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Let’s all ride more and tell everyone about it in 2018!

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Even the hastiest of exchanges can make a difference.

It’s a sad fact that here at Motofire we don’t get out enough on motorcycles. We ride when we can, when we have to on our commute, or when we have actual bikes in the garage to play with, but more often than not we don’t get invites to special launches or asked to test the latest machines by the manufacturers. In fact – and especially here within the UK – we don’t get much contact from manufacturers at all.

So instead we tend to limit our reviews to those of our friends who run sexier websites (Bike Exif) or have a different level of access in their particular region (Asphalt & Rubber and Maxx Moto).

All of which is a shame, because if we’re to help evangelise and up-sell the message of motorcycles being amazingly, brilliant things that can genuinely change your life for the better, then we’re going to need to – you know – actually ride the things!

In a rare case from last year when we did get offered a bike from one of the press departments here within the UK, we spent a good weekend with Honda’s VFR 1200X Crosstourer Highlander DCT, and Steve genuinely loved it, ending his review with the following words, “The Honda Crosstourer VFR1200X is a silky-smooth, sporty machine that feels utterly at home destroying the miles like the touring bike in adventure clothes it’s always purported itself to be.”

You can read his full review here… And, because it was a last minute offer and he hadn’t any decent video equipment to hand, he rounded of his review with a hastily shot and edited, phone video too.

But when a review is up and online, it’s so hard to know for sure how it affects and/or effects the sales figures. Sure, being rewarded 5 stars from a well-known publication can lend itself nicely to a company’s marketing brochure, but what difference can a hastily shot, ram-shakily written review actually make?

We’ll let this email we received from a reader take up that story…

“Looking around t’internet, as you do, I recently came across your Motofire review of a 2015 Honda VFR 1200X Crosstourer Highlander DCT in September 2016.  I have a particular interest in this model as I took a test ride on one at Craig Honda earlier this year, and fell in love with the machine,” said an email sent to us over the festive period,

“So the time came when I went down to Craig’s [Honda dealer] to see a CT they had advertised. Being the top of the range DCT model with 19 months of a three year Honda warranty remaining.  I was told that the bike had previously been owned by Honda UK (which was true) and that the bike had been ridden only by Honda employees for the 6060 miles on the odometer (which was probable not true – never trust a used bike salesman!).  We did a deal and I collected it in the middle of October.

I like the bike for all the reasons you put forward in your article on the bike.  I’m a big Honda fan.  I’ve never liked the horizontal GS engines or the costs of ownership, even though Allan Jefferies was then only a few miles from my home.  My Deauville had been the model of reliability and the CT is effectively a big sister to the Deau.  The DCT sold the bike to me and, as I say, I love it.

Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I watched your video of the bike.  The bike is in the same paint finish as my CT and I was enjoying the walk-round.  Suddenly there is a brief moment when the rear number plate is shown.  Perhaps unintentional, but enough to confirm that you were talking about MY bike!

I agree with all your comments on the CT.  Thanks for putting the report on line.”.

Now, this isn’t the first email to come across our servers of course, but sometimes – especially during the dark, cold months of winter – it’s nice to know that you’re still not just shouting out into the void, and – perhaps more importantly – it’s good to know that even the smallest of influences can help to provide somebody with what we hope will be years worth of practical transport but also enjoyment and fun.

So go out and tell your friends, sing the praises of motorcycling to your family. Maybe encourage your 16 year old to pick up a scooter for a year to see how much difference it can make to their life? Or what about swapping all of that car parking money at your local train station for an old 125cc and £50 a month or so back into your pocket?

Spread the word.

Let’s take the time to look at ourselves and to focus on passing our passion for two wheels onto others. It’s time for us all to be more inclusive and understanding towards the changing landscape that we now ride within.

Here’s to a 2018 full of motorcycles, motors and excitement. Maybe we’ll actually get out on some bikes this year too!

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Custom of the Week: Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl

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FOR WALT SIEGL, performance and beauty go hand-in-hand. The bikes in his Ducati Leggero series are drop dead gorgeous, but they’re also light, quick and handle well. And that puts them in high demand.

