank, and

a Touratech aluminium pannier system, as well as

styling tweaks. With the model deep into its second

year on the market, Honda need to reinvigorate

sales, and the addition of a new model in the line-up

will do that. Our source also suggests that there

could be another version in the pipeline – resulting in

a three-bike Africa Twin family, all sharing the same

1000cc parallel-twin engine.

Looking very forward…

distributed by

10 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


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ought to you by

A Great read: the first

British lady to ride

solo around the world

An epic adventure re-told by the first British woman

to travel the world on a motorbike

In 1982 a young lady decided to take herself – and

her 1974 BMW R60/6 – on a 35,000-mile journey

that would change her life forever.

Sitting in Heathrow Airport about to board a flight to

JFK, 23-year-old Elspeth Beard, emotions flying high

and tears streaming down her face, was wondering

if leaving her family and friends behind in London

was such a good idea after all. But the plan was

simple: spend two years travelling the world on her

Beemer.

Unbeknown to her, she was about to make history

as the first British woman to travel the world by

motorcycle.

How she got there:

Falling in love with motorbikes when she was just 16

and growing-up in a world where a woman riding a

big bike was laughed at, Elspeth followed her heart

and bought her first set of two-wheels.

Going on to study at Chelsea College of Arts, she

then met Alex — a fellow biker. After two years

together, Alex ended the relationship with just a letter

on the kitchen table.

Heartbroken, and not achieving the desired grades

on her architecture course, she decided she needed

a break. After working seven days a week she’d

saved £2500 in one summer, and in the October of

1982 she shipped her beloved R60/6 to New York.

She followed it across the pond, and immediately

pointed north for Canada, before looping back

south to Mexico and back north into Los Angeles.

Without the internet or mobile phones, she was

living her world day-by-day – not always sure of

where she would sleep or eat next. This was a

proper adventure.

The first bump in the road.

Her journey then took her from LA to Sydney,

Australia. She met lots of people along the way,

but on one occasion she was travelling with two

others riding in the Outback, when her front wheel

disappeared into a pothole, cartwheeling her and

bike through the air.

“All I remember is waking up in hospital feeling

confused and frightened,” she says.

This wasn’t the end…

It would take more than that to deter her though,

and she carried on to Perth, before shipping her

bike to Singapore, clocking miles through Bali,

Java, Sumatra, Malaysia and Thailand.

Riding for her passion, for survival, for selfdiscovery,

for the love of an adventure – she battled

through India to Pakistan and on to Iran, then Turkey,

and back into mainland Europe. She finally arrived

home in November 1984.

With a new-found confidence and inner strength,

she went on to finish her architecture degree.

Now, 35 years later at the age of 58, Elspeth is an

award-winning architect, lives in a converted water

tower and spends a lot of her time riding around

on her collection of bikes, including the R60/6 that

changed her life.

She reveals that a film company approached her

in 2014 to tell her story – but she wanted to tell it

herself. “For me the trip was truly life-changing and

I always wanted to write a book about it, but I never

put pen to paper,” she explains. “I wanted to tell it

myself, and started writing.”

And we’re so glad she did. Lone Rider: The First

British Woman to Motorcycle Around the World is

out now.

You can order it now on Amazon.

distributed by

12 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


ought to you by

Husqvarna 701’s

around the world

We bumped into these two on our travels, Belgian

couple Tom De Mits and Caroline Van Damme are on

a 5 year trip - all around the world. With a bit of luck,

they will send us a feature on their passage through

Africa for next months issue. They leave JHB for

Swaziland and the Cape as we type... have a great

trip guys!

In the meantime you can see what they are up to at

www.motormorgana.com

KTM’s Adventure rally

Its KTM’s Turn Boys and Girls. Go Have a look..

“As some of you may have seen we are hosting our

first annual Adventure bike Rally at the 31 August to

the 3 September.

We are once again going big on this event, with

three great routes to choose from daily, all meals

and confirmation of the band Ballyhoo.

There will be skills challenges and awesome prizes

up for grabs”

Chat to your dealer for details.

Alarm disc lock for your scoot

Need to add some more security to your motorbike,

bicycle, scooter or quad?

This is a cool mergafter - it locks onto your bikes disc

brake and the moment anyone moves the bike the

alarm shrieks...

Brake disc locks with alarm and handle bar brake

locks available.

Gas Junky: 082-889-4767

Fire it Up! hands over valuable safety

gear and clothing to the needy

The Fire It Up! operation delivered on its support

of protective gear to the “No Livery No Delivery”

program for unprotected delivery riders. A Shark

Helmet promotion which was created around giving

customers a new helmet with every bike sold and

asking them to donate their old one and any old

gear to the program turned out to be an absolute

success and well supported.

“We received a large amount of gear from this

campaign, our customers came out and donated

to the cause and were a crucial part of the

campaign and donated with open hearts to get

delivery riders protected, we will keep this program

going and ask all motorcyclists to carry on donating

their old and unused riding gear to our campaign.

During Winter, it’s even tougher for these delivery

riders,” said Craig Langton

Hundreds of motorcycle riders are injured every

month some fatally so any protective gear will be

well received such as helmets, gloves, jackets,

leathers, boots etc.

Caption Left to right: Mike Lacey of Sons of

Jo’burg, Craig Langton and Andre also from Sons

of Jo’burg.

For more information call Fire It Up!

011 4670737

distributed by

14 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Photo: R. Schedl

www.kiska.com

BIG

SAVING NOW!

ON SELECTED 2017 MX AND ENDURO MODELS

Recive R 10,000.00 off the retail price and KTM Powerparts worth R 10,000.00 when

purchasing a 2017 250 SX-F, 350 SX-F or 450 SX-F.

Purchase your 2017 250 XC-W, 300 XC-W, 250 XC-F, 250 EXC-F, 250 EXC-F Six Days,

350 EXC-F, 450 EXC-F and 500 EXC-F and recive R 5,000.00 off the retail price and

R 10,000.00 worth of KTM Powerparts.

Offer valid while stocks last, T’s and C’s apply. Phone 011 462 7796 for your nearest KTM

dealer.


ought to you by

New Metalize Adventure gear arrives

METALIZE BOOTS

• Heavy-duty moulded soles

• Great tread on the bottom of the boots

• Fantastic fit and all-round comfort

• Alloy buckle and Velcro closure for a secure fit

• Waterproof and breathable

• Lightweight

• 12 month factory warranty

METALIZE GLOVES

• TPU Carbon fibre floating knuckle protector

• Leather and textile construction

• Breathable

• Wrist strap

• Padding at crucial areas

• Light weight

• 12 month factory warranty

METALIZE 422 All WEATHER ADVENTURE JACKET

• CE removable soft body armour

• Extreme venting features for hot weather

• Removable thermal winter liner

• Removable, breathable waterproof liner

• Adjustable waist belt for form fit

• Large rear pocket

• Large number of pockets, some waterproof

• 3M reflective strips and writing for night riding visibility

• 12 month factory warranty

16 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017

METALIZE ALL WEATHER

ADVENTURE PANTS

• CE removable soft armour

• Front venting panels

• Removable thermal winter liner

• Removable, breathable waterproof liner

• Adjustable waist belt for form fit

• Large waterproof pockets

• Large side pockets

• Expandable bottom legs to

accommodate MX Boots

• 12 month factory warranty

Available at dealers.

distributed by


FIRST ASCENT TENTS AND

ACCESSORIES


ADVERTORIAL

THE RUBBERY STUFF:

STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TYRE CHOICES

Brought to you by: WFO BIKES AND RACING:

www.wfobikes.co.za

info@wfobikes.co.za / 041 822 3344

How to prevent

punctures and

- well finish the

race.

Mousse VS Tire Balls VS Heavy

Tubes VS Tubliss.

So, a close second to doing the

walk of shame to get petrol is

puncturing a tube and getting a

flat. It will ruin your race. Here are

a couple of options for your

consideration.

Mousses:

Although you might think they have been

around for longer, mousses have only been

around since 1984. They were originally developed

for use on motorcycle endurance races

such as the Paris Dakar, the Bib Mousse as

it was known was constructed from a ring of

butyl honeycomb foam, the holes in which were

filled with nitrogen. Although harder to fit, the

mousses gave a ride that was all but identical

to that of inner tubes, but crucially without the

possibility of punctures on these punishing and

long races. Mousses are solid foam inserts that

go in your tyre and prevent flats. They can be a

little difficult to put in if you aren’t used to them,

and require a bit of technique, some brute force

and a dash or two of lubricant or grease to get

them seated in the tyre properly.

Mousses are rider, tyre and motorcycle suspension

setup sensitive. European GP riders love

the soft feel of mousse tubes and often race

with them in both the front and rear tires. GP

riders have developed a taste for the distinct

handling sensation of the mousse tubes and

use them on all types of courses. Once a rider

adapts to a mousse-equipped bike, he will

have trouble adjusting to the feel of standard

pneumatic tubes. In SA with the current hard

enduro craze, mousses are firmly on the shopping

list.

A range of companies now make mousses and

you can find different densities of foam that

equate to different pressures.

To be absolutely frank, we hear mixed reports

about Mousses, some last lots of races, others

seem to collapse. We don’t have an opinion

on specific brands, but we always say that it’s

better to look at a reputable brand for a high

cost product of this nature. Most enduro racers

are using mousses, it seems to be the surest

way to get to the end without flats.

For most uses, choose the mousse that corresponds

to your tyre size. Different size mousses

can however be used for specific purposes:

extreme enduro riders looking for ultimate grip

may run a 120 mousse in a 140 tyre to maximise

the tyre footprint; riders doing very fast

events or riding heavier/more powerful bikes

may run a bigger mousse than is designed for

the tyre making it firmer, preventing rim damage

or the tyre coming off the rim during hard

cornering.

Tire balls:

We’ve seen this system come and go locally

over the years…

Invented by racer Wade Summers back in

2003, the Tire Ball system uses multiple chambers

within the tyre, all of which can have the

pressure altered with a valve like that on a football,

meaning that the overall pressure in the

tyre can be varied. Pump them all to 8 psi and

the overall tyre is thus at equivalent to 8 psi.

Although the technology is sound, Tire Balls

have not been the game changing success that

Summers might have hoped.

They are widely used on military applications

and in off-road quads and utility vehicles, but

as regards motorcycles – you’d be hard pushed

to find many people using them compared to

the vastly more popular mousses.

Tubes:

The most economical option to help prevent

flats is extra heavy tubes; they work just like a

regular tube but are constructed of a thicker

rubber. We cut our old tubes and use them

Drilling the mousse to make it softer

Tire Balls


as a liner to help prevent punctures – but

something as simple as a De Wildt Acacia

thorn could end your ride. Modern options for

inner tubes include standard, heavy duty (HD)

and ultra heavy duty (UHD) which, as you’d

imagine, increase in thickness which in turn

decreases the possibility of punctures, both

from compression and penetration.

