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MRW Issue 30

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ISSUE <strong>30</strong><br />

2023 BMW<br />

S1000RR<br />

first ride<br />

MORE REFINED. MORE REWARDING. MORE RR.<br />

MOTOGP<br />

TESTIng<br />

All the details from the final test<br />

before the season opener<br />

first ride<br />

TRIUMPH STREET<br />

TRIPLE 765<br />

More Moto2 derived than ever<br />

world<br />

supers<br />

What we’ve learnt from<br />

the opening two rounds<br />

Watch it all on our<br />

YouTube Channel


EDITOR’S NOTE<br />

CONTRIBUTORS<br />

Shaun Portman<br />

Beam Productions<br />

Adam Child “Chad”<br />

Sheridan Morais<br />

CONTACT<br />

DETAILS<br />

EDITOR/OWNER<br />

Rob Portman<br />

082 782 8240<br />

rob@motoriderworld.com<br />

ANYTHING & EVERYTHING<br />

Shaun Portman<br />

072 260 9525<br />

shaun@motoriderworld.com<br />

Hello, Moto Rider World fans, and<br />

welcome to issue <strong>30</strong> of SA’s best<br />

motorcycle magazine and I am very<br />

pleased to say the wait is nearly over.<br />

Yes, MotoGP is back with round one of<br />

the 2023 championship taking place<br />

at the Portimao circuit in Portugal and<br />

I am very happy to report that I will be<br />

there both in a personal capacity to<br />

help Darryn Binder as much as possible<br />

and a professional to get as much<br />

information and content as possible for<br />

all you <strong>MRW</strong> fans.<br />

It’s weird not saying that round 1<br />

will take place under the lights in<br />

Qatar but I think Portimao is a great<br />

substitute. There are so many talking<br />

points heading into the new season,<br />

none more so than Brad Binder and<br />

KTM, but this could turn into a book<br />

rather than an editor’s note so make<br />

sure you check out the latest episode<br />

of Talking MotoGP on our YouTube<br />

channel where I talk with Mr. MotoGP<br />

himself, SImon Crafar about everything<br />

MotoGP from the Sepang and<br />

Portimao tests. A lot of great insight<br />

once again from one of the biggest<br />

MotoGP brainiacs out there. We do<br />

have a full feature on MotoGP testing<br />

from Portimao, which through up a<br />

few curve balls for the likes of KTM and<br />

Honda. No such problems it seems for<br />

Ducati and their haud of riders who all<br />

look very impressive.<br />

I’m very excited to see how the first<br />

Sprint Race of the season unfolds. I<br />

think it will be a Ducati fest as they<br />

have all their ducks in a row better than<br />

most but the thought of Marc Marquez<br />

and others in a dash to the finish does<br />

get me very excited.<br />

Make sure to stay tuned to our<br />

Facebook page and YouTube channel<br />

for plenty of MotoGP content from the<br />

first race weekend of 2023. For now,<br />

I’m off to pack for my trip so I hope<br />

you enjoy the magazine we have here<br />

for you. A big thanks to my team in SA,<br />

Shaun Portman and Beam Productions,<br />

for all their hard work and some world<br />

class content - both in the mag and on<br />

YouTube. Cheers for now, Rob.<br />

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DARRYN BINDER PORTIMAO MOTO2 TEST<br />

“Today was the third and final day of testing and we<br />

managed to do a lot of laps today to make up for the<br />

previous two days. We also got a race simulation during<br />

the second session, so overall I felt like I made some really<br />

positive steps forward over the weekend. I’m getting a lot<br />

more comfortable and familiar with the bike and team and<br />

I’m ready to start the first race weekend, get it underway,<br />

and see where we stand because I feel like I learned a lot,<br />

enjoyed myself and even though I still have a lot to learn,<br />

I’m ready to get started.”


NEWS DESK<br />

2023 KTM 1290<br />

SUPER DUKE RR<br />

The Austrians over at KTM are a very innovative crew.<br />

Not exactly one of the most talked-about bike makers<br />

in the world at street level, the company relies heavily<br />

on its competition successes and limited edition<br />

motorcycles to get by. It’s the latter approach that’s of<br />

interest to us today, after KTM decided to bring back<br />

an older smash hit.<br />

Back in 2021, the brand’s fans were treated to a very<br />

special version of an orange motorcycle called 1290<br />

Super Duke RR. It was the first two-wheeler the<br />

Austrians made with the RR moniker attached, and as<br />

usual with KTM’s limited edition bikes, fast to sell.<br />

Two years ago the company announced a limited run<br />

of just 500 units of the ride. It did so on April 8 that<br />

year, and just 48 minutes later, the entire batch was<br />

already spoken for.<br />

Since that time KTM has been busy rolling out other<br />

exciting motorcycles, but somehow it circled back to<br />

the 1290 Super Duke RR and decided to have another<br />

shot at it for the new model year.<br />

Starting March 13, a bit earlier than in 2021, KTM<br />

opened the order books for the 2023 iteration of the<br />

motorcycle. It too will be made in just 500 units, and<br />

apart from some minor visual tweaks that have to<br />

do with colors, it’s pretty much the same machine as<br />

before. Still, another chance for those who missed to<br />

original to get their hands on one of these.


NEWS DESK<br />

The bike is based on the 1290 Super Duke R, but<br />

is a heavily evolved version of that. The 1,<strong>30</strong>1cc in<br />

its frame, described at the time of its introduction<br />

as the “biggest Euro 5-compliant V-Twin engine<br />

currently available in a Hyper Naked motorcycle,”<br />

comes with an output rating of 180 hp and 140 Nm<br />

of torque.<br />

That’s impressive on its own, but given how the<br />

bike weighs just 180 kg (397 pounds), it translates<br />

into one horsepower for every kilogram of bike (or<br />

one per 2.2 pounds). To achieve this weight (which<br />

is also 11 kg/24 pounds lighter than the KTM 1290<br />

Super Duke R EVO), a lot of carbon fiber was used<br />

for the build, from the body parts to the subframe.<br />

The Super Duke in this configuration is a monster<br />

from a mechanical standpoint as well. The forged<br />

wheels fitted on it are backed by some of the most<br />

hardcore pieces of hardware money can buy: a<br />

fully adjustable WP APEX PRO fork up front, and<br />

WP APEX PRO shock at the rear.<br />

As said, the only differences compared to the 2021<br />

version you’ll see on this one are visual ones. The<br />

black on the hyper naked bike is a bit darker now<br />

and comes in either gloss black or matt carbon.<br />

Naturally, it is contrasted by white graphics and the<br />

usual KTM orange accents.<br />

Unlike what it did before when it launched a<br />

reservation page on its official website, KTM this<br />

time chose to sell the bike via dealers. What that<br />

means is that yes, there is a dedicated 2023 KTM<br />

1290 Super Duke RR page to go to, only this time<br />

it’ll help you get in touch with your local KTM store.<br />

Notable features on the KTM<br />

1290 SUPER DUKE RR include:<br />

• 1:1 power-to-weight ratio<br />

• WP APEX PRO COMPONENTS Suspension<br />

• Akrapovič Slip-on exhaust<br />

• Exclusive carbon fiber bodywork<br />

• Lightweight lithium ion battery<br />

• Ultra-lightweight forged wheel<br />

• Carbon fiber subframe / single seat<br />

• New, black CTG<br />

• Limited to only 500 units<br />

• Unique, branded carbon key box<br />

• Factory triple clamp<br />

• Adjustable CNC-machined rearset


NEWS DESK<br />

BMW MOTORRAD<br />

PRESENTS THE R 18<br />

IRON ANNIE<br />

The old “Aunt Ju” Junkers Ju 52, the<br />

legendary three-engine commercial<br />

and transport aircraft from the 19<strong>30</strong>s,<br />

is still familiar to many people. The Ju<br />

52 with the aircraft registration D-AQUI<br />

in the Lufthansa colour scheme greyblack<br />

from 1936 became particularly<br />

well known worldwide. During its time<br />

in the USA from 1970 to 1984 under the<br />

American aircraft registration N52JU, it<br />

was christened “IRON ANNIE” for short<br />

by its then owner Martin Caidin.<br />

It was precisely this aircraft that<br />

inspired a customer of BMW partner<br />

VTR Motorrad AG & VTR Customs in<br />

Schmerikon, Switzerland, to create a<br />

very special customized version of the<br />

BMW R 18 – the R 18 “IRON ANNIE”.<br />

Years before, the architect had already<br />

had an individual R nineT built entirely<br />

according to his ideas at VTR Customs<br />

and this time, too, aviation style<br />

elements from aircraft construction<br />

were to be used.


NEWS DESK<br />

For example, the dial of the speedometer<br />

integrated into the tank, which is intended to be<br />

reminiscent of old cockpit instruments, or access<br />

panels with quick-release fasteners, as found on<br />

many aircraft. And of course, it was imperative to<br />

borrow from the Ju 52’s characteristic corrugated<br />

aluminium planking. At the same time, the seat<br />

was to be reminiscent of a riding saddle and, of<br />

course, only the “IRON ANNIE” colour scheme in<br />

grey and black was to be used for the paintwork.<br />

A BMW R 18 First Edition served as the starting<br />

point for the customizing project. First the engine<br />

was removed and painted black. All chrome parts<br />

were painted black and the fork stanchions also<br />

received a black coating in the form of a DLC<br />

(Diamond Like Carbon) coat.<br />

The cockpit trim was pulled back as narrow and<br />

flat as possible to emphasise the streamlined<br />

shape. The 7 cm shorter fork and a heightadjustable<br />

Wilbers shock absorber emphasise<br />

the crouched stance of the motorcycle. “To make<br />

the bike look smaller and give it a more filigree<br />

appearance between the wheels, we had large 18<br />

and 21 inch wheels made by Kineo,” adds Daniel<br />

Weidmann, Owner & Managing Director of VTR<br />

Motorrad & VTR Customs.<br />

As a further technical treat, racing-style HC3<br />

pumps from Magura were fitted in place of the<br />

standard R 18 brake and clutch fittings. The dial of<br />

the customized speedometer also received a hand<br />

specially made by watchmaker Zeitzone Zurich.<br />

“One of the big challenges with the R 18 IRON<br />

ANNIE was the replica cooling fins in the area<br />

of the rear silencers. Shaping these parts into<br />

parallel and beautiful radii and at the same time<br />

still fastening them harmoniously took a number<br />

of attempts,” says Daniel Weidmann about the<br />

aluminium sheet metal work. This consumed<br />

countless hours of work, as the fuel tank, the tail<br />

with the suggested tail fin of an aeroplane, the


NEWS DESK<br />

side panels and the cockpit were artfully handformed<br />

from aluminium sheet. Reminiscences<br />

of traditional metal aircraft construction are also<br />

provided by the numerous lens-head rivets.<br />

“What almost pained us a little when we saw<br />

all the handmade, bright aluminium sheets<br />

shimmering and shining was that they would have<br />

to be painted. However, we are extremely satisfied<br />

with the result because the R 18 IRON ANNIE<br />

differs even more clearly from our well-known<br />

SPITFIRE, which is also designed in aviation style,”<br />

Daniel Weidmann continues.<br />

The R 18 IRON ANNIE will receive road approval<br />

and is sure to turn quite a few heads in its new<br />

home on Lake Geneva. It will remain a unique<br />

model as promised to the customer.


