19 July 2018

Harley-Davidson Battle of the Kings 2018

Battle of the Kings is the ultimate Harley-Davidson® custom motorcycle build-off and for the first time since its launch in 2015, Australian dealers will compete against impressive machines entered from all over the world including Europe, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the Middle East and South America.



Voting for the top Australian custom bike will open to the general public from 1st August 2018, and the overall 2018 Australian Custom King to be crowned in September, 2018.

For the first stage of the competition, seventeen Harley-Davidson dealers from across Australia and New Zealand will go head-to-head with their one-off, two-wheeled creations. The base bike must be a ride-away Harley-Davidson® Dark Custom motorcycle. Models eligible include the Street 500™, Street Rod™, Iron™ 883, Iron 1200™, Forty-Eight™, Forty-Eight Special and Roadster™, as well as two models from the 2018 Softail® range, the bare-knuckle Fat Bob™ and the bare-boned Street Bob™.



Once crowned, the ANZ winner will take to the global stage going head-to-head in a showdown between the national champions to select the 2018 World Custom King. The ANZ finalist will be on display with the global finalists at the EICMA show in Milan Italy where the winner will be announced in November 2018.

Continuing to lead as one of the most customised motorcycle brands in the world, Harley-Davidson offers a vast range of Genuine Parts & Accessories that provides owners immediate customisation choices for a personalised look and tailored ride with increased performance over a ride-away model.



Keith Waddell, Harley-Davidson ANZ Marketing Director commented, “Harley-Davidson dealers are no strangers to the build-off competition. This year the dealers are going to up their game with a focus on brand and product relevance for new and younger riders, showcasing the local talents and possibilities in bike customisation.”

Dealers have a maximum customisation budget of $10,000 AUD and at least half of the parts and accessories used in the build must be from the Genuine Harley-Davidson Parts & Accessories range, and, once complete, the bike must be approved as road legal.

For information on the Battle of the Kings contest visit www.h-d.com/customkings

16 July 2018

SWM Motorcycles: Italian renaissance


Webspin: SWM Superdual



I have to confess when I saw the line-up of SWM motorcycles at Adelaide Motorcycle Centre, Stepney, I had no idea about this brand.

Parked next to the Ducatis, Indians and Nortons in the sunny showroom were a line-up of garish offroad machines and a couple of classic naked street bikes.

Dealer principal, Mike Hampton, explained to me SWM began life in 1971 in Italy as a niche manufacturer of small capacity motocross and trials bikes using customer engines from first Sachs, then Rotax. They burned bright for a few years before flickering out in 1984.

Superdual X in full adventure kit (supplied)

An injection of Chinese money saw a revival with six new models unveiled at EICMA 2014 under the engineering gaze of Ampelio Macchi, formerly with Cagiva, Aprilia and Husqvarna. SWM now occupies the former Husqvarna factory at Lombardia, just outside Milan.

With a break in the wintry weather, I took the 600cc single-cylinder adventure bike, the Superdual, for an extended test ride into the Adelaide Hills on the well-known network of roads from Summertown to Birdwood with a few gravel detours in between.

Starting at just $10,490 (+ORC), this feisty number is sure to appeal to adventure riders shopping at the entry level end occupied by the likes of Royal Enfield's Himalayan ($6990) and Suzuki's V-Strom 650 ($8,799).

Taking a breather along the Gorge Road

The Superdual is a tall machine best suited to folks 180cm plus and those with some grounding in dirt bikes. The liquid-cooled single-pot EFI DOHC 4-valve likes to rev and I found the bike light and easy to ride around the many twisty bends and switchbacks on the Hills roads Adelaide riders are all too familiar with.

The 18-litre fuel tank affords decent range and the enduro frame is set for ready-made panniers at extra cost.

SWM Gran Turismo 440 - A cool Italian LAMS bike (supplied)

Otherwise, learner riders should definitely put the smart Gran Turismo or Gran Milano on their testing lists at $6990 and $6490 respectively.

More: www.swmmotorcycles.com.au

Test bike supplied by Adelaide Motorcycle Centre, 29/31 Magill Rd, Stepney. Ph: (08) 8130 0700

26 June 2018

Moto Guzzi V7III: The latest incarnation of this Italian classic.

