10 December 2018

Austin Mini commands surprise auction price


David Ellis

A little red 1989 Austin Mini whose one lady owner had driven a mere 6,500km in her whole twenty-nine years of ownership, equating to a 'miniscule' on-average four kilometres a week, has just fetched an amazing UKP13,000  (AU$22,654) at auction in the UK.

Amazing, because that lady had paid a touch over just 1,900 pounds (AU$3,361) when she'd bought her little Mini new all those years before.

The concept of the Mini actually goes back a further 30-odd years before that to 1957 when head of the Morris Car Company, Sir Leonard Lord foreshadowed a place for a small, fuel-efficient and budget-priced family car in view of a looming world fuel crisis and tasked his top engineer, Alec Issigonis, with heading up a team of designers to bring about just such a vehicle.

Amongst ideas that team conceived was a boxy little auto into which four people could be literally shoe-horned, and which had a transverse engine and gearbox that allowed for a revolutionary, fuel-efficient front-wheel drive – something drivers around the world instantly took to, and which is still as in-vogue today as all those decades ago.

And the little red 1989 Austin Mini that's just sold in the UK with that extraordinarily low 6,500 kilometres after twenty-nine years on the road (meaning an average use of just 222km a year, or a touch over a mere four kilometres a week,) still had its original sale contract in the glovebox, original handbook and keys and supplier company's windscreen sticker, and the original 1980's style registration disc holder.

And while he's paid around a third more than the 10,000 pounds the car was expected to sell for at auction, its new owner says he bought it both to enjoy driving, and as an investment.

[] WOULD you believe this little red Austin Mini's one lady owner clocked up just 6,500 kilometres in a whole twenty-nine years driving – a mere four kilometres a week on average over all those years. (Image: H&H Classics Auctions)

29 November 2018

New Eighth Generation Porsche 911

Porsche presented the 8th generation of the 911 in Petree Hall at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “California is the ideal place to introduce the new 911. California has been like a second home to Porsche for decades,” comments Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche AG. “The 8th generation of the 911 is even more powerful, even more emotional, and even more efficient than its predecessor – and also offers extensive digital features. And in spite of all the innovations, the 911 is still just what it has always been: a pure sports car and the pulsing heart of Porsche: our icon.”

Unmistakably committed to the Porsche design DNA, with a much more muscular look and an interior featuring a 10.9-inch touchscreen monitor, the new 911 is timeless – and also modern. Intelligent control and chassis elements, as well as innovative assistance systems, combine the masterfully uncompromising dynamism that the classic rear-engine sportscar is famed for, with the demands of the digital world.

Los Angeles Auto Show: Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board, Porsche AG

The next generation of flat-six turbocharged engines has been further developed and is more powerful than ever before, with 331 kW (450 PS) in the S models. The drive efficiency has been increased by way of an improved injection process and a new layout for the turbochargers and charge air cooling system. The power is delivered by a newly developed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The top speeds are now 308 km/h (Carrera S*) and 306 km/h for the Carrera 4S all-wheel-drive version. Additional highlights include Porsche Wet mode to make driving on wet roads even safer, Night Vision Assist with thermal imaging camera, as well as comprehensive connectivity that uses swarm intelligence. The offering is completed by three exclusive digital services that are a perfect fit for the Californian lifestyle: the Porsche Road Trip app for extraordinary journeys, the Porsche 360+ personal assistant, and the web-based Porsche Impact emissions calculator for neutralising your individual carbon footprint.

Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG, emphasised the importance of the US American market for the sports car manufacturer: “More than 55,000 Porsches were delivered to the USA in 2017, and our American sales company Porsche Cars North America is on track to achieve a new record figure in 2018. Ultimately, no model better symbolises the American love affair with Porsche than the 911. One in three Porsche 911s built in Zuffenhausen goes to the USA.”

- from media release

19 November 2018

Marilyn Monroe's Thunderbird fetches huge price

David Ellis

A SHINY black 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible once owned by Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe, has just sold at auction in Hollywood for an extraordinary US$490,000 (AU$668,000)

It was one of a vast number of the star's personal items, from screen publicity shots to clothing and a 1954 Christmas card to her from pianist Liberace, that sold at the Icons and Idols of Hollywood auction over the recent Friday and Saturday of November 16 and 17.

The Ford Thunderbird is believed to have been given to Monroe by her business partner and photographer, Milton Greene whose wife Amy often talked about the times she and the actress would go riding in the car.

"Marilyn loved to drive," Amy Greene told one newspaper. "We'd take the Thunderbird and with the top down go sailing along the highway – we both liked to feel the wind in our faces and the warmth of the heater on our legs."

Marilyn Monroe owned the Thunderbird for six years, before giving it as an 18th birthday present to the son of her acting tutor, Lee Strasberg a few months before she died of a self-administered barbiturates overdose in 1962.

Thunderbirds were extraordinarily popular in the United States from when the first hit the road in 1954, with some 15,631 of the Marilyn Monroe 1956 model selling in that year alone, and production not ceasing until a near-50 years later in 2005.

And would anyone at Ford in 1956 have ever thought that that car would fetch the near-half-million it sold for on November 17 of this year – considering that when it rolled brand-new out of the showroom, it had cost its first owner all of US$2,944?

FOOTNOTE: That 1954 Christmas card to Marilyn Monroe from Liberace that also sold at the recent Icons and Idols of Hollywood auction, fetched an amazing US$2,187.50 (around AU$2,983.75.)


