Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Change partners!

Over the past few days, World Supersport Championship rider Chaz Davies kept many of the followers of his Facebook page in suspense with a promise of an important announcement that he would make at the weekend.

The announcement was nothing less than the fact that the Welshman, along with team-mate Luca Scassa, will be campaigning in this season's World Supersport Championship on the Yamaha YZF-R6.

Welsh rider Chaz Davies with his new ride for 2011
Photograph: © Chaz Davies/Team ParkinGO Yamaha, Jan. 2011

This comes as somewhat of a surprise so late in proceedings; the BE1 ParkinGO team had been hard at work until very recently, fettling the Triumph Daytona 675R for the beginning of the 2011 season. However, it would appear that an inability for both parties (Triumph and Team BE1 ParkinGO) to reach a satisfactory contract agreement meant that they were obliged to go their own ways, as it were; Paul Stroud (Triumph Motorcycles' Sales & Marketing Director) and Giuliano Rovelli (BE1 ParkinGO team owner) made official statements to this effect at the beginning of the week.

This move effectively means that the British motorcycle manufacturer based in Hinckley (Leicestershire) will not be officially represented this season. And while The Thruxtonian's heart is very much in the Brit bike camp, we wish to extend our best wishes to Chaz Davies and the BE1 ParkinGO team, and hope that he will be flying the flags (Cymru and the Union Flag) from the highest step of the podium throughout the year!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Have Bike, Must Travel

In my most humble opinion, there is no better motor vehicle for doing overland journeys than a motorcycle. It really makes you aware that you are racking up the miles (or kilometres if, like me, you're a continental) through an ever-changing landscape, standing your own against the elements and the various road hazards - many of which have four or more wheels...

There are different ways of travelling by bike: buying a full-dress Goldwing or Electraglide and cruising along the motorways, buying a BMW R1200GS Adventure and heading out to see the world à la Ewan & Charley (two fellows that I would truly like to meet and - if possible - ride with: contrary to what many may blurt out whilst propping up the bar, they are real motorcyclists, not a couple of Hoorays on bikes), or going from Gibraltar to the North Cape aboard a Honda C90 for charity.

© Motards en Balade, Jan.2011

For motorcyclists who like going on motorcycle holidays there are a few companies that propose organised motorcycle tours. Some include the bike in the package, whilst for others, you have to bring your own. "Motards en Balade" falls into the latter category, although some of their further-flung tours have included vehicle hire.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Long-term Test: Scorpion EXO-900 crash helmet

I had been toying with the idea of getting a "flip-front" crash helmet for quite some time, but could not find it in me to part with my hard-earned for one. You see, in my mind, flip-fronts were either for the serious pipe-smoking beardies who ride BMWs, or for motorcycle coppers; I didn't feel - and still don't - that I had much in common with both groups. Also, I am more used to wearing classic-styled open-face helmets. Not to say that I didn't see the advantage of flip-fronts: when they're closed, you're effectively riding with a full-face lid, which is much safer at high speed than an open-face with aviator goggles! Unfortunately, every time I perused the marketplace, I never found the flip-front that would convince me to take the plunge.

And then Scorpion brought out the EXO-900. It was as if they had been reading my mind; I have long since decided that the ideal helmet for me would be a full-face that I could easily turn into an open-face, and finally somebody out there had done something about it! Last October I finally reached for my wallet and in exchange for 250 Euros (the RRP here in Spain) I became the proud owner of a gloss black Scorpion EXO-900.

That plant could do with watering...
Photograph © Marc Michon/The Thruxtonian, Jan 2011

When I extricated my new possession from its packaging, I found it to be fairly good-looking for a flip-front, much more so than suggested by the photographs I had seen so far. In fact I think that it's probably one of the nicest-looking flip-fronts on the market, certainly better than a Nolan or a Schuberth. A design touch that I particularly like are the chromed surrounds on the air vents; instead of being really bright chrome, which always looks tacky in my opinion, they are slightly "smoked", which gives them a much classier aspect. Closed, it has a swoopy, dynamic line to it, and would not look out of place on a sports bike. It even looks fairly good once it's open, because unlike many flip-fronts, the "fascia" locks open in a completely vertical position.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Product Review: Muc-Off Premium Anti-Fog Treatment

First off, as this is my first article of 2011, I would like to wish you all a happy 2011!

One of the worst enemies of the common-or-garden motorcyclist is a fogged-up visor, goggles or glasses. And over the years since the invention of our jolly motorised velocipedes, various old grannies' remedies and patent quack cures and devices have been marketed as the definitive last word in curing that crippling ailment that strikes all motorcyclists, Viserus Foggius.

The latest of these to come to my attention is Muc-Off's (language, Timothy!) "Premium Anti-Fog Treatment. I had already heard of it, but was sceptical as to its efficiency. I've tried many anti-fog products over the years, and apart from the Pinlock visor, I have never really been satisfied, and have ended up being resigned to misting up every so often, particularly in winter.

"I can see clearly now the fog has gone..."
Photograph: © Marc Michon/The Thruxtonian, Jan 2011

I applied the product to my Davida WRS74  glasses, which I use with yellow lenses for when it's overcast or in low light conditions. Unfortunately, for some reason they usually just fog up as soon as I look at them, because of their foam "gasket" designed to stop air getting in behind the lenses. I applied the liquid and went off for a quick ride. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that  Muc-Off's treatment works: at a standstill, I usually have to pull the Davidas off my nose a bit to allow air to get in and de-fog them, which looks a bit silly, but there I was, able to look cool on my bike. Even when walking around with them on under my helmet, which keeps the gasket snug to my eye sockets, I could not get them to fog up noticeably.

So at last we have an anti-fog product that does what it says on the bottle. Great news for those of us who ride in winter and in the wet. You can visit Muc-Off here.