Nite-X Urban Night Enduro: Offroad and Adventure
This is a first, especially in South Africa – a night enduro race under floodlights in the middle of Randburg, known as NiteX Racing. It was put together by Michael Puzey and his gang from Biker’s Warehouse, who conveniently have an enduro track on the open land next to their shop, and the fellows from Enduro World, who have experience in race organisation with their successful Enduro World Cross Country Series.
Hundreds of people gathered, many of them within walking distance of their houses, to watch racers doing three lap heat races culminating in the finals around the marked-out circuit.
They had a Pro and Expert class, which is confusing because technically those words are synonyms, but at least this way everyone felt special. Enduro World’s own Kyle Erasmus won the Pro Class after Brian Capper, who had been dominant all night, made a mistake in one of the mudholes and had to settle for third. In a close second place was 12 times motocross champion Richie van der Westhuizen, who had never seen the track before his first heat race, yet still managed to hold front runner pace by the time the finals came. Erasmus, vd Westhuizen and Capper made it an all Yamaha podium.
In the Expert Class, lady racer Kirsten Landman took a win on her KTM, dominating her heat races and the final, beating Rudolf Pretorius who finished second and Natascha Rugani who was third.
What was more impressive than anything was that people could drive a few minutes from their house and watch invigorating enduro racing while the sun set over the Randburg Skyline.
View the full 2016 calender here.
East 2 West Bikers Boys: Part Two
By Glenn Foley, Dirt Magazine September 2016
Day 2… “Nothing behind us, everything ahead of us, as is ever so on the road.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road.
Off again, Mark looking a bit bruised but raring to go – a quick breakfast and back into Kita traffic we arrived in the night before.
A very different day to yesterday, once we left the traffic behind and 2 hours out at a town called Nyeri where we stopped to refuel. A little snippet of information, Nyeri is famous for the Outspan Hotel where Lord Baden Powell started the “Boy Scouts Movement”.
Then off through the rift valley which is really two deep valleys. We saw the geothermal rigs which are developing Kenya’s thermal power capacity and we stopped on the Laikipia Plains with an absolutely clear view of the magnificent Mount Kenya. The highest point we reached on the ride was 9003ft!
Paul ran out of breath and the bikes out of steam! Then on to Nyahururu where we stopped for coffee and visited Thompson’s falls and to the equator where we had picnic lunch and took photos.
A relatively easy day, (which Mark was very grateful for) with beautiful scenery and pleasant temperatures and very little traffic after the first two hours. To finish the day, Malcolm changed character and insisted he lead us into Eldoret at below the speed limit for the last 80km, as the local police have a reputation of being particularly vigilant!
We arrived at the Boma Inn at 17h00 making it another long day. The team had some time to work on a few snags that had showed up on some of the bikes – we are still struggling with the bike-to-bike comms and so a few of the techno-wizards in the team have been scratching their heads to try get everyone connected. All in all another great day in Africa and tomorrow’s 160km to the Ugandan border brings a new day and another country.
Day 3… The end of the beginning!
Day three is behind us and another 626km and 12.5 hours for Mark, Rob, Quinton, Charles and Paul. Mike and Rolfe, with Ralph and Cyrille who stayed behind to help, took 14.5 hours after Rolfe’s biek broke down just outside Lira.
Sheila with Noeleen and Kirsty got in on 13 hours after stopping off to hand out shirts, caps and soccer balls to 4 groups of mums and children from the Ugandan Langi tribe who were internally displaced during the Joseph Kona war (LRA) which started in 1986 and is still simmering in parts of DRC and the CAR.
The day started with a quick breakfast and an early and fresh 06h30 start from our hotel and a 30 minute drive to Turbo where we were welcomed by the One Heart Foundation band, staff and children. The foundation was started during the 2007/2008 election violence which displaced and orphaned many children in that region. The foundation houses and schools 75 children and aspires to get to 100. We were spoilt with the school band and choir, which was amazing – no music, just beautiful young voices all singing in harmony. Philippe handed out a donation to support the securing of further ground and completion of another school wing. The foundation holds the belief that “together we can end the poverty cycle … one child at a time” – I urge to look up their website and see just what good work is being done at http://www.oneheartchallenge.org/
Then to Kenya – Uganda border which, supported by the Freight Forwarders team, was a very smooth experience. One bit of information – it takes 48 hours on a good day to get a truck through the border post and we have approximately 120 a week travelling through to Kibali from Mombasa!
So we got across the border at 14h00 with another 440km to go and that takes character! Anyway, despite the challenges with Rolfe’s bike, we all got into the Bwana Tembo lodge on the edge of Lake Albert and, after a cold Nile special beer, all went away.
Dinner was a fantastic fillet with great wine – thanks again to the Randgold logistics team. We were joined by Robin, another amazing person who joined the Family Care NGO in 2001. Again it was a privilege to be able to support the great work being done with orphans, children and child soldiers and disadvantaged children. It is run by full-time non-salaried volunteers, thrilled with the potential of Uganda and working together with others to make a difference. Check out the website: http://familycareuganda.com/
We think today was tough but it has nothing in comparison to what the children we have met have been through. We thank you all who have given so generously in helping us to support those special people across Africa that work so hard to save our children and the mothers of our special continent who are neglected and so often abused by society!
Tomorrow we get through the border into DRC and leave the tar roads behind for a few weeks. Read the full article here.
East 2 West Bikers Boys: Part One
By Glenn Foley, Dirt Magazine August 2016
A few issues back, we featured the custom Adventure 701 by Biker’s Warehouse. The bikes were about to be shipped off for the East to West trip – a charity fund raiser trip through 3 countries from the east coast to the west coast of Africa. 9000kms through Kenya, Uganda and the DRC. Mike has brought back so many great pics and info that we are going to have to break the trip up over a couple of months.
This ride was put together by Mark Bristow and his team at Rand Gold resources. The trip was 2 years in the planning. Mark runs and owns if not the biggest Gold mine in the world “Kibali” in the DRC Congo. Mark has done other similar oyz on Bikes trips in the past years mainly on roads around Africa from top to bottom.
This was the first trip planned across the continent of Africa and was a truly epic off-road event.
• Mark Bristow – JHB (Mauritius resident)(‘Papa Bristow’ – Team leader and organiser)
• Rob Alexander – Pietermaritzburg
• Paul Weingartz – Cape Town (‘Smoky Mountain’)
• Quinton Warne – Vereeniging (‘Are we there yet’)
• Rolf Brauteseth – Benoni (‘I’ll knock you out’)
• Charles Wells – JHB
• Mike Puzey – JHB (‘Super Fly’)
Mark set up in Congo a Charity foundation for the 2016 ride and raised over 2.8 million $US for women and children affected by war. The foundation ‘Nois vies en Partage’ closely manages the centres that get support. They have performance targets to achieve further donations. Many stops were made on the ride to donate to rehabilitation centres hand selected by Mark.
All bikes, gear and travel were funded by the owners to ensure 100% of the charity goes to the women and kids supported by the foundation. Many sponsors were involved in the trip helping with support and large funding for the trip. Many government clearances and much support was given for this event so it’s something very unique – not a ride that could be repeated easily.
East to West involved 9000kms mainly off road bike riding 3 countries – Kenya, Uganda and Congo. Indian Ocean to Atlantic Ocean across the Equator of Africa. As far as I’m aware, it’s never been done before.
The Bikes’ tyres touched both oceans Indian and Atlantic. We did 9000kms in 28 days – average days were 12 – 15 hours of tough riding. (320km per day average). The bikes did 180+ hours with a combined mileage of 62,000km on one set of tyres.
These countries are remote places and no-one has crossed east to west Africa since Stanley explored it in 1865. The Belgians left DRC in 1961 so the place has totally collapsed in the last 50 years. It has reverted to the Rural ways as of 250 years ago. More than 70% of the trip was done on paths and tracks that do not exist on Garmin.
Modified Husqvarna 701’s were the choice of bike for this adventure. Biker’s Warehouse undertook all of the workmanship on the seven bikes.
Biker’s Warehouse sells standard factory 701 Husqvarna models and TWP modified versions:
A Rally Kit modified version for off road desert racing and an Adventure model for proper adventure bike trips. The Adventure model is not for racing but rather aimed for normal and hard core terrain trips, the bike will go anywhere! Read the full article here.
Max Nagl second overall at GP of Great Britain
Max claims fifth podium result of the season at Matterly Basin
Taking advantage of a strong moto two performance Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl wrapped up round 11 of the Motocross World Championship with a second place overall result at the GP of Great Britain.
Showing impressive speed around a fast Matterley Basin track the German star started the weekend securing a runner-up spot in MXGP’s qualifying race. With track conditions deteriorating for Sunday’s motos, Nagl was unable to get a good start in the first moto. Struggling to find passing spots he rode a smart moto to cross the line in seventh place.
Nagl lined up for the second MXGP moto knowing he had the speed to battle for the top. Powering his FC 450 to a strong start he took a clear holeshot and led the race for the first six laps. With rain coming into play halfway through the race he opted not to take any unnecessary risk and allowed Tim Gajser to pass. Crossing the line as a runner-up he placed himself on the MXGP podium for the fifth time this season.
Racing in front of his home crowd, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s MX2 rider Max Anstie kicked off the GP of Britain winning the qualifying race on Saturday afternoon. Unable to make good use of his advantageous starting position in moto one the Brit had to battle from 15th at the end of the first lap to an eventual eight place finish.
Getting a much better start in moto two Anstie stayed close to the leading group to finish in fourth position. Earning fifth overall at his home GP he also climbed to seventh in the class’ championship standings.
