RideFast Magazine December 2017


SA's best motorcycle magazine!




Straight out of MotoGP - Ducati take

covers of their new Panigale V4 models.


Calendar Inside



Over 20 new models released

and we feature them all!



Supercharger Sports Tourer

KTM 790


The one they call

“The Scalpel”




Marquez wraps up 6th

world title at Valencia

Road Rage

Top grade sportbikes hit

the famous 22 in Sabie


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What the hell are we suppose to do now that MotoGP is

over? Well, fear not, because we have enough awesome

content to fi ll the massive gap left by no racing.

What a season of MotoGP it was, with the title going

right down to the wire. Marc Marquez and Andrea

Dovisioso did battle at the fi nal race of the season at

Valencia, with Marquez coming out on top in a very

exciting fi nale. Say what you want about the guy, but

he is just ridiculously good! Marquez is a true Alien. He

simply defi nes all logic. He pushes the limits more than

anyone else, because he is not afraid and has 100%

faith/confi dence in his, and his Honda’s ability.

This is what separates him form the rest. He trains his

body and mind to push the limits, and that’s what makes

him an unstoppable force! He is simply breathtaking

to watch, and I really love watching him. People say

MotoGP is nothing without Rossi, and to a point I

agree, but MotoGP would be a whole lot boring without

Marquez. He is going to break every record ever set - by

Rossi, Agostini etc… Love him or hate him, you just

hate to respect him!!! Really do not know how he makes

those saves. It’s mental!

The question now is can anyone stop him in 2018?

Ducati certainly are getting stronger, but does Dovi

have the mental strength to win a title? He certainly

showed he can win races and be very competitive, the

only problem is when things aren’t going to plan, then

everything just seems to fall apart. He lost vital points in

key races this year, so that is something they need to

address if they are to win a MotoGP title once again.

Marquez, Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo, they are all very

confi dent and head strong riders, with massive amounts

of brashness and very mentally strong, and this is what

puts them on that level above the rest. I think Dovi

needs to get a bit more vicious, and needs to be 100%

confi dent in himself and his ability. He needs to tell

himself that he is better than Marquez, and that he can

win a world title. I sometimes think he is a bit too soft, so

needs to get that aggression out. All the top guys have

that certain arrogance to them, and I think Dovi could

use a bit more of that.

Yamaha have a bit of work to do next year. This season

started off so well with Vinales dominating testing and

the fi rst couple of races. But then, things went pear

shaped. They switched to the new chassis and motor

and things just did not click. In this issue we feature the

Valencia 2018 test, and it seems as if Yamaha made big

steps with Vinales and Rossi. A combination of old and

new tech, so let’s hope they are competitive for next

year. 2018 will pretty much be Rossi’s last chance at that

10th title, and he has said that he will make his decision

on racing after the fi rst 3 races. If that Yamaha is not

up to scratch, that could pretty much make up Rossi’s

mind, and that day we all dread could happen at the end

of 2018.

There is no doubt Rossi himself is still fast and confi dent,

but needs the Yamaha M1 to be more competitive.

Even so, I still think it’s a massive uphill for him in 2018,

and sadly I think that 10th title is further away than

we all hope, but, he will still be there and we will all be

screaming for the GOAT!

Looking ahead to 2018 and one can’t help but be really

excited. Not only for MotoGP, but for the motorcycle

market, which is set to see an infl ux of exciting new


The annual Eicma Show took place in Milan, Italy, and

once again manufacturers showed off their new masterpieces

for the coming year. The biggest of them being

Ducati, who once again stole the show and revealed all

the new models on the main stage on opening night.

Some very tasty models, but no doubt the one we were

all waiting for was the new Panigale V4. And we were

not disappointed. What a piece of art. It looked glorious

dressed in iconic Ducati red, showing off all the right

curves in all the right places.

Now, this is where I need you to not hate me. I have

been confi rmed to attend the world launch of the

new Panigale V4 in Spain at the end of January 2018.

Possibly at the Valencia track. Yes, I can hear and feel

your anger and jealousy, but at least you know I will give

you a proper story in the Feb issue, and probably be the

fi rst to do so.

To say I am excited for this test is a complete

understatement, and I, just like you all I’m sure, cannot

wait to hear that V4 scream in anger. I will be sure to

post as many videos as possible on our Facebook page

to make you feel part of the experience.

While the Panigale V4 stole the show, while, for me at

least, there were a host of other great models released.

One that did catch my eye, after I stopped gazing and

drooling over the V4, was Kawasaki’s new 200hp,

supercharged tourer - The ninja H2 SX. A really sexy

looking bike that looks very inviting.

Honda also released a model that looks tasty - The

naked CB1000R. Last month we showed off the Neo

Sports Cafe Racer, which Honda took the covers off at

the Tokyo Show. Rumour was that Honda were going to

release a naked version of their CBR1000RR super bike

based on the exciting looking concept. So pleased that

this was not one of those crazy motorcycle myths, and

that the CB1000R is a perfect mix of concept and reality.

One to look our for in 2018 no doubt.

We cover all the models released at Eicma in this issue,

with a 14 page special. Oh yes, there is also a new

Duke in the KTM stable, and it looks nothing short of


There is a great test on the new Gixxer R and Kawasaki

ZX10RR in this issue. The Singh and Miks took the two

elite bikes down to Sabie for a weekend, to see how

they fared on the long trip and famous 22. I also made

the trip down, but in something a bit more comfy and

luxurious. A big thanks to Haval SA for getting involved

and helping us out with their new H6 SUV. What an

amazing vehicle, and I suggest you get used to the

name Haval, as you are going to see and hear plenty of it

in the near future.

Crazy to think that this is already our December issue,

and that the festive season is now fully upon us. I would

like to say a big thank you to all of you who have once

again spent your hard earned money on this magazine

throughout the year. It means so much to me seeing and

hearing the response the mag is getting. 2017 has been

a great year for us at RideFast, and we look forward to

bringing you big and better things in 2018.

I wish you all a blessed and safe festive season!

Until next year, ride safe! Rob Portman.



Rob Portman


082 782 8240


Kyle Lawrenson


071 684 4546





011 979 5035


Sheridan Morais

Brad Binder

Darryn Binder

Bill du Plessis

Gerrit Erasmus

GP Fever.de

Eugene Liebenberg

Niel Philipson

The Singh

Mieke Oelofsen

Copyright © RideFast Magazine

All rights reserved. No part of this

publication may be reproduced,

distributed, or transmitted in any

form or by any means, including

photocopying, articles, or other

methods, without the prior written

permission of the publisher.


Photo: R. Schedl





The new KTM 790 DUKE debuts an all-new chassis and engine combination that truly

punches above its weight. The lightweight LC8c parallel twin motor, along with an

innovative frame, WP suspension and an impressive list of standard electronic

features inspire confidence to push harder and faster than ever before.


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

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

Contents DECEMBER 2017










PG6: 2018 BIKES


• A bunch of new Ducati’s - Including

new Panigale V4 Superbikes

• A couple of new Yamaha’s

• A new naked Honda

• Kawasaki’s supercharged tourer

and another ZX10R model

• KTM’s newest Duke

• Aprilia’s RSV4 gets wings

• Husqvarna’s awesome naked









The power values indicated are measured using a chassis dynamometer.

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New Ducati models kick

off Eicma 2017 Show

Ducati opened this year’s EICMA show in Milan,

Italy, by presenting multiple new models on Sunday

evening during it’s 2018 World Premiere event

1100 Scrambler

Hosted by Ducati Motor Holding CEO Claudio Domenicali, world

championship riders Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo, Danilo

Petrucci, Chaz Davies, plus test riders Casey Stoner and Michele Pirro

were part of the presentation.

The fi rst 2018 bike to be revealed was the Ducati Scrambler 1100. It

also comes in a Special version, which draws its inspiration from the

custom world and a Sport version. Also on stage was the Scrambler

Mach2, the Desert Sled with a never-before-seen black livery and the

new Street Classic.

The evening continued with the 959 Panigale Corse, which maintains

the tradition of Ducati twin-cylinder sportsbikes. Characterised by new,

exclusive components and an eye-catching livery, this bike was ridden

onto the stage by Davies, who arrived in Milan directly from Qatar’s

fi nal round of the Superbike World Championship.

The 959 Panigale Corse is the superlative sports version of the

legendary Italian twin-cylinder. It boasts Öhlins 43mm NIX30 forks,

Öhlins TTX36 shock, type-approved Ducati Performance silencers in

titanium by Akrapovic, a lithium-ion battery and a dedicated colour

scheme inspired by the colours of Ducati’s MotoGP racers.

Another new 2018 bike presented during the Ducati World Premiere

was the Multistrada 1260. Mounting the new Ducati 1262cc

Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) engine, it also

features a new chassis set-up, more modern electronics and a re-style

that includes side ‘wings’ and sportier-looking wheels.

The latest Ducati MTS comes in several versions: the S version offers

semi-active suspension and S D-Air, which maximises safety thanks to

integration with an airbag-equipped jacket, while the Pikes Peak, the

sportiest Multistrada version, features Öhlins mechanical suspension

and forged aluminium wheels.

During the evening Domenicali also showcased the Multistrada 1200

Enduro Pro, set to play a pivotal role in DRE (Ducati Riding Experience)

Enduro 2018 courses, the XDiavel, introduced by award-winning chef

Massimo Bottura in a special video message, and the Monster 821.

And then there was the real highlight - The Panigale V4.

More on that next...

For more information on all Ducati models visit www.ducati.co.za.

1100 Scrambler


1100 Scrambler


Multistrada 1260

959 Panigale Corse

Multistrada Pikes Peak


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The World’s Most

Powerful Superbike

2018 Ducati Panigale V4

The undisputed star of Ducati’s World Premiere 2018 at this

years Eicma Show was the new Panigale V4, the factory

bike that comes closer to being a MotoGP prototype

than anything ever seen.

It’s been teased for so long, but fi nally the Ducati

V4 Panigale has been revealed.

Replacing the much-loved 1299 at the top of

the Ducati supersport tree, the new V4 Panigale

is aiming to be the ultimate, sports motorcycle.

Ducati make the usual claims with regards to

enhanced performance, but with substantial

frame and chassis changes, they’re laying even

bigger stakes down with regards to its improved


With it’s MotoGP heritage, it remains to be seen

as to whether that is enhance Lorenzo-like

rideability or if you need the Ducati wrangling

ability of Dovisiozo. But one things is clear. This

thing is a beauty!

With an engine displacement of 1103cc, 214hp

and a power/weight ratio of 1.1 hp/kg, the

Panigale V4 replaces the 1299 twin-cylinder at the

top of the Ducati supersport line-up. The Panigale

V4 has been developed in close collaboration with

Ducati Corse, drawing directly on technology from

racing to provide a road bike that is the closest

thing possible to its MotoGP


The new Ducati superbike

family consists of the Panigale

V4 and the Panigale V4 S.

The latter mounts Öhlins

suspension featuring the

Smart EC 2.0 system with

a new adjustment interface

and top-level components

such as forged aluminium

wheels and the lithium-ion battery.

Completing the range is the exclusive

Panigale V4 Speciale, a numbered,

limited-edition bike with a dedicated livery,

titanium exhaust and machined from solid



The Desmosedici Stradale engine is

a 90-degree V4 with Desmodromic

timing, just like the Desmosedici GP

from which it also takes an 81mm

bore (the maximum allowed by

MotoGP rules). This has been

combined with a longer stroke

than that used in racing to boost

low-to-mid rev torque and

reduce maximum revs so

that the power is easier

to handle. The new

Ducati engine puts out

a maximum of 214hp

at 13,000rpm, with a

torque of 124Nm at

10,000 rpm.

The Panigale V4 engine

is the only one in the

sports segment

with a 90-degree

V confi guration.

It’s also the

only engine to

use technology

such as the


crankshaft and twin pulse

ignition. The power of the

standard Desmosedici Stradale

confi guration can be boosted

to 226hp by mounting the alltitanium

racing exhaust, made

by Akrapovic as per Ducati

Corse specifi cations.

To contain the inevitable

weight gain with respect

to the 1299 Panigale,

Ducati has developed

an all-new

frame where the


Stradale itself has a

load-bearing function. Called

Front Frame, it’s more compact

and lighter than a perimeter frame

and uses the engine as a stressed

chassis element. This solution

ensures the right torsional rigidity

for on-the-edge riding and gives riders

outstanding feel.

The Front Frame has allowed the

designer to create a bike that is slender

in the tank-seat merge zone. This,

together with seat/handlebar/footpeg

triangulation, ensures perfect bike-rider

integration according to the Italian brand.

Together with meticulous design and the

use of light materials, the new frame keeps

the kerb weight of the S and Special

versions down to 195kg. This weight,

combined with the 214hp, means a

power/weight ratio of 1.1 hp/kg.

Thanks to the potential of the six-axis

Bosch inertial platform, a latest-generation

electronics package with some previously

unseen features defi nes new active safety

and dynamic vehicle control standards

in all riding situations. The Panigale V4

introduces controls such as controlled drift

during braking, ABS Cornering on the front

wheel only thanks to a set-up specially

designed for track riding and Quickshift

Up & Down with a strategy that takes lean

angles into account.

All these controls – developed on the track

together with offi cial Ducati riders and test

riders – are incorporated in the three new

Riding Modes (Race, Sport and Street)

and can be adjusted via the advanced

TFT panel that makes the Panigale V4 the

highest-tech bike in its history.

According to Ducati SA, the models will

begin to arrive during Feb/March (Panigale

V4 and V4 S) and May for the Panigale V4

Speciale. Ducati SA are now taking orders

with pricing announced at R280,000

for the base, R349,000 for the S and

R650,000 for the Speciale.



Ducati Panigale V4 Wins ‘Most

Beautiful Bike’ in Milan Award

The 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 has won the title of the “Most Beautiful

Bike of Show” at EICMA 2017. Despite tough competition from a

host of new bikes, this thirteenth edition of the “Vote and win the

most beautiful bike of the show” competition, organized by Italian

magazine Motociclismo, was won by Ducati for the ninth time.

Surprise! Ducati win the ‘Most Beautiful

Motorcycle at EICMA’ award for the third

year in a row.

It will perhaps come as no major upset to

anyone that the fan’s choice award for the

bike that people found ‘Most Beautiful’ in

Milan last week was Italian. It’s even less of

a surprise that it was the utterly stunning

Ducati Panigale V4.

In fact, not only is this the third year in a

row that the award has been given to a

Ducati bike (the two previous winners have

been the Ducati Scrambler and Ducati

Supersport) but it’s also the third year in a

row that the designer of the bikes has also

been the same.

We’ve been following Julien Clement and

his work since we fi rst spoke to him about

his Ducati Scrambler, and after falling in love

with the Supersport last year it’s incredible

to see that he’s followed up that doublewin

with a hat-trick of not only stunningly

beautiful machines, but signifi cant ones too.

Somebody must be in line for a substantial

raise at the Bologna HQ.

As for the rest of the top fi ve, that’s more of

an interesting mix.

In number two was the MV Agusta

Dragster 800 RR. Which – of course – is

another Italian but is also rather tasty.

Third came the Honda CB1000R (more

on that later), which whilst looking great in

pictures we have been told by collegues

who attended this years show that is

actually less attractive than it’s younger

siblings, but nothing beats CC numbers it

would seem.

Fourth – and this should be an absolute

surprise to pretty much everyone – was the

new Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, so maybe

their is life in the ol’ bar and shield yet!

And rounding up the top fi ve most beautiful

motorcycles of Milan, comes the left-fi eld

but emotionally evocative Fantic Motor

Cabellero Scrambler 500.

Quite a solid selection all round.



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Yamaha unveil new Tracer GT

and MT-09 SP at Eicma

Yamaha Motors have unveiled a huge array of model updates for 2018, including the addition

of a MT-09 SP version of their popular nakedbike, as well as an updated MT-07, with updated

Tracer 900 versions including a GT version.

The MT range is constantly evolving and

coming just one year after the launch of

the new MT-09 – that has been a huge

sales success in its first season – the Hyper

Naked segment will be further strengthened

by the launch of the new MT-09 SP.

The SP suffix is reserved for a small number

of exclusive Yamaha models including the

MT-10 SP that offer a premium specification

with an emphasis on sport performance.

Featuring a high standard specification

that includes Öhlins equipment as well as

dedicated colouring and unique finishing,

the radical new MT-09 SP builds on the

significant strengths of the MT brand, and

takes the Hyper Naked riding experience to

a new extreme.

In order to give Hyper Naked riders

even greater possibilities to explore the

outstanding performance of the 3-cylinder

torque-rich crossplane engine, Yamaha’s

designers have specified an Öhlins rear

shock absorber for the new MT-09 SP.

This premium rear suspension system

offers higher levels of adjustability via an

easily accessible remote adjuster, allowing

riders to fine tune their settings and achieve

class-leading handling performance and

enhanced controllability.

MT-09 SP owners also have the possibility

to fine-tune their suspension set up with a

range of optional Öhlins rear springs that

are available in a range of different rates

from the Genuine Yamaha accessories

line-up. By fitting an optional rear spring that

matches their riding style and weight, every

owner can create their ultimate suspension


Both the MT-09 and MT-09 SP are fitted

with Kayaba front forks. The standard

MT-09 has adjustable front forks where

one leg is for rebound and the other is for

compression. The MT-09 SP has adjustable

front forks where both legs can be adjusted

for rebound and compression damping, and

this difference allows more fine-tuning of the

front suspension settings.

To complement its premium specification,

the MT-09 SP is finished in an exclusive Silver

Blu Carbon colour scheme that matches the

design featured on the MT-10 SP.

The fuel tank features silver sides with blue

upper sections, and

has a stylish MT-09

SP water transfer

graphic on

each side, as

well as a 3D Yamaha tuning fork logo. The

headlight cowl and seat cowl are painted

silver, while the front fender has a blue/black

finish with SP graphics.

To complete the exclusive SP look the

lightweight 10-spoke wheels are finished

in blue – just like the MT-10 SP – and the

wheels feature MT- 09 SP graphics. The

SP theme is continued in the seat, which

features distinctive blue stitching that

complements the tank and wheels.

The high quality feel and exclusive looks of

the MT-09 SP are complemented by the use

of black handlebars, black control levers

and a black handlebar crown.

