Cars & Motorcycles
Australian Motorcycle News

Australian Motorcycle News Vol 69 Issue 22

Australian Motorcycle News covers all things motorcycling from around the world, featuring new-model releases as well as comprehensive bike comparisons and race reports in every issue.

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25 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
you ride and you vote

WHILE SIFTING THROUGH my brain for the Motorcycle of The Decade feature – see page 48 – a bike sprung to mind that reminded me of what a wizened old car journo said to me years ago; that the best cars aren’t necessarily the best sellers, because what makes people actually purchase something isn’t always clear cut. He was referring to a flawed ute of the time, that still somehow topped the sales charts, despite being universally outpointed in features, build quality and drive in most areas by other brands. This has happened with motorcycles, too, of course. It was the worst steering bike in its class – boat-like, even. Yet it sat on top of the sales charts One particular bike, and I won’t name it to avoid dredging up old-school angst…

1 min.
small wonders from china

HERE IS THE bike on which we reckon Benelli’s new retro-styled Imperiale 250 model will be based. The QJiang QJ250 is an upcoming new machine from Chinese firm QianJiang, Benelli’s parent company. It’s been revealed in official type-approval documents filed with the Chinese government and it seems almost inevitable that the planned Benelli Imperiale 250 will be based on the same engine and chassis, perhaps even sharing the same styling. According to the type-approval information accompanying this picture, the QJ250 comes complete with ABS brakes and complies with China’s latest emissions limits. Its 249cc engine is an air/oil-cooled parallel twin. Meanwhile Zontes’s range of 312cc single-cylinder bikes has been one of China’s success stories. The export arm of bikes with the 310T, roadsters with the 310R and tourers with the 310X, while the…

3 min.
honda readies 850cc adventure range

HONDA LOOKS TO be starting with a clean sheet to develop a next-generation parallel-twin engine that could power a smaller Africa Twin range. There’s been a lot of talk about Honda introducing a scaled-down version of its Africa Twin using an 850cc twin engine. But it’s hard to conceive it will make a new NC850X adventure bike and a completely separate 850cc parallel-twin Africa Twin. Instead it’s much more likely that the replacement for the NC750X will be based on the engine seen here but get a more rugged, Africa Twin-inspired style. The patent images use the outline of Honda’s original NC700S patents, but it’s the engine that makes this newly-published patent document stand out. This is a completely new parallel twin engine and it strongly suggests Honda is starting from the ground…

2 min.
harley back to basics

HARLEY-DAVIDSON IS refocusing on its traditional cruiser-style models and the US market as it responds to the coronavirus pandemic and its newly-installed temporary CEO takes control. This means the ambitious expansion plans announced by former company President and CEO Matt Levatich in 2018’s ‘More Roads to Harley-Davidson’ strategy are hanging in the balance. Levatich was shown the door in February, to be replaced by interim CEO Jochen Zeitz, who’d previously been one of his advisers and made his name by turning around the Puma clothing brand in the 1990s. A ‘wunderkind’, he increased Puma’s share price 4000 percent after he took the reins in 1993, aged just 30. Dubbed his new H-D strategy ‘The Rewire’, Zeitz said: “Covid-19 has dramatically changed our business environment and it is critical we respond with agility to…

1 min.
at a glance australia dodges early sales bullet

Europe The year started well but it all fell apart in March, with the overall market dropping a staggering 35.8 percent. Market analyst MotorCyclesData predicts 2020 will have the lowest sales in 35 years, but says the EU economic stimulus packages should support consumer demand and enable a quicker market recovery than seen previously. UK The Brexit/Covid-19 double-whammy knocked the Poms, with the market down 25 percent in March and 12.2 percent over the entire first quarter. MotorCyclesData predicts total sales for 2020 will drop nearly 35 percent in what it describes as “one of the darkest period for the United Kingdom industry”. US A positive start (sales up 3.5 percent in February) was frozen by the virus shutdown and sales dropped 10.6 percent in March. Japan Following the record low hit in…

1 min.
ringing bells

THE WITHDRAWAL TOWARDS its core markets has echoes of Harley’s response to the 2008/9 financial crisis. Back then, it closed the Buell brand just as it was showing promise with its water-cooled, DOHC models. It also unloaded the MV Agusta brand for a token sum, ditching all its interests in non-cruiser models. That decision has been criticised by many, who see the reversion to traditional cruisers as the reason for Harley’s ageing customer demographic and the resulting slow sales decline. Fortunately, the ‘rewire’ isn’t expected to be quite that conservative. Zeitz is a proponent of renewables in business and was one of the driving forces behind the development of the Harley LiveWire electric bike, so Harley’s hard-won position as a leading light in the electric bike revolution isn’t likely to be…