Enjoying the most successful GP of his rookie season in the Motocross World Championship Conrad Mewse secured an impressive seventh overall MX2 class result. Getting a great start in moto one the 16-year-old Brit stayed in the battle for the top three for the first seven laps before settling for a strong fifth place finish. Equally fast in moto two he got another strong start and went on to secure ninth at the chequered flag.
With Thomas Covington finishing 10th overall in MX2 it meant all three Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MX2 riders were placed inside the class’ top ten. In just his second GP back to action Covington rode a solid moto one for sixth and went on to wrap up the GP of Great Britain with 17th in moto two.
For Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s MXGP rider Christophe Charlier the GP of Great Britain ended with the Frenchman earning 17th place in the overall class standings. Getting a good start in the opening moto Christophe rode a sold moto to end 12th. Showing he had the speed to fight for the top ten the Frenchman frustratingly saw his chances of a good moto two result vanish after crashing in the first corner. Battling his way from the back of the pack he finished moto two in 21st.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team will return to action at round 12 of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Mantova, Italy on June 25/26. Read the full article here.
Biker’s Warehouse’s Rallye 701’S: Dirt and Trail
The ride is a challenging cross-continental ride which will start on the east coast at Mombasa in Kenya on 1 June 2016 and end at Matadi in DRC on the west coast at the end of that month, having passed through or around the dense equatorial Congolese jungle as well as the origins of the Congo and Nile rivers, a 7 500 kilometre passage, apparently never attempted on motorbike before.
Titled Safari Kwa Afrika Bora, Swahili for Journey for a Better Africa, the 2016 ride aims to raise $3 million for the Nos Vies en Partage Foundation, an independent charitable foundation set up by Randgold in 2014, and headed by the company’s former chairman Philippe Lietard, which is mandated to help fight poverty in Africa, with a particular focus on needy women and children that have been left behind by their society. Previous rides raised $2.5 million, which has been distributed to more than 55 entities in 15 different African countries.
The ride will pass through the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the foundation has already committed itself to the support of projects designed to support abused women and rehabilitate child soldiers as part of that country’s post-conflict reparation programme.
Anyway – the guys from Biker’s Warehouse were tasked with the supply and build of the bikes that are suitable for a grand adventure of this nature. The light, nimble 701’s fit the bill, Mike and his team then set about making them adventure ready…
We went to check them out at the Nite-X track just off Malibongwe Drive. Given that very little has been made for the 701’s just yet, they employed the skills of some of the best craftsmen in SA to fulfil the task.
One of the most important factors is the fuel range – and Mike Puzey himself designed the long range tanks using cardboard templates on either side of the bike. These were fitted, tweaked, sworn at, retweaked, trimmed, retrimmed, sworn at again – and transferred to lightweight aluminium plate. These were neatly welded into 5 litre a side long range fuel tanks. Riding the bike, you realise how cunning the design is – the bike still feels and looks quite narrow – a lot less bulky than you would expect. The standard fuel tank, which doubles as a polyamide sub-frame, is one litre bigger than the KTM’s, at 13 litres, add the side tanks and you have a total of 23 litres to play with.
The next issue would have to be crash protection. For this task, the boys employed the services of Rumbux, they guys who are responsible for literally thousands of aftermarket solutions in South Africa. They measured and hummed, hawed micro metred and got the hack saws and welders out.
The resultant skid plated, crash guards and pannier mountings are world class, testimony to how skilled this Pretoria outfit is. It looks and fits like factory finish. To protect the levers from the inevitable tumble, Biker’s selected the almost bulletproof Cycra handguards. Engine casings have undergone the Hyde products touch with Hyde Carbon Fibre covers mounted on the clutch and generator covers. The bar mounted Micro screens were manufactured in-house and are available as a bolt-on extra at Biker’s Warehouse.
Not too much fiddling with the electrics, but they have mounted some very bright LED spots on either side of the headlamp – riding late on adventures like this is often inevitable. They have also mounted a very neat USB charger to run the GPS and charge bits and bobs like cell phones and camera’s alongside the Scotts steering damper.
Their choice of tyre – the Metzeler Karoo 3 a well known, well rated tyre. All in all a very neat job. The designs are practical and they do not interfere with the feel and function of the 701. AND, when you are done with that adventure, you can simply unbolt it all and use your bike for weekends and commuting again.
We’ll do a follow up feature on the bikes and this event when they return in a month or so. Next year, there will be an extra bike so that we can tag along…
Any queries, give the guys at Biker’s Warehouse a call. (011) 795-4122.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Graham Jarvis
Four eventful days of hard enduro racing end with yet another podium result for extreme enduro star, April 2016
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Graham Jarvis has finished second overall at the first running of the Minas Riders Hard Enduro Rally held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Starting the event as favourite for victory together with eventual winner Alfredo Gomez, Jarvis remained in the hunt for the win right up until the closing stages of the fourth and final day.
On day one Jarvis lead the field of riders out onto the fresh tracks in and around Belo Horizonte as others pushed hard to catch him. With the day ending with a city prologue Graham opted to ‘ride steadily’ and ended the day five minutes behind Spaniard Gomez.
Jarvis turned up the heat on day two, taking the win by two minutes from Gomez at the end of a 160-kilometre day. Second to start Graham came close to drowning his bike but his efforts saw him make significant inroads into Gomez’ lead.
Day three was a demanding one, with all competitors battling their way back to Belo Horizonte from the overnight stopover in Oro Preto. First to start as he had on day one, Jarvis remained out front up until the mid-way point of the day. Caught by Gomez, the experienced Husqvarna star nevertheless made it to the top of the day’s ending hill climb first but ended the day in the runner-up position.
Giving the final day his all Jarvis’ bid for victory was halted when he ran out of fuel. Fortunately receiving assistance from Austria’s Lars Enockl he was able to make it to the finish and earn a well-deserved runner-up result.
Graham Jarvis: “It was always going to be tough to pull a victory out of the bag on the final today. But I’m pleased enough to end the Minas Riders in second overall. To be fair Alfredo has been riding well all week so he’s earned this win. My week was a little mixed. On day one Alfredo pulled too much time on me and from then on it’s been a bit of a battle to reel him back in. Winning day two was great, I rode well there but with some changes to the course on day three I lacked a few extra hard sections to claw back some more time. Day four was a bit unlucky for me. I understood that we were to ride this no help Gold zone twice, which I did, but I think I was mistaken. It resulted in me running out of fuel about 15 minutes from the finish line. Luckily, I’d earlier given Lars Enockl my wire cutters so when he came past he returned the favour by giving me some of his fuel to get me home. A big thanks to my mechanic Damien and all the team for their support this week.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna fired up for Enduro World Championship success
Four-rider team set to take on 2016 EWC series, April 2016
Featuring a strong mix of championship winners and up-and-coming youngsters Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing are looking forward to a successful start to their 2016 FIM Enduro World Championship campaign, which kicks off this weekend in Agadir, Morocco.
Under the guidance of team manager Andi Hölzl all four official team riders will be aiming for victory in three different classes of the Enduro World Championship. Making a switch to Husqvarna’s FE 450, reigning Enduro 3 world champion Mathias Bellino will spearhead the team’s efforts by contesting the Enduro 2 class. Well prepared and as determined as ever, the Frenchman is hungry for further championship winning success.
Back to full fitness following knee surgery at the end of last year, Danny McCanney has his sights set on challenging for a debut senior title in Enduro 1. Gelling well with his new Husqvarna FE 250 the Manxman aims to come out swinging when the season kicks off in Agadir.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Enduro 1 team is completed by Austria's Pascal Rauchenecker. Switching to enduro from national and international motocross, the 22-year-old has been working hard ahead of the EWC’s first event and is aiming high during his first season of international enduro competition.
Stepping up from the 125cc Youth class where he clinched six race wins and an overall runner-up championship result in 2015, Spain’s Josep Garcia will move to the Enduro Junior class for 2016. With class wins in his national enduro championship already to his credit, the FE 250 4-stroke mounted rider is looking to turn his hard winter preparations into winning results when the championship gets underway. Read the full article here.
Biker's Warehouse launch the new 2016 Husqvarna 701
By News Editor - ZA Bikers, January 2016
The stunning new 2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro and Supermoto motorcycle were both launched at a colourful evening at Mike Puzey’s Bike Warehouse off Malibongwe Drive in Randburg on Tuesday night.
Both Fred Fensham Husqvarna’s Brand manager for South Africa and Mike Puzey CEO for Bikers Warehouse and the Puzey Motor Corporation opened the evening, introducing the new models and details where Husqvarna were planning to go with the new models.
Fred told the media and customers that internationally Husky had already way exceeded the target for last year and was looking at doing the same for 2016 with their current range and the new models.
“Our successes throughout the world in the off-road sector motocross, Supercross, Enduro and off road has been outstanding and this new range has added to our success overseas and will soon make an impact locally, our local racing has been really good with some great results for 2015,” said Fensham “This year has also started with a bang with our first opening round win in the National USA Supercross Series and a good finish in round 2, so we are certainly up there with the best in MX. Our great 3rd place overall for the Dakar has also put us on the map amongst the best when it comes to off road endurance racing so we are looking forward to a great year in 2016” he went on to say.
The 2016 Husqvarna MX Team was also announced by Fred on the evening with a number of top riders who will complete in all the classes.
Mike Puzey announced that Bikers Warehouse will be making up and stocking an Adventure and Rally model of the new 701 along with the great range of accessories that would be available for both models, he also revealed a 4 week trip across Africa travelling from East to West that was planned for the new 701 Husky’s, a trip that has never been done before on a motorcycle, from Mombasa to Kinshasa.
“I am excited on what we have this year and looking forward to 2017 with the new Husqvarna Retro Scramblers that will be coming from the factory at the end of this year or early 2017, I think we are in for a very interesting 2016,” said Mike Puzey.