Unlike most other bikes in the class, the

MT-09 SP’s special LCD instrument panel

displays white information against a black

background, giving higher levels of clarity

during daytime riding. As well as its practical

advantages, this high quality panel refines

this class-leading motorcycle’s impressive


2018 Yamaha MT-07

The MT-07 is one of Yamaha’s most

successful motorcycles of all time, with

almost 80,000 new units purchased in just

four years.

With its characterful and torquey crossplane

engine, compact chassis, low weight and

agile handling, the Yamaha MT-07 is one

of the few motorcycles that appeals to all

kinds of riders.

For 2018 the MT-07 is equipped with

a completely new seat design

that gives an improved riding

position for riders of all sizes.

The front of the new seat

now extends to the sides

of the rear of the fuel

tank, giving increased

comfort – and the new

shape also gives the

2018 model a more

integrated profile.


With 130mm travel at both the front and

rear, the MT-07’s suspension system is

designed to give comfortable, progressive

and predictable performance, making it

ideal for a wide range of riding conditions.

For 2018 the front forks are equipped

with revised settings that give a sportier

character, while the rear suspension

is fitted with a new rebound damping

adjuster that enables riders to set their

bike up to suit their riding style and usage.

2018 Yamaha Tracer 900 and

Tracer 900 GT

Launched three years ago, the Tracer

900 has quickly become established as

adefinitive Sport Tourer in the fast growing

sub-1000cc class. With its thrilling sports

performance, agile handling and the ability

to handle long distances with ease, the

stylish Tracer 900 has become one of

Yamaha’s best-selling models with over

35,000 units sold.

For 2018 Yamaha’s team of designers

have concentrated on reinforcing the

much loved strengths and values of the

Tracer 900, while also introducing a range

of updates and changes that are aimed at

enhancing the bike’s touring potential – as

well as delivering an even more refined,

high quality product.

There’s a larger windscreen that offers

better upper body weather protection

for a more relaxing and enjoyable ride

on longer journeys – and with its manual

height adjustment facility, it can be

quickly set to the desired position. For

enhanced passenger comfort the 2018

model also features a revised passenger

footrest assembly together with the newly

designed grab bars.

Yamaha’s designers have also made

subtle but efficient revisions to all of

the body panels and covers in order to

improve the overall look, feel and quality

of the 2018 model. A new air intake area

on the front cowl gives a more refined

appearance, and the design of the fuel

tank’s sidepanels and side wings are also

revised to enhance the overall style.

For 2018 the Tracer 900 is equipped with

a newly designed aluminium swingarm

as well as revised rear shock settings

to further enhance the bike’s touring

performance, allowing the installation of

Genuine hard side cases.

Both the rider’s and passenger’s seats

are new for 2018, and as well as giving

higher levels of comfort, they also enhance

the premium look and feel of the Tracer

900. The rider’s seat can be adapted for

height in 2 positions, high and low, to

accommodate your personal riding style.

Plus, there’s a soft pad on the tank for

added rider comfort on longer journeys.

The Tracer 900 also benefits from

narrower handlebars together with slimmer

and lighter hand guards. The new layout

gives a more natural riding position for

added comfort, and the new handlebars

help to keep the rider’s arms out of the

airflow at higher speeds – and the reduced

width also helps to improve the bike’s lane

filtering abilities – where it’s permitted.

Joining Yamaha’s Sport Touring range for

2018 is the Tracer 900GT, a new model

that comes with a premium specification

as standard. Developed from the

Tracer 900 and sharing the same 2018

specification upgrades, the Tracer 900GT

is designed to offer sport touring riders the

ultimate package at a competitive price.

The Tracer 900GT comes fitted with

quickly detachable 22-litre colour matched

Genuine hard side cases as standard,

and the latest TFT (Thin Film Transistor)

instrument panel. Featuring a full colour

display, these high specification instrument

panel comes with a comprehensive range

of information, including gear position

indicator, ambient temperature, coolant

temperature, current riding mode, fuel

gauge and fuel consumption.

The Tracer 900GT is equipped with

a premium suspension package that

features fully adjustable front forks offering

the rider the ability to set their bike up to

suit different loads and conditions. These

fully adjustable forks come with a beautiful

gold finish.

For easy and convenient suspension set

up when carrying a passenger or luggage,

the Tracer 900GT features a remote

preload adjuster for the rear shock. It’s the

quick and effective way to set the bike up.

The Tracer 900GT’s Quick Shift System

transforms acceleration performance of

the bike by allowing the rider to make

seamless clutchless upshifts. Based on

the system used on the latest MT-09, the

QSS gives this premium Sport Tourer an

even more exciting character that’s sure

to be appreciated by performance minded


The Tracer 900GT also benefits from

the fitment of a cruise control system as

standard equipment. It’s the same system

that’s used on the MT-10, and can be set

to control the riding speed in 4th 5th and

6th gear when riding between 50 km/h

and 180 km/h. This system is operated

by a switch on the left handlebar cluster,

and can be used to increase or decrease

cruising speed in 2 km/h increments.

The system is automatically cancelled by

the application of brakes, clutch or throttle,

and features a resume button that allows

the rider to reset to the previous setting.

Cruise Control makes longer journeys

more enjoyable, and also can help to avoid

exceeding speed limits.

The Tracer 900GT is an all weather, all

season motorcycle that’s built to get

across continents, and the provision of

heated grips is a real bonus for the serious

Sport Touring rider.



Honda’s new naked - The CB1000R

We are very pleased to announce that the Honda Neo Sports Cafe concept, which we featured last month,

became a reality with the release of the 2018 CB1000R, launched at the EICMA Show.

Just like the concept, Honda calls the new

design language “Neo Sports Café.” In

their words, it’s “modern and minimalist,

mixing sports naked and café racer

inspirations with head-turning results.”

The CB1000R is the latest in a series

of high-profile motorcycles from Japan

seeking to shake up the stylistic standoff

in motorcycle aesthetics, and it certainly

turns heads. They’ve gone to great

lengths to create something that “looks,

feels and performs very differently from

what’s gone before”. No harm in that.

Kawasaki’s Z900RS (still to come) and

Yamaha’s XSR900 also sought to solve

that problem, but the three arrived at very

different conclusions, which makes for

great variety on the showroom floor.

The CB1000R looks to be more than a

design manifesto in the metal, however.

“As Honda, our intention is always to look

to the future and to be ready to lead,” said

S. Uchida, Large Project Leader for the

2018 CB1000R. “Hence, as the naked

sector’s requirements mature, we knew

that we had to go much further than giving

the new CB1000R a boost in real-world

performance. Customer expectation and

interests are about much more than just

‘how fast?’”

For the most part, the radical styling of

the NSC concept bike carried over into

the production model. Check out the

BMW-style rear fender, which allows

the CB1000R to retain that stubby tail.

Available in black or a metallic dark red (as

seen on the NSC concept), the CB1000R

will take the place of Honda’s outgoing

bike of the same name. Honda’s shaved

more than 11 kilos off their big retro, and

the engine has been updated, as well, with

a variation of the CBR1000RR Fireblade

lump. Shorter gears mean the new bike

pulls harder than the RR through the first

three gears. And should riders still wonder

“how fast” (they always do), the new bike

makes 143.5 horsepower at 10,500 rpm

and 104Nm of torque at 8,250 rpm. That

should satisfy most.

Riders also get multiple riding modes,

three-mode Throttle By Wire, and Honda

Selectable Torque Control, plus an assist/

slipper clutch. Expect a fully adjustable

suspension package, as Honda’s stuffed

a Showa Separate Function Big Piston

(SFF-BP) inverted fork up front with a rear

monoshock, also from Showa. If these

specs aren’t exciting enough for you,

a CB1000R+ will be coming soon with

aluminium bodywork and a few other


No word on pricing or availability yet for the

SA market, but we sure hope it does cross

the ocean and make its way here. And if it

doesn’t, we say let’s all get together and

strike outside Honda SA... (joke)


Get out and ride with our



UP TO R20 000





The choice is

Exclusive to Honda East Rand Mall customers only. T&C’s apply.



Honda Wing East Rand Mall

Tel 011 826 4444. Cnr Jan Smuts & Loizides Streets, Boksburg

Email: ggani@imperialhonda.co.za Gino: 082 475 7714

Shaun: 072 260 9525 Daleen: 076 516 2038


original CB4 concept was based on

the Honda CB650, the CB4 Interceptor

appears to be based on the Honda

CB1000R, meaning it will carry more grunt

than the previous concept and could reach

production as cafe racer version of the

same. Technical specifi cations and details

remain scarce at the moment.

When the original CB4 concept was

showcased at EICMA 2015, Honda had

also showcased another concept, which

was recently launched as the Honda

X-ADV scooter. Going by that, we may be

able to expect the CB4 Interceptor hitting

the streets in two more years, and the wait

could not be any longer.

Honda CB4 Interceptor Concept

Honda’s European design studio is back with another super-sexy

concept bike based on the CB400. The CB4 Interceptor takes the retro

cafe racer style and flings it into the future with a faux-frameless design

and some very cool touches.

Honda has had a good outing at EICMA

2017. Alongside production models

including the 2018 Honda Africa Twin

Adventure Sport and the 2018 Honda

CB1000R among others, Honda also

showcased the Honda CB4 Interceptor.

The Honda CB4 Interceptor is based on

the Honda CB4 streetfi ghter concept

showcased at EICMA 2015. However,

the CB4 Interceptor is a mix of retro and

futuristic styling in a single-seater cafe

racer package developed by the Honda

R&D facility in Rome. Honda has once

again gone for the minimalist styling which

we have seen on the CB1000R. The

all-matte-black CB4 Interceptor looks

stunning from the rear too, with a petite

tail section ending in a cowl and sporting a

single-sided swingarm.

The CB4 Interceptor is as much a

harkening back to faired Hondas from

the 1980s as it is an example of futuristic

technology. The ring LED headlamp

surrounds what appears to be a small

turbine fan. This fan converts movement to

electricity which powers the touchscreen

on the fuel tank of the CB4 Interceptor.

Not to mention the LED surround lighting

up the moving fan will give it a rather

badass look from the front. While the





Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX

If you thought that the supercharged H2 and H2R duo

were a bit too much, at least they were sportbikes. How

about a sport tourer version of the H2, complete with

the supercharger and a stampede of 210 horses going two-up

touring? Well, that’s exactly what Kawasaki unveiled at EICMA

2017 in the form of the Ninja H2 SX.

Two years have passed since we had our

socks forcibly removed by the bonkers Ninja

H2, Kawasaki’s game-changing supercharged

litre-beater. But while it was sent to wow us, the

long game was always about the introduction of

production supercharged engines. And this is the

fi rst more mass-market destined model to emerge

from the project.

Still boasting the Ninja H2 moniker, the key letters

here are actually SX – denoting its touring intent.

While it would be logical to assume that Kawasaki

have simply bolted a rear subframe to their nuts

Ninja, the changes are actually far more extensive.

The chassis is new, the engine is new, and the

riding experience will be, too. The substantially

reworked engine also boasts a new fl avour of

supercharger to smooth out the power delivery, and

soften the H2’s dramatic punch. It’s also there to

allow the 998cc inline-four to muster 207bhp peak

power and 138Nm, while

achieving much-improved

emissions, and the same

sort of fuel economy

you’d expect from the

less well-endowed Versys

1000. Not only is it frugal,

but it allows the SX to

run a relatively small 19-litre

fuel tank, while still going the


The SE gets cornering lights,

and the top-spec dash, which

combines an analogue tacho

with a multi-function TFT

Colour dash (the stocker gets


LCD). There are two selectable display modes (Touring or Sport) to allow riders

to prioritise what they see on screen.

There’s also electronic cruise control, and KCMF (Kawasaki Cornering

Management Function), which uses an IMU to monitor engine and chassis

performance throughout the corner, modulating brake force and engine

power to get the best transition from acceleration to braking and back

again. There’s also traction control, a bi-directional quickshifter, launch

control, and engine braking control.

One surprise is the lack

of electronic suspension.

Nonetheless, it is fully adjustable

at both ends and there’s a remote

rear preload adjuster, too. There’s

plenty of competition in the fast touring

market, whether any of them can compete

with the SX will be one of 2018’s most

interesting questions.

The new SX comes in two fl avours, the full-fat SX SE, and

this base specifi cation SX. The differences aren’t dramatic,

and without confi rmed prices to judge the gap, it’s hard

to say whether the SE if worth the extra wonga. The most

obvious visual clue to which model is which is the colour


The SE comes in garish Ninja colours, while the stock SX

is black only. Other visual clues include a lower screen,

and a slab of plastic where the SE gets progressive

cornering lights. From the cockpit, you’ll also notice a

lower spec LCD screen sits alongside the analogue

tacho. Underneath the fairings, you get exactly the same

balanced supercharged engine, chassis, and 19 litre fuel

tank – delivering the same touring range. The SX weighs

4kg less than the SE, but you’re unlikely to notice that with

207bhp to play with.

Word from Kawasaki SA is that the bikes will land here around

May, with pricing starting from R400,000.

Z900RS Cafe Racer

Kawasaki surprised showgoers when it unveiled

the Z900RS Café, which is based on the Z900RS

that was showcased at the 2017 Tokyo Motor

Show. Kawasaki has taken the Z900RS and

lowered the handlebars as well as added a café

racer fairing. Other bits that add to the café racer

theme is the humped seat and the ultra loud,

green colour that’s exclusive to the Kawasaki

Z900RS café. Both the Z900RS and Z900RS

Café are inspired by the 1970’s Kawasaki Z1 and

based on the Z900 street bike.

The Kawasaki Z900 RS Café shares the same,

Z900 based, inline-four motor that powers the

Z900 RS. The engine in the Z900 makes 125PS,

however, in the Z900 RS / Café, the motor has

been retuned to make 111PS only. Like the

Z900RS, the Z900RS Café also gets traction

control and an assist and slip clutch.

The Z900RS/ Café and the Z900 also share the

same frame, albeit with a few revisions to the

upper portion of the frame to accommodate the

Z900RS/ Café’s tank shape. The triple clamps

have also been revised to shorten the trail. This

should result in slightly sharper steering.

If a retro styled, café-racer motorcycle is your

thing, the Z900RS Café should surely be on your

list of considerations. You, after all, cannot ignore

the styling or that green shade, can you?



Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE for 2018

Team Green’s latest addition to their top tier sportsbike stable is the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

There’s certainly more to it than a new paint job and a couple of extra letters on the name.

If you want to ride the road-going

equivalent of Kawasaki’s multichampionship-winning

ZX-10R there’s

already a multitude of choices. There’s

the Winter Test Edition Ninja ZX-10R, the

race-coloured ZX-10R KRT Replica or the

ultimate homologation-special version, the

Ninja ZX-10RR. And for 2018 there’s yet

another option – the new Ninja ZX-10R SE.

And while the RR model is the basis of the

WSB race bike, with engine changes to

allow more tuning potential, the new SE

promises to be the ultimate road-going

version of the ZX-10R.

It gets a brand new acronym: KECS. That

stands for Kawasaki Electronic Control

Suspension and it’s a system jointly

developed by the firm and Showa, adding

semi-active ride to the ZX-10R for the first


Add a classy-looking black and green paint

scheme, the same lightweight Marchesini

wheels used on the ZX-10RR and that

bike’s up-and-down quick-shifter into the

mix, and it looks like the ZX-10R SE will be

the version to have in 2018. Performance

is unchanged, with the same 200PS power

claim as the other ZX-10R models. Weight

is increased on the SE, but only fractionally;

its curb mass is 208kg compared to 206kg

for the normal ZX-10R.

The semi-active suspension is, of course,

the headline technology of the ZX-10R SE.

It’s the first time we’ve seen Showa’s take

on the idea, which has been pioneered by

the likes of Ohlins and WP.

Unlike rivals that use stepper motors to

adjust their damping settings on the fly, the

Showa system is based on a direct-acting

solenoid. The firm claims it’s faster to

respond than other arrangements, with a

reaction time of just one millisecond.

It takes its information from stroke sensors

on both the front and rear, which tell the

computer what direction the suspension

is moving, and how fast, 1000 times per

second. The bike’s inertial measurement

unit and fuel injection

computer add more

information 100 times

per second, letting

the KECS computer

decide how to adjust the


As the rider, the changes should

be seamless and undetectable,

although you’re also given the

choice of three modes – road, track or

manual. Road is softer, track is harder and

manual allows personalised base settings

from 15 steps compression and rebound.

All this kit has been bolted to the high-spec

suspension components from the ZX-

10RR – Showa’s Balance Free Front Fork

and Balance Free Rear Cushion lite – so

even before the electronics get involved it’s

some impressive kit.

The proof will be in the riding, but as long

as Kawasaki has got its computer settings

right there’s every reason to think the ZX-

10R SE could be a contender to be 2018’s

best litre-class superbike.





Cayenne Johannesburg Only

127 River Road, Barbeque Downs, Kyalami (next to Kyalami Racetrack)

Tel: +27 (0) 11 244 1900 | Fax: +27 (0) 86 639 6104

E-mail: info@cayenne.co.za | www.cayenne.co.za

Cayenne is the Official Importer & Distributor of TCX Boots.

Dealer Enquiries Welcome.

While stocks last, T’s & C’s Apply.


2018 KTM 790 Duke finally lands at EICMA

Last year, during the same event, KTM unveiled the 790 Duke concept

model, also known as The Scalpel. One year later and here we are with

the bike maker pulling the wraps off of the full production version that

comes with a spec sheet that will make an impact in the naked segment.

The 2018 KTM 790 Duke is described as

the company’s sharpest tool in the shed,

built with one thing in mind - to dominate

the street through power and agility. For

this reason, the engineers went with

an extra strong CroMo steel chassis

combined with KTM’s first inline

twin - the LC8c, with ‘c’ standing

for compact.

The latter displaces 799

cc and cranks 105

horsepower. KTM said

nothing about torque,

but considering it’s

a high-compression

two-cylinder, it should

be more than enough

to pop wheelies and

shred the tyre.

Power delivery goes

through a six-speed manual gearbox fitted

with an anti-hopping clutch, and there’s

even a quickshifter system mounted from

the factory allowing both up- and downshifts

without pulling the clutch lever.

But that’s not all, as the 790 Duke comes

with a lot of other advanced electronics.

Besides the standard ABS, you also benefit

from four riding modes (Sport, Street, Rain,

Track), traction control, and Motor Slip

Regulation (MSR), which is an engine brake

control. If due to shifting down or abrupt

throttle-off, the engine drag torque is too

high, the ride-by-wire system balances the

throttle exactly as much as is needed to

ensure a controlled deceleration.

