There’s a great big truck on the way over here. And its full of a host of new, as yet to be ridden, bikes for you to take a spin on. The brand in question is Harley-Davidson. And the ‘tour’ is going to be here in Ireland this weekend, the 21st and 22nd of August where it will appear at both Waterford and Dublin Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships.
Harley have been busy during the ‘Great Unhappiness’ and have developed a duo of new bikes. These are the, already delivered, Pan America adventure bikes as well as the recently announced, but yet to be released, Sportster S. The duo have been added to with the eagerly awaited LiveWire as well as the thoroughly re-designed, yet fundamentally old school Fat Boy.
The first of the new owners have already taken delivery of their new Pan Americas. This is a bike that has taken the American giant in a whole new direction. While it brings the game to some of the European giants such as BMW and KTM, it’s a bold move for the old brand and one that may yet work.
First reports of the second one, the Sportster S, are just going to press this week. This is a traditional name on a bike that is anything but. It has the looks to go with its 121 bhp engine, Brembo brakes and Showa suspension. With this kind of power and specification it’s no longer possible to stick the brand into the ‘big weight, low power’ category.
Both the third and fourth are machines we’ve already heard of. They are the LiveWire and the Fat Boy. While the Fat Boy may have been around for decades at this stage, a new frame, engine and fuelling system make for an even better ride without losing any of the bikes street presence.
The last one is the long awaited LiveWire. This all electric machine made a massive impression on me when I first rode it over five years ago. The power delivery, the handling and that beautiful noise are all much more than would be expected.
The Dublin event takes place in Dublin Harley Davidson. Drop firstname.lastname@example.org an email to book a slot on the one(s) on the 21st. Or reach out to Alan at Waterford Harley Davidson, who will be hosting the event on Sunday the 22nd. Visit his booking page https://bit.ly/3CLiQ5q. See you there!
Less than one month after the last acquisition announcement, Aston Lark Ireland has today announced the acquisition of Principal Insurance Ireland DAC, further strengthening its already significant personal lines insurance expertise.
Based in Dublin, Principal Insurance was established in 2015 and has since grown to become a leading player in the Irish motorcycle insurance market, with a 30%+ market share.
With a strong customer first ethos its 18-strong team of passionate professionals, led by Dave Bowcock and Aly Dixon, have been the driving force behind the growth of the business. With further investment Principal Insurance Ireland DAC will now look to extend its footprint in motorcycle insurance and seek out diversification opportunities.
Robert Kennedy, Aston Lark Ireland CEO, said: “The management team at Principal Insurance Ireland DAC are well known to us at Aston Lark. Not only have Dave, Aly and the team built a fantastic business, they share our vision of care for customers and staff which makes it a perfect fit. We are very excited to welcome them to Aston Lark.”
“This acquisition significantly diversifies our existing personal lines business, broadens our capabilities and will fuel the next chapter of our journey, as we work together to become the leading independent and most trusted insurance broker in Ireland.”
Commenting on the acquisition, Peter Blanc, Aston Lark Group CEO, added: “One of Aston Lark’s stated aims is to grow in a wide array of specialisms - and Principal Insurance could not be more specialist! They truly know bikes and bikers and Aly and Dave’s passion for the sector is obvious to see. I’m delighted to welcome them to the group and congratulations to Rob and the team in Aston Lark Ireland who are going from strength to strength.”
Aly Dixon, Principal Insurance Ireland DAC’s Chief Executive, welcomed the deal, saying: “When we set out on this journey, our customers and staff were at the forefront of our consideration. Aston Lark very much shares our ethos in terms of delivering service excellence and completely recognise the existing expertise held by our Dublin based team who have been and will be testament to our continued success.”
“As Aston Lark is fast-growing its presence in Ireland and committing the resources necessary to support expansion across a broker portfolio, myself and my team are extremely excited and proud to join the group.”
Founder and CEO of Principal Insurance Ltd in the UK, Dave Bowcock added: “We’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved in Ireland so far but felt now was the right time to hand over the reins to someone for the next exciting phase for the Irish office. We believe we have found the perfect partner in Aston Lark to fuel future growth and diversification even further. Our UK operation remains very much focussed in embracing the multitude of opportunities we have in front of us and we wish Aly and her team the very best for the future going forward as part of Aston Lark.”
Out in the West of the country is arguably one of the best places to ride a motorcycle here in Ireland. The droves of foreign riders who descend on the Wild Atlantic Way are testament to the fact that the roads, the people, and the scenery are all second to none. Indeed, we’re heading over there later in the season with Celtic Horizon Tours.
It can, however, be a little bit inclement during the winter. So the bikes on these roads are sometimes a bit unexpected. Particularly when it comes to the local and visiting car traffic. In an effort to raise awareness of our two wheeled presence a group of riders who live in the parish have come up with a novel, yet simple, idea to raise awareness of our existence with other road users.
Ultan Queally is a member of a group of riders who call themselves the North Clare Bikers. They have long since set themselves up with a social media page to arrange meet ups and ride outs. The core group of ten riders now have over 500 motorcyclists on their page. Being very aware of how many of us pass through their motorcycling nirvana and the amount of motorcycle accidents that have happened this year, the crew have come up with a novel approach to making their corner of the world just that little bit safer.
The girls and boys of North Clare Bikers managed to cobble together a budget of €600. They have invested this money in safety signs. These are simple yellow diamonds that read “Watch For Motorcycles”. We can only commend Ultan and the rest of the North Clare Bikers for their ingenuity. And we wish them the safest most enjoyable of motorcycling seasons.