Bike review: TVS Apache RTR 180
Wheels 24 January 2016. By Dries van der Walt
Wheels24 bike guru tests the new Dries Van Der Walt as he tests the TVS Apache RTR 180.
"Among SA workaday machines it more than holds its own at a very attractive price," writes Dries Van Der Walt as he tests the TVS Apache RTR 180. Take a look...
Dries Van Der Walt
Johannesburg - While sport and adventure bikes get the lion’s share of attention, the humble commuter bikes quietly go about the business of taking people to work and on errands quickly and economically.
The sector’s reputation has unfortunately suffered because of cheap and badly-built bikes from the East, which has also hurt more reputable non-Japanese offerings like the Indian-made TVS and Bajaj bikes.
One such a bike is the TVS Apache RTR 180, a solid little urban commuter importer and distributed by Puzey Motor Corporation.
The bike is driven by a 177.4 cm³ single-cylinder engine, and – unusual on a bike in this price class – Roto Petal 270mm disc brakes with ABS. Styling-wise it has the insectoid headlight assembly that has become a standard cue on naked bikes, with plastic trim panels along the tank and a neat little belly-pan to make it’s appearance less workmanlike.
A generous single-piece seat allows sufficient space for a pillion passenger, with two cantilever grab-handles and a smattering of carbon-fibred look-alike trim pieces to complete the look.
Size-wise it is not likely to be mistaken for anything bigger, but it still offers reasonably comfortable accommodation for an averaged-sized South African. The seating position is typical of a commuter bike: relaxed and upright with only the slightest hint of forward lean.
The fairly compact size means that it is narrow and light, making the RTR a breeze to take through traffic. In fact the one thing I missed most after returning it was its nimbleness and effortless manoeuvrability.
Fairly quick off the mark:
Despite its small engine, the RTR is fairly quick off the mark if you give it a handful of throttle, leaving the urban traffic behind with relative ease. In town you never feel that the bike is particularly under-powered, and it is perfectly happy to cruise at up to 110km/h. Above that the engine feels and sounds a little strained, although the bike is capable of a top speed of about 121km/h with sufficient patience. Engine vibration becomes a problem when you take it out of its comfort zone, but in urban commuting it’s much less intrusive. Handling and braking are perfectly up to scratch, and at no time during the review did I feel that the RTR was in over its head.
The instrument panel consists of a blue backlit digital display for the speedo, fuel gauge, odo and clock, and an analogue rev counter which includes warning lights for low fuel, service interval and battery charge error. The switches on the handle bar as as simple as can be, with indicators and dim/bright on the left, and the starter button, engine stop and headlight switches on the right. The headlight itself is bright enough for night riding, and it features LED positioning lights, contributing to making you and the bike more visible to oncoming traffic.
The RTR is no match for the sportier small bikes, but those are considerably more expensive. However, among local workaday machines it more than holds its own at a very attractive price. TVS bikes have a reputation for reliability in their native land, so there is no reason to think that they won’t last well in South Africa’s less demanding conditions. If you are in the market for a solid, inexpensive and economical commuter bike, you should definitely place the TVS Apache RTR 180 on your short list.
Go electric with Puzey
December 2015. Leisure Wheels
The new range of Puzey Uber Scoot PTVs, which consist of a selection of five electric scooters and one petrol powered unit, is now available in SA.
The electric models range from 100 watt to 1200 watt in power and start at a price of R2999. The top of the range 1200 watt scooter retails for R12990.
The petrol powered 70X costs R8490 and is fitted with a 71cc two-stroke engine with the Puzey-designed two-speed gear box and disc brakes. All models are available with seats, which are foldable, except in the 1200 watt full scooter model.
“This range is our most diverse and dynamic so far,” says Mike Puzey. “These units cater for recreation, commuting short distances, sport and transport. They are ideal for families living in a townhouse complex, holiday homes, factories and building sites.”
“The units can be folded and transported anywhere. They are safe, super quiet and very economical. Depending on the size of the unit, they can run between 12km and 60km on one charge.”
South Africa's first locally designed and manufactured motorcycle
September 2015 by Digby Wesson
Developed by South African whiz kid Mike Puzey, the BRM 300 is the first ever South-African manufactured motorcycle. Powered by the Italian TM engine, this 2-stroke race machine has made some waves in the market place, in events against world-famous race-winning brands, holding its own and even out-performing many competitors in its class in tests. It proved itself at the Roof of Africa 2012, and surprised the media when it was tested; the PUZEY BRM 300 has to be the best value-for-money 2-stroke 300 enduro motorcycle in the country.
“The goal was to design and built an affordable South African production dirt bike, using all the best trick components available to us, we were really pleased with outcome as were the media testers,” said Mike Puzey.
“The BRM 300 came out tops in all the tests, I think surprising them in the way it performed, the stock features include a Gripper seat, billet wheels, Pro Taper bars, Brembo Hydraulic clutch. Big radiators – with a fan fitted standard, braided brake lines – twin pot stoppers up front and a single pot out back, Spider grips, Cycra Brush guards. The plastics are identical to those on the top factory models. The brake calipers and wheels are top quality. The disc protectors are unique and really work better than most of the competitors. Our stock tank holds 9.5 litres of fuel – good for a range of around 80km, we also have a secondary bolt-on aluminium tank available that holds an extra 3 litres, that mounts neatly just above the engine,” said Puzey.
Going this route with the BRM 300 allowed Puzey to have all the parts for this motorcycle which are readily available. Another unique feature and a first in the industry is Puzey’s patented cam-adjust system, which raises and lowers the seat height according to what ones needs.
So what’s the bike like, we took an extract from Glenn Foley’s Dirt & Trail test that’s says it all.
“From a stylish and build point of view – this bike is reminiscent of the latest Maico’s. The guys from Puzey have used ideas and components from all over – and we recognised more than 1 or 2 mainline brand bits on the bike.”
She feels a tad portly compared to other 300cc 2-strokes – but we do like the fact that the seat height can be adjusted – nice for people with shorter legs. The kick started is perfect with a good stroke and she fired up easily after a few kicks. The stock HGS pipe emits a wicked howl when you hit the throttle. The clutch is lekker soft, snick her into gear and you take off…
Take off is the right word, this bike is a rocket, but thanks to some clever mechanical and electronic trickery, Puzey has managed to really tame the TM engine down – so it is incredibly user friendly. If you need torque for climbing, the engine delivers oodles of just that. If you want a fast ride, open the throttle, flick through the gears and you’ll soon be doing Mach 4 or so. You also have a mapping switch – map 1 for the fast stuff – map 2 for more torque – and you can feel the difference. The gearbox is slick, handling is predictable. The suspension is really good – turns out that the forks are Showa cartridges, with specialised inners designed by Mike Puzey himself. We did notice that it has been set up by ace suspension tuner Hilton Hayward; they felt really good – quite soft, which is great for the more tricky stuff – and it never got out of shape while we rode it. The rear monoshock is fully adjustable with a remote reservoir – so you can have it all set up to your specific needs.
The conclusion, we rode everywhere from some tricky rocky sections, through rivers, over mountains and – of course on some really fast winding sections. We’ll say it again – take any preconceived notion that you have about alternative bikes and chuck them out of the window. This one feels as good as anything out there. It did not overheat, it never battled to start – it was an absolute pleasure to ride. – Glenn Foley
The Puzey workshop will build this motorcycle on special requests and confirmed orders placed.
“We still have a few in stock and some orders for the BRM 300 Motard machine, it will certainly make a very quick Motard unit with its lively 2 stroke power plant.” “All the BRM’s are fully race prepped, the current stock will be on sale at the old price R 58 999 (incl. VAT).” “All units built on special orders will include exhaust and radiator guards together with the standard race-spec disc sprockets, rear brake guards, hand guards and radiator fan. Plus a long-range fuel tank as optional extra, we will be announcing the new BRM 300 pricing soon,” said Mike Puzey.
For more information on the BRM 300 call Puzey Bikers Warehouse, Mike or his sales team on 011 795 4122
Puzey's Benelli Trek Amazonas 1130, the most underrated adventure tourer
September 2015 by Digby Wesson
NOW ON SPECIAL AT THE BIKERS WAREHOUSE, THE TREK AT R 99 999 AND THE TREK AMAZONAS AT R 104 990, LIMITED STOCKS AARE AVAILABLE AT THIS PRICE
Conceived to take you off road, the Benelli Trek Amazonas 1130 shares attributes of the Trek, yet is further equipped with the latest fully adjustable long travel suspension. It is undoubtedly the “Go anywhere, do anything” motorcycle, introducing the rider to a new style of expedition.
This high torque Adventure Tourer motorcycle is perfect for the rider who doesn’t stop where the tarmac ends, with power to lead you exactly where you want to go. If you believe the Amazonas is exclusively an off road motorcycle, you are wrong as it has handling characteristics on the tarmac that are very similar to that of a sports bike and the comfort of a Tourer.
The extended suspension travel coupled with Excel spoked wheel rims, allow you to tackle any journey and enjoy the generous power of the three cylinders, whose characteristic of low to mid torque delivery is very impressive, unmatched in its class. The streamlined design is that of a motorcycle born to travel and eat up the kilometers, thanks to a softer suspension, a longer 6th gear ratio, 3 way adjustable front screen and the push button twin setting maps delivering smooth power delivery for changes in conditions. But as much as anything quantiﬁable about the Amazonas, the intangible beneﬁt of gloating comes with owning one, owning one or test riding one will certainly allow you to experience just how good this Benelli Amazonas is and what it is capable of.
The frame is designed to resist every shock in any situation. An easy ride and sensitivity to reactions were the targets of Benelli’s technicians during the project and testing.
