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Finally, there’s a bike journo vlog actually worth watching



The motorcycle world is finally starting to behave like it’s past 2004.

Sean MacDonald first came across our radars back in late 2014. Back then he was responsible for much of the Lanesplitter sub-blog on American auto website Jalopnik, but once that tenure passed, he was soon picked up by US magazine Cycleworld. Since then he has become a regular favourite of many online, motorcycle aficionados.

Now it would appear, he’s managed to persuade the good people over at Cycleworld that what they really need is a tighter focus on the ‘more raw’ end of video-based content and so he’s started a weekly video blog.

Announced over on his Kinja page under the title ‘I’m Trying Something New…You Guys Ready To Watch Some Dumb Motorcycle Videos On The Internet??‘, Sean explains that, “Bonnier (Cycle World’s parent company) realizes that we need someone to bring the fun and enthusiasm back into motorcycles. Even more, I was able to convince them that due to a changing media landscape, that the best way to do that is through a Vlog series.

So I’m a vlogger now—except I have Cycle World behind me to help grant me the access, opportunities, and knowledge to try and do it in a way worth actually watching. The goal is one video a week, with basically free rein to go make the most fun and compelling content I can.”

His first video is from a Michelin tyre test in Qatar, and when we contacted him about it, he told us to not tell anyone over at Motofire until he became ‘less crap’. Now, having seen his last two videos – a Christmas off-road family adventure and he and his friend Justin’s first public trackday – we reckon now is that time.

We’re sure his video editing skills will get better and the focus of his videos will get sharper, but we’re also sure that his ability to actually enthuse and make motorcycles seem like a past-time that is actually – you know – fun will continue along at much the same pace!

Whilst the idea of a vlog might not seem like anything new for most of us who live on the Internet, the fact that this kind of content is not only coming from a recognised journalist with actual access to quality machines and locations, but also from a worldwide publisher of renown is heartening. There are too few people and companies that think like this these days.

We’ve spent years watching the same people, do the same things, on the same bikes, over and over on the regular channels. So we welcome anything from anyone who’s willing to challenge the status quo and to do something a little bit different.

Keep on keepin’ on…

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Custom of the Week: Yamaha SR500 ‘Scrambler’ by Daniel Peter




SCRAMBLERS ARE A HOT TOPIC. Build one, and you’re sure to be judged solely by how well equipped it is for hardcore off-piste use.

But that’s not all that scramblers are about. Daniel Peter compares his latest build to his childhood BMX—and it’s pretty much how we feel about modern-day scramblers too.

“When I was four years old, my BMX bike became my life,” he explains. “It was so simple, yet so fun. Just wheels, pedals and brakes. I’d ride it to the beach, jump a few curbs along the way, race my friends. Those were the good days.”

“30 years later, I set out to build a motorcycle based on the same principles. There’s nothing on this bike that doesn’t need to be there. It has wheels, a punchy engine and great brakes. I didn’t even put a speedo on it, because I never looked at the one on my last bike.”

Daniel works as a photographer in Chicago, but wrenches during the winter to keep his passion for riding alive. He keeps a workshop in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, outfitted with a tool cabinet, a welder, and a 1940s South Bend lathe.

This 1978-model Yamaha SR500 is the fourth Yamaha 500 he’s built to date. “It’s the most simple, yet the most thorough, of the bunch,” he says.

The motor’s been bumped to 540 cc, with a grocery list of go-fast bits that includes a lighter XT500 crank, a new piston from JE and a Megacycle cam for better torque down low.

R&D valve springs with titanium caps, a Powerdynamo ignition and a high-flow oil pump from Kedo round out the package.

Hoos Racing refreshed the crank and cut new valve seats for Daniel, but he tackled the rest of the rebuild himself. Every single bearing and seal was replaced along the way too. As for the carb, it’s been swapped out for a 39 mm Keihin FCR flatslide number, fed by a fat K&N filter.

The exhaust system is a combination of a custom made stainless steel header, and a Cone Engineering muffler.

The SR rolls on 17” supermoto wheels, borrowed from a KTM (front) and a Honda CRF450 (rear). They’re wrapped in Pirelli MT60 Corsa tread; a 120 up front, and a chunky 160 on the 5” rear rim. (“It juuust fits,” says Daniel.)

The brakes have been upgraded with a mix of Brembo and Beringer parts, with an RCS 14 radial master cylinder up front.

On top is an aluminum Yamaha XT500 fuel tank, wrapped in a paint scheme “inspired by an unforgettable riding trip through Baja.” Just behind it is a new saddle from MotoLanna, with a new kicked-up subframe loop.

It’s just about spring in Chicago, so Daniel must be itching to rack up the miles on his SR500. And we’re betting it’s going to be impossible to get him off it.

A version of this article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here with permission.

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Icon claim back the streets in their latest, epic video



Street’s Not Dead.

Regular readers will know that we eagerly await anything released from the US streetwear firm Icon Motorsports. So the moment that a video drops from the Portland firm we’re bound to pay attention.

That’s an interest piqued double when they post it alongside what is essentially a call to arms…

“Street’s not dead. If you think it went away, you’d be wrong. Street’s still here undermining pompous authority, rejecting standards, and bucking the status quo..”

And they’re not kidding either. With the Icon clad rider thrashing their Kawasaki ZX-10R through city streets, car parks and even a public fountain at one point, there’s a lot to take in.

Couple that with their usual loud, Icon style and you’ve certainly got a statement of intent.

(Don’t try this at home kids).



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