#motoguzzi

V7 III Stone is the only one of the “four-of-a-kind” to have spoked wheels and single circular display instrumentation (supplied)

Roderick Eime

The V7 range is the precocious youth of the Moto Guzzi fleet, with the minimalist Stone incarnation offering a new pared-back and matte black persona along with engine and styling mods in this third generation. Beyond Stone, the V7 exists in Special, Racer and a limited run 'Anniversario'.

The groundbreaking V7 first hit the streets of Italy in 1967 and set a new course for the stalwart marque that was formed by two former WWI fighter pilots way back in 1921 as "Società Anonima Moto Guzzi". It was the first time the motorcycling world had seen the longitudinally-mounted 90° V-twin engine that would become the very symbol of Moto Guzzi itself.

Restored 1967 Moto Guzzi V7 (www.motorcycleclassics.com)

Now, half a century later and under the giant Piaggio Group (which includes Aprilia and Vespa among others), V7 has hit new heights with tech and performance upgrades.

Outwardly, Stone's economical and purist design maintains its familiar bare-bones look, appealing to younger riders of both sexes. Yet beneath what little there is on show, lies a wealth of technology for the tech-savvy rider to wallow in.

V7III Stone (supplied)
In a nod to the demographic that relies on a smartphone for their very existence, the V7 has an app for that. The Guzzi Multimedia Platform (GMP) creates a wireless connection between your vehicle and your handheld device, “transforming it into a sophisticated multifunction onboard computer, always on the Net.”

- Matte is the new black with the
famous all-Italian marque's latest
edition of its best-selling, entry-level machine -

If this connectivity and computational ability appeals, you can have your iPhone or Android display speedometer, rpm indicator, engine power and torque, instant and average fuel consumption, average speed, battery voltage, longitudinal acceleration and extended trip computer.” Given that the Stone only has a single dial and no tachometer, this could come in handy.

You can enthrall yourself with the “ECO RIDE” function, which helps you achieve optimal fuel consumption by adopting an eco-compatible riding behaviour. Constant monitoring permits an evaluation of your results and these are displayed during the trip. Or you could just ride.

V7 III Anniversario (supplied)

A more mundane enhancement is the welcome injection of horsepower. Not a greedy lashing, but a useful 10 per cent thanks to a suite of new engine components, most notably new cylinder heads using the 'hemi-head' design of the type used in the larger V9 (850cc). The redesigned powerplant also features a new ventilation system, pistons, cylinders, oil sump, crankshaft and exhaust tuned for “easier revving and stronger engine braking”. Even so, the emblematic V-twin still retains lightweight pushrods and rockers with two-valve induction and the signature exhaust note that unambiguously signals your arrival – or departure!

If you get a bit carried away, Brembo calipers and discs provide more than adequate braking to the standard fitment Pirelli Sport Demon tyres on gorgeous spoked wheels. Stone is the only V7 to offer these solid cast rims.

Moto Guzzi V7III Special has extra chrome and a second instrument dial (RE)

In deference to riders of regular stature and perhaps women, the seat height has been lowered 20mm to 770mm. This and a reassuringly neutral balance delivers a comfortable ride that is both welcoming and forgiving, if somewhat uninspiring to seasoned speedsters. ABS and adjustable traction control as standard further raise confidence for less experienced riders. The whopping 21 litre fuel tank pretty much ensures you won't get stuck in traffic for long.

Given that most V7s will see out there days battling urban traffic snarls and holidaying on beachside boulevards while their owners sip lattes, the styling and colour options follow suit. You might feel like you're shopping for nail polish with shades like Nero Ruvido (matte black), Azzurro Elettrico (blue), Verde Camouflage (green) and Giallo Energico (yellow).

All jibes aside, this newest Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone pays respectful homage to its half-century heritage while delivering the retro-loving rider a satisfying and relaxing experience in inimitable Italian style.