The new position of the radiator allows high thermal exchanges at low speed and during off road use, all designed and made to improve reliability.
The rear end is designed to guarantee the best stability and the easiest way to ride without losing comfort or suspension reaction.
The Benelli 1130 Trek Amazonas not only tackles the rougher stuff well, but also does it with Italian flair and panache. It doesn’t have all the electronic gadgets that its competitors have but it also doesn’t cost near as much, the Amazonas has the added a bash plate, wave discs, longer adjustable suspension and hand guards and cost a mere cost of R 104 990 and the standard Trek at R99 999. Many of the international journalists openly say both models are a lot prettier than the opposition models.
The Trek features the same 1131cc three-cylinder engine found in all other Benelli’s and it’s made in their Italian factory at Pesaro.
The engine is detuned in power from 118kW to 94kW and the torque is reduced from 120 Nm to 112 Nm, but the power and torque curves give more emphasis to the low to midrange revs with the maximum torque coming on song at 5000rpm.
This gives it a more tractable feel on dodgy back roads and makes touring that much more comfortable and stress-free.
There is also a power control button which is a feature of all Benelli’s. In standard mode it provides smooth acceleration response without any loss of peak power, while performance mode livens up the throttle response. You can switch between the two on the fly and it defaults to the last position when you next start the bike.
Like most adventure bikes, you sit high (850mm and 880mm for the Amazonas), there is also no problem getting both feet flat on the ground which is hugely important feature.
There is a handsome layout with an instrument pod way out in front so you get good vision of the LCD screen and dials.
On top is perched a stylish windscreen that can be adjusted to three positions with the turn of some knobs. You have to stop to make the adjustments, but it’s quick and easy. The seat is well contoured with firm but fair cushion for the sit-up riding position.
The wide bars can be adjusted and at their highest point they can still be easily reached, they are comfortable while standing and sitting.
The suspension features non-adjustable Marzocchi forks on the Trek, but adjustable on the Amazonas, while the Sachs rear shock is adjustable for pre-load and rebound on both models the limiting factor for off-road riding will be the rubber. Up front it has a 43 cm wheel with road-oriented rubber, while the rear has a 180 section.
It’s a good most-roads Tourer with a 22-litre tank, optional panniers and comfortable pillion seat.
The Benelli Amazonas Trek 1130 retails for R 104 990 and the standard Trek for R99 999.
For more information call Mike Puzey or his sales staff on 011 795 4122 or visit their showroom.
Puzey BRM 300: SA’s first locally assembled motorcycle
September 2015 by Les Stephenson
What’s believed to be the first South African-designed and built motorcycle is now available – the BRM 300 two-stroke developed by Mike Puzey.
Powered by an Italian TM engine, this two-stroke race machine has made some waves in the market place, in events against world-famous race-winning brands, holding its own and even out-performing many competitors in its class in tests.
Puzey said the bike had already proved itself on the 2012 Roof of Africa and surprised the media when it was tested. He added: “It has to be the best value-for-money two-stroke 300 enduro motorcycle in the country.
“Our goal was to design and built an affordable South African production dirt bike using all the best trick components available to us. We are really pleased with outcome.”
Among its stock features, Puzey adds, are a Gripper seat, billet rims, Pro Taper bars, Brembo hydraulic clutc, big radiators with a fan, braided brake lines – twin-pot front, single rear – Spider grips and Cycra brushguards.
“The plastics,” Puzey added, “are identical to those of top factory models. The brake callipers and wheels are top-quality with disc protectors that work better than most of the competitors.
“Our stock fuel-tank holds 9.5 litres – good for about 80km – but we have a secondary three-litre bolt-on aluminium tank that mounts neatly just above the engine.” So what’s the bike like? Puzey punted these extracts from Glenn Foley’s Dirt & Trail magazine ride-test: “From a style and build point of view this bike is reminiscent of the latest Maicos. The guys from Puzey have used ideas and components from all over – we recognised more than a few main-brand parts on the bike.
“She feels a tad portly compared to other 300cc two-strokes – but we did like that the seat height is adjustable. The kick-start is perfect with a good stroke… she fired up easily. The stock HGS pipe emits a wicked howl when you twist the throttle.
“The clutch is lekker soft, snick her into gear and you take off…”
The review continued:
“The bike has a mapping switch – Map 1 for the fast stuff, Map 2 for more torque. The gearbox is slick, handling is predictable. The suspension is really good – the forks are Showa cartridges with inners designed by Puzey.
“It had been set up for our test by ace suspension- tuner Hilton Hayward and felt really good – quite soft, which is great for the more tricky stuff – and it never got out of shape.
“The rear monoshock is fully adjustable with a remote reservoir – so you can have it all set up to your specific needs.”
Foley said he took the bike everywhere – “over rocks, through rivers and across mountains and of course on some really fast winding sections”.
“It felt as good as anything out there. It didn’t overheat, never battled to start – it was an absolute pleasure to ride.”
The Puzey workshop will build bikes to order though does have ready stock.
And the base price? A buck short of R60 000.
For more information call Puzey Bikers’ Warehouse 011 795-4122
Basic Brilliance – The BSE 250: Dirt and Trail
With the cost of mainline motorcycle brands soaring, people are often on the lookout for more affordable alternatives. At 20k, this is one of them. We took it for a spin.
Few Chinese importers are as pro-active as the bunch from Puzey’s Bikers Warehouse in Randburg. They are constantly on the prowl for good for SA bikes at a reasonable price. This KTM lookalike is really good bang for your buck …
It’s powered by an air-cooled four stroke 250cc engine that looks and sounds ominously like the motor found in the famous red 230 … upon closer inspection, even the little oil filter drain plug, cam cover etc. are virtually identical.
Upside down front forks, 21 inch front wheel, wavey disc brakes front and rear, monoshock swingarm, steel frame, fat bars, brush guards – all standard equipment. Looks the part – and goes really well. Tickle the happy button and she rumbles to life smoothly, the pipe is not overly loud, but it does emit a meaty burble.
We took it for a thrash at our local riding joint and we have to say that it is pretty cool. We’ve got a little 10 km loop with everything from rocks and rubble, to rivers, mud and all sorts and each of us took a good long spin.
No insane power, but good, solid useable torque all the way from the bottom to a more than credible top speed. The bike feels light and nimble, probably the lightest feel to a Chinese bike that we’ve ridden to date. Ergonomics are lekker – wide pegs with all controls easy to access and a comfy seat. Gear selection is smooth, clutch actuation, soft and whilst the suspension is not WP or another high end brand, it feels just fine for this little machine, even with a larger rider in the saddle. We tackled slopes, rivers, puddles – you name it – this little bike never skipped a beat.
Not too shabby hey Nige? Remember – everything is relative to the price you pay – and in terms of value for money, this one seems to be a great little bike. The only thing we’d look at is losing the cheap ass roller chain and replacing it with a nice strong O-ring unit. Other than that – good looking, clean lines, nice power and handling. Biker’s Warehouse – (011) 795-4122 www.bikerswarehouse.co.za
Budget Beater: Superbike Magazine
January 2015 by Gareth Davidson
Benelli, a name in the past that would normally only excite those who could afford one, is now more readily available to us mere mortals.
Before we get to the bike in question, let’s take a look at who Benelli is. The legend started between six brothers who, in the very early days, only had a service garage where a few parts for cars and bikes were also made. The six brothers, however, had a grander ambition and that was to produce motorcycles. The first Benelli engine was born in 1919 and was a 75cc two-stroke fitted to a bicycle frame. In 1921 the first real Benelli motorcycle appeared; the ‘Velomotore’ 98cc two-stroke lightweight. After that they went on to produce multiple models and in 1961 celebrated their 50th anniversary. With the Japanese bikes at that time coming into the foray Benelli was under huge attack and by 1988 Benelli was eventually brought to its knees and so they turned their focus to scooters. The company was soon majority owned by the Merloni Group of Fabriano and so in 1995 went back to creating superbikes, bringing out the Tornado 900cc three cylinder which competed in the superbike championships. With new capital and synergy between Italy and China, Benelli QJ is currently working on multiple projects aimed at relaunching the company of Pesaro in worldwide markets. Amazingly in 2011 Benelli celebrated its first centenary successfully.
But this is South Africa and here Benelli have a cheaper alternative called the BJ600GS and, would you believe it, this is one of their first efforts in middleweight sport bikes produced from the Chinese factory.
Benelli has taken a massive risk by producing a bike from China but, like most parts on bikes today, this was inevitable. The styling of the bike still holds rich Benelli heritage, giving it an exotic look compared to its competitors in the market currently. They have reduced the cost on a lot of items on the bike but the bike is not spoiled by these “cheaper” additions and most wouldn’t even notice them.
The BJ600GS has a 599cc in-line four cylinder engine, which is somewhat underpowered. It has a claimed 81hp but maybe I am being too harsh in this instance because if we look at Yamaha’s Fazer series and the Honda Hornet they too are very restricted. I was truly surprised by top end speed of the bike which clocked just over 220km/h which is more than enough for a bike like this. The handling is a little weird to become accustomed to because it seems the steering head angle is too little which is a disadvantage at higher speeds and through corners, but fantastic through bumper-to-bumper traffic. Benelli could maybe increase the angle ever so slightly by a couple of degrees to give the bike a more stable and controllable feel.
Marzocchi 50mm forks are fitted to the front of the bike and they do look the part but, unfortunately, are non-adjustable. The rear suspension is quite basic and offers some preload adjustment but I would say a rebound clicker would be beneficial to the rider as the rear does rebound quite quickly over harsh bumps, however, this is also only when you’re on the stop and at slower pace the bike handles perfectly.