NEWS DESK<br />

WHAT WE LEARNT: NEW NAMES<br />

EMERGE, A RIVALRY CONTINUES<br />

AND ONE STAR STRUGGLES<br />

The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World<br />

Championship is well underway with two<br />

rounds down and plenty of stories, records<br />

and intrigue already being discussed. In a<br />

season that’s bringing a topsy-turvy feel<br />

right from the off and with pre-season title<br />

contenders seemingly struggling, we debrief<br />

the opening two rounds and look at some<br />

key patterns and findings from Australia and<br />

Indonesia.<br />

KAWASAKI STRUGGLE: a disaster in<br />

green to start 2023<br />

Seven titles, over 100 wins, more than <strong>30</strong>0<br />

podiums and a place firmly in the history<br />

books, Kawasaki have been the modern<br />

benchmark in World Superbike, but the<br />

start of 2023 has been a troubled one.<br />

Two podiums from six races, no wins in the<br />

opening six races for the first time since<br />

2019 (when Jonathan Rea finished second in all<br />

opening six races) and no Kawasaki inside the top<br />

five in the Championship, it’s rather perplexing.<br />

The Japanese manufacturer brought an upgraded<br />

engine for this year, with it giving more power on<br />

the exit of corners. That step was visibly made at<br />

Phillip Island, with the Kawasakis able to stay in<br />

front of the Yamahas – even when they were with a<br />

slipstream. However, pace at the end of the race has<br />

been something Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing<br />

Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes have<br />

struggled with, whilst they’ve also continued to be<br />

at a deficit in hot temperatures. It’ll be an important<br />

test at Aragon and Barcelona…<br />

BAUTISTA VS TOPRAK: early form makes for<br />

interesting reading<br />

With Jonathan Rea struggling, it’s been reigning<br />

World Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing<br />

– Ducati) who has been doing the lion’s share of<br />

the winning – five wins from the opening six, whilst<br />

2022 title rival and 2021 World Champion Toprak<br />

Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK)<br />

is the other winner. Whilst it was a slower start<br />

to the season for Toprak, he came back strong at<br />

Mandalika, although Bautista is still leading him in<br />

the Championship by 37 points. However, despite<br />

only winning one race, Razgatlioglu outscored<br />

Bautista in Indonesia: 52 points vs 50. Of course,<br />

we expect that Rea will come back into the fold<br />

and that others could be in with a shout, but could<br />

it be already that it’s a battle between Bautista and<br />

Razgatlioglu this year? And if so, who will triumph?


NEWS DESK<br />

RISE OF THE TEAMMATES: pecking<br />

order rearranged, or the same when we<br />

return to Europe?<br />

There have been some fantastic battles<br />

already in 2023 but one theme has been<br />

that the previously established ‘number<br />

ones’ within a team have been pushed hard<br />

in the opening part of the year. At Ducati,<br />

Bautista may have five wins from six but<br />

Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s (Aruba.it Racing<br />

– Ducati) step up in form has been clear<br />

for all to see. He really will be a force to<br />

be reckoned with when we get to circuits<br />

such as Barcelona and Misano. Then at<br />

Yamaha, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha<br />

Prometeon WorldSBK) was second in the<br />

Championship after Australia and is third<br />

after Indonesia and just five points behind<br />

Razgatlioglu, whilst he’s also the only rider<br />

in the Championship to finish all races inside<br />

the top five. He’s had podiums at Assen in<br />

the last two years, is a win possible?<br />

At Kawasaki, Alex Lowes has given<br />

Kawasaki their only dry podium of the year<br />

so far with third in the Superpole Race<br />

in Indonesia, whilst Xavi Vierge (Team<br />

HRC) bagged a first WorldSBK podium in<br />

Mandalika Race 2, outshining teammate<br />

Iker Lecuona across Mandalika and is just<br />

a point behind Rea in the standings. For<br />

BMW, Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW<br />

Motorrad WorldSBK Team) has had the<br />

measure of teammate Scott Redding so<br />

far in 2023, giving BMW their only top six<br />

of the season so far, although Redding is<br />

ahead on points. Will this continue as Assen<br />

awaits, where results in the past have often<br />

been turned on their head?


NEWS DESK<br />

STRONG ROOKIES: Petrucci and<br />

Aegerter shine, Gardner in the mix<br />

It’s been a fine start to the 2023 season for<br />

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team),<br />

who ended the Barni team’s four year<br />

wait for a return to the top five with fifth<br />

at Mandalika in Race 1. He’s eighth in the<br />

Championship standings, although he’s yet<br />

to score points in the Tissot Superpole Race.<br />

Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha<br />

WorldSBK Team) had a solid first round with<br />

a front row start, and podium potential, and<br />

his late race pace – whilst he was concerned<br />

about it before the season started – has<br />

been strong. Teammate Remy Gardner<br />

has had a best of seventh but a wet debut,<br />

taking his teammate out in Australia and


NEWS DESK<br />

food poisoning in Indonesia have all made<br />

it a tough opening two rounds. Elsewhere,<br />

Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha)<br />

scored his first points at Mandalika last time<br />

out whilst Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE<br />

Racing HONDA Team) chases his first.<br />

STRONG STARTS, KEEP AN EYE:<br />

Bassani and Oettl with good pace<br />

After podiums in his first two seasons of<br />

action, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)<br />

is enjoying his best start to a WorldSBK<br />

season with fourth overall in the standings,<br />

despite not achieving a rostrum just yet. The<br />

charismatic Italian has been a stand-out front<br />

runner and even a race leader already, but a<br />

best of fourth so far means he’s just missed<br />

the podium. Perhaps more of a surprise<br />

at round one was Philipp Oettl (Team<br />

GoEleven), with the German continuing his<br />

form from pre-season testing and shining for<br />

a career-first top five in Australia. Just three<br />

points came during the Mandalika weekend<br />

but next up is Assen, a circuit where he<br />

showed strong potential last year.


Words: Adam Child ‘Chad’ | Pics: Gareth Harford, Chippy Wood, Andrew Northcott<br />

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />

THRASHING IT<br />

MOTO2<br />

STYLE<br />

N E W T R I U M P H S T R E E T T R I P L E 7 6 5<br />

Triumph deploy Moto2-derived technology for<br />

their updated Street Triple 765 R and RS.<br />

When Triumph stripped back their race-winning Daytona 675 in<br />

2007 to create the first Street Triple, it didn’t feel like a big deal.<br />

The Hinckley factory certainly hadn’t reinvented the wheel. But<br />

in creating a naked and relatively comfortable middleweight<br />

sportsbike Triumph struck a chord with riders looking for an<br />

alternative to all-out race replicas. Nimble, fun, punchy and easy<br />

to get along with, the original Street worked from the get-go, and<br />

launched a dynasty that is now running into its fourth generation.<br />

Everyone knows Street Triples does the job. The 2020 765 R and<br />

RS variants are perhaps two of the most capable road bikes on the<br />

market (with the RS in particular no slouch on the track either) and<br />

now, for 2023, there are three more refreshed and rethought Street<br />

Triples to choose from<br />

I say three but in reality, there are only two because the limited run<br />

of Moto2 765 Editions has already sold out, which leaves us with<br />

the entry-level Street Triple R and the higher-spec Street Triple RS.<br />

Both the R and RS have a revised chassis and more power as<br />

well as updated electronics and styling, while pricing remains<br />

competitive. We flew to Spain to test the RS on the demanding<br />

Jerez Moto GP racetrack followed by a day on the road jumping<br />

between the RS and the R.


Improved handling<br />

Triumph hasn’t taken a radical step with the chassis – the<br />

frame and swingarm are the same as the 2022 bike – but they<br />

have made significant set up changes, meaning the steering<br />

geometry is more aggressive than on the 2020 model.<br />

Triumph has raised the rear end of the sporty RS by 20mm,<br />

which gives a steeper 23.2° head angle (it was 23.9°), while<br />

trail is reduced from 100mm to 96.9mm and the wheelbase is<br />

reduced from 1405mm to 1399mm.<br />

The more road-biased R version is more relaxed, with the<br />

wheelbase shortened from 1405mm to 1402mm, while rake<br />

goes out from 23.5°s to 23.7° and trail reduced from 98.3mm to<br />

97.8mm.<br />

The RS feels urgent but easy;<br />

after the first session I rolled<br />

back into pit lane feeling relaxed,<br />

not intimidated as I do on some<br />

bigger machines, my head buzzing<br />

with the excitement of how easy<br />

the RS is to ride at pace.<br />

Suspension and final set-up are different between the two<br />

models. The RS retains fully adjustable Showa 41mm BPFs up<br />

front and an Öhlins STX40 shock at the rear, while the R has fully<br />

adjustable 41mm USD Showa forks and a Showa unit on the rear.<br />

What Triumph has done is relatively simple, and something<br />

race teams and track days addicts have been doing for years:<br />

they’ve raised the rear, which changes the head angle, making<br />

it steeper – and the result is a faster steering ‘lighter feeling’<br />

bike. However, the clever bit is by how much: too steep and<br />

you compromise stability, meaning you have to compensate by<br />

tweaking the suspension, which isn’t easy to get precisely right.<br />

Triumph has only made small adjustments – 20mm more ride<br />

height on the rear and a fractionally shorter wheelbase – but<br />

they make a difference on the track. Running on OE Pirelli<br />

Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 rubber (pre-heated in tyre warmers)<br />

the Street RS felt lighter to turn and eager to attack Jerez’s<br />

famous blue and white apex kerbing. The RS feels urgent but<br />

POWER<br />

118.4 bhp @<br />

11,500 rpm<br />

TORQUE<br />

80 Nm @<br />

9,500 rpm<br />

WHEEL<br />

BASE<br />

1402mm<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

826mm<br />

WET<br />

WEIGHT<br />

189kg


easy; after the first session I rolled back into pit lane feeling relaxed,<br />

not intimidated as I do on some bigger machines, my head buzzing<br />

with the excitement of how easy the RS is to ride at pace. It turns<br />

accurately and quickly, drops your knee to the tarmac, then carries<br />

its speed through the corner like an old-skool supersport 600.<br />

Ground clearance isn’t an issue once you get used to riding with<br />

your toes on the pegs, though if you get lazy, toe sliders will start to<br />

touch.<br />

For the later sessions, Triumph technicians put the factory track<br />

settings (as found in the owner’s manual) into the suspension – and<br />

again the RS excelled. At times I had to remind myself the RS is a<br />

versatile, useful and highly effective road bike, because it performed<br />

like a pure race bike (with its bodywork removed).<br />

By ‘race bike’ I don’t mean a radical, razor sharp thoroughbred, but<br />

something far more forgiving. The way the RS holds its line gives<br />

you space and time, The perfect blend of 1<strong>30</strong>PS and a midrange full<br />

of triple oomph means it drives out of corners no matter what you<br />

got wrong on the way in. Rapid, yes; intimidating, never. And if you<br />

make a mistake you have a raft of excellent and now lean-sensitive<br />

(dependent on mode) rider aids working in the background.<br />

The R is a marginally lower-spec version of the RS, but this doesn’t<br />

mean the RS is a racehorse and the R is a donkey. In fact, on road,<br />

you have to ride both bikes back-to-back to get any sense of the<br />

differences. The R is a little slower to steer as the rear sits lower, and<br />

leaves the factory on sports touring Continental ContiRoad rubber.<br />

On the road the RS has a slightly plusher feel to it, is more agile,<br />

and once the sporty Pirelli rubber has warmed up, delivers more<br />

confidence when you hit the twisty B-roads.<br />

But if you have no intention of going on a trackday or dragging your<br />

knee slider on the road, the cheaper R makes a lot more sense. It<br />

exudes stability, gives great feel and remains immaculately planted<br />

when the pace picks up. It’s also a tad less serious than the bling RS.<br />

It simply says: jump on, let’s just have fun!


