RideFast Magazine September 2019

RobRidefast

SA's best motorcycle magazine

SEPTEMBER 2019

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ED’S NOTES: TALKING MOTOGP

For those of you who have subscribed to my

YouTube Channel you’ll know all about the

podcast show I do with Mr. Donovan Fourie

called “Talking MotoGP”. In this podcast, we chat

everything MotoGP from the races before and

rumours doing the rounds in the paddock. It’s

really starting to gather some momentum and

I have been requested to turn my Eds column

in this mag every month into more of a Talking

MotoGP segment, so that’s exactly what I will be

doing going forward starting with this month.

Lorenzo, Miller and Ducati

Last month the MotoGP world went mad with

the news of Jorge Lorenzo jumping ship from

Honda back to Ducati, but this time with the

Pramac Ducati team. Fact is that Lorenzo and

his representatives did hold talks with the top

bosses at Ducati over a potential move, which

would have left Jack Miller without a ride and this

straight after he had picked up a podium finish at

the Brno race.

Heading into the next race at the Red Bull Ring in

Austria and this time it was Jack Miller who was

seen talking to the opposition. Miller was spotted

in the Red Bull KTM factory garage to talk about

potentially signing for them in 2020, replacing the

outgoing Zarco who would later that weekend

announce he would be splitting with KTM after

only one year. More on that debacle later...

Following the race weekend, all rumours were

put to bed with Lorenzo saying he would be

staying and seeing out his 2-year deal with

HRC, while Jack Miller, who had been stalling,

eventually signed his new deal keeping him with

Pramac Ducati.

Was this all just a ploy by Ducati to force Miller to

sign? Or was there real intent to sign Lorenzo in

place of the Australian? Only they will know the

100% truth, but either way I don’t personally think

Ducati handled the whole ordeal in a professional

manner. Miller is doing a great job and deserves a

bit more respect than what he was shown by the

Italians, while Lorenzo and his camp also seemed

to show no respect to the man.

I still think Lorenzo has a future with Honda. He

needs to focus on getting 100% fit again and

catching up on building a relationship with the

Honda “Marquez” machine. He has had little-tono

time to really get to learn and understand how

the bike works, and just when he looks like he

is getting somewhere off he goes and destroys

himself. I would love nothing more than to see

Lorenzo challenging Marquez both at the front

of races and in the Repsol Honda garage. That

would just spice things up even more...

Oh Zarco

Yup, it’s sad, but it’s true – Zarco and KTM will

be parting ways after the 2019 season. It was

supposed to be the start of something great,

but instead it could be the end for the flying

Frenchman. So much promise for KTM heading

into this season. They finally had a so called “top

five” name on their bike and would be making

major steps forward. This was not to be and

instead it has been Pol Espargaro once again flying

the flag for the Austrian firm in the premier class.

From day one Zarco has struggled with the

ridged KTM chassis. No more nice wide swooping

Yamaha lines that he loves so much. He needed

to ride more aggressively and change his style,

but in the end, he cried no more and will be

looking for other opportunities going forward.

Top MotoGP journo, Mr. David Emmett, gives

a really insightful look into the Lorenzo and

Zarco saga in an article he did, which we feature

later on in this mag. He goes on to highlight

the possible ventures for Zarco in 2020, with

World SBK - possibly a factory Honda alongside

Bautista - or a return back to Moto 2 where he

has 2-titles to his name.

Either way this is a big blow for Zarco, who is no

spring chicken at the age of 29 and with a host of

hungry, young, fast riders coming up behind him

his options for MotoGP will be very limited in the

future for sure.

How does this effect KTM

It’s a massive blow in my mind. It’s no secret

that the KTM way of WP suspension and trellis

frame has been scorned by all in the paddock as a

system that does, and will never work. Although

results have picked up and they have closed the

gap slightly to the teams and riders at the front,

they are still a long way away from where they

need to be and this whole Zarco thing will not help.

Signing Dani Pedrosa as their test rider was a

big score, but will his input really help? His riding

style and stature doesn’t always translate well to

others and so far we have not seen much change.

Speaking to Brad Binder when he was out here,

he told me that Pedrosa complained a lot about

the bikes electronics package and stubbornness

to get into and in the turns. Pol has been vocal

about the way he has to ride the KTM – hard and

angry - Marquez style he referred to it as, and

not many riders can ride like that.

But this is where KTM has a glimmer of hope.

We have already seen Miguel Oliviera do good

things on the Tech 3 bike and with Brad stepping

up into that team for 2020 as well they will have

two riders they know very well and who know

the KTM way better than most. Could they be

the ones to put KTM up into that illusive top 3

spots? I don’t see why not…

Zarco leaving has left a bad taste and any hopes

of KTM signing another ‘top rider’ are all but

gone. Zarco’s departure will no doubt put many a

rider off signing for the team, so the big question

now is who will fill that seat in 2020? Many tip

Oliviera, but I don’t see that happening as he has

a signed deal with tech 3 already and KTM won’t

want to upset their “development” team. Current

test riders Mika Kallio and Dani Pedrosa have

also been mentioned as possible replacements,

but Pedrosa has put all rumours to bed by saying

he will definitely not be taking that ride, as he will

be staying in retirement and as a test rider to the

team. Kallio? Maybe. Bradley Smith, as Donovan

mentioned in one of the podcast? Possibly, as

he has been there and knows the team and bike.

Either way, KTM need to decided fast so they can

move on from the Zarco debacle.

Another big statement from KTM at their home

round was the announcement of them leaving

the Moto2 class and running branded Husqvarna

machines in the Moto3 class. A big shock and an

ever-bigger blow to the Moto2 class, but I think

it’s one they needed to make. What’s the point

of throwing millions into a project where you

have limited say and have to design your chassis

around a competitor’s engine? Stop wasting

time and effort there and rather throw every

single resource you have at the MotoGP project,

which could possible help translate into a new

production superbike machine for the masses to

own… oh please KTM, make it happen. I say this

because we have a really good feature on the rise

and fall of their one-and-only superbike machine

to date – the RC8 – and I for one would love to

see a new big, orange Austrian superbike grace

dealers showroom floors.

A new Honda for 2020

It’s a rumour we have heard a thousand times –

there’s a new Honda CBR1000RR coming and it’s

going to be a V4. But, alas it never happens, but

this time there is a lot more fuel to the fire. Let

me explain.

Alvaro Bautista is almost 100% certain to leave

Ducati and sign for Honda World SBK in 2020.

Now, there is only a couple ways that Honda

could make this happen; One, lure him in with the

carrot of a brand new V4 SBK dominator coming.

Two, promise him a few wild-card rides in

MotoGP (and this I hear is one of the reasons why

he is set to leave Ducati as they did not deliver

on promised rides in the MotoGP class). And

finally, number three, pay him a huge, huge, huge,

ridiculous salary and offer him his own tattoo

artist and hairdresser for life.

My bet it’s the first option. There is no ways

in hell that Bautista would leave a full factory

Ducati V4 ride for a half-assed Honda effort on

what is clearly not a competitive bike when it

comes to the WSBK class. He is a top contender

and would only make that switch if Honda came

with something he just could not say no to.

Bautista, along with the new machine are said to

be unveiled at this year’s Tokio Show in October, if

so, we will be sure to bring you all the news both

in the mag and on our Facebook page.

Bautista’s exit could see…

It might not be all doom and

gloom for Ducati if Bautista were

to leave. Scott Redding has been

doing wonders in the BSB

championship and is tipped

to be the man replacing

Bautista in the

factory team for

2020. I personally

think the WSBK

paddock could

use a bit of

tattooed, heavy

metal loving

Brit… Bring it on!

Until next

month I really

hope you enjoyed

this column and this

issue of the mag and I

hope you like the new look

I have created.

Cheers, Rob Portman.

EDITOR & DESIGNER:

Rob Portman

rob@ridefast.co.za

PUBLISHER:

Glenn Foley

foleyg@mweb.co.za

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CONTRIBUTORS:

Sheridan Morais

Brad Binder

Darryn Binder

Gerrit Erasmus

Eugene Liebenberg

Niel Philipson

Greg Moloney

Daniella Kerby

Michael Powell

Brian Cheyne

Donovan Fourie

Shaun Portman

Mat Durrans

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.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 1


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Triumph Rocket 3

Sets New Capacity Standard For Mass Production Motorcycles

Back in 2004, when Triumph first introduced the Rocket 3,

its 2.3-liter engine set a benchmark in the world of massproduced

motorcycles. Running uncontested ever since,

the British motorcycle manufacturer has upped the ante

with an even bigger three-cylinder engine in two newly

unveiled Rocket 3 variants, the R and GT.

For almost 15 years the first-gen Rocket III enjoyed its status as the

motorcycle with the biggest engine in mass production. Apart from

some notable exceptions such as the Boss Hoss customs, even the

most eclectic and rare of motorcycles – for instance, the Münch

Mammut 2000 or the Hesketh 24 – wouldn’t break over the twoliter

mark.

As soon as Triumph decided it was time for the Rocket to get an

overhaul, there was practically only one way to go. The new Rocket

changed the latin III for the Arabic numeral 3 and arrived in May 2019

with a similar three-cylinder engine, longitudinally placed in the frame,

now boasting 2,458 cc (150 ci) and a considerable power hike.

Triumph opted to kick off the second generation with the Rocket 3

TFC – as in Triumph Factory Custom – in a limited production run, but

everyone suspected that a mass produced version lurked around the

corner. The TFC batch of just 750 bikes worldwide sold out in less than

two months, setting the stage for Triumph to lift the curtain on the

“basic” Rocket 3.

4 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


Interestingly enough, the massproduced

model doesn’t shy away

from the impressive specs and

gear of its now unavailable limitedrun

sibling. It may not be clothed

in carbon fibre, it won’t enjoy the

crunchy sound of the special Arrow

exhaust system or those few bits

and pieces that make the TFC stand

out but, other than these, the new

Rocket 3 is more or less the same

motorcycle.

It rolls on the same fully adjustable

Showa suspension, stops with the

same Brembo Stylema M4 brakes

and, apart from a quick shifter, is

equipped with an almost identical

electronics package. Which, in

tune with the Rocket’s raw image,

incorporates just the basic systems:

cornering ABS, traction control,

selectable riding modes and a couple

of treats in the shape of hill hold

control and cruise control.

Triumph also threw in a specialized

software kit for GoPro cameras,

incorporated in the Rocket’s TFT

dash, along with smartphone

connectivity via a Bluetooth module

– but these were extras even in the

high-end TFC Rocket, let alone the

standard models.

Producing 164.7 hp at 6,000 rpm, the

basic Rocket 3 bites a bit softer than

the 179-hp TFC variant; the difference

should mostly be attributed to the

stock exhaust system, instead of the

TFC’s Arrow cans. The good news is

that, in terms of torque, going from

225 Nm to 221 Nm doesn’t really

register as a serious loss.

Apart from the beefy gain in

horsepower over the previous

model’s 148 hp, maximum torque

appears to be the same, but now it’s

achieved at 4,000 rpm, quite higher

than the 2,750 rpm of the first-gen

engine.

The Rocket 3 will be produced in

two versions, the R and the GT. The

main distinction points to the riding

ergonomics, as the R places the foot

pegs in a mid position, whereas the

GT puts the feet forward and sits the

rider 23 mm lower; seat height is 773

mm and 750 mm on the R and GT,

respectively. In both cases the pegs

are adjustable, vertically in the R and

horizontally in the GT.

Other than that, the GT boasts

some extra equipment, such as a

slightly higher screen, heated grips

as standard (can be optionally fitted

to the R) and an adjustable pillion

backrest.

The solid black color will be common

for both variants, but each will also

get an exclusive paint, red for the R

and two-tone grey for the GT.

Triumph claims that the new Rocket

3 is some 40 kg lighter than its

predecessor, with 18 of them shaved

off the engine alone. In fact, that is

accurate for the GT version at 294

kg dry, while the R turns out to be

another 3 kg lighter.

Pricing is set to be revealed on

November 19, 2019, which will be a

few days after the EICMA 2019 show

draws its curtains.

Production should follow.

The 2020 Triumph Rocket 3’s in-line triple evolved by

gaining 164 cc and 16 hp, while shedding 18 kg

Brembo’s latest Stylema calipers are tasked with stopping

the 2020 Triumph Rocket 3

The exhaust header pipes of the 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 are

manufactured with a hydroforming process

LED headlights with Daytime Running Lights as standard

for all 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 models

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 5


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Small Capacity

MV Agusta’s

coming soon.

The storied Italian brand of MV

Agusta has signed a long-term

strategic partnership with Loncin,

one of China’s manufacturing

powerhouses, which will result

in a new four-model family of MV

Agustas between 350-500cc, as

well as some new Voge brand

bikes around 800cc.

One-Off MV

Agusta F3 800

Sold for EUR100.000 at

UNICEF Fundraiser Gala.

MV Agusta’s F3 series is a newcomer

to the world of motorcycles, having

been launched in 2012 as the

company’s first three-cylinder bike in

half a century. Despite the few years

on the market, these motorcycles are

so highly regarded that some people

are willing to spend thousands of

euros to get their hands on one.

Especially when it’s for a good cause.

At the end of last month, tons of

celebrities, singers and actors flocked

to the Porto Cervo region in Sardinia,

Italy, to take part in the UNICEF Summer

Gala, one of the most significant charity

events on the planet. Most of them were

there to find reasons for their donations,

purchasing whatever the organizers and

their partners had to offer, from works of

art to unique items.

MV Agusta brought to the event a

racetrack-derived F3 800 wearing a

special UNICEF livery. The bike is based

on the model introduced in 2014 and is

powered by a 798cc inline-3-cylinder

engine paired to a six-speed manual

transmission. The motorcycle develops

148 horsepower and 88 Nm of torque and

can reach speeds of 240 kph (150 mph).

The bike weighs 173 kg, about the same as

the 675 supersport sibling.

Someone, an unnamed MV collector, found

the bike interesting enough for him (or her)

to pay €100.000 ($112,000) for it. All the

money, of course, went to UNICEF.

“I am so happy that our special F3 800 for

UNICEF Italia found such a generous buyer.

All our motorcycles are hand-crafted, and

it takes an incredible amount of pride,

passion, and experience to manufacture

one,” said in a statement Timur Sardarov,

MV Agusta CEO.

“This special one is unique, and to know

it will serve a unique cause makes

every woman and man involved in its

production even prouder. I wish to thank

UNICEF Italia for giving us this opportunity

to support them in defending vulnerable

children.”

What’s in it for MV? Well, consider

this: the entire American motorcycle

market buys just under two million

bikes a year. Europe, taken as a whole,

contributes about 1.6 million sales.

That’s nothing to sneeze at – until

you see what the Asian numbers are

like. India alone buys more than 21

million motorcycles a year. China buys

15. Indonesia is buying 6.4 million,

Vietnam more like 3.4 million.

Any motorcycle company that focuses

entirely on the sports- and leisuredominant

Western markets is missing

out on a chance to rack up monster

numbers in the cheap transportfocused

East. By partnering up with a

Chinese manufacturer, MV can trade

on its legendary name in much bigger

numbers, with much smaller and

cheaper bikes.

Loncin, for its part, will not only have

a chance to showcase its quality

production capabilities, it’ll also get

access to MV Agusta’s design team,

which has been churning out achingly

gorgeous butt-jewelery pretty much

since the company first began. One

of Loncin’s consumer brands is called

Voge, and Loncin wants to have

something around the 800cc range to

take into the premium segment. MV

will do the design work for an entire

new family of Voge bikes, sharing

some tech along the way.

This news might’ve raised some

eyebrows, but it’s only a month since

Harley-Davidson announced it was

partnering with Qianjiang to make

a 338cc hog, and frankly it feels like

anything’s possible in this topsy-turvy

world now.

6 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


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Bike Man

moves to new

premises.

Jacob’s Vision ride.

Last month you would have seen right

here in this exact spot we told you about

Jacob Kruger the Blind Biker. Jacob lost his

sight in an accident a few years ago but

never lost his love for riding motorbikes

and was determined to ride again despite

being blind. Things got rolling last year

at Red Star Raceway where he rode

on his own around the track with his

“Guide Dog”, Ian Howard, on chase bike

yapping away in his ear over a comms

unit mounted in their helmets. The ride

was a roaring success and raised a lot of

awareness around the challenges blind

folk have everyday as well a a good bit

of money for the Guide Dogs Association

and various other organisations geared

towards meeting the daily challenges of

blind folk, especially the children.

So, this year on Saturday the 3rd of

August 2019 in the backwaters of the

little East Rand town of Benoni they

did it again. Jo-Anne and the crew from

Nick’s Cycles along with the Hell Razors

club put together the second annual

‘Jacob’s Vision’ ride and event along with

a bunch of generous sponsors. The day

was well attended and a chunk of the

money raised that day not only went to

the same beneficiaries from last year,

but also to young Stef van der Merwe.

Earlier this year Stef was involved in an

ugly crash that cost him his leg, so some

of the funds were used to get him some

new protective wear to start riding his

bike again.

Then the challenge was put out to

everybody at the event, “Who is brave

enough to do what Jacob is doing?”, Ride a

motorcycle around the track blind folded

with somebody jabbering instruction

in your ear via a comms set. About 20

people took up the challenge with varying

degrees of feedback and remarks that

ranged from the unprintable to the really

very unprintable, but roughly translated

from Biker speak into English would be

something along the lines of, “Oh my

golly gosh that was really terrifying and

so unsettling, we don’t know how he does

it he has to be thoroughly insane!!!!” or

something along those lines. Everybody

said they now had a better understanding

of the daily challenges blind folk face.

Jacob will be doing his ride again at the

start of Q4Q at Carnival city on the 21st of

September 2019 and will be issuing the

same challenge... see you there.

The well-known family run bike shop

out on the west rand has outgrown

their old premises and have moved to

be a better location just off Jim Fouche

Rd at the corner with Hendrik Potgieter.

They are across the road from the big

Chamberlains Hardware and Honda Wing

West Rand, in The Valley Centre.

The shop is run by Johnny Shand and

his girls, wife Cherylene and Daughter

Ashley. Johnny handles the workshop

and technical side and the ladies look

after customers, the books and the sales

floor. They have a great little hospitality

area where customer can chill with a

good cup of coffee while waiting for their

bikes, a neat and professional workshop

as well as a reasonably well stocked

parts department. They are agents

for Maxxis tyres, Motobatt batteries,

Raceline lubes and products as well as

various other top brands and carry all

the popular sizes and etc in stock.

On their sales floor they have a selection

of used bikes ranging from old school to

newer stuff as well as dirt bikes, stock

is always changing so pop in regularly

to see what they have, then leave your

number and they will be happy to source

your next bike for you. They are also the

official agents for Zontes motorcycles in

the area.

Swing past for a visit at Shop No.7, the

Valley Centre, cnr Jim Fouche rd and

Hendrik Potgiter Rd, Weltevreden Park,

Roodepoort or give them a call on 011

794 5719 or 082 573 5124. They really are

a friendly and enthusiastic crowd that

are always willing to help or just have a

good chin wag about bikes.

8 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


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Fire It Up Club Launch Party.

Thursday 25th July was a momentous

occasion for motorcycling in South

Africa as the Fire It Up Club was

launched at the Fire It Up showrooms

in Fourways.

Fire It Up CEO Craig Langton welcomed

more than 300 guests to the party and

explained how the club was the fulfilment

of his commitment to all past, present and

future customers of Fire It Up.

