New bike era continues with Honda

Honda has recently launched the new 2017 Fireblade and Fireblade SP – about time. Proper new Fireblade since 2008 and its a whole new bike. Engine, frame, electronics, weight saving, quickshifters and dash have all been looked at. Three versions of the bikes will be rolling out of production and hopefully onto a road or track near you soon. The Fireblade RR which is the entry-level, Fireblade SP which sports an electronic suspension package, lighter wheels, Brembo breaks, Titanium fuel tank and an up down quickshifter. Lastly the Fireblade SP in which only 500 will be produced in the next 2 years.

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Fireblade RR and SP

It seems Honda have now entered into the new era of bikes. Lighter curb weights, streamlined fairings, quickshifters, electronic suspensions and more HP seem to becoming the norm. Ever since BMW broke the market with the HP4 electronics package and then made it standard in the S1000RR from 2015 it seems other manufactures have been desperately playing catch up – a bad thing? Not at all, competition is what drives advances in technology and benefits all us riders with better, faster, lighter bikes.

Honda have stepped up to this norm, the new engine has 11 HP more than its predecessor and they have shaved weight on the bike like you can’t believe. A massive 15kg off the previous Fireblade puts this RR and SP as the second lightest bike to the Ducait 1299 (190kg). Curb weight 195kg in perspective the Yamaha R1: 199kg, Suzuki GSXR 1000: 202kg. This weight reduction and new engine performance is meant to give the bike a feeling of a 600cc while keeping the power benefits of a liter bike.

If this marriage of light weight, electronics and power work Honda might be onto something – downfall so far? Must be the HP, with only 189 HP it’s about 10 HP less than the average 1000cc – can this be compensated by the weight reduction I guess we will have to find out.

I cannot wait to see one of these new blades on the road, when I do I will be sure to have my questions ready for the owner – until then we wait

 

Rain, rain and a little more rain

The sun has eluded us in South Africa for the last few day with no near end in sight. The rain has fallen and fallen – and fallen some more. This however is by no means a bad thing, we have been needing the water desperately – some of out dams only reaching 10-20% capacity.

As the week comes to an end and the soaked ground becomes fulled with more drops from the sky the idea that Sundays ride will be cancelled becomes more and more real. A break maybe needed – we have been riding hard the last few weeks – but non the less the run will be missed.

It makes me think of a run we did end of last year, just as summer was approaching – first rain of the season heading our way. It was a early Sunday morning, weather was looking marginal, phone buzzing with messages from my good friend on if we canning the run or not. Having not ridden a few days prior to that we decided we were going to brave the rain and go for it – my word. We both were riding Yamaha R1’s the Big Bang before I got my BMW HP4 – no abs, no slipper clutch, no traction control. I learnt an important lesson that day, first rains present its own problem. See all the oil that had been building up on the road for winter was now being washed down the roads, did it make for good fun? hell yes! – a few oh crap moments? plenty.

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Lola – my beautiful Yamaha R1 Big Bang

 

Rain riding brings another dimension, the road is different, corners change, visibility is reduced, breaking affected. They say that true bikers ride no matter the weather, that might be the case – for me, been there done that. I think for now I will stick to the dry road…… for now

3 Tips for Rain Riding

Tip 1. Ride Smart

Think smooth – change the way to ride the bike. The throttle needs to be advanced and retarded smoothly and in smaller increments. Heavy handed on advancing can easily cause that back wheel to spin and slide – all fun while it lasts.  Breaking is the next big consideration get that breaking done early and smoothly, especially if there is no ABS to help you out – take a big handful of front break and watch that front disappear like Houdini.