Tubliss:

In a way, this headline is misleading as in reality

the only tubeless system on the market for dirt

bikes does still use a tube, but not in the same

way as a conventional inner tube.

Developed nearly ten years ago by American

firm NUE-Tech, the Tu-Bliss system provides

a way of effectively making conventional tyres

into tubeless tyres. An inner tube, not unlike a bicycle

tube, is inflated to 100 psi inside a circular

rubber u-shaped band. This forms a seal onto

the bead of the tyre, locking the tyre like 360-degree

rim lock, and making a second chamber

between the rim and the tyre that can be inflated

to whatever pressure you want for the best grip.

What is clever about this system is that even if

you have zero pressure in the outer chamber,

the tyre will not shift on the rim. Although it still

can be punctured, that will not end your day.

The ability to use different pressures is the main

reason that you’d choose the Tu-Bliss system

over mousses. The fact that you can take the

air right down for bucketloads of grip on stony

climbs is a popular feature of the Tu-Bliss system,

especially when you are using trials type or

hybrid tyres.

The Tu Bliss system comes in significantly lighter

than a conventional tube and rim lock on a rear

tyre, a lot lighter than a UHD tube. As this is

unsprung weight, this is a major advantage to

handling.

Resistance to punctures. Well – not quite resistance

– but a reduced effect if you do have one,

as the tyre will stay put and can be ridden on flat

without spinning on the rim. Punctures can be

repaired with a plugging kit and minimised with

tyre slime inside.

Tu-Bliss systems do not wear significantly over

time, and all the individual parts are replaceable

if they do fail.

What are you looking for at events like The

Roof Of Africa?

Mousses: They have proved to be the difference

between finishing and pushing home.

There have been several companies over the

years that have created different formulations

of a mousse, however the composition, manufacturing

process and the nature of materials

and additives of the foam can have a huge

impact on performance, durability and quality

of the final product, so not all mousses are

equal.

Extreme enduro Mousse set up:

When selecting a mousse, fitting the matching

size mousse into the correct tyre is very

important. If it’s too big, the tyre will feel too

hard and traction will be reduced. Too small

and the mousse will slip inside - and this

additional friction will reduce the service life

of the mousse. A brand new mousse out the

box is usually around 0.8 – 1.bar depending

on the brand. For extreme enduro you want

the rear mousse to be around 0.3-0.5 bar. This

will require one to “run in” the mousse prior to

the main event. This “run in” varies greatly and

depends on the use and terrain to soften it

to what is called the “sweet spot”. Other variables

such as brand, ambient temperature and

speed can also alter the “run in” period.

Some riders quite simply don’t have the time

“run in” a mousse and need creative ways

to soften the mousse quicker. Some Mousse

manufactures offer soft mousses and this is

the best initial option. Another simple but less

effective solution is fitting a smaller mousse

in a bigger tyre, keeping in mind of what was

said above, this will reduce the life of the

mousse dramatically and is not the best solution

as you still have a dense mousse in the

centre of the tyre. The other method is to drill

out the mousse however at the risk of destroying

your mousse we would suggest letting

someone with experience do the job.

The use of 2 rim locks is also a must as the

additional traction can cause a single rim lock

to slip!

Mousse Lube

WFO BIKES AND RACING:

www.wfobikes.co.za

info@wfobikes.co.za

041 822 3344

MITAS DESIGNED FOR ENDURO, OFF ROAD, TRIALS, STREET, DUAL SPORT


Tyre Choice:

You don’t want a hard compound tyre

while trying to find traction in the Mountain

Kingdom. You also don’t want a tyre that is

so soft that it does not last the race…

You’ve all seen situations where top athletes

lose out because their competitors

have selected a better tyre for a specific

event. Chat to your dealer – most are

exceptionally knowledgeable about compounds

that will work for you. See where

you are racing – a softer compound is

better for Roof type terrain – but you need

a harder compound for events like the

Botswana desert race.

Soft Terrain Dirt Bike Tyres

A dirt bike tyre made for soft terrain riding

is, ironically, manufactured using a hard

compound with a focus on the treading.

Soft terrain like sand, loam, and muddy

conditions requires bite and the traction

and knob spacing on soft terrain tyres differentiates

it from a hard terrain tyre.

The tread pattern on a soft terrain dirt bike

tyre is designed to achieve maximum traction

in soft soil conditions. Wider spaced

knobs help “scoop” the soft terrain and

propel you forward. (For an extreme example,

think of a smaller version of sand or

paddle tyres.) The harder compound built

into a soft terrain tyre prevents the lugs

or knobs from tearing away thanks to the

deeper grooving and more wear and tear.

Intermediate Terrain Dirt Bike Tyres:

The intermediate terrain tyre sits, of

course, between the soft and hard terrain

tyre. For unknown track conditions, most

trail riding, the weekend warrior or the dirt

bike riding enthusiast, intermediate tyres

are the go-to. They work well across the

board but when it comes to racing won’t

give you an edge if others are matching

the best tyre to the terrain.

Hard Terrain Dirt Bike Tyres

Never say never, but it is unlikely you’ll ride

a Motocross track with hard terrain. That

being the case, a hard terrain dirt bike tyre

is mostly for trail riding and probably those

paths that take you out on the dry desert

floor, in the hills or mountains. Think of it

this way, if you can more or less bounce a

ball on the ground you’ve got hard terrain.

Hard terrain dirt bike tyres offer a stiffer

carcass and an extremely durable compound

that can weather the tough ground

that is likely littered with jagged rocks,

jutting roots, sharp sticks and even water

holes filled with unseen boulders. A hard

terrain tyre is most common in off-roading

(depending on the ground conditions) and

enduro. But even in the cases of off-road

riding where you might get mud pits and

other sandy areas, you still need to factor

in the shrapnel you’ll ride over that a soft

terrain tyre can’t resist. An intermediate

to hard terrain dirt bike tyre gives you the

traction needed when the ground gets

loose but durable enough to fend off debris

build-up between the lugs.

The tread on a hard terrain tyre is much

closer together and it’s all about traction.

With less natural grip from the ground that

comes with soft terrain you need all the

ground adhesion possible.

In some cases, an all-out hard terrain tyre,

which is made with a softer compound,

tighter tread and sharper lug edges, allows

riders to glide over hard pack without loss

of traction. Check out the difference in

tread pattern. No chance of self-cleaning

in soft and sticky conditions so don’t

bother riding these even on intermediate

terrain.

Your best approach at finding the right tyre

is through trial and error. Like everything

else in dirt bike riding, it all comes down

to rider preference. The faster approach

is to skip the hard terrain tyres if you’re a

Motocross rider and if you’re all enduro,

then try an intermediate to hard terrain

tyre first. Experiment with air pressure and

if you’re still having trouble or not getting

the expected results move to the more

unconventional methods and experiment

with different tyres.

Mitas Ef 07 140/80/18

Double Green

Mitas xt-454 120/100/18

Double Green


What kind of tyres are you looking at for the

Roof Of Africa?

Putting power to the ground.

You can have the best of everything but if

you cannot translate power into mechanical

grip you have nothing and the most powerful

bike with the best suspension in the

world will not take you up the mountain so to

speak... Unfortunately tyres are sometimes

the last thing people get to on their list of

things to do in prep for major event like the

ROA. It generally does make sense to keep

durability and price in mind, but when you

are competing in something like the ROA,

that kind of goes out of the window. You

need the best traction that you can find. After

all the time, sacrifices, training, blood sweat

and tears don’t budget on what can very

easily be the difference between finishing

and not! In an extreme enduro event, grip

is everything and every time you let out your

clutch you want to move forward as pushing,

paddling and fighting the bike eats up an incredible

amount of energy, let your bike and

equipment do most of the work.

Extreme Enduro tyre:

For most hard terrain found on an extreme

enduro course, the tyre with the most

amount of grip is ultimately the Trials tyre.

This tyre is designed to offer the maximum

amount of mechanical grip possible. Just

watching riders like Toni Bou make climbs

which should be impossible look easy and

you will get an idea of the level of grip they

produce. These tyres have their shortcomings

in hard Enduros though as they are not

designed for high speed cornering and they

tend to suffer on off-camber sections and

grass due to the nature of their design. They

are also banned in extreme enduro events

and due to this ban and short comings of

the Trials tyre the “Extreme Enduro tyre” was

born.

Extreme enduro tyres use a similar soft

compound to a Trials tyres in order to create

traction on rocks & slippery surfaces. Most

EE tyres are designed on an “oversized”

base FIM enduro tyre carcass. This design is

more suited to extreme enduro conditions as

opposed to the trial tyre design. The casing

and knobbly design improve traction in loose

terrain as well as high speed cornering and

off cambers. Combining the soft “sticky”

compound with this oversized carcass, the

tyre is able to shape and mould over uneven

rocky surfaces resulting in improved traction.

Guys like Wade Young uses the FIM styled

140/80-18 extreme enduro tyre as these

tyres, with the addition of a soft Mousse

or low pressure create a large foot print

and every mm of rubber on the ground can

produce grip - and grip equals the difference

between moving forward and standing still.

This is not the only option as the other design

coming though is the standard size tyres

(110 or 120/90-18) using the same soft compound

but much larger and taller blocks than

the FIM. These styled Extreme Enduro tyres

seem to produce a bit more gip in the looser

terrain where the FIM style offers more in the

rocky and especially wet rocky conditions.

Front tyres are a little bit different because

the front does not drive the bike. The concept

of front end traction is different, almost

opposite in a sense. As the front wheel

steers the bike it needs to gain traction at

different angles and because the front wheel

is almost directly attached to our arms, a

certain amount of feel is needed. Therefore

the front tyre needs to be a lot firmer than

the rear. You don’t want the tyre “roll” in

corners. If the compound is too soft the front

will have a tendency to “wash out”. If the

tyre is too hard it can have a tendency to

deflect off rocks and make the front feel very

harsh. Again this is going to sap energy and

over work your arms. For Extreme Enduro

the modern trend is going for an “oversized”

front tyre (90/100-21) as this helps with the

overall footprint but even more important is

the tyres ability to absorb impacts with less

deflection and transfer to the rider. Basically

it smooths out the terrain a bit and this in

turn improves rideability and lessens fatigue.

The setup of these tyres is also critical.

Fitting a hard mousse or high pressure will

transfer all the force onto the knobblies, the

tyre will overheat and they will end up tearing

off. Low pressure on the rear tyre is key to

extracting all the performance of an extreme

enduro tyre as they need to flex and mould

over the terrain and put

as much of the rubber on the ground as

possible.

Mitas C-27 90/100-21

Red

Mitas C-19 90/100/21

Yellow

WFO BIKES AND RACING:

www.wfobikes.co.za

info@wfobikes.co.za

041 822 3344

MITAS DESIGNED FOR ENDURO, OFF ROAD, TRIALS, STREET, DUAL SPORT


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22 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


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DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 23


YAMAHA

YZ125X

MX heritage with a bit of enduro engineering chucked in.

