Road test Royal Enfield Continental GT review

Road test Royal Enfield Continental GT review

Royal Enfield Continental GT

Royal Enfield store, south London
The shop in south London.

Royal Enfield Continental GT
Getting back on the bike in Brighton.

Royal Enfield Continental GT shock
Piggyback shocks are a nice styling exercise.

Royal Enfield Continental GT mirror
One of the mirrors rotated on the bar at motorway speeds.

Royal Enfield Continental GT ride
The ride was joined by an alien from a 1960s sci-fi film.

Royal Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lal on the Continental GT
And Royal Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lal.

AN interesting year lies ahead for Royal Enfield. At least three new models are expected using two new engine platforms including a parallel-twin.

The Indian firm is opening a development facility in Leicestershire and recently acquired British chassis maker Harris Performance, who designed the frame in the excellent Continental GT.

But how excellent is it? With a new adventure bike due using a modified Continental GT chassis, and a new range coming with help from Harris, I thought it was a good time to have another go on the flagship café racer.   

So I took RE up on an offer of joining a ride on Continental GTs from the firm’s shop in south-west London to the Goodwood Revival in West Suss**, via Brighton.

A 7.30am start at the shop, breakfast in Brighton then on to Goodwood. Three hours’ riding in total according to RE.  It felt like more. One thing the Continental GT can never be called is a mile-eater. It has that ability I remember in two-stroke 125s of making 50 miles seem like 150. Of rattling you until your retinas shake loose and battering you as though it’s tenderising a steak with its thinly-padded seat.

There’s no pretending it’s not a good-looking machine. I don’t think I have heard or read a single dissenting voice on that point. That classic horizontal line made by the frame tubes and tank. The simple one-colour paint job. That café racer bum stop. Those piggyback shocks in a similar shade of gold to Öhlins.

But it reveals itself as a styling exercise under closer scrutiny and that impression is strengthened by riding it. Its aim seems to be to achieve the right look on a budget, not to actually be good.

It’s a costume, just as much as all the period outfits at the Goodwood Revival, but one that rolls.

The aluminium bar-end mirrors look a tiny bit too modern, not quite as traditional as the rest, which deliberately apes the 250cc Continental GT of the ‘60s. The mirrors look like they’ve been added by a custom builder who’s losing his eye for detail. And they don’t work. It’s like viewing the road behind through a slightly tinted compact. One of them rotated on the bar at motorway speeds.

Budget shortcuts are evident. The engine will not start at all with the side-stand down, even in neutral. You have to sit on it or put it on its centre-stand. I think we can a**ume this reduces production costs in comparison to a side-stand cut-out switch that kills the engine only if it’s in gear. 

The single-disc front brake is not bad, with enough power, but the rear is vague and a look at the pedal offers an explanation. It’s stubby, inducing your foot to push down on the arm as well as the pedal itself. That arm, and its hinge at the base of the foot-peg, permit too much lateral movement, so a push doesn’t transmit directly enough to the caliper. It seems cheap.

The riding position isn’t uncomfortable. It won’t give your hands pins and needles. It’s sporty-upright, closer to an R3 than an R1, with the clip-ons mounted above the top yoke.

To be fair, the vibration at motorway speed didn’t seem quite as bad I recalled, having ridden it at the launch in 2014. At 80mph in the highest of five gears, its vibey but bearable, and it will hold that speed easily, showing 4.500rpm on the a***ogue twin-dial dash, with the red line at 5,500. It’s only the accumulative effective of a long ride that leaves your brain rattling in your skull.

Continue reading our Royal Enfield Continental GT review

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Royal Enfield Continental GT

Royal Enfield Continental GT ride
This bloke looks about as comfortable as I felt.

Goodwood Revival 2015
Goodwood Revival: odd. Discuss.

Goodwood Revival 2015
The Mod(grand)father.

Goodwood Revival 2015
Oh no. It’s going to be Brighton ’64 all over again.

Royal Enfield Continental GT clocks
Simplicity is obviously part of the Continental GT’s appeal and character.