We can heartily recommend the new BikeSafe initiative if you’d like to sharpen up your act when it comes to avoiding becoming part of someone else’s bad day!
Milan will once again be the world’s two wheeled capital this year. EICMAs chairman of the exhibition promises that they are all “Hard at work to return to exhibitors and the public what is theirs”
If you thought that was a bit sketchy for an opening sentence then how’s this for Italian English, “The path towards EICMA 2021 is marked by great expectation and concrete optimism, our event is one of the most important and attractive exhibition-events at international level and it will proudly play a decisive role for the recovery of the Milanese trade show system and for the country.” This is what Pietro Meda, Chairman of EICMA Spa said the other day. Pietro, he’s a bit of a legend in his own right, is the main man at the company that organizes the, now, one hundred-year-old International Cycle and Motorcycle Show. This year it’s scheduled to run from 23 to 28 November in the halls of Fiera Milano in Rho, Milan.
“EICMA”, Pietro continued, “is back after a stop of a year, strengthened by the renewed importance that the mobility market has given to two wheels and to the industry of reference; Milan will once again be the world capital in this sector. Our aim is to give back to exhibitors and the public what is theirs: a great container of passion and opportunities for development for businesses, which this year is even more significant and exciting.” That sentence carried all the structure and predictability of watching Wes Grainger prepping an old Kawasaki for a track day.
Never the less we’re pretty sure that his Italian is a whole lot better than ours and when it comes to putting a gig like EICMA together his show is legendary. While there have been all sorts of issues around the production and delivery of bikes since the ‘great unhappiness’ started, we can be pretty sure that the design teams have been flat out and will have loads of new toys for us in the new year. What better place to showcased them than at the biggest show on the planet?
EICMA runs this year from the 23rd to the 28th of November. Both the green planes and the blue ones fly direct from Dublin and as Milan is a little chilly at the end of November you should bring your coat.
Yotsuba Moto is a Japanese motorcycle parts and accessories company, owned by a company called Dirtfreak, they started production back in 2017. The parent company have been around since 1990, when they began supplying products for off road and motocross markets. These days they are the exclusive distributor for Fox racing, Alpinestars Off road kit, as well as MTB and few other bits for the Japanese off road motorcycle market. They even operate their own off road circuit.
Yotsuba means four leaf clover in Japanese, and it’s a symbol of happiness in Japan. Now the company are spreading that happiness with a new childrens’ electric motorcycle called the Meow. This is designed as a bike in between small pedal or balance bikes and engine powered bikes for kids. During testing it was found that small kids who are too young to ride engine bikes or real racing electric bikes, can ride these bikes very easily.
So this is just what you need if your youngster cannot ride a bicycle or is scared of the sound of a two stroke engine, and after all who in their right mind isn’t? These things are light weight, small, easy to ride and environmentally friendly machines. Because of their simple design they can be ridden almost anywhere, on dirt, gravel roads, through those deep puddles that seem to draw young children in to the deepest muddiest part of. They are also easy for the child to stand back up once they’ve fallen over.
There are two sizes. The first has 12 inch wheels and is the more compact model. It’s a shade bigger than a balance bike.These are designed for children whose height is from 85cm – 90cm. It doesn’t have any sharp or rotating objects such as disc brakes or a chain and sprocket kit. They are equipped with a unique 3 axis falling sensor and steering support equipment which are designed to help your child on their first ride. White or black frame colours are available.
Then there is the 16 inch wheel size model for riders who are more than a metre in height. Their basic functionality is the same as with the smaller machine, but this one comes with a lighter and stronger rear hub motor. The larger wheel size is for better rough road riding ability. And, it bridges to 50cc engine bikes such as Yamaha's PW 50. Once again, they are available in white or black.
Small and lightweight in design coming in at only 12.5kg. The light weight makes for a much less intimidating machine for the younglings as well as much less drama when they have an ‘off’. Because it weighs so little it doesn’t need suspension or a huge amount of power. The company even developed a small Lithium-ion battery for this bike. Rather cleverly the motor stops automatically if it falls down thanks to its three axis sensor.
One of the safety features is that after picking up the bike, the rider will have to completely close the throttle for a re-start. The bike cannot go out of control once the bike is picked up and the wheels are back on the ground. The electric throttle side grip diameter is 19.1 mm, small and designed for childrens small hands. The control levers are also thinner sizes than standard levers for easy to control.
A specially programmed speed controller provides smooth starts. You can select three different maximum speeds, from 6km/h to 18km/h with the mode selector switch. 6km/h is a fast waking speed for a parent. The rider can stop the bike by pressing the foot brake and the motor lives in the wheel hub. These new machines are available from all good dealers now with prices starting at €759.
Mr. Michio Arai was awarded the Nicolas Rodil del Valle Gold Medal and praised for meritorious service by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) as president and representative of Arai Helmet, Ltd. a manufacturer of rider helmets based in Omiya City, in the Saitama Prefecture, Japan.
The FIM is an organisation of international standing as the head of supervising motorcycle sports in no fewer than 80 countries around the world. They are based in Switzerland and the FIM is also recognised by the International Olympic Committee. This special gold medal, which was first presented in 1983, is only ever awarded to persons who have made significant contributions to two-wheel racing activities.