This bike has arrived after months of speculation – and we managed to get our paws onto it

for a rip snorting outride on some of our favourite fast flowing trails.

This is – without a doubt a hybrid built

from Yamaha’s uber successful YZ125

motocrosser and that’s a great thing –

because, just like it’s MX cousin it is super

light and exceptionally nimble. Remember

– Yamaha has had great success doing

the same with some of their bigger cc

machines –they seem to have a philosophy

of rather than reinventing the wheel – alter

what is already a success.

So – how did they Enduro the bike?

Yamaha has fitted an 18 inch rear wheel,

dropped the compression a little, changed the

exhaust system and altered the electronics in

order to tone the bike down a little.

Further mods include a new CDI unit with

enduro setting and an optimised YPVS

(exhaust valve) timing to again improve

the flexibility of the engine during the low

RPM range.

Front and rear suspension becomes more

enduro specific with a softer spring.

Other details include a larger 270mm front

disc, an O-ring chain, 50th rear sprocket

and a side stand.

What we do feel is missing perhaps is a

little digital display – the European bikes all

feature them now, but the resultant machine

is a superbly balanced, easy to ride little

dirtbike.

24 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 25


Where we went:

Because Yamaha had not yet fitted all of

the necessary protective goods, they asked

that we did not fling it over the rocks just

yet. We took her out on to some fast twisty

trails, Aimed her at a few groot puddles,

whacked her around our local MX track –

and Yup! – we did find a rock or two.

The biggest issue with riding the usual YZ

off-road is the huge 2-stroke hit – kind of

all or nothing. This makes traversing more

techy stuff quite challenging. The second

issue is the bikes propensity for stalling at

exactly the wrong time… you know what

we mean.

This bike does not stall all over the place

and the power is fairly linear. Sure – it’s

only a 125 so you do need to open up – but

when it gets going it’s really huge fun. We

aimed her at some of the biggest inclines

that we could find – with the revs up, she

climbs beautifully. Fitted with Metzeler

6-Day tyres we had no complaints there.

Fat - or skinny rider she finds traction

everywhere.

In the handling and braking department you

really can feel the MX heritage – the bike is

soft without being soggy, turns on a penny

– flies straight and true – and has such

lekker power characteristics without being

too peaky. Enormously fun and a super

capable little rocket.

Conclusions:

You want to make your teenage kids happy

for – well ever – go and get one. Got a wife

looking at upgrading from her little four

stroke? This bike is just so manageable

and when you wring its ear it goes like the

stink! Light Nimble and just too much fun!

The Yamaha YZ125X. At a Yammie dealer

near you. R70,000.

26 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Toe word ek ‘n W.O.W! – Biker Al

We’ve roped in Afrikaans Singer, actor

and all sorts Altus Theart to bring some

“Afrikaans Kultuur” (As he calls it) to our

magazine. Altus is a South African film,

stage and television actor, best known for

his roles in the South African soap opera

Kruispad, and for his starring role in the

2008 Afrikaans teen comedy Bakgat. Ha

also loves bikes – which is very cool…

This month he went racing for the first

time.

So die ander dag val ek weer in by Trax

KTM in Silver Lakes net om vir ‘n slag

weer vir Riaan en die boys hallo te sê en

sommer die koue af te skud met een van

hulle legit koppies koffie. As ek maar net

geweet het hoe die oggend sou uitdraai,

het ek al LANKAL moeite gedoen om te

gaan hallo sê… Koffie is gemaak, daar is

gesels oor die 1090 en die 1290 se launch,

oor die winkel, vrou en kinders, jy weet,

the usual stuff, catch up. Met die tweede

koppie koffie wat geskink word, draai die

topic na wat voorlê vir die winkel en Riaan

begin toe te praat van hulle racing team en

die race wat die volgende naweek voorlê.

“Wow, dit klink cool!” sê ek. “Snaaks dat

jy sê ‘WOW’ want dit laat my nou dink aan

‘n idee!” sê Riaan en ek kan sien hoe die

sprockets begin draai in sy kop. “Dis dié

naweek ons volgende Club Race en daar

is onder andere ‘n W.O.W.-kategorie wat

ek dink jy sal like!”.

Maar first things first, vir die van julle wat

nie weet wie ek is nie, ek is ‘n akteur -

ek speel tans die rol van “Fafa” in die

Kyknet-sepie ‘Getroud met Rugby’, ek

sing ook en ry bike. Met bike ry bedoel

ek, ek commute elke dag werk toe en

terug met my custom Triumph Scrambler,

doen ‘n breakfast run hier en daar saam

Harley Davidson of Triumph, ek is besig

met my dual-purpose instructor training,

het al ‘n paar keer Quads4Quads gedoen

en ry so elke nou en dan naweke rond op

my 250cc wat ek ook destyds by Riaan

gekoop het. En dit, is DIT! Die somtotaal

van my bike ry-ery! Ek is by no means ‘n

professional nie!

‘WOW’ staan toe al die tyd vir ‘Weekend

Offroad Warrior’, ‘n informele kategorie

by die naweek se race! “So hoe lykit Mnr.

Theart, wat van ons daag jou uit vir jou

eerste , professionele, offroad bike race?”

Ek het nie dadelik iets gesê nie, toe gaan

Riaan aan: “Ek gee vir jou ‘n 350 fourstroke

om mee te ry, dan kom ry jy saam!” Nou

kyk hier né, my ma het vir seker nie bang

kinders grootgemaak nie en voor jy kon sê

“TRAX KTM” is die challenge accepted en

MY sprockets begin te draai!

“Nou vertel my meer van die W.O.W.

kategorie?” vra ek ewe ná ons klaar blad

geskud het om de challenge vas te maak!

Riaan begin toe verduidelik en hoe meer

hy praat hoe meer opgewonde raak ek

en hy gooi toe sommer ‘n derde koffie!

Hoeveel van ons beginner motorfietsryers

het al daaraan gedink om iewers aan ‘n

wedren deel te neem? Hoe sal dit wees?

Sal ek kan cope? Het ek die nodige skills?

Waar kry ek ‘n racing licence? Wat gaan

dit my kos? Hoe? Wat? Waar? En hoeveel

van julle het dit toe al gedoen?! En DIT

is nou waar die WOW! en die W.O.W

inkom en wat dit so awesome maak. Die

W.O.W-kategorie bestaan uit mense soos

ek en jy wat nog altyd net wou voel hoe dit

KOM MAAK N DRAAI,ONS PRAAT OOK ENGELS

28 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


voel om te race, maar sonder enige druk

om te moet presteer! Jy ry op jou eie pas,

volgens jou eie capabilities en die enigste

doel is om net moerse baie pret te hê. Jy

kan vir daai één dag voel hoe dit voel om

in ‘n professional race deel te neem. Al die

klasse ry op dieselfde baan of roete, maar

as een van die pro’s op jou gat kom sit,

laat hom verby kom en toer voort! Om deel

te wees van die W.O.W-kategorie, koop jy

eenvoudig net ‘n ‘valid-for-one-day-only’

racing licence wat húlle vir jou uitsorteer,

betaal ‘n klein registrasiefooi, vul jou vorms

in (mediese inligting, naasbestaandes, en

so aan) EN BOB’S YOUR UNCLE! Net

so is jy KTM se slogan: ‘Ready to Race’

pappie!

Dis die oggend van die race en ek wil uit

my vel uit spring van excitement met ‘n

moerse dosis senuwees daarby! Ná Riaan

en sy hele racing team my eers ordentlik

gas gegee het oor “meneer die akteur”

wat nou sy lyf offroad racer wil hou (alles

in goeie gees, natuurlik!), stel hulle my

darem gerus en sê ek hoef nie te veel te

worry nie, just go out there and HAVE

FUN. Dit laat my bietjie meer gerus voel.

Totdat ek uitvind ons doen ‘n motor-X type

wegspring en ek dink weer “Wow hoe cool

is dit nie! Alles wat ek nog altyd wou doen

in een dag van informele racing!”

Ons spring weg met hande op die helmuts,

30 sekonde na 5 sekonde countdown,

vlag wat sê GO!, skop in rat en al die bikes

gun vir één draai, ‘n 180˚ draai na regs, flat

out in tweede 180˚ draai na links en dan

uit op die roete! My hart wil uit my bors

uit spring en ek kan nie wag om te begin

nie! Ek knyp my 350 fourstroke tussen my

bene vas op die wegspringlyn en vryf haar

sag en fluister “Kom ons speel mooi met

mekaar vandag!” Teen die tyd wat die 5

sekonde bord opkom is alles om my skielik

in slow-motion. Ek kan nie glo ek gaan nou

wegspring in my eerste wedren nie! Die

brul van die bikes om my, ruk my terug na

die realiteit. IT’S RACE TIME! Ek is deur die

eerste twee draaie op twee wiele en regop

en ek’s uit vir my eerste lap wat toe twee

geword het voor die tyd verstreke was! Ek

eindig 18de uit 35!

Vir die race self sal julle dit maar self moet

kom beleef, maar al wat ek vir julle wil sê

is dit: As ék dit kan doen, kan jý dit doen!

Dit was by verre nog die WOW-ste ding

wat ek nog in my lewe gedoen het en vir

so lank al wou doen! En W.O.W het dit vir

my moontlik gemaak. So vir dié van julle

wat nog altyd soos ek daaroor gevoel het,

maar nog nooit geweet het hoe, wat of

waar nie, hiérdie is die geleentheid vir jou!

Ek’s hooked en hoop ek sien julle by die

volgende een! So gaan val in by Trax KTM

vir ‘n heerlike koppie koffie en laat Riaan

jou meer vertel van hoe om ‘n W.O.W te

word! Trust my jy sal nie spyt wees nie!

Laat dit braaaAAAP!!!

Cheers koebaai!

Willow Rock Shopping Centre, Solomon Mahlangu Drive, Equestria,

Pretoria East LANDLINE: 012 111 0190 / 012 809 1670


THE ORIGINAL ROOF

BIKE COMES HOME

The first time that bikes were allowed to

enter The Roof Of Africa was in 1969. In

that year, Barry Broady took the honours

on his Honda 350 twin. He went on

to race bikes all over the place and is

something of a legend in Roof racing

circles.

The bug bit his son Mark, who has

worked in the bike industry and ridden

and raced all over the place. He inherited

his dads bike and a few years ago was

approached by George Booker to buy

the bike with the aim of rebuilding it.

The bike left home – and was stripped

down, but never put back together. Late

last year, George sold the bike back to

Mark.

Mark called us and asked who we could

recommend for the project. The natural

choice was another Mark – from Pro

Dirt bike in Vereeniging, who

built that stunning CR450

featured in last months issue

for the project.

This one is a little bit different

– not a plastic bike in the

true sense of the word – and

nothing like our modern race

machines.

This is a description of the bike

by the original “Super Hunky”

Rick Sieman:

The Honda SL350 was a

bike that defied all odds.