Royal Enfield Continental GT engine
At 535cc, the Continental GT’s engine is the biggest in Royal Enfield’s range, although a 750 twin is rumoured to be on the way.

Royal Enfield Continental GT
It’s a period look and a period experience. Spot the continuity error.

The suspension is firm but not especially well damped, unforgiving yet still bouncy at times. It gives the bike a sporty but unsophisticated feel.

Despite this model’s careful styling, there doesn’t seem to be much pretence of sophistication from RE. The firm sees a gap in the adventure bike market for rugged simplicity, which the single-cylinder Himalayan aims to fill.

Simplicity is part of the Continental GT’s identity and appeal too. It’s supposed to be unsophisticated. It’s a period look and a period experience. How else would it make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time to a golden age of motorcycling? It’s a single-cylinder, four hard springs and a responsive chassis.

It’s quickly chucked into a lean, your knees gripping the uncomfortable bottom edge of the tank. It feels very small and light. The steering verges on twitchy, easily unsettled, but that ensures its responsiveness.

At 29hp, it’s the most powerful machine currently available from the Indian firm, as well as the biggest, at 535cc (36cc more than the rest). It’s the same basic engine design as found in the rest of the range but tuned for a little extra. It makes 32.4lbt – a higher number, you’ll notice, than the power figure.

Overtaking on the twisty roads around Goodwood took some planning. You can’t blast past a whole row of cars in one go, but the Continental GT has a generous enough spread of go to make good fun of darting from one gap to the next.

By the time I’d ridden back to the Royal Enfield store in south London, average fuel consumption was 75.3mpg, calculated from a receipt. That means a range of over 200 miles from the 13.5-litre tank.

I was knackered, and it was interesting to get back on my own bike, a Suzuki SV650. Some will say it’s not a useful comparison; the two aren’t competing for the same buyers. I think it’s revealing because they are so different, and nearly the same price – both are listed at £4,999 but Royal Enfield’s price includes on-the-road charges while Suzuki’s does not.

The SV makes more than double the GT’s power. It’s got two front discs instead of one. It doesn’t shake your bones. It’s comfortable. It’s got a fairing. The GT stalled after starting from cold, and by the end of the day the neutral light had packed up. It’s a world apart from the Suzuki technically.

So this is the sacrifice necessary to get the Royal Enfield’s period look and character at the same price. This is the cost of the period image.

That’s fine if you’re happy to pay it. Personally I’d really like a Contintal GT in my own garage. But only as second bike, next to the one I use every day.  

Model tested: Royal Enfield Continental GT

Price: £4,999 on the road

Engine: 535cc air-cooled single

Power: 29hp @5,100rpm

Torque: 32.4lbft @4,000rpm

Kerb weight: 184kg

Frame: Twin downtube steel cradle

Tank capacity: 13.5 litres

Seat height: 800mm

Colours: red, yellow

Availability: now

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Source: Road test Royal Enfield Continental GT review

Kawasaki reveals heavily updated ZX10R

Kawasaki reveals heavily updated ZX10R

Kawasaki ZX-10R 2016
The 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R

Kawasaki ZX-10R 2016
The styling changes are subtle.

Kawasaki ZX-10R 2016
What a front end – Brembo M50s and Showa gas forks.

Kawasaki ZX-10R 2016
Looking good.

Kawasaki ZX-10R 2016 gas forks
The new ZX-10 is the first mass produced bike to get Showa’s Balance Free fork.

Kawasaki ZX-10R 2016
The swingarm is new, along with the exhaust system.

Kawasaki ZX-10R 2016
Hanging off with your elbow down won’t make you faster, but it will make you more attractive to women. Probably.

KAWASAKI has just unveiled its heavily updated 2016 ZX-10R.

