The Chinese and Motorcycle Business

You do know that China produces more than 24 million motorcycles every year, and exports 34 percent of them, yes? There are more than 200 motorcycle manufacturers in China and their output accounts for a touch over 50 percent of all the motorcycles made in the world.

And they are coming here. It is inevitable, even though our domestic ‘import’ motorcycles market is relatively small in comparison to other countries. It’s still a market and some of them are already here. Brands like Lifan, Keeway and Zongshen are being sold to people after a dirt-cheap, almost disposable little dirt or road going motorcycle.

Yes, they appear to be made of recycled noodle cans, good wishes and bamboo, but people are buying them. Actually the motorcycles from Lifan, Keeway and Zongshen currently on the market in Thailand are of decent quality.

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Rating: 5.00/5 (1 vote cast)

The 2017 Yamaha MT-09 - Best Made Better

They say that at the heart of every good motorcycle is a great engine, and Yamaha thoroughly nailed that theory with the very first Yamaha MT-09 back a few years. Its inline 847cc triple-cylinder, or CP3 as Yamaha call it, is a pure gem.

Since then the Yamaha MT-09 has sold as fast as dealers could get them and Yamaha have gone on to produce the MT-09 Tracer and retro looking XSR900, both of which share that same wonderful engine. The Yamaha Tracer was awarded a prestigious ‘Best All-Rounder’ award in 2015 and the Yamaha XSR900 has won numerous road tests. And their success has largely been down to that brilliant Yamaha CP3 engine.

However, the original Yamaha MT-09’s performance was undermined by poor fueling and under-damped suspension. It has three engine modes to choose from and in the sportiest A-mode the throttle response was lively to the point of being abrupt. In a 2016 model update Yamaha smoothed out the fueling and added traction control for the first time, both of which were taken from the Yamaha XSR900 retro version. And now for 2017 they have gone one step further, changing the suspension both front and rear and adding more adjustment to the forks while a shorter sub-frame and facelift completes the visual upgrade.

There’s also a new quickshifter, just for a welcome bit of extra bling, and a subtle alteration to the riding position.

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The 2018 Yamaha T7 Adventure Bike

At last year’s EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan, Yamaha showed us an adventure bike that generated a huge amount of hype. It was tipped to be the successor to the current outdated Yamaha ZT660Z Tenere.

Yamaha names it the T7 and although they were calling it a concept, it got a lot of Tenere Traqics oraying that it would go into production – and it will, but not until 2018. The company appears to have stopped production of the Yamaha XT660Z in Europe and is sitting on stock to meet demand until the Yamaha T7 arrives.

There has been no indication on price or when the Yamaha T7 will be available in Thailand. Assuming production goes ahead in 2018, after this year’s motorcycle show season, we would hope to see the motorcycle later next year. That will depend on the spec for Southeast Asia likely to want the MT-07 vertical-twin engine.

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Rating: 3.00/5 (2 votes cast)

The Alternator, Regulator and Rectifier

Most Japanese manufacturers call them alternators, but they also called generators which is in some sense the correct term. The alternator alternates the current, it’s as simple as that: it spins on one end of the crank, a variable based on rpm by a magnet passing a fixed point with a coil on it and generates electricity. The role of an alternator is to generate an electrical current in order to recharge your battery, so you could say it’s a vital part of your motorcycle.

With an alternator, there are other items required in order to take that alternating currency (AC power). We used to have dynamos, which were DC and therefore wan no need for such luxuries as a regulator rectifier. Instead a more basic regulator controlled the current to the battery: a much simpler system and far less effective. We now have the advent of ‘smart’ rectifiers that click in and out and work only when called upon, rather than a free-flow job.

Nowadays, when you turn your motorcycle’s ignition on, there’s fuel injection, lights, alarms and starter button all drawing current, so you need a decent input. Years ago we used to see car alternators on motorcycles – I think MV Agusta was the last motorcycle manufacturer to use a car item – but those days are gone, and it’s all about trying to reduce inertia, and ultimately give the engine less work to do.

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Rating: 3.00/5 (3 votes cast)

The 2017 Honda CBR150R Repsol - Celebrate Marc Marquez's Birthday

On the 17th of this month, MotoGP champion Marc Marquez celebrates his 24th birthday just months after bagging the world champion title in the 2016 season of the premier motorcycle-racing series. Now under his belt are three championships won on Repsol Honda motorcycles, which have become dream machines for millions of motorcycle enthusiasts across the world.

There is no doubt that Marc Marquez’s momentous victory has driven the success of the new 2017 Honda CBR150R in many countries, especial in Southeast Asia. Built not only for circuit racing but also for street use, the MotoGP-inspired motorcycle has proven its versatility for riders wanting a dependable daily commuter.

During weekend, you can do your racing leathers and take to the track with your motorcycle in a bid to improve your personal best times.