The brakes are very responsive and at times a little too responsive, especially at the rear. The BJ600GS does not have ABS but this should change with newer models as all bikes in future will be coming out with ABS as standard.
I have been quite harsh about some of the elements of the bike because in a perfect world these are what it lacks but this is where the price comes into play. At just R75,990 brand new I would happily own one, quickly forget about any little personal issues I have with the bike and just get on and ride the thing. It is fantastic value for money and wouldn’t you want to own something completely different for a change? If your answer is yes, give Biker’s Warehouse a call on 011 795 4122.
2015 Husqvarna Models: Dirt and Trail
August 2014 by Alex Horvath
We did not crack the nod to attend the world launch of the new bikes – but we did have a mate who happens to be there. He shares his insights on the latest from Husqvarna.
It’s around about 11:45pm, the perpetual midnight sun looms low over the horizon, and it’s casting a surreal orange glow over the lakeside retreat of Ebbenjarka, Northern Sweden. Over by the lakeshore, Husqvarna’s product manager, Federico Valentini, sits back in a hot Swedish outdoor bath with PR manager, Paolo Carrubba and managing director, Oliver Goehring. A few of the mechanics, who spent the day tirelessly tooling over the range of 2015 Husqvarna motocross and enduro bikes, are entering the nearby sauna. Meanwhile our local host, Anders, is busily loading steel shotgun shells into a Winchester 12-gauge for a group of tired but suitably liquored dirt bike journalists who are all attempting to blast apart every clay pigeon Anders has stacked in his shed. As I sit there nursing my beer and reflecting on the serenity of the situation, I can’t help but conclude if anything, Husqvarna sure doesn’t lie about their proud Swedish heritage. After 112 years of operation, you can sense the satisfaction of the marque’s return to their homeland.
So after spending the day riding the refined 2015 fleet of Husqvarna motocross and enduro bikes, what did we think? Rea don for insights into just what the new models deliver …
More than a facelift?
After launching a revamped fleet of Husqvarna motorcycles to the world only 12 months ago, there is no denying that the pressure was mounting on Husqvarna to deliver a line-up of 13 bikes that would improve upon an already strong platform. Now that the information has been released, and we have had the chance to test the bikes, we can report that while most of the bikes may not have been revolutionised, they have certainly been refined. Husqvarna has once again delivered a fleet of off-rad bikes that offer class-leading performance across the entire range.
The riding complex where the launch was held is located just outside of Lulea. Up here in Northern Sweden, space is ample and population sparse. So naturally, there is a strong and proud dirt bike culture. The motocross track offers deep dry sand, which is both exhausting and power-sapping at the same time, but it was perfectly prepped and watered the morning of our arrival. Right next to the track, there is a huge expanse of enduro trails that offer tight and technical riding amongst the stunningly beautiful Swedish birch forest right next to the motocross track. Husqvarna could not have chosen a more perfect location. The club facilities even included a traditional Swedish sauna and shower facilities … and the reindeer meat they served at lunch ain’t bad either.
Motocross: FC and TC
The biggest change to the TC and FC fleet of motocross bikes has been made with the introduction of a WP 4CS fork, with all-new motocross specific internals. The upgrades to the new four-chamber closed-cartridge fork offer improved damping characteristics as well as a weight saving of 175g over the closed-cartridge fork used for the 2014 models.
During testing, I found it offered excellent rider feedback, and great small bump damping on the rough sandy track. The improved fork feels particularly good through the mid-stroke, providing excellent feedback under braking and through corners. Early in the day, I came up a little short on a few jumps, giving me the chance to really test the bottoming resistance and deflection of the fork and it performed brilliantly, offering a confidence-inspiring ride. The small clicker tweaks I made were noticeable, meaning that the fork can be easily tuned on the fly to suit changing track conditions or according to individual riding style.
Alongside the updates to the internals, the new 4CS fork also gets a 4mm reduction in axle size to 22mm and a shorter shoe offset, providing better front-end feel and improved overall stability. New open-back fork protectors have also been fitted to the new fork, allowing better access for maintenance and cleaning that the previous models’ wrap-around style.
WP has also implemented changes to the bikes’ rear-end by modifying the linkage geometry, to give less progressive curve via increases to the rising rate of the shock. Stroke length was increased by 4mm over last year’s bikes and the chock has been revalved to accommodate the changes to the geometry of the suspension set-up. Overall, stability and chassis balance was the most noticeable improvement to the new models. The new suspension set-up gives the chassis an extremely balanced and compliant feel on the rough track and the bikes remained settled over the large braking bumps that formed throughout the day.
The list of upgrades for MY15 goes on to include changes to the rear polyamide subframe. One screw has been added on the airbox side, improving the fitment between the left subframe arm and the airbox. This change is a small one, but Husqvarna’s research and development team explained that it offers improved crash resistance and performance.
Ergos of the motocross models remain much the same – a new Neken handlebar is now fitted, but it maintains the same bend as last year. No changes were made to the bodywork, so the Husqvarnas retain the same overall ergonomic feel. Interestingly, the seat retains the dipped “enduro” style shape as last year, but the seat cover material has been modified giving it a much grippier feel that keeps you way more planted. While the standard motocross seat isn’t differentiated from the enduro models, Husqvarna’s product manager, Frederico Valentini, did point out that a steeped seat is available from Husky Power Parts for those who prefer a flatter “motocross” style seat.
The powerplants in the motocross bikes haven’t undergone too much change for 2015. The two-strokes have a revised power-valve setting, engaging at +200rpm over last year’s bike. This has created a very tractable power curve that offers plenty of torque low in the revs, then open up to deliver plenty of power through the mid and top-end. All the TC and FC – except the TC85 and TC125 – bikes come standard with a handlebar-mounted map switch. Switching between the two curves in the deep Lulea sand provided an interesting contrast – the soft curve really took the edge off the power curve and bike got noticeably more bogged on the “soft” maps in loose sandy sections. The CSS (coil spring steel) clutch found on the FC250 and FC350 has been redesigned for 2015. It receives a lighter clutch basket with less material and updated clutch springs offering more consistent behaviour and a smoother action.
Enduro: FE & TE
Much like the motocrossers, the upgrades that have been made to the enduro range are more focused on refining an already strong and competitive offering. Husqvarna hopes that by improving a product that is already so strong, they can continue to expand their sizeable and growing market share. Once again, the line-up features two- and four-stroke off-road models from the light and nimble TE125 all the way up to the fire-breathing FE501.
First up on the enduro bikes is a new front fender that is the same as the one found on the motocross models. Alongside this change, the CNC machined triple clamps have been modified to suit. The improved design also offers better rider feel and stability under braking. Surprisingly, this seems to be counter-intuitive to the product differentiation that we heard so much about at last year’s launch, but nonetheless, the new fender offers an improved look and easier mounting. The WP 4CS fork remains the same as that found on the 2014 models and hasn’t been modified. Graphics have received a touch-up, drawing inspiration from the vintage FE range and they are slightly different to those found on the motocross bikes. The hand guards have also been updated to the new chemically bonded material found on the KTMs, providing better crash resistance and a small weight saving.
The speedometer has received an update, giving it a cleaner and simpler look by moving the warning lights onto the main unit creating a simpler user interface. The rear subframe also gets the reinforcement on the airbox side, giving better durability and an improved seal. The seat cover is also updated, to the same grippier compound found on the motocross bikes.
Like the motocrossers, changes to the enduro bikes’ engines have been minor. The FE250 now gets a taller sixth gear along, with close ratios on fourth and fifth – which is noticeable when the bike is ridden on the road. The small-capacity donk no longer screams its head off at 100-110km/h. The FE250 and FE350 also see upgrades to the DDS (damped diaphragm steel) clutch. The clutch basket has been redesigned, with excess material stripped out giving it less weight and an improved feel. This was a feature that I really appreciated as the day wore on, and my arms became more and more tired.
Timing and pricing
Husqvarna is yet to announce any kind of pricing strategy for the South African market, and hopefully we should have more information over the coming weeks. The 2015 bikes are due to hit our shores soon. As soon as we get our mitts on them, we’ll do some lekker features.
Zero Electric Motorcycles: Bike SA
August 2014 by Donovan Fourie
This Californian brand is probably the world’s most famous name in electric motorcycles, having been around since 2006, when the idea of any electric vehicle was still a somewhat foreign concept, and reserved for the horrible, little, plastic, eco boxes that plagued Europe at the time. As we then expected, times moved on, cellphones are now personal assistants more than mobile communication devices, you can film and edit your own HD video feature using a little onboard camera that is purchasable for less than five grand instead of hiring a film crew for half a million and the fastest motorcycle available at the moment is an electric one, beating the Hayabusas and ZX-10Rs of this world.
The fastest electric bike isn’t a Zero, but then neither is Zero the most expensive, and they are now available in South Africa. They are imported by the Cape pairing of Craig Marshall and Dalene Stiff, who brought them up to Jo’burg as part of their demo road show. Craig is an enthusiastic fellow that can speak all day about Zero, as was seen at his stall at the 1000 Bike Show, where he spoke non-stop for two consecutive days. This means that he is very keen on his brand, which is something everyone wants from someone they are buying something from, and he is also the proprietor of Dualsport Africa, a company also based in the Cape that rents out adventure motorcycles and does adventure tours, thus is a pro-active member of the motorcycling fraternity. He and Dalene did all the riding in the pics for this story, which is convenient, because it is difficult to film yourself while you are riding. It takes way too long.
Dalene has the challenging task of being Craig’s mother-in-law. They spent their Jo’burg stint in Roodepoort North, thus we made our way there, to a luxurious property on a golf course, in one of the richest areas in South Africa. The fact that this is a somewhat larny area is interesting not because that’s where the friends they were staying with lived, but because there are many houses where rich and therefore forthright people stay, the kind that don’t take too kindly to motorcycles zooming up and down their road.