By 1969 the formula of a

street-scrambler didn’t cut it

anymore, so in 1969 Honda

responded with a new design of its beloved

350 twin, the SL350. The production bike

was overweight, over styled and had a

tendency to spit riders off like watermelon

seeds, but the Honda SL350 had one thing

going for it: The motor.

The SL350 started life as a styling exercise

aimed to cash in on the burgeoning dirt

bike craze of the 1970’s. Sharing the

frame and electric start motor of the CB/

CL series, the first SL350 brought out in

1969 was nothing more than a CB350 with

off-road down pipes, and cross braced

handlebars. The CV carbs of the first SL’s

had the bad habit of its slides slamming

shut when a bump was encountered, as

the weak return springs of the constant

velocity Kehins couldn’t compensate for

inertia or gravity. This annoying problem

caused many a hill-climb attempt, or trip

through the whoops to be scrapped as the

rider picked himself up from the dirt, and

asked himself “whatinthehellhappened?”

In 1970 the SL350 got a new double

downtube frame, and the electric start was

scrapped, making the motor unique to

the Sl series. A 19 inch front wheel, and

competition designed lightweight cast

aluminum fenders graced the SL350, and

brought its weight down to a svelte 368

lbs, wet.

The motor was EXACTLY the same as

the CB & Cl models, same camshaft,

same crankshaft, ignition, gearbox, etc.

The only difference was the final drive

gearing, and exhaust systems. The later

30 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


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Prices include VAT and pre-delivery inspection only. Prices exclude licence, registration and any service costs unless specified. Prices are correct at the time of going to print and may

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BBS D&T June '17.indd 1

2017/05/18 1:15 PM


SL’s had standard Kehin 24mm carbs that

eliminated the aforementioned CV’s slide

issues, and with a more restrictive exhaust

system, brought the SL’s power down to 30

horsepower, from the CB’s 36 horsepower at

9000 rpm, and the CL’s 34 at 10,000 rpm.

And what a motor it was. The 350 Honda

twin was anvil reliable, with over 300,000

copies being sold in the USA alone, it was

one of the most popular motorcycles ever

produced. When the SL350 got some

knobbies strapped to it, and decent shocks

bolted on the back, the bike became an

unstoppable woods weapon, as nothing

short of an atomic blast would cease the

rear wheel from spinning. It was also, in my

mind one of the best looking vertical twin

cylinder motors ever produced, right up

there with a Triumph or BSA in the looks

department.

And this was one of the very first motorcycles

to compete in the Roof Of Africa.

A bike like this is really something special –

and we felt that it would be a great project

to follow – a little piece of South African – no

not even, thanks to the Roof association,

global motorcycle history.

Mark has asked that anyone who raced

with Barry and was involved with getting

bikes admitted to race The Roof please get

in touch – and from our side, we’d love to

cover the story.

mark.broady@gmail.com

We will watch the build with interest over

the next few months and bring you the full

feature as we go along. And the completed

bike will be at the Roof of Africa on the 50th

anniversary of motorcycles being allowed to

enter.

32 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


NEW

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46 litre topcase R6,250

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Prices are at recommended retail including VAT at 14%. For your nearest dealer visit www.dmd.co.za or call 011 792 7691

E&OE


Just a couple of years ago, if Can Am launched a new machine, we were phoned, emailed, sent press releases, invited to

ride/drive whatever it was – we even went to launches of all the new stuff. That’s all changed – and now we wait for our,

and their customers to invite us to try them out. This one showed up on a ride we were doing in Wakkerstroom and – we

got to take it for a good blast! Words: Glenn Foley

34 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Can-Am has always been an innovative

company – just have a look at how many

of their quads and side by sides are still

out and about all over. They have always

been at the cutting edge of ATV design

and with their new X3 they appear to

have moved the goal posts once again.

The initial feeling on this one is that

Can-Am has moved away from

their Traditional Side By Side

offerings and are moving

more towards race-car type

machines. The X3 is very

different to the previous

Commando and Maverick,

sharper leaner and meaner…

All three of the Maverick

X3 trims: the X3, X3 X ds,

and X3 X rs, feature Fox

Podium-series shocks with 20 inches of

suspension travel standard. The flagship

X rs features Fox 3.0 Podium RC2 shocks

with 22 inches of front travel and a

massive 24 inches of rear suspension

travel, 15 inches of ground clearance,

and 14-inch aluminum beadlock wheels.

We aren’t exactly sure which models

are available locally – you’ll need to

chat to your dealer.

Now here is something

interesting – and this is a

significant move, Can Am

has fitted a 3 cylinder turbo

charged engine… a definite

break from their traditional

V-Twin offerings. A 154-hp

turbocharged and intercooled

Rotax ACE inline three-

DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 3 5


cylinder engine to be precise. “The QRS-X

continuously variable transmission (CVT)

is tuned to cut turbo lag to near-zero and

enhance throttle response, while the triple

air intakes and high-flow exhaust provide

exceptional airflow and an earth-shaking

growl.”

“The Maverick X3 comes with Maxxis

Bighorn 2.0 tyres-wrapped 14-in wheels

with a trophy truck-inspired four-link

torsional trailing arm-X (TTX) rear

suspension and Fox shocks delivering 20

to 22 in (51 to 56 cm) of travel, depending

upon trim. The double A-arm suspension

up front matches the 20/22-in of rear

travel and aids in the 13 or 14 in (33 or

35.5 cm) of ground clearance. Dynamic

power steering, selectable 2WD/4WD

with auto-locking front differential and

hydraulic disc brakes give the driver

precise control…”

36 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Train to win

Do you know what it

really takes?

Bite the Bullet

Train to ride - Train to win!

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Mandy Thomas: 082 461 1443

CENTURION: centurion@basefit.co.za

Lodewyk JV Vuuren: 072 343 2465

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So there you have all the fancy

Schmancy stuff – what’s it like to drive?

Wow! Wow! Wow!

As expected – and much like most of

the performance Side by’s out there, this

thing is ridiculously fast! Power comes

in strong all the way to the berserk topspeed

of 137 odd KPH. We’d love to race

it against the other top contenders like the

Polaris RZR and even Yamaha’s YXZ…

but whether we can get them all together

or not is another story…

You are firmly held in place in the most

modern cockpit available – bucket seats

and seat belts keep all of your moveable

assets from moving. Although the X3 is

massive, if feels quite low to the ground,

so the sensation of hurtling along is really

enhanced. Handling and braking is top-of

the line – you need this to keep the ponies

under control…

We also took the opportunity to traverse

some really gnarly mountain terrain –

steep hills, liberally interspersed with

rocks and boulders – note – we hate it

when off road machines cause damage –

and fully expected a berserk machine like

this to hurt the earth. But in low range,

4wd with a gentle throttle, we were able

to quietly – well not so much – climb

everything – and not leave a mark on the

mountain. It’s amazingly versatile and

nimble – and we’ll guarantee it will go

where your 4x4 bakkie can’t… the only

real limitation is this things sheer size.

The Side by Side’s are getting bigger and

bigger – better suited to desert racing

than any real gnarly stuff.

So that’s it for now. Impressive in

anyone’s language, these Canadians are

not standing still for anyone. We look

forward to seeing what comes next…

Chat to your local Can-Am dealer…

38 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Polaris XP1000 Turbo

RJ Anderson XP1K4 Back Flip

Ride More Stress Less

www.dirtandtrailmag.com


42 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


So where

exactly is Laos?

Recce riding epic landscapes from Vientiane to Hanoi

I’m in the middle of the jungle and it’s pitch black. Using the torch on my phone I’ve just emptied

most of my camelback to refill one of our radiators and there’s blood pouring from the top of

my head after a leech found it’s way into my crash helmet. Between three bikes we only have

two headlights still working, a broken subframe, no food and we are still around thirty kilometres

from the nearest civilisation and another forty from our planned overnight stop. This is more of an

adventure that I’d ever planned and I’ve only been in Laos for just over 24 hours.

Words and pics by Julian Challis

So I guess I better explain how I came to be

here. I’d ridden a couple of the tours with Ride

Expeditions before, first taking on the Himalayas

on a Royal Enfield – a truly epic trip, and then

making a return to Asia for a ten day dirt bike tour

of Cambodia, which again was a life affirming and

thoroughly incredible experience. So you might think

that might be enough to be going on with, right?

I was thinking the same myself, but then Toby,

the company owner asked if I fancy joining him

on the final recce ride for their upcoming Laos to

Vietnam tour. But this was not going to be the same

experience, as the customers would have – there

was to be no support truck, no leisurely pace, no

riverside barbecues. We would be riding the tour

in half the time that the customers would have,

carrying all our own luggage, tools and supplies and

covering the distance from Vientiane in the South

of Laos to Hanoi in the Centre of Vietnam in just

five days. Recce riding is an important part of the

work of a tour company like Ride Expeditions – you

can’t hope to give your customers an unforgettable

experience unless you’ve checked everything out

beforehand!

DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 43


Bikes in the village

Laos:

A few weeks later, I arrive at Vientiane, Laos capital

city with all my riding kit and casual clothes jammed

into two bags. I’m not good at travelling light, but I’ve

been strict and worked on the assumption that if I wear

everything in the one bag, then the other can travel with

me on the bike. I had to Google ‘Laos’ to even know

where the country was, but I’m pleasantly surprised

as the taxi drops me off outside the guesthouse in one

of the capitals main streets. It’s predictably busy with

swathes of scooters heading in every direction and the

tuc-tucs have a peculiar ‘front-up’ style to them, but the

city is remarkably relaxed and calm. There are ornate

temples, overflowing shops, smiling locals and a higher

than average tally of elephant statues.

I head for a restaurant for a rather delicious plate of

Pad Thai and my first bottle of Laos beer and then go

shopping for some leggings to go under my riding pants

and a pair of flip-flops for evening wear. Toby joins me

later in the day and we head for dinner in a stunning

rooftop bar overlooking the river Mekong. The bar is

well populated with some stunning women, although

some of them do appear to have unfeasibly large hands.

When Toby points out that Thailand is just the other side

of the water, it all becomes a lot clearer …

The next day we’re making an early start, so it’s

down road to collect the bikes from Thongkoon’s

garage. Toby on I are on stock Honda CRF250Ls and

Thongkoon - or Tong - who will be our guide, is riding

his newly acquired and immaculate XR250. With the

bags strapped onto the back racks, it’s straight out of

the city on a trail that follows the river north for around

five miles. The weather is warm, the bikes are on point

and it’s a great start to the day.

After an hour or so we stop fuel and breakfast from a

Achgingly beatiful waterfalls line the roads

All your fancy goods

44 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


TRUE

ADVENTURE.

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A fine selection of unknown drinks

Bean delivery time

Bearing change

Hanoi nightlife

One of the many bridge crossings

restaurant alongside the pumps. I’m not

really sure what I’m eating, but it tastes

good and the ultra-sweet Lao coffee

certainly fires up the synapses. We press

on for a bit more tarmac and then take

a right to start on the off-road trails. And

what trails – mile after mile of wonderful

dirt roads that allow you to get the back

end drifting as you send out the rooster

tail. Slicing through the landscape I’m

amazed at just how beautiful Laos is

– how come nobody knows about this

place?