“The Fire It Up Club has been

in the making for the past two

years and whilst we have been

focusing on always improving

the buying experience, we have

also been developing a unique

lifestyle experience that comes

with owning a motorcycle.”

“This is not just a 10% off accessories and

monthly breakfast run club. At Fire It Up

we are passionately driving this club and

we promise to be the most exciting and

exclusive club in South Africa.

“Firstly, we are planning to bring

likeminded people together offering

members the experience of a lifetime with

a rewards program attached.

“Secondly, the benefits of group purchases

that are exclusive to club members only

with savings and offerings unheard of. An

example of this is a Shark Helmet which

normally retails for R3699, for club members

the price is R1899 – that’s the best deal in the

world and it’s only the beginning!

“Our Fire It Up! customers are made up of

entrepreneurs, business owners, directors,

managers to name but a few and we are

inviting them to contact us if they believe

they can add value to the Fire It Up! Club.”

Donovan Fourie and Harry Fisher of The

Bike Show and Alan McLellan of Legacy

Lifestyle outlined what members could

expect from the club.

“This will be a club that encompasses

everything involving motorcycling,” said

Donovan Fourie, “from morning rides to

technical training sessions, from rider

training to weekends away, from wine

and whiskey tastings to incredible food

experiences, from balloon safaris to MotoGP

weekends, whether we watch them here in

SA or live at the track!

“Lots of people who buy bikes

don’t always have friends to ride

with, which has always been

one of the best parts of owning

a motorcycle; that community

spirit. Likewise, the club will give

access to great special offers

on everything from apparel and

technical services to weekends

away and other great events.”

Club members will also benefit from an every

growing list of partners that are offering

member-only specials ranging from rider

training to tours to magazine subscriptions,

insurance specials and events.

Everyone who buys a motorcycle from Fire

It Up from this point forward will get a year’s

free membership to the club. If you have

previously bought a motorbike from Fire It Up

you can join the club for just R250 admin fee.

For more information, call in to Fire It Up

and ask any of their sales staff or contact

Donovan on donovan@reallybig.co.za or

Harry on harry@reallybig.co.za.

10 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


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An Electric

Supercharger

S1000RR?

The Need For More Speed.

BMW wants to make its S1000RR even faster. The company just

recently filed a patent with the German Patent and Trademark

Office for an electric supercharger. Adding a supercharger to

any bike will increase power and make it more responsive. It’s

better than adding a turbo because the supercharger’s power

can influence the bike at any rev range whereas turbochargers

have some lag.

Adding an electric supercharger to a bike is a fantastic

solution for getting more power. You can use the engine you

already have and with a few tweaks and of course the added

supercharger it will make more power than before. The benefits

of using an electric supercharger as opposed to a mechanically

driven one is that it can collect power for the charge when the

engine doesn’t necessarily need it, according to Bennetts. This

means cruising around, decelerating, or idling could all be times

when the electric supercharger is collecting power for when

you need to go fast.

Bennetts also points out that a motorcycle engine with an

electric supercharger could also create a lot of power at lower

RPMs. Without a supercharger, you’d really need to rev the

engine out to get a lot of power. Want to increase power in a

regularly aspirated engine? Increase how high it revs. With

this electric supercharger, that’s not necessary. The engine

will make more power at lower RPMs, meaning it’ll be more

efficient and more easily meet emissions standards.

A New baby Ducati

Panigale coming?

Ducati have been spied testing a replacement for

the 959 Panigale and it’s a V-twin! There have been

rumours that the baby-panigale might have a detuned

version of the V4 but it’s clear from these photographs

that Ducati are still invested in twin technology.

Externally the engine casings look very similar to the ones

on the current 959, leading us to believe that Ducati will

have stuck with the Superquadro engine. However it’s likely

undergone changes internally perhaps including a small

displacement increase, although we imagine Ducati will be

keen to keep it under the 1000cc mark.

There’s also a new exhaust collector, which is physically

much larger than the one on the current bike, even without

the silencer fitted. It’s possible that this alone, as well as a

conversion to twin spark, might be enough to scrape through

the incoming Euro 5 emissions targets.

The other big change is that the small capacity machine will

once again be returning to a single sided swingarm – the first

one since the 848 over 10 years ago. While you can argue

until you’re blue in the face about one vs the other, there’s

no doubting it’s something of a Ducati staple and as the last

performance v-twin Ducati are clearly keen to hang onto it.

For now it appears to be just a parts bin special, with the

wheel and swingarm from a 1299 mated with the front end of

the current 959 but we don’t see any reason why it won’t stay

that way.

The bodywork too has had an update, with the front end

completely resculpted to match the V4. The belly pan, rear

end and tank appears to have stayed the same. This model

seen testing appears to be the standard model, judging by the

suspension and pillion hangers but it’s possible there will be a

few variants.

With no other big twin to compete against (and no real

commercial rivals) Ducati could easily produce S or R versions

with high spec componentry. We expect Ducati to unveil the

new machine at the EICMA motorcycle show in November,

with it on sale in early 2020.

12 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


Smokin’ HOT Katana day.

Suzuki’s Katana is one of those

iconic bikes that captured riders

imaginations all those years ago. It

looks like the new rendition is set to

do the same.

Joburgers from all over the place

descended on the Smokin Aces

restaurant in Fourways for a

celebration of the brand.

Our Sean went along…

The day started off with lots of

Katana’s and all sorts of other

motorcycles from every corner

of Gauteng meeting at Suzuki

dealerships and other spots. It

was the perfect way to celebrate a

stunningly beautiful late Highveld

winters morning when they all

descended on the famous Smokin’

Aces restaurant in Fourways for

a good old fashioned motorcycle

celebration of chinwagging, live music,

concours judging and prize giving.

The day was well supported by

dealers like KCR in Kempton, Bikers

Warehouse in Randburg and the Van

Breda Suzuki Mob all the way from

Springs. Those are the dealers that we

bumped into anyway.

The weather played along nicely,

Black Water blues rock band

provided the live sound track to

the day and Smokin’ Aces supplied

the refreshments with a bunch of

interesting stalls to boot. Race Shop

was open for business with a lot of

Suzuki paraphernalia on sale. Romans

Tattoo did thriving trade and Vaperite

had a steaming queue of customers.

The well-known Alfred “King Do-Nut”

Alfred Matamela got his Yammie out

and doused the entire event in pretty

pink tyre smoke adding to the jovial

and festive mood.

Some of the most beautifully restored,

original Suzuki Katana’s from every

generation mixed it up with beautifully

customised renditions and the

latest offering from Suzuki strongly

supported by a huge contingent of

Boulevards and Hayabusa’s.

The crowds swarmed around the

bikes on display snapping away with

their smart phones while concours

judges had a wander around. The

usual revving and donuts ensued and

after quite a bit of deliberation the

judges finally found common ground

and prize giving was underway.

There were too many prizes and

winners to mention, but suffice to say

- Suzuki won the day…

www.suzuki.co.za for your nearest

Suzuki dealer.

A beautiful sight no matter what you ride.

A rare sight in SA - very cool to see up close.

A stunning carbon Katana by World of Carbon.

The legend Les van Breda’s personal new Katana.

Smokin’ Aces always puts on a top notch event, with

great live music, fantastic food and faie pricing on ice

cold beverages.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 13


All the NEWS proudly brought

to you by HJC HELMETS

Honda South Africa

Women’s Day Track Day.

On the 9th of August, Honda South

Africa hosted a track day at Redstar

raceway for the ladies. We send

along our Fireblade and a couple of

riders to take in the fun...

By Shado Alston.

Riaan Fourie and Paul Jacobs from Honda

Motors Southern Africa saw to it that all

lady riders attending the day would pay half

of the cost of the regular track day, to coax

the ladies out of the comfort of heels and

into boots! They provided a CBR1000RR SP1,

a NC750 and some CRF 1000L Africa Twin

machines for folks to try out for the day.

There were gift bags for the girls and lunch

for those in attendance too. So, nobody went

hungry or home without a goodie or two.

According to Zoe Bosch (IG:@81zoebosch),

there were at least 14 participants in

the ladies’ development cup group that

attended the day; to show the boys

how real girls can handle their 250cc

race machines. They enjoyed their own

six-session group for the day, courtesy

of Quintin Coetser of RSR Management.

It was a superb gesture and allowed the

girls to go get into their leathers and get

their helmet hair on! It was lovely to see so

many smiles on so many beautiful faces!

Out of 107 participants for the day, there

were around 40 ladies, showing how

motorcycling has taken a grip with some

of the most fiercely feisty females in the

province ! Gerda du Toit, an ambassador

for the Kirsty Watts Foundation and

the ‘Riding for a Limb’ amputee support

group also in attendance, herself a

double amputee! With the assistance of

Trudi and Dirk du Plooy of TD Agencies,

they represented riding for a limb, TD

Agencies, Honda and women’s passion

for motorcycling superbly! It was great to

sit and chat about the upcoming plans for

RFAL and their near future endeavours.

Have a look at their facebook pages, Riding

For A Limb and TD Agencies to see how the

sponsorship and planned trips coming up

will give back to the amputee community!

Also in attendance and representing the

Honda East Rand crew was Daleen Webber

and Shaun Portman. Daleen brought along

her Repsol Honda kitted Honda MSX125

Grom and even managed to cane it for a

Girls just want to have fun... and go fast!

session around the short circuit. Shaun,

on the other hand exploited the Beam

Productions photographic team and his

elbow sliders to put on a great show for

those in attendance on the ‘street racer’

CBR1000RR he and his brother Rob race in

the Monocle Racing series.

I was fortunate enough to have Quintin let

me take a CBR600RR riding customer out

on the track for some one on one coaching

to help her build some confidence and

gain some experience with the ever-sodaunting

corners of Redstar. Zita Harber

did well and had a massive improvement

in her style and smoothness after two

sessions following me on the demo NC750

for a few laps.

But, the stars of the show were none

other than the girls who showed the boys

what can be done with a 250cc machine.

It’s awesome to see the usual suspects

Maronga Mahope, Zoe Bosch, Nicole van

Aswegen, Hanri Oberholzer and Savannah

Woodward out on the track doing their

thing! It was a pleasure to watch Nicole do

nothing short of destroy a KTM Superduke

on her Kawasaki 400cc machine! Talent

knows no limit when it comes to Ms van

Aswegen who also races in the national

series with the Monroe team.

Special thanks go to Quintin, Riaan, Paul,

Daleen, and all the folks who represented

the Honda brand and ultimately made

the day possible. It is great to see Honda

SA putting back into the community and

getting the brand out there! Top Job,

making the power of dreams a reality!

Thank you! @_slimv6

Above: Daleen Webber on her Honda Grom.

Below: Pieter Geere on his RB Blade.

14 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


All the NEWS proudly brought

to you by HJC HELMETS

Harley-Davidson

electric balance bikes

for 3-year-olds.

Harley-Davidson needs to

get its bikes in the hands of

younger riders, that’s clear. But

this young? The company has

announced a pair of electric

balance bikes to get American

iron into the hands of 3-5- and

5-7-year-olds.

The IronE12, for the 3-5-year-olds, has

30 cm wheels, a 33 cm seat height and

weighs a svelte 7.7 kg. The IronE16, for

5-7-year-olds, has 40 cm wheels and

a 43 cm seat height, and weighs 8.6

kg. Both use rigid forks, electric hub

motors and little removable batteries

that give you 30-60 minutes of

shenanigans per 30-60 minute charge.

As is traditional, Harley won’t give

away any power figures, but there are

red, yellow and green power modes,

with speed limiters on each, and the

IronE16 in green mode will top out at a

mighty 17.7 km/h. Look at this wild man

chucking a wheelie. He could easily

grow up thinking Harleys can wheelie.

Kids are the future, and perhaps

today’s kids can grow up thinking

Harley when they think of electric

motorcycles, I guess. The company has

of course just released its exorbitantly

expensive Livewire electric streetbike,

but it’s also been teasing other, much

smaller machines closer to scooters

and ebikes to fill out the electric stable.

And these balance bikes show just

how young Harley’s willing to start

welcoming new customers, perhaps

in a bid to drive its average customer

age down.

It’s a long way from the thunderous

Fat Boy outlaws of old, but at around

R9k for the little one and R10k for the

big one, the IronE scoots will be a nice

stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Just have a look at this little dude, is

anyone gonna try stealing his sweets?

We didn’t think so.

MotorMix

motorcycle

chat show on

Mix FM, 93.8

Mix FM 93.8, in conjunction with Craig Langton

from Fire It Up! Motorcycles in Fourways, have

started a motorcycle chat show.

Every Friday evening from 7:00 - 7:30, Craig and

members of his team will appear on Mix FM,

93.8, together with regular host Jono who is also

a bike nut, to talk everything motorbikes. Fire It

Up! are the biggest retailing motorcycle store

in the country, with Craig having been dealing

in motorcycles for nearly two decades, and

has become somewhat a guru in the fields of

motorcycle sales, maintenance, insurance, finance

plus general motorcycle ownership.

You’ll have the chance to catch up with his

expertise, and on all the news from the

motorcycling world, Fire It Up!, the Fire It Up! Club,

Performance Technic and Bike Buyers. You are also

invited to call in with your motorcycling-related

questions. The half-hour will be nothing but

motorcycles for your entertainment.

So, if you are sitting in your car in the evening

traffic, let Craig and the team convince you that

you should instead be on a motorbike. For people

out of range of 93.8, you can hear it live online at

http://mixfm.co.za.

To hear their last episode, go to the following link:

https://soundcloud.com/mix-93-8-fm-1/craigon-the-motor-mix-with-jono-16-08-2019

Contact details: Fire It Up

Tel: 011 467 0737 Web: www.fireitup.co.za

16 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


KTM SA Marketing

Manager position

up for grabs.

KTM SA are looking for a new Marketing

Manager to coordinate and support all

marketing plans which are required for

successful implementation of the KTM

Motorcycles marketing strategy in South

Africa. If your heart beats for marketing and

either the brand KTM you are the right one for

this position.

Full details on the position - tasks, profile,

package and contact details - can be found at

this website address: https://www.ktmgroup.

com/za/careers/Jobs/marketing-ktm/

marketing-manager-ktm-street-mw

Craig Jones

moves to

Sandton BMW

Motorrad.

The well known, friendly and long-time BMW

man Craig Jones has found a new home at

BMW Sandton Motorrad as Sales Manager.

In true Motorrad fashion, they stock all the

latest models, are happy to do trade-ins, are

well stocked on genuine BMW accessories and

clothing and have a fully equipped professional

workshop. Drop-in for a visit and a coffee at

126 Rivonia Rd, Sandton or give them a call on

011 676 6600, you can also drop Craig a mail on

craig.jones@motorradsandton.co.za


PADDOCK NEWS

Brought to you by

ZARCO OPENS UP ABOUT KTM MOTOGP

EXIT DECISION, ANSWERS ON 2020 PLANS

Johann Zarco has opened up

about his decision to leave

KTM at the end of the 2019

MotoGP season, while talks

on his 2020 plans.

Following the Austrian GP race

at Red Bull Ring, where Zarco

finished 12th, the Frenchman

sent a shockwave on the Monday

morning with the announcement

of leaving KTM at the end of the

2019 MotoGP season.

In fact, Zarco already told about

his decision on Saturday but the

news only started to circulate

after the grand prix, which was

confirmed on the Monday. It

was the Frenchman’s call to quit,

which KTM agreed to do.

Speaking to French publication

L’Equipe, Zarco opened up about

his decision to part ways with

KTM after the troubles he had

adjusting with the bike, which

started to eat up his mind slowly.

“I went to see Stefan on Saturday

afternoon after a long reflection,”

said Zarco. “We’re doing the

maximum to improve the bike

for eight months and we didn’t

make any steps forward, so the

situation is pretty difficult.

“I’m sad on this bike. This is my

passion and feeling that I can’t

do it. Getting off the bike being

systematically sad, this wasn’t

possible anymore. This is why I

decide to go forward because it’s

not the way that I want to ride.

“This was my speech at the

beginning of the year: ‘It will

be better in the next race, we

will find a solution.’ But now, as

we’ve just passed the halfway

point of the season, I needed to

make a decision.

“I have to ‘open my mind’ to other

opportunities, even if there aren’t

any here now. It seems blocked

for 2020. But to continue for

the good salary that KTM gives

me, riding only for the money, it

would be not ‘respecting myself’.

I want to fight for podiums.”

When asked about reaching

psychological limit, Zarco

refuted those comments as the

Frenchman felt himself to be in a

good position despite the difficult

situation. “No no, we’re far from

that,” he said.

“I’m fully conscious about where

I am and where I want to go. As I

said on my social media channels

after the announcement: ‘I’m

doing the best job in the world,

with a smile and I want to fight

for podiums’.

‘But recently, people were often

telling me: you’re between the

24 best riders in the world, you

earn enough to have a good

life, but you look so sad.’ Yes, it’s

frustrating not being able to fight

for my goals.”

Much was said about his move

to KTM when Tech 3 decided

to switch to the Austrian

manufacturer but Zarco said he

has no regrets joining the team

– the decision which was taken

together with his former manager.

The biggest question right now

is about his plans for 2020. With

MotoGP seats not in abundance,

he may have to take a year out

or move to a different series like

World Superbike. Right now, he

has no plans ready.

“It’s is too early to speak about

it,” he said. “The way that I

could speak to KTM was quite

frank and sincere. I think they

appreciated my reaction and

they’ve respected my decision,

even if they were quite surprised.

“But they see that I can’t get out

of these difficulties. It would

be easier if I have a plan B. But

fighting with KTM, it wasn’t

possible for me to search another

contract somewhere else.

“I don’t have a manager and

I don’t have time. Maybe I’m

behaving too honestly for this

world. To end my career [if I

don’t find a seat], it is a no. But

to not ride in MotoGP in 2020,

I can say, yes. There’s a fear all

the same.”

As for the rest of the season,

Zarco feels the weight off his

shoulder could help in better

results. While Zarco shared his

side of the story, KTM boss Pit

Beirer also discussed about the

discussion on Red Bull-owned

Servus TV.

“It wasn’t exactly our own

decision,” he said. “Johann came

to me and Mike Leitner on the

Saturday evening, he wanted

an appointment with us. We

were a bit surprised, because

the time was a bit unusual for a

short briefing.

“And there he sat in front of us,

really tense and with tears in his

eyes, saying that at the moment

he can’t handle it anymore and he

wants to get out of the contract.

“There wasn’t much room to

discuss anything. His decision

was so firm and so clear and

actually sad. For us the moment

was actually super-sad, but it

was also our wish to help him to

get out of this situation and not

to burden him even more.

“As a person and as a guy, how

he sat there, it was really cruel

to watch. On the other hand it is

understandable from a sporting

point of view. He sees himself

with us in a valley where he can’t

get out any more, and now he

just wants to realign himself.”

When asked about his

replacement, Beirer said that

they are not in a hurry as they

want to take a call after seeing

the response from riders all

around the globe and then decide

as per their requirement.

They do have test riders Dani

Pedrosa and Mika Kallio with

them but the former seems

content with his current role and

doesn’t want to be back in MotoGP

as a full-time rider to replace

Zarco alongside Pol Espargaro.

18 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


more confidence, in wet

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after 5000 KM *

even after 5 000

KM, experience

braking in the

wet*

Even after 5 000 KM, a MICHELIN Road tyre

stops as short as a brand new MICHELIN

Pilot Road 4 tyre* thanks to the evolutionary

MICHELIN XST Evo sipes.

