Japanese Brand vs Chinese Brand Motorcycles

With the influx of cheap 125 to 200cc motorcycles, buyers are left facing a tough decision – pay a premium for a Japanese or opt for the budget choice. With prices for Chinese-built motorcycles starting at just around 30,000 THB, rather than near 60,000 THB for a Japanese brand that is often made in Thailand, you can see why so many cash-strapped riders plump for the cheaper option.

According to industry figures in 2016, the major players in Thailand’s 125 to 200cc market from China were Lifan, Zongshen and Keeway while Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki represented Japan with KTM the only European.

When it comes to depreciation all of the manufacturers fare similarly and record depreciation percentages in the 30 percent area. On the Japanese or European motorcycles, which cost a premium to start with, this equals a greater loss of capital, making the Chinese machines certainly appear better value for money. However, there is a catch.

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Rating: 2.60/5 (5 votes cast)

John Surtees Rest in Peace

The motor sport world recently lost a gem when John Surtees, one of the most talented racers on two and four wheels, left for his heavenly abode on 10 March 2017, exactly 14 years after the demise of another legendary racer, Barry Sheene.

John Surtees’ contribution to the world of motorcycle racing goes beyond just winning championships. His exceptional talent was complemented by his bravery and will to achieve what others could only dream of. John Surtees was the only racer in the world who managed to win a Formula One championship (1964) and also numerous motorcycle Grand Prix championships in his racing career.

Born on 11 February 1934 in Surrey, England, John Surtees started racing at a very young age. In fact, he first participated in a sidecar race with his father and won. Unfortunately, they were disqualified when the race officials discovered that John Surtees was underage for the class. However, that did not dampen the teenager’s dream to go racing. His racing career, which started in the early 1950’s, lasted for more than two decades.

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Rating: 2.43/5 (7 votes cast)

Setup Guide to Setting the Sag

No, we are not referring to your poor posture after a long day in the saddle. Rider sag relates to the amount that a motorcycle’s suspension compresses when you sit on it, and there is generally an optimum setting for different motorcycles and applications.

To work out rider sag we must first determine if the static sag is in the correct ‘zone’ (around 5 to 10mm). Static sag is how much of the suspension travel is taken up by the motorcycle’s weight. Then we check the sag with the rider on board.

It may sound complicated but it’s not, and we’re going to give you 10 simple steps to check this at home – all you’ll need are a few tools and a couple of willing helpers. Not only does this procedure assist your motorcycle to operate in optimal range of its suspension travel while riding, it also reveals whether the spring rates on your motorcycle need to be changed to suit your weight.

We’ll start with the front end, so the wheel needs to be off the ground with the front forks fully extended.

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Rating: 3.11/5 (9 votes cast)

Honda is Going for Royal Enfield Sales

Honda have announced that they have formed a team of engineers from Japan and Thailand to work in India to develop a middleweight 350 to 500cc motorcycle that will compete with Royal Enfield.

Noriaki Abe, due to become CEO of Honda on the 1st of April, said they want to take a slice out of Royal Enfield’s annual 590,000 units domestic Indian sales. The product will at a later stage undoubtedly also be sold in other Asian and Southeast Asian countries if not globally.

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Rating: 3.17/5 (6 votes cast)

The All-New 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R

Suzuki is finally going to release an all-new GSX-R1000 with upgrades to make up for an eight-year gap between new models.

The all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000 will officially be launched at the 38th Bangkok International Motor Show, which starts next week, the new flagship sportbike is expected to sell at a higher price as the current GSX-R1000 ABS. The new Suzuki GSX-R1000 will also be split into two separate models, one the standard GSX-R1000 and the GSX-R1000R.

We’re told that the jump in price is significant from the outgoing model, but buyers can expect much more bang for their money, with the motorcycles now the performance-class leaders.

Think 149kW (200 horsepower) at 13,200rpm, 118Nm at 10,800rpm and top speed of more than 280km/h, thanks in part to a shorter-stroke engine, higher compression ratio and variable valve timing.

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Rating: 2.25/5 (8 votes cast)

The New 2017 KTM 390 Duke - Class-Leading Power-to-Weight

It’s almost 4 years, KTM predicted the future of small-capacity performance motorcycles in Asia and the rest of the world by inventing one- the KTM 390 Duke. And thanks to its class-leading power-to-weight and useful performance, it didn’t take KTM much to become a brand respected by sport and touring enthusiasts alike. While the fun and manic KTM 390 Duke is yet to come across a true rival of caliber, it seems KTM isn’t resting on its laurels.

Leadership and learning are intricately connected to each other and KTM, the leader in its segment, has mastered the trick of relentlessly improving its motorcycles and staying ahead of the pack. And this time too, it’s no different. KTM has taken its inimitable 390 and made it even better, and that’s what we talking about here; the 2017 KTM 390 Duke. More orange than before, this 2017 model could easily pass off as an extensive upgrade, but KTM insists it has completely revamped the motorcycle and this one is the second generation KTM 390 Duke.

