The Honda VFR1200X - Honda's Big Adventure Bike


While currently the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin gets almost all the attention we easily could forget that Honda also has the range-topping VFR1200X Adventure-Bike available in Thailand.

The Honda VFR1200X borrows the liquid-cooled 76-degree V-Four engine from the VFR1200F. The angle between the two banks of cylinders combined with a 28-degree phasing between the crankpins was designed to eliminate vibration, and the Honda VFR1200X is noticeably calm for a huge V-Four. It features Honda’s Unicam SOHC configuration, which creates more compact dimensions for the 1237cc 16-valve engine by reducing the size and weight of the cylinder heads, and optimizing combustion-chamber shape. Compression was changed slightly from 12.0 to 12.1:1 and performance was reconfigured for more low-end torque. The intake howls, but is not replicated by the exhaust. Aftermarket pipes will be a popular breathing upgrade to make this beast sing.

Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) constantly monitors wheel-speed. When a difference in speed between front and rear wheels is sensed, engine torque is momentarily reduced by a combination of ignition cut and modulation of the throttle butterflies through the throttle-by-wire system. As the difference in wheel-speed decreases, the system shifts into modulating only the throttle butterflies to ensure a smooth transition as the HSTC reduces intervention. The system features three levels of engagement, selectable via push-button, and can be switched off. As a traction control solution, I found it extremely and annoyingly aggressive in its highest setting and preferred to dial it down.

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Rating: 3.00/5 (1 vote cast)

The Quality of Japanese Motorcycles


The quality of Japanese motorcycles which are no longer actually made in Japan gives some cause for concern. Recently we have seen recalls for Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha motorcycles. Often the same model has multiple issues the Honda CB300F had potential crankshaft bearing failure and some fire risk from faulty wiring, the Yamaha MT-03 and YZF-R3 had also several serious and less serious problems, and we recently saw a recall for the Kawasaki Z125 Pro.

I’m around 50 years old now and can’t remember anything like this ever happening before. There must have been recalls in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but we expected any new motorcycles we bought to be 100 percent sorted and, as far as I know, they were.

Currently it seems that a unprecedented number of motorcycles and cars are being recalled and I can’t help but think it’s a problem associated with the dreaded ‘globalization’. Japanese motorcycles used to be made in Japan. Sure, there were probably independent parts suppliers but, if a motorcycle had a Japanese brand name on the fuel tank, you could be confident Japanese engineers made sure all the motorcycle’s components met Japanese standards.

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Rating: 3.00/5 (2 votes cast)

The Stallions Centaur Cafe 150 - The 150cc Retro Classic


The Stallions Centaur Cafe 150 combines a few things that are popular at the moment: classic cafe racer style, decent built quality and a reasonable price tag. The Centaur Cafe 150 is an exciting motorcycle for anyone looking for a trendy city bike with enough power to take on the odd country road.

Among all the cafe racers currently rolling our from various manufacturers, the Stallions Centaur Cafe 150 stands out as a particularly good-looking option. The motorcycle is available in Black, Army Green or Red, with the Stallions Motorcycle logo added to the tank and side-covers.

The overall impression is of understated style, form the fuel tank to the sculpted single seat. The bullet indicators, spooked wheels, straight matt-black exhaust, with chrome heat protection-cover, upside-down front forks and clip-on handlebars all add to the timeless classic look.

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The BMW C650 Sport Maxi-Scooter


The BMW C650 Sport is one of two maxi-scooters from the German motorcycle manufacturer. With the other one being a ‘GT touring-oriented maxi-scooter, the BMW C650 Sport is very much a sporty and fun machine. From the looks to performance and electronics to handling, everything is geared towards pure riding enjoyment.

For a maxi-scooter, the BMW C650 Sport looks deceptively small and light. It’s not though: 250 kilograms and an overall length of over 2 meters make this a bit of a lump to manoeuvre around in tight traffic.

The BMW C650 Sport is powered by a 650cc, two-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine, pumping out a claimed 60 horsepower. And as you ride it, you can feel the power: the scooter accelerates enthusiastically and the CVT gearbox is very smooth. Best of all, the engine is brilliant at keeping the revs just right.

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Rating: 5.00/5 (1 vote cast)

Moving from a Scooter to a Motorcycle


There’s no denying scooters are great fun, but move to a motorcycle and there can be a whole different set of advantages. Our simple guide to help you move from small wheels and automatic CVT gear to big wheels and motorcycle power.

The first thing you’ll notice when you get on a motorcycle after riding a scooter is simply how different it is to get on. There’s no stepping through; you have to swing your leg up and over. This can influence the style of motorcycle you can ride. Big trail, off-road, adventure and enduro motorcycles may look cool and be able to have take me anywhere attitude, but if you don’t have long legs you’ll struggle to get on one – and even if you can get on, you’ll not feel comfortable if you can’t get a least one foot flat on the ground.