KEY DATA

V7 III Stone – $12,990; V7 III Special – $13,990; V7 III Racer – $16,490; Anniversario – $16,990 (plus on-road costs).
Engine: 744cc 90deg V-twin, longitudinally mounted. Air cooled, 4-stroke, 2 valves per cylinder.
Power: 38kW @ 6200rpm
Torque: 60Nm @ 4900rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, shaft drive
Fuel tank: 21 litres (4 litre reserve)
Features: ABS, Traction control, Bluetooth connectivity,

More: www.motoguzzi.com.au






Bet you didn't know this about Moto Guzzi
  • The winged eagle logo was derived from the Italian Air Corps emblem and used in memory of a comrade, Giovanni Ravelli, who died in a plane crash in 1919. 
  • Their first ever engine, a single cylinder unit, was used constantly for nearly 50 years. 
  • To prove the durability of their product, Carlo Guzzi rode to the top of Norway in 1928 over four weeks. 
  • The marque has eight World Championship riders, six constructor’s championships and eleven wins at the Isle of Man. 
  • They built the world’s first motorcycle-specific wind tunnel in 1950. 
  • They produced a terrifying V8 race bike in the '50s that was capable of more than 170mph. 
  • They built motorcycle-engined cars expressly for setting land speed and endurance records. 
  • They built a step-thru commuter bike and a three-wheeled truck.
You can read the print version in the current issue of WORLD


    21 June 2018

    Cuba's living car museum

    Yes, it's true. There are tens of thousands of pre-1960 US-made vehicles on the road in Cuba. Some in apparent near-new condition, others just hanging in there.

    Here is a selection of just some of the vehicles I found when wandering the streets of Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. I'll leave the cations blank. Can you name them?

    1956 Buick Riviera 4-door
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    11

    12
    13

    14

    15

    11 June 2018

    Harley-Davidson Museum is an American history tour


    Words: Roderick Eime

    If there is a shrine to motorcycling in America, it has to be here in Milwaukee. 115 years old this year, the iconic brand tells the story of this great nation through motorcycles.

    Swoon: Dot Smith and her 1939 Knucklehead Harley-Davidson

    She sits astride the burly motorcycle like it was made for her. With custom-made, personalised gloves, scarf and a dainty bow in her tied-back hair, Dorothy 'Dot' Smith smiles like all her birthdays have come at once.

    Her petite frame and delicate demeanor completely subdue the intimidating machine, a 1939 Harley-Davidson EL 'Knucklehead', as if it were some savage beast entranced - as am I - by her effortless beauty and poise.

    Dot's story is just one of many hundreds collected here at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was one of the charter members of the all-girl 'Motor Maids' motorcycle club in 1940 along with 50 others such as founders, Australian-born 'Dot' Robinson and Linda Dugeau. If Dot were alive today, she would be well over 90. The club, however, continues to thrive with more than 1200 members in the USA and Canada.

    Bill Davidson (H-D supplied)
    Overall head of the museum is Bill Davidson, great-grandson of founder, William A. Davidson. I was fortunate enough to meet Bill and his wife Angie when he toured Down Under in 2017 for the brand's Australian 100-year celebrations.

    “The Museum is not only the story of Harley-Davidson – it’s the story of America, told through the lens of an iconic company,” says Bill, “and here we are 115 years later and that dream of my Davidson relatives and Bill Harley is still alive and going strong,”

    The presence of this hallowed shrine here in the state's capital, just a short drive north of Chicago, ensures a steady flow of leather-clad faithful to the city from all over the world. If you want to get a picture of the strength of this international congregation, be here on a Thursday night for 'Bike Night' when hundreds upon hundreds throng the parking lot with their wildly customised Hogs and revel in music and good times.

    Every Thursday night is bike night (RE)
    The collection comprises some 400 hundred bikes either on display or in archive storage on the 20-acre campus, coddled and guarded by round-the-clock security. The venerated motorcycles range from the ultra-rare, highly prized and priceless to the simply curious. I stand in front of the famous No.1, a part pedal-powered bicycle, enthroned in its own chamber, adjacent the first 60-deg V-Twin of 1909 which set the marque on its trademark design journey. The value of these two bikes alone is incalculable.

    Ol' Number One. The world's most valuable Harley? (RE)

    Then there are the weird and wacky, like the 2004 Night Train which took a year to float 4000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in a sealed container from Japan after the tsunami. Its owner, respectful of the immense tragedy, refused an offer of a new bike and donated the corroded remains to the museum where it sits in a display case like an archaeological find. And then there is the mighty ‘King Kong’, a dual engine, radical customisation akin to a vintage sci-fi spacecraft.

    The bizarre 'King Kong', dual-engined bike of 1942 (RE)

    As you've already gathered, this museum is more than just bikes. It's a celebration of American folklore, culture and legend as much as it is engineering and innovation. Many of the great movie motorcycles can be found here such as those from Easy Rider, Marvel's Captain America, Terminator and Elvis’ own 1956 KH as well as the stories that bring them to life.