Soon the landscape takes a dramatic

change, as the flat plains are dotted

with enormous mountains jutting from

the ground like vertical forests, almost

a landlocked version of Halon bay. We

stop for another coffee at a tiny café and

shared drinks with the locals while droves

of immaculately attired school kids pedal

past us on their oversize bikes

A few more miles up the road we turn

off the main track to check out the first

homestay, an idyllic traditional home on

the banks of a tributary of the Mekong

where the host greets while her infant son

looks at us like we are aliens. The family’s

buffalo gives us much the same look

as we head for our first river crossing.

I’ve never crossed a river on six planks

strapped to a pair of canoes, but this

clearly what we are planning. Tong and

Toby casually drive onto the platform

like it’s an everyday parking manoeuvre,

so I follow and try not to think about

overshooting the boats. All loaded, we

motor against the current to the other side

of the vast river, and the worry of loading

Just a standard commute in Vietnam

46 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


The best valley ride in the world


*Finance available over 60 m

is replaced with the horror of driving off

over a six-inch plank with a three-foot

drop to get off the thing …

The rest of the day passes without

incident as we climb into the hills. The

terrain has become vastly more varied

and we are cutting through dense jungle

and through surprisingly deep rivers.

By four in the afternoon we reach the

end of a trail that Toby has been itching

to try. He’s not sure whether it’s going

to be on the tour, but faced with the

tempting prospect of a 60km trail through

a National Park it’s too tempting to resist

even though we know we will be riding in

the dark towards the end. We check with

the locals who say it’s fine which proves

to be less than accurate.

A mere five hours later we eventually

emerge onto the road, totally exhausted.

While the first half of the trail was

great, fallen trees, thick mud and

dense vegetation make the second half

incredibly tough. Toby’s headlight blows,

so he has to ride between us in failing

light, he manages to hole a hose in a fall

and I low side on slick mud just miles

before the tarmac. It’s been an epic day

and after a staggering 475 km, filthy and

exhausted we throw in the towel and find

the nearest guesthouse.

Chopstick worker

Toby by the Mekong trail

In the morning things are more rosy

and although we have to spend a bit of

time getting my bikes sub frame welded

up from the pounding it had received the

day before. Once done we crack on to

the Elephant Conservation Centre where

C

we had originally planned to spend the

M

night. Isolated miles from anywhere on

Y

the banks of a picturesque lake, the

CM

centre is truly idyllic, and we enjoy lunch

MY

with the staff overlooking the water.

CY

The trip would have been better had we

CMY

Stunning K single trails

Dealer enquiries

welcome!

actually seen an elephant or two, but they

were apparently busy elsewhere until

2pm doing elephant stuff.

In the afternoon we pick up another

great trail that tracks the Mekong north,

cutting through villages, plantations and

epic scenery. I’m trying to ‘clean the

section and manage an impressive 20km

feet up through rivers, rock climbs and

muddy tracks. As the trail opens up we

hit the road and we have time to visit the

achingly gorgeous waterfalls at Kuang

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

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NOW: R7,999

48 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


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welcome!

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Si where tourists are swimming in the warm milky water. Back

to the bikes and it’s a short blast to the relative metropolis that is

Luang Prabang for beers in the sunset. After a wash and brush up

we head for the bustling town centre for delicious street food and

crepes in the vast market amid the backpackers and locals.

The following morning we’re up early again as we travel higher

into the mountains, along a fast and rocky road that tests both the

bikes and the riders. The riding is interrupted for an hour or so as

we take a boat across a river to visit the Pak Ou cave shrine and

watch the villagers bathing their elephants.

For lunch we stop just as the rain starts and totally bizarrely

Tong chats to the café’s owner as he chooses ingredients from

the fridge and proceeds to cook us water buffalo with noodles

for lunch. With the rain stopped we take what has to be the best

trail I have ever ridden, snaking high onto a mountain ridge where

the red track sweeps for miles ahead of us, slowed only for the

occasional village over-run with excited and adorable kids waving

at the funny men on the bikes.

After hours of fantastic riding, the road drops back down to the

valley floor and we follow the road to our night-time destination.

Luck runs out for one particular hen as it makes an ill-timed

dash for the other side of the road, Toby’s wheel converting it

into a chicken pancake in seconds. The landscape has changed

to something out of Jurassic Park with enormous tree covered

mountains rising out of the ground on either side, when we arrive

at the luxurious lodge hotel on the banks of the Nam Ou life

couldn’t be better. Oh actually it could – two massive gin and

tonics arrive as we sit in the infinity pool overlooking the river.

Vietnam:

The Laos bikes returned to Vientiane last night, so today we are

taking a five-hour boat ride up the Nam Ou to continue part two of

the journey in Vietnam. It’s a beautifully lazy day at the long boat

chugs it’s way upstream, passing scores of tiny riverside villages

with their pigs and buffalo sitting by the cool water. How long this

will remain is unknown as the Chinese are building dams on the

river, which threaten to destroy this simple life forever.

We reach our destination and after lunch where the waiter uses

a translation app on his I-pad to work out what we want to eat,

our taxi arrives to take us up to the border with Vietnam. After

getting the papers stamped by an officious looking civil servant,

we leave the border post and press on to Bien Diem where we are

to meet out Vietnamese guide and collect fresh bikes. The scenery

is similar to Laos, but there are noticeably fewer cars thanks to the

crippling tax on larger vehicles.

Our hotel this time is in midtown and it’s been an easy day,

so after tea with Duc Phu our guide, I go for a walk through

Just dont look at the structure!

Julian takes to the water

For trucks this big - you move over!

The trails in Laos are simply stunning

Laos tuk-tuk

50 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Tong and Julian pass through the Laos village

Toby is down with the kids

Ornate temples are everywhere

Toby and Julian at Kuang Si falls

DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 51


the streets to take in the scenes of yet

another new country. It’s more developed

than we’ve had and the Honda dealership

is bigger than anything in the UK - albeit

three floors of mostly scooters!

Morning comes and with the bikes

loaded up, it’s straight out for an hour

or so of tar as we press deeper into the

Vietnamese interior. Stopping at a café it’s

particularly noticeable that the population

is appreciably shorter than Westerners

as all the chairs are essentially children’s!

The cafes also offer a sort of bamboo

bong for tobacco – I give it a go and am

nearly sick over my boots at the industrial

strength nicotine.

We climb slowly amid massive

mountains and paddy fields as the

locals are busy harvesting the rice. On

the higher ground, the rice gives way

to bananas and coffee plantations,

but it’s all beautiful. So beautiful that

we take a detour off the main road for

photographs in an idyllic river complete

with conveniently photogenic buffalo and

agricultural workers.

Lunch is at an odd place which looks

somewhere between a tyre warehouse

and a working men’s social club. The

food is good, but the chicken might be

something to test the vegetarians. After a

few more miles, Phu stops to buy some

black garlic for Mrs Phu, one of many of

shopping stops he will make. Soon after

we turn off the tarmac and onto some truly

beautiful trails and back roads along a

stunning valley that has been dammed to

produce and wonderful lake that stretches

for miles alongside the road.

Turning out of this valley into another,

it’s suddenly gone a bit Scottish with

craggy rocks and gnarly trails to negotiate.

The trail winds from side to side across

bogs and over outcrops. Even the stepthroughs

can’t get through some of it and

the ex-army trucks have carved two-foot

deep ruts into the track. When we meet

one coming up a steep hill, we have no

Loading up and Julian has too much kit

Julian wonders why Toby has picked the wet line

Epic single trails

52 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


CRFS - check - mirror pond - check

choice but to drag the bikes round as 20 tons of metal

certainly isn’t going to. When we eventually emerge into

a village the locals are very surprised to see us as few

outsiders ever reach the area.

The evening stop isn’t far away and tonight it’s

a home stay in a vast house in the middle of a tea

plantation. The family sits around a huge flat screen

on intricately carved and enormous wood furniture – a

status symbol all through this region. After a fair few

beers and a great meal it’s off to bed under mosquito

nets in the top floor of the home.

If the scenery the day before has been a solid ten,

the next day brings the full Spinal Tap 11. Phu takes

off on possibly the best single track we’ve ridden so

far, snaking through the agricultural land out of the

valley. Smiling Vietnamese people wave at us, small

children giggle and stare and the steady stream of

Honda clunks continue, however steep and tricky the

trails. We cross rope bridges, past cascading waterfalls

and deep jungle. At lunchtime we drop down into a

homestay village, packed with tourists from all over the

world and dine with a German family. In the afternoon

we continue through the paddy fields, stopping off at

an incredible roadside workshop turning bamboo into

chopsticks in arguably the most dangerous machine

shop we’ve ever seen. As the day winds down we pick

a route through tiny villages and paddys before arriving

at our last homestay. This time it’s a true homestay

with the family cooking up our tea as we sit under the

building sipping brews and chatting to two Kiwi women

who are backpacking in the region. Toby’s got the

peachy accommodation in a hut that sits over the fields

overlooking the valley, but mine is in the dormitory in

the main house, but our view is the same when the sun

Honda Dealership

Boat burnout

DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 5 3


Coffee stop in Vietnam

goes down and the landscape turns to

pitch.

The final day is upon us far too quickly,

so with the bikes loaded up once more

it’s back to the single trails, stopping off

for more photographs alongside mirrored

lakes and epic bridge crossings. Phu

stops to chat to some people in a village

and before we know it he’s selected one

of the dogs and the owner has nipped

across to get the weighing scales from

the Post Office. The negotiations stop and

we continue without the dog, but when

we stop I have to ask.

“Was the dog to eat?” “ No, no –

mountain dogs are strong, not like city

dogs. Good for protection”

“Ah - right. But do you eat dog?” “Oh

yes. But I wouldn’t eat my own dog”

Totally baffled we continue without

bothering to ask how he intended to

transport the strong mountain dog on his

XR250 Honda that was already fully laden

with supplies for Mrs Phu.

We climb an epic switchback road up

to the top of the mountain and down the

other side into valleys with rice terraces

carved into their sides like contours

on a map. After lunch at another food

warehouse surrounded by chain-smoking

businessmen sinking far too many beers

for a lunch break, we head out onto a

flat flood plain that will take us towards

our final stop at Hanoi. We pass through

scores of villages with six lane highways

built for civic pride yet strangely devoid

of any cars that might need them. Cutting

left, we track the Black river all the way to

the freeway.

As the traffic increases, we have to

keep out wits about us, as the driving is

fairly haphazard. As with most of Asia, the

drivers rely mostly on not looking before

they change position as that means they

have to take responsibility themselves for

any collisions. Not looking passes that

responsibility to the other drivers that

have to avoid you. It’s a logic that has a

limited lifespan, as do many Asian people

in these circumstances.