Under the scorching sun, that catchy KTM orange looks even louder, and thanks to all the styling updates, the new KTM 390 Duke has an even more aggressive stance. But before we head out onto the tarmac, here’s a quick check on what’s visually new. There’s the dashing new split-LED headlamps similar to the KTM 1290 Super Duke, bigger 320mm brake disc up front, an intuitive TFT display, longer fuel tank cowl that now hides a bigger fuel tank, updated trellis frame with bolt-on subframe, wider and better cushioned seats, and a conventional side exhaust.

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Rating: 3.00/5 (9 votes cast)

The Royal Enfield Continental GT750 - Parallel-Twin Performance

We have seen what appears to be a finished version of Royal Enfield’s new Continental GT750 undergoing testing, some people already reported that they saw an 750cc parallel-twin Royal Enfield in Spain last year. Sources at the time suggested it would be released around March or April this year and based on the finish of model we have seen, we don’t think it’s far away.

The beating heart of the new Royal Enfield Continental GT is an air-cooled 750cc parallel-twin, which is expected to produce 45 to 50 horsepower putting it in the same territory as the Harley-Davidson Street 750 (47 horses) and Triumph’s similarly-styled Street Cup (54 horses).

Also new are the upswept two-into-two exhaust, as all Royal Enfields have previously been single cylinders, and judging by the Royal Enfield Continental GT750s rather tasty exhaust nite we expect it to have a 270-degree firing order.

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Rating: 3.70/5 (10 votes cast)

Yamaha Prepare for 2017 Season Kick-Off in Qatar

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team has returned to the Losail International Circuit in Qatar to kick off the MotoGP World Championship this weekend. Riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales can hardly wait to fire up their Yamaha YZR-M1s' engines under the floodlights for the first free practice session of the Grand Prix of Qatar on Thursday and finalise their bike set-up at the 5.4 km track for the first race of the season.

After a busy winter, filled with extensive testing, Rossi is ready to get back into his leathers to challenge at the front of the field. He looks forward to start comparing some solutions found during the final pre-season test a little less than two weeks ago and to return to the premier class centre stage, fighting for the victory.

Last year he bravely fought his way to fourth place in Doha, missing the podium by a hair. This year the nine-time MotoGP World Champion is determined to pop the champagne at the end of the first round. He previously secured wins in the premier class in Qatar in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2015. He also claimed second place in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014.

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Rating: 3.33/5 (6 votes cast)

The 2017 Suzuki SV650A - Measuring stick for the market segment

The Suzuki SV650/A has been the standard against which the majority of modern members of the 600 to 650cc segment can be measured, and in support of that theory, I’d like to take you back to 1999 for the introduction of the first Suzuki SV650. This trip down memory lane reveals a motorcycle with a 6545cc, liquid-cooled, eight-valve, DOHC, 90-degree V-twin in a narrow chassis that rode on a 41mm traditional Kayaba preload adjustable front fork and a non-adjustable Kayaba rear shock. It had two-piston Tokico calipers and 290mm floating rotors at the front, and a single-piston caliper squeezing a 240mm rotor at the rear.

This is all going to sound very familiar when you reference the included specifications for the 2017 Suzuki SV650/A, because those are the same specifications as the current model, with exception that the Kayaba suspension company is now called KYB and the rear suspension now being adjustable for preload, while the front forks is no longer. The 2017 Suzuki SV650/A does produce a few more horsepower, what with its dual-spark engine, revised internals, freer-flowing exhaust and electronic fuel injection.

To be fair, though, most of those changes were made to the platform over the intervening 17 model years, not exclusively for this 2017 iteration. In actuality, the outgoing Gladius is the predecessor to this new motorcycle, as it’s the one that got the majority of upgrades when it split off from the SV-DL family tree – upgrades that Suzuki SV fans had long been hoping for, but which instead went to the Gladius line.

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Rating: 3.75/5 (4 votes cast)

Budget set aside to bid for MotoGP

The cabinet on Tuesday allocated 300 million baht to pay for the right to organise MotoGP, the world's motorcycle racing championship, for three years.

The budget would be for the annual rights fee of 100 million baht for the expected organisation of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) from 2018 to 2020, government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said. For organisational costs, the government planned to later raise a fund with the private sector.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry proposed the project as Dorna Sports Group, the rights owner, planned to increase the number of host countries of the popular championship to 21 next year from 18.

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Rating: 1.50/5 (2 votes cast)


Do you like MotoGP racing? Which team do you like?

  •  Yamaha
  •  Honda
  •  Ducati
  •  Apriiia
  •  Suzuki
  •  KTM
  •  No Specific Team
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