The FIM awarded Mr. Arai this medal for what they describe as “achievement in contributions to the safety of many riders and numerous advancements to motorcycle sports over many years”. Furthermore, while Mr. Arai may well be the 23rd person to be awarded a gold medal. He is still the first ever awarded as a maker of rider safety equipment.
The team who design and manufacture these helmets understand the reason for this award, Arai Helmet continues to make helmets without compromise for the sake of rider protection. They have done this since the company’s foundation as the first motorcycle helmet manufacturer in Japan. It’s no exaggeration to say that these contributions are recognised around the world by the granting of this award. Mr. Arai received the award from the FIM at the end of November in Monte Carlo, Monaco at the 2019 FIM Awards Ceremony General Meeting.
Arai were founded as a helmet maker all the way back in 1950. The company, Arai Helmet, was the very first manufacturer motorcycle helmets in Japan. As for the high level of protection for motorcycles, touring riders of course needed it. And Arai Helmet also received overwhelming endorsement from racers using the helmet in what they wonderfully refer to as ‘severe conditions’. These days it’s still very much a family affair with Mr. Michio Arai having taken over the Arai family business in 1986 from his father, Mr. Hirotake Arai. You’ve only got one head, wear an Arai!
Speedart is the work of well known Motorcycle Racing promoter, PR man and now artist, Fergus Brennan. Brennan runs the Dunlop Masters Superbike Championship. Having only started painting in April as something to do while the championship was dormant, Brennan's work was well received by all who saw it. He decided to make his new hobby a commercial enterprise when he received multiple requests for copies of his paintings along with a number of commissions.
The artists aim when it comes to motorcycle racing prints is to concentrate on Irish riders. From both road and short circuits. And to do this with an increased emphasis on circuit racers who are currently under represented. Having purchased prints himself over the years, Brennan was disappointed by the lack of accurate detail in many of them. The focus with his own painting is producing accurate work.
The print we received celebrates Jack Kennedy's double British Supersport Championship success. Copies are now available for sale as print only or framed. There is the additional option of having the print signed by the rider. The detail in the bike, rider and sponsors logos is top class. It is a match for anything we have seen previously.
Original artwork has been supplied to riders for presentation to sponsors and for their own use as a memento of their time racing. A strong demand for framed prints has prompted the artist to broaden his horizons.
For more info see Speedart.
The team at Motomojo were born on the racetrack. A nice exotic, very fast race track in southern Spain where prompted by an unheeded need in the motorcycling community the company’s founder and executive chairman, Mr Michael Walsh, felt compelled to supply his fellow track heroes with a set of emergency top quality SRT Medical ID tags.
These simple, lightweight tags could be worn around the riders neck and they would be imprinted with the riders details as they wished them to appear. The rider could, for example, list their date of birth, blood type and any drug allergies that they had. Now in the case of an unfortunate accident the medical staff would have some information that may not always have been readily available.
There was also the option to attach a next of kin mobile phone number. Supposing that if, at the end of the event, the wearer drank themselves into a ‘state of distress’. Their fellow celebrants could contact their better half and make arrangements to have them taken home to spend the night in the shed. That’s if they were lucky enough to have a shed... Side note: Under no circumstances should the management or staff at Motomojo be called upon for relationship advice.
The company are all about the love of Motorsport, or anything that propels you faster than you naturally move with their first love being motorcycling. These days, as well as the tags, they provide customised, innovative and bespoke laser cut products. These statuettes can be generated from one of your own images and mounted on a similarly generated image.
They make a fantastic gift to commemorate a birthday or anniversary. Or as an alternative to a club prize. This is instead of the traditional piece of cut glass or trophy. From their quality SRT Medical ID tags to these 3D statutes the team at Motomojo has what you need so get in touch and get add a bit of quality and safety to your events this coming season. They also make an excellent gift.
To find out more take a look for Motomojo on Facebook.
Some very interesting news has reached us - Ducati have now started to fit radars onto production bikes. The adoption of these systems promises might just be a game changer with the impact of ABS or TCS in the world of two wheels. This system looks like it’ll be especially useful on long motorway journeys. Radars are advanced rider aid systems capable of supporting and making riding more comfortable thanks to the ability to read the real time situation surrounding the motorcycle. Ducati's interest in this type of systems goes back a few years, they first started to look at this technology back in 2016.
Now the system has been fine tuned to a level where it can be used in a mass produced road bike. The new technology has been developed and produced in close cooperation with Bosch, a top-level technology partner, and sees its first commercial use on the new Multistrada V4. Bosch are the same people who gave us that very clever cornering ABS a few years ago.
There are two units on the bike. The one positioned in the front of the vehicle controls the operation of the Adaptive Cruise Control. This piece of cleverness works by means of controlled braking and acceleration and automatically adjusts the distance, which is selectable on four levels, from other vehicles when riding at a speed between 30 and 160 km/h.
The rear radar, on the other hand, is able to detect and report vehicles positioned in our spot, that is the area not visible either directly by the rider or through the mirror. The Blind Spot Detection (BSD) system also signals the approaching from behind of vehicles at high speed. The system allows for more comfortable riding, especially on long motorway journeys.
The new bike has just landed in Rosso Ducati where a test ride can be organised by appointment. Call Declan on 014642211 and start livin’ the dream…
Franklin Motorcycles, Ireland's importer and retailer of Zero Motorcycles, have taken the two wheeled world by storm with ground breaking machinery such as the award winning SR/F. To celebrate the arrival of Spring and the riding season they’re now offering purchasers of this particular model an additional 6kw of fast charging. This comes in the form of a free accessory rapid charger, worth a cool €3,295 fitted.