Luckily, many motorcycle manufacturers offer lowering kits and lowered seats which can help shorter riders gain access to a wider range of machines and not just off-road styled motorcycles. Another point to consider is that motorcycles frequently have narrower seats than scooters, which in turn makes it easier to get feet flat on the ground as your legs aren’t spread as wide.

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The Triumph Street Twin Getting a Bit Small


I’ve been riding the Triumph Street Twin for almost a month now, and a couple things are beginning to stand out. Aside from the fun I have buzzing around town on the 900cc twin, the overall size of the motorcycle is starting to feel cramped.

This is a bit ironic since Triumph specifically designed the Street Twin for smaller riders, with 1.65 meter I’m an average size Thai girl, making the seat a very approachable 750mm. In my many years of riding I’ve actually gotten used to larger motorcycles. The Triumph Street Twin, in contrast, has begun to feel a bit small.

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Rating: 3.50/5 (2 votes cast)

The Benelli Tornado 302R - New Full Faired Sportbike


The Benelli Tornado 302R is a gorgeous looking sportsbike, and the first new fully faired motorcycle in 10-years. The design is flawless. The fit-and-finish levels are also decent although the basic instrument console could have been a bit fancier… Apart from that there is hardly anything in terms of design that we can complain about, everything is just in the right place.

While most parts of the Benelli Tornado 302R are new, the 300cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin engine is borrow from the popular TNT 300S, Benelli’s capable small street-fighter. However, for the Tornado 302R, Benelli have retuned the 300cc parallel-twin engine, it will make 36 horsepower at 12,000rpm, with 27.4Nm of torque at 9,000rpm.

A smooth six-speed gearbox transfers the power to the rear wheel via a traditional chain final drive. The gear ratio have been kept short so the engine revs to the limit pretty quickly, asking you to shift up.

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Rating: 3.00/5 (1 vote cast)

The Yamaha XSR900 in Thailand


The Yamaha XSR900 combines hipster looks with a level of nimbleness, performance and sheer stunt-ability. Derived from the popular Yamaha MT-09, the Yamaha XSR900 has all the hallmarks of a classic budget performance motorcycle. And it will be available in Thailand soon...

There’s a great engine, sweet steering and the ability and appetite to get up to no good at every opportunity. It’s the same recipe that made Suzuki’s Bandit an icon in the ‘90s, but with a level of performance a ‘90s rider could only dream of.

The 885cc three-cylinder engine is a marvelous piece of machinery, meting out a claimed 114 horsepower, what is about 105 horses at the rear wheel, with consistency and beautiful fueling. The CP3 engine is one of Yamaha’s most versatile – and is also the motive force behind Yamaha’s Tracer. It’s the perfect companion between 68 to 82Nm of torque throughout its rev range in one of the flattest, most accessible torque curves I’ve ever seen.

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Rating: 4.00/5 (1 vote cast)

The Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 - New Ducati Fun


In the light of new starter motorcyclists, most leading motorcycle manufacturers now have more than one model catering for that group of riders, and understandably so, because not only is it now a very lucrative percentage of the market, more importantly it creates the opportunity of attracting new riders to the brand. You just have to look at manufacturers like Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda or Kawasaki, who have all invested heavily in their focus toward new starter motorcyclists market.

In comparison, Ducati only had the Monster 796 to service its up and coming Ducatisti, a motorcycle more suited for riders returning to motorcycling rather than just starting out.

The Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 has filled that gap perfectly, and being priced so competitively at only 282,000 THB, it’s an enticing drawcard, especially considering the quality components you’ll find on the new little Ducati Scrambler like the Desmo L-twin engine, alloy 10 spoke wheels, Brembo brakes and the Kayaba shock. Named after the original year the Scrambler came into production, its biggest feather in the cap is just how easy the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 is to ride with its wide handlebars, long seat and relaxed riding position.

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Rating: 1.00/5 (1 vote cast)

Honda Africa Twin Manual Transmission or Dual-Clutch


There is perhaps nothing more hated or loved in motorcycling than an automatic transmission. Since Honda introduced its Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT), which isn’t an real automatic, motorcyclists have been squawking their opinions about it.

One of the rites of passage into the motorcycling club has always been mastering the controls and becoming proficient with the machine, which is obviously a lot more of an acquired skill than with a car. So to many, Honda’s DCT has poseur written all over it. Also, the question is often raised if DCT is a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.

No matter you opinion, the fact is that DCT is a marvel of technical engineering and functions incredible well. Is it for everyone? Not even close. But for those who perhaps want to take the ‘complication’ out of riding a motorcycle, DCT can do just that. And the system has been refined a lot since its introduction on the Honda VFR1200F.

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Rating: 2.00/5 (1 vote cast)
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