Australian Road Rider Issue#137 - June 2017

THE NO.1 MAGAZINE FOR TOURING Australian Road Rider is the only Australian magazine to address the technical aspects of riding and celebrate the pure enjoyment of touring. At Australian Road Rider we know that there’s nothing like the pleasure of hitting the open road and exploring our glorious country. Purchase includes the Digital Edition and News Service. Please stay in touch via our Facebook Page.

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6 Issues

in this issue

3 min
riding me crazy

Hi folks, Right now, I’m riding an Enfield in Bhutan, on a World on Wheels 21-day tour. Yeah. I know. Cool huh? Don’t worry, I recognise how lucky I am. Anyway, look for a full report on both the bike and indeed the trip in issue #138 (next month). Today’s 149km leg took us to 4200m above sea level on wild, rocky, slippery mountain passes with drop offs you just don’t want to think about. A ride like that focuses the mind, or at least it should, but all I could think about was the flapping helmet strap that I had failed to secure, via the very conveniently provided press stud. Now, I’m sure you are thinking “well, why didn’t you simply stop and do it up, you ageing pickle?” Or words to…

1 min
motorcycling begins

German Gottlieb Daimler is credited with inventing the first real motorcycle in 1885, attaching his engine to a wooden frame and using spoked wooden wheels. But the definition is a little cloudy. You see, American, Sylvester Howard Roper (1823–1896), invented a two-cylinder, steamengine motorcycle (powered by coal) in 1867. This can be considered the first motorcycle, if you include one powered by a steam engine, but Daimler definitely invented the first gasoline-engined motorcycle. For most purposes, that’s when a gas-powered engine and a bicycle came together. I don’t think Daimler and Roper are going to get in a blue about it, so we’ll give the gong to Daimler. To build the bike, Daimler created a carburettor which mixed gasoline with air, allowing its use as fuel. In the same year, Daimler and…

2 min
harley-davidson staff buyout

Harley-Davidson owned a massive 80 per cent share of the US market for big motorcycles in 1969. The yanks just couldn’t get enough of the big beasts and all looked very rosy for the great American eagle. But things were not to stay that way. A short 10 years hence, that figure had dropped to just 20 per cent. What went wrong? Well, the Japanese had filled a market niche with dependable and relatively cheap motorcycles, and the cringe over bikes from the Land of the Rising Sun was not affecting the new generation of questioning youth. Added to this, the US was in recession in 1981 and this severely threatened Harley-Davidson. Soon, the then current owner AMF began to lose interest in keeping the struggling business afloat. To save the company,…

1 min
when gp returned to oz

Phillip Island. Iconic, rated among the greatest tracks on the planet. Hard to believe that is was playing host to cows and all but overgrown after falling into disrepair during the ‘70s. That was until the place was purchased by Placetac Pty Ltd in 1985, with a view to renovate the circuit. Things gained momentum when Barfield Pty Ltd, led by engineer and promoter, Bob Barnard, was awarded a round of the world motorcycle championship. How the conglomerate convinced the powers that were to commit to the huge undertaking of sending the world’s greatest to the other side of the planet is a little beyond us, but there you have it. Barfield was granted a lease on the land and began restoration of the track and facilities in 1988. The renovations were…

5 min
yamaha xjr1200/1300 quick buying guide

Yamaha’s XJR1200 first saw the light of day in 1996, launched into a global marketplace that had made it clear it was looking for big-bore motorcycles with laid-back manners and slightly retro styling. We’ve come to know the category as the ‘Naked’, becoming a cornerstone of motorcycle market share, particularly in Australia and Japan. Prior to the big Yam taking up its position in showrooms across the globe, Honda had its CB1000F, BMW the R 1100 R, Triumph represented the category with the Speed Triple, Ducati the Monster … all worthy and strong selling offerings, but they left a gap — a big, fat, lazy gap that called for a big statement. Enter the XJR1200. The XJR certainly fulfilled the brief with regard to physical stature, but with 71.5kW at 8000rpm and…

3 min
putty road blues

I just can’t believe what the safetycrats are doing to the Putty Road in the name of safety. The latest effort has been to cover the existing broken centreline on quite a few of the short- and medium-length straights down the Windsor end, with double yellow lines. Why? The only reason that I can fathom is that if you stop people from overtaking, it will slow them down, and we all know that speed causes accidents! The reality is a long way from there. The Putty is 170km long and is quite windy for most of its length. There are a few long straights along the flats in the middle, and a few overtaking lanes, but other than that the legal overtaking opportunities are limited to the odd short- or medium-length…