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: 2.25/5 (4 votes 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: 3.67/5 (3 votes 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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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: 2.33/5 (3 votes cast)

The Vespa Primavera 150 3Vie Delux Scooter

It’s some time ago that we did a real scooter review and to keep some tradition we like to look at brands and models not sold on every corner. The Vespa Primavera 150 3Vie is a product from Piaggio’s Vietnamese factory. The Vespa Primavera is in Thailand available as a 125 or 150cc. Our review concentrate on the 115,900 THB Vespa Primavera 150 3Vie.

I was looking forward to test the newer, fresher models which now feature three valve engines. The outgoing models were also excellent machines, I was therefore a bit skeptic how they could improve on excellence. With the new Vespa Primavera 150 you would hope slightly more power and better fuel economy and less pollution. They do. More importantly I wanted to focus on the feel rather than actual performance of the scooter.

For many the ‘monocoque’ steel chassis identifies Vespa as unique. The newest, smaller bodies are still galvanized and have been strengthened to make them even more robust. And they are all expensive to manufacture when compared to almost every other scooter in the market.

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Rating: 1.50/5 (2 votes cast)

Yamaha YZF-R3 vs 1000cc Sportsbike

I can't get over just how fast the Yamaha YZF-R3 is in daily life. Even with the stock tires not doing much for my confidence, this 320cc Yamaha is fast and hot knife going through butter. Or as has been the case lately, a fast knife going through an unbearably hot weather.

A few weeks ago, my friend and I went for a short highway run on a modern 1000cc sportsbike and the Yamaha YZF-R3, and the 320cc Yamaha was completely at ease keeping up with the liter bike that has more than three times the YZF-R3's engine displacement.

My friend on his 1000cc sportsbike couldn't help but notice how effortlessly the Yamaha YZF-R3 picks up speed and I can verify that. Although I've gotten used to it now, it still happens that I took down at the speedometer and see numbers that I wasn't expecting. And it's not just speed, though.

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Rating: 2.33/5 (3 votes cast)

The Honda CB500X with Rally-Raid Adventure Kit

The Honda CB500X is a fun, practical, affordable, generally easy to ride, and a great choice for a wide range of riders. The adventure-styled CB500X is a real do-all favorite. But note we said adventure-styled; if you plan to ride many unimproved roads, you'll probably want something with a little more Adventure Bike DNA.

An British company called Rally-Raid Products Ltd, which is an Adventure rider's candy store. Offer three kits that make your Honda CB500X for more off-road capable, turning it into something of a mini Africa Twin. Opt for the Level 3 treatment and you'll get a new rear shock with 50mm more travel than the original, along with a remote reservoir and fully adjustable damping. Depending on how much you weigh and how much you intend to carry, you can also choose from three different spring weights; new linkage also accompanies the spring and shock.

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Rating: 2.50/5 (4 votes cast)

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R vs Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300RA

Fast motorcycles are easy to come by these days. A 600 or 650cc sport or naked-bike from any motorcycle brand can out accelerate most of the cars available in Thailand. These, mind you, are entry level sportbikes. Spend a more money and you have access to motorcycles than can challenge the latest and greatest of the hypercar world for a fraction of the cost.

Kawasaki Thailand will sell you the 2016 Ninja ZX-14R ABS green missile for 939,000 THB that is one of the fastest things on two wheels. Despite that, it's also a strangely friendly and even inviting motorcycle unlike the fearsome Ducati Diavel we also rode recently. So good is the new Kawasaki ZX-14R that it's almost easy to forget the motorcycle that birthed this segment of madness, the very motorcycle the Kawasaki ZX-14R was conceived to defeat.

The legendary but gently ageing Suzuki Hayabusa. And then Suzuki pulled the most pleasant surprise by announcing that the Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300RA would be sold for 850,000 THB. To be fair the moment Kawasaki Thailand also has the previous model of the Ninja ZX-14R available for 895,000 THB. Time to put on my brave face, there's a comparison brewing, and it's going to be a fast one!

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The Stallions Scrambler 400 - Affordable 400cc Scrambler

The Stallions Centaur CT400 is well received by the Thai motorcycle market, it's very successful model and Stallions Motorcycles have noticed that the market is asking for a more scrambler oriented version of the Stallions CT400.

The manufacturer is considering to introduce the Stallions Scrambler 400, with styling like the late '60s or early '70s when most off-road motorcycles were really just road bikes with a few off-road styling cues added to indicate mud plugging ability. Hence the semi-knobby tires, wide-braced handlebars, competition plate, mesh headlight protector and two-into-one exhaust.

The Stallions Scrambler 400, with lots of matt or satin black it all works well, giving a tougher image than the standard Stallions Centaur CT400, though it really needs a high-level pipe to finish it off.

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Rating: 3.00/5 (6 votes cast)

The Yamaha YZF-R3 in Action

There are only a few things that can lure me out of my house on a lazy Sunday: a new motorcycle, and good food. Last Sunday, it was the promise of both that compelled me to forego the comforts of my bed. Having slept through most of the morning, I was woken up by my friend's phone call around 11 o'clock. She curtly reminded me that I had promised to help her out at her food stall near the world famous Chakuchak weekend market in Bangkok. For my efforts, I would be rewarded with free food. It sounded like a good deal, as last night's dinner, was nothing to write about.

There was only one problem. My friend wanted me there in 30 minutes. Even if I made it with the limited time I had, it would take me 30 minutes just to find a parking slot for my car. Pondering over my options, I suddenly remembered that I had the Yamaha YZF-R3, too.

Google Maps told me the journey from my house to the Chakuchak weekend market would take 30 minutes. I had no time to waste. The Yamaha YZF-R3 has a digital clock on the instrument cluster, which would help me keep track of time. It was around midday when I set off, and with the sun blazing I put my helmet on and made a run for it.

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