With its dry grip, stability and best handling versus

its main competitors, thanks to MICHELIN’s

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* According to internal studies at Ladoux, the Michelin centre of excellence, under the supervision of an independent

witness, comparing MICHELIN Road 5 tyres used for 5 636 km with new and unworn MICHELIN Pilot Road 4 tyres.

** According to internal studies at Fontange, a Michelin test track, under the supervision of an independent witness,

comparing MICHELIN Road 5 tyres with METZELER Roadtec 01, DUNLOP Road Smart 3, CONTINENTAL Road

Attack 3, PIRELLI Angel GT and BRIDGESTONE T30 EVO tyres, in dimensions 120/70 ZR17 (front) and 180/55 ZR17

(rear) on Suzuki Bandit 1250

*** External tests conducted by the MTE Test Centre invoked by Michelin, comparing MICHELIN Road 5 tyres with MI

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Z900 giving best dry performance globally and #1 for Handling, #2 for Stability, #2 for Dry grip


PADDOCK NEWS

Brought to you by

KTM EXTENDS MOTOGP DEAL,

TRIMS MOTO2 RUN & PUSHES

HUSQVARNA’S RETURN

KTM made several

announcements ahead

of the Austrian GP race

regarding its MotoGP,

Moto2 and Moto3

presence.

After Red Bull Ring signed

a new five-year deal with

MotoGP to keep Austrian

GP until the 2025 season,

Austrian manufacturer KTM

extended its premier class

presence for five more years

in a new contract.

The current deal was to expire

in two years time in 2021 but

with the new contract, KTM

will stay on in MotoGP until

the 2026 season as they push

to win not only the riders’

championship but all the

constructors’ and teams’.

In order to achieve better

results in MotoGP, KTM

has decided to withdraw

from Moto2 as a chassis

manufacturer from 2020

onward, but it still intends

to keep close ties with Ajo

Motorsport outfit.

It will stay on in Moto3 but

the push is to bring back

Husqvarna in the lightweight

category as it marks 2020

as the intention to develop

a new Husqvarna’s bike for

Moto3 specially.

The lower rug will see a new

Northern Talent Cup from

2020 with Red Bull Road to

Rookies Cup to continue on

as well. Stefan Pierer, CEO

KTM AG said: “We made a

proactive decision here at our

home grand prix to renew

our stay in MotoGP and

commit to another five years

of competition.

“This is part of a wider

strategic view and we now

have seven years to rise

towards the top of the MotoGP

class; the same period of time

we needed to conquer the

Dakar Rally. We know we are

firmly on the way and have

made good steps in less than

three years already.

“As part of this outlook we

want to boost Moto3: it is the

foundation and the base of

road racing for us. It is where

we began and where we are

one of the leading brands. We

see a very good opportunity

here by bringing back

Husqvarna with force; there

will be a new bike and a special

direction with this project.

“All of this movement means

we will pool our resources and

energy and as a consequence

we will step out of Moto2.” At

the same time, Pit Beirer, KTM

Motorsport Director added:

“First of all it is fantastic for

us to continue to stay in ‘sixth

gear’ as a company in MotoGP

and to be able to keep pushing

hard to achieve our goals.

“With our knowledge of

more than three-hundred

FIM world championships in

so many classes we know

the ingredients to have

success in racing and we are

determined not to move from

our objective. For this I want to

thank Mr Pierer and the KTM

AG board for the extra vote of

confidence and for all the hard

work and belief that every

single person who touches

this project has made so far.

“Secondly we have looked

at the entire programme

and know that our effort

has to be well placed, and

we believe that MotoGP and

Moto3 are the main platforms

for us moving forwards.

Thanks to the great work and

experience with Aki we can

maintain a link to Moto2 and

the perhaps what is the final

preparation needed for the

jump to MotoGP.

“We feel strongly that we

can have this asset even

though we will vastly reduce

our presence as a chassis

contributor. We can feel

the passion for MotoGP at

places like Red Bull Ring this

weekend and it allows us

to feed off that energy. We

believe that exciting times

are coming for us as a racing

division and as a company.”

LORENZO

STAYS AT

HONDA,

MILLER AT

PRAMAC

After all the big rumours about

Lorenzo joining Pramac Ducati, both

riders’ future’s have been settled.

Jack Miller will continue to race for

Pramac Racing for 2020 MotoGP as

Ducati confirms factory bikes for

both the riders, while Lorenzo will

remain at Repsol Honda for 2020.

A huge fire was lit when rumours

surfaced that Lorenzo was heading

out of Honda and back to Ducati,

terminating the 1-year he had

remaining on his Honda deal. Those

rumours have now been squashed

as the former MotoGP champ has

decided to stay and see out his

contract with Honda, which runs until

the end of the 2020 season. Where he

will go from there, no one knows...

After retaining Danilo Petrucci

alongside Andrea Dovizioso for the

2020 MotoGP season in the factory

Ducati team, the Italian manufacturer

have confirmed the contract

extension for Miller with Pramac.

The Australian will continue to race

for the satellite team alongside

Francesco Bagnaia as both the riders

will get the latest Desmosedici GP20,

same as Dovizioso and Petrucci –

which is a first for Ducati.

“I am very happy to have reached this

agreement. Pramac Racing is a team

that made me feel comfortable right

from the start and the relationship

with Ducati is very close,” said Miller.

“I will have again the official bike at

my disposal and will do my best to

achieve great results. I would like to

thank Ducati and my team for the

great work they have done so far.”

20 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


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PADDOCK NEWS

Brought to you by

MOTOGP TEST RIDERS TEST

OUT NEW KYMIRING CIRCUIT

IN FINALND FOR FIRST TIME.

Aprilia’s Bradly Smith set the

unofficial lap record at Finland’s

KymiRing circuit as the two-day

MotoGP test ends.

History was made on Tuesday the

20th of August when the six current

manufacturers’ competing in MotoGP –

Honda, Ducati, KTM, Suzuki, Yamaha and

Aprilia – hit the new KymiRing track for its

first-ever track test.

Rain played a spoilsport as riders felt the

track to be good but slow in certain corners,

which they reckon will not be good for

MotoGP riders. The majority suggested

some changes as expected ahead of the

2020 debut.

They were greeted by sunshine on Day

2 but rain hit the circuit again, limiting

the time on track. Aprilia’s Smith set the

unofficial lap record with his 1m47.540s

time, which was more than 12 seconds

quicker than Day 1.

The rain actually caught out the British rider

when he was out on slicks. Honda’s Stefan

Bradl was second, only 0.324s behind with

Ducati’s Michele Pirro in third despite a

crash at Turn 11 – the only faller of the day.

Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli, who will be

replacing Joan Mir for this weekend’s British

GP race, was fourth ahead of KTM’s Mika

Kallio and Yamaha’s Jonas Folger, with the

former once again delighting home fans.

In overall terms, the two-day test was

marked as a success, not only for the

organisers of the grand prix but also of the

MotoGOP championship along with the

manufacturers’ and their riders ahead of its

2020 debut.

“If I need to say something now, I believe

there are some corners that we need to

change,” said Kallio. “Basically we need to

have some kind of gap between the corners.

“Now the bike is turning to the left or

right all the time, and that’s not ideal for

MotoGP [bikes]. So we need a little bit

longer straights between the corners.

That’s my opinion.”

ALEX MARQUEZ

DECIDES AGAINST

MOTOGP MOVE

IN 2020, WILL

REMAIN IN MOTO2

Alex Marquez – brother of Marc – will

stay on in the Moto2 category for his

sixth year in 2020 with Team Estrella

Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.

After rumours of Marquez looking for a

MotoGP move in 2020, having being linked

to multiple teams and manufacturers, the

Spaniard has instead decided to stay on in

Moto2 for the 2020 season.

He will continue to ride for Team Estrella

Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, for what will be his

sixth year in the intermediate class. The

announcement puts to rest the MotoGP

speculations for 2020 but opens up ideas

for 2021.

With Marquez looking set to win the

Moto2 title this year, it looks like that the

23-year-old has decided to wait it out

considering the lack of seats in 2020 and

make a move in 2021 perhaps, when seats

could open up.

“I am very happy to be able to announce

that next season I will continue with

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS in the

Moto2 category,” said Marquez. “I am very

grateful for the confidence of the team.

“With its renewed technical structure,

a key part of the current success, I will

be able to continue for one more year to

improve as a rider, raise my riding level

and prepare myself to fulfil my dream of

making the leap to MotoGP.

“I am also grateful for the confidence

of Estrella Galicia 0,0 during all these

years and Marc Van der Straten who will

continue to support me in my sporting

career so that I can fight to achieve my

objectives in the Moto2 category.”

22 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


||| PRODUCTS FEATURE

Givi GIVI ST607 bag

This is an expandable 22 litre

thermoformed saddle bag suitable for

most motorcycles. This is a great tail pack

that you can quickly strap onto to the rear

seat of most motorcycles has 22 litres

worth of storage and a nifty shoulder

strap to carry it around with and has the

following features as standard

• Reflective print for improved visibility

• Expandable to 26 litre

• Waterproof fluorescent removable rain

cover built into the rear pocket

• Mesh pocket inside the lid

• Shoulder strap

Available from DMD - for more mobile

storage solutions. Check out www.dmd.

co.za for your local stockist and pricing.

BS Lithium Batteries

BS Battery has announced the launching of

its brand new and innovative Lithium-ion

motorcycle and powersport battery range,

designed for the most demanding riders,

looking for higher and safer performance,

faster acceleration, highly reduced weight

and much longer battery life. The very low

self-discharge provide the possibility to start

an engine after a very long period of storage,

even in very cold temperature conditions. BS

Lithium-ion battery range cover most of the

existing circulating parc fitments.

Available from selected dealers like Game

Services - 011 849 7000.

Scorpion & AGV helmets

at World of Motorcycles

There’s a good deal of helmet news at World of

Motorcycles in Centurion this month after they began

stocking Scorpion Exo Helmets and have become the

sole retailer of AGV in South Africa.

Scorpion Exo is a famous French brand boasting

178 years of experience between their helmet

designers. They are also one fo the few helmet

brands that control every aspect of their design and

manufacturing in-house, with nothing outsourced or

rebranded. On the international racing front, Scorpion

supplies helmets to the likes of Fabio Quatararo in

MotoGP and Alvaro Bautista in World Superbikes.

World of Motorcycles stocks the entire Scorpion Exo

range with helmets available for everyone from sport

bike riders, off-road fanatics, adventure troopers

to cruiser and retro attitude, with a large selection

of sizes in each model. They are internationally

homologated and prices range from R3,500 to R7,570.

Adding to their ever growing helmet offering, World

of Motorcycles has secured the entire shipment

of AGV helmets in South Africa making them the

countries only stockist of the iconic Italian brand.

Made famous by like of Valentino Rossi, AGV has four

models of sport bike helmets available for a price of

R4,990 each.

In other apparel news, World of Motorcycles is

offering Berik and Madif leather jackets on sale for

less than half-price; R2950.00. Stocks are limited so

hurry to catch this offer.

Contact details: Phone: 012 765 0600

Address: Centurion Office Park, Akkerboom Street

&, John Vorster Dr, Zwartkop, Centurion, 0046

Husqvarna Accelerate Shorts

Perfect for indoor and outdoor activities, the

ACCELERATE SHORTS feature an elasticated waistband

with drawstring for a secure and comfortable fit while

allowing ample space to move without restriction.

Manufactured from a breathable 4-way stretch

material, these highly functional shorts are designed

specifically for those who enjoy the freedom of the

great outdoors.

Husqvarna Tote Bag

Ideal for weekend escapes and as an inflight cabin

baggage, the Husqvarna Motorcycles TOTE BAG is the

perfect holdall. Providing 26 litres of internal capacity

together with an external zipped compartment for

phones and keys, the bag is also easy to carry thanks

to two hand and one shoulder strap. Extremely

lightweight, it can be easily stored.

Husqvarna Origin Polo

The ORIGIN POLO is a comfortable, timeless classic that

delivers a balanced mix of smart and casual styling.

Available in two colour options, grey and blue, it is ideal

for the office, meetings or various occasions during

your free time. Its special, breathable fabric dries four

times faster than conventional materials, ensuring you

will always stay cool and dry. Both colours feature a 3D

Husqvarna Motorcycles logo on the chest.

For further details on pricing and availability, please

contact your nearest Husqvarna dealer.

24 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


||| FEATURE: THE FORGOTTEN MASTERPIECE

26 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


The Rise & Fall Of

KTM’S RC8

Sportsbike

At the turn of the decade KTM

manufactured one of the most striking

and surprising superbikes on the

market but in a few short years it was

gone. What happened to the RC8?

Adam Wheeler tells the story...

Wolfgang Felber leans back in his seat. The former racer and lead technician

has had a hand in many KTM projects and was a leading figure in the

company’s emphatic first step back to MotoGP with the Moto3 KTM RC 250

GP in 2011. Talk of the RC8 – an initiative that he led and steered – brings a

certain air of satisfaction to his demeanor.

KTM’s first superbike was initially (and surprisingly) unveiled as a

prototype at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show. “When we fight Japan, we want to

fight them in their own office,” claimed current R&D Head Philipp Habsburg

upon the bikes eventual launch. “The reaction was very enthusiastic … ”

Prior to the crisis that slapped the global economy towards the end

of the decade, KTM were on a firm path to expansion and diversification

(something that they would eventually resume, streamline and accentuate

after the financial fallout). Part of that process was creation of model

that would enter a sportsbike market that was still popular and seeing

motorcycles like Yamaha’s YZF-R 1, Suzuki’s GSX-R 1000 and BMW’s S1000RR

inspire the fray.

It was a bold move for the brand that had opened eyes with the SUPER

DUKE road bike in 2005 and was a significant player outside of the offroad

core of the company. “We started work on the RC8 thirteen years ago and

KTM was more of a niche supplier then,” explains Felber.

“I remember back in July 2005 when the project was green-lit for

development,” he continues. “As with most initial new projects in KTM there

was not really the in-house specialists at the company, so we developed the

bike while also hiring and training the people to get it done.”

KTM allegedly sunk 10 million euros into a philosophy that a smiling

Felber recalls as “a 1200 v-twin ‘moped’!” But, as with most innovations

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 2 7


that see the light of day at Mattighofen,

experimentation had started before that

dramatic unveiling in Tokyo and well before

a young designer (now Lead Creative at

the Kiska agency and the power behind the

KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and latest KTM

models) by the name of Craig Dent would

be awestruck by the sight of the RC8 on

the front of a British weekly motorcycling

newspaper.

“When we made the first 950cc V-Twin

engine back in 2001-2002 we had already

done a very rough Superbike prototype

together with a German race bike

manufacturer,” Felber recounts. “We used

them as our workbench. Then there was

another prototype that had even more of an

RC8 design about it and was built in 2001.

Then there was also the show bike built for

Tokyo. During the RC8 development there

were constant questions about why it was

taking so long! But the bike did not officially

begin life until the summer of 2005, so twoand-a-half

years before it was confirmed to

come into stock production.”

The RC8 was a product of ambition, and

the technical architecture was advanced

but it was also a victim of misfortune and,

crucially, timing. “There were three unlucky

things,” says Felber. “One was the sudden

death of one of our chief engineers on

September 2, 2006. A big shock. It was a big

hurt for all of us, and of course the project

and engine development. The second thing

was the economic crisis in 2008; the bike

was being produced at the same time that

everything started to crash. The third thing

Wolfgang Felber with some very big pistons...

was that – around that time – instead of

eight or nine suppliers to the segment

there were five and the market shrank

dramatically from one day to the next.”

KTM were winning 125cc and 250cc

Grands Prix but MotoGP was unstable

with changes in the capacity limit between

1000cc and 800cc and eventually a CRT

sub class. Superbike and the production

regulations seemed a better arena for

KTM’s first track weapon. Of course, the

RC8 was not conceived merely as a pro

racer’s tool or a rich person’s toy.

28 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


“I knew we were making something

powerful. Kiska’s work is always polarizing

with their styling. In fact, it is not just

styling; it is a statement. If you see the RC8

nowadays it is like it’s a bike from 2025. “

The RC8 offered a preview to the ‘slight

of hand’ that the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE

R would eventually deliver: In other words

it looked and promised to be one thing

(with the SUPER DUKE it was this image

of being ‘The Beast’) but ended up being

something a whole lot more. “The RC8

was not designed just to be a WorldSBK

base,” says Felber in the confines of

a meeting room in the old Race HQ in

Munderfing. “We wanted to have a perfect

road bike as well. That was the beginning

of the philosophy towards it and that’s why

the motorcycle is roomy and adjustable. It

was more of a racebike by accident finally.”

Despite the step into the unknown and

the difficulties that 2007-2009 would

bring KTM did not ease-off the gas

(Felber: “there was always good support.”).

The investment remained steadfast and

apparently almost 50 engines bit the dust

to get the RC8 just right. 8000 models

would make it off the assembly lines, into

the packing crates and the hands of curious

customers.

The R&D crew funnelled a stream of

torque into the rider’s right hands. Even

into some of the best in the business. “I

was surprised how good it was as a

road bike when we made a comparison

test,”says former Grand Prix winner Jeremy

McWilliams. “It was able to hold its own

really easily, especially with the chassis. It

was one of the easiest bikes you’ll ride on

the road or the track.”

There were other redeeming features. “I

wanted to set a new benchmark for

manufacturing quality for KTM but also

in general,” says Felber. “If you look at the

welding on the frame and how the wiring

harness was made ‘invisible’. There is not a

single piece of improvisation on that bike.

We spent a lot of time on it. The other thing

I’m proud of is the technical layout and

how you can work on the bike. It’s not such

a big deal for the average customer who

will leave it in the dealer or garage for any

maintenance or repair but I was a racer and

I worked on all my bikes by myself. I recently

changed the frame on my own RC8 from

black to orange and I did it in one afternoon.

I think mechanics like to work on that bike.”

And of course there were those

looks. Felber: “I knew we were making

something powerful. Kiska’s work is always

polarizing with their styling. In fact, it is

not just styling; it is a statement. If you see

the RC8 nowadays it is like it’s a bike from

2025. I love that approach. It is not a bike

for everyone. It was polarizing: Both for

the look and the technical layout with that

under-slung exhaust system that made it

appear totally different, and the small and

narrow tail section.”

To be continued…

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 29


||| FIRST RIDE: DUCATI DIVAEL 1260

Ducati Diavel

1260

Muscle, style, sophistication and malice - Donovan Fourie

takes the new Ducati Brute for a ride.

Words: Donovan Fourie | Pics: Meghan McCabe

30 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


“The Diavel

is one of those

motorcycles that

get better, the

more you stare at

it, the more you

notice details,

lines and affects.”

It seems that Ducatisti love that

wind-in-their-hair, bugs-in-theirteeth

look. Fittingly, Ducati’s

fairingless line-up is both extensive

and impressive. The XDiavel is

the stylish cruiser, the Monster

is the big naked, and the muchanticipated

Streetfighter is, well, the

streetfighter.

Then we have the Diavel. It is the

muscle bike; the Dodge Charger,

the Ford Mustang. Except more

homicidal.

When Ducati do something, they

go full bore. In this case, they are

going Full Muscle. Cast your eyes

upon the machine – the 240 rear

tyre connected to the single-sided

swingarm is beefy and malicious,

the exposed motor reveals a

chiselled six-pack of abs, the tank

is a pair of well-toned shoulders

leading into two industrial arms that

bench press train carriages. The

two snarling nostrils are ready to

breathe fire, and the LED headlight is

a sharp, rounded, jawline.