The front end is fitted with four-piston radial

calipers biting on dual disc brakes and a

43 mm upside-down fork, which handles

the compression and rebound damping


in separate tubes. The springs are also

progressive, assuring a smooth operation

throughout the stroke and preventing

bottoming out.

The rear uses a gas-assisted WP shock

with progressive spring and preload

adjustment, and, in late KTM style, the rear

subframe is exposed, also housing the

airbox and allowing the engine to ‘breathe’

colder air.

Seat height is set at 825 mm, the tank can

hold 14 liters, and the whole assembly

offers a very generous 186 mm ground

clearance. With no fuel or fl uids, the 790

Duke tips the scale at 169 kg so it should

be somewhere around 185 kg when full,

which paired with the 105 hp engine,

should feel very snappy.

The new KTM 790 Duke is expected to

reach dealers sometime next year, and it

can be had in two color setups - gray on

black or gray/orange on black. Further

customization is possible through a wide

range of accessories including billet parts,

phone/GPS mounts, bar-end mirrors,

handlebar risers, crash pads, and more.

KTM Australia is yet to confi rm its

availability domestically, along with pricing

of the highly-anticipated model. Visit www.

ktm.com/au for the latest on the release

and more information.

2018 Aprilia RSV4

Aprilia the first to release production superbike with wings.

Aprilia have announced a

Factory Works kit for their

stunning RSV4 RF and

RR sportsbikes, which

increases power to 215bhp and

includes aerodynamic winglets,

as featured on today’s crop of

MotoGP missiles.

Carbon parts, a lighter fuel

tank, lithium-ion battery and

Akrapovic exhaust system

are also available and bring the

weight down by 10kg.

The kit also includes a number of

parts for the engine which together

signifi cantly increase

the power. Single-groove pistons with a

surface treatment reduce effort and give a

smoother action, giving a 4bhp increase


A cylinder head kit helps improve fl uid

dynamics to the intake and exhaust ducts.

This is further aided by new springs, valves

and related caps while new camshafts that

feature a surface treatment reduce friction

even further.

Combined with the Akrapovic system and

a new ECU that features a map for the

exhaust, Aprilia claim that the max power

increases to 215hp at the crank.

Giving it that true full-factory look, and

also improving aerodynamics are the

side fairings that feature winglets.

The wings are developed by

the factory Aprilia Racing

team and feature on the

RS-GP MotoGP machines.

Not only do they look trick,

the winglets also help with


There’s no word on price

yet, but don’t expect it

to be cheap.



The 2018 Husqvarna

Vitpilen 701 is Here!

Good things come to those who wait: the 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701!

Since it was first teased back in 2014, we

wondered how different the production

version would be from the concept, but

here it is: the 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701

– and it’s more amazing than we could’ve

hoped for. From concept to production,

we’ve been waiting for the moment that

the official unveiling of the Vitpilen 701.

The original concept was both minimalist

yet aggressive, and futuristic but classic,

and we wondered just how much of that

cool DNA would make the final cut…and

against all odds, pretty much everything

that Husqvarna promised has made it

to the final production model. This is an

unexpected turn of events indeed!

It’s been teased, spy shot, featured in

trailers, and talked about on a regular

basis since 2014. It was hyped up to the

maximum, and since this is the motorcycle

industry that we’re talking about, we

prepared ourselves for disappointment.

We got a first-hand glimpse of the bike

at the 2017 SA Bike Festival at Kyalami

back in May, where Husqvarna SA had

it proudly displayed on their stand. Since

then, we have been waiting

on details, and finally

they came at this years

Eicma Show.

The 2018 Husqvarna

Vitpilen 701 is everything

we wanted and more.

Since it was never far from

the headlines, we’re already

well aware of the Vitpilen

701’s performance

stats and vital

statistics. It’s

powered by a big liquid-cooled, 693cc

single that has a respectable 75

horsepower on tap and 70Nm of torque

on offer too. The engine isn’t a surprise,

because we’ve seen it on the KTM 690,

and the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto. But

it isn’t the engine that makes this bike so


Built on top of a laser cut, hydro formed

and machine welded chrome-moly steeltrellis

frame, we’ve got a motorcycle that

comes equipped with a vast array of

premium goodies that comes gloriously

wrapped in the most futuristic but subtle

bodywork out there. Boasting Brembo

brakes with a Bosch ABS system,

adjustable torque control, a slipper clutch

and KTM’s WP suspension, we’ve got a

motorcycle that’s technologically superb –

but there’s more.

The 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 boasts

beautifully engineered clip on handlebars,

aluminium forged triple clamps, LED

lighting, a MOKKA leather upholstered

saddle, and cast alloy rims too. Overall,

it’s held together in one of the most

attractive motorcycle bodies that we

have ever seen – and it’s lightweight too.

Weighing in a 157kg, the Vitpilen 701 in

an incredibly lightweight machine that

promises responsive handling and a

fantastic ride experience. If you’re looking

for a motorcycle that works well as a quirky

commuter that can also hold its own in

the canyons, then this is definitely worth

considering. At the moment, we’ve got

no word on the price…but after years of

waiting, we can wait a little longer for that.

Get on the phone to Husqvarna and KTM

though, because you’re going to want to

book a test ride on one of

these as soon as possible.

Get down to your nearest

Husqvarna dealer for full

details on price and arrival.



1222 Pretorius Street

Hatfi eld, Pretoria

Tel: (012) 342-8571



Massive CHRISTMAS SALE from 1st till 23rd December! 20% OFF ALL

Accessories in Store, INCLUDING the Latest 2018 PREMIUM BRANDS!


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AutoTrader new headline

sponsor for SA Bike Fest

South Africa Bike Festival and AutoTrader join forces to boost industry

growth and invest in the future of South Africa’s motorcycle market

South Africa Bike Festival, powered by

Discovery Channel, is now the market

leading annual showcase in the SA

motorcycling calendar. The third installment

returns to the legendary Kyalami Grand

Prix Circuit, 25-27 May 2018.

Alongside the existing headline media

partner, Discovery Channel, the three

powerhouses look forward to delivering

the strongest platform yet for the leading

motorcycle brands, manufacturers,

accessories and apparel, as well as all

industry and motoring lifestyle businesses

to meet upwards of 20 000 potential

customers and network with the wider

industry players to focus on the future of

motorcycling in South Africa.

Nicole Muller, Portfolio Director at Clarion

Events says; “The AutoTrader partnership

brings together two of the largest motoring

platforms in the live and digital spaces

in South Africa, alongside international

broadcast adventure and documentary

platform, Discovery Channel. This alliance

guarantees to drive commercial activity

all year round for motoring and lifestyle

brands, exhibitors and sponsors who have

invested in the festival since the beginning

as well as new brands looking to join and

benefi t from the exposure. We look forward

to working with our partners in the coming

months to ensure 360-degree coverage.

This will be the time when engagement

ignites across digital, live and broadcast

to create tangible unique experiences at

Africa’s leading international race circuit

and convention centre. The South African

consumer has the opportunity to meet

the people behind the industry as well as

the choice to try, test, ride and buy from a

multitude of brands in a safe and controlled

environment. Having worked with the

AutoTrader team since 2016, we are

delighted to be working even closer with a

leading, forward-thinking motoring brand in

South Africa who shares our vision.”

AutoTrader CEO George

Mienie says, “After 25 years, we have

successfully transitioned the business

from print to digital and our move to

support and now headline the largest live

bike event of it’s kind in SA, continues

our strategy to offer world-class market

leading solutions for buyers and sellers of

all vehicles. Our Bikes channel has grown

substantially with 2 million visits in the past

year so we are delighted to bring the digital

world into reality for this event, another

move to grow our bikes platform. As

market leaders it made sense to partner

with Clarion Events, the market leaders in

providing connectivity and business-critical

insight across communities of buyers and


The Clarion team are also pleased to

announce the offi cial brand ambassadors,

the “Voice of Motorsport” Greg

Moloney, “Biker Queen” Seipei Mashugane,

The Association of Motorcycle Importers &

Distributors in SA (AMID) and the Rainbow

Mzansi Bikers Organisation (RAMBO).

The combined intention for 2018 and

beyond is that “united we are STRONGER

and TOGETHER we can drive the

industry forward”. Motorcycling can offer

independence, mobility and an alternate

and cost effective means of transport

for SA Commuters. During these diffi cult

global economic times, by highlighting and

raising awareness of the positive impact

2 wheels can have for South Africa’s

future, we can have a positive impact on

environmental and economical solutions.

For further information, contact the team

via southafricabikefestival.com or call

/ WhatsApp the dedicated marketing

number 061 505 5727.

HiFlo Filters

from Trickbitz

All of the different brands of oil and

air fi lters can get confusing. We’ve

used these often without any issue.

The Hifl ofi ltro-Thai Yang Kitpaisan

factory was founded in 1955 and

has been manufacturing fi lters

for the OEM motor industry since

1963. With the experience of more

than four decades, continuous

research and development

and modern production

facilities, they manufacture

some of the best quality

fi lters in the world. Every

oil fi lter goes through 16

individual quality control checks

before it is ready to leave the

factory. The whole manufacturing

process, including the checking

of raw materials, individual fi lter

testing, is regularly audited and

verifi ed independently by TÜV SÜD.

There are applications for almost

every motorcycle, scooter, and ATV

that uses an oil fi lter.

Imported by trickbitz – www.

trickbitz.co.za or your nearest


Spanjaard’s Cleaning

Products: for all bikes

Yup! This full cleaning kit even comes with evefrything from

a bucket and nifty sponge to air fi lter oil spray, so you can

scrub up your bike or bakkie after a ride. Only R299.

At dealers Nation-wide.




Terms & conditions apply

Suzuki Motorcycles South Africa


Fire it Up



They’ve done it before, and now they are

doing it again!

To celebrate the support received from

their valued customers and the fact that

Fire It Up have been appointed as offi cial

Kawasaki Dealer in the Fourways area, Fire

It Up Kawasaki will be giving away prizes

valued at over R100k on Sunday the 24th of

December 2017 at 11.00am via a live feed

on their Facebook page.

• 3rd prize is ownership of the

personalised number plate MM 93 GP.

• 4th prize is ownership of the

personalised number plate NICKY 69 GP.

• 5th prize is ownership of the

personalised number plate DOVI 04 GP.

• 6th prize is ownership of the

personalised number plate MV 25 GP

New life at Clearwater

BMW Motorrad

The Impressive Clearwater Motorrad dealership near

Roodepoort has been in a bit of a state of fl ux for the

last few months. The store has new owners now – and

Motorrad man Craig Jones has brought in some very

experienced people to run the show.

Richard Friend and Jo Rust are on the showroom fl oor

waiting to sell you your next bike. There is always lekker

coffee, clean used BMW’s and, of course, always the

latest machinery on the fl oor. Full workshop and service

centre – and the accessory section is fi lling up nicely.

Clearwater Motors c/o Hendrik Potgieter and Falls Road,

Little Falls ext 6. Phone: 011 761 3500

To enter the giveaway is easy - simply

take a selfi e instore at Fire It Up! with the

Hashtag #fi reitup2017, check in and you

are entered!

Visit the store - Shop 3 & 4, Showrooms

On Leslie, Cnr William Nicol Dr & Leslie Ave,


• 1st prize is a Brand new Kawasaki

KLE300 Versys valued at R75000

including a genuine Kawasaki Dual

Purpose Jacket and Bell Helmet

(valued at R11000) brining the total of

value of the first prize to R86000!

• 2nd prize is ownership of the much

sought after VR46GP personalised

number plate worth thousands.



25 - 27 MAY 2018














Don’t miss your opportunity to join in the fun

with the “RocoMamas Custom, Vintage,

Classic & Retro Championship” taking place

at South Africa Bike Festival 25-27 May 2018.

After two years of incredible builds and custom

creativity we are thrilled to welcome back Frank

Sander, our international judge and builder

from Germany, and joining him from a local

perspective, Robert Coutts, from the 2 Stroke

Club. This year we are changing things up to

include more classic and restored categories and

we’re looking forward to yet another nationwide

search for the very best restored, maintained,

hand-built and customised motorcycles.

Our 2018 categories have been finalised and

we encourage all entries to register as soon

as possible to save their spot on the viewing

deck inside the Kyalami Pit Building. The top 60

motorcycles chosen will also join us for two-laps

around the circuit before positioning the bikes

indoors, undercover, secure and protected from

the elements.

Enter your Pride Of Joy today via the

festival website or whatsapp your pics and

details to 061 505 5727


• Scooter/Junior Bike Class

• Trike & 3-Wheeler Class

• Sport/ Streetbike Class

• Custom Sportsbike

• Streetfighter Class

• Stock Metric & European V-Twin

• Stock USA V- Twin

• Touring Class

• Custom V-Twin Class

• Radical Custom Class

• Custom MotoCross/Off-Road

• Classic Class: Every Motorcycle before


• Retro/Cafe Racer Class

• Two-Stroke Division – Custom/Original

• Two-Stroke Division – Classic Restoration

• Two-Stroke Division – MX category

• Overall winner and runner up

• People’s Choice award




to you by

Suter quits Moto2

Swiss manufacturer Suter has announced it is

withdrawing from Moto2 with immediate effect.

Suter has been a mainstay of grand prix motorcycling’s middle

category since Moto2 replaced the 250cc class in 2010, supplying

Marc Marquez during his title-winning season in 2012.

However, it has fallen out of favour in recent seasons, as rival brand

Kalex gradually established itself as the category’s dominant force.

Just two teams, Dynavolt Intact GP and Kiefer Racing, fi elded

Suter machinery this season, with the Swiss fi rm’s last victory in the

class coming back in 2014, courtesy of Thomas Luthi - although

Dominique Aegerter won on the road in Misano this year before

being disqualifi ed.

However, Kiefer chose to switch to KTM bikes for 2018, leaving

Intact GP as Suter’s sole customer and Xavi Vierge and Marcel

Schrotter as its only riders.

A statement issued by Suter on Friday said that it could not justify

competing in Moto2 with only two bikes on the grid.

Company founder and sometime 250cc racer Eskil Suter said:

“From a strategical point of view, this does not justify any further our

participation in the Moto2 world championship.”

Suter’s exit leaves a total of fi ve different chassis represented on the

2018 grid: Kalex, KTM, Tech 3, Speed Up and newcomers NTS.

Intact GP has announced it will revert to Kalex machinery next season.

New faces in WSBK

Loris Baz returns to the World SBK paddock for 2018,

while top Turk Toprak Razgatlioglu moves up from

the European Superstock

Loris Baz has been confi rmed to make

his return to World Superbike for the 2018

season with the Althea BMW.

Baz ended a three-year stint in MotoGP

after a season with Forward Racing in 2015,

and two campaigns for Avintia Ducati.

His tenure included two impressive fourthplace

fi nishes in the 2015 Misano and 2016

Brno races.

Prior to joining MotoGP, Baz spent three

seasons in World Superbike with Kawasaki,

winning two races and standing on the

podium 14 times.

Baz will join the Althea BMW squad next

year, which will downsize to a one-bike

operation after the departure of Jordi Torres,

who joins MV Agusta, and Raffaele De Rosa.

“I wanted to fi nd the best solution for my

future and I think I have found this in team

Althea,” said Bazi.

“I have known Genesio [Bevilacqua, team

boss] for a long time, so we talked and, to

be honest, it was very easy to come to an


“I know the team is strong – they won

the title with Carlos Checa after all – and I

consider the project a very interesting one,

also in light of the changes to the regulation.”


The Puccetti Kawasaki World Superbike

squad has announced it will run Superstock

1000 ace Toprak Razgatlioglu as its sole

rider next season.

Razgatlioglu, 21, fi nished runner-up

to Michael Ruben Rinaldi in this year’s

Superstock 1000 season, losing out on the

crown by only eight points after being forced

to skip a race at Magny-Cours.

The Turkish rider has long been linked with

a step up to WSBK in 2018, and fi lls the

seat occupied by Randy Krummenacher,

Anthony West and Sylvain Guintoli at various

points this season.

“I am happy to step up in WorldSBK

next year,” said Razgatlioglu. “I have

been riding with the team Puccetti for a

couple of seasons now and so I know the

professionalism of the people working here.

“I am confi dent that I will have all what I

need to learn the new bike and be able to

fi ght for good results soon.”

Guintoli had initially been expected to join

Puccetti full-time next season as he returned

to WSBK with the Italian squad for the fi nal

two rounds of the season in Jerez and Qatar.

However, it’s understood the French rider

ultimately turned down the chance of a fulltime

comeback to the championship in order

to take on a MotoGP test role for Suzuki.

2018 WSBK line-up so far:

Kawasaki - Jonathan Rea / Tom Sykes

Ducati - Chaz Davies / Marco Melandri

Crescent Yamaha - Alex Lowes / Michael

van der Mark

Honda Ten Kate - Leon Camier / TBA

MV Agusta - Jordi Torres

Puccetti Kawasaki - Toprak Razgatlioglu

GoEleven Kawasaki - Roman Ramos

Orelak Kawasaki - Leandro Mercado

Althea BMW - Loris Baz



Dual compound technology

The new reference

tyre in the sports


An incomparable sensation of grip


“In terms of safety, the front tire

of the MICHELIN Power RS sets


the standard.“

Exceptional straight-line

and cornering stability

Front tyre profile derived

from race competition

Rubber compounds

derived from racing

“The best stability during sequences of

curves, even on a simulation of a country


Pole-winning performance: agility and

handling when changing direction, under

braking and when accelerating hard!

“Extremely agile, with exceptional directional

stability and impeccable handling in

cornering; All this makes Michelin the winner


(and not only in terms of points).“

New technology

A new patented construction for exceptional straight-line

and cornering stability.

A single ply ensures a more flexible crown, while the side

ply back over itself.

Harder rubber underneath the softer rubber on the

shoulders gives better rigidity at lean, for more stability

when cornering, especially under strong accelaration.



to you by

Marquez breaks more records

Marc Marquez becomes youngest-ever 4-time world champion

Marc Marquez became the youngest rider in

MotoGP history to win four world titles at a

dramatic Valencia MotoGP fi nale.

Watched by a crowd of 110,000 at the

Circuit Ricardo Tormo, the race pitted the

24-year-old Repsol Honda rider against

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Marquez fi nished in third place, while

Dovizioso retired after crashing into the

gravel late into the race, ensuring Marquez,

the defending world champion, retained his


It was a tense fi nale at the end of a closefought

2017 MotoGP season.

Marquez was defending a 21-point

championship lead over Dovizioso heading in

the 18th and fi nal race and sped into an early

lead from pole position.