Kawasaki released teaser images a month ago, saying that for 2016 the ZX-10R would be getting some updates, but the 2016 incarnation has been comprehensively reworked and now includes:

  • A heavily revised engine featuring a revised cylinder head, t**anium exhaust system, electronic throttle valves and lighter internals
  • New electronics including an inertial measurement unit, traction control, launch control, ABS, engine braking control and a quick shifter
  • A revised frame and swingarm
  • Brand new Showa gas forks
  • Ohlins electronic steering damper
  • Brembo brakes

With 200hp, it makes the same power as the current bike although that figure climbs to 207hp with ram air. Torque is slightly up at 113.5Nm at 11,500rpm. Kawasaki says its kerb mass is 206kg, which is 5kg more than the current model.

Kawasaki says that thanks to input from its World Superbike team, the 2016 ZX-10R is the closest thing its ever offered to a highly advanced factory superbike – it’s been given a ton of technology and a huge amount of revisions. Here’s a more detailed account of what’s new:

Engine

The engine has undergone a major reworking. The cylinder head intake ports have been machined at an angle to create a straighter path for air entering the combustion chamber, which has been reshaped to improve efficiency. The exhaust ports are now polished and have been made straighter and wider, while the t**anium exhaust valves have widened by 1.1mm to 25.5mm. The intake valves are also made from t**anium and the cam profiles have been changed to provide increased power at high revs.

The combustion chamber has been revised, which Kawasaki says contributes to improved intake and exhaust efficiency. The pistons have been made shorter, down from 39.2mm to 37.7mm, and they’re a claimed 5kg lighter too, with revised crowns.

Kawasaki claims the ZX-10’s new electronic throttle valves result in ideal fuelling and engine output, as well as helping to keep down emissions from the Euro4 compliant engine. Kawasaki also says the system allows more precise control of the traction control and is what allows implementation of bike’s new launch and engine braking control systems. 

The crank has a claimed 20% lower moment of inertia – meaning it requires less energy to spin up and down. Kawasaki says the revised crank is one of the most significant changes and has been brought about with feedback from its World Superbike team. It’s claimed to benefit the bike’s claimed improved acceleration and deceleration along with its cornering ability.

Other changes to the engine include thicker cylinder walls, a revised cooling system, the intake funnels have been reshaped and at 10 litres, the airbox has grown by 2 litres.

The exhaust system has received Kawasaki’s attention too – the systems gets hydroformed header collectors, t**anium header pipes and a larger but claimed lighter t**anium alloy silencer, which thanks to its shape, manages to look slightly less bulbous than the silencer on the current bike.

The gearbox has been given closer ratios for second to sixth gears, which Kawasaki says it also worked on to give the 2016 ZX-10 improved mid-low range acceleration, along with improved stability when downshifting. Certain gears have been given a dry film lubricant coating to reduce friction and improved shifting performance. The new bike also has a race-style cassette transmission located high enough that if owners want to change ratios to suit different tracks or conditions, they can access the cassette without having to drain the oil.

Electronics

The ZX-10R’s electronics have been brought in to line with the kind of technology on the Yamaha R1, Ducati 1299 Panigale S and Aprilia RSV4 RF. As well as a new 32-bit ECU, the 2016 ZX-10R has been given a Bosch inertial measurement unit (IMU) that carries some of Kawasaki’s own software to measure across 6 axes of movement. The IMU talks to the other electronic systems in the bike, so the 10R’s traction control system is given more information about the bike’s behaviour and feeds back to the IMU

Kawasaki say the new IMU interacts with the ABS, but it’s not clear whether it’s got a full-on cornering ABS system or something more like the Unified Brake System on the R1

The traction control system, (called S-KTRC – Sport-Kawasaki TRaction Control) has five modes instead of the three on the current bike. Kawasaki says the traction control system can distinguish between torque wheelies, which are smooth, and which it’ll allow, and sudden wheelies, which will trigger system intervention depending on what mode it’s in.

It’s got three-mode launch control too, along with Kawasaki’s KIBS ABS systems which owners will be able to deactivate with a dongle from Kawasaki. Engine braking can be controlled with the engine braking control system, and is designed to offer riders the amount of engine braking they prefer.