How this strategy manifests itself is

that if you need to make a turn through

oncoming traffic, you just steer into it a

hundred yards before your turn and filter

your way across, because if you stopped,

then everybody would plough into you …

Aware of the logic, I follow Toby and

Phu into Hanoi, but suddenly I’m struck

by the risk I run being at the back. Phu

knows where he’s going, Toby knows

where he is going and has a phone that

works in Vietnam and I’m at the back with

no idea where I am, where I’m going and

if I get lost I’ve got no phone. With a twist

of the throttle my CRF is now glued to the

tail of Phu’s bike and I’m tagging him like

an obsessive stalker. Even when he runs

a level crossing as the barriers are coming

down I follow without throttling off for a

second.

After what seems like hours, but

what is probably just over 15 minutes

we arrive back at the Ride Expeditions

garages and somewhat against the odds

I’m unscathed and grinning like I’ve just

finished off the home-grown. The ride

through Hanoi’s busy streets has been

a suitably life affirming and exhilarating

finish to what has been an unbelievable

trip. We’ve ridden just over 1500 km in

just five days, travelled through arguably

some of the most beautiful landscapes,

eaten fantastic meals in the most

wonderful places and sipped beer as the

sun went down. It doesn’t get better than

this, it really doesn’t.

If you are on the prowl for a new

adventure, look these guys up and

hopefully, I’ll meet you all for your annual

JHB 2 Durban in the dirt trip. Quads 4

Quads.

www.rideexpeditions.com

Lake panorama

54 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Passing through villages is part of the experience

Julian waves to the loca children

Journey’s end

DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 55


PUNCHING ABOVE THEIR

WEIGHT

The 2018 Sherco lineup

56 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Sherco recently launched their 2018 models

in France. We didn’t get there – but we did

ask one of our international friends Sean

Klinger for his impressions. Here is what he

had to say about the bikes:

To say that we were excited to scoot across

the pond to race in Sherco’s native France

would be an understatement. First we’ll

get into the changes for 2018 and then talk

about how the machines worked on the

trail.

Performance Changes: 4 strokes

• New WP 46mm shock.

• New shifter fork rollers on the 450.

• Stronger gear selector spring.

• New header on the 250 and 300 for better

rpm response.

• New silencer as well on the 250 and 300

that is 300 grams lighter.

• New engine map.s

• New piston on the 300 with higher

compression.

• New crankshaft and connecting rod on the

300 as well.

New muffler on the 450 that is 500 grams

lighter.

2-Strokes:

• New WP 46 Shock with new settings

• New gear shifter rollers and gear selector

drum profile

• Stronger gear selector spring

• New torque limiter on electric start

DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 57


125 SER

250 SEF

250 SER

300 SEF

300 SER

450 SEF

• New primary transmission drive and water

pump for less friction

• Clutch assembly reinforced

Durability/Usability Changes 2 and four.

• Radiator cap is easier to get to and turn.

• In-molded graphics.

• New gripper seat cover from Luna Selle

De Valle.

• 20 percent more flexible plastics.

• Reinforced rear fender for easier lifting.

• Enduro dash has better protection against

water.

• The light’s rubber mounting has been

revised

Handling

For handling and suspension, we’ll talk

about the bikes as a whole just because

they share so many characteristics with a

few exceptions. First of all, as expected,

not only is the 450 harder to handle in super

techy stuff because of the power, but the

frame is longer by a few millimeters than all

the other bikes. We asked Sherco about this

and they said that a typical 450 customer

would most likely be riding in more open,

fast terrain and would benefit from more

stability (just as a side note, if you haven’t

read it, the 125 SE-R two-stroke has a

shorter frame for the opposite reason).

Even so, all the Sherco SER-F bikes have a

very slim, nimble feel. It is clear that Sherco

puts a premium on agility above all other

handling characteristics. At the seat and

between the pegs, the bikes feel very thin

and easy to flick around. They don’t feel

long and even though we didn’t have time

to set the sag for each bike (more than a

dozen different editors), our 215-pound

tester didn’t feel too chopper-ed out or even

unbalanced, really. The SEF-Rs are quick

turning and respond to minimal rider input,

though the two-strokes feel even more

so. This is a great characteristic for slicing

through tree trunks and twisty grass tracks,

but we are dying to get the bikes here for

faster paced riding. Quick-turning might just

turn to twitchy and unstable.

Suspension

Shercos have WP suspension front and rear

with the 46 shock and an open-cartridge

fork developed by WP in conjunction with

Sherco. It is not a single function fork

and has coil springs in both sides with

compression on the top of both legs and

rebound on the bottom. Actually, a Sherco

representative said that they had tested the

4CS but couldn’t get it to work well with

their bikes. The Xplor fork (the same on the

KTM EXC-F and XC-W models) is on the

125 SE-R and will be on the Sherco Factory

58 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


Edition models. For American standards,

these bikes are on the more comfort end of

the spectrum, but for European style trails

and riders, these are performance race

machines. We would say that they are soft,

but that wasn’t a bad thing in the loose,

chunky loop we were riding. The wheels

stayed planted to the ground and the SE-

Rs had great front and rear traction. We

personally would like a little more bottoming

resistance – there was a section of repeated

drops that had us using all of the stroke

and, therefore, not charging as hard as we

would if we had some more hold up. But in

all fairness, testing all six models in a few

hours didn’t leave time to make changes

and we might have got what we were

looking for by turning the clickers.

Overall, these bikes are soft, but in the best

possible way. We’ve been wracking our

brain since the intro trying to explain how

to explain the suspension without making it

sound bad, because it isn’t. It is absolutely

great on the baseball-to-softball size rocks

that littered the single track we were riding,

as well as on the ledge-y, root-y sections.

The wheels track the ground like magnets

and front and rear tyre traction was at a

maximum. Even with the soft feel, we didn’t

bottom the bikes, yet there weren’t really

any fast sections to do so.

All the Sherco models are very easy to turn.

Though we in America would say that the

fork and shock on the Shercos have a

more comfort than performance set up, the

French would be mad at us because their

whole theory of what makes a bike fast

is different than ours. For them, making a

bike as compliant as possible and using

a very active suspension set up with a

flexible frame allows racers to ride through

gnarly, choppy trails fast. And while that

isn’t untrue, we would argue that once you

hit a whoop section or try to take a g-out at

speed, blowing through the stroke would

slow us down. Overall, you have to chalk

it up to the terrain in Europe and European

racing being very different than what we

have, plus rider preference and style, plus

different bike setup philosophy. Perhaps we

are weird for wanting an overall stiff setup to

avoid bottoming out at all costs, while they

would take the occasional clank to have an

overall more supple ride.

On The Trails

The four strokes:

250 SEF-R the all-round easy ride.

As the smallest four-stroke in the lineup,

personally we feel that it is left in no man’s

land. Meaning, the 300 and 450 SER-Fs

have noticeably more power and different

engine characters, but if you want a super

60 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


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light nimble bike, the 125 two-stroke or

even 250 two-stroke would fit the bill better

for outright agility. If we rode the 250 SEF-R

by itself, we would come away pleased, if a

little underwhelmed by the power. But riding

it on the same day and on the same trail

loop as all the other 2018 Shercos left us

wanting a bit more.

The power is tame and very useable, with a

bottom end character similar to KTM’s 250

XCF-W yet when you really open it up, you

are not rewarded with a gnarly, screaming

top-end. It makes most of its power in the

mid-range, with usable torque on bottom

but nothing to straighten your arms. It

definitely doesn’t have the quick revving

power character that the more MX derived

endure machines do, though throttle

response isn’t bad at all.

With less power the 250 feels a little heavier

than the 300.

300 SEF-R

With only 50ccs more displacement, the

300 is night and day different to the 250.

A very general rule of thumb is the bigger

the motor the slower the rev, but for some

reason the 300 seemed to have a quicker

revving power-plant with pretty instant

throttle response. And with that extra bit

of juice, came a healthy portion of more

torque.

Where the 250 had us grabbing the clutch

in tight corners to keep the motor making

good power, the 300 let us be way lazier

and lug the bike lower without having

to wonder if we’d have enough pulling

power to get us up the next rocky hill.

Usable, tractable power with a good bit of

excitement… That’s what the 300 motor

has. It’s not going to give a 450 a run for its

money, but we would put it up against any

350 no problem. The extra grunt also made

the 300 SER-F feel a little lighter than the

250. Not that the 250 felt heavy, just that

the 300 had more snap to get out of the

incredibly tight 180s and lift the front over

the cobbly, rocky ledges.

Though we didn’t have a 350 four-stroke to

compare it to, we would be surprised if this

300 was far off.

450 SEF-R

Mo’ money, mo’ problems, as they say. You

can say the same thing when talking about

cubic centimeters. We have to explain that

the testing loop we were riding in France

was one of the tightest, twisty trails that

we’ve ridden. Before you could get any

real momentum going, there was another

180 up a ledge, then zigzag through trees,

then another 180 down a ditch. It was

moderately technical but just didn’t suit a

big bore bike. That being said, the Sherco

450 SEF-R would probably be our top pick

out of all other 450 off-road bikes for this

type of extremely tight riding. The power is

very usable for a 450 but it was still a handful

and it was the hardest to ride out of all the

models we rode. It was hard to be smooth

and ride consistantly when each blip of the

throttle surged the bike forward with a lot

more force than the 300 or 250 SEF-Rs.

Even with more power on tap, the exhaust

note wasn’t much louder, if at all, than the

other four-strokes. A ride in our normal

testing trails would probably benefit the 450

the most since we would be able to hold the

throttle open a bit longer and actually use the

torquey power to its full potential.

In the tight trails, the 450 SEF-R is a

handful.

62 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


The two’s:

Smoking it! The 250 and 300 SE-R’s.

Actually that subtitle is misleading since

these two-strokes were very sans smoke

and they were jetted pretty cleanly for the

hot and humid test day.

Out of the two SE-Rs, we rode the 300

first and thought it would be the favorite of

the two-strokes. It has a smooth, torquey

power that that starts right off the very

bottom and pulls controllably hard through

the mid. In the technical riding conditions

we didn’t wring it out, rather, we were quite

happy short shifting and using the torque.

It wasn’t until we hopped on the 250 did we

realize that 300 was too much motorcycle

for start/stop/go/turn/up/down sort of trial

we were testing on. The 250 was much

easier to ride and be much smoother on.

Rather than keeping the clutch lever in

more than out like how we were riding the

300, on the 250 we could actually leave

the clutch lever out and not speed out of

control off the trail. Also, it was surprising

that the 250’s power came on so low in the

rpm range.

Typically 250s have their power shifted to

the mid with the bottom end being very

mellow. But on the SE-R 250, especially

since we rode it right after the 300, we were

very happy with the strong bottom end

and smooth transition of the mid-range.