The seat is surprisingly cosy.

Unlike the forward-footpegged,

swept-back bars of the XDiavel, the

Diavel has the rider sitting more

upright, with the footpegs almost

directly below the seat, and the bars

more neutral, offering the rider a

somewhat more natural seating

with fewer coccyx contusions. You’ll

also find that the cockpit follows

a similar theme to the rest – the

digital, colour dash is small and

tucked away underneath the fullwidth

single-piece handlebar held in

place by two claw-like clamps.

It is all muscle, all anger and all

vengeance.

However, this is no malformed

ogre. The conforming tight shirt is

from Gucci, the jeans are Diesel, the

sunglasses perched on its head are

Ray-ban and the watch is from Rolex.

It has style and class to match the

gym bod. The Diavel is one of those

motorcycles that get better, the more

you stare at it, the more you notice

details, lines and affects.

There’s more than muscle and

style, though; like many deranged

psychopaths, the Diavel has a

cunning and sophisticated interior.

Apart from the aforementioned

dash, there are the obligatory three

rider modes with traction control,

cornering ABS, wheelie control, cruise

control, self-cancelling indicators

and a launch-control that will

terrorise whole cities. The S-model

is adorned further with a both-ways

quick shifter, daytime running lights

and a multimedia setup. Everything

is controlled via handlebar switches

that bathe in the red glow of the

Diavel’s damned soul.

Of course, muscle style and

sophistication are all superfluous

without one thing – muscle.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 31


The Diavel

is like that

guy at gym

we all want

to look like.

Open the throttle in any

damn gear you like, and you

are rewarded with a punch;

an actual punch. Not a Bruce

Lee kung-fu spree or a mere

MMA fracas, but the full Dolph

Lungren blow. One that not

only floors you but sends you

skidding through various bits of

masonry.

The new Diavel is graced

with the 1262cc V-twin motor

already fitted in the XDiavel

and the latest Multistrada.

It’s an evolution of the 1198

engine first seen in the previous

iteration of Ducati’s superbikes.

The capacity increase is

achieved not through simply

putting bigger pistons in but

instead installing a bigger

crankshaft. Because of this, its

“Open the throttle in any damn gear you like, and

you are rewarded with a punch; an actual punch.

Not a Bruce Lee kung-fu spree or a mere MMA

fracas, but the full Dolph Lundgren blow.”

max performance figures of 159

hp and 129 Nm of torque are

almost identical to those of its

predecessor. However, the way

it gets to those high-revving

specs is where all the fun is.

Instead of starting slow and

building power until the redline,

the 1260 seems to start at 159

hp with 129 Nm of torque at idle

and stays there until whenever

you can be arsed to pull on the

gear lever.

As is the way of big naked and

similarly styled machines, they

are not about achieving high

speeds but rather about the

way it gets to them. In this case,

it’s with the rage of Beelzebub

himself. Open the throttle hard

in first gear, and you will be

rewarded with a flurry of rear

wheel spinning, even when the

traction control begs it not to.

Taking a detour from the

hellfire, the exhaust sadly

conforms to Brussels’ latest

Euro5 tyranny, offering a muted,

almost tinny sounds compared

to the growling behemoths

within its ancestry. Here is the

world in which we tragically

now live, and you can be sure

that Ducati is even more

heartsore about it than we are.

Continuing the critical front,

the racing clutch takes some

getting used to, and revs at

the far bottom-end – slightly

above idle – tend to have the

Generally big,

tough things can’t

get around that

well, but the Diavel

is a mixture of

Stallone and Usain

Bolt - it even made

Donovan look

brutally fast!

32 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


odd hesitation, something that

is usually a symptom of living in

a Jo’burg with our dry, chocking

atmosphere a mile above sealevel.

Typically, these glitches are

sorted out by the factory and go

away when the technicians do a

software update during one of

the services.

Back to positivity, the

brakes on the Diavel are

chest-crushingly good. This

base model uses Brembo

four-pot Monobloc callipers,

and while they do not have

the sophisticated feel of the

M50 stoppers found on the

S-model, they do the job of

bringing the motorcycle to a

halt with exceeding keenness

and brutality.

The S-model is also adorned

with Ohlins front and rear

while this base model sports

suspension of the nameless

“The Diavel is devilishly muscular, stylish and

sophisticated. It is the sort of person about which

your mom warned you. It is the archetypical bad

boy to whom all the nice girls flock.”

variety, and while I’m confident

that the Ohlins provide the best

is cornering technology and

damping prowess, I’m damned

if I could tell the difference while

blasting through the streets of

Houghton. Not once did I wish

for better suspension.

Keeping with Ducati’s theme

of sportiness and cornering

aptitude, the Diavel will no

doubt out handle anything else

in the muscle bike class, with

effortless turn-in and superior

lean angle clearance. The

S-model will do it even better,

but for the graces of Joburg

town and its surrounds, the

base model has competence in

abundance.

And for a better price, too.

The base model Diavel 1260 will

set you back R275,000 while

the S-model is a little dearer at

R313,000. There are those riding

connoisseurs that want to hit

the Sabie 22, the Cape mountain

passes and perhaps even the

odd racetrack with their Diavel, in

which case the S-model will serve

you well. For the rest, the base is

everything you will ever need.

The Diavel is devilishly

muscular, stylish and

sophisticated. It is the sort

of person about which your

mom warned you. It is the

archetypical bad boy to whom

all the nice girls flock. It is

shameless. Unapologetic. The

apex predator in a social group

of mice. It is nefarious in both

deed and desire, unleashing a

reign of terror on all who stand

in its path.

You want to be friends with it.

THE NUMBERS

Engine: 1262cc Testastretta DVT 1262 L-twin.

Max Power: 159 bhp @ 9500 rpm

Max Torque: 129 Nm @ 7500 rpm

Max Torque: 129 Nm @ 7500 rpm

Kerb Weight: 244kg

Wheelbase: 1600mm

Seat Height: 780mm

34 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


Slicks tested:

• Pirelli Diablo SBK

• Metzeler Racetec

• BATT UHP

• Michelin Power EVO

• Bridgestone V02

Cut Slicks tested:

• Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa

• Metzeler Racetec

• Dunlop D213

• Bridgestone R11

Burning

Rubber

RubberExclusive 12-page

pullout track tyre test.

Pirelli | Metzeler | Bridgestone | Dunlop | Batt | Michelin

SOUTH AFRICA’S

BIGGEST MIXED

BRAND MOTORCYCLE

AND ATV TYRE STORE

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RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 3 5


||| FEATURE: TRACK TYRE TEST

Words: Rob Portman | Pics: Beam Productions

It’s been a long time coming

and I am delighted to say that

the big Track Tyre test you

have all been craving and

hounding me for is finally here

– Nine sets of the best rubber

available on the market today

catering for all riding aspects -

from serious fast to just having

fun out on track.

In this 12-page feature we

will highlight the pros and cons

of all the options on the market

today, and hopefully assisting

you make the right next time

you go out and buy new tyres.

Please understand, this is not

a straight shootout test, but

rather a feature to help guide

you in making the right choice

going forward. Every single set

of tyres featured here has a

purpose, it’s up to you to decide

if that purpose is what you are

looking for.

Are you a rider who is not

worried about spending money

but want a tyre that is going

to help you go faster? Or, are

you a rider who is very money

conscious and wants a good

tyre that will last you for a few

“Every single set of tyres featured here has

a purpose, it’s up to you to decide if that

purpose is what you are looking for.”

track days? Well, over the next

11-pages we will do our best to

guide you in the right direction

and show off key points and

figures that might make your

decision that bit easier.

Staring off, I would like to say

a big thank you to all the tyre

manufacturers who supported

this test. It’s a big financial

outlay for them to do this but

they all came to the party

willingly so thanks guys!

How we went about it

The black stuff is the most

important part of track riding.

You can have as much power

and talent as you like, if you

don’t have the rubber to match

you riding skill, style or speed,

all else is just a waste of time.

It’s a big decision to make and

I have seen it time-and-timeagain

with riders making the

Each set of tyres

was put on the

scale and weighed.

36 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


Every tyre was fitted to

our Honda CBR1000RR

and run on the dyno.

wrong choice and paying for it. Making the

wrong tyre choice could cost you so much

more than just laptimes. Don’t skimp –

what you save on a set of tyres could land

up costing you a ton more in bike repair

bills or even worse, hospital bills. Power

is nothing without control and without the

right rubber for the job you have no control.

There are so many aspects to consider

when testing a tyre. It’s so much more

than just fitting them to a bike and going

round and round a track. There’s key points

that often get overlooked, such as weight,

compound and, most importantly, how

they affect power figures. One can go out

and spend gazillions on making their bikes

go fast, and then make the error of fitting

tyres that saps some of that power. Also, I

have heard so many rumours about certain

brands weighing so much more so you

lose so much horsepower and how it can

unsettle your bike setup, blah, blah, blah… it

was time to set the record straight.

So, for this test, we weighed each set

of tyres on a fully calibrated scale, before

fitting them to our Honda CBR1000RR

streetbike racer and putting them to the

test on the dyno and around the RSR track.

My good mate and motorcycle genius (both

on and off a bike) Mr. Ricky Morais happily

climbed onboard to assist me with this test

so a massive thanks to him and his team

from EmTek racing for all the dyno work,

tyre changes and more.

I have heard so many rumours about

certain brands weighing so much more so

you lose so much horsepower and how it can

unsettle your bike setup, blah, blah, blah…

It was about time this test happened, but

after doing it I can understand why others

haven’t yet as there is a lot of logistical

work involved as well as costs, but for me it

had to be done. The masses had spoken, via

the Redstar Raceway whatsapp group, and

it was/is my duty to answer.

Before I get into the tyres I would just like

to say one more thank you, this time to Shaun

Bester, who came along to the test at RSR

and assisted with making coffee, breakfast,

changing tyres and refueling, on a day when

he could have easily stayed at home and put

his feet up, so big thanks Shaun!

The best part of the

test - track time!

ALL THE PREMIUM

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Ricky had wings and

a fresh new set of

Pirelli slicks fitted to

his R1 which helped

him fly.

Pirelli Diablo SBK Slicks &

Diablo SuperCorsa SC Cut Slicks

For this test, we decided to

rope in two bikes to help get

through the load and help

offer different aspects from

two different machines. All the

cut slicks would be fitted on

our Honda CBR1000RR, which

is pretty much the perfect

definition of an everyday

weekend riding trackday

rider with its stock standard

suspension.

The second bike would be a

pure track bred beast and they

don’t get any better than a race

prepped Yamaha R1 big bang

from the magical EmTek Racing

team, and in the hdans of the

ever-improving Ricky Morais, all

the slicks fitted would be put to

the ultimate test to see if they

could handle both tough and

powerful man and machine.

The Pirelli Diablo SBK slicks

These are the ‘as close to

WSBK’ slick tyres as you will be

able to buy over the counter.

All the development over

the past decade in the WSBK

championship have been poured

into these tyres to help create

the ultimate lap time crushing

tyres, and they never disappoint.

Regarded as the best performing

slicks on the market today,

the Pirelli Diablo SBK’s are the

choice for most trackday, purely

because of their grip level and

slightly more longevity over the

cut-slick options.

What we had on test here was

the SC2 compound front and the

200/60 profile SC1 rear. This is

one of the best choice combos

you could go for on any modernday

1000cc superbike as it will

give you all the grip you need to

help drop those lap times. This

is the biggest highlight of these

tyres. Another big highlight is

the fact that they can often help

disguise any bike setup faults. So

where other brands might need

some time and work in setting

the bike up for the tyre before

being able to push hard and go

fast, the Pirelli slicks, as well as

the cut slicks, are able to do so

without having to do too many

adjustments. I call them the

“Plug and Play” tyres, as you can

literally just put them on and go

fast. There has been more than

one occasion where I have seen

a rider and his bike saved by the

fact that grippy Pirelli slicks were

fitted – they often come to the

rescue for riders who haven’t

quite grasped the idea of an apex

or staying on the racing line.

But there is a price to pay for

all the grip and guidance out on

track. A set of these Pirelli slicks

(size 120 front 200 rear) will set

you back R6200, making them

the most expensive tyre on this

test. But, just like with anything

in life, you pay for the best and

the Pirelli slicks certainly do

rack up there with the best on

the market today and point was

proven on this test with Ricky

posting his fastest time on

these slicks.

Pros

• Massive amounts of grip,

front and rear

• Great feeling from the front tyre

• Not much bike setup needed

• Plug and play – and go fast!

Cons

• A bit pricey compared to others

• The 60-profile rear does

sometimes interfere with

traction control systems,

so if you do fit make sure

you recalibrate if option is

available (most modern-day

bikes electronics setup to 55

rear profile).

• A bit more sensitive to tyre

pressure compared to others,

doesn’t offer much longevity

(SC1 compound, the SC2 will

offer more but does have a bit

less grip naturally)

The facts

Price per set: R6200 (price will

vary according to tyre size)

Weight (front and rear

combined): 11kg

Dyno: 202HP / 123Nm

Lap time: 1,57.6 (fastest slicks

on this test)

38 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


The Pirelli Diable

SuperCorsa cut slciks

Probably the most used tyre

at any raceday as just like the

slicks they offer great feel and

help keep those lap times down.

These grippy Italian tekkies

have a pure racing soul but can

also be used out on the road.

Pirelli’s tag line for these tyres

has always been “Power is

nothing without control” and

they could not have tagged it

any better.

Again, simply plug and play

with these tyres and let all the

grip help get you around the

track faster than anything else.

If its grip you want, it’s grip

you’ll get!

If you are looking for a tyre

that will last you more than

one to one and a half track

days (around 80-100 laps)

then this might not be a good

option to look at. While the

SC2 compound front will last

closer to 150 laps, the SC1 rear

compound is purely designed

to offer unparalleled grip. You

will get a bit more life out of

a SC2 compound rear, as we

found on this test, but there is

“The words “it just let go” are very seldom

muttered when talking about Pirelli’s front tyre

and the sight of a rider being flung into the sky is

very rare if a Pirelli rear is involved.”

around a second to one and a

half seconds drop off in overall

lap times.

My plug and play factor was

very much evident on this test,

as the Diablo SuperCorsa’s

did help disguise some setup

issue on the Honda’s standard

suspension, instead making the

bike feel like it had proper WP or

Ohlins fitted.

Just like the slicks the front

SC2 is a pure gem. Whether

you are a rider that jams on

the brakes as hard as you can

and trail brake deep into a

corner Marquez style, or brake

a bit earlier and flow through

the turn, the SC2 front gladly

plays along and literally ‘goes

with the flow’. One of the key

highlights of the Pirelli front has

always been the feel – it lets

you know when it’s about to let

go, rather than just letting go

and making you pay. It works

hard to give you the most grip

available and very rarely fails.

The words “it just let go” are

very seldom muttered when

talking about Pirelli’s front tyre

and the sight of a rider being

flung into the sky is very rare if

a Pirelli rear is involved.

It was so easy to go out on

track and set a fast time from

the word go – that is ultimately

the biggest advantage of these

tyres! So, if you are a track rider

looking for a tyre that grips the

best and are not to worried

about price and longevity, the

Pirelli slicks, or cut slicks are the

best options for you.

Pros

• Massive amounts of grip,

front and rear

• Great feeling from the front tyre

• Not much bike setup needed

• Plug and play – and go fast!

• 55 profile rear is more

adaptable to bikes electronics

Cons

• A bit pricey compared to others

• A bit more sensitive to tyre

pressure compared to others,

doesn’t offer much longevity

(SC1 compound, the SC2 will

offer more but does have a bit

less grip naturally)

The facts

Price per set: R5800 (price will

vary according to tyre size)

Weight (front and rear

combined): 11kg

Dyno: 202HP / 123Nm

Lap time: 1,58.9 (fastest cut

slick on this test)

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Bridgestone V02 Slicks

& R11 Cut Slicks

Bridgestone V02 slicks

“Holy crap how good are these

tyres?” Those were the first

words to come out of Ricky’s

mouth after his first session out

on track with the Bridgestone

V02 slicks. Well, there were

a few more “from the South”

words thrown in there but for

the sake of our ‘keep it tidy

please’ readers I left them

out. Whilst at the track Ricky

asked me for a pen and paper

so that he could jot down his

impressions of the tyres. This

was what he had to say about

the Bridgestone V02 slicks;

“The tyres felt really good. The

gearing was maybe a bit too

long due to the higher profile

rear. The front had a slight

patter when releasing the

brake and entering the turn but

nothing too serious. The harder

carcass will play a role in that so

with a bit of setup it could easily

be cured. Rear grip was good,

and overall wear exceptional”.

Just like the Pirelli slicks the

V02 200 size rear comes in a 60

profile. What this means is the

tyres shape is higher making

it less curved, which means

less tread on the tar, hence

why gearing felt a bit too long.

Another factor for this was the

dyno reading. The V02’s lost

13HP compared to the highest

figure, which was pushed out by

the Michelin EVO slick out of all

the tyres on this test. The higher

profile, which also meant less

tread on the dyno roller, plus

harder compound attributed

to the loss on the dyno, but

when I asked Ricky if he could

feel a 13HP loss out on track he

answered hell no! Again, more

“bad words from the Southside”

were used and again I had to

clean it up.

What the V02’s lost on the

dyno they gain in longevity.

After 30 hard laps the tyres

still looked like new and Ricky

was not hanging around and

set some really impressive lap

times. Ones that surprised me if

I’m being 100% honest.

On overall top speed Ricky

only lost 3kp/h over the other

slicks tested, so the 13HP loss

didn’t really come into play

that much.

We did find that the V02’s

liked a slightly harder tyre

pressure compared to the rest,

so instead of the 2.5 hot on the

front and 1.5 hot at the rear we

were running on all the others,

we found the V02’s felt and

worked best at 2.6 hot on the

front and 1.8 hot on the rear.

Overall the V02’s really

impressed and priced at R5500

per set you will be hard pressed

to find a better tyre that offers

both grip and longevity.

There is no wonder the

Bridgestone V02 slicks won the

last 24-hour race – great grip

that lasts forever.

Pros

• Solid, stable feel

• Good grip with excellent

longevity

• A well-priced tyre that will

last longer than most

Cons

• Outright grip at full lean angle

a bit behind

• Very hard carcass so good

setup is needed

• Losses a bit of power on dyno

The facts

Price per set: R5500 (only one

compound available)

Weight: 11kg

Dyno: 190HP / 118Nm

Lap time: 1,58.8

Bridgestone R11 cut slciks

This is the brand-new track

only cut slicks released this

year by Bridgestone and the

replacement for the outgoing,

long serving R10’s. All around

the world journos and racers

“There is no wonder the

Bridgestone V02 slicks won the

last 24-hour race - great grip

that lasts forever.”

40 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


The biggest

improvement on the

new R11 from the

previous R10 is the

front tyre grip and

stability in-and-out

of the turns.

have raved about the new R11’s,

including myself and Shez

having tested the tyres before.

The biggest improvements

from the R10’s is found in the

front tyre. The R10’s were good

if you were a rider who didn’t

push the front too hard into

turns, but if you did, the R10’s

had a tendency to cry mercy

and let go. Having said that, the

R10’s were used and loved for

many a year in the Red Square

ZX10 Master cup series where

riders of a slightly older age

posted some very competitive

lap times. But since the new

R11’s have been released lap

records in the ZX10 Masters

Cup have been smashed at just

about every circuit visited so far,

and there is no wonder why, the

R11’s are a big step forward.