This newest build was commissioned by Jamie Waters, one of the leading lights behind the REV’IT! and Rizoma brands in the USA. Jamie owns a significant collection of race bikes, European sports cars and American muscle cars, but they’re more than just show pieces: he regularly pilots his rare factory racers at AHRMA events.

That makes him the perfect client for Walt. “I’m thrilled that I could build this bike for Jamie,” says Walt from his New Hampshire workshop, “because I know he will ride it and enjoy it.”

Each Leggero is hand made to order with room for customization, but the building blocks are always the same. It starts with a Walt Siegl Motorcycles 4130 chromoly steel frame, created in-house and weighing just 15 pounds.

Walt slots in a two-valve Ducati motor, rebuilt and blueprinted by Bruce Meyers Performance. It’s then finished with top-shelf components, and custom Kevlar bodywork.

On this build, the donor motor came from a Monster 1100. It’s been blueprinted and bumped to 1125 cc with Mahle pistons, warmer cams, ported and flowed heads, and titanium valves. The carbs have been ditched in favour of the fuel injection system from a Hypermotard, and the bottom end has been lightened too.

Since Jamie’s pretty serious about actually riding the Leggero, he wanted top spec chassis and suspension components too. The lightweight chromoly Leggero frame is matched up to an aluminum subframe, and a Ducati S2R swing arm.

It would take days of careful study to spot all the details on this Ducati, so we’ll just run through the highlights. The custom-built, ceramic-coated stainless steel exhaust is stunning, right down to its carefully placed heat shields.

The cockpit’s pretty slick too, and includes a racy Motogadget tacho bearing the WSM logo. And there’s a sprinkling of carbon fiber and Rizoma bits, to drive the performance ethos home.

When it came to the final livery, Jamie’s hobby provided all the inspiration needed. “Jamie wanted to incorporate elements from the early muscle car era in my Leggero design,” says Walt, “which is decidedly European, if you will.”

So the white ceramic coating on the exhaust system references early Shelby Cobras, and the frame’s been nickel plated, as a nod to the 1960s and 70s.

The primary paint color was sampled from a car in Jamie’s collection. “Jamie has a 1968 Corvette in Laguna Blue,” says Walt. “For that series Corvette, it was a one-year color only—painted by Peach Pit Racing.”

Now we’re really jealous.


This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on Bike Exif. It is republished here with permission.

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Idiot thieves steal electric manufacturers’ bike whilst they were on ‘theft tracking’ test!

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Motorcycle manufacturer Zero had their own bikes, actually stolen – for real – during security testing.

Bike thieves are the worst.

Not literally – we’re pretty certain that there are some certain individuals on the world stage that could put a petty motorcycle thief into perspective – but they’re ‘up there’ on our list alongside people who use their mobile phones on speaker whilst sat on public transport and most of the contestants from TV’s Love Island.

Bike thieves are also pretty stupid. None more so than the ones who tried to make off with a couple of Zero electric motorcycles recently in London.

What made these thieves particularly stupid we here you cry? Well, how about trying to nick a couple of electric bike maker Zero’s actual bikes whilst they were undergoing actual theft-tracking device testing with British bike security firm Datatool?

“I have been testing the product for several months now”, said Zero UK’s manager Dale Robinson, “but the ultimate test came last week, when two of our bikes were stolen from the back of a van in the London area.

Ironically we had just been introducing the partnership with Datatool to our dealers at a conference the day before, but I hadn’t expected that we would have to put it to the test when I got up the next morning.”

Yep, you read that right. Literally the same night that Zero and Datatool had introduced their partnership at a dealer shindig, somebody thought it would be a good idea to take the battery-driven machines.

But did the freshly installed system actually work?

“I reported the theft at 8.00am and the data confirmed that the bike was stolen at 3.37am. Datatool collaborated with the Met Police’s stolen vehicle squad, and the bikes were tracked to within a metre of their actual location, under a tarpaulin in a timber yard.

The police extraction team commented that the information given to them, in the form of a pinpointed Google map and exact coordinates, was the most accurate they had received and I got a call to come and pick the bikes up a few hours later.”

Some people pay thousands for that kind of PR. All Zero and Datatool had to do was get drunk and leave a couple of bikes in a van on a London street overnight.

Amazing.

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