With over 1,300 fast charging points across Ireland, an impressive amount of riders have chosen to take the plunge and start riding an electric motorcycle. The additional rapid charger increases the on-board charging capability to 12kw on the premium version or 9kw on the standard machine. This allows a standard machine to be refuelled three times faster than the stock bike. It also cuts the charge times on the posh one by half!
Most riders charge their bikes at home through a regular three-pin plug. The dealer fitted rapid charger accessory gives greater flexibility to tackle longer tours. When connected to a three-phase public charging outlet, a Zero SR/F Premium, which has been fitted with the rapid charger, can be recharged in just under an hour..
The Zero SR/F is a motorcycle which has been very well received since it was introduced as part of the 2020 model line-up. This wasn’t surprising as it has a healthy 190Nm of torque. The bike offers superbike beating acceleration and performance. Indeed, aside from regular consumables like tyres and brake pads, Zero’s range of all-electric motorcycles are pretty much maintenance free. A full recharge at home costs less than €2.50 and gives up to 259 kilometres on a single charge. Here at Franklin Motorcycles, as well as Lee Motorcycles in Cork, the SR/F is available from €22,250.
The free Rapid Charger offer is available for new Zero SR/F motorcycles, but only while stocks last. Call either Nicole or Keith on 015385005 to organise yours.
Indian Motorcycles have announced their 2021 model-year range. The new lineup, which includes new model iterations, next-level technology upgrades, and a robust offering of genuine Indian Motorcycle accessories, is made available following the brand’s strongest sales quarter ever.
“We’re extremely motivated by the significant brand momentum we’re experiencing, and we’re as focused as ever to provide our riders with best-in-class products and experiences,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President of Indian Motorcycles. “Our riders are extremely discerning, with high expectations across the board and it’s incumbent upon us to stay on the cutting edge in style, performance, and technology. Our 2021 lineup additions and upgraded features are a result of the hard work and dedication we pour into every bike in the lineup.”
Developed in direct response to rider feedback, Indian Motorcycle’s 2021 enhancements and new offerings span across its Thunderstroke, PowerPlus and Scout line ups.
Joining the Indian Motorcycle cruiser lineup is the new Indian Vintage Dark Horse. For riders who want timeless style with a mean attitude, the new machine comes with soft black leather bags and fully blacked-out styling.
Featuring significant upgrades in 2021, the Roadmaster lineup is better than ever. Apple CarPlay is now standard across the lineup, while both the Roadmaster Limited and the Roadmaster Dark Horse models feature Indian Motorcycle’s all-new ClimaCommand Rogue heated and cooled seat with Ride Command integration.
Joining the Roadmaster lineup is the Roadmaster Limited, which features gloss paint, chrome finishes, a modern fairing design, open front fender and ‘slammed’ saddlebags. Meanwhile, the restyled Roadmaster Dark Horse includes fully blacked-out finishes for mean and modern attitude. Each model is powered by Indian Motorcycle’s powerful, air-cooled Thunderstroke 116 with premium features, including Metzeler Cruisetec tyres, lower fairings with adjustable airflow vents, heated grips and a push-button adjustable windshield. Standard amenities across the entire Roadmaster lineup include remote-locking saddlebags and trunk with over 140 litres of combined storage, adjustable passenger floorboards, ABS, cruise control, keyless ignition, tyre pressure monitoring and full LED lighting.
The power buttons on the Chieftain, Roadmaster, Springfield, and Challenger models have been relocated to the switch cube on the handlebars to accommodate a new 12-volt charge port on the dash. The charge port provides riders with an opportunity to plug in and connect to a wider range of electronics.
The new lineup boasts new ride-enhancing technology, both as standard equipment and as an upgrade. In addition to being as standard on the Roadmaster Limited and Roadmaster Dark Horse, the new ClimaCommand heated and cooled seat is also available as an upgrade across all of the Thunderstroke models. New for 2021, the ClimaCommand seat is available in two style variations, Classic and Rogue, which has more modern, streamlined style. Additionally, the 2021 this seat now allows riders to adjust heating and cooling directly through the Ride Command infotainment system on select 2020 and 2021 models.
Thereby offering riders a new, and easy way to manage comfort while on the road. With a low, medium, or high setting, the thermoelectric technology is used to independently cool or heat the rider and passenger seat, while a flexible graphene material allows the heating or cooling to disperse through the entire surface area of the seat. The non-perforated seat is 100% water-resistant and highly durable. It is also available as an added accessory for all 2014 through 2021 Thunderstroke models, though 2020 and 2021 Chieftain and Roadmaster riders can integrate the seat within the bike’s Ride Command system.
Standard on all 2021 Roadmaster, Chieftain, and Indian Challenger models equipped with Ride Command with navigation is Apple CarPlay. This delivers an easier, more customised level of control for music, navigation preferences, and mobile device information. How you’ve managed to last this long without it is anyone’s guess.
Also available as an accessory upgrade, the company introduces the all-new Pathfinder S LED Driving lights for most Chieftain, Roadmaster, and Challenger models. The all-new Pathfinder S LED Driving Lights have superior illumination, providing riders with even more nighttime visibility. Finding yourself caught in Wicklow after dark need never again be as frightening as it currently, and quite understandably, is.