The new ZX-10 will come with a quick shifter as standard, which will allow clutchless downshifts with a race kit ECU.

Finally, the bike gets an Ohlins electronic steering damper, which Kawasaki says has been optimized for the racetrack and winding roads, to match the characteristic bike.

Chassis, suspension and brakes

There have been no radical frame chances – it still uses an aluminium twin spar frame, but the head tube has been moved 7.5mm closer to the rider to put more weight over the front wheel. The swingarm is also new and it’s grown in length by 15.8mm. Kawasaki says it used computer modelling to increase torsional and lateral rigidity, which it claims contributes to the bike’s improved handling without adding too much weight.

Kawasaki’s race kit parts also give the chassis some adjustability and a set of reversible offset collars will allows the steering stem to be adjusted by +/- 4mm from the standard position. Another set of reversible collars will allow the swingarm pivot position to be adjusted by +/- 2mm up or down from centre.

The Showa Balance Free front suspension is brand new and Kawasaki says it was developed with Showa in World Superbikes. This new gas fork makes its mass production debut on 2016 ZX-10R. It uses a Damping Force Chamber to generate damping force outside of the main fork tubes, has an external compression chamber filled with pressurized nitrogen gas to manage pressure increases in the damping force chamber and compression and rebound damping are generated and adjusted independently from one another. Kawasaki claims the improved damping force responsiveness offered by the new Showa fork results in superb traction and absortion performance.

There’s a Showa shock in the rear too – the BFRC lite, which is a more compact version of the firm’s earlier BFRC unit. Like the forks, it has an external damping force chamber.

For 2016, the ZX-10 gets a Brembo brake system that, so says Kawasaki, is very similar to the one on the Ninja H2R. At the front are a pair of 330mm semi-floating discs, gripped by Brembo M50 4-pot monobloc calipers. Kawasaki says the front master cylinder and reservoir ‘received extra attention before being shipped to Kawasaki’ – with each part being examined and adjusted to remove ineffective stroke.

At the rear, there’s a 220mm disc and single piston caliper and both front and rear brakes get braided steel lines.

Styling and instrumentation

The bodywork has been given some attention too, although it’s not a radical departure from the ZX-10s current styling. The main change being is a restyled, fuller front fairing. The seat unit is also wider and ‘more voluptuous’ and the tail light design has been changed to make the rear end look sharper.

The backlit LED dash has been updated to include all the necessary settings and data from the electronics, and will display engine braking information, IMU information, launch control settings, what power mode the bike is in. It even has an economical riding indicator, though how many owners will be interested in this is anyone’s guess. The dash will automatically adjust its brightness according to how light/dark it is.

Specifications:

Engine

998cc liquid cooled 4-stroke inline-four DOHC 16-valve

Frame

Twin-spar aluminium

Brakes

Twin Brembo M50 4-piston monobloc calipers, 330mm discs (f), Nissin singe piston caliper, 220mm disc

Suspension

Showa Balance Free fork, Showa BFRC Lite shock

Electronics

Inertial Measurement Unit, S-KTRC (Sport-Kawasaki TRaction control), KLCM (Kawasaki Launch Control Mode), KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System), engine braking control, quick shifter, Ohlins electronic steering damper, five power modes.

Power

200hp, 207hp with ram air, 113.5Nm torque at 11,500rpm

Dimensions

Length: 2,090mm

Width: 740mm

Height: 1,145mm

Wheelbase: 1,440mm

Ground clearance: 145mm

Seat height: 835mm

Kerb weight: 206kg

Fuel tank capacity: 17 litres

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Source: Kawasaki reveals heavily updated ZX10R

2015 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix entry list released

2015 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix entry list released

THIS YEAR’S Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix entry list has been released which include 31 riders from 11 different countries.

An impressive entry for the 49th Edition includes previous winners Stuart Easton, Ian Hutchinson, Michael Rutter and John McGuinness, but the most impressive statistic is the number of riders entered.