Every aspect has been

improved – front end grip and

stability under braking, while

the rear has such a solid feel

and grips really well especially

when on the fat part of the tyre.

Fitted to the Honda, with very

little setting being made to the

bikes standard suspension,

the R11’s thrived and put a

massive smile on mine and

Mike Powell’s face. They did

take a few more corners to get

completely warmed up but once

at optimum temperature man

alive did they feel good.

I jammed on the front brake

and had the stock, soft front

suspension sitting at the

bottom of the stroke more often

than not and the R11’s felt in

complete control offering not

but stability and confidence.

On a few occasions, I found

myself braking way too late and

running very hot into some of

the turns so I was forced to run

a bit deep and square the turns

off. Now this is where the old

R10’s would have just sent me

tumbling but the new R11’s just

sorted me out and helped me

find my way back to the apex,

no harm, no foul.

I was so impressed with the

grip at full lean angel, both

from the front and rear tyre,

especially through the dog

bone section of the RSR track

where it is really needed and

appreciated. Agility was also

good, a bit off the likes of the

Pirelli’s but still a massive

improvement over the R10’s.

On the dyno, the R11’s were

10HP behind the leading 203HP

Michelin slicks, but again,

just as Ricky mentioned with

the V02 slicks I could not feel

much of a difference out on

track. Where the R11’s had a big

advantage over all the others

was the ability to churn out

fast lap time after fast lap time,

without showing any signs of

fading or tearing up. Just like

the V02’s, tyre wear is a big

factor and the R11’s just kept

on going. Also like the V02’s we

found that the R11’s like a harder

pressure. When I came in after

my first stint I checked the rear

pressure and found it set at

1.8 hot off the track. I decided

to drop it to 1.6 hot and this is

when the rear lost a little bit of

edge grip and started showing

signs of a slight tear. This was

all down to tyre pressure so

again keep that in mind if you

are running R11’s.

So, if you are a rider looking

for a tyre that has good grip

with good wear and longevity,

but most importantly is well

priced, then the Bridgestone

V02 slicks or R11 cut slicks are

great options.

Pros

• A massive improvement over

the R10’s

• Good grip with excellent

longevity

• Stability and front grip much

improved

• A well-priced tyre that will

last longer than most

Cons

• Losses a bit of power on dyno

• Setup needs to be dialed in

The facts

Price per set: R4500 (only one

compound available)

Weight: 11kg

Dyno: 193HP / 120Nm

Lap time: 1,59.4

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Ricky Morais felt

right at home on

the Metzeler RR

CompK slicks.

Metzeler Racetec RR

CompK Slicks & RR Cut Slicks

Metzeler Racetec RR

CompK slicks

This is a tyre that flies under

the radar and for the life of me

I cannot understand why? The

Racetec RR range is simply

sublime and just like Pirelli offers

massive amounts of grip, but,

with a bit extra longevity. It’s

such an adaptable tyre offering

itself to all bike setups and riders

no matter the riding style.

I could see the smile on Ricky’s

face get bigger when he saw the

Metzeler RR CompK slicks being

fitted to his R1 – lap times were

about to tumble! The thought of

running down pit lane to warn

the rest of the A group riders

to get out of the way as there

would be a very fast Porra on

a stealth looking R1 fitted with

wings coming through like a bat

out of hell. And that’s exactly

what happened.

One of the big plus points

of the Metzeler slicks, even

the K2 front and K2 rear fitted

here, is the warm up time.

Straight out of the warmers

and only a few comers in and

these tyres are ready to go.

This tech comes from years

of development at the world

toughest road race – the Isle of

Man TT where getting heat and

keeping it plays a huge role and

the Metzeler’s are one of the

best in the business, just ask

this year’s TT winner Mr. Dean

Harrison who won this year’s

race using the CompK slicks.

An instant lover affair with

rider, bike and track surface,

that’s what the Metzeler

portrays every time you

head out on the black stuff.

No matter the lean angle or

pressure these slicks offer

nothing but solid grip and

stability front and rear.

Metzeler have done a great

job at translating what they

have learnt over the year in the

road racing championships and

applying it to their track tyres.

I knew going into this test that

it was going to be a straight

shootout between Pirelli and

Metzeler for the fastest time

overall, but I did not think it

would be this close…

Pros

• Nothing but grip

• Longevity a bit better

than Pirelli

• Easy to go fast on

• Very adaptable to rider

and bike

Cons

• A bit pricey

• A bit more sensitive to

tyre pressure

The facts

Price per set: R5985 (price will

vary according to tyre size)

Weight: 11kg

Dyno: 202HP / 123Nm

Lap time: 1,57.8

Metzeler Racetec RR

cut slicks

These are the new official tyres

used in our SA National 1000cc

SBK and 600cc Suspersport

class and so far, the riders

are loving them. I spoke about

the Metzelers being very

adaptable and I think Mr. Lance

Isaacs would agree with that

statement as since switching

to Metzeler’s both he and

42 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


his SupaBets BMW S1000RR

(previous gen still, not new

model) have improved tenfold.

The slightingly more flexible

carcass has helped the S1000RR,

which doesn’t like being kept

on the side of the tyre for too

long and battled to maintain

grip over the 15 lap long races

here in SA, but now with the

Metzeler’s Lance is a serious title

contender, even at the tender

age of 400 (this is not a miss

print, it just seems to me as if

Lance has been around forever).

These tyres open up a few

more doors when it comes to

setup and riding style compared

to the Pirelli’s and most riders

and machines have flourished

when using them.

For this test, we opted for the

soft compound K1 at the front

and rear, to see just how fast

we could go. Just as I thought,

we posted the fastest time out

of the cut slicks on the soft

compound Racetec RR’s. The

other reason was to see how

the softer front tyre would react

compared to the slightly stiffer

option most opt for. The grip

was ridiculously good but I did

feel a little more movement

under hard braking. Let me give

you a quick analogy to explain

the reasons to opt for soft or

medium front tyres.

If you are a rider like Marc

Marquez who likes to brake

late, jam the front tyre into the

tar, carry a little less corner

speed than other more flowing

riders and hammer it out of the

turns then a medium compound

front is better suited. If you are

a Lorenzo like rider, slightly less

braking but more flowing corner

speed, then a softer option

is the way to go (notice how

Lorenzo battles if he can’t run

the soft tyre in races).

The medium compound will

offer more stability and grip

under hard initial braking and

trail braking, offer more support

on the side wall. A softer front

will flex a bit more under hard

braking because of the softer

side wall, but will assist a lot

more when off the brakes and

carrying stupid amounts of

mid-corner speed.

“The Metzeler’s offer endless amounts

of grip - it’s no wonder they are breaking

National SBK lap records all over.”

This was very evident in this

test. I am more a Marquez styled

rider while my brother Shaun is

more fast flowing like Lorenzo.

I felt a bit of flex and movement

under braking while my brother

had no complaints. K2 for me

and K1 for my bro if we were to

go racing on separate machines.

The Metzeler K1 were simply

sublime and in the words of

Ricky, who just had to give

them a go, nothing but GRIP,

GRIP, GRIP! The Metzeler’s offer

endless amounts of grip – it’s

no wonder they are breaking

National SBK lap records all over.

Metzeler’s main aim is more

on the road racing side and

their achievements can be felt

in their tyres. Awesome grip but

with slightly better longevity

compared to their more trackonly

focused cousins over at

Pirelli (Pirelli own Metzeler, in

case you didn’t know).

So, if you are looking for a

tyre with plenty of grip, good

longevity and not too fussed

about overall price then the

Metzeler range ticks every box.

Pros

• Nothing but grip

• Longevity a bit better than

Pirelli

• Easy to go fast on

• Very adaptable to rider and

bike

Cons

• A bit pricey

• A bit more sensitive to tyre

pressure

The facts

Price per set: R5684 (price will

vary according to tyre size))

Weight: 11kg

Dyno: 202HP / 123Nm

Lap time: 1,59.0

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BATT Ultra High

Performance Slicks

A new tyre that hit the market this year and a

tyre we have had some good experiences on

already, both in racing and normal trackday

situations.

We fitted a set of these hard slicks to our

Honda and raced it at the Monocle race at

Phakisa earlier in the year. While the wear

was really good and the tyres latest around

the very abrasive circuit, they didn’t offer

anywhere near the same amount of grip as

the top contenders in this test. But, they were

not designed to do that. They are slick track

tyres aimed at trackday riders or racers who

don’t go after lap records but rather look at

value-for-money. Longevity and price over

all out grip.

Tipping the scales at 12kg made them the

heaviest set of tyres on this test, but very

surprisingly, they finished 4th overall in the

dyno test – posting a respectable 201.5HP

and 122 Nm of torque.

Fitted to Ricky’s race ready R1 and the

Batt’s held up really well, but the stiff

carcass did bash heads with the bikes setup

and there was a slight patter on the front.

Decent lean angle and speeds in corners,

but nothing like the fast tyres. Rear grip was

pretty decent said Ricky, who was still able

to post a respectable 2,02.4 lap time. Had he

climbed into his bikes setup with his magical

tools I think he could have solved some of

the setup issues and gone even faster. The

Batt’s will need quite a

bit of bike setup to help

attack those times but for

the general rider running

anything between 2,05 –

2,20s then this tyre was

made for you and your back pocket. At only

R3450 for a set, these have to be the best

value-for-money slick tyres on the market

today.

With the new Batt UHP slicks don’t go

chasing lap times, but rather distance. One

will easily get around 4 track day rides

(over 200 laps) on a set of tyres. A seriously

incredible value-for-money tyre aimed at the

B, C or D group rider.

Some good news from Batt is that they

will be bringing in a set of super soft and soft

options in the near future, so we will do a

follow up test on those once they arrive.

Pros

• Longevity is the biggest highlight

• Best priced tyres on this test

• Perfect for all slower trackday riders and

racers

Cons

• Very hard carcass

• Hard to setup for faster riders

The facts

Price per set: R3450

Weight: 12kg

Dyno: 201.5HP / 122Nm

Lap time: 2,02.4

“A seriously

incredible valuefor-money

tyre

aimed at the B, C

or D group rider.”

44 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


Michelin Power EVO Slicks

The best performing tyre on

the dyno, making 203HP. It

was 2Nm down on the Pirellis

so didn’t take overall honours

there but surprising to me that

it topped the HP sheets.

With Michelin being back

in MotoGP we are going to

see their track tyres just get

better and better. I have spent

some time on the previous

gen slicks and they were good,

but according to all who have

ridden on these new ones

they are better. Not much,

but better. They’ve taken

their tech and what they’ve

learnt from MotoGP and made

improvements.

We slapped them into Ricky’s

R1 and he headed out and did

some good long runs on them.

Scribbling in the note pad I

supplied him he went on to say

that the stability was not as

good as the others, but rear grip

was good and the front had a

good feeling through the bars.

Grip on the front tyre at full

lean angle pushing was not the

greatest but good enough and

with a bit more time to setup

would improve for sure.

Under hard trail braking the

front felt good, said Ricky, who

I could see was carrying less

speed and lean angle in the

turns and hammering it hard

coming out taking advantage of

the good grip from the rear tyre.

Heat up was also not as quick

as some of the others, a few

more corners were needed to

get the tyres up to temperature

before being able to attack.

Durability was a big factor

with these tyres. At the end of

the day the tyres looked like

new, a good sign for riders

looking for a tyre that lasts, a

not too good sign for fast riders

who need the tyre to work

more.

Ricky did post his best

top speed of the day on the

Michelins, clocking 250kp/h on

his GPS – that was 2kp/h more

than he managed on any other

tyre (Pirelli 2nd best).

The Michelin EVO slicks are

a good all-round tyre lending

themselves to a wide range

of riders with its good

overall track capabilities.

Pros

• Durability and wear

• Good grip from rear tyre

• Best overall GPS speed

and overall HP

Cons

• A bit on the

expensive side

• Front end grip at full

lean angle and when

pushed hard

The facts

Price per set: R5975

Weight: 11kg

Dyno: 203HP / 121Nm

Lap time: 2,00.8

“They’ve taken their tech

and what they’ve learnt

from MotoGP and made

big improvements.”

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Shaun just loves to get

his elbow down, and the

Dunlop D213’s made it

very easy to do so.

Dunlop D213 Cut Slicks

Tyre I was really excited to test

properly as I had not done many

laps on them at all and have

heard nothing but good things

about them.

Dunlop is one of the sponsors

to the new Monocle Series and if

you get to a race now and walk

down pit lane you will see plenty

of bikes sporting the new Dunlop

D213’s. If you watch those same

riders out on track and on the

timing monitors you will also

notice their lap times improving.

Racers seen to be taking really

well to the new track tyre from

Dunlop, saying its overall feel,

grip and longevity is almost

unmatched. Some racers still

sticking with the tried and

trusted Pirelli’s, but more and

more are moving over to the

Dunlop’s and there is no wonder.

This test really did highlight

what an amazing tyre it.

Although it did lose some HP

on the dyno, it felt nothing

short of spectacular out

on track. I loved the overall

feel of the tyres, which from

the word go installed huge

amounts of confidence in me

and the machine. I was able to

brake late and hard and carry

momentum all the way into

the corner while still clamping

the front brake. Not a twitch

fronm the front tyre and once

I released the brake the tyres

guided me effortlessly into the

turns. Fast or slow, no matter

what the angles or pressures

the D213’s loved being pushed

hard around the RSR track.

As you can tell by the pics, my

brother Shaun loved the D213

and posted his best times on

the day with the D213’s fitted.

He consistently and effortlessly

churned out fast lap after fast

lap and looked so stable whilst

doing so. It blended in with our

“That comes from their

dominance at road

racing, where they have

racked up the most wins

in the history of Isle of

Man TT...”

Honda’s standard setup with

ease and gave the bike a

much firmer feel in and out of

the turns.

Dunlop have been able to

create a tyre with the perfect

blend of grip and durability. A

tyre that has a great feel and

will last longer than most. That

comes from their dominance at

road racing, where they have

racked up the most wins in the

history of Isle of Man TT, so

damn right they should have a

good tyre.

Dunlop has always been

renowned for making tyres

that grip and last, and the new

D213’s continues that trend.

Yes, the price is a little steep,

but it’s a tyre that will help you

chase down those lap times

and last longer than the others.

Pros

• Durability and wear

• Excellent amounts of grip

• Solid and stable under hard

braking and trail braking

Cons

• A bit on the expensive side

• Front end grip at full lean

angle and when pushed hard

The facts

Price per set: R6200

Weight: 11kg

Dyno: 196HP / 121Nm

Lap time: 1,59.1

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46 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


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||| FIRST RIDE: NEW YAMAHA NIKEN

Parallel

Universe

Words like cutting edge, revolutionary and - well, weird spring

to mind when you see the Yamaha Niken for the first time.

It’s something quite unique really.

Words: Glenn Foley | Pics: Beam Productions

We saw these Nikens taking part in events

like the Tour de France on TV – and to be

quite frank, never thought that they would

make their way to SA, so we did not pay too

much attention.

Then – on our rounds we noticed this

weird looking bike proudly displayed on the

floor at World Of Yamaha…

• Is it a Trike? No. It will fall over if not on the

side stand.

• Does it wheelie? Yup.

• Head turner? Like nothing we’ve ever ridden

– a Taxi even stopped, the driver hopped out

and took a pic on his cell phone.

• What’s it like to ride? In one word:

Incredible.

And then, we begged, we pleaded, we

even tried to bribe a ride out of them with

chocolates and stuff - but NO… rules are

rules, homologation, dealer launches,

running in periods and all sorts got in the

way of that. We waited and waited… and

virtually forgot about it…

And then…

The kind peeps at Yamaha offered us a

day in the saddle. We phoned our team and

everyone made time to come along - and

what a cool day that turned out to be.

Just in case you haven’t seen or heard

about this bike, here’s the skinny…

The most obvious thing to look at is

the unusual 3-wheel arrangement. The

front end of the 2019 Yamaha Niken GT

is transformer type stuff underneath the

shroud. Two parallelogram arms, a steering

tie rod, and dual steering heads are hidden

from view, which is a good thing because

they would be distracting while riding.

Watching them operate is fascinating,

as they control steering, leaning, and

articulation over bumps.

Although there are four blue anodized

KYB fork legs, they aren’t what they seem.

The leading fork leg on each side is inert—

there’s only lubrication inside—so it is not

technically suspension. The 41mm leading

legs are there for stabilization, alignment,

and support. The trailing legs are traditional

fully adjustable suspension units with a

spring inside. Also, it is worth remembering

that the articulation system offers bonus

wheel travel.

48 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


“When riding the Niken

the possibilities seem

endless. It just seems

capable to do anything

you throw at it. It brakes,

it steers, it accelerates,

it’s just so damn cool.”

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 4 9


Trust us when we

say the Niken is truly a

gorgeous machine.

Up front, Bridgestone Battlax

Adventure A41F front tyres are

mounted on 15-inch rims. That’s an

unusual rim size, but this is a unique

design. Yamaha engineers worked

out that 15-inch rims were the ideal

size, because using a pair of 17-inch

rims would have resulted in too

much rotational mass. While 15-inch

tyres aren’t common, you aren’t

stuck with the Adventure 41s if you

prefer something else, though most

15-inch tyres come from the scooter

realm and may not be speed and

performance appropriate. 298mm

discs up front take care of stopping

duties. Yamaha does warn against

stunting and stoppies because of all

of the mechanical bits involved up

front. One question we had to ask

and fortunately did not find out was…

what happens if you get a flat on one

side? How will the bike cope then?

Anyway, we digress.

Look closer… Yamaha based the

Niken GT on the two-wheel Tracer

900 GT sport-tourer, but there are

significant differences beyond the

front end. The Niken GT takes the

Crossplane Concept CP3 847cc triple

from the Tracer 900 GT, and then

adds some additional crankshaft

inertia, a more robust gears, two

more teeth on the rear sprocket,

and fueling adjustments to allow

the motor to best propel the 57

kilogramme heavier Niken GT.

We all agreed that this proven

triple cylinder engine is just perfect

for the Niken – anything bigger would

have spun the back wheel.

The hybrid cast-steel/hightensile-steel/aluminum

trellisframed

Niken GT chassis differs

quite a bit from the Tracer GT’s

controlled fill vacuum cast aluminum

frame. The Niken GT’s wheelbase is

about a quarter-inch longer than the

Tracer 900 GT, while the Niken GT’s

rake is tucked in at four degrees.

Out back, the Niken GT gets a

wider tyre and a larger 282mm disc

than the Tracer 900 GT, so the rear

brake is purpose fitted for a beefier

bike. ABS is standard, not adjustable,

and not intrusive.

50 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


We can see the

Niken making an

appearance in the next

Transformers movie.

“It’s a motorcycle, in every sense of the

word – it’s just, well, smoother, more refined

– and somehow, it feels well… safer.”

One plus two

equals - a really

fun ride!

Electronic Technology:

The digital display is typically 21st century

all singing and dancing information centre,

however not in colour. There are two power

outlets, one above and to the left of the

digital display for a GPS or whatever and the

other by the left rear of the rider’s seat.

3 power modes:

Level 1 is go fast mode. 2 is softer – and 3 is

well, a but underwhelming.

