This section is dedicated to all the letters we receive from the loyal Road Rider readership. If you are ever interested in sending a letter through to the Road Rider team check out the form below!
Welcome to the new role.
I have a 2 year subscription but initially wanted a subscription to the now defunct Cruiser & Trike magazine. At the time I was advised that although the cruiser publication had ceased there would be a cruiser section in Road Rider. I think that lasted for about two editions before it has now dropped away.
My suggestion / request is that there be a permanent “cruiser” section in the magazine. My preference would be to have emphasis on, but not restricted to, non-American cruisers. I have no Issue with Harleys or any other brands but there are a number of magazines out there that seem to focus on that brand. It would be good to have some non-biased reading about all cruiser and bagger motorcycles.
I’ve considered having a dedicated cruiser section in the magazine – as you’ve said, ‘Cruiser & Trike’ was absorbed into Australian Road Rider some time ago – but that locks me into finding content even when I don’t have anything worth running, sometimes at the expense of good content which isn’t ‘cruiser’.
The other problem – as a publisher – is that the world is moving away from cruisers. Of the Japanese manufacturers, only Suzuki still has a big bore cruiser, the M109. In other ways, the lines are blurring. Is the Ducati Diavel a cruiser? Some would say yes, others only the XDiavel. Then there’s the retro machines – Bonnevilles, R nineT, W800… So what I’m trying to do with Australian Road Rider is offer a spread of various machines – in issue 152 (out soon) you’ll find the Triumph Speed Twin on the cover and the Suzuki M109 tested, and I got to ride some Harleys during the Softail Experience Tour.
In issue #153 I’ve got the Harley-Davidson Road Glide and the Ducati Diavel 1260. – Ed.
On Bikes and the Moto Guzzi V85TT
It’s been nearly 40 years since I sold my R60/2 beemer. Back then, I found meeting girls to be very difficult, such was the negative impact of only having two wheels as transport (must be a biker). Sale of the beemer funded a trip overseas and I purchased a ‘sensible’ Mazda on my return.
I’d always wanted a bike again however having a family precluded risky two wheeled pursuits. As the years wore on, I thought I’d find a bike like the old R60 as it was smooth and reliable.
The attributes I wanted were sub 1000cc, interchangeable wheels, vibration free motor with strong torque at low rpm, big tank, liquid cooled (as I was in the city a lot at the time) and shaft drive.
Once the children were at uni and there wasn’t room for another car I was permitted to buy a bike – unfortunately not a beemer as they were beyond my budget. The Honda ST1100 was my inspiration to get back to motorcycling but was also out of my reach.
I’ve had a few bikes since then.
Revere (affordable little brother to the ST) Deauville (obvious upgrade), R1150GS (10 years old but in excellent condition) and now an R1200GS LC (new). A slow but deliberate climb up the proverbial ‘shaft drive’ list (having lived with chain drive early on and appreciating minimalist care requirement that shaft drive delivers)
I can appreciate that the tyres for front and rear are different now however the R60 could swap wheels if the drive spline was damaged enroute as the tyres/wheels were the same front and rear. Brake drums were identical though the centre upfront was leading shoe. They were adequate for the conditions of the time.
Now MotoGuzzi has delivered almost what I’ve been looking for all these years.
Similar sized wheels and being tubed can be repaired properly. Punctures would be immediate though not instant if the tyres fit well. Even big cuts (irreparable if it is a tubeless tyre) can be repaired simply and you can carry on. Just carry spare tubes, tyre patch and tube repair kit. Old school but it works.
The smaller bike is easier to manoeuvre and pick up I’d imagine though my mate who purchased one probably wouldn’t appreciate me laying it down just to see if it’s easier than lifting the GS beemer.
The V85 engine is only air and oil cooled however, as I am now retired, I wouldn’t be stuck commuting in summer and water cooling isn’t essential. Not having to worry about fluid cooling is a bonus in the bush.
Big tank means big distances without issue and the design is obviously for comfortably staying in the saddle between fuel stops.
Shame I already have the bigger GS…
I think you’d love the new Guzzi! I disagree with your thoughts about interchangeable wheels and tubeless tyres though, I’d rather have a pair of discs up front and a tall tyre, and a fatter rear tyre. Tubeless is better for Adventure bikes – they require high pressure so they don’t pinch or ding rims, but that can reduce traction, so ABS on the front is good.
Getting wheels out of the bike in the bush sucks. Tubeless repair kits are a much better solution.
Have fun out there, thanks for writing.
On Choosing Bikes and Compromise
Your piece on multiple machines struck a cord as I’ve always maintained that a man needs three (or four) motorcycles but if money is tight then two will do!
In this regard, although I’m more of a Triumph man than a Ducati devotee, my main day-to-day ride is a new Tiger 800 XCx accompanied by a bee-utiful 2013 Speed Triple!
Full house tourers, nah, been there too many times over the years. Large adventure bikes, nah, been there too many times as well. Most are way too heavy for anything but bitumen blasting.
Weight is of the devil… unless you are talking the latest gen Rocket 3 GT, when all could be forgiven!
So, do I hanker for more bikes in the shed? Of course, is the Pope a Catholic?
I seriously want one of those said Rockets to fulfill the “cruiser” in me after having been an eager R3 rider 15 year ago, plus, something more dedicated to the dirt.
I wonder if the wife would notice if I traded my current crop for a Rocket 3, PLUS a new Triumph Scrambler 1200 fitted with knobbies of course, as featured in the last issue of Road Rider!
Oh, I’d have to keep the Speed Triple as I’ve just ordered a SC Project pipe for it, so that’d be my three.
Cheers Mate, Dave
OK, you don’t like weight yet you want a Rocket, Scrambler and Speed Triple? Hmm… it’s all a compromise, isn’t it? I’m willing to compromise the weight of the FJR for the comfort, power and carrying capacity, and I probably ride it like you ride your Speed Triple (or try too).
I’d get cold on your choices in the winter, and my missus would probably only get on the Rocket…
So it’s all a compromise, so I’m glad we have so many choices!
Australian Road Rider