The Catalan rider sensibly let combative

Frenchman Johann Zarco through to head

the race. Behind them, Marquez’s Honda

teammate Dani Pedrosa and the two Ducatis

of Jorge Lorenzo and Dovizioso gave chase.

For long periods, it appeared that Lorenzo

was inexplicably holding up his teammate.

Signals from his crew seemed to be

imploring the Malaga man to allow Dovizioso

through, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, Marquez followed Zarco at

the front, apparently content to let the

Frenchman pursue a maiden premier class

win. However, as the laps ticked down,

Marquez ran out of patience and swept by,

only to lose the front end of his Honda in the

following corner.

It was the kind of moment that has come to

defi ne his career.

As his bike began to slide from beneath him,

Marquez jammed an elbow into the tarmac,

lifting the Honda back onto its wheels. The

bike hit the gravel, but Marquez somehow

managed to maintain control and re-join the

race, in fi fth place.

Shortly after though, Lorenzo and

Dovizioso’s races ended. Lorenzo

spectacularly crashing out, while Dovizioso

- like Marquez - succumbed to the lure of

the gravel. Unlike his rival though, he was

unable to keep his bike upright.

Dani Pedrosa denied Zarco his fi rst MotoGP

win, with last year’s Moto2 champion

fi nishing second. Marquez clawed his way

back to third, meaning he could celebrate his

championship win from the podium.

Marquez’s victory was his fourth in fi ve years

in motorcycling’s premier class and his sixth

world title overall -- he won the 125cc class

in 2010 and the Moto2 crown two years later.

Catalan’s fans streamed onto the track,

handing Marquez a giant red die, and laying

down a mock board game. Of course, the

now six-time world champion rolled a six.

“I’m living a dream,” Marquez told reporters

after the race. “’Six Titles’ are big words.”

“Today the race was incredibly tense

and exciting -- a bit ‘Marquez Style’,” he

laughed. “I made a mistake, but I also made

my best save of the year.”

Pedrosa was aghast at his teammate’s

save: “It was incredible. The smoke, the

noise, the speed -- wow, impressive!”

Dovizioso was philosophical about his

season. “I tried everything and I think that

we have to be pleased with this weekend.

We weren’t as quick as Marquez but we

fought to the very end,” he said.

“I put myself in the right position but,

unfortunately, I didn’t have many cards to play.”

He also rubbished suggestions that Lorenzo

had held him up. “In the end staying behind

him helped me ride in a smoother way, so

it was positive he was in front of me,” he


“We were all at the limit, even Marc who

managed to save himself once again from

a crash, and I want to congratulate him

because also this year he managed to make

the difference.”

Marquez also had kind words for his rival.

“I’m sorry that Andrea didn’t fi nish the race,

as he deserved to do so,” he said. “He had

an incredible season and I would have liked

to have him on the podium with me today.”



RF magazine play.indd 1006

2014/12/27 8:44 AM

Helmets worth a look

When it comes to buying riding gear, no piece of equipment is more

important than a good motorcycle helmet.

Protecting a motorcycle rider’s head is serious business, but with

so many styles and brands on the market, choosing a motorcycle

helmet can be as difficult as choosing the right motorcycle.

Since the early 1900s, motorcycle helmets have evolved nearly as

much as the bikes themselves. Crash helmets used to be simple

canvas domes covered in brittle shellac, but current lids are

comfortable, safe, and connected in ways never before thought

possible. The process of choosing one can be confusing, however.

The market is flooded with countless options with different styles and

price points, but fear not, we’re here to help.

This month we feature part 2, and highlight some of the best top of

the range helmets on the market.

AGV Pista GPR Carbon

The pinnacle of professional motorcycle racing protection.

The ultimate track helmet. The AGV Pista GP-R Helmet

features an integrated hydration system developed with top

riders with tube routing optimized to eliminate distraction

for completely unencumbered hydration while riding. Moto

GP developed metal air vents with an innovative external fins

structure have been engineered to capture maximum airflow

in the front of the shell and increase air pressure on the

rear exhaust, therefore increasing the speed of air transition

inside the helmet, and leading to higher cooling performance.

The wind-tunnel-tested “biplano” spoiler has multiple wings

to maximize aerodynamic performance and add stability at

high speed. The extremely compact and light 100% carbon

fiber shell’s shape is designed to minimize interference with

the racing suit and limit risk of impact energy transfer to the

collarbone, while the interior has an adaptable fit and places

no stitching in sensitive areas. The result is a helmet that

approaches perfection in terms of eliminating distraction and

maximizing comfort for the ultimate pro-level track riding

experience- the AGV Pista GPR Carbon Helmet.

Available in Ianonne replica, Rossi and VR46 project.

Price: R23 990 From: RACE! SA 011 466 6666


AGV Corsa R

Exceptional Italian hardware for the serious sport rider

and track day enthusiast, the AGV Corsa R Helmet is

a professional-level piece of equipment. Engineered

to the same exacting standard as AGV’s flagship Pista

GP R Carbon, the Corsa R benefits from the Moto-

GP-level Pista’s research and development process,

inheriting many of the same features.

The Corsa uses the same shell and ventilation design

as Pista GP Carbon but without the additional expense

of full carbon construction, opting instead for an equally

strong proprietary blend of carbon and aramid fibers

with traditional fiberglass. Race-bred features including a

condition-dependent reversible crown comfort liner for peak

performance in either heat or cold, an aerodynamic spoiler and humpcompatible

shell design testify to the level of engineering expertise poured

into the AGV Corsa R Helmet. Available in Rossi Goodwood and Pol Espargaro.

Price: R16 990 From: RACE! SA 011 466 6666

BELL Racestar

The Bell Race Star Helmet has been designed for the

sport rider and track day enthusiast that demands

unparalleled performance. Constructed using the

latest in carbon fiber technology and developed

through extensive wind tunnel and track testing, the

Race Star’s design features a superlight 3K Carbon

Shell, Raceview ergonomics for unmatched visibility

and the three layer Flex Impact Liner to manage slow,

mid and high energy impacts. The Race Star continues

the racing heritage of the Bell Star line, pushing the

limits of helmet technology to all new heights.

This is the same lid our very own Brad Binder wears, and

our test rider Shaun Portman, so we know it’s good!

Price: R11 999 From: Full Throttle - 011 452 2397


The HJC RPHA 11 builds upon the hugely

successful RPHA 10, creating an even more

finely tuned helmet for sport and track-day

enthusiasts. A more aerodynamically refined

shell, improved rear spoiler design, ACS

“Advanced Channeling Ventilation System”,

an added forehead vent, greater field of

view, a redesigned face shield gasket system

and both clear and smoke tinted opticallysuperior

Pinlock-ready 2D flat-racing shields

round out the features of this helmet.

Two new limited edition styles will be

available in 2018 - The Military Camo and

Miliraty White Sands (both pictured here).

Price: R10 995 From: Randburg MC 011 792 6829


SLIME Powersport tyre inflator

The mini-kit is ideal for vehicles

such as motorcycles and ATVs,

which are unable to carry a

spare tyre. Included in the kit is

a powerful, palm-sized ( 6x6 ) air

compressor and accessories to

inflate tires in minutes. The kit is

so small and portable, it stores

easily under a seat, in a saddle

bag, or in any small area. The kit

includes everything required to

perform an emergency repair - an

air hose with quick-clip, optional

power cord configurations to ensure

connection to any 12-volt DC source

– motorcycle, ATV or other vehicle -

all in a small, shock-proof and water-proof zippered pouch.

From: Most motorcycle accessory stores


A work apron is a protective garment that covers the front

of the body. It protects clothes from wear and tear and

includes pockets to hold tools (tools not included).


• 13 multi-purpose waist pockets for all tools.

• 1 Chest pocket for pens and handy note etc.

• 2 extra hammer loops.

• Quick release buckle for convenient action.

• 100% cotton for more comfort and durability.

• Fully adjustable size..

Price: R257.21 From: Vermont Sales Group - 011 314 7711

SBK Eyewear special

The new range of official SBK Eyewear has just arrived in SA, and they have

a massive special on for the month of December. When you buy a new pair of

shades you get a FREE cap, case and lens/visor cleaner. Brilliant value for money,

and the perfect Christmas gift for you or your loved one.

From: SBK Eyewear - Belinda 082 654 5690

MOTUL quality products

Motul has a massive range of quality products for all motorcycles, from oils to

lubricants and cleaning products. Here we feature 3 great products that every biker

should have in the garage.

1: Motul Stabilizer: It’s a multipurpose formula to protect gasoline against oxidation,

making it easier for your motorcycle to start up after wintering. the solution also

helps avoiding deposits building up in the carburettor, combustion chamber and on

valves, along with cleaning valves for optimum engine performance.

2: The P3 tyre repair: Re-inflates and repairs motorcycle tyres with instant effect

without the need of any additional tools.

3: Scratch Remover: Removes superficial scratches on any painted or varnished

surfaces: motorcycle fairings, helmet, etc ... Restores gloss paints and varnishes.

Removes superficial scratches on any painted or varnished surfaces: motorcycle

fairings, helmet, etc ... Restores gloss paints and varnishes.

From: Most motorcycle accessory stores



Bourgeoisie Bikes

There is a certain class associated with exclusivity, whether it’s the luxurious feel of

Egyptian cotton or the elegance of an expensive timepiece. Anything that is not part of

what the masses partake in motivates us mere mortals to strive for that elusive slice of

intangible recognition. Words: The Singh Pics: Gerrit Erasmus (Beam Productions)



he misty mountains of

Mpumalanga represent that level

of tasteful exclusivity, perhaps

not during the peak tourist infested times

of December, but for the remainder of

the year, it is a surreal destination that

invigorates the soul and frees the mind.

I had not frequented my favourite

corners for the better part of a year, work

commitments and completing my novel

took vast chunks out of my tar scorching

adventures. I had expected the roads to

display signs of timely decay and ill-planned

maintenance, but surprisingly they were

adequately competent.

When we selected the dates for our

weekend test, the forecasts predicted

scattered thundershowers throughout the

day. I commute every day. Fair weather,

rain even the occasional snow storm, but

rain, mist and the declining radius corners

of Long Tom Pass do not represent

recreational entertainment for me. I’ve

survived frost warnings on those roads

where visibility was reduced to staring just

past your handle bars and pouring rain

that make the rubber that you trust in feel

like spray and cook on a baking tin. It’s a

harrowing experience and once you tick it

off your bucket list, it should remain there.

Either way, we were out of options, so

when we arrived at Rob’s place to fetch the

GSXR-RRR R and the ZX 10RRR, (more Rs

mean more expensive, ie more Rands) we

were excited with a twinge of nervousness.

The Suzuki’s tyres had been munched on

by Rob on the previous day, which had

me scowling slightly as we left for our


After the Suzuki had won my own

personal Pirelli BOTY test, I was bubbling

with enthusiasm to ride the elite version

of this machine. The GSXR with its loyal

fan base has been selling well and that’s

encouraging to see in our current economic


climate. The exclusive model features a few

tweaks and tricks but the most enticing

gimmick on this machine are the balance

free forks.

Showa themselves explain the

suspension like this: “Usually suspensions

are installed with positive and negative

pressure valve settings and cavitation

(oil foam) pressure balance fluctuation

generates due to large pressure resistance.

The new suspension is designed with

balance-free structure that has no

fluctuation and will offer smooth operation

due to its new hydraulic circuit. By

generating damping force at large flow rate,

response, controllability at slow speed and

uniformity has improved.”

In simple terms, this equates to a

smoother ride, where the impact of uneven

road surfaces are muted by the technology.

With the condition of some of our blacktops

this intervention should become mandatory.

With 1500km on the GSXR’s clocks one

can feel the engine is beginning to loosen

up. It’s like a new set of leathers that needs

continuous use to become comfortable.

Mieke was on the ZX for the entire journey

to Sabie so I will reserve my comments on

the Kawa for later. We were disappointed

that the Honda SP could not participate in

“The Suzuki engine as always is relentless.

Power is available from anywhere across

its rev range and the bike makes its

presence known with malicious intent.The

suspension feels flighty initially but, as you

apply throttle the bike squats onto the tar

with the same kind of aggression as The

Hulk trying to lift Thor’s hammer.”

this test and trying to source an R1M was

like trying to find an honest politician. It is

the stuff of dreams and legends.

The Suzuki engine as always is

relentless. Power is available from anywhere

across its rev range and the bike makes its

presence known with malicious intent. The

suspension feels flighty initially but, as you

apply throttle the bike squats onto the tar

with the same kind of aggression as The

Hulk trying to lift Thor’s hammer.

The BMW RR has always been an

incredibly versatile road bike, its balanced

fueling and DDC suspension have become

fantastic companions to the adventurous

road rider. Suzuki has shifted this bar with

its latest incarnation. The fueling on the

GSXR is progressive and smooth, where

the BMW or R1 needs to be continuously

fed. It’s like a nicotine addict that begins

vaping in order to quit smoking but needs

incredibly high doses just to keep sane. The

suspension on the Suzuki deals with slights

in the tar with insipient patience, it responds

immediately whereas the DDC needs

nanoseconds to adjust. It may appear as if

we are splitting straws, but like the impact

of social media on public opinion, the

microcosmic differences between the bikes

are the core focus of consumerism.

We roared into Dullstroom chasing

the wisps of thunderclouds. I sipped on

my Earl Grey while Mieke nursed a Lindt

hot chocolate, both our eyes focused

warily on the distant mountains of Sabie.

We hastened through a smoked trout

pancake and rushed towards Lydenburg.

The weather was miraculously holding

and we kept at a steady pace to the

foothills of Long Tom Pass. The tar on the

mountain road is grippy and shreds tyres

with disdainful ease. The pass itself is


notorious for sluggish trucks that hold up

vehicle trains forever and create more of a

risk for traffic than the actual gradient. As

we climbed the lower foothills, it became

glaringly apparent how vastly superior the

balance free forks are in comparison to

other current suspension systems. The

relentless power of the GSXR gobbled up

the steep incline of Long Tom in a blaze of

fluid overtaking and flawless apexing. I had

the luggage with me, the ZX10 RR having

only one foot peg, so my usual acrobatics

were slightly limited, none the less, the

GSXR was as agile as a Bolshevik ballerina

on steroids. There are a few brutal corners

in a stretch of the pass called The Staircase.

These corners comprise of grueling second

gear turns that keep twisting until you find

yourself looking so far through the corner

that you end up with a stiff neck.

We descended into Sabie with sighs of

relief, the weather had held off. I quickly did

a lazy hazy. Although I was exhausted, the

22 is always a welcome sight and it did not

disappoint. Two other road legends were on

the 22 as I gently engaged the twisties. As I

reached the turnaround point I noticed that

some helpful individual had actually painted

a finish line at the end. Was this perhaps

an indication that the fabled 22 was in fact

a race track? Either way, I returned to the

woodsman to await the arrival of our host.

The jovial countenance of Thomas Bohm

greeted us at the Woodsman. His curiosity

piqued at the elite machines that we had

brought with us on this test.

After a quick beverage we sauntered

to our accommodation. The Windmill

cottages are a long stone’s throw from the

end of the 22. Linked to an

exotic wine shop with oodles

of craft beer, the venue is

reminiscent of a fairy tale.

With tastefully decorated selfcatering

cottages and a crystal clear view

of the valley, it’s a far cry from the sparsely

furnished practical accommodation of The

Woodsman that we normally reside in.

This was an exclusive test and we were

privileged to be housed in luxurious digs.

We unstrapped the luggage and went

out for another few rounds on our favourite

patch of tar. Thomas rode the Suzuki and

I finally got a stint on the ZX 10RR. After

the standard model had won our Durban

Test, many of my riding colleagues seemed

unconvinced about my change of stance.

As a road tester, there are many factors

that influence the outcome of a result. The

bike is just one cog in the larger machinery

of what we hope to provide. A concise

“The Windmill cottages are a

long stone’s throw from the

end of the 22. Linked to an

exotic wine shop with oodles

of craft beer, the venue is

reminiscent of a fairy tale.”


summary of what these steeds are like to

live with every day. Bad weather, crappy

tyres, inconsiderate motorists and the

occasional runaway locals are just some of

the additional factors that we must take into

consideration when providing our input.

Most riders think that the life of a

journalist is all unicorns and rainbows, after

all we get to test the latest and greatest,

it’s all caviar and Moet with dollops of

silky smooth environments coupled with

gorgeous pit girls that ooze sexuality. Well

ok, on that front, having Mieke along ticks

that box in abundance. On the converse

side, it’s riddled with multiple double takes,

grumpy editors and a tedious fixation on

testing the limits of bikes in road conditions,

while staying alive.

Track testing is grueling and painful,

but apart from the physical condition of

the rider, the only component of the test

that is an actual variable is the skill of the

rider. The environment is predictable, the

traction is predetermined and chances of

anything going wrong is entirely dependent

on the intelligent quotient of the tester. A

lot of my biking mates always want me to

join them on track. Most times I decline, I

find the track as refreshing as a lobotomy.

The quick riders like the Rob, Shez, Uncle

Ricky and a few others are a pleasure to

“As testers most of us can only hope

to touch the limits of the technology

we test and for that, it’s worth every

curse, every obstacle and every

moment of imperfect perfection.”

watch, their movements predefined by the

subconscious repetition of engaging the

same patch of tar, consistently for hundreds

of laps, others present a mismatched set

of stressed, ego driven excursions into the

depths of their own limits. It is hilarious to

watch “fast” A group riders being blitzed

by true masters of speed. A lesson in

perception of self versus actual self.

Being fast and thinking you are fast are

two entirely different concepts. One that

I feel defines the true rider, whether you

peruse the road or the track.

Both the road and tar require a certain

level of courage, but conquering fear and

the premise of mortality is defined by

the risks associated with the actions we

take. Both these disciplines are equally

responsible for the success and failure

of certain brands. As testers most of us

can only hope to touch the limits of the

technology we test and for that, it’s worth

every curse, every obstacle and every

moment of imperfect perfection.

The ZX 10RR is responsive and sports

the best sounding standard exhaust in

the market. The gearing is not ideal for

quick roll-ons but once you flirt with higher

revolutions the Kawasaki is aggressively

predictable. It feels heavier than the

Suzuki but once tipped in, it holds its line

with magnetic clarity. The lightness of the

Marchesini rims is apparent from the first

corner, the ZX feels longer and with my taller

frame is far more comfortable to pose with.