They had three models on hand – the S, the DS and the FX, the S being a street-fighter, the DS being a dualsport and the FX, obviously, being the offroad model. The whole approach to electric bikes is different. Firstly, they are small – well, these ones are, especially the S street model, which even Dalene, blessed with a feminine stature, can sit on with both feet successfully making firm contact with the earth. As a sport bike, this doesn’t bode well, because, as everyone knows, sport bikes are supposed to be big, and mean, and menacing, and this becomes difficult when the bike feels as though it could fit in your pocket.
It’s meant to be a dagger, not a pen knife. Also, you turn it on, the lights on the dash go through the Christmas celebration all lights on dashes go through when you turn the bike on, and then nothing happens. There’s a starter button, no further start up procedure, if you want to you can maybe make sure the emergency kill switch is not on and really that’s it. You sit there in a vague silence. As you dismiss the notion that anything meaningful has happened, you nonchalantly twist the throttle, and nearly hit a nearby wall.
Okay, this thing works, so you nervously ride it in a more daunting silence up the seemingly endless golf estate driveway and out of the large entrance gate onto the newly-tarred, Roodepoort North road. Right there are now walls that would pose any immediate danger, and with that knowledge securely in your mind, you still brace for impact and open the throttle again …
Normally, we’d offer a metaphor involving an explosion, but an explosion metaphor implies some sort of auditory pantomime, like a bunch of little explosions that propel a piston connected to a crankshaft, that sends power to a clutch, and then sends power through a gearbox. The Zero has none of those, which is why an explosion is a terrible metaphor. Let’s offer an analogy instead: Opening the throttle on a Zero feels like someone has taken an elastic band, a giant elastic band, a kilometre long, tied one end to a tree, tied the other to the front of your bike, stretched the elastic as far as it can go and tethered the bike to another tree, The act of opening the throttle is the equivalent of cutting the tether.
The bike moves forward, steadily at first, and then seems to just build acceleration more and more until you are going very, very fast in no time at all. Well, the top speed of the S is a little more than 160km/h, which in the world of hypersport motorcycles is slightly pedestrian, but this is more of a sports commuter than a long distance hauler, thus you really don’t need much more than 160km/h, plus it will most likely get to 160km/h far faster than whatever you are riding now. Part of this is down to the fact that it has no clutch, no gear lever and nothing to interrupt its acceleration. From standstill, you open the throttle and the bike just goes, and carries on going until you are very much somewhere else.
And it does it in utter silence. People on the side of the road will hear what sounds like a remote control car coming, and will be surprised to see a motorcycle whizz past. You hear only a bit of wind noise, as the invisible elastic band pulls you along. We spent the day blasting up and down the roads in Roodepoort North, with large walls cordoning off large properties on each side, with many a woes house wife waiting behind them for something to complain about. In this instance, they had bugerall. These bikes sound like subtle remote controlled cars, and their soft whizz can barely penetrate the foot-thick walls. We even spent much of the day riding the offroad bike in a nearby veldt. Imagine if we had done that with a petrol bike, emitting the signature petrol bark of an offroad bike. We would have been moered.
They are small, so you can throw them around, deviating as slow moving traffic dictates your path, and all the while opening and closing the throttle letting the elastic pull you excitedly to your will. Then, after about 130km, it will run out of electricity and will come to a very final halt, with no quick fix by popping it to a garage. Nut there are ways around this. The 130km range is at full torque, full horsepower and with the bike being ridden by a juvenile journalist with a nifty new toy that he’d have to give back by the end of the day and so is making the most of it. If you ride at more normal speeds, and if you take the option of an extra battery, you can get as much as 276km on one charge. Let’s be honest, though, most people don’t do more than 130km in a day – that’s the equivalent of Pretoria to Sandton and back, Hillcrest to Durban and back or Paarl to Cape Town. Then, you get home, you plug it into an ordinary plug in your garage, and seven and a half hours later, or a good night’s sleep’s time, its petrol tank is full. You can buy a booster, and it will take three and a half hours to fill, use two charging boosters and it will be even faster, and stack as many as four boosters and then the job is done in no time at all.
There are more ways of ensuring more life out of your battery, though. You can download something called an App, which goes on something called a smartphone that connects to your bike via something called Bluetooth. It can then adjust bike’s power level, the torque output, the top speed, the coasting regeneration and you can run motorcycle diagnostics.
So if you lower the torque, power and top speed, you will get somewhere around 200km on a “tank”. The regeneration works like engine braking, whereby the motor, while freewheeling, can recharge the battery. The more regeneration you add, the more the bike feels like it has engine braking.
If you no longer feel like riding with only 10% power, there is a mode switch on the right handlebar that will put the bike into Sport mode, negating all power saving measures. Of course the same button puts it back into Eco mode.
The DS model is based on the same chassis and engine as the S, but with more ground clearance, more suspension, more comfort and more offroad, while the FX is all offroad, except for the flickers and the numberplate, which means that it can go on public roads. Engine wise, they are mostly the same as the S model, although the FX has slightly less battery, and slightly less engine which is fine because, let’s be honest, you don’t really do the same distance offroad.
The DS has the same battery and motor as the S, and therefore probably isn’t great for doing long distance touring, unless you want to stop every 200-odd km and take a few hours to refill the tank. It could take some time to get to whatever exotic destination you are aiming for. It is still good at the commute or shorter weekend rides, especially if you work on a farm on top of a hill with a dirt road leading up to it.
Then we get to the price of these bikes, and please don’t stop reading after seeing it, because there is more to it than a number. The S and the DS are R162,000. The FX is R130,000. Before you throw your arms in despair, keep in mind how much you are spending on your current bike. The Zeros don’t consume and petrol, any oil, any coolant, they don’t need any engine servicing, they don’t have clutch plates, they don’t have spark plugs, no valves, no piston and rings, or even bearings. There is also no gearbox at all, even a CVC or automatic one.
The batteries have a service life of 500,000km, while the engine has a service life of more than one million km. So when you sell the bike on five years later with 150,000km on the clock, the new buyer can take it happy in the knowledge that it is barely run in. All that will eventually require replacing is the brake pads, the brake fluid, the drive belt and possibly some suspension servicing.
While the initial outlay might be hefty, its steady cruising after that, especially when you look at the price of fuel and the way it is being increased steadily. The newest proposed scheme by our esteemed rulers is to do away with their ill-conceived e-toll and instead add the bill to our fuel tax.
By that logic, if you really want to screw the government over, buy an electric bike. Suckers.
2014 600-4 Benelli: Bike SA
Benelli have just revealed the BN600R, a brand new 600cc 4-cylinder sports bike built at their home Pesaro plant, but as a joint venture with their parent company in China.
The 600cc (65x45.2) in-line four is liquid cooled and with 4 valves per cylinder and double overhead camshaft. Compression is 11.5 to 1 and the EFI has four 38mm throttle bodies and Delphi MT05 ignition. Wet sump lubrication is favoured and the 4 into 2 exhaust system with silencers – incorporating twin cats and four oxygen sensors – are mounted and tucked away under the rear of the seat unit.
Performance figures stated are 82HP 11,500 RPM with torque of 52 Nm @ 10,500 and meet Euro 3 standards. Transmission is via a wet clutch and 6-speed gearbox.
The Italian made frame comprises a tubular cro-mo steel trellis and substantial aluminium castings with the swing arm designed to complement it with a fully adjustable mono-shock, forks are 50mm USD Marzocchis.
Braking is by twin floating 320mm front discs gripped by Brembo radial callipers, the rear 260mm disc with a twin piston calliper while wheels are 17” alloys carrying 120/70-ZR17 and 180/55-ZR17 tyres.
Sports styling includes a headlight and nose fairing reminiscent of previous big-bore Benellis with an 18 litre tank (incl. 3l reserve) attractively styled with white side panels. The seating for rider and passenger are at two levels which do appear to be more comfortable than many with the rider’s height at 800mm and passenger’s 940. Unladen weight is 208kg (458.54lbs).
Overall an interesting newcomer to the 600 class and with a price expected to be very competitive its debut at the November Milan Show is certain to arouse considerable interest. Importers: 011 795 4122.
Madix Quads: Dirt & Trail
It has been a long time since we featured a sports quad in this here publication – largely due to the fact that the sports machine sales have literally plummeted in the last few years. But that’s not to say that we don’t like em – it is just the way that the market has changed in SA.
We were quite surprised to hear that the guys from the Puzey Motorcycle Corporation were importing 2 new models – so we asked if we could please take them for a ride ... They have 2 models that have just arrived. Both are four-stroke. One is a kiddies 125cc and the other, a 250 designed for adults. Both are ridiculously good fun ...
The 250 Mad Max:
The 250 is a pretty stylish machine with design features reminiscent to KTM’s range of sport ATV’s.
They did their homework when they built this one – it seems to have everything that you need, from electric start and reverse gear to adjustable suspension and mag wheels. A four speed gear box (neutral all the way down at the bottom, the four gears up) takes care of delivering power from the liquid cooled engine, and disc brakes all round take care of stopping duties. The suspension is all adjustable, with beefy A-arms up front sorting clearance and a solid looking swingarm and monoshock out back taking care of the rough stuff. The quad is shod in low profile tyres with a very neutral pattern for general riding. We like the fact that the manufacturer has thoughtfully fitted grease nipples on the ball joints and all moving parts – nice for service time. Talking about that – remove the seat and the air filter and battery are both easily accessible.