If you decide to take it on a trackday, fit some<br />

sportier rubber and a little support dialled into<br />

to the fully adjustable suspension will be all it<br />

needs to take a few scalps. In reality, the RS<br />

only makes a proper difference when you are<br />

pushing for a fast lap in the fast group. If you<br />

don’t mind not having an Öhlins shock and<br />

Stylema brakes, the R makes an awful lot of<br />

sense.<br />

Rider aids are a little more basic on the R (no<br />

Track mode, for example, and you can’t switch<br />

off the ABS on the rear either). The traction<br />

control (TC) has to be disengaged on the R<br />

version at a standstill, which takes about 20<br />

seconds as you scroll through the (informative)<br />

dash, whereas on the RS you can turn off the TC<br />

in the personalised ‘Rider’ configuration, which<br />

takes just a second or so. But, functionally, the<br />

lean-sensitive ABS and TC are the virtually the<br />

same on both models, and you also get the<br />

excellent up-and-down quickshfter on the base<br />

R version.<br />

Modes and stopping power<br />

The R model gets four riding modes – Road,<br />

Rain, Sport, and a new rider- configurable mode,<br />

and only the RS and sold-out Moto2 versions<br />

get the additional Track mode.<br />

Rain mode reduces peak power to 100PS and<br />

increases the intervention levels of the ABS and<br />

TC, which, as mentioned, are both lean-sensitive.<br />

As you move through the modes, the throttle<br />

maps change accordingly with the level of<br />

TC intervention – meaning, for example, that<br />

Sport mode is alloted a Sport TC setting. ABS,<br />

meanwhile, is either Road or Track. The personal<br />

mode allows you to create your own mix-andmatch<br />

settings. You could, for example, opt for a<br />

Sport throttle map and the early intervention of<br />

Rain traction control.<br />

Like the suspension, there is a slight but<br />

significant difference between the R and RS<br />

when it comes to stopping power. The R retains<br />

the impressive Brembo M4.32 calipers and<br />

310mm discs, whereas the sporty RS gets an<br />

upgrade to Brembo’s Stylema calipers.<br />

Cornering ABS comes as standard on both<br />

models, but with different algorithms due to the<br />

different specification brakes, chassis, forks and<br />

tyres. In Track mode (RS only) the rear wheel<br />

ABS is switched off and the ABS on the front is<br />

conventional and not lean-sensitive.<br />

The end of the long back straight at Jerez is a<br />

real test for the stoppers and front end of any<br />

bike ¬– and the Street Triple RS was almost<br />

on the rev limiter in fifth gear. Then it’s back to<br />

second, and the RS with its improved Stylema<br />

stoppers was more than up for the challenge.<br />

Braking power is immensely strong, the chassis<br />

remains planted, and it’s only when provoked<br />

that you can get the rear to step out. Despite<br />

the shorter wheelbase and steeper head angle,<br />

stability when braking, even from high speeds, is<br />

impressive.<br />

On the track the braking was consistent and<br />

predictable, free of fade for lap after lap. The<br />

ABS intervention was hardly noticeable, and<br />

minimal to the point that I questioned whether<br />

it was working. As noted, in Track mode ABS is<br />

not lean-sensitive.<br />

My only criticism on track was the RS’s MCS<br />

span-adjustable levers, which look great and<br />

offer multiple adjustments, but I couldn’t adjust<br />

the lever close enough for my small-ish hands.<br />

I actually preferred the more basic-looking<br />

brake lever on the standard R, as this could be<br />

adjusted closer to the bar. On the road, the wide<br />

span of the levers wasn’t really an issue but I<br />

preferred the feel from the R lever. The R brakes<br />

may be down on spec compared to the RS’s but<br />

they are quality items, hard to fault on the road,<br />

and only a back-to-back test with the RS on<br />

track would highlight any difference.<br />

Moto2-derived technology<br />

Although engine capacity has remained the<br />

same, the charismatic three-cylinder motor has<br />

received a significant upgrade, using technology<br />

filtered down from Triumphs’ Moto2 project.<br />

The compression ratio is up, and the combustion<br />

chamber, pistons, conrods, and gudgeon pins<br />

are new. There are shorter intake trumpets,<br />

higher flow inlet ports, plus new valves and<br />

camshaft, for increased valve lift. The 2023


engine is Euro-5 compliant, which means a new<br />

exhaust, with a larger single catalyst instead of<br />

the older model’s two.<br />

According to Triumph, the end result is classleading<br />

power, and more torque from 7500rpm.<br />

All three 2023 models are quoted with the<br />

same peak torque, 80Nm (59 lbft) at 9500rpm.<br />

However, peak power on the RS and R is slightly<br />

different with the R making 120PS/118.4hp at<br />

11,500rpm, 2PS more than the previous model,<br />

and the RS and Moto2 Edition making 7PS more<br />

than the older RS, rising from 123PS to 1<strong>30</strong>PS<br />

(128.2hp) at 12,000rpm.<br />

Triumph have added an up-and-down<br />

quickshifter as standard on all models, and to,<br />

give a feeling of a faster-accelerating bike, have<br />

also revised the gearbox with shorter gearing.<br />

On track the new Street Triple RS feels much<br />

livelier than its on-paper power suggests. Peak<br />

power of 1<strong>30</strong>ps or 128.2hp might seem a lot,<br />

especially when you’re about to take on the<br />

historic Jerez MotoGP track, but lowering the<br />

gearing has injected extra zip. Add this to an<br />

increase in power and torque, not forgetting that<br />

quickshifter, and the result is a faster accelerating<br />

Street Triple, which felt entirely at home at Jerez.


The Spanish circuit is fast and flowing, with<br />

second gear only used twice a lap, and you’d<br />

think a 1<strong>30</strong>PSs might feel a little underwhelming<br />

on the MotoGP layout, but the Triumph punched<br />

hard from one corner to the next. The power<br />

delivery is linear above 7500rpm and there’s a<br />

spine-tingling howl from the intake and exhaust<br />

to the red line. When you eventually hit the rev<br />

limiter it’s a soft collision and not too abrupt,<br />

which is lucky considering the rev counter is<br />

hard to read at track speeds making for the odd<br />

mis-timed shift.<br />

It revs so fluently but, equally, if you opt for one<br />

gear too high, the triple’s torque will cleanly<br />

pull the RS toward the next corner without<br />

hesitation. Jerez is one of my favorite tracks<br />

and to ride it on the Street Triple RS was a joy,<br />

thanks to its sweetly tuned blend of free-revving<br />

power and midrange torque. Fast but never<br />

intimidating, the Triumph always made it seem<br />

that it was me in control of the throttle and not<br />

an electronic brain bristling with fiendish rider<br />

aids you find on bigger and more powerful<br />

sports bikes.<br />

We mainly rode RS on the track and the slightly<br />

less powerful R model on the road, where, it<br />

turned out, those missing 10 horses were barely<br />

noticed. More significantly, both models make<br />

the same torque and in day-to-day riding, where<br />

the upper regions of the rev range are rarely<br />

visited, there’s no real difference between the<br />

engines. Both come with a smooth quick-shifter,<br />

and both sound fantastic for road-legal Euro-5<br />

machines.<br />

We had perfect conditions in Spain, and I opted<br />

for Track or Sport on every ride. However, the<br />

Road mode has slightly softer fuelling, which<br />

I preferred around town, but this was only a<br />

relative issue: the fuelling throughout is so<br />

forgiving, the triple so flexible and such fun that<br />

it works as well in a snarl up as it does on turn<br />

three at Jerez. And don’t worry, hooligans, it will<br />

still loft the front wheel on almost any occasion<br />

once the TC is removed on the R or put in Track<br />

mode on the RS. Sublime.<br />

Fast but never<br />

intimidating, the<br />

Triumph always made it<br />

seem that it was me in<br />

control of the throttle<br />

and not an electronic<br />

brain bristling with<br />

fiendish rider aids you<br />

find on bigger and more<br />

powerful sports bikes.


Fast but practical, too<br />

Despite the trickle-down from its Moto2 project,<br />

Triumph has ensured the Street Triple retains its<br />

all-round appeal. It remains very much a road bike<br />

that can perform on track and not the other way<br />

around.<br />

The bars are now 12mm wider for improved control<br />

and comfort. The RS’s increased ride height means<br />

the seat rises from 836mm up 11mm (while the R is<br />

10mm lower at 826mm). If that’s too high, there is<br />

an optional lower seat that’s 28mm from standard.<br />

The RS (and Moto2) also come with an optional<br />

suspension lowering kit, reducing the seat height<br />

by another 10mm. Less welcome is the news that<br />

Triumph has reduced the fuel tank capacity from<br />

17.4 litres to just 15, although the factory claim they<br />

have done so for better comfort and handling.<br />

During a full day of jumping between the two bikes,<br />

comfort wasn’t an issue – both models have poised<br />

but relaxed riding positions. There’s a USB port<br />

under the seat on both models, with cruise control<br />

an optional extra. As mentioned, the seat is a little<br />

higher on the RS and the suspension has less sag,<br />

but ’m relatively short and had no problem with the<br />

fractionally higher RS. Even though the RS is more<br />

track focused the chassis is still forgiving and the<br />

suspension plush.<br />

However, if I was to cover some serious miles I’d<br />

take the R over the RS. The conventional mirrors<br />

give a clearer view than the blurred bar-end items<br />

on the RS, and the clocks, despite being more<br />

basic, are easier to navigate and understand. The<br />

combination of a smaller fuel tank, lower gearing<br />

and a slightly revvier, more powerful engine, mean<br />

the Rs in particular won’t be as frugal as the old<br />

bike, and the tank range will be lower. The 2022<br />

bike is good for around 150-160miles before panic<br />

sets in, expect that to be lower on the 2023 model.<br />

VERDICT<br />

Well, they have done it. The new RS is sportier,<br />

lively, racier, more aggressive and so good around<br />

Jerez I want to fit some cheap race bodywork and<br />

go race it. Tweak the suspension and it’s a true<br />

track tool with a comfortable seat and relaxed<br />

riding position. It’s so good it in part at least fills<br />

in that large gap left by true supersport bikes like<br />

Triumph’s own Daytona 675.<br />

Thankfully, Triumph hasn’t sacrificed any of the<br />

Street Triple’s road-going prowess in the process.<br />

It’s still an excellent everyday machine that is<br />

easy to ride, terrific fun in town and country,<br />

sounds wonderful and looks great. Build quality is<br />

noticeably good, too, and £11,295 for the RS feels<br />

more than reasonable value. After all, not many<br />

bikes can commute to work in the week, excel on<br />

B-roads on jacket-and-jeans Saturday, then tear up<br />

the fast group on a track day on Sunday – not for<br />

under £12k at any rate (SA prices TBA).<br />

There are niggles. The RS rev counter is hard to<br />

read on track when you have very little time to<br />

glance down, and I prefer the clocks on the R. The<br />

brake lever doesn’t have enough adjustment and,<br />

on the road, the conventional mirrors on the R are<br />

preferable to the bar-end items on the RS. But I’m<br />

really struggling to find any major faults with the<br />

RS, which retains the qualities of the previous bike<br />

while gaining a little more in almost every area.<br />

Looking at the competition, I think it’s the leader in<br />

the middleweight sports naked class and like the old<br />

bike the one I’ll now be recommending to mates.<br />

Objectively speaking, if you’re not going to ride on<br />

track then you’re better off with the R version, and<br />

you’ll save yourself nearly two grand in the process.<br />

It may lack the RS’s wow factor but is still great fun,<br />

churns out the same amount of torque, sounds just<br />

as fruity and is still immensely capable. Fit some<br />

sportier rubber and it wouldn’t be far behind the RS<br />

in lap times either. For under £10k it’s thoroughly<br />

impressive package. Shame it’s not available in<br />

yellow or red like the RS.<br />

I rode the now-old 2022 Street Triple for a few<br />

weeks before heading to Spain to ride the 2023<br />

model, and it left me slightly perplexed. How, I<br />

wondered, is Triumph going to improve on an<br />

already excellent road bike?


TIME<br />

ATTACK<br />

MOTOGP<br />

PORTIMAO<br />

TESTING<br />

The curtain has come down on MotoGP pre-season testing, and it’s a<br />

familiar rider and manufacturer on top as reigning Champion Francesco<br />

Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) took over late on. Ducati showed once<br />

again that they are the force to beat while the likes of Aprilia showed<br />

great progress. Fabio again saved Yamaha blushes as did Brad Binder<br />

for KTM with both Honda and KTM still struggling to find pace.