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Tip 2. Think Heat

Think heat, heat when it comes to yourself and your bike. Wet + wind = cold, so make sure you have appropriate riding gear for the conditions, nothing worse than being cold and miserable on a bike wishing the ride was over. Something else that is missed is anti fog visor, not pleasant having to lift the visor up in the rain too defog it all the time. Finally the bike – engines will require longer to heat up so give her a good amount of time to get warm before you wack her open – look after the heart of the bike. For me I am running cut slicks for tires on my BMW HP4 – tire heat is a big deal for me as that is where the grip comes from. In the rain tire heat will take much longer to generate and will dissipate quickly from the cold roads.

Tip 3. Visibility

Bikes are hard to see, even in the bright sunlight on a beautiful day. Now add rain, distractions, reduced visibility, misted windows and this becomes a recipe for disaster. Double check all intersections and stop streets before crossing. When stopped at a red light check behind for cars that could possibly not stop before you – we all know this happens even when it is dry. Another big hazard especially in South Africa is water fulled pot holes, these are hard to see when riding and become concealed in the road with all the water. Some guys even loose there whole bike in them – no joke, check the photo below, happened near to where I stay.

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Bike Recovery

“I saw a lot of mud and water and thought I would drive through it slowly, because I didn’t want to get my bike dirty. Next thing I knew I was underwater, it felt like I was drowning,”

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That’s all from me today, where ever you are, what ever you are riding ride safe this weekend everyone. Drop us a like or comment, would be great to hear from you all.

Young Gun Viñales

A name not far from any MotoGP fans mouth at the moment has to be Maverick Viñales. The 22 year old from Spain has been topping the time sheets in the lead up to the 2017 MotoGP season. After what has to be considered a great 2016 season with the new Suzuki team he showed that he could be a contender for the top. Yamaha seeing this have snapped him up, given him the technology and backing needed and the results are starting to speak for themselves. Fastest in Valencia, Sepang and once again top of the time sheets at Phillip Island can the young gun be stopped? With one more official test to be held in Qatar on the 10th March we will all find out soon enough.

For the Viñales fans, we can only hope that these fast paced times will continue through to the upcoming races. Even though he can take the top spot with flying laps race pace will be what counts when the lights go green on race day. His two biggest rivals Rossi and Marquez have shifted there focus from fast flying laps to constant race rhythm. Marquez has spent and incredible amount of time on long runs, especially at Phillip Island racking up a large number of laps.

Another looming question is how will Viñales respond on the track when under pressure by the more experienced likes of Rossi and Marquez? – 2016 season showed that Viñales still had to find some confidence when contending with the veterans. Hopefully looking at his time sheet he sees that in fact he is a top contender and draws confidence from that.

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Phillip Island test – Yamaha’s Vinales followed closely by Honda’s Marquez

Are we witnessing a new rivalry brewing? Is the young gun Viñales going to be able to answer when the likes of Rossi and Marquez have him in their sights? Questions we are all asking – answers awaiting us in the upcoming MotoGP season.

Yes fans this season is going to be one you don’t want to miss, young guns coming up, new bikes hitting the track for the first time ever (KTM), Lorenzo trying his hand at a Ducati – a season of thrills and spills awaits.

Welcome Exhaust Gas

Bikers, speed freaks, adrenaline junkies, bike builders and all round two wheel motor enthusiasts welcome to Exhaust Gas blog. Bit about me (keep it short I promise) Keegan is my name and whether a beautifully designed machine has two or six wheels it captivates my heart. Airline pilot during the week and bike enthusiast the rest, exhaust gasses are never far from me. My bike history ranges from rebuilding old 1942/43 Harley Davidson’s (still in my possession) with my father to dirt bikes, enduros, BMW GS 1200’s, Yamaha R1 and recently into my possession a immaculate BMW HP4 Competition.

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2014 BMW HP4 Competition

The reason for this blog, simple really riding in South Africa there is not a huge amount of blog coverage on latest events, local news, what bikes are riding around, who’s who’s and who’s doing what. So that’s the aim, create a platform where people can get connected, talk bikes, find best products out there and get the latest from around the world. Grab your keyboards and lets see where this journey takes us.

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