One of the legendary riders of the 22

had a modified BMW RR present and it’s

only when you jump on the Beemer that

the vast chasm in technology becomes

obvious. The RR is only two years old now

and this particular bike is cared for with

diligent affection.

In this prestigious company, the BMW

feels aged, like a war veteran that is still

able to fight but lacks that finesse of the

younger participants. It responds with

alarming clarity but the smoothness that

impressed us pales next to the new breed

of competitor. The DDC feels lethargic

but still copes with the light bumps of the

road. The ZX 10RR and GSXRR outclass

the aging competitor in a spark of new

technology. Riding these bikes back to

back, the differences are abundantly clear.


I was beginning to get a cramp in my

wrist that reminded me, that although the

mind is infinite, the physical body requires

rest. Bidding our gallant companions a

refreshing and restful good night we retired

to our lovely cabin, complete with rustic

décor and spacious shower that could

easily accommodate three people.

The next day dawned misty with hints

of rain, the picturesque Mountain View

was obscured by a silvery haze of fog. It

was a perfect morning. Our gracious hosts

provided us with scrumptious buttery

scones and freshly ground coffee. Thomas

runs the Sabie Riding academy and his

institute needs no introduction, suffice to

say the course is independent of weather.

My experience in dirt riding is limited to the

sand that forms the boundary between the

road and the driveway, so I carefully avoid

anything to do with off-road.

As we patiently waited for the weather

to clear and the roads to dry, I observed the

discipline needed to execute off-road riding.

Thomas does most of these exercises with

a level of understated expertise that makes

it look way easier than it is to execute.

Much like road riding, it is the little things

that save your skin. A balance point here, or

using the brake there, normally defines the

line between a successful rider and those

that survive on luck.

The Robbit arrived and it was time to

take photos. Some of the magnificent

footage you witness is painstakingly and

patiently shot until we get the perfect shot. I

got to ride both the bikes again with cooler

conditions and damper roads. The Suzuki

has a marvelously calibrated traction control

system. The difference in each setting can be

individually sampled and one can definitely

feel the moto GP technology that has filtered

its way to the streets. It is truly a privilege to

feel the surgical precision of these modern

bikes and unless you actually ride one, it is

difficult to convey their superiority.

The auto blip on the Suzuki is flawless,

it shifts downwards with the smoothness

of butter on steaming popcorn and

the gearbox feels solid with each gear

slamming into the gate with no hesitation.

The ZX 10R has a good gear box and there

are no fluctuations in the rhythm of quickshifting,

the GSXR just does it better.

The stoppers on both bikes are

adequate to road riding, but progressive

use does tend to make both brakes feel

spongy. It is something I do not understand.

Who approves the final brake tests,

because the bikes are equipped with

Brembo, so what’s the excuse? They are

also not cheap components, so I ask again,

who approves the final products. In fact

who tests it and gives the final OK before

they are mass produced. It’s similar to the

shelf life of modern day cell phones, at 18







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months all the nonsense starts and it just

goes downhill from there.

As we were completing another death

defying U-turn, two Porsches blasted

past. A 911 Turbo and a GT3 RS. I could

not resist. I went from fi fth to second gear

in as much it takes to moisten the eye

and was off in tyre scorching pursuit. I

expected the cars to outrun the ZX 10R

with consummate ease, but I also know the

road so that adds a slight advantage to the

two wheel club.

I watched in glee as the 911 stomped on

his brakes, the car squatting like an angry

sumo wrestler at an eat as much as you like

buffet. The car catapulted out the corner

with grim power. The massive rear rubber

spitting up thousands of small stones

towards me. The thump of the multiple

pipes on the 911, momentarily drowned

out the exhaust note of the ZX 10. Scary,

but true. I backed off and followed with a

bit more distance between us. Somehow

I had begun using brakes and the gears

on the Kawasaki and wail of the 1000 cc

engine as she almost kissed her limiter in

second gear was orgasmic in the hollow

valleys of Sabie. The rampant Porsches

were on some sort of extended breakfast

run and both the cars continued past the

22 fi nish line. As I turned to return I watched

in mesmerized awe as another fi fteen or so

supercars fl ashed past. The posse included

a Ferrari 458 and even a Datsun GTR was

thrown into the mix…Odd, but although the

Skyline performs better than some of these

supercars it still feels, well, the interior is just

underwhelming. At almost R2 million it can

certainly hang with the big badges, but it’s

still a Datsun. But I test road bikes so who

cares what I say about cars.

By this stage the rubber on the Suzuki

had reached a stage of dangerous wear.

It was slipping at low rpms and although

I wanted to ride more, I decided to park

it. (Note to self, ask for pictures of tyre

condition before doing a 1000km test)

Either way, we only had the ZX 10R to play

with and after a few more runs, the skies

opened up and we had a lovely downpour.

Dinner was a provocative affair, I was

feeling exhausted so we ventured to a

fancy restaurant down the road. I ordered

the salmon salad. Little did I know that

they were actually a species of salmon

that came from Ethiopia and had obviously

been starved? They wrapped this skeletally

thin skin around a fresh rocket leaf and

presented that to me as my salad. It was

late, I was grumpy so I wolfed it down and

concentrated on dessert. Tomorrow the

journey back would begin.

The morning began with a more rain

and fog so thick you could trip over your

shadow. We waited till about 11am before

leaving. I have no issues riding in rain, but

even with advanced inertia management

units, I draw the line at slicks. Yes, the tyres

were that bad.

It was a treacherous ascent up Long

Tom, I had to keep reminding myself to turn

and not lean the bike. I cursed Rob but the

Suzuki never put a foot wrong. I wound

the traction up to 10 and even slight lateral

movement was captured by the bikes

electronics. I did not want to risk Mieke

riding the GSXR so she stayed on the

Kawa. When we hit the open freeways, we

did a few roll-ons. Granted the Suz had my

fat a$$ on it plus the luggage and we were

pretty even all the way to about 270. Which

means with equal riders the GSXR would

be the faster machine.

The rest of the trip panned into a

detached trip into straight-line boredom.

Kilometer after kilometer of straight tar.

Both machines were effortless in their

cruising speeds and once we reached our

destination, they both looked none the

worse for wear.

The weekend on these steeds endeared

me to them with a fondness that I have

become aloof from. Testing so many bikes

leaves one over awed and sometimes

detached. The GSXRR and ZX 10RR

are perfect for this sort of application.

Fast road, long distance and incredible

electronics. It’s a blissful blend of mind

warping performance coupled with the

marvels of modern research…what more

could we want.


Heat 8

Steering 9

Fuel 8

Acceleration 8

Throttle 9

Traffic 8

Servicing 6

Lights 7

Wind 8

New Rider 6

Total: 79/100


Heat 8

Steering 9

Fuel 7

Acceleration 9

Throttle 9

Traffic 8

Servicing 7

Lights 9

Wind 7

New Rider 6

Total: 79/100


Sabie in Luxury

H A V A L H 6 C W o r d s R o b P o r t m a n

When we do tests like this we approach

car manufacturers to get involved and help

us out with a vehicle to make the logistics a

bit easier. Most of the time we get nothing

but silence, not even the courtesy of a

response. This is once again where the old

‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’

saying came into play.

We contacted our good mate Greg

Moloney, who has a great contact at Haval

SA. Greg kindly made the call to Tyrone

Alberts, National Sales manager at Haval SA,

and asked if we could use a vehicle for the

weekend of the test. Tyrone gladly assisted

and gave us the new Haval H6C luxury SUV.

I first heard of the Haval brand earlier

this year at the SA Motoring Experience at

Kyalami, where I commentated with Greg,

and where Haval launched their brand in SA.

To be honest, I didn’t take too much

notice of the brand. I thought it was just

another Chinese brand hitting the SA market.

Boy was I wrong!

After spending the weekend with the

Haval H6C, my view on this ‘Chinese’ brand

has completely changed. Nothing about this

car is that cheap ‘Chinese’ cliché that we all

expect. It is pure quality through and through.

No wonder they are the biggest selling SUV

brand in China.

Right off the bat, the Haval H6 makes

an impression. It sports a handsome shape

designed by the man responsible for the

original BMW X5, Pierre Leclercq. It’s not

ground breaking, nor is it derivative, and the

proportions and silhouette are sophisticated.

Ditto the contemporary cabin with Audistyle

toggle, gear-lever and buttons on the

transmission tunnel, a large touchscreen,

lovely leather steering wheel and wellbolstered

seats. Original, no but so effective.

Every where you look you’ll find signs of

excellent quality, with damped buttons,

chunky switches and some decent materials,

all screwed together consistently well.

The car drives superbly well, and it’s

turbo-charged 2 litre petrol motor is sublime,

and complements the luxurious look and feel

of the car to a tee.

Space? It has plenty. The H6 also offers a

good back seat with more space than rivals I

have driven in the past, comfortable reclining

seats with ISOFIX anchors, rear vents,

reading lights and nice materials in the door

trims. Strip away the badging and you’d be

flummoxed as to the car’s origins.

The auto DCT transmission is pure delight,

and I loved the paddle shift on the steering

wheel. Gave this big SUV a very sporty feel...

right up my alley!

Overall, I was extremely impressed with

the Haval H6. It’s quality is on par, if not better

in some cases, than it’s much more illustrious

rivals. But, and this is where Haval really does

have one over it’s competitors, the price is

the real highlight of this car. Starting from

only R329,900, there is no better value-formoney

on the market today in the luxury SUV

segment. I urge you to go test drive one now.

You will not regret it!

We look forward to a great relationship in

the future with this great brand!

For the full range of vehicles, and there are

some great options, with specs and pricing,

visit www.haval.co.za.



Words: Mieke Oelofsen

When asked to describe my life the

popular #blessed springs to mind. Not

because my sugar daddy buys me a new

Hermès bag every other week, but rather

because I have so many opportunities to

experience what others can only dream of.

It does sound a bit cliché of course, so I

refrain from using it to gain more followers

on Instagram. I can however write about it,

and I hope it inspires you to live a little…

We set off for Sabie at midday on

Friday, myself on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR,

trailing not-too-far behind The Singh on

the route so familiar to us by now. The ZX

was cool and composed during the windy

stretches of road between Boksburg and

Belfast, even though I spent most of the

way hanging off the one side to keep a

straight(ish) line forward. The Singh, aboard

the Suzuki GSXR-1000R, had the added

weight advantage of our weekend luggage

to keep the bike grounded on the tar. Yes,

I did pack for two people in one bag – a

talent of mine. Any attempt at passing

trucks or larger vehicles had to be carefully

planned and executed, or you risked being

blown off course completely.

The ZX is super comfortable on longer

distance rides, the larger tank and front end

making it feel like a Cadillac on a highway

cruise. The bi-directional quickshifter –

standard on the RR model – is smooth,

but I would later discover it comes second

to the Suzuki’s. The front suspension felt

a bit…retarded. Like it just didn’t settle

quickly enough after consecutive bumps

in the road. It felt floaty in places, and like

someone high on space cakes, wasn’t

always to be relied upon . My initial elation

soon died down, and I found myself having

to focus more on the road surface ahead

than appreciating the winding roads and

beautiful scenery.

Lunch in the quaint town of Dullstroom

was a welcome pause, The Singh as

always in a rush to get to his favourite span

of road - Long Tom Pass – which would

take us to Sabie. Harry’s Pancakes was

our restaurant of choice for a change, the

trout pancake appeasing my grumbling

stomach, and the persistent Macadamia

Nut Vendor photobombing my postcard

#WishYouWereHere photo.

A quick fuel stop in Lydenburg had us

contemplating a possible over fuelling on

the Suzuki if the pump gauge is anything to

go by, with the Kawasaki being less thirsty

by a few litres at every station. A coin toss

later, and I happily settled back onto the

ZX-10RR. The mountainous pass loomed

ahead, and as we ascended the first uphill

stretch I felt the first grind of my molars.

For the record here - I’ve done this pass in

various weather conditions, on a multitude

of different motorcycles, and I still can’t get

myself to enjoy riding it. Perhaps it’s the

nothingness on the other side of the barrier,

I can’t be sure. I was hopeful that this new

premium Kawasaki would change my mind

about it.

The ZX handled the tighter turns with

poise, no doubt helped by the Marchesini

rims which makes for faster handling in

and out of corners. It being relative, of

course, since the ZX does require a bit

more effort for quick direction changes. I

absolutely love the ZX-10RR on open roads

and long sweeping corners. But it is a

very physical bike and after already having

ridden 300kms, the longer wheelbase does



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ecome apparent. If it’s the only bike you

ride, you probably won’t notice, but once

you ride the more compact Suzuki you will

observe the difference.

The sound, oh-em-gee, the sound!

Better than my 2011 ever dreamt of

sounding even with a full Arata exhaust

system. It brutally reminds you of the beast

lurking beneath the Winter Test livery. Like

a snapping dragon, the menacing sound

reverberates off the cliffs and crawling

motorists can be seen jerking awake and

frantically looking around for an impending

attack. As far as standard exhausts go, the

Kawasaki is at the top of the list, and it’s not

that bad looking.

Arriving late afternoon in a sunny Sabie,

feeling dehydrated and ready for a nap we

stopped at the ol’ Woodsman Pub to enjoy

a refreshing glass of lemonade. The Singh

- after a compulsory sighting lap – put both

bikes through their paces on the ‘22’. The

road surface was in better condition than

expected, despite the increased traffic of

logging trucks. I did notice more public

transport vehicles creeping along than

usual, and we know what death-defying

sidestep moves they can cause.

Our accommodation for the two nights

was at the Windmill Cottages with the lovely

hosts Jacky and Thomas Böhm. Located at

the Windmill Wine Shop just past the Sabie

‘22’ turnaround point, it is also home to the

Sabie River Valley Rider Academy - well

known by GS enthusiasts.

“Those of you who relish the

mountain air, ravishing scenery and

breathtaking roads will know how

difficult it is to set off for home again.

It’s almost like the mist rolling over

the mountains tries to cocoon you

from the outside reality, enticing you

to stay another day.”

A beautiful big room awaited us, with

king size bed and double shower – ideal for


A well-stocked kitchen, shared with 2

adjoining rooms, offered delicious coffee to

be enjoyed on the wraparound deck, whilst

you appreciate a view of the valley and

surrounding lands.

Dinner with friends was in order at The

Reserve, catching up on who rode / bought

/ sold what motorcycle, and who spent the

GDP of a small country on riding gear. The

food – my aubergine dish at least – was

appetizing, although some of the meat on

the plate next to mine was still ‘mooing’.

How odd, I thought, the vegetarian inside

cringing. A slow two-up ride on the Suzuki

back to our lodging would have certainly

been romantic, had we not had an almost

expired back tyre in the rain. We eventually

arrived safe and sound, ready to give tired

bodies a well-deserved rest.

A morning drizzle the following day

made for a late start to the photo session,

and I exploited the ideal cuddle weather.

Rob arrived in his larney ride, and we suited

up for the gruelling work that brings you,

the readers, drool-worthy photos. Up and

down, round and round we went, until the

Singh suddenly disappeared. Apparently,

he just had to chase down this Porsche -

Insert eyeroll – and chat to the driver, who

turned out to be a bit of a fan.

The day went by with more photo snaps,

endless U-turns, Kylo Ren looking stylish.

We called it quits when the fuel lights

came on, and the clouds gathered for the

afternoon rains.

Those of you who relish the mountain air,

ravishing scenery and breathtaking roads

will know how difficult it is to set off for

home again. It’s almost like the mist rolling

over the mountains tries to cocoon you

from the outside reality, enticing you to stay


another day. And not in the creepy horror

movie way, I assure you. Long Tom Pass

was a literal uphill battle, with up to ten cars

dragging along behind a truck and trailer

in some places. Overtaking when I can’t

see more than one car length ahead had

me holding my breath almost all the way

up to the plateau. My relief when I turned

the last corner in one piece must’ve been

evident on my face by the time I reached

Lydenburg. PS: The ‘Don’t try this at home’

warning applies here.

The Suzuki was a real treat on the

ill-maintained road to Dullstroom, and it

was only when riding behind the ZX-10RR

that you see how easily the suspension is

unsettled. Fully anticipating the same jolt

at every dip in the road, I was surprised to

find that the Suzuki handled much better.

Smooth feedback allowed me some short

bursts of speed - despite the worn tyre -

the traction control system worked with me,

not against me. I immediately felt confident

in the way the suspension reacted and just

soaked it up. The raised handlebars take

some getting used to though.

A brief stop at the Beans About Coffee

to stretch the legs and gulp some mocha,

with the Singh complaining about some

age-related issue being aggravated by the

ZX – I think he just wanted to spend more

time aboard the Suzuki. (Don’t worry, I got

another turn again farther down the road.)

Off we go again, ready to brave N4 highway

traffic and overzealous BMW X6M drivers

who think everyone is out to ‘dice’ them.

The Suzuki still has the same midrange

grunt we have come to love about

them, the engine feeling as strong as ever.

The welcome additions to the electronics

package make it a sweet deal for even a

non-diehard Suz fan. The only downside

on this bike is the lack of aesthetic appeal.

A hugger would’ve rounded it off better,

perhaps a less lacklustre cluster (Say

that quickly 3 times). Overall, it’s a worthy

contender in the 1000cc market.

After what felt like endless kilometres on

straights, the typical Johannesburg gloom

tainted the skies, announcing the end of

our trip. Aware of countless pre-article

discussions awaiting me at home, I felt a

bit sombre as I handed the keys back. But

alas, the next adventure awaits….


RF Garage


How to wash your motorcycle

If you want to keep your motorcycle clean, you have two options: wash it, or keep it

covered, in a garage, and only bring it out for photos when your social media profile

needs rejuvenating.

Knowing how to wash a motorcycle correctly

will save you time, money, and more than a

little disappointment along the way. Cleaning

a motorcycle not only removes corrosive

substances (i.e. road salt and grime) from

important parts and finishes, but is also is

a great opportunity for you to look over the

bike carefully for any structural or connection

issues that may not be immediately evident

from your daily perch in the saddle.

Step 1: Get your cleaning supplies together

The best way to wash your motorcycle

always starts with ensuring you have what

you need to get the job done, and done

right. Few things are as frustrating as clearing

your schedule, rolling your motorcycle into

position, cracking open a beer, and then

realizing that you don’t have the right supplies

to get started.