So just leave the bike in level 1 and enjoy

the ride. Level 2 is possibly more sensible

and economical, but we like level 1. Level 3

would probably be quite lekker and safe and

all that in the rain, but it wasn’t raining, so…

don’t be silly…

LEAVE IT IN LEVEL 1.

Traction control is a standard and you can

adjust the levels, but you have to stop the

bike in order to change it.

Quickshifter: The Niken has a quick

shifter, up only, which has a default setting

of always on at start-up, however you can

manually turn it off when stationary. Cool!

Ride Impressions:

Like many keyboard warriors, this very rider

started the day asking – what the heck was

Yamaha thinking? Flashbacks occurred to

experiences on other weird and wonderful

machines like the Spyder and even BMW’s C1.

Those aren’t really even bikes! Why would

Yamaha spend so much on a senseless

project like this?

Then he climbed on and was amazed by

just how good it is.

The bike is large up front – kinda like a big

adventure bike – just bigger. Fortunately you

cannot see the front suspension and stuff

working – that would be very distracting.

Seating is firm, comfortable and quite

upright – a la sports tourer. No, you cannot

leave your feet on the pegs and just sit there

– you will fall over.

The burble from the Yamaha engine is so

familiar… Snick her into first gear and open

the throttle… and go and look for a few

twisties.

It’s a motorcycle, in every sense of the

word – it’s just, well, smoother, more refined

– and somehow, it feels well… safer.

Carving through the traffic is

psychologically interesting because the

front end feels wider than the conventional

one wheeled version of the same – but it’s

all in the mind, you can skiet between the

trucks in a big hurry or hit the emergency

lane no worries. Potholes are inevitable and

a non- event on this bike – and watching the

other riders while we were shooting, you can

see exactly why – the suspension all works

independently, so everything just stays so

well planted.

Riding up a curb, the bike stays level, quite

a weird feeling at first, but you start liking

that very quickly. In the corners you lean…

and lean and… well we’ll let Rob tell you

about all that.

Does all of this mean that the bike is

boring? Not at all it’s magic to ride and that

aforementioned triple cylinder powerhouse

delivers great big gobs of excitement…

We love the technology. It may have

two front wheels, but it is undoubtedly a

motorcycle, and it is one that you have to

ride in order to believe and understood.

There is nothing else like it that we have ever

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 51


Glenn, being

Glenn, would find

some dirt to go on...

ridden. Fast, smooth, stable,

safe and so much fun…

Now please Yamaha, this bike

warrants further testing, we’d

love to head up to Long Toms

Pass for the weekend!

2nd Opinion: Sean Hendley

I saw the Niken a couple of

months ago at World of Yamaha

and tried to scrag a ride back

then already, so it was with

a fair amount of excitement

that I pulled on my helmet

this morning and swung my

leg over this other worldly

incarnation. Initially I just took

a few laps around the parking

lot to get my head around

how it might handle, bounced

over some speed bumps and

climbed a couple of kerb stones

and generally tried to get it to

misbehave. The handling was

surprising, freakishly stable and

what was at first unnaturally

comfortable over the obstacles.

Road bikes tend to be a bit

unwieldly over this type of

obstacle so as a seasoned rider

one tends to expect that and

subconsciously compensate,

the Niken messed with that

subconscious adjustment

initially but I soon got used

to it. I was eventually hitting

speed bumps way faster than

I should have and besides

getting a bit airborne the Niken

didn’t get out of shape in any

manner only encouraging me

to misbehave even more. In

fact on the road test I “forgot”

about a particularly nasty

bump through an off camber

intersection and instead of

slowing down maintained a

good 100kmh and got some

proper airtime, (for a tar

machine - a la IOM TT), sadly

the camera vehicle was too

far back to record the evidence

thereof so you will just have

to believe me. Besides a

momentary rise in the revs and

a mild thump from the rear

wheel the big machine barely

noticed the bump.

“I was eventually

hitting speed bumps

way faster than I

should have and

besides getting a bit

airborne the Niken

didn’t get out of shape

in any manner only

encouraging me to

misbehave even more.”

52 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


Now I say ‘big machine’

because with the dual wheels,

suspension and etc. upfront the

bodywork has been designed

around that and does seem

a bit intimidating at first, but

in reality no bigger than the

average “adventure” bike

these days. The low screen

and slightly aggressive sitting

position does encourage a bit

of naughtiness too, around

170kmh you do have to lean

into the wind a bit more but

nothing really to write home

about. I managed to lane split

quite heavy traffic along some

busy roads without too much

hassle and hang on the gas for

a couple of minutes, the MT-

09 engines always pulls well

and the sexy little triple growl

exhaust note does nothing

to help you be a law abiding

citizen. The array of electronic

gadgets is pretty much what

you would expect of any bike

in this league, put it in “FUN”

mode if you want to get into the

groove and “GRANNY MODE”

when you want to chill or the

weather requires it. I reckon it’s

a kind of a Marmite bike, you’re

either going to completely fall

in love with it or the type of

person that would rather drive

an electric car. It is a strange

looking bit of engineering and

everywhere we rode, stopped

or parked people were falling

over their own feet entranced

by the Niken, we did get to meet

a whole bunch of interesting

new people on the ride today,

so it does seem to have quite a

bit of magnetism.

Riding the Niken is intuitive

once you get used to the fact

that you have double the

traction up front. Hanging

through a lefty trying to get a

really good photo I noticed a

particularly nasty patch of dirt

right in my line of attack on

the apex and did the usual

flinch and prayer all the while

expecting a much more

spectacular action picture

whilst the dual front wheels,

one in the dirt and the other

on the outside, didn’t so much

as twitch. Then we subjected

the handling to another bend

that had obviously been paved

by Off Road enthusiasts, I did

notice a bit of a wobble but

nothing of what the guys

watching from the side were

saying of the suspension doing

‘The Macarena’, ‘The Floss’ and

‘Gangham style’ all at the same

time. So as strange as it

may look the crazy

suspension

setup up front really does

seem to make the Niken a very

rideable motorcycle …. or is that

…. Motortricycle?

I like it a lot and would like

to spend a bit more time on

it, I think a little trip down to

Clarens and the Golden Gate

National park is in order.

The Niken quickly turned

a hardcore 48-year old man

into a “please sir, can I have

some more” little boy...

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 5 3


3rd Opinion: Rob Portman

I have ridden a couple of threewheeled

trike like motorcycle

creations in my life and I can

honestly say that the new

Yamaha Niken is by far the

best. Whatever you may think

of it, these are the facts from

my side; It’s a motorcycle, just

with a twist. It’s exciting and in

many ways a lot safer. It instills

massive amounts of confidence

and would make even the most

nervous, inexperienced rider

feel right at home.

I know there are plenty of

you out there who have already

commented on my social media

platforms saying it’s hideous,

but I can tell you this thing is

a real looker. It looks so mean

and you cannot tell me you are

not looking at all these pics

right now and still thinking it’s a

hideous creation?

It’s a new machine that

broadens the horizons of

motorcycling, which in turn will

hopefully broaden the horizons

of buyers out there. For sure the

‘extra’ wheel up front helps with

stability and handling, which is

what most people of scared of

when riding a motorcycle. Yes,

and the power but this featuring

the oh-so-dreamy Yamaha

MT09 power plant means you

get plenty of confidence in

that field as well. Nothing but

smooth operating from the

moment you sit on it. The ABS

and traction control as standard

make it very safe, and bit too

soft for me. We were under

strict instructions to ride with

care – no wheelies, burnouts,

endos, any funny business –

that was the message from

Yamaha as this is the only one

in the country at present and

there

are still

plenty of

journos

wanting to

have a go.

That didn’t

stop me from

enjoying this

splendid piece of

high tech kit. I am no

stranger when it comes

to the MT09 and its dreamy

3-cyclinder engine, so got

thrashing as soon as I could.

The gearbox is straight out of

a Dove soap ad – smooth and

refreshing. The added bonus of

a quick shifter (only going up)

made the ride more exciting and

those gearshifts oh-so-easy.

There is no weird feeling

when climbing on it. It feels just

like a normal motorcycle, until

you thrash into guns blazing

into the first turn that appears

and realize that you have a bit

more to play with. The front

steers easily and holds its line

with ample force. This is when

a sportbike nut like me starts to

think – just a little more, push

a little harder, go a little faster

and the Niken played along

like a puppy chasing a stick.

Tongues out, tails wagging, the

54 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


Niken and I formed a perfect

bond after only a matter

of seconds – it was love

at first sight – as it

always is after a good

threesome! Was

that a bit naughty?

Sorry…

When riding

the Niken the

possibilities seem

endless. It just

seems capable

to do anything

you throw at it. It

brakes, it steers, it

accelerates, it’s just

so damn cool. It even

made a camo jacket,

yellow MX gloves, clear

visor wearing dirt biker like

Glenn look cool.

Yes, it’s different, and I

understand the whole ‘but

it’s not a motorcycle anymore

with 3 wheels”. But the truth is

it’s actually so much more than

just a motorcycle. It’s a fresh

new look at things that could,

and should invite a wider range

of riders into our market with

its feel good and safer factors.

It happily carves through

traffic, can park in any bike only

parking and you need to have

a motorcycle license to ride

it legally on the road, just like

Ok Rob, you can

let us have a turn

now please...

“Yes, it’s different,

and I understand the

whole ‘but it’s not a

motorcycle anymore

with 3 wheels”. But the

truth is it’s actually so

much more than just a

motorcycle. It’s a fresh

new look at things

that could, and should

invite a wider range of

riders into our market

with its feel good and

safer factors.”

a normal motorcycle, which

makes it a normal motorcycle.

I am a superbike, fast paced

nutter and am often short

sighted when it comes to

anything but a sporty, arm

wrenching, eye ball popping

machine, but I can happily say

that I loved my time on the new

Yamaha Niken and look forward

to hopefully getting it for a

weekend to go for a longer ride.

Wait a minute, did I just say that.

Me, the guy who hates riding for

more than an hour on the road…

it must be the Niken effect!

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 55


||| FEATURE: #AdventureRideJHB

# Jozi

Gems

Lots of current adventure

bike riders, and potential

adventure bike owners,

seem to think you need to go

far out of the city to enjoy a

bike like the BMW GS R1250.

Greg “Magoo” Moloney

shows us that there is

plenty of cool adventure

spots right here in Jozi...

Is Jozi not big enough for an adventure?

We at RideFast decided to try

something a little different

with this test and set off early

one morning on Clearwater

Motorrad’s BMW 1250, to test

the theory that Johannesburg

is more than adequate enough

for someone to have an

adventure and test out a bike

of this nature’s capabilities,

adequately, in and around the

city of gold. Greg Moloney, aka

Magoo The Voice Of Choice

for SA Motorsport, famous

for his social media vlog,

#LiveOnTheDrive, said he would

also give us and you guys a

bit of his local knowledge on a

few little hidden gems that this

awesome city has to offer the

trained eye, and maybe next

time you’re thinking about doing

“...the traffic seemed to part relatively

easily as he approached it and the well

placed spot lights either side of the bike,

which can be angled, seemed to assist in

creating a more visible machine.”

a completely different ride, you

might want to call upon his

#JHBGems.

There is not really enough

time in one day to hit all the

hidden spots of Jozi, so as a

point of starting off something

that we can turn into a bit of

an interactive activation for

our RideFast fans, Moloney

headed off from his base in LA

(Lower Alberton) to Race the

Sun and get to Putfontein Exit

on the N12 East, to start his

#AdventureRideJHB at a rail

road bridge just off the main

highway. There is probably

an easier route to get to the

bridge, but being this is also an

adventure, why not start the

day and test the R1250 and its

ability to adapt, after all, isn’t

that what adventure bikes are

supposed to be able to do?

Needless to say, it didn’t even

flinch at the change of surface

and got Magoo there without

any trouble at all. Reason for

the starting point can be seen

in the pic collage that goes with

this article, and despite the

incredible Sun rise, there is a

very secret dirt bike riding area

(Gem #1) that is found either

side of this bridge and evidence

of fresh riding tracks could be

seen as the Sun rose and gave

Magoo his first chance to go

Live on his FaceBook Page.

After welcoming his usual

and a few new comers, he

then hit the highway again and

headed for the center of town

via Eastgate. Wanting to get

through traffic is something

we all long for and as most of

you reading this already know

the benefits of riding on your

daily commute, we don’t really

need to explain the benefits, but

56 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


GOAT - the perfect name for the

greatest coffee of all time in Jozi.

“With the exception of a few of our

friends in the business of transporting our

work force, the arrival at the stadium was

short and not frustrating at all.”

according to Magoo the BMW

at first seemed to feel too big to

handle tight traffic, both on the

highway and on the secondary

roads into town. However,

as if by miracle, the traffic

seemed to part relatively easily

as he approached it and the

well placed spot lights either

side of the bike, which can be

angled, seemed to assist in

creating a more visible machine.

This certainly did the job and

allowed for easy traversing

through early morning highway

traffic and even in town,

heading for Emirates Airline

Park (Ellis Park), the big bike

flowed through relatively

unscathed. With the exception

of a few of our friends in the

business of transporting our

work force, the arrival at the

stadium was short and not

frustrating at all. Part of this

adventure is to take on what

Joubert has as its daily traffic

issues and in dealing with this,

showing how good the bike is in

its ability to deal with it to.

After a short stop at the

stadium to take in how

awesome the city has changed

the entire area, creating a

pedestrian and mainly student

friendly environment, it was

time for a coffee.

Who are you going to call?

Well, being in the know as

we said and wanting to bring

you all up to speed with those

hidden #JHBGems, one quick

whatsapp sorted the caffeine

supplier out and another

short burst through town,

stopping for a quick selfie with

some street art (graffiti to

those uncouth Neanderthals

who might not agree with

the sentiment of someone

spending hours transferring

a seemingly eyesore into

something completely

different). Down Wolmarans

St and into Simmonds and just

past the HQ of Standard Bank,

you’ll spot ex 947 News Man,

Jacob Moshokoa’s new coffee

emporium - GOAT Coffee Shop.

The service is spectacular and

upon arrival, Moshokoa, gave

Magoo a brief synopsis on his

plans to be up and running as

a full kitchen and coffee shop

within the next few months,

serving breakfast and lunch too.

Gem #2 sorted.

Nothing like getting stuck in Hillbrow

traffic in the early morning and stopping

for a selfie with some street art...

Magoo then headed North,

not down the usual routes like

Jan Smuts or Barry Hertzog, no

no, rather via another route that

passed the Oriental Plaza and into

the bottom end of Brixton, giving

him a chance to test a theory

he’s always had about BMW

riders... looking at the pic at the

Brixton Tower... his theory might

be right that BMW riders may be

compensating for”something”...

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 57


Arguably one of the best hidden Gems

in JHB - Northcliff Water Tower Lookout.

From the vantage point at

Brixton Tower, one of the two

big towers that gives Joburg

its easily recognized skyline,

you just need to look North

and spot the next point of the

adventure. Down past SABC and

along the UJ Campus, the usual

route would be to then go down

Beyers Naude, but as we have

seen so far it’s more like taking

the road less followed here and

taking the road past Westdean

Dam and UJ Stadium, always

see Magoo, look over and

remember the tragedy in the

80s and being a school teacher

for nearly 10 years, always gets

a quick word to the Man up

stairs to look after all the kids

in the world, never mind just

one Joburg.

Across the back end of

Northcliff and up the back side

of the mountain, eventually

brings you to a security boom

and once through it you head to

arguably one of Johannesburg’s

biggest kept secret - Northcliff

Hill Water Tower and look out

point. (Gem #3).

The BMW is pretty nimble

and this was tested to the

maximum, up on the paved foot

and cycle path on top of the hill

in order to get the pics you see

and even though it was not an

absolutely clear day, you can

get the just of it, however, of all

the spots on this ride, if you’ve

never been up there, this is the

number one recommended

spot of all.

Another quick

#LiveOnTheDrive link on top

of the hill suddenly opened up

what we spoke about at the

beginning of the article and

Clearwater BMW giving us this

beast to use, seemed to get

the creative juices flowing, but

input and engagement from

fans on the live link gave us the

idea to possibly do this a few

more times, but on our next

runs get your insights and ideas

as to what you all think are

potential #JHBGems. So, we’re

putting it out there right now,

send Magoo or Rob your ideas

or hidden gems via FaceBook

and let’s see if any one of the

other manufacturers want to

come on board and supply us

the wheels to hit your spots and

at the same time test their bikes

ability to meet, match or better

our first choice of steed - the

BMW GS R1250.

Magoo left the one big

mountain in search of some

more. but possibly with a bit

more dirt to play on.

Having won a round of the

National Downhill MTB Champs

in the early 90s on the side of the

hill in Krugersdorp, he was hoping

that the road they had raced back

then was still there and so he

headed into the Wild West and

towards Mogale City. On the road

back down to Ruimsig, and just

A BMW and a

Brixton Tower...

58 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


off where the Hill Climb happens

annually, is a little dirt road that

leads to the official take off

platform for the Hang Gliding Club

and to get there means you have

to go off road.

It’s an adventure bike and

it’s an adventure so on arrival,

that’s exactly what he did. It

was not long before the bike

came into its own and despite

having the stock standard

“road” tyres as opposed to

the on/off road tyres that

are available, the big Beemer

handled the trip to the top of

the world easily. The road is

not in great condition and for

an untrained adventure rider it

may be a bit of a challenge, but

using the bikes ability, sets ones

mind at ease and trusting the

tech definitely had to be front of

mind. Magoo, not the smallest

man in the world, definitely

enjoyed the way back down

the hill as he had done a few

years back on a mountain bike

that only had front suspension

forks, in those days, but

with the ample suspension

available to the rider and

different riding modes that

can be engaged at the flick of

the mode switch on the fly, the

descent was seamless.

Final decision time and it was

three fold...was this BMW all it’s

cracked up to be and worth the

effort of riding for almost an

entire day around Joburg?

Well, Magoo seemed to

think so and his only criticism

of the bike was that the pods

and guards on the sides of the

bike are quite close and on the

few occasions when you want

to maybe put your foot out to

stabilize the bike in a corner on

the dirt, or even in town trying

to avoid the taxi cutting you

off, you tend to hit the pod and

smash you shin. In terms of the

bike other than that, the option

to have the on/off tyres would

probably have been a better

one too, but that’s doable when

you purchase your own one. So

is the option of the incredible

sound that comes from the

aftermarket Akrapovic Exhaust

system that Clearwater have

put onto their demo (+- R25k)

and the top box (R10k), which

is a must.

From a comfort point of

view, the dropped seat as

opposed to the standard one

is also a big help and definitely

assisted with the trip distance

that literally traversed the

entire city, N S E and W, and got

Magoo up to a few little hidden

gems you might want to check

out yourself.

Was it an adventure? We

liked to think so... and Magoo

now wants to get the next ride

organized for the October issue.

Maybe the editor should join

him and give us all a few of his

little hidden gems too?

“...with the ample suspension

available to the rider and different

riding modes that can be engaged at

the flick of the mode switch on the

fly, the descent was seamless.”

What do you think? Magoo

says hound him and Rob (but

more Rob than him) with your

little secrets and we will try get

to them on our second edition

of #AdventureRideJHB. Or

maybe you know some spots

in your city that we can hit up if

and when we’re in your side of

the world doing what we love

best...Riding Fast...

See you all soon for the next

instalment of our RideFast and

Magoo’s #Choose your own

adventure...