Overall, it was just more manageable and

pleasant to ride than the bigger machine,

given the tight nature of the testing loop. We

would say that the 250’s motor is the better

all-around platform with the 300 being the

extreme enduro/hill climb/wide open option.

Handling – Slicing and Dicing

Like the kitchen gadget that does it all, the

SE-Rs cut their way through the forest with

maximum ease and agility. It is clear that a

quick turning character is what the chassis

engineers were focused on at Sherco.

At a past intro, one of our contributing

editors said something like Shercos are

like the Suzukis of off-road. Meaning, as

far as strictly motocross bikes go, Suzukis

have long had the reputation as the best

handling, and we would concur with what

our fellow tester said. The bikes respond

intuitively to rider input and have a narrow

and short feeling between the legs. Mostly,

the 250 and 300 handled the same but in

some 180’s with a single, deep rut, the 300

felt a little harder to get to change direction

and get through the rut smoothly without

wanting to stand up.

The possible down side to having such a

quick turning chassis is these bikes might

feel unstable or twitchy on faster open trails

with whoops and/or rollers. We’ll check that

out when they get here.

Conclusions:

We flew back to the US with a huge smile

on our face because we had a blast riding

in France on French bikes. We are also

very optimistic that these bikes are the best

that Sherco has made to date and that the

newly announced cross country models

(“mx-style” suspension, no lights, mx rear

tyre) are going to be more in line with what

we want and expect from off-road bikes.

Stay tuned for more on the SC models and

the two-stroke models as well as (hopefully)

some longer term testing for you guys on

South African soil…

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DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 6 3


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BOTSWANA

DESERT RACE

The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race (TDR 1000)

in Botswana is a gruelling and ruthless event, but it rewarded

the winners in the fourth round of the SA Cross Country

Championship for Motorcycles and Quads that took place

over the last of three days of racing with another victory and

lots of valuable points towards the various championships.

The TDR forms the third and fourth rounds of the SACC

Moto series with the third day in Botswana usually having the

highest rate of attrition as riders and their machines already

completed more than 450 kilometres with 420 kilometres still

to go. This year, all the winners of the various national class

championships at round three (Saturday, 24 June), went on to

take another round of victories at the fourth round (Sunday,

25 June).

Bikes

In the motorcycle category, OR1 (Open) championship leader

and local Botswana rider, Ross Branch (Brother Leader Tread

KTM) and his team-mate, the Senior Class leader, Juan

‘Bollie’ van Rooyen, both claimed their fourth class victories

of the season as did OR2 (250cc) leader, Brett Swanepoel

(Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing) and the OR3 (200cc)

and High School leaders and Bidvest Blu Cru Yamaha Racing

team-mates, Kyle Flanagan and Stefan van Deventer while

Wayne Farmer (Doorzone Bikers Warehouse Husqvarna)

scored his first two victories in the Master Class this year and

he did so in Botswana.

Branch’s experience of the Botswana desert came in handy

as he took a comfortable OR1 victory as well as the overall

win. Kenny Gilbert (Liqui Moly Racing Husqvarna) finished

second (he was third overall) with Tristan Purdon (Bidvest Blu

Cru Yamaha Racing) rounding off the podium after his first

visit to the TDR. Another Botswana rider, Vincent Crosbie,

B Swanepoel

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who competed in the Dakar Rally earlier this year as

the first Botswana rider to do so, finished fourth while

Robert Pollock (Yamaha) was fifth today. Tim Young

(Sherco Liqui Moly Racing), who was second in the OR1

standings before the TDR, experienced mechanical

problems on Friday and could not compete in round

three. He then tackled the fourth round on Sunday from

the back and finished ninth in OR1.

Dartagnan Lobjoit (Yamaha), also from Botswana, who

was third the day before, could not complete the fourth

round.

In OR2, Swanepoel, who finished second overall, was

chased hard by Louwrens Mahoney (Brother Leader

Tread KTM) and they posted the same time after the

first of the two 210 kilometre loops. Mahoney then lost

just over three minutes during the second loop to finish

second in OR2 (he was fourth on the overall standings).

Gareth Cole (KTM) was again third with Ruan Smith

(KTM Centurion Liqui Moly Racing) getting into the

top five with a fourth place and Alex Scheuer (KTM)

rounding off the top five.

In OR3, the battle was on between the three

frontrunners with Flanagan pulling a gap of just under

three minutes on second placed Charan Moore (Live

Lesotho Yamaha) with Taki Bogiages (KTM) finishing

just over a minute behind Moore to round off the

podium that looked the same after both rounds. Wilhelm

Schönfeldt (BCR Arrow Yamaha Racing) scored another

fourth place with Darren Macleod (Yamaha) finishing in

the top five this time as Ian Rall (KTM), who was fifth the

day before, had to settle for sixth place.

There was another fairly easy victory for Van Rooyen,

the multiple Senior Class champion, with Kobus Jonck

(KTM), who competed on national level for the first time

this season, finishing second ahead of Hentie Hanekom

(Husqvarna) who scored his second podium result this

weekend albeit by a narrow margin. A mere 13 seconds

separated Hanekom from Bruce May (Bidvest Blu Cru

Yamaha) after being in the saddle for just over six hours

and 40 minutes. Wilhelm du Toit (Husqvarna), who is

training for his participation in the 2018 Dakar Rally, was

fifth with Bruce Viljoen (Doorzone Bikers Warehouse

Husqvarna), second the previous day, having to settle

for ninth place after a tough day in the desert.

Van Deventer, the defending High School champion,

looks unstoppable and also doubled his victories at the

2017 TDR. Juan-Pierre de Villiers (Q-KON EMD Basefit

Racing KTM) was as consistent and finished a step

higher than the previous day with a second place. Ryan

G VD Berg

Ross Branch

V Crosbie

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D Nienaber

Marius Venter

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Pelser (KTM), who competes with the

smallest motorcycle in this class, rounded

off the podium after finishing seventh

the day before. There was another fourth

place for Barend Pretorius (KTM) with

Maarten van Jaarsveld (Doorzone Bikers

Warehouse Husqvarna) fifth after a

podium result at round three.

The Master Class battle between Farmer

and Pieter Holl (KTM), who won the first

two rounds earlier this season, continued

and once again, only a few seconds (39 to

be exact) separated them this time. Stefan’s

dad, Faan van Deventer (Yamaha) again

Overall bike podium

finished on the podium with Iain Pepper

(Pepson Plastics Husqvarna) and Trevor

Hills (Yamaha) changing places from the

previous day with Pepper who took the

fourth place and Hills rounding off the top

five.

Dayna Nienaber (KTM) took another

victory in the Ladies Class while Ryan

van Es (KTM) won the Silver Class

Interprovincial Challenge this time.

Quads:

There was trouble for the defending

Open Quad champion, Hannes Saaijman

(Q-KON EMD Basefit Racing KTM) who

lost time due www.motosport.co.za

a cracked fuel tank the

previous day and ran out of fuel just

before the end. He was supported to

the finish by his brother and team-mate,

Abraham (Yamaha) who won the race.

Hannes, who was still second behind his

brother after all the trouble, then had to fit

a different fuel tank to be able to compete

in the final day resulting in an awkward

racing position and although he posted

the fastest time during the first lap, he lost

time later and managed a 15th place with

Abraham taking his second TDR victory.

The scholar, Keenan Hammon (Yamaha)

A Saaijman

G Michaelides

H Saaijman

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finished on the podium – he was fourth the

previous day – and was second after matching

Abraham’s time on the first lap, but he then fell

back somewhat. Like the previous day, Hennie

Michau (Yamaha) finished third with his dad,

Hennie Sr, also on a Yamaha, again finishing in

sixth place. Pierre van Heerden (Honda), who

was second in the championship standings

before the TDR, who could not complete round

three the previous day, was happy with a fourth

place and some valuable points. The former

champion, Stefan Swanepoel (Yamaha), who has

retired from racing, but decided to participate in

the popular TDR, was fifth after he also did not

receive the chequered flag the day before.

SXS:

Mmusi Thato Maungwa (Yamaha) was just

over half a minute behind Michau Sr with Dean

Bradbury (Can-Am) bringing his Side-by-Side

vehicle home in eighth place. Riaan Dique

(Q-KON EMD Basefit Racing Yamaha) was

ninth with Andries Bester (Yamaha) rounding

off the top ten.

Junior Vardy (Yamaha) claimed his second

Silver Class Interprovincial Challenge win of

the weekend.

J Vardy

Quad podium

AIR FILTERS

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Pics by Shaun Engler. Some by Sasha Palmer.

Winterberg National

Enduro 2017

Bringing racing to the people

More than 2000 spectators flocked to

watch SA’s top enduro riders battle it out

at the Winterberg national Enduro in a

couple of weeks back. The organisers put

in a monumental effort to make the36 KM

course as spectator friendly as possible –

and they achieved it – every special was

an easy walk and the speccy’s soaked it

up! Music, refreshments and plenty of race

excitement was the order of the day.

Given that Rover really does not have

any technical terrain, organisers set out

to make man made obstacles. According

to local rider Alan Strydom, who owns

ASR Superbike Solutions in Jeffreys Bay,

the course was tough and certainly for

experienced riders only. “The race was

rewarding as it tested the riders and the

obstacle course at the end was great”, said

Strydom. “Riders had to negotiate tyres and

a pile of logs which made the race spectator

friendly too”, he added.

The 5 laps included an enduro special stage,

all built in the bowl – so it was really easy to

watch all of the action. A regularity special, an

extreme test, Daves Diner - of just on 2kms…

This was custom built and bunted by the ever

enthusiastic Dave Bevan. Logs, rocks, you

name it, the riders came unstuck and it was

an awesome spectacle to behold. From there

it was back on to the regularity and then to

the MX special – Rovers track in reverse.

As the day went on and the 180 odd

competitors battled it out, the sandy track

became more and more whooped out so

there were plenty of tired bodies out there.

Racers were tested to the absolute max.

And it was interesting to see how the results

panned out… Nothing predictable about this

race for sure!


This in from Timothy Young:

“This year’s Winterberg was held at

Rover Motorcycle Club for the first year

again in many years.The organizers

went above and beyond to make this

an extreme world class event and they

definitely did succeed.It was a very hot

and dusty day, I managed to secure a

1st place in my regional class and a 6th

place in my national class with a top 10

overall finish.”

“It was a spectacular event, we didn’t

expect it to be as tough as what it was

but it was one for the books! A very

special thanks to all my sponsors,

family & fantastic pit crew for making

it possible for me to compete in this

event.”

By Takis Bogiagis:

“A massive shout out to the Rover

Motorcycle Club for all the effort put into

running a world class event! It was really

one of the best National enduros I’ve

raced!”

More of the same please organisers,

national Enduro is growing and gathering

momentum…

Sherco’s Wade Young won 12 of the 14

special stages that counted excluding

the 1st sighter. He lost the result due to

running his battery flat and then breaking

the terminal on the new one...

Freak winter heat wave of 30 degs which

just made it all the tougher.