New for next year, riders can now upgrade the Indian Challenger’s audio experience with the PowerBand Audio Quick Release Trunk Amplified Speaker Kit. When paired with PowerBand Audio Plus, this is a system that delivers exceptional sound and clarity from high-output fairing and saddlebag speakers that are 50% louder than the Challenger’s stock audio system.
Next year Challenger riders can pack for the long haul and enjoy a host of new touring amenities. The new bikes Quick Release Trunk adds no less than 64 litres of additional storage. Similar to the Roadmaster trunk, the Challenger unit is lockable via a key fob and can fit two full-face helmets. Rather cleverly when paired with the Slim Trunk Passenger Backrest Pad, passengers have up to 50mm of additional room for comfort. That’s a lot of space on a motorcycle.
For both the Challenger and Thunderstroke models, a new low-profile quick-release padded sissy bar with low-profile passenger pad is available to those who want added passenger comfort without sacrificing the bike’s low-profile and sleek styling.
Additionally, Challenger and Thunderstroke riders can add even more wind protection. There are now taller accessory windshield options and added comfort with an extended reach seat, infinite highway pegs and a pinnacle heel shifter. For those riding two-up, a quick-release passenger sissy bar, passenger backrest pad, and passenger floorboards add a world of comfort for your pillion.
For Thunderstroke models, the company offers a full package of comfort and passenger accommodations, including extended reach seat, mid-rise and 16-inch ape hanger handlebars, rider and passenger backrests, and a colour matching Quick Release Trunk, as well as passenger armrests and more. Challenger riders, meanwhile, can upgrade with mid-rise handlebars, a tinted curved windshield, and front highway bars.
Indian Motorcycle’s robust Scout lineup offers both classically-styled and modernly-mean designs. With a 1000cc motor, delivering 76 horsepower, the Scout Sixty and Scout Bobber Sixty are each approachable and at an attainable price point. Riders looking for more punch can opt for the 1133c, 94 horsepower, engine in the Scout and Scout Bobber.
The new year’s Scout line up receives a refresh with new paint colours, thereby further enhancing the iconic style and lines of the bike. Colours like Metallic Maroon and Crimson Metallic on the Scout and Alumina Jade Smoke on the Scout Bobber add to the aggressive, low profile look that riders love with Scout Bobber models.
And for aspiring and new riders, the Scout and Scout Bobber models will of course continue to be available in A2 compliant specification.
While there is already a robust line of genuine Scout accessories, Indian are adding even more in the new year. With all-new Scout touring parts, riders can turn their city cruiser into a capable long-haul touring machine. A Scout Bobber low or mid wind deflector protects riders from the elements, while heated grips for all 2017-2021 Scout models keep your hands warm in cold weather conditions. In addition, a new fairing bag and semi-rigid saddlebags add stylish storage options. Finally, a colour-matched quick release fairing with a cool 2 inch windshield is available for all Scout models in the new colours.
To say we’re living through some pretty unprecedented times would be a bit of an understatement as things stand. Today is World Mental Health Day. Our friends at Harley-Davidson are sharing some riders’ insights into riding as an aid to mental wellbeing.
It would certainly be difficult to imagine getting through some of life’s more challenging times without being able to throw a leg over a bike and ride out for a few hours. The privilege that we enjoy by being able to pull on a helmet and a pair of gloves really is second to none. We're spoiled when it comes to being able to unwind in such a simple yet rewarding way.
Now, there is a series of video shorts created by our friends in Harley-Davidson. Motorcycle riders from all walks of life have shared their, sometimes deeply personal, insights into how riding a motorcycle has helped them to maintain mental wellness and cope with some of the most difficult times in their lives. The series has been shared ahead of World Mental Health Day World Mental Health Day 2020. This demonstrates how two wheels can provide escape and freedom in many different ways.
The six-part series includes everyone from former professional athletes coping with early retirement, to women whose lives have been irreversibly changed by serious accidents and injuries. There is a male model who has found freedom from addiction. A second male model whose carefree life is now just a distant memory after becoming a new parent for the first time during lockdown isolation. Each of them has talked openly about their struggles to find balance and the feelings of freedom that even just a short amount of time on a motorcycle gives them.
Donegal teenager Rhys Irwin took a major step forward in his Motorcycle Racing career with a sensational performance in the British Superstock 600 Championship at Snetterton, Norfolk, today Sunday August 23rd. The young Irish rider took pole position on Saturday and followed it up with third place in Sunday's race.
The weekend did not go to plan however for his older brother Caolán who, following strong performances in the opening round two weeks ago and running at the front in practice, did not complete a lap in either qualifying or the race.
Having finished an impressive eighth at the opening round Rhys Irwin continued to make progress in Friday's practice sessions as he worked to get the set-up of his Mondello Park backed Yamaha just right. Fourteenth in Practice one was followed by a big improvement for the second session, which saw him move up to ninth. Things would go even better in Saturday's qualifying for the Kilmacrennan based rider as a late charge saw him take a hugely impressive first ever pole position.
A steady start in Sunday's race meant that Rhys finished lap one in sixth place, but he was soon on the move and by the end of the second lap he was up to third and closing on the leaders. By half distance the Irishman was the fastest rider on track as he moved into the lead for the first time. The race long battle with his two vastly more experienced rivals continued as the top three moved ten seconds clear of fourth place. With two laps to go Rhys was sitting third under no pressure from behind and decided to settle for the place and his first Podium finish at this level.