Alongside 30 other riders, Easton, who took last year’s win with PBM Kawasaki, has four victories to his name at the Macau Grand Prix whilst team-mate Hutchinson is another rider who will be returning after winning in 2013 on his return to racing after enduring 30 operations to his left leg in the space of three years.

Equally another hard to beat eight-time winner is Michael Rutter who will be returning with the Penzkofer BMW team rather than the Yamaha he rode last year. BMW is still waiting for its debut win at Macau, but with Rutter’s track record it may be time this year. 

Rutter is joined at Penzkofer by Gary Johnson, a seven-time Macau veteran who has finished in the top five on his last six visits, and Canadian Dan Kruger who made his Macau debut last year and is looking to make substantial improvements this year. Also in the Penzkofer team is Swiss rider Hervé Gantner, who switched from circuit racing to road racing after six years, and has mixed the two since 2009.

Paul Shoesmith is another experienced road racer particularly at Macau and has Australia’s David Johnson alongside him on the second Ice Valley by Motorsave Trade BMW – both will be aiming for a top five finish.  

Northern Ireland’s Lee Johnston will be pushing for the win at this year’s Macau Grand Prix on a Superstock version of the East Coast Construction BMW. Last year he turned a front-row start into a serious challenge for the lead.

Riders Motorcycles BMW’s Martin Jessopp is another rider you can’t rule out after finishing third last year. Jimmy Storrar is also set to race alongside Jessopp on the BMW S1000RR. The final BMW rider is Peter Hickman who is becoming very well acquainted with the road racing scene and is ready to race at Macau once again.

The last of previous Macau winners riding this year is TT legend John McGuinness. McPint, as he’s commonly referred to, will be riding a Honda once again alongside seven others including Manxman Conor c**mins, Daniel Cooper, Davy Morgan and Tom McHale. Allann-Jon Venter is another one to watch. 

Newcomers include Russ Mountford (VRS Racing Honda) – an experienced road racer although he’s never ridden at Macau before. Americans Mark Miller (Splitlath EBR) and Brandon Cretu (Bimota Factory Racing) both know the Guia Circuit well, Miller especially so.

Cretu renews an old a**ociation with Ben Wylie as they team up to represent Italian manufacturer Bimota who have launches a season-long campaign on the major road racing events.

Ireland is always well represented in road racing and Steve Heneghan (ReactiveParts.com Yamaha), Brian McCormack (TAG Racing Honda) and Michael Sweeney (MS Kawasaki) continue the tradition. 

Austrian Horst Saiger continues his own Macau tradition with another Kawasaki entry; he’ll be riding under Saiger-Heidger Macau Race Team and after ending last year’s race in sixth place, he will be looking to equal that or better it this year.

Entry list:

1. Stuart Easton – Paul Bird Motorsport Ltd Kawasaki
3. Horst Saiger – Saiger-Heidger Macau Race Team Kawasaki
4. John McGuiness – Honda Racing Honda
5. Gary Johnson – Penz13.com BMW Motorrad by Monex BMW Motorrad
7. Michael Rutter – Penz13.com by Special Olympics & MGM Macau BMW Motorrad
9. Ian Hutchinson – Paul Bird Motorsport Ltd Kawasaki
10. Mark Miller – Splitlath EBR EBR
11. Paul Shoesmith – Ice Valley by Motorsave Trade BMW
13. Lee Johnston – East Coast Construction BMW
14. Andre Pirespor – Team SBK/IncortCar # Yamaha Yamaha
15. Jimmy Storrar – BMW
16. David Johnson Ice Valley by Motorsave Trade BMW
18. Nuno Caetano Porfmp –  Team Portugal Kawasaki
20. Dan Cooper – Space Centre Racing Honda
22. Conor c**mins – Honda Racing Honda
24. James McBride – JV Racing UK Kawasaki
26. Didier Grams – Saiger-Heidger Macau Race Team W&G BMW
31. Dan Kurger – Penz13.com by Special Olympics & MGM Macau BMW Motorrad
34. Ben Wylie – Bimota Factory Racing Bimota
39. Allann-Jon Venter – CF Racing Team 32 Honda
40. Martin Jessopp – Riders Motorcycles BMW BMW
48. Hervé Ganter – BMW Motorrad BMW Motorrad
54. Steve Heneghan ReactiveParts.com Yamaha
60. Peter Hickman Briggs Equipment BMW BMW
62. Sam West – PR Racing LLOYD & JONES Kawasaki Kawasaki
65. Michael Sweeney – Kawasaki
71. Davy Morgan – Magic Bullet Racing Honda
72. Russell Mountford – VRS Racing VRS Honda
88. Brandon Cretu – Bimota Factory Racing Bimota
90. Tom McHale – CF Racing Team 32 Honda
111 Brian McCormack – TAG Racing TAG Honda 