Course setters:

Scott Woods… master GPS/Google

earth course designer

Darren Bishop: Enduro special

Dave Bantu Bevan: Extreme Special

(Dave’s Diner)

Tommy Castelyn and Craig Kruger :

Terrain Special

Emile Le Grange: Regularity

The entire course of 36kms was set

inside 16 sq. kms terrain

The 177 riders who actually started the

race is the highest amount for over 2

years!

Yamaha won the manufacturers trophy.

Top 5 Overall Riders points

1: E7 Blake Gutzeit 5842

2: E1 Travis Teasdale 5897

3: 111 Brett Swanepoel 5977

4: 771 Scott Bouverie 6073

5: 77 Kyle Flanagan 6173


THE ORANGE

MONSTER

ON TRI NATIONS

70 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


The annual Tri nations ride is a perfect test

for a bike like this. Not hard enduro, not

super technical but lots of fast, tight twisty

trails, riverbeds, thick sand and a liberal

sprinkling of rocky mountain passes. This

year, our Kyle lawrenson scragged KTM’s

exc 450 for the ride - and he did not stop

grinning from the start... all the way to the

finish in Ponta Do Oura. This is his take on

the bike.

Years ago it was a salesmen’s dream to

sell a 450 - whether you could ride a

450 or not. The salesmen got good

commission and we, as the buyers,

felt bigger was always better until we

rode the bike for the first time.

Within the first 100m of riding

the older generation 450’s, your

arms were 100mm longer and

you would have gone through 3

pairs of rods. Having said that,

things have changed in 2017.

The days of an “on / off switch”

are over.

450 in paradise.

Being media we get invited to most launches,

races and events. We got an invite to a

event called Tri-nations. A 2 day trip through

Pongola, into Swaziland, back into SA and

finally finishing in Mozambique. For the

event we had the new 2017 KTM exc 450;

there is no better bike for the terrain we were

going to ride. 300 and a bit kays filled with

fast sweeping routes, technical koppies and

around 150 kays of thick sand.

Starting the ride from Pongola Country Lodge

we were thrown into the cane fields with

some fast routes. It was a nice way to get to

grips with the 450, within the first 2 kays we

noticed that this bike is most definitely not

an “on/off” switch, but there was still a long

way to go. In typical Pongola fashion there

has to be a technical hill. A little intimidating at

first considering some riders were struggling

on 300’s. I pointed the 450 in the general

direction and off she went, straight to the top.

The mind blowing part was how easy the bike

went up. At no point was there a moment

where a whisky throttle was about to happen

DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 7 1


- the bottom end torque is so smooth and

controllable.

Leaving Pongola, the Swaziland border

waited. Stamp in the little green book and

off we went. A quick 2 kay ride down a

district road before we turned into the bush.

We followed a little jeep track trough the

lower half of Swaziland, you kinda get the

feeling you are Toby Price while you hold

the 450’s 5th gear pinned.

This is where the 450 really shines. Fast,

rough terrain through the thick bush.

Through Swaziland we were subjected to

some very dry terrain and and some thick

dense bush, almost like you are racing the

1000 Desert Race, its a great feeling and the

best part is you don’t have to worry about

the likes of Louw Schmidt passing you.

Stopping to take photos the local kids took

a liking to the orange machine and before

you know it there were 10 of them trying to

climb on 1 bike. big smiles all round. Day 1

was coming to an end, rough total of 160

kays of fast riding, with roughly 3 litres of

fuel left in the tank.

Day 2 saw us leaving the stylish and very

fancy Tiger Lodge in Jozini.

If you like fishing this is most definitely a

place to visit. Leaving Tiger we entered

the Makatini flats, boldly going where few

mlungu’s have been before. I spent most

of the time riding with Riaan from Trax KTM

and before we knew it it was a real dice

through the bush. This did throw a little

curve ball into the situation when one of us

hit the deck.... I crashed into Riaan ( errr he

turned in front of me) leaving both of us flat

on the sandy ground.

Riaan’s comment - “jy het gerol soon ń

Kalahari tol bos”. This brings up another

good topic, modern dirt bikes are so much

stronger as technology improves.

It was a huge off and, amazingly not even

a lever was bent or broken. 30 kays in, we

were welcomed by the thick sand and this

was an absolute blast.

Chasing Riaan on his big 500 I found that

the 450 ran best in 4th in the thick sand,

she was wasn’t screaming her head off and

would pull you out of any trouble.

The race through the bush came to an end

with a puncture, a minor technical glitch

that we have no control over, but it did give

us the time to appreciate the fantastic ride

that we’d had.

We made it to the fuel stop fixed the

puncture and off we went. Moz felt only a

stones throw away. You could almost smell

Fernando’s and the sea.The last 40 kays we

were pretty much alone and took our time.

fantastic tight, twisty stuff through tight

trees and smugglers lanes.

Some time later we rocked up at the border.

No, we didn’t tell any border officials we

were coming, we just landed on their door

step. They agreed to stamp our little green

books and we were on route to Fernando’s.

The stretch from the border to Fernando’s is

like an over sandy mx track. Lots of whoops

with some huge jumps.

Finally reaching Fernando’s we were

welcomed with the famous R&R.

1 bottle of rum to 3 mugs. Scary stuff.

The Adventure was over, what happened

next? We couldn’t tell you.

The bike

We did well over 300 kays on the 450 and

not once did we suffer from fatigue trying

to tame a beast. for a 450, she’s incredibly

72 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


light and nimble. She has smooth and linear

power delivery.

This bike has been refined to the point where, if

you have the know how, you can idle over rocks

at 3kays an hour or you can hold her wide open

at 140kays an hour.

When the new KTM’s came out they were fitted

with the Xplora 48mm forks in the front and there

has only been good reviews on the suspension.

We cannot fault them at all. Having been set up

more, for the faster progressive riding, it soaked

the bumps like a gomma gomma couch, over

the slower more technical parts a little bit of

adjustment would make it more ideal.

Having said that you need to look at the market of

the bike.

If you are a Ron Bayley then the Roof is

achievable but as an everyday bike for people

who dont spend their lives rock crawling?

The salesman can send you in this direction.

Good bye to you “on/off’ switch.

By the way - the Tri Nations ride is an amazing

event. See you there next year!

www.ktm.com

www.adventurecompany.co.za

74 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


All about Tri Nations:

Tri nations is a social dirtbike ride from the sunny

town of Pongola - via Swaziland - all the way

to the happy seaside town of Ponta Do Oura.

A fantastic adventure - with soccer balls and

stationary delivered to rural schools and kids all

along the trails.

Next year - it happens again in June. You need to

come and do it - it’s fantastic fun!

www.adventurecompany.co.za

76 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 77


NEXT ROUND OF ENTRIES


Honda XR190

WORK, PLAY AND SO MUCH MORE

Entry level appears to be the buzz word in

the motorcycle industry at the moment –

smaller capacity machines, that are relatively

well priced and ideal for commuting or even

the odd weekend getaway. As we run out

of clean used bikes – and with the import of

used bikes halted, the motorcycle industry

is counting on these bikes to get entry level

riders excited about the great passion that is

motorcycling.

Honda has a pretty substantial collection

of smaller cc bikes bikes for commuting

and playing – look at the Rally we featured

two issues back. It is a terrible shame that

the import of the mighty CRF230 has been

halted – with our rand value – it is simply no

longer economical to bring them in – so we

have all lost a perfect dirtbike.

Honda does have some fantastically capable

trail bikes in their arsenal in the guise of their

’L’ lineup. The XR190 is one of them.

We took it down to the famous Roodeplaat

dam to take a little spin and see what the bike

is all about.

Our initial impressions are one of typical

Honda Quality. For an entry level machine, it

is beautifully finished in proper Honda fashion.

The modern styling will appeal to everyone –

a neat little headlamp cowl, sporty indicators,

beautifully crafted plastics, and the sculpted

seat all flow really nicely into the sportsbike

inspired tail light.

Then it’s time for the more practical stuff

– this bike is, after all a little workhorse.

Honda has fitted their rugged 190cc air

cooled engine, complete with electronic fuel

injection, mounted fairly long travel Showa

suspension front and rear, a 21 inch front

wheel and an 18 inch out back. The standard

knobbly tyres tell you exactly where they

intend this bike to be used.

In terms of practicality, they give you a kick

starter in addition to the magic button, a side

stand on each side of the bike and a neat

little carrier out back suitable for a 20kg load.

Crash protectors are mounted under the

engine – and a neat little lockable tool bock is

mounted out back.

There is only 1 criticism. They have fitted a

burly disc brake up front – but out back, they

have stuck with a drum setup. We know that

this is fine for a small machine – but we also

know that maintenance on a drum brake is

way higher than on a disc setup.

Ride impressions:

We roped in our Buddy Des, to gauge his

opinion. He is in the construction industry.

Here’s what he had to say:

The bike is surprisingly comfortable and

80 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017


very practically made. I’m shorter than most

riders, so the low seat height is a practical

consideration.

The clocks and dash are clearly legible – and

the seat feels really comfortable for use as a

work horse. The relation of bars to seats to

pegs is spot on.

In terms of starting, I like the fact that Honda

has included an electric starter with a kick

mechanism. Should the battery run down,

you won’t be stuck on site with a bike that

does not start.

Buzzing around the dam, I liked the overall

compact nature of the bike – small, quiet and

easy to maneuver between the rocks and

trees typically found on a farm. The bike also

feels quite light – perhaps not as light as my

dirtbike, but it is not a handful at all.

Bottom end performance is just fine – she is

not too revvy which tells me that she should

be quite reliable. I took the opportunity to

ride over some rougher terrain and found

that the ground clearance and suspension is

more than adequate.

It is obvious to me that this is not a

performance machine. It feels as though the

bikes top speed is governed to 100 KPH.

You could probably open that up – but were

I to consider this bike for my line of work,

where inexperienced riders would use the

bike, this is a safer option.

The fact that this is a Honda would be one

of the key points in choosing this bike. In

construction, farming etc, you are looking for

a bike that is going to work hard and last. I

like the fact that it is roadworthy – so should

you need to buzz between sites, travel on

the tar – or even commute short distances

to work and back, it’s a very practical

consideration.

Conclusions:

All in all – If I had a farm, there would

probably be one of these in the shed. For the

construction industry, security sector, any

practical application, this is a great choice.

And I’ll bet that it won’t take your teenage kid

to discover just how much fun it is too…

This one from Honda Wing Zambesi on

special @ R44999 on special.

(012) 523-9500

DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE AUGUST 2017 81


Just1 J34 Adventure

helmet RRP R3200

METALIZE all weather

adventure jacket

RRP R4200

METALIZE gloves

RRP R680

METALIZE all weather

adventure pants

RRP R3300

Henderson Racing Products - 011 708 5905

www.facebook.com/Hendersonracingproducts

Available at selected dealers nationwide, excluding full throttle.

METALIZE Adventure

boots, short and long

Short RRP R2600

Long RRP R2800

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