    Those with a confirmed dedication to the Milwaukee icon should allow themselves at least a full day to absorb the total experience and it is this writer's strong recommendation to find the extra four bucks for the superbly researched and produced audio tour that details not only the machines on display but the personalities behind them.

    When you visit, be sure to give my love to Dot.


    Visiting the museum:

    The Museum is open Oct-April 10am – 6pm Mon-Wed and Fri-Sun. Thursdays 10am – 8pm (from 9am May-Sept) and parking is free. For more information on the museum’s galleries, exhibits, special events, tickets, theme tours and more, visit www.h-dmuseum.com. HOG members are free. The complex includes a vast gift shop plus a bar and restaurant, Motor.

    Staying nearby:

    Iron Horse Hotel
    Classy, retro motorcycle-themed hotel, an easy walk from the museum.
    500 W Florida St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
    PH +1 414.374.4766
    TripAdvisor 4.5/5

    More:

    Milwaukee CVB www.visitmilwaukee.org

    Flickr Album: www.flickr.com/photos/rodeime/albums/72157695707654181

    Fun Facts:
    • Several identical 1991 Fat Boy motorcycles were made for the movie, Terminator 2. The one on display was ridden by Schwarzenegger during filming.
    • The gleaming chrome machine as ridden by Peter Fonda in 'Easy Rider' is believed to be one used in the movie, but my guide, Mitch, avoids committing himself to absolute authenticity.
    • A circa-1927 FHA 8-Valve V-Twin racer complete with its scramble-type sidecar recently sold at auction in Australia for AUD$600,000 (US$420,000)




    02 May 2018

    Webspin: Harley-Davidson 2018 Sport Glide Softail - Don't call it a tourer

    #harleydavidson #findyourfreedom



    When Harley-Davidson announced the death of Dyna and the new Softail range, tongues were certainly set wagging. Add the bold claim by H-D that they were set to release 100 new models in ten years and you have a minor sensation on your hands.

    Motorweb has ridden all the Softail models now including, as of last weekend, the sleek new Sport Glide 107 (FLSB). And we gave it quite an outing.

    Grey Ghost regular, Paul D, was so enamored with our Mudgee run a few weeks back, he thought it was worth putting the band back together and our motley entourage set out for the big lap via Putty Road, Bylong, Mudgee, Hill End and Capertee. As we found out from our Australian Road Rider feature, it’s a route to test both bike and rider.

    Mixed in with BMW adventure bikes, two Triumphs and a tall Ducati Multistrada, the Sport Glide had to work to stay on the pace and for this rider of modest ability, it didn’t turn out to be such a tall order.

    On test: Sport Glide and fat bloke at Hill End NSW

    The low slung (680mm) seat means regular-sized blokes like me can throw a leg over without putting a milk crate down first. The smooth panniers sacrifice a little capacity but don’t intrude on the lines of the bike, keeping the visuals neat. The quick release lever lets you pull them off in a flash along with the front fairing if you want to go naked in a hurry.

    The minimalist fairing looks pretty ineffective but is surprisingly functional. It won’t stop the breeze when you open up the throttle, but it does reduce the aggressive buffeting found on naked bikes and I could even wear my peaked open face helmet without too much discomfort at legal speeds.

    We’ve talked about the new engine a lot and this Milwaukee-Eight® 107 loves the highways and backroads equally. The effortless torque is always there, even down to around 2000 rpm, and it’s no issue to pull out of the sharp hairpins. Leaning the bike over is not quite ‘sport bike’ easy, but the forward footrests and 120mm ground clearance give you extra leeway. You’ll drag your heels before the pegs hit the tarmac.

    Heels will drag before the pegs (Photos by: Brian J. Nelson)

    I wouldn’t want to carry a pillion all day without installing the optional backrest, but you can make the ride easier for both of you by dialling up the suspension thanks to the handy externally adjustable shocker found on several Softail models.

    The H-D tagline ‘call it a tourer, we dare you’ has some merit because, while it tours easily, it does handle with surprising nimbleness for what is still a big 300+ kg machine. Big (4-piston fixed front and 2-piston floating rear) ABS brakes make sure things come to stop quickly too.

    In the end, you don’t want to take my word for it, so get in to your Harley-Davidson dealer and test ride for yourself.

