TG Newsletter: BIKE OF THE YEAR
Pirelli Bike of The Year 2017 (11 September 2017)
Can you believe that someone decided that my opinion of a bike is important enough (and even a little bit valid) to be invited as one of this year’s judges on the Pirelli Bike of the Year competition?!?
I felt k@k important!
The competition took place over a weekend in Gauteng and North-West province, taking each of the 15 final contestants out for a spin. On Friday we took the long road around Cradle, Magaliesburg, Rustenburg, Mooinooi (I wanted to go feed my dogs but I was having too much fun on the little SV), Harties, Satelite road; some bleddie bumpy roads, lekker twisties and hard roll-on’s.
Saturday, I bled sweat for four straight hours on the advanced technical track at Gerotek. Not only was it hard to pack 3 laps in on each bike, but… who else can say they can spend a whole day riding amazing bikes for free? I only came into the pits to place my tush on a fresh seat …rest when you’re dead!
We received a judging sheet with points to score these bikes on. Remember that each bike was scored as it would compare to other bikes that looks, smells and braaaaps like it – NOT to the rest of the bikes in this competition.
I had a few pointers of my own that I tallied these beauty pageant ladies on. Even though I know most mechanically minded bikers compare the torque and the ratio and the suspension, etc… I was hoping they selected me as a female judge for my finer senses in things that are shiny. Us chicken-kind criticize one another on our weight, our height and on our make-up. So should be our steeds!
At the end of the weekend, we had to each select our top six princesses. The rest of the girls are placed here in no particular order (well… actually they are – I’m OCD, but not in a judgemental way). Listed below is the result of ALL the judges’ scoring, ending off with the top six selected bikes and the crowning of the queen - SOUTH AFRICA’s BIKE OF THE YEAR.
Myself, I’m ‘aweregs’, so I voted with my heart – not with my mind. The bikes I chugged out, had issues… Issues I didn’t like. My top 6 bikes also had some negative points, but these were masked by the thrill of riding ‘em.
I’m a member of the small unsociable club in SA that likes… no… prefers… SMALL bikes. Our culture (across all the colour lines) here in SA determines that the bikes we want should be the biggest, the loudest, the fastest and the most bad-ass bikes we can afford. My 14 years of experience has created the most memorable moments on leeeetle cheapy ponies. In the pageant world – you can’t be FAT!
Another important criterion was the price tag hanging on their ears. Not that I could afford any of these bikes, but… if I got the stocking over my head, made it out of the bank alive – which one would I buy? And how much does a replacement brake lever cost. Bet ya never asked that question before when you went out buying a new bike!
In the clothing world we all have our preferred brands, be it Pierre Cardin, Polo or Pep. I’ve never been conscious of motorcycle brands, but of late I have followed a few news related stories about brands going the extra mile, making you feel like family and making you want to polish your brand badge before you step out into the street.
Judging is such hard work!
…so, the ladies took to the runway
BMW R 1200 GS RALLYE
Seat Height: 850mm Wet Weight: 244kg Wheels: Spoked, tubeless Price: R242k Looks: New eyeshadow but still the standard GS look Sound: Still the same cough when it starts and the deep thump as it rolls Brand: BMW, the big family where you’re just another kid on the playground Fun Factor: Comfy seat for long roads, enough space to pack everything I own – much like the family sedan
Pageant Question: Who is your role model? Answer: R32, she established the shaft-drive that still inspires me forward today
KAWASAKI Z1000 SX
Seat Height: 815mm Wet Weight: 235kg Wheels: Cast rims Price: R156k Looks: Big and green, like a sea monster Sound: Surprisingly smooth, like a very feminine sea monster Brand: I always said, “One day when I can REALLY ride a bike – I’ll get a ZX10”. Kawasaki still creates that impression that it is only for hooligans Fun factor: A bit too bulky for child’s play but darn it, it’s quick
Pageant Question: What will be your contribution to mitigate global warming? Answer: Unleaded petrol
KTM 1090 Adventure R
Seat Height: 890mm Wet Weight: 230kg (207kg dry) Wheels: Spoked, tubeless Price: R182k Looks: A bit like a chick that likes to bling, but her budget needs her to keep styling simplistic Sound: No deep growl, nothing to scare the elephants away when you creep up to them in the bush Brand: We are all a bit orange, be it because we try to be it or because we try to hide it Fun Factor: It was solid on the track, but the fun would start the moment this puppy smells stof
Pageant Question: What is the essence of a motorcycling? Answer: BRAAAAAPPPP!