DAY 1: DUCATI, PRAMAC,<br />

VR46 & GRESINI:<br />

Bagnaia was the fastest by the end of play,<br />

the reigning Champion hitting back against<br />

Marini after the number 10 was fastest for<br />

much of the day. Bagnaia’s advantage was<br />

just over two tenths, with new teammate<br />

Enea Bastianini outside the top ten in P17 on<br />

Day 1… but it’s unlikely that’s much to worry<br />

about. He worked a lot on used tyres and had<br />

a couple of technical niggles to overcome<br />

early on, before a crash ended his action<br />

early, rider ok.<br />

Both sides of the Ducati Lenovo Team garage<br />

now look set – both have the updated aero<br />

and Bagnaia continued with the downwash<br />

ducts rather than the “ground effect” fairings<br />

seen previously. Bastianini was the same. The<br />

single wingnut setup on the left handlebar,<br />

used for the holeshot, was on all machines.<br />

Back to Marini and the Italian’s super run in<br />

pre-season kept rolling on the penultimate<br />

day. He was second, with teammate Marco<br />

Bezzecchi in seventh. Marini was also grinning<br />

after competing with Bagnaia and Maverick<br />

Viñales (Aprilia Racing) for top honours.<br />

Meanwhile, Gresini Racing MotoGP’s Ducati<br />

newcomer Alex Marquez slotted into fourth<br />

as he continues to impress, and his teammate<br />

Fabio Di Giannantonio ended the day in P9.<br />

Diggia suffered a crash and headed to local<br />

hospital for a further check up.<br />

Completing the top ten was Jorge Martin<br />

(Prima Pramac Racing). He was seen with<br />

a different chassis, one that’s been spotted<br />

before and could be part of an ongoing<br />

experiment from Ducati. The number 89,<br />

meanwhile, went the opposite way to the<br />

factory duo elsewhere – putting in a whole<br />

lot of laps with the ground effect fairings.<br />

Teammate Johann Zarco was P13, not far<br />

off Martin by the end of Day 1. He had a<br />

different front fairing and air intake to the<br />

rest, and the “wings” were a little different<br />

too. The Fernchman was the only Ducati<br />

with this setup, previously tested by Michele<br />

Pirro last season.


APRILIA & RNF:<br />

Aero updates and innovations were the name<br />

of the game down in the Aprilia Racing garage.<br />

The Noale factory had a few small aero pieces,<br />

including a wing bolted onto the swingarm, some<br />

wings that are attached to the front forks and an<br />

improved rear wing.<br />

A glance at the timesheets makes for pretty<br />

reading for Aprilia. Viñales was a consistent<br />

threat at the summit, as was Miguel Oliveira (RNF<br />

MotoGP Team). The Portuguese rider has been<br />

given a few Aprilia goodies to test in Portimao,<br />

a noticeable one being some aero that hangs off<br />

the side of the front wheel.<br />

Oliveira ended the day in P6, one place behind<br />

an upbeat Raul Fernandez (RNF MotoGP Team)<br />

who took a little longer to pounce up towards the<br />

pointy end of the timesheets, but heading into<br />

the final couple of hours the sophomore climbed<br />

to P5. That made it three Aprilias inside the top<br />

six, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) ending<br />

Saturday’s action in P11.<br />

Both the Spaniard and teammate Viñales crashed<br />

in the early hours of testing, and Espargaro<br />

explained to us during After The Flag that he hurt<br />

the ankle he damaged at Silverstone in the small<br />

off. The number 41 admitted he also struggled<br />

with arm pump on Saturday, “not a disaster”, but<br />

far from ideal.<br />

Alongside Ducati, Aprilia appear to be the factory<br />

that are looking most comfortable heading into<br />

the final day of testing. Fernandez and Oliveira’s<br />

speed will be a massive boost especially.


YAMAHA:<br />

The most notable upgrade we saw in the Yamaha<br />

box on Day 1 was a radical new piece of aero<br />

on one of Franco Morbidelli’s (Monster Energy<br />

Yamaha MotoGP) bikes. You can see it in the<br />

picture below – there’s a new set of wings just<br />

above the sidepod and below the standard set of<br />

wings. Morbidelli was also continuing to lap with<br />

two different chassis that he has available.<br />

In Fabio Quartararo’s (Monster Energy Yamaha<br />

MotoGP) corner, both of his YZR-M1s were fitted<br />

with Yamaha’s larger aero, suggesting that’s the<br />

direction he prefers. The 2021 World Champion<br />

was trying different front-end set-ups as he<br />

explores what can be done with the bike now the<br />

aero is – seemingly – decided.<br />

A late time attack saw Quartararo climb up to<br />

eighth, 0.8s away from top spot, with Morbidelli<br />

finishing P21 having completed 95 laps – five<br />

more than Quartararo. A very busy day for the<br />

Iwata factory, with another coming up on the<br />

following day.


HONDA & LCR:<br />

Lots of things were going on at HRC as they tried<br />

to finalise the directions they want to be taking in<br />

2023. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was<br />

doing a lot of work on Honda’s updated wings<br />

and air intake, as well as a new chassis that has<br />

been brought to the Portimao Test.<br />

The number 93 suffered a small crash during the<br />

afternoon, but the eight-time World Champion<br />

was perfectly ok. A P19 finish doesn’t make for<br />

promising reading, but 78 laps suggests it was<br />

a day of working things out – and yet more<br />

proof the fitness is there. Marquez confirmed the<br />

afternoon rhythm was disrupted by testing “big<br />

concepts”, so Sunday’s outing will be focused on<br />

getting the best out of what Honda already have.<br />

14th place Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) was<br />

also giving Honda’s new chassis a good runout.<br />

The 2020 World Champion admitted he didn’t<br />

feel great on Day 1 and struggled a bit – and a<br />

crash didn’t help in the afternoon. Fast corners<br />

and power delivery are the main areas of<br />

improvement for Mir ahead of the final day.<br />

Regarding the chassis, LCR Honda duo Alex Rins<br />

(LCR Honda Castrol) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR<br />

Honda Idemitsu) had the older chassis fitted<br />

to both their RC213Vs. Rins ended the day as<br />

the fastest Honda in P11 and having not much in<br />

the way of new parts to try, the two-time 2022<br />

race winner has been focusing on continuing his<br />

adaptation to the new bike. It looks like a step<br />

forward has been made.


KTM & GASGAS TECH3:<br />

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder<br />

was the lead KTM on Day 1, in P15, but he had<br />

close company from new teammate Jack Miller<br />

just behind him. The visible work going on was<br />

centred on aero, with each having one bike with<br />

the “ground effect” fairing and the downwash<br />

ducts and one bike with only the “ground<br />

effect” fairing.<br />

It sounded like the Austrian factory overall has<br />

switched to the engine that sounded different in<br />

Sepang, with that overheard once again.<br />

At GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3, Pol<br />

Espargaro was down the timesheets but<br />

likewise had the aero split seen at Red Bull KTM,<br />

and his teammate Augusto Fernandez likewise.<br />

For the first time, the two GASGAS riders also<br />

had the same chassis, and Fernandez was a little<br />

closer as he prepares to face down his first race<br />

weekend in MotoGP.


BAGNAIA REIGNS, QUARTARARO GAINS<br />

– THE TALE OF DAY 2.<br />

DUCATI, PRAMAC, VR46 & GRESINI:<br />

Bagnaia smashed his own all-time lap record and then<br />

put in a MotoGP Sprint simulation that raised eyebrows<br />

up and down pitlane, with most laps under the old<br />

best race lap. That was a Jaws music moment before<br />

Quartararo was able to get a lot closer, and then Zarco<br />

split the two 2022 Championship rivals.<br />

Bastianini struck late to move up significantly compared<br />

to a lacklustre showing on the timesheets on Saturday,<br />

having not put in a real hot lap before. He ends the<br />

test in sixth, but will most definitely want to reel his<br />

teammate further in once the Portuguese GP begins.<br />

There was little new to see at Ducati, with focus<br />

seemingly having shifted to really dialling in what they’ve<br />

tested… barring one small new lever spotted by our<br />

pitlane reporters, currently cause for curiosity.<br />

Zarco was the closest challenger to reigning Champion<br />

Bagnaia, moving up later in the day to depose<br />

compatriot Quartararo from second. Zarco appears to<br />

have found some long run pace, and said he was back<br />

on fettling his own setup rather than running through<br />

any testing for the factory. Teammate Jorge Martin was<br />

also looking good, and he ends the test in P8 after again<br />

running the ”ground effect” fairings as he did yesterday.<br />

At Mooney VR46 Racing Team, it was a slightly damp<br />

squib end to testing for Luca Marini after the fastest rider<br />

in Valencia and Sepang suffered two technical issues<br />

that interrupted his final day, leaving him right down the<br />

timesheets until a final push at the end. It was a good<br />

push though, and he manages to end Sunday in P4 – just<br />

ahead of sophomore teammate Marco Bezzecchi. The<br />

two look more than ready to take on the battle for some<br />

serious positions when the season gets it gear.<br />

At Gresini Racing MotoGP, it was a final test of two<br />

halves. Fabio Di Giannantonio was ruled out after his<br />

crash on Day 1, with no injuries but ruled unfit to give him<br />

time to recover ahead of the first race weekend. Alex<br />

Marquez was sitting fourth for much of the day before<br />

a late attack for a few of his fellow Ducati riders, and<br />

the two-time World Champion was shuffled down to a<br />

still very interesting seventh – right behind Bastianini.<br />

He suffered two crashes but all ok, and even saw that<br />

as a positive to get it behind him as he starts a new<br />

adventure with a new machine.


ack of El Diablo’s YZR-M1, but this particular<br />

version was something never seen before with<br />

it being a much bigger, upside-down triangularshaped<br />

design.<br />

YAMAHA:<br />

The Portimao Test was looking worrying for<br />

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP on Day 1<br />

and during the morning hours of Day 2. Soft<br />

tyre woes continued to hinder both Fabio<br />

Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli, but with<br />

roughly three hours of pre-season testing to go,<br />

Quartararo pounced up to P2 on the timesheets<br />

– just 0.148s away from Bagnaia’s new all-time<br />

lap record.<br />

As you can tell, it was a busy day down in the<br />

Yamaha camp. Busier than they would have<br />

wanted it to be. Crucially though, a big step was<br />

made for Quartararo who is feeling a lot happier<br />

than he was in Sepang and on Day 1. Going back<br />

to some old settings allowed the Frenchman<br />

to make critical strides forwards which will be<br />

a huge relief for Yamaha. The same sighs of<br />

relief won’t be swimming through Morbidelli’s<br />

side of the box though, the Italian was P19 after<br />

completing 89 laps.<br />

Both riders were continuing to play around with<br />

different aero packages on the final day, with<br />

Morbidelli’s the most striking on the front of the<br />

bike. The Italian was putting in some work on<br />

similar to a new upgrade we witnessed for the<br />

first time on Saturday, but this one the top set of<br />

wings, then a double sidepod design as well as<br />

the downwash duct at the bottom.<br />

However, what we saw Quartararo head out<br />

with towards the close of play was interesting<br />

to say the least. A rear wing was fitted onto the


KTM & GASGAS TECH3:<br />

At Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, the test was<br />

about analysing what they have rather than<br />

bringing in a slew of new parts, and a main<br />

point of focus remained the engine. That<br />

was heard from all machines – both KTM and<br />

GASGAS. Brad Binder was the lead RC16 on the<br />

timesheets as the South African ends the test in<br />

P9 and a good chunk under the old lap record,<br />

ahead of the three lead Aprilias.<br />

Jack Miller was P17 on the second Red Bull KTM<br />

Factory Racing machine as he looks to settle in.<br />

He was focusing on settings and gave a lot of<br />

feedback on the electronics, some of which was<br />

also reportedly of interest to his new teammate.<br />

He was upbeat and said they’re really starting to<br />

get there, with a bit left to polish... but gave his<br />

adaptation a 7 or 8 out of 10 so far.<br />

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager<br />

Francesco Guidotti said Day 1 was tougher,<br />

Sunday morning remained a challenge but by<br />

the end of play, they’d started to see some light<br />

at the end of the tunnel. The main issue? They’re<br />

missing a “few tenths” of grip and are working<br />

on mechanical solutions as well as on the<br />

electronics to take that step forward.<br />

As GASGAS Factory Racing Tech 3, Pol<br />

Espargaro was just 0.065 off Miller just ahead<br />

of him as the gaps remain absolutely tiny down<br />

the field, with rookie Augusto Fernandez one of<br />

those a little further back, a few tenths behind<br />

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu).