Speaking straight after the podium celebrations Rhys said “I'm almost too happy to speak. The team worked so well all weekend to get me here and I'm delighted to reward them with this podium, as well as my first pole position, in such a major championship, and in my rookie season. I have to thank Mondello Park for their support this season, Mark Arnott of Moto Shox for all his set up help and everyone else who is supporting me, Oasis Bar, J & S Accessories, Motorcycling Ireland and Astro Van Centre. Of course I would not be here but for the support of my team, Mam, Dad, my brother Caolán and Wesley Regan. This result means that we head for Silverstone in two weeks time third in the championship and now I just cant wait.”
Despite his disappointing weekend Caolán Irwin still sits sixth in the standings and will be looking to bounce back at Silverstone. “This weekend was not what we needed, but these things happen” said Caolán after Sunday's race. “An electrical problem in qualifying meant I had to start from the back of the grid on Sunday. I was ready to make up for Saturday's disappointment in the race and had passed about fifteen riders at turn one before getting hit from behind at turn two to end my weekend. We ran at the front throughout every other session and I know myself and the Astro Van Centre team will be back in contention at Silverstone. Once again I'd like to thank all of the team at Astro JJR and my supporters, Principal Insurance, RK Racing and J&S Accessories.”
Round three of the 2020 British Superstock 600 championship takes place on the Silverstone National circuit from September 4th to 6th.
Motorcycle Racing brothers Caolán and Rhys Irwin from County Donegal, made up for the long delay to the start of their 2020 British Superstock 600 campaign with an excellent weekend at the opening round of the British Superbike Championship at Donington Park, England.
Caolán, the older and more experienced of the brothers, began his 2020 title challenge with an excellent second place and fastest lap of the race, while Rhys began his first full season in the championship with a brilliant recovery ride, from eighteenth on the grid, to finish eighth and take his best result in the British Championship so far.
Having tasted victory for the first time last year and run at the front at most events, Caolán Irwin started the Donington weekend as one of the favourites for the 2020 title. With limited testing due to Covid-19 restrictions the Kilmacrennan based rider used the Donington weekend to acclimatise himself to his new Astro Van Centre Team JJR Kawasaki and built up his speed across Friday's practice sessions.
Caolán's first run in Saturday's qualifying, on old tyres, was good enough for fourth place, but as he started his second run, on new tyres, his bike cut out, robbing him of the chance to go for pole. Despite not getting a run on new rubber, Caolán still lined his Principal Insurance, RK Racing and J&S Accessories machine up fourth for Sunday's race.
Riding in the same class Rhys Irwin was on-board the Irwin Racing Yamaha that he had used at the end of 2019 to dip his toe in the British Championship water. Continuing to get used to the Oasis Bar and Mondello Park sponsored Yamaha, Rhys was making steady progress up the time sheets until mechanical issues in qualifying halted his progress and left him further back than expected.
At the start of Sunday's race, Caolán got a good getaway to lie fifth at the end of lap one. Lap two saw him up to fourth before he made it into the top three on the next lap and stayed there till the closing stages of the race. Rhys too was making progress and by half distance he was into the top ten and running his fastest laps of the weekend. With five of the twenty laps left to run the youngster grabbed eight place and held on to that spot over the remaining laps, to finish just eleven seconds behind the winner.
Up front Caolán was running in third and he too was setting his fastest times of the weekend. With three to go the Irish rider set the fastest lap of the race, as he mounted a challenge for second and going into the final corner he grabbed the runner-up spot to get his season off to a flying start by taking his best ever finish at Donington.
Speaking after his second place result Caolán said “From Friday's practice we were working to get the bike just right as it was my first race weekend with the new team. When I was able to take fourth in qualifying on an old tyre, I knew we were going in the right direction and that I would have the pace when it mattered, on Sunday. My Astro JJR team did a great job and I have to thank everyone who helped us to get into a position to fight for the podium this weekend especially Wes, Jake, Arny and my Dad. To finish second at Donington, where I have never gone as well before, is a great result and gives me real confidence for the year ahead.”
Happy with his weekends work, Rhys said “to finish in the top ten on my first proper weekend in the series is brilliant, I didn't expect to be this competitive so soon. Having not had any testing due to the current restrictions we had to iron out a few problems in practice and qualifying, which slowed my progress, but I'm delighted to have made it so far up the order from such a low starting position. We've a long way to go but this weekend was a really positive start.”
The Irwin brothers will be back in British Championship action in two weeks time at Snetterton, Norfolk.
Early on in the lockdown a post landed in one of our feeds, Facebook, twitter or whatever one, I can’t quite remember. What was striking about it was that news had just broken that the Catholic Church in Ireland had cancelled services because of the Covid. One witty commentator had made the point that his mother now owed him a dirt bike since as a child when he had put his xmas present request in for one he was given short shrift with the response that he could have one when ‘mass was cancelled’. It may have taken forty years, but mass was indeed well and truly off the cards that Sunday and now a shiny new YZ was due from the mammy!
Speaking of mammies and their reaction to their precious younglings taking to two wheels, the conventional wisdom has always been that motorcycles are by far and away the most dangerous method of getting from one place to another. Those of us who managed to bypass their objectives now know so much better. Not only do two wheels get you places more efficiently, they also do so in a way that offers us a more peaceful commute or leisurely spin in the country. Talk to anyone who’s done a trackday or raced and they’ll tell you that the feeling is second to none.