Honda confirms Haydens 2016 WSBK switch

Honda confirms Haydens 2016 WSBK switch

HONDA have confirmed today that current MotoGP rider Nicky Hayden will switch to World Superbikes in 2016 to join the Ten Kate Honda Team alongside current WSBK rider Michael van der Mark.

Hayden, a former MotoGP World Champion, will be spearheading Honda’s campaign for the 2016 World Superbike season on-board the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP with new team-mate van der Mark. 

Hayden joined the MotoGP class in 2003 with Repsol Honda after winning the AMA Superbike Championship in 2002. Since then the 34-year-old has started more than 200 Grand Prixs, scored 28 podiums, taken three race victories and won the MotoGP t**le with Honda in 2006. 

The American is said to be ‘relishing a return to his superbike roots in 2016’ and to be continuing with Honda.

“Well, my next stop is Superbike with Honda!,” explained Hayden. “I’m very excited, obviously, to stick with Honda; it’s where I’ve had the most success in my career. World Superbikes is a championship that I followed closely as a kid when a lot of American riders were fighting at the front.

“It just seems like the right time and the right team to go with. I know I’ve got a lot to learn and it’s going to be a big challenge, but also I’m very motivated to start and learn what I can. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has supported me through my MotoGP career. We had a good run but now it’s time to move on and try something different.

The Kentucky Kid will be teaming up with 22-year-old van der Mark for 2016 – a rider who has followed Honda’s rider development programme. The Dutch rider has won both the 2012 European Superstock 600 series and last year’s World Supersport Championship on Honda’s CBR600RR.

Team Manager Ronald ten Kate is delighted to have Hayden on-board and is more than happy with his team’s line-up for 2016.

“It’s well known that, at Ten Kate, we always have been and always will be Honda,” said ten Kate. “There is only be one person in the world who could possibly be more Honda than us, and that’s Nicky Hayden! That’s why I’m absolutely delighted that he’ll be joining us for next season.

The first test for the Ten Kate Team will be in Spain during the month of November which will allow Hayden to familiarise himself with the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP for the first time.

Updated CBR500R

Updated CBR500R

Honda CBR500R 2016

Honda CBR500R 2016

HONDA has just announced a round of updates to the CBR500R for 2016. 

Revisions to the A2-compliant middleweight include a new look, upgraded forks with adjustable pre-load, a larger tank, an adjustable brake lever and a new exhaust.

It’s not due to be properly unveiled until October 15 at the American International Motorcycle Expo in Florida.

the CBR500R is based on the same platform as the naked CB500F and adventure-style CB500X, so it seems likely they will get the same technical updates. 

Honda said in a press release: ‘Honda Motor Europe is pleased to announce a comprehensive range of upgrades for the CBR500R, its sports middleweight first launched for the 2013 sales season. The CBR500R’s combination of lively performance and sports styling has earned it widespread popularity both among riders stepping up from smaller machines and experienced riders looking for all-round sporty capability. 