There are plenty of motorcycle cleaners to

choose from, so you don’t have to make

do with something else. All that glitters is

not gold, and all that makes suds is not

meant to clean motorcycles. From detailing

spray to rinse-less wash, when selecting

products to clean a motorcycle, be sure they

are designed for that purpose.

Luckily, Spanjaard have a very affordable

complete bike cleaning kit with everything you

need to look after your machine, so you don’t

have to look far (see on right).

The less you touch your motorcycle while

cleaning it, the better (more on this later).

However, when you must touch the

motorcycle, make sure you have the right

materials for the task:

• Sponges: Great for gently removing stuckon

grime without damaging finishes, but be

sure they do not pick up pieces of dirt in the

process or they can scratch your paint.

• Brushes: Mainly designed for areas like

spoked wheels that can handle a bit of elbow

grease, but should be used in a very limited

capacity, and only when other methods of dirt

removal fall short.

• Cloths and flannels: These work great for

the initial drying pass post wash.

• Chamios: Ultra-absorbent leather cloth that

is safe for all surfaces.

• Microfiber: Best for the finishing touches and

final pass with detailing spray. Microfiber does

a great job of trapping leftover dust, lint, etc.

Step 2: Get your work area in order

Once you have everything you need in order

to properly clean your motorcycle, you will

want to be sure that both your motorcycle

and your work area are ready to go. First,

before you begin, make sure the motorcycle

is cool. Like a temperamental toddler, your

motorcycle needs to be in the right mood for

its bath. A hot engine + cold water = thermal

shock. When metal gets hot, molecules

expand. A quick shot of cold water creates

an unceremonious snap back that could

cause damage.

You’ll also want to avoid working in direct

sunlight, which will make the soap dry faster

and thus will make it much more difficult

to do a good job cleaning your motorcycle

by increasing the probability of streaks and

water spots.

Step 3: Plug exhaust holes

While your motorcycle is generally pretty

resilient when it comes to water, it never

hurts to plug your exhaust with something

like the Bike Master Muffler Rubber Plug. You

can also just stuff a rag in the exhaust hole,

or simply cover it with a rubber glove in order

to keep the water out. This step is most

commonly seen with dirt bike riders, but is

something to consider for all motorcycles

that feature exhausts that are angled in a

way that would allow substantial amounts

of water to pool in them during the washing


Step 4: Give the motorcycle a quick spritz

In general terms, the less friction applied

while cleaning a motorcycle, the better. The

more you rub and scrub, the more likely

you are to have your sponge pick up small

particles of dirt and then grind them over

delicate surfaces. To lessen the likelihood of

this, spray down the entire motorcycle with

a combination of Spanjaard’s motorcycle

cleaner and water prior to touching it with

anything else. This will help loosen up some

of the gunk and wash it away before you

finish it off with elbow grease.

Start with a spray cleaner. Motorcycle spray


Brought to you by

cleaners should be applied to a dry bike

before rinsing. They work to take a first pass

at loosening up dried muck, bugs, and other

unsavoury remnants of the road.

Then rinse the motorcycle. After letting the

motorcycle spray cleaner do its job, you will

want to rinse it away with a standard-pressure

hose. While rockin’ a power washer sounds

like an efficient and fun method of doing this,

don’t! Unlike the siding on your house, your

motorcycle has a multitude of intricate pieces

that power washers can damage.

Step 5: Suds up your motorcycle

After your initial pass with the hose, you

can start getting to the meat of the process

of cleaning your motorcycle. This is the

part everyone thinks of when they think

“motorcycle wash.” As always, be very careful

with the amount of force you employ.

Here are some other tips to make the job


• Start at the top of your motorcycle and

work down.

• Ensure that the solution you are using is

right for the surface that you are using it on.

• If your sponge picks up any dirt, grime,

grease, etc., be sure to clean it thoroughly or

swap it out before continuing. You will also

want to change out the wash bucket, as grit

and grime have a tendency to pool at the


• Water and soap will spill on your bike’s

chain and brakes of your bike. This is to be

expected (more on that later). However, you

should not be scrubbing these areas as the

coating on each is part of what makes them

function correctly.

Step 6: Rinse your motorcycle

This step should happen relatively quickly

after lathering up your ride. You don’t want

to let soap dry on your motorcycle as it will

cause swirls and streaks that are hard to

remove. Don’t be afraid to be thorough here.

You really want to splash away any residue,

so get at it from all the angles.

Step 7: Dry the motorcycle

Rather quickly after washing a motorcycle,

you should dry it thoroughly. Water left in

creases and crevices over time can cause

corrosion. One of the best ways to do this is

to use an air blower of some type (leaf/snow

blower, shop vac on reverse, etc). This allows

for a hands-off approach that will reduce

swirls and save you some energy.

If you prefer a more tactical approach, you

can always use something like the S100

Drying Towel or natural chamois to gently

wipe away any excess water droplets.

A lot of people will take their bike out for a

ride as a way to finish off the drying process.

While this is a much more fun way of getting

the job done, it’s important to note that if your

bike has fairings, the air may be deflected

away from some areas, which will stay wet.

Additionally, you will need to be sure to

ride long enough for your engine to get hot

enough (for enough time) to really get the

excess water to evaporate.

When riding your motorcycle for the first

time post-wash, your brakes will most likely

perform somewhat differently as they work off

any excess water. It is best to ride cautiously

and work them out at low speed prior to

hitting the streets at full force.

Step 8: Re-lube the motorcycle chain

In a perfect world, the exact parts of your

bike that you wanted to clean would get

hit with precisely the right amount of water

and cleaning solution. The world, however,

is not perfect. By this point, you will have

undoubtedly splashed more than a little

bit of cleaning spray or soapy water over

lubed up parts of your bike. Most notably,

the motorcycle chain. Your best bet is to

ensure that you have re-lubed prior to logging

any more miles (all the lubes you need are

available in the Spanjaard cleaning kit).

Step 9: Waxing a motorcycle

By this point, your motorcycle is clean. You

have aggressively taken the fight to the

opponent and come out victorious. However,

diligence is key, and with that comes the

need for defence of your masterpiece.

The processes for polishing and waxing a

motorcycle is a article unto themselves, and

as noted above, we won’t be getting deep

into the details here.

Waxing your motorcycle will make the most

of your motorcycle cleaning. A product

like S100 Carnauba Paste Wax will seal in

the glistening goodness of your paint while

simultaneously protecting it from degradation

handed down from the elements.

While wax levels out and protects

imperfections in surfaces, polishing shaves

them down entirely. Honestly, you really

shouldn’t be polishing, as it is literally cutting

away layers of your clear coat on each pass.

The Spanjaard cleaning kit below is available

at most motorcycle stores country-wide.




Custom-Made Yamaha R1 Street By Ludovic Lazareth

It’s pretty common for a crashed bike to become a custom project. But how often does a bike get built for

a movie, crashed on set, and then rebuilt? It’s the kind of weird story—and motorcycle—that could only

come from Frenchman Ludovic Lazareth. Words: MaxAbout Pics: Cédric Collao


Yamaha YZF-R1 is a name that

brings the idea of sharp styling

and niche superbike spirit inside a

motorcycle lover. This case is totally

different as this typical R1 has gone

under the knife of French artist Ludovic

Lazareth. This looks quite distinctive

and can now be shifted into futuristic

list of motorcycles around the world.

He created this when he was free

from customer demands and other


The motorcycle may feel ultra fresh

but it underpins a 1999 Yamaha R1

that was modifi ed ten years ago for

Vin Diesel’s Babylon AD. The front

end of the original R1 was given to

some other project and this got itself

an all new, custom built front end for

more excitement. Yamaha R1 has

a conventional front end while this

machine uses swing-arm setup that

allow it to be unique among all others

Triumph Daytona 955’s wheels

are stocked at both the front and rear

section of the motorcycle. It now gets

single sided swing-arm at both the

ends. The shocks on the motorcycle

has been custom built by TFX

Suspension. The exhaust now looks

more like an important part of the frame

while its dead end can be seen studded

with LED lights that act as the taillight

for the modifi ed Yamaha R1 Street.

The fuel tank is made out of

aluminum while its outer cover is

carved from carbon fi ber. The same

fi ber can be seen on tail section, belly

pan and most of the body panels. The

brakes on offer on the Yamaha R1

are Brembo sourced while Lazareth

has even used an Acewell instrument

console, bar end mirrors and drag

bars on the front end. The motorcycle

claims a price tag of R820,000.




Can you believe the nerve of some staff? Our Kyle took a day off work to go and test the full

new range of BMW motorcycles. At least he came back with a smile and a really cool story.

Words: Kyle Lawrenson

We often get told we have the

best job in the world - we have

to admit that we do!!! Although

you think we ride all day everyday, we do

tend to work in front of a computer as

well, and run up ridiculous phone bills.

We are not Jet setters, but there is

always time to be one. Lets put it this way.

How cool would it be to get up at seven

in the morning and fly to the Kruger? That

is the foundation plan to a dirty weekend.

Leave nice and early, have a quick chow

on the plane while you watch all your

friends in the traffic from above.

Well lets pretend we are jet setters

and we are doing exactly that. No there

is no entertainment on the plane as it

is a 45 min flight but that’s more than


anyone can ask for. You don’t have a bar

to yourself, instead you can hear the war

stories from the weekend. But don’t let that

bother you, you just need to imagine what

happens next.

You land at a airport that looks like your

lapa in the back yard and is not much

bigger either. You get welcomed by a BMW

representative – who we will call Thando,

and get told that breakfast is waiting along

with a Mother Land Coffee. Now for you

coffee addicts out there. This is some great

coffee. Breakfast is full continental style with

a bit of a African flair.

After breakfast you meet a very confused

German. We will call this German Bagger.

Bagger is a BMW that is aiming at the

V-twin market in America. Confused right.

So as you can read we are at the BMW

Bagger Launch, and it gets better from

here. Lets not bore you about all the

proceedings of the morning. Lets get to the

good part. Well, there was a big issue! One

Bagger, 10 riders, now I know I have close

friends but I am not keen to get close to

journos I have only just met.

This is where everything got interesting.

BMW South Africa decided to try a new

style of launch. 10 riders and 10 New

models. Now that sounds great. So the

entertainment you wanted on the plane is

on the ground. How often can you say you

rode all day on eleven different “models?”.

Plan of attack is to ride all the models in

a day over 350 odd kays. Gives us plus

minus 30 – 40 kays a bike. Bad maths I

know but you must see my English. If it

is still bad I blame the editor he is from

Boksburg. Nowhere near enough ‘BOETS’

in this story.

Enough nonsense, the bikes. BMW had

the whole range of motorcycles available

from the G310 up to the new Bagger

1600. We chose a bike at random and that

was our order for the day, changing bike


R1200GS Rally

First bike of the day was the R1200GS

with the correct suspension, the Sport

suspension. Feels like there is more

technology on this bike than in a Sci-fi

movie. First things first, Enduro Pro mode

and see how she jumps over the gigantic

speed bumps. At first it felt like a bit of a

pogo stick but, messing around with the

different suspension modes you soon

find the sweet spot. The electronics in

the suspension is almost like BMW has

cloned Hilton Hayward and put him as the

computer controlling everything.

We know why BMW has sold so many

of these motorcycle; They are comfortable,

they are not going to rip your arms off and

they last for ever. This bike, as big as it is,

still doesn’t feel heavy when riding, it is

nimble and feels nice and slender unlike its

big brother the adventure. Smooth power

curve with a very responsive throttle. This

one was fitted with a quick shifter and they

do work well but, in traffic around town I’m

not sure if it is the greatest idea. What more

do you want. Put your handbag on the

back and off you go. No fuss, no worries.

All round a fantastic bike.


This bike doesn’t need to say much, it

looks the part and man alive is she fun to

ride. Fitted with a Akro pipe she sounds

fantastic, whether you are doing 60 kph

or 200kph. The sound is biblical. This bike

does not like going slowly, loves the revs

and loves going fast. The quick shifter on

this bike just compliments the whole bike.

Smooth and fast.

At a first glance you think this bike is out of

the Transformers movie and is about to turn

into a robot. With the amount of personality

this bike has I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

You would think that the S1000R has a

very superbike rider position, but it’s way


more relaxed, but at the same time when

you do ride her hard you don’t get the

feeling you’re on a naked bike at all, still

very sporty. Looking at the display you get

the feeling it’s miles in front of you. In the

same breath, the S1000R does feel like a

long bike but it isn’t really. If you want to put

your knee down on the infamous 22, you

can most defiantly do it on this bike.

R nineT Racer

The bike that stood out the most. Old

school retro, clearly in the old days they

new nothing about comfort because this

bike is just like its predecessors. It is not

comfy at all. Firm suspension with an

uncomfy rider position. Half the problem for

it being uncomfortable is the broken elbow

attached to the hand holding on. But the

styling and the woody factor out ways all

of that. For blasting to the coffee shop and

back this bike is fantastic.

With the same 1200 motor as the older

GS1200, you do feel torque steer and when

rolling on the cable throttle it feels like the

harder you try and stretch the cable the

faster you go. Keeping with the retro feel

there are no rider aids on this bike and that

is the best part. You ride the bike to your

abilities and not to the computers. Don’t be

fooled though, if you want to race up Long

Tom pass with your buddies. Our money

is on you. It handles great once you get a

hang of it.


The winner of the day. Sports tourer with a

quick shifter. Interesting isn’t it. Well if you

get the opportunity to ride one you will feel

the smoothest quick shifter in the market.

Last years model was amazing. This year

it feels smoother. Like a hot knife through

butter. No resistance. But that doesn’t

make the bike, what really makes the bike is

the personality.

This bike has so much attitude under

the seat, you can tour at 130 kph or race

around Kyalami. Everything about this bike

makes sense. The seat holds you in place

without getting numb. Yes, it is a de-tuned

1000RR but you don’t miss the power at

all as it has a very linear power curve. This

bike is an everyday bike you can take to the

track and still travel around town.


The loose cannon. Feels like someone

kicked you in your ring piece and you went

flying. The power delivery is unreal. Roll on

and boom, off you go. This is a complete

hooligan bike. You have so much fun riding

this bike. It offers raw power with a very

sensitive throttle and rough Gearbox. There

is nothing fancy about this bike at all. We

get the feeling BMW had excess 1200

motors and made a frame for the motors.

The ride is smooth when cruising along

at 160 kays, with being a naked you would

expect a lot of wind but you don’t really

get blown around. It is a really comfy bike

to ride. Suspension is firm but when riding

through town it doesn’t pose any problems.

We are pretty surprised we don’t see

many of these bikes on the road. It’s a pity

because they are so fun to ride. When we

had to change bikes I was glum about the

idea of riding a GS800.

GS800 Adventure

Unfortunately this bike was a bit lost on

the day. The 800 was fitted with TKC Tyres

and that is by all means not the best tyre

to try put your knee down on the 22. But

the day wasn’t about racing; more about

experiencing the bikes. The 800 Adventure

has been around for a while and is one

of BMW’s most reliable bikes next to the

GS1200. BMW has changed the graphics

on the Adventure and it looks really good.

The Adventure is a tall bike even for tall

arses like us. But the ergonomics of the

bike allow easy riding even for the shorter

chaps. With a smooth parallel twin motor

and gear box the adventure is ideal for

the longer trips and dirt roads. If you are

interested in buying one and the bike is

fitted with TKC tyres, I recommend putting

a steering damper on the 800 for the longer

tar roads.


1600 GTL

We have seen many of these bikes on the

road but, it has never crossed our mind

to ride the GTL. The GTL was surprising,

as big as she is, she rides beautifully. The

straight six engine delivers a smooth power

curve with lots of torque. The GTL is a big

bike but it is in a class of its own. Relax

twist the grip and sail away. The bike as a

whole is so smooth you get the feeling you

are in a limo. With an easy to use radio and

controls. The GTL is a street glider of note.

Lazy boy rider position with wide bars

making you feel king of the road. This bike

stole the camera all day. The GTL is an

elegant bike, classy, and meets all BMW

standards. The 5 series of bikes.

Bagger (Yes that’s what it’s called)

The confused German. BMW’s attempt to

get into the American market. Showing the

American manufacturers that you can build

a bagger and still have German quality.

Nothing over the top. The first concept was

built in 2015 and we have the production

model today. This bike was the main reason

for the launch. Don’t let your ignorance

blind you, this is a big bike. One I might

not use every day, BMW has a XR1000 for

that, but the Bagger is a bike that I would

like us to travel around South Africa on.

As big as this bike is, riding the Bagger

is an absolute pleasure. The ergonomics

behind this model is unreal. So much so, a

Journo showed everyone how low the bike

could go around corners by scrapping the

panniers. Now please don’t try this. He is

an expert at his job. i.e Jet Setter

A few years ago BMW installed electric

Powered reverse motors for the GTl and

now for the Bagger, and what a pleasure

it is. Hold the R button on the bars, the

revs increase and bobs your uncle you are

reversing into your parking. Impressive stuff.

Like the motor vehicles there are driving

assists and aids for everything. The bagger

has got lean assist lighting for cornering

in the dark, unfortunately couldn’t try that

out. The bagger follows a long streamline

design. With bars slightly narrower than the

GTL. All in all the Bagger is going to be a

big contender in the Cruiser market. The

one thing the Americans love is rock and

roll while on the road, the Baggers radio is

easy to use and surprisingly super clear.

So pump the Iron Maiden and maiden on.

Offering all the things the riders want with

German Quality. The Bagger we road had

Quick Shifter and panniers – R320 000.

Man alive, the sound this bike makes is

phenomenal – sounds like a M5 when you

ring its neck.

While we were hard at work, this is

what Kyle was doing... BASTARD!

The new Bagger is going to be a big

player in the SA market... Literally!

Urban GS

BMW’s Rnine T range has grown some

more. We rode the T Racer as well as The

Urban GS. The Urban GS looks like an

old R80. Now that’s cool. There is nothing

fancy or special to this bike at all. GS1200

motor air cooled, Cable throttle, no rider

aids, just you and the motorcycle. Much

softer suspension than the racer with bigger

wheels and off road tekkies. Offering a more

MX feel riding style to the T Racer. This bike

is more for looking the part and enjoying the



We did the local launch of the 310 a few

months back and we loved it. A entry

level BMW under 60K. We rode it again

and even though it was the smallest and

the slowest bike at 140kph this little bike

was still the talk of the trip. It lugged both

bigger and small chaps up the hills without

missing a beat. Opening up in the revs she

pulls through and finds the angry side, but

through traffic in the lower rpm region she

was happy.