APRILIA & RNF:<br />

Aprilia Racing captain Aleix Espargaro admitted<br />

that he struggled with arm pump on Day 1 of<br />

the Portimao Test, and those issues continued<br />

into Sunday. 52 – the least of anyone – laps<br />

were completed by the Spaniard who will be<br />

getting his arm checked out in Barcelona ahead<br />

of Round 1 of the season – watch this space<br />

on that one, although the #41 said it wasn’t a<br />

disaster. Pace-wise, Espargaro will be happy as<br />

he ends the test as the top Aprilia in P10, but his<br />

arm issues haven’t helped preparations. It’ll be<br />

a cause for concern despite a very solid preseason<br />

overall.<br />

Fine form is one way of describing the<br />

performance of a pair of Aprilia newcomers:<br />

Miguel Oliveira and RNF MotoGP Team<br />

teammate Raul Fernandez. Both riders have<br />

been consistently up the sharp end of the<br />

timesheets in Portimao, but afternoon crashes<br />

for both – Oliveira at Turn 3, Fernandez at Turn<br />

1 – put a slight dampener on their days. Likewise<br />

to Espargaro and Viñales, their positions on the<br />

timesheets don’t necessarily portray the story of<br />

their pre-season.<br />

On the other side of the factory box, Maverick<br />

Viñales ends pre-season testing with a beaming<br />

smile on his face despite experiencing a<br />

technical issue on one of his bikes. P12 definitely<br />

doesn’t tell the full tale of his Test. The vibes<br />

radiating from Top Gun are all positive after<br />

another 82 laps were pocketed on the final day,<br />

as all signs point towards him and Aprilia kicking<br />

off 2023 in fine form.


HONDA & LCR:<br />

“It’s time to start working with what we<br />

have” expressed Marc Marquez (Repsol<br />

Honda Team) after Day 1 as the eighttime<br />

World Champion admitted that<br />

after testing big things in the afternoon,<br />

he and Honda lost their way a bit. It’s no<br />

surprise we didn’t see many new parts<br />

on the RC213Vs then, but we did see<br />

Marquez continuing on Honda’s updated<br />

air intake and aero package set-up.<br />

Marquez confirmed that his final day<br />

on track was the best he’d felt all preseason.<br />

A Sprint simulation suggested<br />

Honda aren’t a million miles away, not<br />

where they want to be, but it’s not a<br />

disaster. Marquez also confirmed he and<br />

teammate Joan Mir are pulling in the<br />

same direction, so there was plenty of<br />

promising noises coming from the HRC<br />

camp ahead of Round 1.<br />

Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) was<br />

given the 2021 Honda aero package<br />

and ground effect fairing to test on the<br />

final day, the latter was also seen using<br />

a very different set-up on the front<br />

suspension from all the other Hondas.<br />

In addition, both Rins and teammate<br />

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu)<br />

have been using last year’s clutch – not<br />

the new, carbon one that Nakagami has<br />

previously tested.<br />

It’s Mir who ends the Portimao Test as<br />

the quickest Honda in P13, 0.016s ahead<br />

of Marquez who in turn is 0.004s faster<br />

than Rins. They’re all within a second<br />

of the all-time lap record, a sign Honda<br />

are heading down the correct path.<br />

Nakagami finishes the Test down in P20,<br />

1.3s from top spot.<br />

So that’s it! The curtain has been drawn<br />

on 2023 pre-season testing. The next<br />

time we’ll see the premier class stars out<br />

on track will be for FP1 at the Portuguese<br />

Grand Prix on the 24th of March.<br />

Bring. It. On.


<strong>MRW</strong> MUST WATCH VIDEOS


Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Beam Productions<br />

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />

MORE IS<br />

MORE!<br />

N E W B M W S 1 0 0 0 R R<br />

BMW’s latest version of their S1000RR model is<br />

more refined, making it more rewarding in all areas.<br />

It’s hard to believe that the BMW S1000RR is over 13 years old,<br />

originally released to the world back in late 2009/early 2010.<br />

It revolutionized the 1000cc sportbike market and what we<br />

thought a superbike was or could be capable of. For the first<br />

time in history, a standard production bike was putting out figures<br />

close to 200hp. Since then they have stepped it up even further,<br />

year after year with their last major update coming in 2019/2020.<br />

Sandton BMW Motorrad<br />

Cnr Rivonia & South Road, Morningside, Sandton<br />

011 676-6600 | info@motorradsandton.co.za<br />

Although the 2019 BMW S1000RR was pretty much bang on, the<br />

2023 model takes another step forward. For all sports enthusiasts<br />

who are always looking for a new challenge. The RR provides a<br />

sporty riding pleasure and 100% performance through consistent<br />

optimizations where it really matters. The S1000RR was also one of<br />

the first superbikes, standard with cruise control and heated grips,<br />

a first in its segment and still one of the only few, even today. For<br />

2023 BMW has sharpened their package even more with a couple of<br />

key updates, further bringing the Bavarian Beast into the future and<br />

making it more accessible for the average rider. Generally taming a<br />

modern 200+hp superbike isn’t for the faint of heart, even with all of<br />

the advances which have been made in the electronics field over the<br />

years. BMW has been working on this and the signs are there that<br />

the 2023 S1000RR is more versatile and adaptable than ever before.


For 2023, the S1000RR gets upgrades to the chassis, brakes<br />

and suspension, gets new M-style aero winglets, and some new<br />

electronic assistance systems to further enhance the plethora<br />

of rider aids. Many of these upgrades have trickled down from<br />

the homologation-special M1000RR, passing technology down<br />

through the lineup that was previously unavailable without<br />

spending a significant amount of money.<br />

The S1000RR’s engine and power output have always been<br />

something special and for 2023 this has been made even greater<br />

with an improvement to 210hp- a gain of 3hp. Changes for<br />

2023 include a new airbox with shorter variable-intake funnels<br />

borrowed from the M1000RR which are optimized for top-end<br />

performance above 11,900 when they are reduced in length to<br />

increase intake velocity. The cylinder head’s intake ports have<br />

been revised and also aligned with the M’s head. Unlike the milled<br />

ports on the M, the S gets cast surfaces. Although it doesn’t<br />

sound like much, final-drive gearing is altered with an extra<br />

tooth on the rear sprocket up to 46 from 45 while internally the<br />

first three gear ratios have also been shortened. Power passes<br />

through a wet slipper clutch and six-speed transmission with one<br />

of the best, most direct and smoothest quick-shifter and auto<br />

blips to ever bless a standard superbike.<br />

Over the years BMW has upgraded and refined the S1000RRs<br />

electronic suite. For 2023 they have focused on refining it<br />

even more and making it safer, more adaptable, and let us say<br />

easier to manage for the average, less experienced rider to<br />

enjoy. Although you need to be an IT wizard to navigate the<br />

system, with time, it will become easier and you will be able to<br />

set your bike up and fine-tune it just the way you want to as<br />

you progress with it. Standard features include: Integral ABS<br />

(with Race ABS, ABS Pro), Dynamic Brake Control, Dynamic<br />

ESA, Dynamic Traction Control, Hill Start Control, Gear Shift<br />

Assist Pro, ride modes, Torque Control Assist, and an Electronic<br />

Immobilizer to name a few. Slide control has been added which<br />

measures the steering angle going into corners and intervenes<br />

accordingly as with the brake slide assist which intervenes<br />

going into corners. The track day rider and racer will appreciate<br />

new adjustments that can be made to the steering head angle,<br />

swingarm pivot, rear ride height and trail. The 2023 S1000RR<br />

has also been given a longer wheelbase which BMW say will aid<br />

with rideability and more importantly feedback. Overall these<br />

changes will aid both the novice and seasoned rider which<br />

seems to be BMWs mantra with their new bike.<br />

POWER<br />

210 bhp @<br />

13,000 rpm<br />

TORQUE<br />

113 Nm @<br />

11,000 rpm<br />

WHEEL<br />

BASE<br />

1457mm<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

824mm<br />

WET<br />

WEIGHT<br />

197kg<br />

Styling updates are subtle but the winglets upfront not only<br />

add aesthetic appeal but aid with 10+kg of extra downforce,<br />

forcing the front end down as you go faster. The rear seat unit<br />

has also been re-designed and fits in better with the overall<br />

styling of the bike as well as increasing aerodynamics.


Out on the road, the S1000RR still remains a caged beast but is still<br />

adaptable, the most adaptable in its class. It’s no sports tourer or<br />

commuter but it can be used for this. To put it to the test properly<br />

though we spent most of our time on a track, Redstar Raceway<br />

in Delmas. We enlisted the help of a certain Mr Sheridan Morais to<br />

help us evaluate and assess whether the changes BMW made are<br />

noticeable and effective.<br />

The first thing you notice out on<br />

track is the plethora of electronic<br />

aids, interfering and trying to<br />

keep you safe, much like your<br />

mom supporting you on sports<br />

day, making sure you have a hat on<br />

and sunscreen on and telling you<br />

to be careful.<br />

The first thing you notice out on track is the plethora of electronic<br />

aids, interfering and trying to keep you safe, much like your mom<br />

supporting you on sports day, making sure you have a hat on and<br />

sunscreen on and telling you to be careful. We spent a lot of time<br />

trying to adjust the aids and even turn them off for some sessions<br />

but even when they were theoretically off we could still feel them<br />

butting in. For seasoned and more aggressive riders this might be<br />

a nuisance but it appeals more to a broader target market without<br />

compromising on performance for the experienced rider. The new<br />

slide control was really noticeable in the later sessions, after the<br />

standard Metzeler Sportec tyres began giving up some of their grip.<br />

With this feature set to minimum, which provides the least amount<br />

of slip angle, I’d open the throttle to the stop just past the apex of<br />

the fast right-hand turn before the long back straight, and the rear<br />

would kick out just a bit and stay there until the bike straightened<br />

out. A higher setting would have allowed the rear to swing out more<br />

but at the cost of some speed and more tire wear. Ideally, no slip is<br />

ideal for the quickest lap times while sacrificing control. The slide<br />

control is really designed more to make you look and feel fast and<br />

this is where BMW are smart by covering all aspects of their rider<br />

spectrum.<br />

The tyres did hold the BMW back out on track, along with the<br />

electronics but I am glad they did as the bike is so good it almost<br />

fooled me into believing that I was on a fully prepped race bike. I<br />

wasn’t and needed to be reminded from time to time.


The Metzeler Sportecs weren’t designed to<br />

take the abuse we handed them, but they<br />

did, over 110 laps of sub 2.05 lap times and at<br />

the end of the day they still looked new. The<br />

most noticeable difference is the low-down<br />

acceleration out of corners thanks to the<br />

reworked first three gears and 46-tooth rear<br />

sprocket. Acceleration has always been good<br />

on the BMW, but it’s even better now. We were<br />

able to pass fully prepared race bikes down the<br />

straight, showcasing just how good the standard<br />

package is. The S1000RR is one of the most if<br />

not the best plug-and-play superbikes out of the<br />

box, both for the road and the track.<br />

The changes are not enormous for 2023 but<br />

are significant. BMW didn’t need to do much<br />

with an already excellent bike, just some<br />

small revisions and nips and tucks here and<br />

there. Within a few laps, you feel at home on<br />

the S1000RR, like a bike you’ve been racing<br />

all season. You immediately gel with it and<br />

understand how the new chassis translates<br />

to you, the rider, highlighting BMWs promise<br />

of more feedback. The steering is direct and<br />

superb. Apexes are hit with perfect accuracy<br />

lap after lap and with relatively little effort. You<br />

don’t have to force it, laps and corners become<br />

a natural flow. Corner entry, mid-corner and<br />

corner exit grip and feedback are excellent. Get<br />

on the power early and, instead of drifting wide,<br />

the BMW continues to hold a line even despite<br />

not being on race tyres.<br />

Stability, too, is phenomenal. Towards the end of<br />

Redstars lap, there’s a tight right-hander which<br />

leads into a fast chicane where you make some<br />

time by clipping the kerbs. The BMW was pinpoint<br />

accurate, lap after lap never skipping a<br />

beat. Predictable in both tight and fast corners<br />

the S1000RR and its new Flex frame allowed<br />

enough flex yet enough rigidity to give you the<br />

confidence to go faster and faster, lap after lap.