Triumph Street Scrambler
Seat Height: 790mm Dry Weight: 206kg Wheels: Spoked with tubes Price: R140k Looks: The only classic in the pack and my, how they have cleaned her up!?! Like wearing an expensive heirloom Sound: Like an old tractor out in the field – LOVED IT! Brand: We are weeping… our family has left us! Fun Factor: I had one and I abused one. I’d gladly abuse another one… I owned an older version of this bike which I called Griet (a well-known donkey in SA’s children stories), but this new donkey has had a few practise laps on the race course. It has shed some weight, and become nimbler. It could dance through the traffic and turn heads at the same time. They have taken the classic look and cleaned it up even more (love the velvety seat). It used to be full of soul… now it’s running over!
Pageant Question: What are the sacrifices you have made for this pageant? Answer: Time, effort and hours of polishing
Ducati Multistrada 950
Seat Height: 840mm (820mm option available) Wet Weight: 214kg (204kg dry) Wheels: Cast rims Price: R176k Looks: Like a very cross hawk. Red has never gone out of fashion Sound: A silky growl from a ‘bigger than you expect’ power under da hood Brand: In the old days I thought Ducati was too high society for me. Not sure if they dropped a class or I went for some etiquette tips – watch me ride red! Fun Factor: The seat height was good, the balancing was good, the standing position was good, the looks were good, the grip was good, on the open road was good, on the track was good, the brakes were good, the stability was good, the traction was good. A soon as you can only use the word ‘good’ when you speak about a bike – you know it ain’t half bad.
Pageant Question: What is your favourite body part? Answer: I’ve got sexy sparkplugs
Seat Height: 795mm Wet Weight: 210kg Wheels: Cast rims Price: R136k Looks: Mad Max fell into a pot of green paint – kids run and hide behind their mom’s dresses Sound: Like the quiet kid in the corner, and then someone twitched his ear!!! Brand: Kawasaki, the group of kids you fear but secretly envy Fun Factor: Did anyone get off this bike and not have a huge grin on their face? If they did, tell them to go ride a Toyota bakkie. FUN! FUN! FUN! It’s a muscular looking streetfighter that prefers its front wheel off the tar. It went straight to superhero status with the twist of the throttle. It turns on the spot and was one of the easiest bikes to ride on the track. On the road, I leap-frogged past the cars as the power was on demand. In a very, very short space in time – you can go very, very fast. Hooligan bike: Leave your brains at home!
Pageant Question: What is your philosophy that you hold dearest in life? Answer: Wheelie ‘till the bleed becomes
SUZUKI GSX-R1000A L7
Height: 825mm Wet Weight: 200kg Wheels: Cast rims Price: R240k Looks: Suzuki disposed of their variety of blue hues and picked up some make-up tips – fashionably spot on! Sound: Like a big cat – cornered! Brand: They are like the hopping mad mal people you like to call Bud! Fun Factor: It’s a big bertha, but she instantly had me miss riding track. She surprised me around the corners
Pageant Question: What is a ‘winner’ for you? Answer: A checkered flag!
YAMAHA YZF R6
Seat Height: 850mm Wet Weight: 189kg Wheels: Cast rims Price: R190k Looks: Sexy drips off this bike! Sound: The moment I pressed the start button there appeared white sparkly teeth inside my helmet. NOTHING sounds like an R6! NOTHING!!! Brand: I was born into this motorcycle world as a Yamaha, yet I know almost nothing of my heritage Fun Factor: It’s a small bullet and would be a demon on the race track. Maybe a bit too young for old bones
Pageant Question: If you were given the chance to live again, what would it be? Answer: I would still be me. There is a sound that I alone can make…
KAWASAKI VERSYS-X 300
Seat Height: 815mm Wet Weight: 184kg Wheels: Spoked with tube Price: R75k Looks: Like no other bike I’ve seen before… maybe that is a good thing? Sound: When I was 6 years old I had a little toy bike that you started by pulling a ring… Brand: They have never offended me – I have never destroyed one of their bikes. We call it a truce Fun Factor: Wind it – wind it – wind it!!! Trust me - don’t trust the brakes…
Pageant Question: If you had to live your life all over again, what part of your life would you change? Answer: My brakes
AND THE TOP SIX FINALISTS ARE…
Indian Scout Sixty
Seat Height: 643mm Wet Weight: 252kg (242kg dry) Wheels: Cast rims Price: R150k Looks: It’s not a bad looking bike, though it would look sjit hot in pink! Sound: Dugdugdugdugdugdug… like a kabouter with a mallet in a big oil drum! Brand: Do they speak foreign? Fun Factor: I would gladly traverse US of A on this bike. The seating was comfortable and the power was ON. It kept up with the sports bikes and made you feel like Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. It’s not meant to go on a track, though everybody took it out and scraped some pegs. I was also impressed with the price – a lot of bike for your bucks. I still wanted to see what it would do on the off-road track, but then the other ninnies…
Pageant Question: What do you think is the greatest environmental problem today? Answer: Potholes
Seat Height: 785mm Wet Weight: 197kg Wheels: Cast rims Price: R98k Looks: You look at this bike and you almost instantly have no expectation. It’s not a good-looking bike, but it’s not a bad looking bike either. It’s a blank canvas – go buy paint! Sound: I can’t even remember what this bike sound like. I only had the ring-ting of ‘fun’ in my ears Brand: When Suzuki offers you a bike for the next 24hr race, you love them like you loved your first boyfriend Fun Factor: Can I write everything in bold font 72? I really struggled to give it back… It’s small, skinny and understated… until you ride it. 216! 216! 216km/h! It wheelies (albeit with a little effort), and I’m sure my best times on the track was with this little bugger. It’s like a vicious Miniature Pinscher… nobody told it that it’s small. A very affordable bike, that in our economic time, should take the market by storm. And apparently, it’s bleddie efficient on fuel!
