Keeping two-strokes healthy in the blue-smoke

Two-strokes are now-a-day a rare sight in Thailand. By the end of the decade ever more draconian environmental legislation, particularly for exhaust emission, had all but wiped out new two-strokes. The brief appearance of few sporty Kawasaki’s models in downgraded power compared to other countries, was Thailand’s last chance to buy a new road legal two-stroke motorcycle.

But that wasn’t the end of the two-stroke in Thailand. A hardcore of fans and owners – many of them expats seeking a better life in the sun but seemingly unable to kick their two-stroke habits of old – have made sure that sweet, blue smoke still finds its way into the air. I met a guy, who relocated to Thailand 20 years ago.

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Rating: 2.27/5 (11 votes cast)

Ducati 2016 Growth Figure for 2016

It seems rarely a week goes by without Ducati announcing more good news, be that awards they’ve won or sales being up. This month saw them reveal that their turnover grew to a far from shabby 741 million Euros for 2016, a result up 5.1 percent compared to the previous year.

This was presented at the annual Audi HG press conference, and Ducati also contributed an operating result of 51 million Euro with a margin of 7 percent to the Audi group. ‘The continous evolution of our range, both in terms of quality and technology, the constant development of our dealer network and the effectiveness of a strategy based on investments aimed at the products, the quality and the customers, have enabled the company to continue on its growth curve,’ said Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.

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Rating: 2.55/5 (11 votes cast)

Yamaha Triumphs in Termas de Río Hondo

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi stormed to their second consecutive double podium of the season in round two of the MotoGP World Championship at the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team gave an astounding performance in today’s Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, securing an immaculate 1-2 finish. Maverick Viñales was in a league of his own in the 25-lap sprint, as he flew from sixth on the grid to first place. Valentino Rossi was a man with a plan for his 350th Grand Prix start and was in hot pursuit, to ultimately secure a brilliant second place.

Viñales stormed off the line from the second row and soon muscled his way to third place, putting pressure on Cal Crutchlow in second. He attacked in turn 7 on lap 3 and soon after took over the lead as Marc Marquez crashed out of the race.

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Rating: 2.88/5 (17 votes cast)

Kawasaki vs Bajaj Auto Trouble in Paradise?

We asked Kawasaki Thailand if they wanted with the Versys-X 300 one on one with the Zongshen RX250 which is a Chinese build adventure motorcycle that looks remarkable similar and is available for a few years….

Kawasaki Thailand after a few questions about the Versys-X 300 versus the very similar looking 3 year old Chinese design got a bit hostile. So we backed off and used an different approach through another Kawasaki company and we finally got our hands on a Kawasaki Versys-X 300.

Maybe you never hear about Bajaj Auto before, what’s understandable they like to stay in the background of some of the big motorcycling industry names.

Since the first of April of this year Bajaj Auto and Kawasaki have officially ended the friendship, Bajaj Auto still controlling the Southeast Asian Kawasaki Motor Sport market until an undefined date and according to Kawasaki HQ nothing in Asia according Kawasaki distribution will change… meanwhile, Bajaj Auto is using any or all technology to build Kawasaki competitive machine with its Chinese affiliated company CFMoto.

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Rating: 2.89/5 (9 votes cast)

The 2017 Arai RX-7V Motorcycle Helmet

Arai’s stunning retro paint options are somewhat appropriate – their motorcycle helmets are living in the past technically as well as visually.

It has been a year since I’ve worn an Arai. I’ve tested a number of other brands’ offerings at different price levels, and I prefer just about all of them to the Arai RX-7V. Going back to the Japanese firm’s top helmet revealed they’ve not really improved much: they’re still heavy, still noisy, the visor mechanism is even more annoying and fiddly unless you dedicate a week to learning to use it.

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Rating: 2.83/5 (6 votes cast)

The MotoGP Ducati Desmosedici GP17 'Hammerhead Shark' Design

Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall’lgna was angry when winglets were banned, so you can imagine his delight when his aerodynamicists showed him their latest work. The Ducati Desmosedici GP17’s so-called ‘hammerhead shark’ bodywork does what MotoGP engineers are supposed to do: push the rules to the very limit. And it does more than that. The radical design has had jaws dropping up and down pit lane because none of the other factories had expected anything like this.

The Ducati Desmosedici GP17’s upper fairing looks like an on-board stereo system, with the speakers missing. Ducati have cleverly worked their way around the rules to create four ‘wing’ surfaces in front of the handlebars.

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Rating: 3.57/5 (7 votes cast)

The 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Development by Shinichi Sahara

If you ask me why it took so long to develop the new Suzuki GSX-R1000. The answer is that the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the most important model for Suzuki, and it was frustrating that we couldn’t release a new model until now. Some years ago, Suzuki’s motorcycle focus switched to the Asian market and small motorcycles, but after that they started to think again, and ask: ‘What is the strong point of the Suzuki brand?’

The answer is sportbikes, so then we could restart the project. But I had to explain very carefully, to the management, why we need to make such a motorcycle, because the normal customer can’t use such high performance.

The Suzuki GSX-R1000 is not specifically developed for track racing or road use, I think the divider between road and track is 50:50. If we engineers think to change something, we always think first about racetrack performance. But if it’s not good for street performance we have to rethink it, because if we throw away the street performance it’s not a GSX-R.

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Rating: 3.83/5 (6 votes cast)

The 2017 Yamaha Tmax DX - The Luxury Maxi-Scooter

Let us suppose you’ve ridden motorcycles all you life and, apart from needing shopping transport to the local supermarket, the idea of straddling a scooter has never entered your head. So how can this thing – Yamaha Tmax DX – cost 529,000 THB?

After a day riding one round Bangkok and its environs, I have an answer. It looks like a scooter, but it functions like a thin car. By that I mean it’s a two-wheeled vehicle with about 85 percent of the short-distance advantage of a car (comfort, capable or operation without thought, tech overkill, no great need to wear special clothing), and 90 percent of the advantages of a motorcycle (acceleration, filtering). Why would you buy a halve a million baht scooter? Well, if you can afford it, and you want to get to work on time, why wouldn’t you?

The first Yamaha Tmax came along in 2001. Since then Yamaha have sold 250,000 units, mainly to south European countries, where it’s a consistent best seller. The uptight north Europeans are proving slower to catch on, partly because of the colder weather. In Thailand the whole idea of maxi-scooters is also slowly picking up, partly perhaps because of the big bike culture is a little way behind than that of some other countries.

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Rating: 3.50/5 (8 votes cast)

The Kawasaki Ninja 250 / 300 Inline-Four Rumor

Despite persistent rumors, the chances of Kawasaki developing a four-cylinder 250 ~ 300cc rival to the Yamaha YZF-R3 and Honda CBR250RR are slim.

The story appears to trace back to leaked images of a styling model for a new Kawasaki Ninja 250 or 300. Far from being a four-cylinder, it was a proposed revamp for the existing parallel-twin.

The idea of a 250 or 300cc inline-four, harking back to the early 1990s and days of the Kawasaki ZXR250, which made 33kW from its screaming, miniature four-cylinder engine, is tempting. But it’s a dream that would be near impossible to achieve today.

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Rating: 3.67/5 (6 votes cast)

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)


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

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