    Sport Glide is priced from $27,750 (ride-away)

    26 April 2018

    Brand New 2018 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Offer




    #findyourfreedom #harleyheaven #harleydavidson

    Start your Harley-Davidson dream now at one of our six Harley-Heaven Dealerships across Melbourne, Sydney & Adelaide. Book a Test Ride now.

    Stop Dreaming, start riding at Harley-Heaven


    01 April 2018

    The Kids on the Street: Harley-Davidson's grab for the youth market



    There’s a common misconception in the motorcycle industry that so-called ‘millennials’, or typically 20-somethings, are not riding or buying bikes.

    While most of this noise seems to be coming from the USA, the environment here in Australia inevitably reflects sales and promotion strategies employed for international markets.

    When the GFC hit in 2007, the motorcycle market tanked as people’s disposable income evaporated. This hard reset resulted in a major swerve in demographics among the motorcycle riding and owning community. In 2003, only about one-quarter of U.S. motorcycle riders were 50 or older. By 2014, it was close to half. ^

    Across the industry and particularly at Harley-Davidson, there was a pressing need to create machines for younger, first-time owners that still preserved the allure of the high-value Harley-Davidson marque. The bosses at H-D embarked on a massive customer feedback campaign that shook up the 115-year-old brand and resulted in the arrival of smaller, radical models like the all-new, liquid-cooled Street 500 and 750 V-Twins.

    Newly arrived Street Rod 750 features a special high output engine for Australia

    While Australia may have weathered the onslaught of the GFC much better than the USA, persistent high real estate prices have burst many property dreams for the under-30s.

    “We’re seeing younger customers in our showroom now,” says Craig Smith, dealer principal at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney at Blacktown whose ‘catchment’ includes many districts with ‘greenfield’ housing development zones like Penrith, Windsor and Dural.

    “It seems these younger buyers may have turned their back on the punishing real estate market, for now at least, and have decided to enjoy themselves instead,” surmises Smith.

    Some of the early reviews for Street 500 were not altogether flattering, but many overlooked the purpose of this Indian-built, liquid-cooled bike, engineered expressly to keep the cost down and be less intimidating for entry-level riders.

    “When it arrived here in 2015 for under $10,000, it was hard to keep up with demand, but that's settled and it's become an ongoing sales success for us now and we're doing special events aimed at Street riders, like shop rides and sales incentives.

    "Our Street 500 customers see it as instant 'street cred'. Going through the learner process on a Harley is something special compared to their mates."

    Smith also points out that while Harley-Davidson Australia may have been a bit cautious initially, overwhelming customer demand was such that they have now released the up-rated and more aggressively-styled 750cc ‘Street Rod’ version along with further variants in paint and accessories for the 500. In fact, Harley-Heaven Western Sydney is even throwing in a helmet, jacket and gloves with every new Street 500.

    So rather than waiting for new buyers to reach that critical ‘mid-life’ point or even retirement, riders can embark on their Harley-Davidson journey 20 years sooner for a fraction of the price of a full-size Softail or Sportster.

    Meet the team at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney

    Come in and see and ride the full Harley-Davidson range, including Street 500 and Street Rod 750 at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney, 70 Sunnyholt Rd, Blacktown or call (02) 9621 7776. http://www.harleyheaven.com.au/harley-heaven-western-sydney

    ^ Bloomberg, July 5, 2017


    24 March 2018

    AC/DC's Malcolm Young is 'Back in Black'



    When one of your idols passes away it can be a very moving event, to say the least.




    And so it was when AC/DC guitarist and co-founder, Malcolm Young, struck his last chord in November. The elf-like Young with his wild guitar antics had given the guys and gals at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney so much fun and good times during their misspent youth, they felt a tribute was in order.

    And so it came to be.

    “We were already working on this customised 114 Fat Boy when the news broke,” recalls Craig, “we just looked at each other. Speechless. One or two of us even went for our own quiet moment somewhere private. It was still a big shock even though we all knew he wasn’t well.”

    The big black Softail was an obvious choice, so the team decided it was worth some extra effort and set about installing some seriously dark kit.

    This unique 114 Fat Boy 'Back in Black' is Harley-Heaven Western Sydney's tribute to Malcolm Young


    “With the song ‘Back in Black’ all over the airwaves, it just kind of spoke to us, so we thought ‘let’s go all out’.”