Here are a few vital statistics

on the new BMW GS R1250

are below, but for more info

or to book a test ride go

onto Clearwater Motorrad

BMW web page or give Greg

Ferreira a call directly (011

761 3500) and set yourself

up to have some of your own

adventures.

• Price: from R288900,00

• Fuel Consumption: 4.75 l

• Top Speed: over 200km/h

• TFT rider information

display with connectivity

• Full LED headlight

• ASC (Automatic Stability

Control)

• 2 riding modes (Rain, Road)

• HSC (Hill Start Control)

60 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


||| TESTED: WP SUSPENSION

SUSPENSION

APEX PRO

STREET SUSPENSION

RANGE 2019

TEST

WP

Words: Jon Pearson | Pics: TooFast Media

Turn your street

bike from something

you like riding into

something you love

to ride with the new

range of WP Pro

Components.

You buy a new bike and what do you do

next? You enjoy the experience, for sure,

but before long many owners start to

browse the accessories catalogue and

showroom shelves to tailor their machines

for their needs.

All components on a standard street

bike, be they tyres, brakes, exhausts or

suspension, have to fulfil a number of

demands for a wide range of riders that

dictate how that component performs.

Original equipment suspension fitted

to a motorcycle, like the KTM 1290 Super

Adventure S with its WP semi-active

system, is impressive because within its

adjustment range it has a huge range

62 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


“The benefits WP claims for the

aftermarket parts, in comparison to the

standard suspension it replaces, includes

their lightweight construction, precision

engineering, build quality and proven

technology of the open cartridge forks and

high-pressure gas filled shock.”

of settings to suit different riders and

conditions. It can be tailored (and thanks to

the clever semi-active system, it can tailor

itself) to meet a rider’s needs – as well as

factoring in eve changing road conditions

and the loading on the bike.

From novice riders, through wide ranging

weight differences to huge variations in

the types of roads and riding conditions a

bike faces – it doesn’t take much thought to

figure out that the suspension on most bikes

must meet diverse and broad challenges.

Much of the motorcycle market is not

afforded the luxury of suspension at the

highest level as found on KTM’s flagship

Super Adventure S and instead stands

on equipment that is more limited in its

performance. It’s a complex and difficult

task for any manufacturer and their R&D

team to build a motorcycle to cater for an

incredible range of customers, road types

and riding styles.

An additional consideration here is that

suspension fitted to most motorcycles

has to meet a certain price point to enable

manufacturers to hit their target price in

the showroom. In certain sectors of the

motorcycle market, where the motorcycle

is hitting a relatively low price point, the

suspension is compromised further to

reduce costs to the manufacturer and,

therefore, the end user.

And this is where WP’s growing Pro

Components aftermarket range of street

bike suspension arrives. In a world where

owners make expected upgrades to areas

like the exhaust, fuelling and braking,

WP’s Pro Components range is offering

a credible and effective upgrade for a

standard street motorcycle.

But why do it? The answer is easy to

understand. It offers a big performance

upgrade for your bike. Fitting the WP Apex

Pro fork cartridge and shock improves

handing, reduces weight, gives you a huge

range of adjustment, and adds response,

feel, comfort and confidence in a single

swoop. It also has secondary effects, such

as improved tyre wear. Upgrading your

suspension is like half a dozen upgrades to

your bike for one investment.

The WP Pro Component product range

includes the Apex Pro 6500 fork cartridge

kit, which are in part developed by American

racer Chris Filmore. At the infamous Pikes

Peak hill climb in Colorado, Chris scored the

record time in the middleweight category in

2018 with this suspension fitted to a KTM

790 Duke. The Apex Pro 6746 shock absorber

was also used in the event, as well as by

many and various test riders in different

conditions around the world.

The benefits WP claims for the

aftermarket parts, in comparison to the

standard suspension it replaces, includes

their lightweight construction, precision

engineering, build quality and proven

technology of the open cartridge forks and

high-pressure gas filled shock.

Practically speaking, things couldn’t be easier

in terms of the dealer service and ease of

getting the WP Pro Components fitted to your

bike. It is a big part of the offering with the WP

Apex Pro fork cartridge kits and replacement

shock designed to be simple ‘straight swap’

with your bike’s stock equipment. WP says you

can expect a roll-in, roll-out fitting process

from a WP Authorized Centre, which they can

typically complete within an hour. The shock

simply replaces the one already fitted, and the

fork cartridge units swap to fit inside the OE

outers and stanchions.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 6 3


The product range for street bikes is a

new venture for the hugely experienced,

traditionally off road-oriented manufacturer.

WP acknowledge that the current fitment

level is limited to just over a dozen different

bikes, but it is a growing range that is under

development for different bikes all the time.

The current choice of fitment includes

Yamaha’s MT-09, which is a widely

popular motorcycle; partly because of its

performance and partly because of their

showroom price tag – they offer a lot

enjoyment for your buck. Performance,

however, isn’t endless and the reality of

a bike with a price tag as impressive as

this is that they arrive at a showroom with

compromised standard suspension in order

to meet that price point.

That’s the theory, but what about the

practice? On a hot and sunny test ride along

what you can easily call a perfect suspension

testing range of roads (country lanes, flowing

sections of bends and even some dual

carriageways) we were invited to sample

WP’s Pro Component range. The route was

also unpredictable and in places a long way

from billiard table smooth, which made the

MT-09 also a perfect bike to experience the

Apex Pro Component upgrade.

Common in bike sport, and offroad riding,

upgrading suspension on a bike like the

Yamaha brings a transformation to the

handling and it was great to get the chance

to run a standard MT-09 back-to-back

with one fitted with Apex Pro kit. Across

the bumpier sections of the test loop the

standard bike offered a choppy ride, hitting

dips and springing back off bumps. The

rougher it got, the less comfortable you feel

through the handlebars, footrests and seat.

With the Apex Pro forks and shock

installed in an identical machine on the same

stretch of road, the ride is instantly ironed

smoother. The suspension controlled what

was chopping and the kicking back through

the seat and transformed it into positive

feel and much more measured damping.

Perhaps more obvious was that the changes

improved the controlled feel of steering

through the bends, making the MT-09 feel

more accurate and less woolly.

It was a similar story when testing the

KTM Duke 790 and 1290 Super Duke R, again,

back-to-back on the same stretches of

roads. Both bikes proved the standard WP

equipment fitted to the KTM models can also

be improved through the Pro Component

range. On this test we ran sportier settings,

but it is clear for different riding conditions

alteration is easy with simple adjusters

enabling change. If you prefer a softer set-up

for more comfort or you want to go the other

way when you take your bike to a trackday,

the WP upgrade enables you to enhance

your ride further.

64 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


“No doubt you like riding your bike, but investing

in WP’s Pro Component street range can turn your

relationship into something deeper because the

upgrade allows you to explore your bike and the

environment it’s in further or faster.”

The Apex Pro 6500 fork tops feature

simple clicker adjusters to change

compression and rebound. Preload can

be easily changed, too. At the point of

installation, the WP service centre can

also tailor the spring rate and individual

settings for you, your bike and how and

where you ride. The same is true of

the rear Apex Pro 6746 as used on the

Yamaha, which is also fully adjustable

with the sweetly designed high and low

speed adjuster and again the option for a

preload adjuster.

As you step up through the WP range

of forks and shock absorbers in the

Pro Components street motorcycles

catalogue, that array of adjustment and

performance only increases. That goes

right up to the point of the XPLOR Pro

fork and shock available for the KTM 790

Adventure (and fitted as standard on the

new KTM 790 Adventure R Rally), which

is the same high-spec suspension that

has taken 12 Dakar Rally titles under the

WP’s Cone Valve moniker.

The experience in street racing is

something that many don’t realise about

the WP brand. This upgrade can of course

be used on track, and if you are in the

business of racing or want to spec-up

your bike for trackdays, the Apex Pro

range makes as much sense as it does

on the road. Indeed, WP products are

in use in every class of MotoGP, World

Supersport, they are fitted to Supersport

300 KTM RC 390 Rs – and have also been

fitted to Isle of Man TT winning machines.

No doubt you like riding your bike,

but investing in WP’s Pro Component

street range can turn your relationship

into something deeper because the

upgrade allows you to explore your bike

and the environment it’s in further or

faster. As we’ve experienced, the jump

in performance for a standard bike fitted

with the Apex Pro cartridge kit and shock

hikes the handling and performance

of a standard MT-09 to otherwise

untapped levels. As investments go, it’s

a transformational one – and one that

offers demonstrable improvements for

your overall riding experience.

To find out more, configure your bike or

to find your local WP Authorized Dealer

head to www.wp-suspension.com

JOIN THE

WINNING TEAM

WP is expanding its footprint in South Africa

and is looking for professional business

partners that can bring the exciting PRO

COMPONENTS range of WP to the market.

Are you a suspension expert and interested

in becoming one of our WP Authorized

Centers? Please send an enquiry to franziska.brandl@wp-suspension.com

so we can

take the first step in getting you in front.

WWW.WP-SUSPENSION.COM


Motul 300V 10W40

Synthetic Oil Review

Synthetic oils are important

for improving the working and

functionality of your bike.

Of the many brands and types

of synthetic oils around, the

Motul 300W synthetic oil

10W40 is a motor oil worth

trying out.

This is an oil that’s specially

formulated for use in highperformance

race bikes.

It works by improving the

performance of your bike and

by minimizing metal-to-metal

startups. They tell us that it

maximizes your engine output

and that you will notice a

sizeable improvement in

your bike’s performance once

you start using this oil. We’ll

check that claim out on our

Fireblade soon.

Perfect for use in highperformance

bikes

The Motul 300V 10W40 is perfect for

reducing the heat that is usually generated

in a race, road and dirt bike engines. These

engines tend to run at high temperatures

and at very high rpm.

The oil is also helpful at improving the

movement and lubrication of highperformance

4-stroke engines to provide

for smoother operation with improved

sludge control. So no matter whether

your bike has an integrated gearbox or

not, or a wet or dry clutch, they tell us that

your vehicle’s performance will definitely

improve with Motul 300V.

Ester Core Technology

The improved lubricity of the Motul 300V

is attributed to the Ester Core Technology

used in the manufacture of this synthetic

oil. This double ester technology uses two

types of esters which collectively improve

lubricity and provides for better engine

response with maximum engine RPM.

The benefit of double ester technology

is that it creates a much better bike

engine response in bikes and functions at

maximum engine RPM.

They tell us that it, in fact, performs

much better than existing standards

by maximizing engine output without

any compromise in engine wear and

reliability.

Shear stability with 0% shear loss

Unlike most oils that tend to thin or have

reduced viscosity because of mechanical

stress on the engine, Motul 300V exhibits

0% shear loss on the Bosch ASTM D6278

test. It exhibits shear stability not only

when subjected to mechanical stress,

but also when subjected to external

conditions.

All this is because unlike mineral oils,

there are no contaminants in the oil that

can harm the engine and reduce its life.

Motul 300V instead, works at increasing

the performance and prolonging the

vehicle’s life.


POLAR molecular structure

What’s special about Motul 300V

motor oil is that it’s entirely POLAR in

its molecular structure. It’s this feature

of the oil that facilitates bonding with

metals and protects against any possible

and unnecessary metal-to-metal startups

and friction in the engine.

When compared to most other brands

and types of petroleum motor oils, the

Motul 300V offers more than five times

film strength. This is another reason

why the oil is a favourite with World

Superbikes, MotoGP and other worldclass

racers. Not only is the oil meant for

use for revolutionary bike execution and

races, it’s also perfect for other engine

applications.

Summary

Although it is priced a bit higher than other

brands, the Motul 300V synthetic engine

oil is a motor oil worth using on your bike.

The cost is compensated by the improved

performance of your motorcycle and the

extended oil drain intervals.

The oil is really effective at protecting

against friction and metal-to-metal startups

in the bike while offering maximum

engine RMPF. All this wear protection is

attributed to the increased lubricity the

oil, thanks to its double ester technology.

Comparison

Motul is very popular in South Africa. You

spend a lot on motorcycles, so it makes

sense to use premium products in your

pride and joy.

There are other motor oils in the market

that give competition to the Motul 300V

Synthetic 10W-40 motor oil. One of

them is another product from the same

company, the Motul 300V 14125 Ester

Core Fully Synthetic 15W-50 Petrol engine

for bikes.

The oil is compatible with most

motorbikes like Bullet, Fazer, ThunderBird

and Royal Enfield. This oil is a little more

expensive than the Motul 300V because

it gives better performance. Its drain

interval is also much longer, you can use

the oil for more than 6500 km before

changing it.

Conclusion

The ester technology of the Motul 300V

makes it an excellent motor oil to use for

your bike’s longevity. It is very effective

at reducing the engine’s temperature

and also gives a very smooth start and

ride. The prolonged drain interval and

minimized engine friction make it worth

paying at bit more for this motor oil.

Of course, it’s family counterpart the

Motul 300V Synthetic Motor Oil 15W50

does offer some market competition.

However, you will notice that this is a

more expensive oil than the Motul 300V.

As you will have to use the oil on a regular

basis, and the price is a constraint, then

you may think twice before using the

Motul 15W-50 for your motorbike. It’s

left to you. The Motul 300V is still a good

buy as it’s comparatively a much more

affordable oil with its extended drain

intervals and improved engine efficiency.

However, before you make your switch to

this oil, it’s better if you first check your

vehicle’s instruction manual to ensure it’s

safe to use the oil in your bike.

Features

• 10W-40 synthetic petrol engine oil.

• Recommended for high-performance

bikes and all race bikes.

• Maximizes engine power output with its

ESTER core technology.

• 100% synthetic motor oil.

• 0% shear loss on Bosch test.

• Available in 1 and 4-litre bottles.

• Suitable for 4-stroke Motocross or Road

Racing bikes with or without converters.

• The first motor oil to introduce ester oils

for Motorsports.

Reasons to use it:

• Optimal performance and lubricity

thanks to Double Ester Technology.

• High lubricity offers better protection to

bikes from wear and tear.

• Generates maximum power in bike

thanks to its friction modifiers.

• Offers a long drain intervals.


||| FEATURE: KTM MOTOHALL

ORANGE

HEAVEN

A visit to the KTM Motohall

Our Kurt Beine has just returned from

a trip across Europe – there’s a full

feature on that soon.

But while he was there, he visited the

new KTM Motohall. Impressive is the

understatement of the century.

Here are his impressions...

68 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


At the culmination of our 2712km tour of 5

countries on a KTM 790 S and a KTM 1290 S, my

sister and I were treated to a guided tour of the

newly built KTM Motohall, the world of Ready to

Race, built at a cost of 35 million Euro the museum

opened mid May this year. Situated in the middle

of Mattighofen Austria, Mattighofen being the

birthplace of all things KTM, the largest growing

motorcycle manufacturer in the world.

Vlad, a Romanian guy, was our designated tour

guide for the day.

He’s an accomplished enduro rider and extremely

knowledgeable of everything KTM.

KTM (Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen)

started out as a small metalworking business in

1934 producing their first motorcycle which was

built in 1951.

From there it went from strength to strength and

in 1955 a major shareholder, Ernest Kronreif renamed

it Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen, retaining

the name KTM. For many years they built various

scooters, developed their own engines, various

enduro bikes and scramblers. In 1988 they stopped

scooter production and a year later, the founder,

Hans Trunkenpolz died.

Two years later, KTM filed for bankruptcy which

lasted four days and the company was split into 4

entities; radiators, motorcycles, bicycles and tooling.

Do you know why KTM’s are orange?

In 1994, a new motorcycle division was formed and

- up until that point, a variety of colours were used,

none synonymous with KTM.

The setup is mind blowing...

The dirty boys - past and present.

The fan wall - send them a pic...

A selection of road bikes.

Full carbon fibre X-Bow.

Need an engine?

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 69


At the time all the major colours

were considered for the brand,

however most were already

synonymous with other makes.

Orange had not been used, so

orange it was, and has remained

synonymous with the brand ever since.

The “Ready To Race” motto was

adopted in later years when KTM

became famous for developing

race bikes that needed little or no

modification to race professionally.

That was just the beginning.

In 2001 KTM won the Dakar for

the first time and this company has

won it every year since… and you

can hear and learn all about this at

the KTM Motohall.

Our tour through the Motohall

showcased how engines are built;

2 stroke engines, 4 stroke single

cylinder and 2 cylinder engines; how

legendary WP suspension is race

tuned, how prototype clay models

are designed, the various aspects of

why and how frames are developed

and why KTM uses specific metals.

On show are many of their

scooter creations from the originals,

through to the X-Bow race car that

KTM built. The display includes

current road and adventure bikes

and next year’s MX models.

The legends hall pays tribute to

race winners over time with models

standing next to the very bikes

they won various events on, Dakar,

Enduro, Road racing and MX winners.

A suspended display of glass

and metal houses a huge array

of winner’s cups and trophy’s

suspended from the floor to the roof.

Many of the demonstration

stands are interactive. You can finetune

your own suspension, see why

and how suspension is adjusted,

understand how a motor works,

understand the workings of leading

KTM technology in ABS, traction

control and engine power modes.

In recent years, KTM was the

first with cornering ABS, cornering

traction control and off-road ABS

where the back wheel can be locked

and not the front.

The tour ends in the accessories

division where all sorts of KTM

clothing; shirts, pants, socks, caps,

shoes, sunglasses, kiddie’s stuff and

all the fun stuff is available to buy.

My credit card was groaning.

Amazing! Well worth your time and

a great way to kill a few hours. If ever

you are in the vicinity of Mattighofen

– even if you are a strange person

who is not a KTM fan, you just have to

visit the KTM Motohall.

Consider it a KTM pilgrimage!

The 1957 Apfelbeck. Shopping anyone? Some trophies...

One of KTM’s very first bikes, the R100.

Some serious history.

When the bikes went orange...

Binder along with all the other road heroes...

70 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


||| FEATURE: MOTOGP

CRASH TEST

DUMMIES

THE DIFFERENT

TRAJECTORIES OF

JOHANN ZARCO &

JORGE LORENZO

BY DAVID EMMETT

72 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


Many thought that Lorenzo’s move

to Honda would be a good one, but

so far, all the people that said it

wouldn’t have so far got it right.

What are you to do if you find

yourself stuck on a bike you

know you can’t ride? On a bike

that you are convinced is trying

to hurt you, and that you keep

falling off of every time you try

to push?

The obvious answer is you

try to leave as soon as possible.

But that simple answer hides

a host of factors that make

leaving not as easy as it looks.

The cases of Jorge Lorenzo and

Johann Zarco illustrate that

very well.

First of all, why would a rider

want to leave a factory ride?

The pay is good, rarely less

than seven figures. Riders have

a chance to shape the bike

and point development in a

direction that suits them.

They are treated, if not

like royalty, then at least like

nobility: transport is arranged

and rearranged pretty much

at their whim, picked up at

their front doors before a race

and deposited there again

afterward. The pressure is high,

but in a factory team, they do

everything they can to take

the strain and let their riders

concentrate on riding.

That is little consolation

when the going gets really

tough. When you are struggling

to get inside the top ten, despite

giving your all to try to make the

bike go faster.

When you are crashing at

twice, three times your normal

rate. When factories are slow to

bring updates to the bike. Or even

worse, when they bring boxes

and boxes of new parts, and

none of those parts make much

of a difference to your results.

Gravel Rash on Repeat

How tough can it get? In 2009,

while Valentino Rossi was

riding a Yamaha, he crashed 4

times during the season, the

same number of times he had

fallen the year before. In 2010,

he crashed 5 times, though one

of those crashes was enough to

break his leg and take him out

of competing for four races.