Now, however, we have a pandemic on our hands and we’re being advised to socially distance so that we can protect ourselves as well as those around us from what appears to be a very unpleasant and potentially fatal illness. The idea of getting on to a bus, train or even into a taxi is not exactly appealing at the moment and is unlikely to get anymore so as we wind our way out of lockdown.
Motorcycle customers and communities are central to everything we do and at this specific moment of change, Yamaha are offering us the best solution to approach what is shaping up to be the 'new normal'. To enable customers to comply with social distance rules, restrictions on the use of public transport and to avoid traffic that will inevitably increase in urban areas, Yamaha are offering a whole range of personal mobility solutions that are both affordable and perfectly fit the needs of the busy commuter. After all it’s very hard to cough on someone when they’re riding a motorcycle.
There are a whole range of state of the art learner legal motorcycles and scooters available from a nationwide dealer network. All of them are staffed by knowledgeable and helpful staff. If you’ve been off a bike for a while maybe now is the time to get back in the saddle. Meanwhile, you may have someone in your household who you’re none to happy about seeing crammed onto the 46a five mornings a week. The same dealer network can look after everything from supplying the optimum machine to finance, insurance, kit and training for a whole lot less than you might think.
Featuring an exclusive custom paint scheme, handlebar set-up and serialised with their own individual production number discreetly applied to the fuel tank, the Harley-Davidson Softail FXDR 114 Limited Edition will be restricted to just 30 motorcycles.
The limited edition stand-out colour scheme of brilliant white, black and gold base colours with a matt clear coat finish is executed across the fuel tank, rear tail section, headlight cowl and front fender. Design highlights include the modern Harley-Davidson logo, pinstriping, limited edition graphics on the tail section and the production sequence number located on the lower rear-right of the fuel tank.
Designed and hand-finished by masters of motorcycle paintwork, Image Design Custom, the exclusive paint scheme meets demanding Harley-Davidson standards for quality and durability and is backed by the Harley-Davidson limited warranty.
The standard clip-on handlebars are replaced with a Harley-Davidson single piece drag style Fat handlebar mounted to an accessory gloss black Fat Ape riser kit. Because the handlebar position has moved upwards and back, H-D accessory extension wiring kits are added to the left and right switchgear units. This maintains an unhindered left-to-right movement of the front end assembly. For the same reason, a different length clutch cable is also fitted.
A subtle mix of exhilarating engine performance and handling ensures the bike 114 delivers a memorable ride. That Milwaukee-Eight 1868cc engine is a true powerhouse, delivering 160Nm peak torque at just 3,500rpm. It really is a revelation and has to be ridden to be believed. It’s wrapped in a Softail chassis that includes USD telescopic forks, a pair of four-piston dual front brake calipers and drag-style bodywork. These limited edition models will be available at both Harley-Davidson stores in early June and you can book an appointment at your local one to order yours.
We really like what MotoMojo have been doing for the last few years. The company, based in Ireland, have been making mounts using unique photos as the template. Being motorcyclists, the team have specialised in putting these together for racers and track day enthusiasts for a number of years now. Our friends over at Motocraft have been using them as awards at the last number of events that they have run in Spain.
For the last number of years the boss man, Mick Walsh, has been racing in the Masters series here in Mondello on his ZX 10. Now when you buy yourself a hand finished one of a kind mount for €75 you’ll be entered into a very special draw. This is a limited entry affair and only the first 200 customers will be issued tickets.
All you need to do is send your image by email to email@example.com. Please try to have an original.
You will need to include your postal address for your mount. You will then be issued with an invoice that can be paid securely online. When that payment is confirmed they will make your 3D mount and post it to you with a unique laser cut number between 1 and 200. Once all 200 units are sold there will be a raffle live on Facebook for that very same race ready ZX 10R and a whole load of associated kit. It may even include delivery.
The bike is a generation 4 Kawasaki ZX10R that comes with a generation 5 race body kit. The power is delivered through a close ratio Nova D gearbox. The suspension is provided by a set of recently serviced KTec units on both the front and rear. The bike has MSS Race Linkage as well as a Domimo QA throttle and an Ohlins steering damper to help manage your enthusiasm with the former.
To that end there are also a set of fork leg frame stops. The Translogic quickshifter is set in road, but that can be changed. The bike is fitted with a brand new chain. It has yet to be run in. There is a full set of gearing, 14/15/16 39/40/41/42/43/44/45. The bikes hoses are by Samco and the fuel has been mapped by the genius that is Gary at Mototuning. It puts out 200bhp on his Dyno!
Additionally it comes with three sets of fairings, both generation four and five, with new graphics. There is also a set of Rental clip ons and spares as well as a second set of rear sets that are new and still in the box. The bike is fitted with a Mobil-I tracker. The machine is in excellent condition and is well know in the racing community.
To round this off it also comes with a paddock stand, head stock stand, a selection of slick scrubs, a tyre rack and tyre warmers, batteries, two 20 litre jerry cans, both of which are rarely used. So if you would like to win or just get to the top of the pack at your next trackday, then maybe this is the time to buy yourself a mount!
It has recently come to my attention that some helmets are offered through websites and other sale channels that are branded 'Arai', 'Shoei' or 'AGV'. They even have the well-known oval company logos and lettering front on the front of the lid. The thing is they are anything but. They are, in fact, poor copies of genuine helmets. Because of this it’s really important to be very careful when shopping online.