Pageant Question: How do you see yourself fifteen years from now? Answer: Dusty, dented and in need of a new sprocket, but still turning over
BMW G 310 R
Seat Height: 785mm (770mm option available) Dry Weight: 158kg Wheels: Cast rims Price: R63k Looks: If I had to build a model motorcycle, it would look pretty much like this Sound: The sound needs improvement, but then again… at that price – nothing on this bike needs improvement Brand: There are three gods in this world: God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and BMW (nah… I’m just joking about the spaghetti monster) Fun Factor: I had no interest, until someone told me the price………!!!
Pageant Question: What has been your greatest achievement? Answer: Becoming a candidate for this pageant. My 1200-mother is so proud!
Seat Height: 810mm Wet Weight: 210kg (183kg dry) Wheels: Cast rims Price: R170k Looks: Simplicity! This bike doesn’t need mascara, diamonds or Choo’s. It effortlessly looks supermodel! Sound: The sound!!! I know it was aftermarket pipes, and I know most of the old toppies complained because it was too loud, but to me it was like hearing a lion roar in the dead of the night – frightening, mystical and the advertising jingle of supremacy. Brand: Go in, sit down, have a coffee… somebody will know your name Fun Factor: I had no problem to gooi this bike around the corners, trusting that the wheels would grip and all of this while I was still relatively comfortably seated. Maybe my age is catching up with me (I don’t fancy hooking my knees behind my ears anymore) but this sports bike is more than enough of a ‘superbike’ with a slight toury feeling (I’m Afrikaans – I’m allowed to make up my own words). I don’t think I ever scraped my knees, there was just never a (k)need to dip that low to make the corners. The bike was very stable and smooth, making me feel in control.
Pageant Question: What do you like most about yourself? Answer: My gear indicator
Honda CBR1000RR SP Fireblade
Seat Height: 820mm Wet Weight: 195kg Wheels: Cast rims Price: R300k Looks: Dressed as a superhero – who can go wrong? Sound: It’s past its puberty, its voice has broken to a deep baritone. It sounds throatily cool! Brand: The bikes are smooth, their advertising is smooth… I bet their coffee is smooth. Fun Factor: I’ve always preferred something that says ggrrrrr under my ass, I want to feel like I’m riding something that has commentary as we roll. But not with this Blade… It felt like I was riding a silent sphinx
Pageant Question: What constitutes true beauty? Answer: It is not just being a beautiful motorcycle, but also a beautiful engine. It constitutes cleanliness of fearings, waxiness of chains, and power of throttle
*AND THE WINNER IS…*
KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
Seat Height: 890mm Wet Weight: 240kg (217kg dry) Wheels: Spoked with tube Price: R217k Looks: It looks like the leader of the gang, the captain of the team, the godfather of the mafia Sound: Bionic, Transformer-ish, with a click of a machine gun chucked into the mix Brand: No need to visit the Orange family for a coffee. This machine probably has its own percolator! Fun Factor: Advanced electronics; Dynamic safety features that include lean-sensitive ABS brakes; Tyre-pressure monitoring; Lean-sensitive traction control that can be set to four different modes: Sport, Street, Rain and Offroad; Cruise control; Slipper clutch; LED headlight with integrated cornering light; Adjustable windshield; Remote key system; Luggage racks; 16.5cm TFT display which automatically adjusts its brightness to ambient light; A cellphone compartment with an integrated USB socket to keep your phone charged; Incoming calls links the phone to the bike via Bluetooth
…and if you rub the side of the tank a genie will appear granting you one wish, but after riding this bike your only wish will be to ride MORE!
Pageant Question: If you will be winning the crown today, what would be the very first thing you will do? Answer: Paint the town ORANGE!
Thanx for inviting me!
Now I feel k@kkerer important!
It’s not always just about the fun and adventure of riding a motorcycle – this newsletter takes hours & hours & days & sleepless nights to put together. And on a night like tonight I’m sitting on the farm without electricity, without internet, with a snoring dog at my feet, sucking most of the facts out of my thumb – JUST TRUST ME!
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