In 2011, the year he switched

to Ducati, he crashed 12 times.

When you are not used to falling,

that can put a real dent in your

confidence. What’s more, he

scored just a single podium that

year, compared to ten, including

two wins, the year before.

Jorge Lorenzo and Johann

Zarco find themselves in similar

situations. Zarco has fallen off

the KTM 11 times this year in 11

rounds, compared to 9 times in

19 rounds last year, and 12 times

in his entire rookie season.

Lorenzo has crashed on

the Honda 6 times in 7 races,

having missed the rounds since

Assen. That’s the same number

of crashes he had during all

of 2018 in the 14 races he

competed in.

Johann Zarco had three

podiums in 2018, and three the

year before that. So far, his best

result has been a tenth place at

Barcelona, though he started

from the front row of the grid

after a damp qualifying at Brno.

Jorge Lorenzo is yet to even

get into the top ten, coming off

a season of three wins and a

podium with Ducati in 2018, and

three podiums in his maiden

season with the Italian factory

in 2017. For both Zarco and

Lorenzo, their situations are dire.

Fresh Fields

So their best course of action is

to try to leave. Both men tried to

do just that during the Brno-Red

Bull Ring double header over the

past two weekends, and their

choices set them on two very

different career courses. Jorge

Lorenzo chose to stay at Repsol

Honda once it became clear

that Ducati couldn’t clear the

way for him to take Jack Miller’s

ride at Pramac Ducati.

Johann Zarco decided he

couldn’t face another year of

failure on the KTM, his frontrow

start at Brno convincing

him he could still be fast when

conditions were right. Zarco

asked KTM to rescind the second

“When you are crashing at twice, three times

your normal rate. When factories are slow to bring

updates to the bike. Or even worse, when they bring

boxes and boxes of new parts, and none of those

parts make much of a difference to your results.”

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 73


year of his contract, releasing

him at the end of 2019.

Which is the smart choice? The

simple answer is neither. Team

relationships are all about trust.

Trust in your crew chief, that

they are working to find you

the best setup. Trust in your

mechanics, that they will double

check everything and not make

a mistake for which you could

pay a painful and physical

price. Trust in the factory

engineers, that they will listen

to your feedback and build a

bike you can ride, and trust in

team management that they

will push the factory engineers

to work to find the solutions to

your problems.

Any attempt to leave ruptures

that trust, and, as a Dutch

saying has it, trust arrives by

foot and leaves on horseback.

Rebuilding trust is a difficult

thing to do.

Singing It Out

That is especially the case for

Jorge Lorenzo. It was Lorenzo

who approached team manager

Albert Puig about riding for the

Repsol Honda team. HRC flew

Lorenzo to Japan to help speed up

his adaptation to the RC213V, and

the production of parts to get him

more comfortable on the bike.

“Any attempt to leave ruptures that

trust, and, as a Dutch saying has it, trust

arrives by foot and leaves on horseback.

Rebuilding trust is a difficult thing to do.”

He rewarded that attention by

flirting with Ducati, contacting

Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall’Igna

to see if there was a possibility

of returning, allowing that

attempt to become public

knowledge, and only commit to

Honda again after a phone call

from Alberto Puig.

With all that trust gone,

Lorenzo returned to the fold

at Honda in Silverstone. He

will then have to ride through

his contract for 8 more races

this year, and a further 20

races next season. Both sides

know that Lorenzo is set to

leave Honda at the end of

that period, barring a sudden

transformation in the way the

Honda RC213V behaves.

So HRC cannot tell Lorenzo

too much, for fear of what he

might pass on to his next team

(most likely Ducati, maybe

Yamaha). Honda bosses and

team staff will be wary of

building a relationship with

Lorenzo, aware that he will be

gone soon enough.

Contrast this with Johann

Zarco. The Frenchman made

his decision to leave KTM some

time in the week between Brno

and Austria, and once his mind

was made up, he told KTM

bosses Pit Beirer and Stefan

Pierer. He will be leaving at

the end of the season, so to

an extent he has the same

problem as Jorge Lorenzo.

With Zarco on his way out,

team management and his

crew know their time together

is limited, and will make less of

an effort to build a relationship

that everyone knows is coming

to an end.

Tactically Stupid,

Strategically Smart

And yet there is a difference.

In the case of Lorenzo, he has

another full year to go, and his

marriage to Honda has more

than a whiff of ‘sticking together

until the kids have grown up’ for

it to be healthy.

If he was leaving at the end of

the year, the relationship would

be clear. As it is, Lorenzo and

Repsol Honda have a very long

time still to spend together, while

all around them, speculation is

rife over who Lorenzo will go ride

for, and who Honda will get in to

replace him with.

Things are easier for Zarco.

Once the team accepts his

decision, they know he will

be gone. The decision is not

much different to any rider who

chooses to leave at the end of a

contract. There is an erosion of

trust, sure, but there is usually

some mutual respect. Especially

for a decision that is as risky

and difficult as Zarco’s.

If anything, Zarco’s decision

is more reminiscent of Cal

Crutchlow’s decision to leave

Ducati after just one year of

his two-year deal to ride in

the factory team. Though the

decision was not popular with

Ducati at the time, Crutchlow and

Ducati are still on good terms.

Despite the problems Jorge

Lorenzo’s actions have created

for himself, in career terms,

Lorenzo made the better choice.

Both in terms of strategy and

perception, Lorenzo did the

right thing to hang on inside

Honda for another year when

it became clear there was no

room for him at Ducati.

74 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


“There are no seats in MotoGP available

for 2020, which leaves Zarco with only

the option of Moto2, WorldSBK, or

spending a year as a test rider.”

Firstly, he made the right

choice because there were no

other options for 2020 at the

time, forcing him effectively

into early retirement, instead

of hanging on and looking for

somewhere to land in 2021.

Secondly, because team

managers tend to respect

riders more when the grit their

teeth and push through. It was

clear early on that Valentino

Rossi’s time at Ducati would

be only temporary, but Rossi

gained the respect of many for

sitting out the full two years of

his contract.

As long as Lorenzo knuckles

down and tries to improve his

results without obviously giving

up, he will get another chance.

A Leap in the Dark

Johann Zarco, on the other

hand, may well have ended

his career. By quitting at the

end of 2019, he leaves himself

with nowhere to go. Everyone

bar Takaaki Nakagami is

under contract for 2020, and

Nakagami will almost certainly

agree terms with HRC in the

next couple of weeks.

There are no seats in MotoGP

available for 2020, which leaves

Zarco with only the option of

Moto2, WorldSBK, or spending a

year as a test rider.

When he announced he

was leaving, he said he hoped

to have news of his future by

Silverstone. This seems rather

optimistic: there is no room

in MotoGP, and unless he has

already decided to move back

to Moto2 (where there are

plenty of teams willing to have

him, it seems, including the

Petronas squad, if rumor is to

be believed). But wherever he

ends up, he will not find it easy

to get back into MotoGP.

Why not? Zarco has

everything against him. The

Frenchman made a huge impact

when he entered MotoGP,

leading his very first race,

getting on the front row and

finishing on the podium in just

his fifth race. It seemed only a

matter of time before he won a

race on the Tech3 Yamaha.

But that never happened. And

when he switched to KTM, he

was signed to lead the project

and try to get the RC16 on the

podium. That hasn’t happened

either, Pol Espargaro having

comprehensively beaten Zarco

in just about every way at KTM.

Try as he might, Zarco simply

could not find a way to ride the

RC16, and was beaten not just

by his teammate, but also by

MotoGP rookie Miguel Oliveira

riding in the Tech3 satellite team.

So the memory team

managers will have of Johann

Zarco is of a rider who gave

up when faced with a tough

challenge, a rider who was nearly

successful, but couldn’t quite

pull off a win on the Yamaha, the

easiest bike to ride on the grid.

When they come to make their

choices for 2021, he will have

those strikes against him.

No Series for Old Men

Making things even worse for

Zarco is his age. Right now, he

is 29. By the time he is talking

to MotoGP teams for 2021, he

will be 30. When MotoGP team

managers look for new riders,

they look for one of two things:

either an established champion

with a record of winning, or an

up-and-coming youngster they

believe they can shape into a

future champion, or at least a

race-winner.

Johann Zarco is neither of

those things. Jorge Lorenzo

may be three years older than

Zarco, but he has three MotoGP

titles, 47 premier class wins,

and a proven record on both the

Yamaha and Ducati, where he

might get another chance.

Zarco has six podiums on a

Yamaha, and Fabio Quartararo

has already matched Zarco’s

rookie podium tally, and looks

like being on his way to more.

Fabio Quartararo is a problem

in another respect as well.

Dorna wanted a successful

French rider in MotoGP to

help them market the sport in

France. For the past two years,

that rider was Johann Zarco.

But Quartararo is younger,

arguably faster, livelier, more

fun. He is a cheerful young lad,

where Zarco can be a little

too earnest. Where Zarco

comes out with philosophical

aphorisms, Quartararo is quick

with a joke and a witty quip. The

latter is much easier to sell to

casual sports fans.

Looking to 2021, there is likely

to be an influx of young riders

from Moto2 to fill the grid in

MotoGP, as older riders move

on. Zarco will be competing with

the likes of Lorenzo Baldassarri,

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 75


Jorge Navarro, Alex Márquez, Luca Marini,

Enea Bastianini, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Remy

Gardener, Augusto Fernandez. MotoGP team

managers will be more inclined to take a

chance on a young rider and hope for a big

upside, rather than risk taking Zarco, a rider

with a known upside but serious flaws.

Is It the End?

Do I think Johann Zarco deserves another

shot in MotoGP? Absolutely. On the right

bike, he can compete for podiums and wins.

But I fear that the Frenchman’s decision to

leave KTM at the end of the year without

an obvious destination will mean he won’t

necessarily get one.

He is only a known quantity on the

Yamaha, which leaves the Petronas squad

as the only obvious destination (especially

after Suzuki promised him a contract, then

pulled out of the deal a few months later).

Do Petronas want to take their chance

on Zarco, or give the ride to a younger

rider? That is not an easy question to

answer. They might feel that Zarco is their

best chance of success, or they may want

a younger rider. There are no guarantees

for Zarco.

Teams of other manufacturers are likely

to be even more wary of the Frenchman. He

left KTM, so what guarantee do they have

that he will see out his contract, or be able

to ride a very different bike to the Yamaha?

They may feel their chances are better with

other, potentially more adaptable riders.

Seen from the perspective of the press

room, Zarco appears to have few options. I

fear that this year will be the last time we see

the Frenchman in the MotoGP class. He may

come to regret his decision to leave KTM.

Then again, Zarco being of a particularly

philosophical bent, there is every chance he

won’t, and he may be happy as the man to

beat in Moto2. Only time will tell.

Despite all Lorenzo’s

problems at Honda

he will still be racing

in MotoGP come

2020. From there

on who knows, but

for Zarco it’s a very

uncertain future.

“Do I think Johann Zarco deserves another shot

in MotoGP? Absolutely. On the right bike, he can

compete for podiums and wins. But I fear that the

Frenchman’s decision to leave KTM at the end

of the year without an obvious destination will

mean he won’t necessarily get one.”

76 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


K161592


Simon

Crafar

When many tuned into the first MotoGP test sessions at the

start of 2018 they all asked; “who is that guy with the funny

voice speaking?” Well, our MotoGP expert, Donovan Fourie,

answers that question for us.

At the end of 2017, the smooth sounding pitlane reporter

Dylan Gray announced that he would be leaving the MotoGP

series to pursue his own interests – he now commentates

for the MotoAmerica Championship in the USA. Gray was an

experienced commentator, offering enthralling links to camera

that were not only smooth and delivered flawlessly, but

gripped the viewer with informed opinions, reliable facts and

cutting interviews.

During the 2018 pre-season, the MotoGP broadcaster

announced the recruitment of Simon Crafar as the new pitlane

reporter, and everyone under the age of 30 years-old said “who?”

It didn’t get much better when he actually started reporting,

during the pre-season tests, where he fumbled through

faltering commentary in a stumbling New Zealand accent

that was padded with a liberal sprinkling of ums and ahs. He

mispronounced names, asked embarrassingly nonsensical

questions to riders and team owners, and took so long to say

anything that the audience had just about forgotten what we

were talking about when he started.

Social media threw up a storm with many people demanding

his resignation, and people even started a petition to bring

78 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


“He took up a career in

extreme enduro, winning the

Expert Class of the infamous

Red Bull Romaniacs Enduro in

2007, and later worked with

the organisers to help plan

future routes for the event.”

back Dylan Gray. The eloquence of Gray was

deeply missed, and this was compounded by

the bumbling buffoon that is Simon Crafar.

That was the thought at the time, but

what everyone missed was that Dorna, the

MotoGP rights holder, was busy playing

the long game. They didn’t hire a fancy tv

reporter to commentate on MotoGP, they

hired a genuine MotoGP expert.

Simon Crafar was born in New Zealand

in 1969, and at the excitable age of 12, he

began racing motocross. Four years later, he

discovered tarred corners, and the bug had

truly bitten. Six years into his track racing

career, he hopped over the seas and won

the much coveted Malaysian Superbike

Championship, a title that opened the doors

to an international career. In 1993, he stood

in for five rounds of the 500cc Grand Prix

Championship with the Peter Graves Racing

Team riding a Harris-framed Yamaha with

a top finish of ninth place. Immediately

afterwards, Suzuki invited him to finish the

rest of the season in the 250cc works team,

a move he didn’t enjoy because he was

inhibited by his large size.

That goes some way to explaining

why he jumped ship in 1994 and joined

the Rumi Honda World Superbike Team

with fellow New Zealander Aaron Slight

as his teammate. Despite not being on a

works machine, he finished the season in

a respectable fifth place, something that

prompted the works Honda team to take him

on 1995 where he managed two podiums.

He then got a hired by the works Kawasaki

team where he stayed for two years and

managed a further eight podiums before

making the big switch to GPs, this time

riding a Red Bull Yamaha for the WCM 500cc

Grand Prix Team. In his first year, he finished

seventh in the championship, took three

podiums and a win at that year’s British

Grand Prix at Donington. That was Yamaha’s

only 500cc win in 1998, a year that was

dominated by Honda’s. It was also the last

time Dunlop tyres took a win in the MotoGP

premier class.

The following year, the team switched

from Dunlop to Michelin, a tyre Crafar could

never get comfortable on. After five quite

dismal finishes in the first five rounds of

1999, Crafar and the team split up, and apart

from some wild card rides, that was the end

of the New Zealander’s circuit racing career.

It wasn’t the end of Crafar, though. He

took up a career in extreme enduro, winning

the Expert Class of the infamous Red Bull

Romaniacs Enduro in 2007, and later worked

with the organisers to help plan future

routes for the event.

Apart from the dirty stuff, he also began

doing private tutoring for circuit racers and

has seen more than 600 students under his

tutelage, prompting him a series of videos

and books called Motovudu. In 2011, he was

asked by the World Superbike organisers to

become the official mentor for the European

Junior Cup, a class that later evolved into the

300cc Supersport Championship.

Here we see that he has a vast pool

of experience with both riding at world

championship level, and studying the riding

of others, but what completes the package

is that Simon Crafar also did a spell as an

official Ohlins MotoGP technician, working

with the teams to find the best setup and

understanding each team and their needs.

And, thus, here we have a man that has

many years experience racing in World

Championship level, has studied other

riders and seen the various patterns and

behaviours, and has vast experience with

actual bike setup. It is, therefore, unlikely

that you will find someone more of an

expert in all aspects of MotoGP racing than

Simon Crafar. He may not have the delivery

of a trained media personality, but take

a moment to listen to what he is actually

saying, what insight he is giving and the sort

of questions he knows to ask the various

teams and riders.

You might find that the knowledge

imparted is far better than anything a slickhaired,

shiny-toothed reporter can deliver.

RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 79


BSB Bike

Show

Business

Mat Durrans is a very well known name in the South African motorcycle

game and is one of the three ugly faces you will see on the weekly “The Bike

Show” program featured on Ignition TV. We have managed to convince Mat to

take time out of his busy schedule to supply us with a monthly column.

A silent killer

Most of my teenage age years were spent

growing up in the idyllic landscape of North

Yorkshire, which is where I encountered

my first electric vehicle. It was a milk float,

which isn’t, or at least wasn’t a sickly sweet

drink back in the 1970’s.

It was instead a sort of mini-flat-bed

truck that was used to deliver a daily dose

of fresh milk to your doorstep. It was

powered by several large batteries, and

it sounded like a mournful fork-lift as it

bounced along the empty pre-dawn streets

of my neighbourhood.

Little did I realise that it would also be

the sound of the future. A future where the

Grand Prix circuits of the world will mimic

the soulless whines of dozens of milk floats

shuffling to the dairy, stocking up before

the morning rush.

It may be a few years away still, but you

all know, deep down, that this is what lies

ahead. Take your kids to see a Grand Prix so

they can tell their kids about the howling

roars of the internal combustion engines

that used to grace these famous circuits.

Keep the memories of these halcyon days

alive as long as possible.

Electric bikes aren’t there yet, but the arrival

of Harley-Davidson and its Livewire and the

ever-improving models from the likes of Zero

Motorcycles and Energica emphasise quite

how close the gap has become. Performance

soon won’t be an issue, but range will take

longer to achieve parity.

Weight will then be the next hurdle, but it,

too, will be minimised as technology advances.

Ultimately the new breed of electric race

bikes will post quicker lap times, and the

transformation will be complete. Except for

the sound. The spine-tingling symphony of

tortured mechanical components battling

to control hundreds of thousands of tiny

explosions every second will be a thing of

the past.

And MotoGP will be a poorer spectacle

because of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the march

of progress and I have no problem with the

superbikes we buy in the not too distant

future being plugged in overnight. And I’m

sure the racing of the day will be close and

action-packed. But it will be deathly quiet

save for the distant whine of something

that sounds like a food-mixer arguing with

an overheating laptop.

No need for technicians to wear

earmuffs, no need for spectators to jam

fingers in ears as the grid screams away

from the start. No popping and crackling of

engines on the way into turns, no droning

of speed limited bikes in the pits and no

pit lane crescendo as a grid full of bikes is

warmed up for the coming race.

Nothing but silence.

And that sucks, it really does. The show

will undoubtedly go on, but now we might

have a lot more librarians at the races,

which is handy because they’ll be able to

shush the crowd when the background

hubbub threatens to drown out the bikes.

On the other hand the hospitals will now

be more noisy, stuffed as they are with

groaning bikers who fell victim to their

silent speed. Nobody hears you anymore

when you’re on the cable, tucked into the

bubble and nudging top speed when they

decide to pull out into that lovely quiet road

without listening properly.

“Sorry mate, didn’t

hear you,” will become

the new mantra, and

we will think about

how we’re going to

give our bikes back

some noise.

Not that you will be able to do those

outrageous speeds anymore though, in

an electronic world where everything is

connected you can expect speed limits to

be obeyed by your bike rather than you. And

if you do hack the system, it will deviate

to the police station on your next ride and

recommend you get a lengthy jail sentence.

Okay, your bike becoming a traitor won’t

happen, I hope, in my lifetime. But the other

stuff is a lot more real, so stop making

excuses and go for a ride. Exploit our noisy

existence while you can, celebrate the

joyous din of our shared passion before

the world turns away from the internal

combustion engine forever.

Just don’t do it outside my house on a

Sunday morning. Thanks.

80 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019


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