Ergonomically, the 250 is plenty comfy – even for bigger riders – and we like the features like the digital display that is built into the pad on the crossbar. Also lekker is the KTM styled fuel tank that fits your lap really comfortable. Footing is sure on the wide serrated pegs and the standard nerf bars and heel guards are a nice touch.
Let’s not lie – a quad like this does bring out the hooligan in our lot – and it was not long before we were launching the little 250 off the ridges, pulling do nuts and trying to hoik huge wheelies. But here’s the surprise ... everything we tried, the quad did with a smile. We were impressed with the smooth gearbox, solid power and overall handling characteristics. Granted we did not attempt anything technical – but this quad is more a play thing than a serious trail explorer – and on our flat track section near the house, we had a brilliant time.
A few points: not as light – as say the famous LTZ250. Solid, smooth gearbox. Peppy power with great low-down torque. Brakes are excellent. The suspension felt a bit stiff, but it is fully adjustable, so you can set it up to your weight. One thing that impressed us is how stable and well balanced this bike feels. Big fuel tank – so you can play for hours.
The Madix 125:
When the Madix was rolled off the bakkie, the neighbourhood kids all flocked to the gate begging to go for a spin – and that is easy to understand because it is such a fun little machine. The quads stood for a day or two before we actually got a chance to ride them – and we were bugged to death to go for a ride. We tried to sneak out – but bush telegraph had all the kids on the block queuing for a turn before the afternoon was out.
There are a few reason that we really liked this quad – in fact, to be completely honest, we were pleasantly surprised at the overall performance.
Electric start – so dad does not have to push or kickstart all over the show. Reverse gear for when junior rides him or herself stuck in a rut, it will be easier to get out. Big wheels for good ground clearance. A wide stance for stability. Standard nerfs and heel guards. An easy to actuate 3-speed semi auto gearbox. A strong 125cc four stroke engine – powerful enough to drive a grown adult ... which is great from a power point of view – but it is also pretty quick ...
Handlebar actuated disc brakes out back take care of stopping, with drums on each front wheel ... one thing we would like to see are adjustable levers because some of the smaller kids could not reach the brake levers. In saying that, however, this quad is pretty powerful, so the really small kids should probably be on something a bit smaller.
It is really easy to ride – our lot who generally ride bikes, mastered the operation in a couple of minutes and proceeded to give dad and mom small heart attacks as they hared off around the track. One thing that we did notice was how user friendly this machine is – and it is exceptionally predictable, particularly in the stability department, so none of the riders got into any trouble. One word of caution from our side ... sure quads are easy to ride, but always keep an eye on the lighties before unleashing them on the world – and please make them wear the right gear, helmets at the VERY least ... Fortunately the Madix comes with a limiter on the throttle, so you can (really) slow it down until junior is behaving him or herself.
Another great addition to the world of ATV’s in South Africa. We are pretty impressed – in terms of value for money, these ones go really well and seem to be quite well made. Knowing the guys from Puzey, parts should not be an issue and we are pretty sure that they have done lots of testing and tryout before importing them.
Café 600: Bike SA
March 2013 by Donovan Fourie
For people who want a fun commute, run around, blast around toy for R65 000, your choice is limited. There’s the Honda NC700X for the same price, that boasts the badge of the world’s biggest bike maker on it, and is therefore selling well, while CFMoto have their 650 twin, that sells for a slightly more affordable R56 000.
The Benelli is something new, and is the first real input by the Chinese since they bought the Benelli factory. While all the bigger bikes are still built in Italy, this is the only one to be produced on Chinese shores. Although, it still keeps the Benelli badge, thus presumes the same Italian goodness that befits its older brothers. Unlike its three cylinder siblings, the 600 has the full, liquid-cooled bank of four cylinders, and grinds out a productive 82hp and 52Nm torque through a six speed gearbox.
More so is that, although produced in China, it’s clear that the Italians have had input here, because it looks fabulous. It has an aggressive, naked style with an engine exposed for all, and the rider, to see and appreciate.
There are some downsides. The first is the brakes, which look like the Brembomonoblocs found on the bigger bikes, but display the brand “Benelli” on them, not Brembo, thus they were designed using a Chinese photocopier. And the model is a BJ600. I wonder what BJ is an abbreviation for in Italian …
A friend was going through a rough batch in life, so, with bikes being the elixir of everything, I suggested a bike ride. It was already six o’clock on a Saturday night, so we thought to do a quick trip along Cedar Road, onto the R512 and into Lanseria Airport.
For anyone who hasn’t figured this out yet, Lanseria has a Wiesenhoff restaurant upstairs, whose outside deck peers over the runway, and all the plane parking, so while men toil away at pleasing passengers and making sure that planes don’t fall out of the sky, we dines on delicious café food, and drank cappuccinos. Feeling better, we discussed our next move, and found that the moon was full and the sky clear. Thinking that the moon would be excellent in a photo with the Benelli, we planned a strategy to make it so. After finding no option around Lanseria, friend suggested the giant bridge that crosses Hartbeespoort Dam. I had concerns.
“All the way there? Now?”
“Yup. What else do you have to do now?”
“But it’s a far bit of travel, and it’s night time?”
“What, a night time breakfast run?”
With the oxymoron “night time breakfast run” still rolling through our minds, we set forth unto Harties along the R512. The road was clear, the air was bracing and the moon shone so brightly that the sun began to show resentment. Night could quite possibly the best time for a breakfast run. We ran up the R512, enjoying its undulations and tortuous lines, all guided by the generous cats eyes, and the moon that ignited our way.
The Benelli began to grow on me even more, smothering scepticism that graced me when I first rode it. I thought it to be a run around commuter, and wondered why the bottom end grunt didn’t arrive when beckoned, but all such thoughts began withering at the discovery that this wasn’t a simple commuter. It was a sports bike (sic).
At the very bottom end, where the NC700X is pulling like a tractor, the Benelli is lacking, but where the NC is charitably mediocre after that, the Benelli builds momentum, and where the NC hits a brash limiter at 7000, the Benelli has just finished putting its socks on, and carries on accelerating hard up to 11500 rpm.
Through the bends, it was as light and agile as a small 600 can be, and the No Name bake did their function, stopping when the lever was pulled, and even doing it in a linear fashion as the brakes were pulled slowly tighter. The seating was sporty, but not in an overbearing way that tired the arms and pressed upon the back. The suspension was a tad stiff, especially as the bike is first ridden, but (sic) somewhere the body adjusts, and soon you won’t notice it.
We reached Pelindaba, turned left and headed towards the big bridge, which provided another opportunity – the road leading up to it is long, straight, empty, and perfect, so let’s do a top end run.
The NC700, with a thin, streamlined, lightweight riding it, screams mercy at 180km/h. The CFMoto pushed its little twin motor up to 203 km/h. The Benelli only changes into top gear then, and then creeps up beyond 210 before settling on 220. This is remarkable. It costs only R65000!
No bike offers the same performance, adrenalin and thrill that this bike does for R65 000. The CFMoto costs R10 000 less, but is R10 000 less bike, while the NC – well, all you get is the Honda badge. If the Benelli had a Honda badge on it, it would sell units in the millions. For those who over look this, it might be the best bang for buck will ever own.
Café Racer: Bike SA
April 2013 by Matt Smith
Here is an early explanation of the subject of Café Racer to stop knee-jerk reactions like a klap on the head.
A Café Racer refers to a style of bike and an idea of a shape and use of a bike … NOT the era of a bike. Yes the first Café Racers came from the 1950’s when groups of bikers would gather at Café’s and would race from the playing of the start of a record. That’s the very brief history lesson covered and I thank you for your indulgence.
Donovan asked me to test this bike because of my small crush on this style of bike, mainly the more retro styled British ones but I do love a modern take on this genre too. There’s adoration for the idea of a modern engine, suspension and brakes worked into an old style frame and the basic and simple nature of the Café’s along with the raw feeling on the road of a slightly torn down bike that once was and still is but in a different shell.
Benelli, along with a few manufacturers around the globe, produced and manufactured one of these creations from the ground up using modern technology and created a completely different style of machine.
Gone is the seat cowl which was a massive stand-out feature of the ‘Retro’ bikes and all of the latest and greatest bits and bobs are present. The bike is standing up and being counted as a lone pretender and true original – something that is very rare these days in a somewhat conservative creative bubble of our time.
The Benelli 1130 Café Racer screams modern and it was difficult to figure out what they were thinking and hoping to achieve with this project. For starters it uses the modern tubular frame developed in house and holds a brutish 1130cc triple. A big triple is something very few manufacturers have got right because in the higher CC’s as it is simply more cost efficient and often more powerful to use a four cylinder as they are almost the same size and weight anyway so any advantage gained is neglible.
What a large triple does very well though is to deliver smooth power the whole way through the rev range. This is true of the 1130 and add to that that the exhaust pipe is tucked away under the seat into one silencer and you have a tone that growls, snarls and screams … depending on how hard you ride it. The soul of a bike, and particularly a Café, must come from its sound. Benelli have achieved this.
The riding position is pretty much spot on too. A very “Superbike” position but with your bum less in the air than on a true sports bike and your (sic) feet slightly less tucked back to make for a more comfortable than expected ride. Stiff as you can go suspension make sit rough going on slow roads and over bumps but is truly inspiring when you want to go out scratching and feel the wind in your nostrils.
The motor is a bit noisy and clunky in the low revs, very much like a highly tuned bike that comes to life once the revs go up. It actually reminds you of a race bike and I enjoyed that raw and powerful feeling and the promise of a beast about to come to life … and that it does. Mid range and top end is fantastic with easily manageable power and loads of brakes and suspension to help out.
It did take a while to stop thinking this was a stripped down superbike but after that initial period the bike started to make sense. This bike, like all great bikes is about the ride, the noise, the feel, the soul and the thrill as you hurtle along. On the floor of a showroom it’s hard to make sense of the thing and only on a test ride it explains itself fully.