Upgrades for 2016 include:

  • A complete new look based on a design theme of “Aggressive Speed Shape”. Sharp and edgy character lines flow from its new front face – featuring steeply-angled dual LED lights – through to the upswept tail – also equipped with LED lighting – to give an appearance of speed and purpose.
  • Several rider-focussed upgrades including front suspension with adjustable pre-load,  larger fuel tank with new hinged fuel cap, adjustable brake levers and “wave” style ignition key.
  • A new shorter exhaust muffler for enhanced mass centralisation, with internal structure tuned for a satisfying low, crisp exhaust note.
  • A range of dynamic new colour schemes. 

With this series of upgrades, the 16YM CBR500R is designed to offer the maximum sporty performance, style and presence from a genuine A2 licence-compliant motorcycle.

The 16YM CBR500R will be unveiled to the public for the first time at the  which starts in Orlando, Florida on 15th October.’

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Source: Updated CBR500R

Video review Yamaha R1M

Video review Yamaha R1M

YAMAHA recently announced another batch of R1Ms coming to the UK for 2016, so we thought it was probably a good time to test one on the road and track.

Read the full review here.

Read our Yamaha R1 and R1M launch report here.

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Source: Video review Yamaha R1M

Honda Yamaha and BMW working together on rider safety technology

Honda Yamaha and BMW working together on rider safety technology

Yamaha, Honda, BMW partnership
L to R: Karl Viktor Schaller, Executive Vice President of Development at BMW Motorrad, Tetsuo Suzuki – Operating Officer at Honda and Takaaki Kimura, Chief General Manager of Technology Center and Executive Vice President and Representative Director of Yamaha

HONDA, Yamaha and BMW yesterday announced they’re working on technology to warn motorcyclists of hazards on the road.

The three manufacturers are collaborating to evaluate and develop systems that will allow bikes to communicate with other vehicles so riders have advanced warning of changing road conditions, accidents, and traffic behaviour.

The technology is called Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) and Honda, Yamaha and BMW’s collective endeavour is taking place under the name ‘Connected Motorcycle Consortium’. They want other manufacturers to join them in developing the technology for motorcycles.

Co-operative Intelligent Transport Systems is an umbrella term for technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other and give road users early warning of hazards or conditions. Examples include vehicle-to-vehicle warning systems that can alert drivers of an impending collision. It raises the possibility of a system for warning drivers before they pull out on a motorcyclist at a junction.  

Examples of ‘Intelligent Transport Systems’ include ‘Intelligent Speed Adaptation’. ISA refers to speed limiters that use GPS technology to restrict vehicles to the prevailing limit, including automatically slowing them down if necessary. In 2006 the Department for Transport developed an ISA-equipped Suzuki Bandit 650 but the project was shelved.

It’s not clear exactly how C-ITS will be applied to motorcycles but a press release on the joint venture said it would differ to systems in cars. It said: ‘ITS systems designed for cars cannot simply be transferred to motorcycles. Due to the limited space available, electronic systems have to be smaller and be resilient to water, dust and vibration.

‘Since motorcycles exhibit different driving dynamics, software development and algorithms need to consider special requirements.’

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Source: Honda Yamaha and BMW working together on rider safety technology

More anniversary Yamahas

More anniversary Yamahas

Speedblock Yamaha R6
The speedblock R6

Speedblock Yamaha Ténéré
And the Super Ténéré in the same colours.

THE classic yellow, white and black ‘speedblock’ colour scheme is one of the best ever seen on a motorcycle – and on the occasion of its 60th anniversary Yamaha is wheeling it out on a range of bikes.

We’ve already seen that the 2016 R1 will be coming to the UK in classic speedblock colours. Now Yamaha has revealed the R6 and the Super Ténéré in the same scheme (although, weirdly, not the electronic-suspension version of the Super Ténéré). They’ve been unveiled in the US. Whether we’ll get them in the same colours here is as-yet unclear.

Given the strength of the colour scheme in terms of being instantly-recognisable (not to mention an uncanny ability to make otherwise-bland bikes suddenly look enticing), you’d have thought Yamaha’s marketing gurus would ensure it was always available. Instead it’s only offered once in a blue moon, and on just one or two models.

Let’s hope they see sense and add these two to the UK line-up. 

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Source: More anniversary Yamahas