BMWs brakes have always been good and for 2023 this is no<br />

different. ABS Pro is new for 2023 and is essentially cornering<br />

ABS designed to work with race tyres (with optional Pro mode).<br />

Combine that with the new MSR engine brake control, and BSA<br />

Brake Slide Assist (in optional Pro mode) and it’s a remarkable<br />

braking package. No fade was encountered and as Sheridan<br />

pointed out even race bikes encounter fade after some laps where<br />

you would need to adjust the lever, but not on the BMW.<br />

Overall the new bike is a better-finished, more rounded package for<br />

2023 catering to all skill levels of riders no matter their application.<br />

With a starting price of only R361 850.00, it is also one of the bestvalue<br />

and bang-for-buck 1000cc sports bikes on the market today.<br />

A huge thank you to BMW Motorrad in Santon for the use of their<br />

beautiful demo. Give them a call to find out more or to arrange a<br />

test ride on (011)676 6600.


playing<br />

bolt crowned<br />

champion<br />

HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING ACE TAKES<br />

HIS THIRD CONSECUTIVE INDOOR TITLE<br />

dirty<br />

FIRST RIDE: SUZUKI V-STROM 1050DE<br />

FIRST<br />

LOOK!<br />

latest<br />

EXPEDITIOn<br />

HUSQVARNA SHOWS<br />

OFF NEW NORDEN 901<br />

spokey<br />

customer<br />

FIRST RIDE: 2023 KTM 390 ADVENTURE


LATEST<br />

NEWS<br />

BMW Motorrad<br />

International GS<br />

Trophy 2024<br />

Namibia<br />

Rugged cliffs, deep valleys, raging rivers and a gorgeous<br />

Mediterranean coastline provided the challenging terrain<br />

for the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy from 4 to<br />

10 September 2022 in Albania, making full demands of the<br />

57 participants in total. But Namibia will present GS riders<br />

with completely different conditions, as Dr Ralf Rodepeter,<br />

Head of Brand Management BMW Motorrad, explains:<br />

“After Tunisia, South Africa, Patagonia, Canada, Thailand,<br />

Mongolia, New Zealand and most recently Albania, BMW<br />

Motorrad was again on the look-out for perfect GS terrain –<br />

and found it in the beautiful country of Namibia. Countless<br />

off-road kilometres with challenging route profiles passing<br />

through marvellous landscapes with fascinating flora and<br />

fauna once again ensure an exciting GS Trophy.”


The venue of the BMW Motorrad International GS<br />

Trophy 2024 has been decided: this time the off-road<br />

adventure will take place in Namibia. Having been held<br />

on all continents around the globe, the International<br />

GS Trophy now returns in 2024 to where it all began in<br />

2008 – Africa.<br />

Namibia’s fascinating attractions includes magnificent<br />

landscapes as well as unique flora and fauna. When<br />

night falls after a hot day has drawn to a close with<br />

a deep red sunset, a spectacular starry sky stretches<br />

out over this paradise located on the Atlantic coast<br />

of south-western Africa. In short, the journey into<br />

fascinating Namibia will be an entirely unique<br />

experience in many respects – well seasoned with a<br />

good portion of SpiritOfGS.<br />

National qualifying rounds and the first international<br />

qualifying round for an International Team at the 2023<br />

BMW Motorrad Days.<br />

There is still some time to go before the official start<br />

of the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy 2024,<br />

however. Meanwhile, the national qualifying rounds<br />

offer a foretaste of what is to come. There will be<br />

15 national qualifying event and one international<br />

qualifying round worldwide, giving skilled endurance<br />

specialist to demonstrate their capabilities.<br />

In order secure a place on one of the 22 national<br />

teams, participants are required to perform GPS<br />

navigation exercises, off-road rides and technical tests.<br />

The women’s teams that prevail at national level will<br />

win a trip to the international female qualifying round,<br />

where a total of six women’s teams will be selected<br />

for the much-coveted seats on the plane to Namibia,<br />

along with the 16 men’s teams.


LATEST<br />

NEWS<br />

THE HUSQVARNA<br />

NORDEN 901<br />

EXPEDITION 2023<br />

Husqvarna Motorcycles is excited to unveil the Norden<br />

901 Expedition – a new and highly capable touring<br />

machine designed to offer endless exploration.<br />

Expertly assembled with premium Technical<br />

Accessories to improve ease of use, the Norden 901<br />

Expedition comes complete with long travel WP XPLOR<br />

suspension to ensure all riders can explore further for<br />

longer. The new travel motorcycle is finished with a<br />

striking new colour scheme to signify its outstanding<br />

capabilities both on and offroad.


Guaranteeing the Norden 901 Expedition excels across<br />

the roughest terrain, the new offroad-specific WP XPLOR<br />

suspension with 240 mm of travel is fitted to both the front<br />

and rear of the motorcycle. This premium, fully adjustable<br />

suspension gives riders the opportunity to fine-tune the<br />

compression, rebound, and preload settings to create a<br />

personalised set-up based on their individual preferences.<br />

Contributing to maximum rider comfort on all long-distance<br />

adventures, the Norden 901 Expedition is equipped with<br />

many of Husqvarna Motorcycles’ Technical Accessories as<br />

standard. For early morning starts and especially beneficial<br />

for riders exploring colder climates, the adjustable heated<br />

grips and rider’s seat provide instant warmth. Additionally,<br />

rider fatigue is reduced considerably with the fitment of a new<br />

Touring Windshield. Deflecting wind around the motorcycle,<br />

particularly at higher speeds, riders are fully protected and<br />

able to discover new worlds in complete comfort.<br />

Turning journeys into expeditions, this convenient new travel<br />

motorcycle is built to begin any adventure straight from the<br />

showroom thanks to the pre-fitted Side Bag Set. This neat<br />

luggage solution integrates perfectly with the bodywork and<br />

offers up to 36 litres of storage capacity.<br />

Powered by an 889 cc parallel-twin engine producing<br />

105 hp and 100 Nm of torque, the Norden 901 Expedition<br />

offers a broad spread of smooth, controllable power, which<br />

is particularly efficient across challenging offroad terrain.<br />

Housed inside the steel trellis frame, the versatile engine works<br />

together with the chromium-molybdenum chassis to provide<br />

exceptional agility, rider feedback, and comfort throughout the<br />

longest of riding days.<br />

Completing the build and improving ease-of-maintenance and<br />

protection on the longest of riding days, a new centre stand,<br />

engine guard, and Connectivity Unit are fitted as standard<br />

to enhance every adventure. With the Ride Husqvarna<br />

Motorcycles app installed onto a smartphone, and with<br />

the device paired to the motorcycle’s Connectivity Unit via<br />

Bluetooth, riders will benefit from downloadable maps, Turnby-Turn+<br />

navigation, Call-In, Call-Out, and view real-time traffic<br />

information. Music selection and volume can also be controlled<br />

safely while riding using the handlebar-mounted buttons.<br />

Our team is on route as we type this to the official launch of<br />

this motorcycle so keep a look out for the full first ride review<br />

in next months magazine.


LATEST<br />

NEWS<br />

BILLY BOLT<br />

CROWNED 2023<br />

FIM SUPERENDURO<br />

WORLD CHAMPION<br />

Husqvarna Factory Racing ace takes his third consecutive<br />

indoor title with dominant showing in Gliwice, Poland<br />

Rising to the occasion, Husqvarna Factory Racing’s<br />

Billy Bolt delivered the goods at the fifth and final<br />

round of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship to<br />

become the 2023 champion. Best described as a clinical<br />

performance from the Brit, Billy took his FE 350 to a<br />

convincing overall victory and with it secured his third<br />

consecutive world crown indoors.<br />

With the stadium lights dimmed for the night show, Bolt<br />

wasted no time in moving ever closer to clinching his<br />

third world crown. Laying down a blisteringly fast lap for<br />

the SuperPole, he added another three important points<br />

to his championship tally.<br />

Lining up for the first of three races, Billy knew victory in<br />

race one could potentially see him become the 2023 FIM<br />

SuperEnduro World Champion. Grabbing the holeshot<br />

put him in prime position, and by executing a series of


clean, early laps, he opened up a four-second lead.<br />

Overcoming a small tip-over in the rocks, Bolt still<br />

rode away to a six-second margin of victory and with<br />

it, his third consecutive SuperEnduro world crown on<br />

his FE 350.<br />

With the pressure of the title lifted from his shoulders,<br />

Billy was at his absolute best for the remainder of the<br />

night in Gliwice. Despite a second-row start for race<br />

two, he rocketed out of the gate and lead the field of<br />

riders before the end of lap one. Never headed and<br />

not once putting a foot out of place, Billy delivered<br />

arguably his best ride of the entire season and took a<br />

35-second margin of victory.<br />

Signing off an incredible 2023 SuperEnduro<br />

campaign, Billy ended his season on a high with<br />

victory in race three to remain unbeaten in Poland.<br />

With everything going to script, like it had done in his<br />

previous two races, he took the chequered flag for<br />

the third time on the night to claim the overall win.<br />

Over the course of his dominant indoor season,<br />

Billy took his FE 350 to 14 out of a possible 15 race<br />

wins, while winning all SuperPole hot laps. Topping<br />

the overall podium five times out of five, he proved<br />

himself to be a very worthy FIM SuperEnduro World<br />

Champion in 2023.<br />

Billy and Husqvarna Factory Racing will now turn<br />

their attention to the opening round of the FIM Hard<br />

Enduro World Championship in Serbia on May 17-20.<br />

Billy Bolt: “What can I say, it’s been an<br />

incredible season! This is my third world title<br />

in a row, but with each one they get that little<br />

bit sweeter. Coming into the night, I knew I<br />

had a comfortable points lead to play with,<br />

but I wanted to go out there and give my<br />

best. Topping SuperPole helped the nerves<br />

and I rode hard in race one knowing that if<br />

I won I would also win the title. That felt so<br />

good. Race two was incredible too. Overall<br />

it’s been great, but hard fought at every<br />

round too. Naturally a big thank you goes to<br />

everyone involved in helping to achieve this.<br />

It’s a big team effort for sure.”


LATEST<br />

NEWS<br />

SUZUKI’S KEN<br />

ROCZEN WINS<br />

INDIANAPOLIS<br />

SUPERCROSS<br />

Ken Roczen delivers the most exciting<br />

Supercross win of 2023<br />

Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen<br />

led from the drop of the gate to the checkered flag to<br />

take a dramatic victory aboard his Suzuki RM-Z450 at<br />

round nine of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross<br />

season. The crowd of 62,728 fans inside Lucas Oil<br />

Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana was on its feet for the<br />

thrilling final laps.<br />

Roczen held strong and took the win in a dramatic, nailbiter<br />

of a race that will be re-watched for years. Twisted<br />

Tea Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance’s Shane<br />

McElrath matched his best result on the season and<br />

moved his Suzuki RM-Z450 up in the point standings.<br />

Kyle Chisholm took his Twisted Tea Suzuki RM-Z450<br />

to his best heat race result and matched his best main<br />

event performance of the year. And in the 250 class,<br />

Marshal Weltin matched his best heat race result and<br />

nearly holeshot the main event with his Progressive<br />

Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki RM-Z250.


Ken Roczen grabbed the holeshot and controlled<br />

the main event from the moment the starting<br />

gate dropped. The soft Indianapolis soil was<br />

extraordinarily rutty, and the track broke down<br />

more rapidly than normal, making the race one of<br />

the most technically difficult of the year. Roczen<br />

put his Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki RM-<br />

Z450’s nimble handling to good use to fend off some<br />

aggressive late-race pressure and hold the lead spot<br />

to the checkered flag.<br />

“Indy for us was absolutely next level,” said<br />

Roczen. “We knew all day the track was<br />

going to be pretty much an ‘enduro’ track<br />

by the end of the main. We couldn’t have<br />

executed the main any better. Another rider<br />

flinched at me at the start. Once the gate<br />

dropped, though, I executed it perfectly and<br />

was leading all the way to the finish line. The<br />

track got beat down more and more, and it<br />

was just tough overall. I feel like it got close<br />

when passing a bunch of the lappers; it was<br />

just something to take into consideration<br />

with me being the leader and being the<br />

first one to reach them. I felt the pressure<br />

from another rider at the end. We had about<br />

four laps to go and I didn’t care what was<br />

going to happen, if I was going to pass out<br />

or whatever, I was going for it. We ended up<br />

pulling off the win. That was an experience<br />

that I’ll never forget, probably on the top<br />

of my all-time greatest accomplishments.<br />

We’re going to definitely celebrate tonight<br />

and enjoy it tomorrow, but the work doesn’t<br />

stop. But what a historical night it was for<br />

me, the team, and Suzuki overall. It’s really<br />

hard to describe in words how good it was.”