The 1130 Café Racer from Benelli is for me the first true attempt at a modern day Café Racer and if they can make this then why doesn’t everyone? The pigeon holing that happens at the moment is the answer to that – once you’ve waded through the commuters, the nakeds, the super bikes, super sports, sports tourers, adventure tourer … the list goes on and on. The space left on the shelf for a very niche market is extremely small and this is where the smaller manufacturers are bound to benefit and are willing to take a risk based on style and a lot of in-house manufacturing to cater to assmaller be much more learned customer.
There is often a price to pay for this kind of exclusivity but Benelli for the most part have kept the tag relatively low when the spec on the machine is considered. It doesn’t claim to be the fastest, lightest, latest or greatest but the ride and fun factor that can sometimes go missing along the way on other bikes is definitely there. This is a pure recreation bike for smiles for miles and is for the rider after the true thrill f hanging on for all they’re worth on the back of a beast … with all the modern safety concerns built in for good measure.
BRM300: Dirt & Trail
January 2013 by Glenn Foley
Take everything that you think you know about Chinese bikes - and chuck them out the window. Swing your leg over this thing – and you’ll see exactly what we are talking about. The BRM300 is an awesome performer and it feels really good. We dragged the bike off to Balfour and rode it through the Heidelburgkoppies and farms …
What intrigued us most was his use of the famed TM 300 power plant. Last year we did a review on the 300TM – and to (sic) be frank, that engine was way too wild for us mere mortals. It was like riding an on/off switch MX bike on steroids. Puzey’s traditional market is entry level riders – not Professional riders who can control that kind of wild power – by this we mean that you won’t see a national rider switching from a main brand to ride a Puzey, BUT you might just get a guy who would like to ride a 300 who cannot afford one of the main line bkes, maybe moving up from something like a KDX200. Make sense?
So what’s the bike like? From a stylish and build point of view – this bike is reminiscent of the latest Maico’s, Google it, you’ll see what I mean. The guys from Puzey have used ideas from all over – and we recognise more than 1 or 2 mainline brand bits on the bike …
We like the stock features: Gripper seat, billet wheels, Pro Taper bars, Brembo Hydraulic clutch – mmm nice. Big radiators – with a fan fitted standard, braided brake lines – twin pot stoppers up front and a single pot out back, Spider grips, Cycra Brush guards. We happened to have a Honda at the house – guess what? Honda plastics are the same – the brake caliper’s wheels and so-on look identical. This is good news – coz should you need parts, you know that you can match up. This thing has disc protectors that skrik for Nix – bring on the rocks! The stock tank holds 9.5 litres of fuel – good for a range of around 80km mark – but there is a secondary bolt-on aluminium tank available that holds an extra 3 litres. It mounts neatly just above the engine.
So it has the bling – but can it sing? Climb aboard. She feels a tad portly compared to other 300cc 2-strokes – but we do like the fact that the seat height is lower – nice for people with shorter legs. This is largely thanks to Puzey’s patented cam adjust system, which raises and lowers the seat height according to what you need. The bike is comfy and well laid out – remember that this specific bike is still kinda in production – they are finishing off little details here and there – so we did not really like the half-length foot pegs – the production model will have full length pegs – and the gear lever needs to be finalised, this one was bolted together – but other than that – no worries.
The kick started is perfect with a good stroke and she fired up easily after a few hefty kicks. The stock HGS pipe emits a wicked howl when you hit the throttle. The clutch is lekker soft, snick her into gear – and take off…
Take off is (sic) the right word, this bike is a rocket, but thanks to some clever mechanical and electronic trickery, Puzey has managed to really tame the TM engine down – so it is incredibly user friendly. If you need torque for climbing, the engine delivers oodles of just that. If you want a fast ride, open the throttle, flick through the gears and you’ll soon be doing Mach 4 or so. You also have a mapping switch – map 1 for the fast stuff – map 2 for more torque – and you can feel the difference. The gearbox is slick, handling is predictable. This bike is fitted with Mousses – we prefer tubes, but this bike raced The Roof, so mousses make more sense – but they do make the bike feel a bit harder. The suspension is really good – turns out that the forks are Showa cartridges, with specialised inners designed by Mike Puzey himself. We did notice that it has been set up by ace suspension tuner Hilton Hayward, it felt good – quite soft, which is great for the more tricky stuff – and it never got out of shape while we rode it. The rear monoshock is fully adjustable with a remote reservoir – so you can have it all set up to your specific needs.
Conclusion: We rode everywhere from some tricky rocky sections, through rivers, over mountains and – of course on some really fast winding sections. We’ll say it again – take any preconceived notion that you have about alternative bikes and chuck them out of the window. This one feels as good as anything out there. It did not overheat, it never battled to start – it was an absolute pleasure to ride. The Puzey workshop is putting the finishing touches on the first ever South African production bikes. Fully race prepped, the first 5 BRM300’s will be on sale at R58,999.00 (incl. VAT). The first 10 units will include exhaust and radiator guards (sic) together with the standard race-spec disc sprockets, rear brake guards, hand guards and radiator fan. Long-range fuel tank as optional extra. Give them a call, take one for a ride, we guarantee that you’ll be pleasantly surprised …
Mike Puzey: Offroad& Adventure
October 2011 by Greg Baxter
Mike is a truly outstanding South Africa, and one of those guys for whom the word “can’t” does not exist. He makes thing happen.
Approachable and friendly, Mike has a smile for everyone, and can be seen patiently teaching youngsters to ride on training days such as those organised by Women in Motorsport.
An aeronautical engineer, he owns and runs Puzey Motor Corporation, where he designs bikes, then has them manufactured in China. Or he assesses existing engine designs and improves on them. In these ways he cuts costs, and can therefore market tough machines at highly competitive prices, but he won’t comprise on quality or safety.
Mike comes from a motorsport family: dad Clive raced formula one with the likes of John Love and Graham Hill. He was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare and Zimbabwe), on November 13,1966. Beside his dad and his mom Anne, the family includes brother Paul and half brothersRoydon and Rodney.
Mike completed his ‘O’ levels at Saint George’s College in Salisbury. He and his wife Kerry (she is Mike’s partner at Puzey) have been married for 10 years, and they have two children, Tyla and Gabby.
Bike Racing: Mike started riding monkey bike at the age of seven, and progressed to a full-size bike at the age of 12. This was a water-cooled Suzuki RMX 125 with the full-floater rear suspension. He also started racing at that time.
Mike won the Zimbabwe Junior Motocross Championships in the 125 class in 1981 and ’82. He mentions in passing that it was at this time that the double jump was introduced. He rode on one wheel most of the time, and loved big air time. Mike raced for four years, then came to South Africa to work as an aircraft engineer. He owned a Cessna 150 and built his own plane, flying for five years.
Mike started an engineering company called Engineering Café in 1994, then Puzey Motor Corporation in 2005. Besides a range of popular thumpers (two of which finished the murderous Roof of Africa), Puzey products include Big Boy folding scooters, EVO skateboard scooters, Verimark exercise machines and Pump-a-Bikes. Mike is (sic) always on the lookout for more products to introduce to the market.
TVS 180: Bike SA
September 2012 by Donovan Fourie
This isn’t a new bike – in fact, this isn’t even the first time we are doing a story on it, but it does have a new importer, and that warrants something. Puzey is now the official importer, which is good news, because they have already done a good job with their eponymous Puzey brand, which owner and engineer, Mike Puzey, oversees and modifies everything on offer (occasionally redesigning models completely and sending said designs to China with a note: “Do it like this!”).
Previously we rode this bike at the end of 2011, when there was a crisis (sic), one that extended beyond mere recession, natural disasters and Julius Malema. Simon had been invited to the opening of the Gautrain, and we had a shortage of motorbikes. The World Superbikes were on at Kyalami, so I had secured our permanent resident Triumph Street Triple R, the KTM 690 SM was at the shop for a service, and the scooters were for some reason unavailable, and this left Simon transportless. He was getting desperate. He almost resorted to using a car! This was the point at which we did a small garage stock take, and found the little Indian, shy and retiring, sitting in the corner minding its own business. I suggested he used it, assuring him that he would enjoy it, and apprehensively, he agreed.
The day passed on, Superbikes were brilliant, the Gautrain didn’t explode and everyone managed their day. The next day was Superbike race day, and we both had to be at Kyalami. Feeling duty-bound, I offered Simon the Triumph and volunteered to ride the TVS. Simon, surprisingly said “no, I’ll ride the TVS. What a nice little bike,” and jumped aboard and merrily rode off towards Kyalami.
The likes of Russell Peters, Trevor Noah and other comedians are voluble about Indians being cheap, and while the stereotypical Indian may always look for a bargain, what they will never do is buy something (sic) that is rubbish. This is the quandary (sic) that beholds Indian manufacturers – their products cannot be overly expensive, yet they must still be flashy, quality and must do the job. This compromise is paramount to the success of bikes like TVS, and why it is such a surprise to get on it and find out that it is actually rather good.
It has a single-cylindered, air-cooled engine (sic) spinning out 17.3hp. This coupled with a meagre 137kg means it has some voom to it. The top speed is 125 km/h, but it gets there in seemingly no time at all, out-dragging all the miserable cagers from the robots in bursts single-cylindered torque. Where the Indian reputation comes in is in the actual feel of the bike. It revs cleanly and responsively, it is Tropica smooth, there is not even the mildest hint of shaking or vibration and everything just seems to work, without this gut feeling that something is bound to go wrong.
This bike came with Puzey’s own branded top box, which negated the need to carry annoying back packs while riding, and carrying an even more annoying helmet while not riding.