[] MARILYN MONROE'S sleek Ford Thunderbird convertible that's just gone under the hammer at Julien's Auctions' Icons and Idols of Hollywood sale for US$490,000 (AU$668,000) – somewhat grown on the $2,944 it cost its first owner to drive out of the showroom in 1956.

19 October 2018

Would you pay $3 million for a 45 year old Falcon?

Only two weeks after a $2.1M record was set for a Dual Bathurst Winning Commodore, a Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IV is set to give Holden a run for its money with up to $3M expected at auction this weekend.

Current bidding of over $1.5 million on the extremely rare Ford Falcon has already surpassed recent records of $1,030,000 on a GTHO Phase III. Auctioneers and Ford muscle car experts anticipate that this car will fetch around $3 million, as it is one of only three left in the world.

“We are extremely humbled to have the opportunity of handling the transition of this car to its next custodian.” said Brett Mudie, Chief Marketing Officer at Lloyds Auctions.

“We have not seen a Phase IV and are very excited to auction it alongside what is undoubtedly Australia’s best Track Red GTHO Phase III. We have recently sold two Track Red Phase III’s for ‘seven figure amounts’ and this Phase III has been described by many Phase III experts as the best in Australia!” Mr. Mudie continued.

The Phase IV is expected to fetch $3M as it was the car that changed Australian Motor Sport forever. Phase III’s dominated the racetrack prior to the release of the Phase IV and left little opportunity for competitiveness amongst rival race teams. This XA GTHO is one of only four built before the ‘Super Car Scare’ which forced Ford to abandon its plans to continue the legend of GTHO Phase cars that dominated Australian motor racing.

Built in Ford’s Special Vehicles unit known as ‘Lot 6’ these cars were going to be driven by motorsport greats Allan Moffatt and Fred Gibson.

A Knight Frank Wealth Report Update revealing that certain classic cars have shown a higher return on investment than property and other asset classes over a one, five and ten year period proves that strong prices are being paid for the best cars by knowledgeable collectors.

“If you look at the number of records broken over the last six months in particular, you can definitely see a trend in demand for a secure yet enjoyable investment. Cars in original condition, with chrome bumpers, celebrity affiliation or prominent history seem to be the ones that are rising in value first,” said Mr. Mudie.

In March this year an A9X Torana SLR 5000 sold for $365,000 doubling the original record for this type of car. In June Australian cricketer Jeff Thomson’s old GTHO Phase III was the first of its kind to break $1 million in a public sale, then Peter Brock’s dual Bathurst winner more recently sold for $2.1 million. Now all eyes are on this Phase IV in anticipation of yet another record price.

The remarkable Phase IV and some of Australia’s finest Phase III’s will go up for auction at Lloyds Auctions on the Gold Coast at 7pm this Saturday. Bidders will be able to meet legendary drivers Allan Moffat and Fred Gibson at the event or bid online at lloydsauctions.com.au or via phone.

10 October 2018

Harleys in the strangest places

In the far north of Canada, you're more likely to find snowmobiles, quads, Polaris ATVs and the occasional weather-beaten off road motorcycle than a classic Harley-Davidson.

14 September 2018

Go big in 2019 with Harley-Davidson's new power line-up

It's 'go hard or go home' time for aspiring Harley owners with a new line-up of muscle machinery that sets an unmistakable tone.

FXDR: Blending in is not an option (H-D)

It was the famous Carroll Shelby who was credited with saying: “There ain't no substitute for cubic inches”, and in that spirit, The Motor Company has announced an aggressive front row of performance bikes that is sure to get pulses racing and may just move some fence-sitters into action.

If 114 finely tuned Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin cubes can't fire you into action, then you are ready for the retirement home.

FXDR: Pure muscle (H-D)
Nothing defines the judicious use of such unapologetic energy as the new FXDR 114 Softail. This aggressive 'power cruiser', styled on fighter jets and drag racers, thrills with straight-line performance but also satisfies riders wanting to take the long way home. The FXDR may look like a heavyweight prizefighter, but the clever use of hi-tech weight-saving components keeps it surprisingly lean.
“The FXDR 114 is designed for the rider who wants a more extreme look and stance,” wrote US publication, CycleWorld, “but also wants performance and handling not commonly found in a cruiser.”

The reworked angles and clearances all but do away with the common complaint of scraping pegs in tight corners.

Demo models of the FXDR will be in your Harley Heaven dealerships from mid-October. Book your ride now.

Big, bigger, biggest:

H-D 2019 Touring Family (H-D)

H-D's biggest powerplant, the massive, high-performance Milwaukee-Eight® 117 can be found in three limited-edition Custom Vehicle Operations™ (CVO) motorcycles for 2019.

Each CVO bike boasts stunning paint finishes, the latest in advanced technology as well as exclusive components and superb detail. The big 117 is exclusive to CVO™ models and the new Boom!™ Box GTS infotainment system is standard as well.

2019 CVO Limited

The three super CVOs for 2019 are:

2019 CVO™ Limited
For the rider who expects it all – luxury, performance, features and style. The CVO Limited model offers the ultimate in long-range touring comfort and luxury.

2019 CVO™ Street Glide®
An edgy, custom-bagger with hot-rod performance and a mind-blowing premium audio system.

2019 CVO™ Road Glide®
Distinctive, menacing style combined with long-haul comfort in a performance touring motorcycle ready for long roads and late nights.

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.


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.


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

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

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




    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


    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)

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