We spent the last few hours on the 310

and by the time we got back to the airport it

felt like you were saying good-bye to an old

friend. You have so much fun riding the little

bike you forget about the other awesome

bikes you rode all day.

After all it was a day in the saddle with

some good friends and great bikes. My pick

of the day would still be the XR1000. Now

back to the part about being a Jet Setter.

That is the way to Jet Set – Kid Rock can

keep his private planes.


First Ride Yamaha Tracer 700




The Yamaha MT07 Tracer

Occasionally a seemingly unassuming bike just knocks your boots off. The new

MT07 Tracer is one of them… Words: Kyle Lawrenson Pics: Glenn Foley


hen you think parallel

twin midrange bike,

you get visions of a

commuter/chilled, delivery kind

of motorcycle. A week on board

Yamaha’s baby bike convinced us

otherwise. Naturally you’d want

to compare this bike to a bike

like one of the worlds best-selling

motorcycles, Honda’s NC, but the

personalities are just so different.

Where the NC can be described

with expletives like conservative

and businesslike, the Tracer

can be described as hooligan,

comfortable excitement. And this

is largely attributed to Yamaha’s

amazing engine.

After a week in the saddle, we

know exactly what this bike is all

about, a comfortable, punchy, fun

to ride motorcycle with heaps of


Some of the trips that we made

on this bike included, some urban

commuting, calling on dealers all

around Gauteng, freeways and city

stop and go type stuff. Mandatory

was the breakfast run out to the

famous steam train restaurant in

Cullinan – and we even took her

along to watch the MX final at

Terra Topia.

Motorcycles are generally an

affair of the heart – this one has

crept into ours…

It tips the scales at just on

200kg’s fully fueled and when you

sit astride the Tracer it certainly

feels small and nippy. We had to

wonder about the bar that crosses

the handlebars, cool for clipping

things onto like your GPS or cell

phone holder, but the design team

dropped the ball a bit. It looks

like a bit of an afterthought on an

otherwise immaculately designed


The digital display is easy

to read and modern. The small

tank is beautifully crafted to

accommodate long and short legs,

levers, mirrors and pegs are all

typical Yamaha Quality items.

Narrow, nippy, fun to ride.

With a seat height of 830mm

and a narrow saddle, it’s a

bike that short riders will enjoy.

Same with big guys and girls,

very comfortable sit up and beg

posture for long outrides. Thumb

the starter and the two cylinder

engine happily rumbles to life.

The controls are light and easy to

use and around town the MT-07

is a real pleasure to ride, notably

different to the more aggressive,

snarly three-cylinder MT-09, with

which it shares its DNA. All of our


First Ride Yamaha Tracer 700

riders commented on the fact that the bars

are kind of narrow for a bike like this. Just

an observation – it is certainly not a crit.

The adjustable screen offers pretty

great wind protection – and it is designed

to match the aggressive headlights. To

suit its longer distance role, the 130mm

travel front and rear suspension systems

are tuned for smooth and responsive

characteristics in a variety of conditions.

Dual 282mm front discs with 4-pot calipers

and a 245mm rear disc deliver powerful

and responsive braking performance, and

ABS is equipped as standard.

Head out on the freeways and that

light weight and compact feel makes it so

much fun to zip in and out of traffic. The

engine has a lot of soul, which has been

engineered into the power plant through

the use of a 270-degree crossplane

crankshaft. With 74bhp, there’s more

than enough power at your right hand,

and throttle response is crisp and willing.

Power to weight ratio is spot on. The 12

litre tank gives you a fairly decent range.

No matter how we rode her – fast, slow

or commuting, we achieved a range of

250KM’s to a tank. The warning light

comes on at 225 – by 250, you are biting

holes in the seat…

It’s a blast and the whole package

works so well together. The chassis is

nimble and the motor so gutsy and willing.

Yamaha has gone to great lengths to

make the Tracer compact as possible, with

details from the design of the balancer

shaft inside the engine to the way in which

the rear shock has been mounted, to keep

the wheelbase at a very short 1400mm.

With great looks, agile handling and

more than enough performance to put

a massive grin on your face, this is one

machine which is going to live forever in

the mind of many new motorcyclists. It

really is that good.

A version of the Dakar style T7 bike,

unveiled at last year’s winter shows, uses

the same engine and is likely to be on sale

within the next 12 months.

Can’t wait for that.


Engine: Parallel twin cylinder, four stroke,


Power: 73.7hp @ 9,000rpm

Torque: 68Nm @ 6,500rpm

Wet weight: 196kg

Seat height: 836mm

Fuel capacity: 12L

Price: R124,950



All purchases come with cap,

case and lens/visor cleaner.

From Office shop (Not at Shows or Rallies)

New Models just arrived!

Cycling top

prize for 10

lucky winners

(All names of purchases for

December go into Draw)

Congrats to Uncle

Andy Race Teams for

great 2017 Season

Contact Belinda 082 654 5690 or Marc 082 853 4476

Email info@sbkeyewear.co.za / Web: www.exclusiveproducts.co.za

NEW Online shopping Sites, www.racerzone.co.za & www.toshop.co.za


Winging it

As with every year, 2018 MotoGP testing got underway the Tuesday after the final race held at

the Ricardo Tormo circuit, and, as always, things were very interesting. Words: David Emmett

The first day of 2018 raised more

questions than answers. Two days after

not featuring at all in the race, the Movistar

Yamaha riders finished first and fourth.

A satellite Ducati – Jack Miller, on his first

outing on the bike – was quicker than the

factory riders. The only constants were Marc

Márquez and Johann Zarco, who finished

in exactly the same positions as they did on

Sunday race day.

Confusion reigns at Yamaha, as they

search for the cure to the problems which

plagued them all through 2017. There were

four bikes in Maverick Viñales’ garage, three

in Valentino Rossi’s garage, and two different

ones in Johann Zarco’s pit box.

They were testing all sorts of combinations

of machinery: a 2016 bike with 2017 engine,

and a full 2017 bike for Maverick Viñales;

a 2016 bike with 2017 engine, a full 2017

bike, and a 2017 bike with a 2018 engine for

Valentino Rossi; and a 2016 bike and a full

2017 bike for Johann Zarco.

The results? Pretty much identical, no

matter what bike the riders were on. Viñales

and Rossi were fastest on the 2016 bike,

Zarco was fastest on the 2017 bike, and

Rossi managed to throw the 2018-engined

bike up the road after just two laps. The

crash looked huge, but Rossi came away

relatively unscathed.

The problem was entering a fast right

corner with a new cold tyre. “Turn ten,” Rossi

explained. “Maybe a cold tyre. I was already

with two and a half laps so I push. I lost the

front. I don’t know if I was a little bit off the

line or it was cold.” Rossi may have been

okay, but the bike was completely totalled.

Older Faster

Both Viñales and Rossi were happy on both

the 2017 and 2016 chassis, but were fastest

on the old frame. “The day was not so bad

because we have a bit more time to work

on the 2016 chassis and I feel good,” Rossi


“I feel strong. The day was positive

because I have a good pace and also with

the new tyres I can make a good lap time.

I am in the P4, not so far from the top. Also

the feeling with the bike is quite positive. We

were able to find the right balance.”

“But the problem is – like we know –

we have some problem with the rear tyre

degradation. So the ’16 is not enough. We

need to work. But I confirm that I’m able to

go faster with the old bike.”

Viñales agreed enthusiastically with

Rossi’s assessment. “I felt much better every

lap, I felt like I’m back as always, pushing the

bike,” Viñales said.

“Already since the morning the first laps, I

felt great, making this 1’31 low, and during all

the day, I didn’t leave the 1’31 low. Even with

29 laps on the tyre, I continue to make this

1’31 low. So it looks like from nothing, all the

feeling came again.”

With feeling came enjoyment again. “Let’s

say I enjoyed it a lot today, because on a


disastrous weekend, I was enjoying a lot

riding, and I felt strong again,” Viñales added.

“It’s something good. We tried some

things, some positive, some negative, but

anyway the lap time was there all the time.

So I think we did a good job, always riding

with the race setup, and especially the fuel

tank completely full.”

“We worked really well on that area, and

I felt good. Finally I did the time attack and I

felt great, I felt I could even go a bit faster, so I

feel good on the bike again.”

This was a complete reversal of fortunes

for Viñales. “On the weekend, I was honestly

sometimes crying every time I got off the

bike, because I didn’t understand what was

going on if I didn’t go as fast as usual, if I lost

the feeling. But already this morning when I

went on the bike, I felt good again and the

smiling came again and that’s something

really important.”

“On the weekend, I was

honestly sometimes

crying every time I got

off the bike, because

I didn’t understand

what was going on

if I didn’t go as fast

as usual, if I lost the

feeling. But already

this morning when I

went on the bike, I felt

good again and the

smiling came again and

that’s something really


The strange thing was that Viñales had

been so much faster on exactly the same

bike. “They didn’t even clean it!” Viñales

joked. “They said, we want it exactly the

same, without cleaning…”

The Contrarian

While Rossi and Viñales went quickest with

the 2016 bike, Zarco was faster on the 2017

bike he had been given by Yamaha. Zarco

was unclear precisely which spec it was, but

only because he never wants to know that

level of detail.

“I just know that it was a different bike,”

he said. “But really, I don’t try to know

which bike it is, which bike they were

using, because it’s going to be too much

information, and then my work will become


Zarco was clear about the benefits of the

new (to him) bike. “For me, I got better feeling

on the brakes. The bike was more stable,

and this helped me to prepare the corner

better. Also to relax myself on the bike.”

“So when I got this better control on the

brakes, then I enjoy much more on the bike.

Just when we put the new tyre at the end,

1’30.3 is quite good, but then I expected with

another new tyre to be faster, but I was not

able to go into 1’29.”

Being relaxed allowed him to conserve

energy, and maintain his pace. “I’m not

surprised to not feel negative things and I’m

just happy that what I felt helps me to play

even more on the bike,” Zarco said.

“I was able to be fast with the old bike,

but sometimes spending energy, I think today

I spent maybe 30% less energy, and that’s so

important to prepare a race.”

2017 Ain’t That Bad

Despite having a different view of the 2017

bike to the factory riders, Zarco pointed out

that at times, both Rossi and Viñales had

been able to be fast.

“The factory riders got a problem at the

end of the year, and then maybe were not

able to solve the problem. That’s why they

have negative comments, but they had very

good performance all season, so we cannot

say the bike was bad.”

“When we remember Valentino at Aragon,

I think he did a great race, and he was with

the injured leg, so if the bike was really bad

and with the injury, he could not be in the

front for almost all the race.”

The one thing Zarco had not done was

put full race distance on the tyres. He only

had a maximum of 20 laps on his rear tyres,

and so was not sure how they would fare

over a race.

“We did not do laps on tyres with more

than 20 laps, so this is going to be my target

tomorrow, so push tyres until 20 laps, then

work for the last third of the race.”

“Sometimes we have not a good feeling

when we change tyres, but we must

remember that for Sunday, the race in the

last ten laps was still very important. So

maybe I will have some negative points from

20 to 30 laps, but this we will see tomorrow.”

Zarco was entertainingly dismissive of

suggestions that his speed was a problem

for the factory Yamaha team. “I never heard

that having a fast riders in your brand is a

problem,” he told us.

“So it can only be good information and

good things.” Valentino Rossi was a little more

sarcastic when asked about Zarco being fast

on the 2017 bike. “I’m happy for him,” he

smiled in response to the Italian media.


“For me, I got better feeling on the brakes.

The bike was more stable, and this helped

me to prepare the corner better. Also to

relax myself on the bike.”

Grip Matters

The inconsistent feedback from their riders

is a problem for Yamaha, but there could be

another factor causing confusion. Despite

the dust blown all over the track by Monday’s

strong winds, the track has a lot more grip


With the Dunlop Moto2 rubber erased

by Sunday’s 30-lap race, and with dry and

sunny conditions – a little cold, but otherwise

perfect – the track is bursting with grip.

Yamaha’s bugbear throughout the season

has been the question of grip. At tracks with

loads of grip – the newly resurfaced Le Mans,

Aragon, Phillip Island – the bike is incredibly

fast. At tracks without grip (or in the wet),

the M1 struggles: Jerez and Barcelona were

prime examples.

If Yamaha continue their testing program

at Valencia, and the grip levels hold, they

could find themselves heading down another

blind alley. They can only hope that mixed

conditions at Sepang throw a spanner in the

works, and give them some time on a track

with low grip.

In all the confusion over chassis, the fact

that Yamaha debuted a new aerodynamic

package – very similar to the ones used by

Ducati and Aprilia – with Maverick Viñales.

Viñales’ comments were positive, saying it

helped in some corners.

At any other test, this would be big news.

But Yamaha have bigger fish to fry.

A New Honda

There were very few 2018 machines on

display on Tuesday, but Honda had the first

version of their bike for next year, which

included a revised engine and exhaust

system. The reaction was generally positive,

though HRC’s policy of Omertà means we

learned little from their riders. Márquez was


“We have an engine, we have a

chassis, we have exhaust. Many different

configurations and yeah, it was just the first

laps. In the beginning they adjust all the

things. Already I start to feel some small

positive and small negative points.”

“Anyway I want to wait, even with the

engineers, until tomorrow and work more on

that bike and see how which is the real level

of the bike.”

Cal Crutchlow was a little more

forthcoming, but even he did not reveal too

much. “They are trying to make the bike

easier to ride, but keep our positives, which



RF 1000



RR 1000




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Cape Town

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is corner entry… Gain grip, gain acceleration,

gain speed,” he explained.

“I think they’ve done a good job because

essentially what they have brought is a

different engine, different chassis, basically a

completely new bike. The strange thing is it

feels similar, but with small changes. Some

areas are worse, but I think there’s a lot more

positives than negatives that’s for sure. It’s

only the first day on track, so we can be

happy enough.”

When he was what made the biggest

difference, Crutchlow clammed up again. “I

can’t tell you,” he smiled. “But we haven’t

done too much setting wise because we only

got our hands on it yesterday and we’ve set it

up very much like our normal race bike. Just

as a reference, and then we’ll go from there.”

Ducati were similarly uninformative,

despite having a slightly revised frame at their

disposal. The real revelation is to come at the

Sepang test for Ducati, but for the moment,

they are only testing small evolutions.

Jorge Lorenzo tested the new carbon

forks, but he did not feel they helped him

enough. He preferred to stay with his

original forks.

Day Two

The moment the bikes fell silent at Valencia,

at 5pm on Wednesday, officially marked the

end of the beginning. The 2018 season is

now well underway, the initial outlines of next

year’s bikes being revealed.

There is still a long way to go to Qatar,

but the first step has been taken, the first

few hundred terabytes of data downloaded

to laptops and uploaded to factory servers

for analysis.

The new season began in much the same

vein as the old season ended: with Marc

Márquez fastest, and on a tear.

The Repsol Honda rider was fastest

on the second day of the test, and fastest

overall, four tenths quicker than his teammate

on Wednesday, and a tenth quicker than

Maverick Viñales, who had topped the

timesheets on the Tuesday.

The timesheets had a familiar look to

them. The top five overall consisted of the

two Repsol Hondas and three Yamahas – the

two Movistar factory bikes and Johann Zarco

on the Tech 3 machine – followed by a couple

of Ducatis, Jorge Lorenzo on the factory bike

and Jack Miller on the Pramac machine.

Whether the timesheets will stay like

that when Qatar rolls around is another

question entirely.

Born Ready

There is reason to believe that the Hondas

will still be at the front in Qatar. Though

Márquez set his fastest time on the 2017

bike, the 2018 bike both he and Dani

Pedrosa used was relatively well sorted.

Both riders referred to the new bike as

the “prototype bike”, and it is to form the

basis of the 2018 Honda RC213V which

will make its debut in Sepang. But it is

different in every aspect: a new engine, new

exhausts, new chassis.

Only the fairing looked familiar, though it

remained in gorgeous black carbon fibre,

rather than the gaudy Repsol colours.

The bike is sufficiently different to the old

machine that differences are visible to the

naked eye. The exhaust looks different: the

lower exhaust (from the front cylinder bank)

is a little longer, and squared off instead

of the slash style which debuted midway

through 2017.

The upper exhaust is shorter, no longer

curling coquettishly into a loop, but hooked

into a shorter exit much like the Ducati. The

two pipes merge into one later too: on the

old pipe, the two separate pipes from each

rear cylinder join just before the exhaust

enters the tail unit.

The new pipe has the two pipes joining

in the middle of the tail. Pipe length and the

point at which the exhausts join are used

to tune the pressure in exhausts, managing

power delivery and outright horsepower.

The new engine had the most promise

as far as Márquez was concerned. “Always

when you get a new engine they try to give

more power to you,” the newly-crowned

2017 MotoGP champion told us.

“And we gained, especially on the bottom,

we gained a little bit more power. Also in the

top, we gained there.” The engine will help to

make acceleration more manageable, always

a problem with the Honda.

Some Parts Are Better than Others

Most encouraging for Márquez was the fact

that the engine was already fairly well sorted,

the electronics well within an operating

base. “I’m happy because it’s the first time

that with such a new engine I feel inside the

parameters, you know?” he tried to explain.

“Normally every year I was starting here

and we were talking one year ago here,

saying the electronics are not there, we need

to work on the electronics. But now it’s inside

the parameters in this circuit, but now we

need to reconfirm in February.”

“Always when you

get a new engine

they try to give

more power to you.”






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Cape Town

24 Milner Street, Paarden Eiland,

Cape Town

Tel: +27 (0) 10 595 1212

info@cayenne.co.za | www.cayenne.co.za

He was less positive about the chassis,

though that was not a cause for concern. “We

need to work on the chassis area,” he said.

“The chassis that we had today, there were

many, many new parts, and now we need

to understand which part was better, which

part was worse. But we need to choose, the

engine is good, the chassis? Doubts.”

Yet the bike is sorted enough that the

factory riders had decided to skip the private

test at Jerez which most of the MotoGP

teams will be attending next week. “We

have some things to try, and of course it’s

important to reconfirm things in another

circuit,” Márquez explained.

“But we get a lot of information here and

we believe in that information, and we prefer

to spend these days next year. Because at the

moment, if we have something new maybe

we will try, but anyway, Cal, LCR will go to

Jerez and so they can get information there.”

Controlling Confusion

If Honda were making clear and obvious

progress, Yamaha are still in the process of

defining the direction they want to go. Three

different riders had three different programs,

each focusing on different areas.