    “Initially we were looking to do something in contrast with the satin chrome without going too far, but we just couldn’t hold back. Harley’s gloss black components are beautifully finished so we utilised what we could there with available OEM engine components and what we couldn’t source genuine, we had custom-finished by Marc at Sydney Customs Spray painting whose work is absolutely faultless. The wheels were the subject of much discussion and we think what we went with works quite nicely. It gives the casting some depth and allows a pleasing contrast to the centre and hubs.

    click to enlarge

    “From the rider’s seat we ran with Harley’s Street Slammer bar in satin black and finished it off with Airflow grips and profile custom mirrors also in satin black. We left some chrome components like the headlight trim, pushrod tubes and lifter blocks as touch points. The foot controls are still standard which could be finished off with Airflow collection in gloss black or Defiance collection depending on the new owner’s taste.”

    And it wouldn’t be finished without some musical ‘tuning’ and Craig reckons Mal would approve. They even thought of calling this trick set-up the ‘Malwaukee’ treatment.

    “Performance-wise, the 114 Milwaukee 8 is ready to rock’n’roll with a TBR 2018 Comp-S 2-1 in Cerakote Black, Screamin’ Eagle Extreme Flow air cleaner with Calibre cover and Screamin’ Eagle Race Tuner.”



    Just like the boys in the band, this tribute bike will certainly turn heads, even bounce 'em perhaps!


    Meet the team at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney


    Come in and see and ride the full Harley-Davidson range at Harley-Heaven Western Sydney, 70 Sunnyholt Rd, Blacktown or call (02) 9621 7776. 

    20 February 2018

    Suzuki Adventure Ride with V-Strom and friends




    I’ve been on a few so-called ‘shop rides’ now with Harley-Heaven and Victory and I can’t help thinking what a great idea they are for brand and community-building. It’s all well and good to swap yarns and happy snaps on Facebook, but nothing replaces a good ride in the fresh air with like-minded guys and gals.

    As fortune would have it, I was in Adelaide for Suzuki’s now annual Adventure Ride where riders of all bikes were invited to Wirrina Cove down the coast almost to Cape Jervis.

    Adelaide Hills roads have to be some of the best in the country for bikes

    All the Suzuki bigwigs were there and I found myself chatting to the GM of motorcycles, the urbane Paul Vandenberg, quite by accident at dinner as well as state manager, Vivienne Hoffmann (we went to the same schools!) and National Marketing manager, Lewis Croft.

    Just the right amount of dirt 

    “Some brands like to try and make a profit from these sort of rides,” Lewis told me as we waited for our steaks, “but I like to see them as a value-add for customers and a way to keep them in touch with our brand.”

    Riders paid for their own meals, fuel and accommodation, but the legwork, route planning, guiding and support was provided by Suzuki, making the whole event feel very professional.

    En route to Wirrina Cove

    Of course, product placement was a key feature and a fleet of new V-Strom XTs in both 650 and 1000 models joined the entourage, with test rides for all out of Wirrina Cove to Second Valley.

    The 2017 ‘Standard’ V-Strom 650 (right) comes with cast wheels, while the V-Strom 650XT (left) gets tubeless wire-spoked wheels, hand guards with larger bar-end weights and a protective lower engine cowl as standard equipment.

    I joined the fray on a brutish Triumph Tiger 1200 Adventure and swapping to the lighter V-Strom for the test ride showed me how light and easy to ride these bikes were. For anyone wanting a jumpstart into proper adventure riding, the 650XT has what you need for under $12k and the big 1000 is less than $19k. Japanese reliability, adequate power and torque, selectable ABS and away you go. The 650s also come in LAMS-approved guise and can later be re-mapped.

    Stu taking a break on his V-Strom 650 somewhere in the wilds of Laos.

    Riding pal Stu, who lives in northern Thailand, has been singing the praises of his 650 for the last 18 months, taunting me with snaps from his rides in Burma and Laos.

    Our ride through the glorious Adelaide Hills stopped at the Collectable Classic Car showroom in Strathalbyn as well as the popular bike pullover at Mount Compass on the way down and the surf club at historic Sellicks Beach and fun little schoolhouse cafe at Meadows on the way back. All the while, the route was mixed with just the right amount of sealed and unsealed roads to let us experience a taste of adventure.

    In a forthcoming issue of Australian Road Rider, I will detail the Fleurieu Peninsula and its many attractions for motorcycle touring enthusiasts. Stay tuned.