If the price that you are being asked to pay is too good to be true then it almost certainty is exactly that. Too good to be true. Other tells are that the website address looks a bit weird. If it does then do not buy the product. Genuine Arai helmets, for example, are sold only by Arai authorized and trained dealers.
Real Arai helmets are packed in those iconic white cardboard boxes with blue stripes. The boxes include a cloth Arai helmet bag, as well as an owner's manual, and a small bottle of lubricant for the visor hinge. There is always a warning label on the helmet chinstrap. Most genuine Arai helmets come with a Max Vision Visor/Max Vision PSS Visor and many also include a Pinlock lens. Most importantly, only genuine Arai helmets are covered by that all important and very reassuring Arai five year limited warranty. If in doubt, please contact your local bike shop to clarify what you’re being offered is good enough for your one and only head.
There is also the issue of buying helmets from other countries. Some riders are unaware the each world market requires different helmet standards. Because of this you should avoid purchasing helmets from outside your market as they may or may not not comply with legally required standards for your country. Not to mention that their interior fit may not have been designed for your market and as a result they may be very uncomfortable. Helmets purchased from outside a given market are not eligible for after-sales service or any warranty claims.
A year ago today, Estenson Racing’s JD Beach made history with a thrilling victory at the team’s home race in Chandler, Arizona, the Super TT. It was not only a career first for the dirt track and road racer; the victory ended a near 30-year win drought for a Yamaha Twin in the premier class of American Flat Track. It also marked the beginning of a new era, that of a modern flat tracker – the MT 07 DT.
So what exactly is the MT 07 DT? Simply put it’s a purpose-built chassis with a production-based Yamaha MT-07 engine. Multi-time road race champion Tommy Hayden, who heads the program for the Estenson Racing team, goes into a little bit more detail of what they can do within the rules of American Flat Track’s AFT SuperTwins class:
“From a chassis point of view it’s really similar to MotoGP, pretty much everything is a prototype,” Hayden explained. “In particular with our bike, we have made to our specification every piece of the chassis with very few restrictions per the rules. Whereas the engine, I would say it’s similar to World Superbike. It starts off as a production engine, but there’s very little production about it when we get finished with it. Even the parts that are not replaced are heavily machined and changed. The displacement is changed. Pretty much besides the shell of the engine cases, everything else is changed or modified.”
Although it was Estenson Racing that took it to the track for its debut American Flat Track season, the development didn’t start there. It was originally a project that was in house at Yamaha Motor Corporation USA (YMUS) started by Racing Division Manager Keith McCarty. After near-extinction with very little funding, flat track started to rebuild its momentum in 2015. There was an uptake in interest for the new MT 07 (then FZ-07 in the U.S.) engine for flat track racing and McCarty recognized the potential for the brand in the sport.
“The very first thing that happened was that we were getting a lot of requests for engines for flat track racing,” McCarty said. “We thought we could not only sell the engines but build some performance parts for it as well.”
They then went about developing a head with some help from Vance & Hines, cams by Web Cam and velocity stacks designed and made by YMUS. For the exhaust, they tested several pipes and settled on a Graves MT 07 pipe, which provided the best all-round performance. They started off with a 700cc, the standard size of the regular MT 07, before eventually boring it to close to 750cc’s.
“That project turned out really well,” McCarty said. “The G&G guys used our engine setup and there are a number of guys that ran Yamahas that bought those parts from us, and then had a lot of success with them in terms of consistency, reliability, all of those things. So that kind of led us to the next thing.”
You can read more on this exciting project here…
Image courtesy of Dan Gold - a desperately handsome front line volunteer
Zero Motorcycles, are to collaborate with London based tattoo artist Dan Gold, to create a special ‘art bike’ based on the new Zero SR/S sports motorcycle.
Dan originally had the gig to create a hand painted SR/S for the 2020 Bike Shed Show, however the project has understandably been paused due to the current crisis. While it may have been cancelled for this year, the London based artist has now taken delivery of a new SR/S. He has been using it to support his local community, making deliveries to local vulnerable people, while continuing to gather inspiration for the designs he will eventually apply to the electric motorcycle’s fully-faired bodywork. If that doesn’t make him boyfriend material, we don’t know what does!
Speaking about the collaboration, Dan said: “I’ve been interested in electric vehicles for many years, especially as I commute from Hertfordshire into London most days, but like many I have been a bit nervous when it came to taking the plunge. I rode the Zero SR/S in February and was so impressed by the smoothness and the stealth of the bike. I have spent the past few days getting used to it and running errands for vulnerable members of our local community."
"I’ve been particularly impressed by how easy and quick it is to charge, both at home and when using public chargers. Commuting on the Zero is perfect for getting into the city while avoiding public transport, although judging by the number of people who want to come up and talk to me about the bike, I’m going to have to take some care to maintain social distancing when I park up!”
Danish-born Dan is one of the world’s leading tattoo artists, with a style inspired by graffiti and street art. He gained prominence as one of the stars of the TV series London Ink. With both the tattoo shop and his art gallery, Monsters of Art, temporarily closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Dan has been busy making face visors for local healthcare professionals and will shortly set about using the SR/S as a canvas for his art.
The date and venue of the unveiling of the Zero SR/S ‘art bike’ is, understandably, to be confirmed. Fans can follow Dan’s journey with the Zero through this link. Better still give us a call on 015385005 and we’ll set you up with one of your own.