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Ride On newsletter - January 2018

By Mario

Coromandel Loop road damage, the Dakar Rally, and other bike related news.

Happy New Year and welcome to your first Ride On newsletter of 2018. Being peak motorcycling time, we hope you're making the most of summer with some rides out, track days and maybe even a Ride Forever course or two. Of course there has been some terrible weather with the dreadful storm in the first week of January. There's a salutary story about that in this newsletter, but if the weather forces you indoors again remember to check out our new online coaching modules on the website.
Online coaching modules

We hope you enjoy this month’s stories and, if you're going to any of the Shiny Side Up events around the country, drop by the Ride Forever stand and say hi.

Short-lived Loop 

Badly damaged Coromandel Loop road caused by January's storm.

Where's the road gone?

The storm after New Year took a terrible toll on the roads around the Firth of Thames, undoing some of the work on the Coromandel Loop. It's a shame, and the roads will not be back to normal for some time, but you can check progress through the NZTA Waikato/Bay of Plenty Facebook page:
Get the latest news on Waikato/Bay of Plenty roads on Facebook

Saved from the storm

The value of wearing proper protective gear has been shown yet again in early January’s storm, as a farmer riding between different parcels of land had a tree come down on him.

First on the scene was a Rotorua nurse who initially thought there was just a downed tree in her path. Only then she saw motorcycle handlebars sticking out from under and feared the worst. As it turned out, the rider only suffered moderate injuries which the nurse put down to him wearing all the right gear.
Read the full article about how the motorcyclist avoided serious injury 

Shiny Side Up is here!

Brittany Morrow pointing to the Shiny Side Up T-shirt she's wearing.

Shiny Side Up's been to Kapiti, but remember there are still more festival dates!

With Nelson and Waikato added for 2108, Shiny Side Up Bike Fest (with October's Kick Start in Canterbury) is pretty much a nationwide event. All the action kicks off in February, starting on the 4th at the Trafalgar Centre, Nelson. Next is Feb 17th at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton; Feb 25th at the Southward Car Museum, Paraparaumu, and March 4th at Alexandra Park, Auckland.

It's an epic day out, with loads of motorcycle-related action, displays, speeches from well-known riders and other figures, plus there's always a sea of interesting machinery in attendance.
Visit the Shiny Side Up Facebook page for more information 

Dakar fever

Dakar Rally competitor poses for photos on a stationary 'bike.

Has anybody got a drink of water?

January, as any self-respecting off-road racing fan knows, is Dakar month. This year, KTM has been looking to claim its 17th straight win against strong factory entries from Husqvarna and Honda, as well as leading privateers.

With a few days to go, and despite losing last year’s winner Sam Sunderland to injury, KTM riders Antoine Meo and Toby Price are both in with a shout. Having started in Lima, the racing will finish in Cordoba, Argentina on the 20th.
Visit the official Dakar Rally website for more information 

New Aussie helmet safety ratings

The UK's SHARP helmet appraisal system has been a valuable resource for a while now, and it's joined by an Australian testing regime called CRASH (Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmets).

There's some variation in ratings vs SHARP, but the more information the better we reckon.
Check out safer motorcycle helmet information on the CRASH website

Vetter 'Mystery Ship' Kawasaki auction

A 1980 Kawasaki 'Craig Vetter' Mystery Ship motorcycle.

Yay, it's the eighties again! (Is that a flock of seagulls in the background?)

In the 1970s and 80s, Craig Vetter was a legend in motorcycle design. In fact, in 1999 he was inducted into the AMA’s Hall of Fame.

One of his most famous designs is the Triumph X-75 Hurricane, but one of the rarest is the Kawasaki KZ1000-based Mystery Ship. Only 10 were built. Applying modern knowledge of motorcycle aerodynamics, it might look a little worrying for high speed work, but it's still a unicorn.

And bike number five, with just 48 miles on the clock, went 'under the hammer' on 27 January, at the Mecum auction in Las Vegas. Sadly, the 'bike sold, so hold that telephone bid:
1980 Kawasaki 'Craig Vetter' Mystery Ship online auction details

European brands grow — others not so much

Medium shot of a motorcyclist riding his 'bike down a hill.

Are 'bike sales going downhill?

After several years of solid growth, world sales of motorcycles hit the skids in 2017 with a decline of 3.2%. But it's not all doom and gloom, with at least three European manufacturers posting sales growth stories.

Ducati ended the year with overall sales up a modest 0.7%, but that hid some dramatic differences between markets. Italy and Spain were up 12% and 28.3% respectively, so some other markets must have taken a tumble.

KTM recorded a massive 17% increase in worldwide sales last year, and in the year to June 2017 Triumph sales boomed by nearly 12.8%. BMW, Royal Enfield and Indian are all smiling too, so clearly someone else is hurting. 

Until next time, or catch us at SSU!

While you're enjoying a great summer's riding, why not book in for some Ride Forever coaching to make it even better? Remember, courses are only $20 or $50 and they qualify you for a discount on your motorcycle insurance with many providers.
Book your Ride Forever on-road coaching

Come and see us at one of the Shiny Side Up events and we may even be able to sweeten the deal further ;-). 

Stay safe, have fun and we'll have more for you in the next issue of Ride On.