Words: Shaun Portman | Pics: Beam Productions<br />

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />

SPOKEY<br />

CUSTOMER<br />

N E W K T M 3 9 0 A D V E N T U R E<br />

The small adventure bike segment has slowly been<br />

gaining traction over the last couple of years, with many<br />

manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon to get their piece<br />

of the pie. A key player in this market since its release way<br />

back in late 2019, is KTM’s 390 Adventure. For 2023, the 390<br />

Adventure has been given a new look and increased off-road<br />

capability, for a bike that KTM says offers “sheer usability,<br />

superb power, and incredibly light handling.”


With so many protagonists in the segment, it was<br />

vital for KTM to update the 390 Adventure.<br />

The competition in this category is stiff with<br />

the likes of Kawasaki with their Versys, BMW<br />

with their G310GS, Suzuki with their V-Strom 250 and Honda<br />

with their newly released CB500X. I am happy to report that for<br />

2023 they have done exactly that with a few small and one big<br />

and significant change in my opinion.<br />

POWER<br />

44 bhp @<br />

9,000 rpm<br />

TORQUE<br />

37 Nm @<br />

7,000 rpm<br />

WHEEL<br />

BASE<br />

14<strong>30</strong>mm<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

8<strong>30</strong>-855mm<br />

WET<br />

WEIGHT<br />

172kg<br />

Although there have been radical changes to the 390<br />

Adventure, KTM has made a significant change, a change that<br />

totally transforms the 390, a change that should have been<br />

standard on the 390 when released back in 2019. For 2023,<br />

KTM has added a bit more of what the baby Adv model needed<br />

– basically a bit more clout in the dirt so you can take it out on<br />

the trails with stronger steel spoked rims being the headline<br />

act here. The size remains unchanged with a 19” front and 17”<br />

rear wheel wrapped as standard with Continentals TKC70 tyres.<br />

Other small changes include new colours and new graphics for<br />

a sleek yet elegant look.<br />

The addition of the spoked wheels completely transforms the<br />

390 Adventure in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, the ‘older’ bike<br />

was a gem but just seemed to lack that one special attribute<br />

which makes a KTM Adventure bike special. The 390 is now<br />

more capable than ever and you will not be left wanting or<br />

needing more out on the trails. The 390 has transformed into<br />

one of the most adventure-ready small-capacity adventure<br />

bikes that money can buy. Although we did spend some time<br />

out on the roads, our main focus in this test was to see just how<br />

much off-road we could get away with on the 390 so we took it<br />

to the Erora Motocross Track to ride all the surrounding trails.<br />

The addition of the spoked wheels<br />

completely transforms the 390<br />

Adventure in my mind. Don’t get<br />

me wrong, the ‘older’ bike was a<br />

gem but just seemed to lack that<br />

one special attribute which makes<br />

a KTM Adventure bike special.


Straight away the 390 Adventure felt right at home,<br />

tackling everything from mud, thick sand, rocks, berms<br />

and jumps with ease. Riding a small capacity or small<br />

bore adventure bike as some call it, off-road compared<br />

to its bigger cousins is much like a fight between a Jack<br />

Russel and Pitbull. Yes, the Pitbull is the ultimate favourite<br />

but it still needs to catch the much quicker and more<br />

nimble, lightweight Jack Russell. The 172kg 390 with its<br />

steel trellis main chassis with adjustable WP APEX 43mm<br />

forks and shock made it easy to tackle whichever terrain<br />

came my way, with enough flex in the chassis to absorb<br />

the bumps but at the same time enough rigidity to make<br />

the 390 pin-point and sharp. The suspension worked<br />

well although did bottom out on the odd occasion even<br />

after tweaking it a little. The 170mm front and 177mm<br />

rear suspension travel coupled with the 200mm ground<br />

clearance made manoeuvring over obstacles and<br />

mounds a relative breeze with the plastic skid plate only<br />

making contact with nature every now and then.<br />

The 373cc, twin OHC, 4V, fuel injected, four-stroke<br />

single-cylinder engine taken straight out of the 390 Duke<br />

remains unchanged as does the 44hp and 37Nm of<br />

torque. The 390s motor has always been peppy and fits<br />

in perfectly with its new, more aggressive and off-road<br />

makeover. Low-down torque is impressive and you don’t<br />

have to be up and down through the gears as much as<br />

you would think. I simply left it in 2nd or 3rd gear and just<br />

used that single-cylinder grunt to get me through.


The riding position is unchanged and still feels<br />

both comfortable whether out on the road or<br />

“meerkat-ting”. The 8<strong>30</strong>mm seat height and<br />

lightness of the 390 are confidence inspiring<br />

and I soon found myself riding it like I would<br />

ride an Enduro bike. Also very forgiving and<br />

easy-natured thanks to the Bosch electronics<br />

with traction control, and cornering ABS<br />

systems(updated in 2022), the 390 is accessible<br />

for all riding skill levels. The Off-road riding<br />

mode changes traction control accordingly<br />

allowing for more rear wheel slip while the Offroad<br />

ABS setting softens things upfront and<br />

disengages the ABS on the rear wheel allowing<br />

you to slide the rear end out while using the<br />

back brake.<br />

The 2023 KTM 390 ADVENTURE may have<br />

smaller dimensions and specs compared<br />

to some of its big brothers but it does not<br />

lack features essential to adventuring and<br />

is class-leading in this regard. Ride-by-wire,<br />

Motorcycle Traction Control, Cornering ABS,<br />

OFFROAD mode (more rear wheel slip) and<br />

linked OFFROAD ABS (disengaged on the<br />

rear, reduced on the front) are feathered by the<br />

46mm throttle body and the slipper clutch while<br />

being administered through the 5” colour TFT<br />

and intuitive handlebar switch.<br />

one of the most versatile and accessible in the<br />

KTM range in my opinion. The 2023 KTM 390<br />

ADVENTURE is not only about the epic outings<br />

but also the ‘every day’. Something which is<br />

cheap to maintain and a dependable machine<br />

for the commute but also something that can<br />

handle a swift offroad blast? No problem. Need<br />

a modern, developed, race-informed all-rounder<br />

to discover the delights of a trail for the first<br />

time? Look no further than KTMs new 390<br />

Adventure.<br />

With a wide selection of KTM PowerParts<br />

including accessories, aftermarket components,<br />

aesthetic touches, riding gear and more, the<br />

new 2023 KTM 390 Adventure is complete, so<br />

try it for yourself and live adventurously! Priced<br />

from only R123 999.00 for the spoked wheel<br />

version and R114 999.00 for the mag wheeled<br />

version, the 390 Adventure is a force to be<br />

reckoned with. A huge thank you to RAD KTM<br />

for the use of their demo. Give them a call to<br />

arrange a test ride today on (011)234-5007.<br />

The 390 Adventure is just at home on the road,<br />

whether you want to tour or commute every<br />

day. The 14.5-litre fuel tank means that fuel<br />

stops will be rare and you can expect to get<br />

over <strong>30</strong>0km on a tank easily even with the most<br />

spirited riders. The split seat is comfortable and<br />

combined with the riding position and userfriendliness<br />

of the 390 it can be ridden all day,<br />

every day in any conditions. I wouldn’t feel out<br />

of place riding the little Advenure to Durban<br />

or even Cape Town from JHB. You can cruise<br />

all day long at 120-140kph on the open roads<br />

with a top speed of just under 175kph(Don’t ask<br />

me how I know that). Once again class-leading<br />

Brembo BYBRE brakes are standard (320 front<br />

and 2<strong>30</strong> mm rear discs with four-piston callipers<br />

on the front). It handles like a house fly, just as<br />

good as its road-going cousins, if not better<br />

in many aspects. You sit upright and above<br />

traffic which makes for a better field of vision.<br />

This compact and highly advanced package is


Words: Adam Child ‘Chad’ | Pics: Chippy Wood, Jason Critchell<br />

FIRST<br />

RIDE<br />

playing<br />

dirty<br />

S U Z U K I V - S T R O M 1 0 5 0 D E<br />

“Conquer new terrain, explore new horizons<br />

and experience new adventures. A new 21”<br />

front wheel, switchable ABS, longer travel<br />

suspension and substantial ground clearance<br />

provide true off - road ability. Bespoke<br />

ergonomics, electronic rider aids, cruise<br />

control, bi-directional quickshifter and fullcolour<br />

TFT display offer long-haul comfort,<br />

confidence and excitement on every journey.”<br />

That’s what Suzuki say about their new V-Strom<br />

1050DE. Let’s find out if this motorcycle is<br />

finally ready to be called a ‘real’ adventure bike.