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The Dainese Torque D1 Air Motorcycle Race Boots

Are you the kind of person who is always decked from head to toe in Italian riding apparel? Well, no reason to ditch that allegiance when you get the track, thanks to the new Dainese Torque D1 Air Race Boots. Or maybe you’re just a Valentino Rossi fan. Whatever it is, the Dainese Torque D1 Air race boot is one of the best in the business.

We’re saying that after putting in over 1000 kilometers on the road as well as a few kilometer on the track.

What makes the Dainese Torque D1 Air cool? Besides look that good, you mean? Well, how about D-Axial joints to prevent ankle-twist, active ventilation, magnesium toe sliders and a CE-Level 2 safety rating? Plus a calf-circumference adjustment for a custom fit and a rear entry, making it one of the easiest motorcycle boots to get in and out of.

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Does your Motorcycle Handle like a Shopping Trolley?

Let’s look at the science behind getting the it right. Of all motorcycle engineering’s dark arts, chassis tuning is the most transformational, the most useful, and the least understood. Power, they say, is nothing without control. Control is only gained when a motorcycle’s tires are firmly in contact with the ground, And the components that maintain this critical union of rubber and road are what’s known as a suspension system.

Now, although this will instantly conjure mental images of a fork, shock, swingarm and the related springs and things that let them compress and extend in a controlled manner, they’re not the only parts that affect bump absorption and road-holding.

The motorcycle in its entirely is a suspension system constantly yielding to impacts and rider inputs through flex in the frame- tires, wheels, triple-clamps and even the engine. The suspension components are just the last line of defense in the battle for wheel control and chassis stability and are, generally, the only element of ‘give’, which can be adjusted for resistance and rate of movement.

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Rating: 4.00/5 (3 votes cast)

The Benelli 750cc Parallel-Twin almost Production Ready

Testing is underway one the Benelli 750cc parallel twin we first talked about May last year – suggesting it will be ready for an official reveal before the end of 2017.

Videos have emerged in China, where the Benelli 750cc is being developed by parent company Qianjiang., showing finished-looking motorcycles in action.

The as-yet-unnamed 750cc parallel-twin motorcycle is even proudly displayed at the firm’s headquarters, as seen in the picture.

The red prototype reveals there have been few changes made since our last article about the Benelli 750cc parallel-twin. The exhaust silencer has been mildly reshaped and there are new castings for both the main and pillion footpegs. The headlight is fractionally different and the rear brake caliper has been repositioned from above to below the swingarm.

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Rating: 2.00/5 (3 votes cast)

MotoGP - Yamaha Continue Development on Damp Sepang Track

Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi carried out their testing programme in a positive fashion today. Despite challenging track conditions, the teammates took second and fourth place respectively in the time sheets on the second day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit whilst working their way through a list of new items.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were back in action today at the Sepang International Circuit for the second of the three track days that mark the start of 2017 MotoGP racing activity. They continued to work through a number of different testing materials, taking second and fourth place respectively in today's time sheets.

The riders had to be patient at the start of the eight-hour session. Damp track conditions made for a four-hour wait before they could put their 2017 Yamaha YZR-M1s to the test.

Once the track had dried sufficiently, Viñales was keen to head out and continued his hunt for the perfect set-up. He soon found a good rhythm and he comfortably began to chip away at his time. After one and a half hours he posted a best lap of 2.00.646s to temporarily take over the top of the standings before the pace of the other riders picked up.

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Rating: 4.25/5 (4 votes cast)

The Worst Road Users in Bangkok are the Motorcycles and Scooters

The last couple of weeks of 2016 and in the first week of 2017, I forced myself to ride a motorcycle only. So one week I had the Triumph Street Twin and the next a new Triumph Tiger. One I used for a slightly longer ride for a round trip to North-East Thailand and the Tiger I commuted to work on. Both are brilliant, despite me using them the other way round. The Tiger I should have ridden to North-East Thailand for the weekend and the Street Twin for daily commuting to work. Nonetheless, both kinds of motorcycles turned out to be tremendous fun. Clearly, they showed me what I was missing and what I was gaining.

Motorcycles have always held a dear place in my heart, and I will continue to yearn to own one. When that will happen is anyone’s guess, but someday I will go down that road. This story, however, is not going to focus on that aspect of riding but what I learned from those two weeks of riding.

First off, the longer weekend ride which happened the night before Christmas. The ride was with some friends, and turned out quite nicely. All of us on the ride bonded pretty well, and it clearly showed me that I just have to get out and ride some more. And that is exactly what I tried to do the following week, hoping to start off by at least riding to work. Turns out the commute is hell, and here on I’m going to think a hundred times before I ride to work. So what happened to turn me off this bad?

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Rating: 3.00/5 (2 votes cast)


How many times have you crashed your motorcycle in the last three years?

  •  Never
  •  Once
  •  Twice
  •  Three times
  •  Four times
  •  Five times
  •  More than 6 times
  •  More than 10 times
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