Johann Zarco spent the day with two

2017 Yamaha M1’s. Maverick Viñales was

switching between the 2016 and 2017 bikes.

Valentino Rossi has 2016 bikes, but with a

2018 engine.

What conclusions can be drawn from

the test? The 2018 engine is a positive

development, according to Rossi, with more

power both at the bottom and top end.

That had achieved its stated objective: “To

try to have more power without losing the

character from the bottom, and smooth from

the bottom,” Rossi explained.

“We try some different things. We have

some positives, some negative. But are not

so bad. For sure Valencia is not fantastic for

test the engine because it was quite small.

But you can understand and we continue to

try also in Sepang in 10 days.”

Getting the engine right is crucial, when

the engine design will be frozen for the

duration for the season.

“It’s an important test because you don’t

have to make mistakes it’s better to have the

same bike for understanding the way. I think

at the end I decide what is my favourite. And

now we will confirm in 10 days at Sepang if it

is the same or something else.”

Old vs. New

Maverick Viñales had been running back-toback

tests with the 2016 and 2017 bikes.

“With the 2017 I had better traction, better

acceleration,” Viñales said.

“And with the 2016 I feel better with the

front. It is what I was feeling all year. Finally

let’s see if we take the 2016 and work to

make the acceleration good or we get the

2017 and try to make, especially the brake

area and corner speed better. So we have to

decide which way is the easiest to be fast.”

The 2016 bike had better corner speed,

Viñales explained. “With the 2016 I feel

better. It is better for the corner speed. I feel

more turning and easier for me. Let’s see. It’s

always difficult just in one day to decide.”

That was the opposite to what Johann

Zarco had reported. But Viñales dismissed

any such idea, saying it was hard to make

comparisons. “Different riding style and you

know riders have different feelings on the bike

so difficult to compare.”

Barely (il)legal

Viñales also spent a lot of time testing the

new aerodynamic package Yamaha brought

to the test. The aero package looked an

awful lot like the winglets that used to grace

the bike in 2016, before they were banned.

That aero package raised a lot of

hackles in the paddock, with riders and

team managers complaining that the

forward-swept aero appendages were too

dangerous, and resembled the winglets

which were banned at the end of last year.

“If this is allowed, then I don’t understand

why we can’t have our old winglets,”

Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti expressed his


Yamaha were on the defensive. These

were legal, they insisted. “Aprilia is doing the

same!” Viñales insisted. “And Ducati. Finally

looks like a winglet but they take it out of the

fairing. I don’t think it’s illegal.”

It certainly had some benefit, he felt. “It

feels really good. Actually we improve and

here in Valencia we know for sure the fairing

is much better.”

According to Technical Director Danny

Aldridge, the legality of Yamaha’s fairing is far

from settled. There have been discussions

back and forth over the fairing, but changes

still need to be made, he told Crash.net’s

Peter McLaren.

The question of legality is not relevant

during the test. Teams and factories can

use whatever they want during testing, both

private testing and official IRTA tests such as

the one at Valencia.


Of course, there is not much point in

testing something which has no chance

of ever being approved in any form, but

Yamaha’s fairing can probably be made legal

with a certain amount of adjustment.

Of course, Yamaha’s new fairing does

make something of a mockery of the current

aerodynamics rules, just as the Ducati, Aprilia,

and Suzuki fairings did beforehand. But that

is the danger of making rules. As soon as you

ban one thing, engineers start plotting ways

around whatever ban you have in place.

The Pandora’s box of aerodynamics has

been opened, and cannot be closed again,

I suggested to Paolo Ciabatti. “As far as we

are concerned, Pandora’s box never needed

to be closed,” the Ducati boss insisted.

Newer Is Better

Johann Zarco spent the day on two 2017

Yamaha M1s. The Frenchman was happy,

using much less energy to ride the 2017 bike

at speed than the 2016 machine.

“At the end of the day, I could confirm

again I’m spending less energy with that

one,” Zarco told us. “At the moment we are

not super fast but spending less energy is

such an important thing that we must keep

when you are travelling around the world, to

have facility [ease] on the bike. So I want to

keep that and work on it.”

The weak point of the bike is particularly tire

wear in the second half of the race. It was what

Zarco had focused on throughout the test, he

said. “Today we tried to work with more used

tires from half race until the end and see if we

have better lap times,” Zarco said.

“This is always complicated to analyze;

if we’re much faster or not in the race pace.

But at least when I was changing from one

bike to the other one the difference was not

big. It was good to compare the things.”

“Now, when we analyse these two days of

testing the ’17 bike gives me more possibilities

to enjoy on the bike, to be fast and having the

same lap time than with the old bike I can say

that we have the same lap time but we are not

at the maximum of the bike.”

Nothing New on the Western Front

In stark contrast with the intense work at

Yamaha was the relative calm in Ducati.

Both Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo

only had a few minor parts to test, to get

a general idea of the direction of the 2018

Ducati, they told us.

“We try small things,” Andrea Dovizioso

told us. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have the ‘18

bike here to really start for the season. So we

just wanted to try different things to decide in

which way it will be the ‘18 bike. But also we

test in Jerez. Still we have to try a few things

to make a decision.”

Things had worked out a little more

favourably for Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard

explained. “Today we tried again the seminew

bike,” Lorenzo said. “For the moment it

doesn’t work better than the current one.”

“And many little things, the same things

than yesterday to be really sure of the way the

engineers must follow for the new bike. Apart

from that, it has been an interesting day for my

side, for my riding style, because I understood

certain things that will help me to take more

profit of the current bike until we will have a

bike that turns better in the corners.”

A completely new bike is expected at

the Sepang test, but the preparation work

continues. The main focus of a new bike

is turning, and Jorge Lorenzo is willing to

sacrifice top end in order to achieve it.

“I already did with the new fairing. So I am

one of the riders who believes that you make

more of the time in the corners than in the

straights. So I’m prepared for it, but it’s also a

compromise,” Lorenzo said.

Jack Miller had been very happy to switch

to Ducati from Honda, but the fate of Scott

Redding was less positive.

The Englishman had gone from the

Pramac Ducati – the seat now vacated

by Redding and filled by Miller – to the

factory Aprilia in the Gresini team. It was a

difference of night and day, and fraught with

complications, Redding said.

Careful What You Ask For

“I expected it a little bit easier than the

Ducati,” Redding said, “but it was, not more

difficult, but the engine style and chassis style

was quite a lot different.”

“Like when I went from the Honda to the

Ducati, they were sort of similar, in a way, but

it was easier when I went to Ducati. Now it’s

like the characteristic of the engine is coming

back. So that’s one thing I feel we need to

work on for the future, but in general, the

feeling with the bike is good.”

The way the bike needed to be attacked

was both very strange and very unnatural,

Redding said. “The bike struggles more with

the front load, so you have to override it a

lot yourself with the rear brake to do that,”

Redding said.

“And that’s something we want to work

on to improve. I didn’t try too much. At first I

said, oh, the bike’s really stiff, it’s aggressive,

so we changed some things, made it more

agile, the engine more mellow. I came back

today, we did this and that, and it’s better. So

it’s just finding the way in the end.”

It had given Redding an appreciation of

the riding of Aleix Espargaro. “Aleix’ riding

style, honestly, he’s riding it well to make it do

what it does,” Redding said.

“The bike is not naturally doing things it

should do, and you need to override it a lot

on the brakes. I was doing that, but my level

to his level is again another step. So it’s just

one of those things that you need time to

adapt to it and do it.”

Redding’s hope was that he would go

to the test next week at Jerez with an open

mind and fresh ideas of how to ride the bike,

unencumbered by his previous experience

on the Ducati.

“I’m pretty sure that having a break, going

away, coming back in Jerez, like I went to

Ducati, you start on a new track, you don’t

have those lines in your mind, you have a

fresh page to start from. We’ll see from there.”



A week after the Valencia MotoGP test, it was the turn of the World SBK riders to take to the

track, with a big test at the Jerez circuit in Spain. They were joined for a few days by their

more illustrious counter-parts, with some top MotoGP teams getting some extra testing time

in. Johnny Rea, on his Kawasaki WSBK machine, was all the talk in last years test, where he

posted times quicker than the MotoGP boys. Could he do it again?

The first two days of testing were all about

the WSBK teams. Jonathan Rea started off

the 2018 World Superbike season where he

left off, at the top.

The three-time world champion took to

the top of the timesheets from his first laps of

the 2.8-mile Andalusian circuit and remained

there all day as he continued to improve as

Kawasaki test their machine in full 2018-spec

for the first time.

Rea’s quickest time of the day, 1’39.650,

was quicker than he has ever lapped here on

race tyres and just 0.7 off the time he set on

qualifying rubber at Jerez 12 months ago to

outpace a number of MotoGP machines.

After clocking 42 laps, Rea was not on

track for day two as he head back to London

to collect his MBE from the Queen, before

heading back to Jerez to complete the test.

KRT’s second rider Tom Sykes followed

Rea on the timesheets, some 0.355 back

after 57 laps on track while Milwaukee

Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty was fourth quickest,

1.5 seconds back on Rea’s time.

BSB rider Leon Haslam was fourth as he

made his return to action after that horrific

crash at Brands Hatch earlier this year, he

was just 1.626 back on Rea despite the

deficit of his BSB-spec ZX-10RR.

Making his debut with the Althea BMW

team as he returns to World Superbike

from MotoGP, Loris Baz was fifth quickest,

1.7 seconds off Rea’s pace, while the

second Milwaukee Aprilia of Lorenzo

Savadori was sixth.

Jordi Torres, still visibly in pain from his

crash in Qatar, was seventh quickest ahead

of the second JG Speedfit Kawasaki BSB

bike of Luke Mossey.

Leandro Mercado, riding the Puccetti

Racing ZX-10R in the absence of Toprak

Razgatlioglu while Yonny Hernandez, who

makes his debut with Pedercini Racing

completed the top ten.

Ducati, Honda and Yamaha’s World

Superbike teams joined the field throughout

the rest of the week, as did most of the

MotoGP grid and Honda’s British Superbike

team. And things got very interesting…


Tom Sykes topped the second day in the

absence of team-mate Jonathan Rea.

Second fastest on the opening day, Sykes

significantly improved his time to 1’39.692,

just a whisker of the fastest time Rea had set

on day one – 1’39.650.

The Yorkshireman’s time came earlier

in the day, with many riders reporting the

track to be much greasier in the hottest

temperatures in the afternoon than it was on

the Monday.

Loris Baz was second quickest as he

continued to both get to grips with the

Althea BMW and riding a superbike after

two years in MotoGP. The Frenchman was

0.776 seconds behind Sykes and looked

comfortable out on track, commenting he’d

found a particularly good feeling with the front

end of the S1000RR.

Eugene Laverty, who had been further

down the timesheets in the morning,

improved his time in the afternoon to again

place third quickest for Milwaukee Aprilia,

0.859 seconds off Sykes.


Jordi Torres, who is still injured after that

massive off in Qatar, was fourth quickest

and still less than a second off Sykes as he

concluded his debut test with MV Agusta.

British Superbike star Leon Haslam was

fifth despite two days of riding taking its toll

on his injured ankle, he was just 1.076 slower

than Sykes despite riding a BSB-spec ZX-

10R with no electronics.

The second Milwaukee Aprilia of Lorenzo

Savadori was sixth ahead of Haslam’s BSB

team-mate Luke Mossey, who made big

strides forward as he tested a number of new


Leandro Mercado rounded out the

superbike teams for Orelac Racing, who step

up to the superbike class with the Argentinian

on an ex-Puccetti Racing Kawasaki next year.

Loris Baz first test back in WSBK

with team Althea BMW


After two days of just ten bikes on track,

things were a lot busier on the Wednesday

as the 29 riders confirmed for testing for the

remainder of the week headed out.

With MotoGP, World Superbike and

British Superbike machines on track at

the same time, the timesheets made for

interesting reading as the Kawasaki World

Superbike boys once again mixed it up in the

top ten with the GP regulars.

Iannone’s quickest lap would have seen

him narrowly miss out on pole position for

this year’s Spanish Grand Prix, although the

circuit has been resurfaced since then and is

now understood to provide much more grip.

Cal Crutchlow was second quickest, as

he had a hefty testing schedule with HRC

with no fewer than three RC213Vs to test,

two in 2018 spec as well as this year’s bike.

Dovizioso was the quickest Ducati, ahead

of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo while Pol

Espargaro continued to show KTM’s recent

improvement to lap within just 0.2 seconds

behind the Ducati duo despite a crash at the

fast third turn.

Tom Sykes led the way in the Superbike

class, sitting an impressive sixth quickest

overall after lapping within a whisker of the time

with which team-mate Jonathan Rea topped

this joint test this time last year. It’s understood

Sykes’ time came on qualifying rubber.

Tito Rabat was seventh quickest as he

continued to show promise after a move to

the Avintia Ducati team, ahead of the second

Kawasaki Superbike of Rea, who unlike his

team-mate stuck to race rubber throughout

the day. The Northern Irishman shrugged off

a fast crash at Turn 12 earlier in the day, but

went to have his neck checked at the end of

the day as a precaution despite returning to

track to go faster.

Bradley Smith was ninth quickest for KTM

while Scott Redding rounded out the top ten in

his second test with the Aprilia.

Marco Melandri led the way for the

remainder of the Superbike class in 12th,

ahead of Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.

Eugene Laverty swapped his Milwaukee

Aprilia for the Aprilia MotoGP machine as Aleix

Espargaro sat out.

With Tom Luthi still out of action, the

Estrella Galicia team shared their second bike

between Takumi Takahashi and Alex Marquez,

who started his first full test on a MotoGP bike

after two short outings in the last two years.


Andrea Dovizioso was quickest on the

fourth day of the joint MotoGP and

Superbike test, blitzing the outright circuit

record on Thursday afternoon.

The Italian’s quickest lap of 1’37.663

was almost 0.3 seconds quicker than

Jorge Lorenzo’s circuit best lap from 2015,

suggesting the 2.7-mile Spanish circuit’s

new surface had dramatically improved the

pace. World Superbike star Jonathan Rea

reckons the new surface was worth around

a second per lap.

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow was second

quickest after a manic day testing for HRC with

Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani

Pedrosa not riding at the test. The LCR Honda

star had three bikes in his garage through the

course of the test, not even stopping for lunch

on his second and final day.

Jorge Lorenzo was third on the second

of the factory Ducati machines, ahead of

Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone who had topped

the first day of MotoGP bikes on track.

Pol Espargaro continued to show

significant improvement for KTM to place

fifth, ahead of the second Suzuki of Alex

Rins who took to the track for the first time

on day 4 after Suzuki test rider Sylvain

Guintoli took his place on the Wednesday.

Tito Rabat was seventh quickest as he

continued to adapt to the Avintia Ducati

machine, which he says he’s finding easier

to ride than the Honda he’s ridden for the

last two years.

Danilo Petrucci ranked eighth quickest

on Pramac Racing’s first day on track, one

place ahead of new team-mate Jack Miller.

Jordi Torres switches from BMW to

MV Agusta for 2018


Bradley Smith rounded out the top ten.

Franco Morbidelli showed significant

improvement on day two for Estrella Galicia

0,0 Marc VDS to place quickest rookie ahead

of Takaaki Nakagami. Alex Marquez, standing

in for the injured Thomas Luthi also improved

to place 17th quickest on the overall times.

Marco Melandri led the way as the

Kawasaki Racing Team took a rest on the

penultimate day of the week’s joint Superbike

and MotoGP test.

With KRT at the Andalusian circuit for all

five days, Thursday was always pencilled in

as Tom Sykes’ rest day, but with Jonathan

Rea – who sat out Tuesday to collect his

MBE – crashing heavily on Wednesday, the

World Champion also opted to sit out on

Thursday rather than push further when he’d

already completed most of Kawasaki’s test


Also absent on Thursday was the leading

Aruba Ducati of Chaz Davies, who injured his

knee in an enormous crash on Wednesday.

An issue saw him jump off his Panigale R at

Jerez’ fast turn one towards the end of the

play on the third day of testing. An MRI scan

would later revealed he’d sustained ligament

damage in the incident, forcing him to sit out

the remainder of the test.

Melandri’s time of 1’39.663 was almost a

second slower than the quickest time Sykes

had set on the Wednesday.

Alex Lowes was second quickest of the

superbike’s on the Thursday as he looked to

build upon the impressive results he achieved

towards the end of 2017.

However, one of the biggest WorldSBK

stories of the day was the pace of Leon

Camier, who continued to evaluate the

struggling Red Bull Honda Fireblade. The

former British Champion went 2.5 seconds

quicker than the quickest lap set on the

Fireblade during September’s qualifying

session, and almost two tenths quicker than

he lapped on the MV Agusta to qualify ninth.

Xavi Fores was the fourth quickest

Superbike machine, ahead of the second

Yamaha of Michael van der Mark. Yamaha

test rider Niccolo Canepa was fifth with

Superstock 1000 champion Michael Rinaldi

rounding out the field in his first test with the

Aruba Ducait team.

Many teams packed up and headed

home for winter, including the factory Ducati

squad and Crutchlow’s LCR Honda team,

but several remained on track for one final

day on the Friday.

Leon Camier’s first test out on the

Honda was an impressive one...

Only Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow

and Jorge Lorenzo lapped quicker than Rea’s

time of 1’37.986 Rea clocked using a supersticky

Pirelli qualifying tyre in the morning.

Even more impressive is that Rea’s time

is almost a full second quicker than the time

Marco Melandri recorded on his way to

pole at the Jerez World Superbike race in


Andrea Iannone was second quickest on

the final day, just 0.044 behind the reigning

three-time World Superbike champion ahead

of the KTM of Pol Espargaro in third.

The second Suzuki of Alex Rins was

fourth quickest to round out Friday’s times

with the second quickest Superbike of Tom

Sykes fifth.

Danilo Petrucci was sixth quickest on the

Pramac Ducati ahead of Alex Lowes, who

also improved his time on the final day to

place ahead of GP Brits Bradley Smith and

Scott Redding. Jack Miller rounded out the

top ten.

Leon Camier had another good day in

the saddle of the Honda Fireblade, going 0.3

faster than he had managed the day before.


Jonathan Rea returned to the track and once

again turned heads as the final day of the

joint MotoGP and World Superbike test in

Jerez concluded with the fourth quickest time

of the week.


Joan Mir


2017 WORLD



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