Say “adventure bikes” to a pub full<br />

of bikers and most will instantly<br />

reply “BMW’s R1250 GS”, a rolling<br />

masterclass of a machine against<br />

which all other adventure bikes<br />

have, for two decades and counting, been<br />

measured. Some in the room might go a little<br />

leftfield and make a call for Honda’s ultracapable<br />

Africa Twin, while KTM’s 1290 and 890<br />

Adventures and Ducati’s Multistradas could<br />

expect several shout-outs too. Suzuki’s V-Strom,<br />

however, would be expected to go largely<br />

unspoken for. Yes, it’s been around for eons and<br />

everyone knows it exists, but the big V-twin<br />

certainly isn’t the first adventure bike most<br />

people would think of.<br />

But take a ride out on a Sunday and you’re<br />

likely to see a V-Strom or two parked up at<br />

the local bike-friendly café. Board the ferry to<br />

the Isle of Man or from the UK to Europe and<br />

I would confidently bet there’s a V-Strom or<br />

two strapped down and ready for a touring<br />

adventure on the car deck below. They are out<br />

there, doing a job.<br />

The V-Strom first appeared in 2002 and is<br />

without question the unsung hero of the<br />

adventure market; the dependable goalkeeper<br />

who quietly does their job behind a soccer<br />

team of far more glamorous, headline-grabbing<br />

strikers and wingers.<br />

It’s easy to see why it has remained so popular.<br />

Robust, easy to ride, relatively straightforward<br />

and with just enough rider aids for most, it<br />

has retained a price-competitive position<br />

throughout its 20-year run. A top spec<br />

Multistrada V4 will set you back a little over<br />

R400k while the Suzuki DR1050DE can be had<br />

for a lot less (over R150k). That’s a saving worth<br />

several trips around Europe plus a head-to-toe<br />

riding kit refresh too.<br />

In the real world, away from the sales brochure<br />

and the spec sheet, the Suzuki has consistently<br />

offered an uncomplicated ride as the pricier<br />

competition became ever more festooned with<br />

electronic technology and luxury. Lacking a little<br />

glamour and desirability, perhaps, the V-Strom<br />

has been a bike you’re happy to ride all winter<br />

POWER<br />

106 bhp @<br />

8,500 rpm<br />

TORQUE<br />

100 Nm<br />

@ 6000rpm<br />

WHEEL<br />

BASE<br />

1595mm<br />

SEAT<br />

HEIGHT<br />

880mm<br />

WET<br />

WEIGHT<br />

252kg


without worrying about returning to pristine<br />

condition before placing back underneath its<br />

silky indoor cover.<br />

But as robust and trustworthy as the V-Strom<br />

has been, Suzuki knew their flagship adventure<br />

bike was missing something – an X-factor<br />

beyond its price point to help it level up against<br />

the competition. Well, that’s changed now<br />

because finally they have produced a machine<br />

with off-road ambitions. Let me introduce you<br />

to the new 2023 1050DE.<br />

So while Suzuki hasn’t reinvented the wheel<br />

with the new V-Strom DE, it has given it the<br />

tools to attempt a little off-road riding.<br />

The 1050DE is the Japanese factory’s fourth<br />

generation V-Strom. Yes, it has the familiar<br />

water-cooled 1037cc V-twin platform which, in<br />

concept at least, can be dated back to Suzuki<br />

TL1000S from the late ‘90s and produces<br />

precisely the same peak power and torque –<br />

106bhp @ 8500rpm and 100Nm of torque @<br />

6000rpm – as the old model¬, but the changes<br />

elsewhere are significant.<br />

The DE chassis receives a major transformation<br />

with the introduction of a 21-inch (steel spoked<br />

and ally rim) front wheel, a first for the V-Strom.<br />

The headstock is new, the chassis geometry<br />

is more relaxed, with increased rake, a longer<br />

wheelbase, longer travel suspension, more<br />

ground clearance and wider bars. Its dirt<br />

intentions are clear.<br />

There’s a move from 41-teeth on the rear<br />

sprocket to 45, a huge jump and a simple way<br />

to make a bike feel livelier. Internal gear ratios<br />

have also been modified and combined with a<br />

new bi-directional quickshifter to add even more<br />

zip to the relatively low-powered unit.<br />

The electronics have been upgraded on the DE<br />

(and road-focused, non-DE model that retains a<br />

19-inch front wheel), which acquires a 5-inch fullcolour<br />

TFT dash. Power modes remain the same<br />

– there’s an A, a B and a C mode –with each<br />

altering the torque and throttle characteristics.<br />

Lean-sensitive ABS and TC remain the same as<br />

before but get more adjustments, including a<br />

new ‘Gravel’ mode and switchable rear ABS.<br />

Cruise control comes as standard and again<br />

has been revised for 2023. The DE also gets<br />

a smaller non-adjustable off-road screen,<br />

wider pegs with removable rubbers, and the<br />

front mudguard is slightly higher to give more<br />

clearance for mud and gravel. Longer travel<br />

suspension also means the seat height is higher<br />

in the new DE: 880mm compared to 855mm.<br />

So while Suzuki hasn’t reinvented the wheel<br />

with the new V-Strom DE, it has given it the<br />

tools to attempt a little off-road riding. Stylingwise<br />

it’s similar to the previous model but the<br />

extra travel on the suspension, those spoked<br />

wheels and crash protection have made the<br />

‘beaky’ Strom visually more appealing. It might<br />

not have the desirability of, say, the Multistrada<br />

but it’s not bad looking, and certainly a vast<br />

improvement on the original 1000DL. That was<br />

no beauty queen.<br />

The good stuff continues when you jump<br />

onboard. That new 5-inch display is a huge<br />

improvement: clear, legible and, like the<br />

switchgear, simple to use. DE owners will not<br />

require a degree in electronic engineering to<br />

change the modes or reduce the TC.<br />

The perch is on the high side, as you’d expect<br />

from a long-travel, 21-incher adventure bike.<br />

The standard 1050 seat sits between is 855<br />

and 875mm, but the DE is fixed at 880mm. I’m


5ft 7in and, wearing stiff enduro boots with little<br />

ankle movement, struggled at times, and would<br />

recommend the <strong>30</strong>mm lower seat option for<br />

shorter riders.<br />

This taller riding position is noticeably more<br />

focused than both the older DE model and the<br />

standard 2023 1050. The bars are now 40mm<br />

wider and that fixed, off-road biased screen is<br />

80mm shorter and narrower while the pegs, with<br />

removable rubbers, are wider. All of which lends the<br />

DE a ‘bigger’, more dirt-biased stance but, even as<br />

a small rider, I felt comfortable.<br />

Suzuki chose Greece as the venue for this first<br />

road test of the DE and riding through narrow<br />

urban streets on our way out of town, the V-twin<br />

felt as friendly as Stroms of old. But there was also<br />

something new.<br />

The fuelling is as clean and friendly as ever but<br />

now, especially in the imaginatively named ‘A’<br />

mode, there’s an extra zip in performance. While<br />

the V-twin may produce exactly the same torque<br />

output through the revs as the older Strom,<br />

lowering the final gearing has given the Suzuki a<br />

welcome punchiness when you open the throttle,<br />

and injects new energy into what is a relatively<br />

weighty adventurer.<br />

Turn off the TC – which you can easily and<br />

intuitively do on the move – and the DE will happily<br />

loft its new 21-inch wheel, something I wasn’t<br />

expecting on a long-wheelbase machine that tops<br />

the scales at 252kg. On the switchbacks that took<br />

us high into the hills, the DE cast off its slightly dull<br />

image and rewarded me with a fun and exciting<br />

ride, the up-and-down quick-shifter adding an<br />

unlikely sprinkling of sportiness.<br />

It’s not a total transformation, of course. There are<br />

limitations to what can be achieved with a change<br />

to the final drive ratio. And when you compare the<br />

V-twin’s 106bhp and 252 kilos to the Honda Africa<br />

Twin (113bhp and 226kg with a full tank of gas) or<br />

Ducati Desert X (110bhp and 223kg), it brings home<br />

how much extra bulk the Suzuki continues to carry.<br />

Those kilos are constantly there in the background;<br />

I was always aware of how much heavier it feels<br />

compared to its more modern class rivals. It’s not a


Has Suzuki improved the off-road ability<br />

of the V-Strom? Yes, unquestionably.<br />

We took on some mixed terrain,<br />

nothing too challenging, and the Suzuki<br />

took to it with relative ease.<br />

massive hindrance, especially for stronger and<br />

larger riders, but it is noticeable. Fast direction<br />

changes require more rider input through those<br />

wider new bars and, while stability is not in<br />

question, you would never describe the DE as<br />

agile either. The longer wheelbase, large front<br />

wheel, and more relaxed steering head angle<br />

haven’t helped, but carve up a mountain pass as<br />

speed and you’ll soon work up a sweat.<br />

Suspension travel has increased to 170mm<br />

up front and 169mm on the rear, but not to<br />

the usual 2<strong>30</strong>mm (front) and 220mm (rear)<br />

combination you’d normally associate with a 21-<br />

inch front wheel adventure bike. Riding normally<br />

or briskly the KYB fully-adjustable 43mm forks<br />

cope with the weight of the V-Strom, and the<br />

rear, with remote preload and rebound damping<br />

adjustment, offers a secure ride. Overall, the ride<br />

is on the soft side and more suited to comfort<br />

for everyday riding and touring rather than<br />

anything aggressive. For the majority of the<br />

time the Strom’s chassis is a hard act to fault<br />

and just gets on with the job in hand.<br />

To be fair, coolish conditions during the test<br />

didn’t encourage anything too aggressive –<br />

and nor did the tyres. Suzuki has opted for<br />

slightly unusual rubber and sizes: a 21-inch<br />

Dunlop Trialmax up front, with a tube, and a<br />

17-inch Trailmax on the rear, which is tubeless.<br />

Most adventure bikes with dirt ambitions use<br />

a 21-inch/18-inch combination and while I’m<br />

sure the cold temperatures didn’t do them any<br />

favours, I never got the confidence to push<br />

the handling to a peg-scraping angle of lean.<br />

Warmer weather, though, may change all that.<br />

Like the V-Strom’s engine and suspension,<br />

the brakes, too, do a job. Cornering ABS<br />

comes as standard and has two road levels,<br />

plus the new off-road setting which simply<br />

deactivates the rear ABS. Suzuki also has a<br />

load-dependent braking system that modulates<br />

ABS intervention. This means that, in theory,<br />

if you add weight such as luggage or a pillion<br />

or both, this changes the ABS intervention as<br />

you’re asking more of the brakes, pulling the<br />

lever harder. Braking is also linked, the front<br />

lever activating the rear, but not the other way<br />

around, as the rear pedal is independent of<br />

the front. To add to the list of marketing-led<br />

terminology, the Suzuki has Slope-dependant<br />

Control System, which simply put, prevents the<br />

rear lifting and stoppies.<br />

On the test ride in Greece, I had no serious issue<br />

with the Tokico stoppers, and ABS intervention<br />

was only felt on the rear on the slippery surfaces<br />

we encountered. I would expect 90% of V-Strom<br />

owners to have no complaints but, again, the<br />

bike’s weight problem raises its ugly head. After<br />

all, 252kg (including fuel) plus a rider, possibly a<br />

pillion and luggage as well represents a sizeable<br />

mass and a lot to ask of the front stoppers. The<br />

DE certainly isn’t over braked.<br />

Suzuki’s V-Strom has always scored highly when<br />

it came to churning out miles, and the new DE<br />

should continue that tradition. Cruise control is<br />

standard and can now be set at lower speeds,<br />

although I’m not sure anyone sets their cruise<br />

control to lower than <strong>30</strong>mph. The riding position<br />

is roomy and the shortened screen does a decent<br />

job. Hand guards are standard, as is the USB<br />

port left side of the dash, while under the seat<br />

is a 12v DC outlet. As mentioned, the new dash<br />

is clear and far easier to navigate than much of<br />

the competition. Heated grips, fog lights and full<br />

luggage are available as accessories.<br />

Due to the change in gearing, Suzuki<br />

has admitted fuel consumption has been<br />

compromised slightly, meaning the DE is not<br />

as frugal as previously. Suzuki claim 54mpg,<br />

I managed 45.5mpg, but this was after a fun<br />

but by no means rapid test ride. The realistic<br />

tank range will be between 150 and 200 miles<br />

depending on the conditions.


Verdict<br />

In Suzuki’s marketing material, they don’t show<br />

the V-Strom taking on sand dunes in the Dakar<br />

Rally or performing huge jumps off-road. Suzuki<br />

has been realistic; the V-Strom is now more<br />

capable off-road, and therefore more versatile,<br />

with a 21-inch front wheel and a more dirtfocused<br />

chassis. It’s an improved V-Strom that<br />

can take on more adventurous riding, up to a<br />

point. But it’s not an aspirational machine to fuel<br />

fantasies of reaching out into the Sahara.<br />

The dash is one of the clearest and easiest<br />

to use on the market. I like the new colours,<br />

stance and looks and, as always, the V-twin<br />

motor and fuelling are soft and easy to manage.<br />

Performance is ample for most riding duties,<br />

as are the handling, stopping power and<br />

electronics.<br />

In essence, the Strom is enjoyable in a simple,<br />

robust and trustworthy way – just as it always<br />

has been – and nothing more. And now it’s<br />

more versatile than ever with some off-road<br />

potential. If you don’t look at the competition it<br />

is hard to fault.<br />

However, the competition can’t be ignored.<br />

At just shy of £14,000 there is some strong<br />

competition out there, some of it actually<br />

cheaper, with a higher spec than the Suzuki,<br />

like Triumph’s Tiger 900. Honda’s standard<br />

Africa Twin is lighter, more powerful, has more<br />

gadgets and even with DCT is the same price.<br />

My favourite in this class is the Ducati Desert X,<br />

which is incredibly capable both on and off-road<br />

and only a fraction more than the Suzuki.<br />

The 2023 V-Strom DE carries all the great<br />

qualities of the older bike along with more offroad<br />

potential, but now at close to £14,000 (SA<br />

price TBA) it’s up against some stiff competition.<br />

RIDING THE V-STROM DE ON DIRT<br />

It’s always difficult to fully evaluate a big<br />

adventure bike off-road, and to work out who’s<br />

actually going to take a quarter-ton adventure<br />

bike onto the dirt. And if they do, to what level<br />

of commitment?<br />

Has Suzuki improved the off-road ability of<br />

the V-Strom? Yes, unquestionably. We took on<br />

some mixed terrain, nothing too challenging,<br />

and the Suzuki took to it with relative ease. Will<br />

it now reward those with more serious off-road<br />

intentions? I’m not so sure.<br />

Firstly, the ‘Gravel’ riding mode doesn’t act as a<br />

true rider aid and prevent slides but simply remaps<br />

the throttle to reduce power delivery, so<br />

you can’t rely on it to save you. The fuelling and<br />

power are so soft standard, I mainly rode in A<br />

and B modes anyway.<br />

But I enjoyed the Strom off-road, its wider<br />

bars, soft suspension and fuelling worked well<br />

together, and it’s relatively easy to ride as long<br />

as you don’t take on anything too challenging.<br />

Up the pace, though, and you’ll soon reach the<br />

limit. The suspension bottoms out and lacks<br />

control and suddenly you’re all too aware of<br />

that weight. Trying to stop 252kg heading<br />

downhill on loose gravel can be challenging.<br />

This isn’t a bike you can easily pop over rocks<br />

and small obstacles and, in this context,<br />

comparing the Strom to the class-leading<br />

Ducati Desert X seems unfair. The X was<br />

designed to work off-road, whereas the Suzuki<br />

feels like it’s being forced to do something<br />

it doesn’t really want. Like getting your kids<br />

to eat vegetables. But if you’re only going to<br />

venture onto some very light trails the Suzuki<br />

DE can certainly tick that box.<br />

It’s useful, however, to now have the ability to<br />

deactivate the rear ABS, even if the front ABS<br />

hasn’t been calibrated for serious off-road abuse<br />

and is simply the same as on the road.

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