February 5, 2020

Bunk-a-Biker

Here's an idea worth promoting!

Bunk-a-Biker is a community of bikers who either host their fellow riders coming through or are the riders who are looking to make new friends along their way. The hosts freely offer their yard, couch, spare bedroom, parked RV, garage, shop, and/or tools when they're home, while the guests bring their stories and friendship to share. BaB aspires to bring positivity, support, faith, and community into the two-wheeled family.

For those who like touring the world like but also need to keep an eye on the budget, then this is a welcomed alternative to hostels and B'n'B's.
BaB is totally free and built on trust. Literally, from bikers to bikers.

So, consider adding your contribution and if you can't find the space, at least share this cool initiative with your biker community. 
The more the merrier.

One hand washes the other and both can save money....which is awesome!

Here is the MAP


September 15, 2019

Project "Cavalleggero" - Kawasaki AR80

Exciting times lay ahead for Omega Racer!

I got this soft spot for small displacement bikes, especially if they are vintage and look like extreme racing machines. I already have a nice example in Italy, an original and unrestored Tecnomoto Special 50cc and just recently acquired a '67 Moto Morini Corsarino Scrambler, also original and unrestored, which I bought for my dad (blog post coming soon).
Those little 2 stroke rockets were truly remarkable and in my opinion will be the target for a new wave of collectors and bike enthusiasts. You heard it here first!

Tecnomoto Special 1973
Corsarino Scrambler 1967

My idea then, is to build an homage to these Italian micro racers of the 60s and 70s here in Thailand, trying to combine the features that distinguish them from other offerings of that time, with a good dose of my own particular "Omega" design. I don't like to do pure replicas or trying to mimic technical solutions at any cost. My project shall be inspired by these bikes but should be instantly recognizable as an Omega Racer bike. That's the goal at least...

Guazzoni Matta 50, with "disco rotante" inlet valve

1972 Malanca Testarossa

1970 Aprilia Colibri

1966 Mondial Record Sport

1966 Ducati 50 Sport SL1

Image result for suzuki a100
Suzuki A100
First I had to look for a cheap donor bike. My first choice fell upon a Suzuki A100. I really like the tank and frame combination with the half-suspended motor.
Pros: easy to find in decent conditions, price range 10-15k Baht (350-500$), plenty of spares.
Contras: it has a 4 stroke engine.

While asking for advice in a FB group, an Italian gentleman pointed me towards the Kawasaki AR80. I've never heard of this bike before, but it turned out to be perfect for my project. After a bit of searching, the only suitable bike I found was some 300km away and was already modified quite heavily. But since the price was very interesting (4.5k Baht/ 150$), I decided to buy it.
Pros: small, lightweight, 2 stoke, 6(!) gears, CHEAP
Contras: no registration book

A Kawasaki dressed up as a Yamaha...AR80

I immediately felt this wave of enthusiasm rush through me that I typically feel when I know I'm on the right track. Ideas started to flow and soon I had a drawing ready. Also typical for me is the extremely low-tech approach to the design stage. Printer, pencil, pen, scissors and white correction pen are my design tools, there's no fancy CAD or design app for me.

First draft for project "Cavalleggero"



For the first time I also tried my hands on a 3D model, which I made with plasticine, the stuff that children use to play. Not ideal, but it can give an idea of the proportions and general style of my project.





The name I chose for this new project is "Cavalleggero", which is Italian for "light cavalry". It gives the idea of being lightweight and with few horse power, plus it's Italian...perfect I thought.

The next step is to take it apart and order the necessary parts that need to be replaced. I already got steering bearings, aluminium rims and an exhaust that is much lighter than the stock one.


 Anyway, all this has to wait until I come back from my holiday in 6 weeks. See ya!



September 14, 2019

Unbelievable People

There are all sorts of people out there. Some are clever, kind and considerate, others are a bit thick, abrasive and aggressive. We have to deal with them all...

Here is the latest gem I got in my inbox:



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1. This website looks like fraud.
2. If this is a legit website and company I want to inquire what is the gel insert? You should explain what gel insert means on the web page. 
3. I want the Diamomnd stitch classic brown seat for a 2018 Thruxton R.
4. How long does it take to receive seat?
Please get back to me asap or I will seek another company for custom seat.


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Hilarious.
I've answered with the only logical reply: Please, feel free to seek another company.

Not long after I got a reply from this "gentleman":



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So after several attempts to reach this company, this is the first response I receive... (LIAR, this was his first email...I checked!)

No wonder why I had my concerns....(because you're a moron)

Great way to run your business!

I will happily post your response on trustpilot, facebook and everywhere else I can. (Now he's threatening to slander my company!)

Here I’ll type in my status as well since I’m using my personal and not my professional business email. 


Best Regards,

D. M.
CEO & Founder Mxxxxx & Gxxxx Insurance Agency. 

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I did have a reply for him, but in the end I decided not to poke the nutter further.

Some people....



The Butterfly Effect

There is a bike event here in Bangkok where one gets the chance to test ride a number of new bikes from several different manufacturers. Needless to say that it is one of my favourite events and I can's wait to hop on bikes that I would otherwise only admire on the internet.



This year I made sure to get there early in the morning, so that I would have time to test as many bikes as possible. When I arrived I walked up to the first stand in my path which was BMW, and asked to test their bikes. They had their 310 road and dual sport all the way up to the 1000cc supersport. I've decided to start with the small bikes and work my way up. First round was the 310 street version, a nifty little bike but nothing to write home about.
Then I hopped on the 310 dual sport. After barely one lap, I took a 2nd gear slow right curve and WAM, without warning, my front tire just gave away. With no time to prepare for the slide, I hit the tarmac hard with my right shoulder. I picked up the bike with some difficulty and rode back to the stand, worrying about the trouble I would get into. To my surprise though, the BMW guy asked me if I was OK, looked at the scratched exhaust and plastics and just asked me which bike I wanted to ride next.



Great I thought, and hopped on a NC750X. As soon as I was sitting on the bike, I felt the adrenaline dump: I started shaking and sweating, my vision became blurry and my shoulder wasn't doing much better either. Since I had done already enough damage to these Honda guys, I decided to stop for a while and get my shoulder checked out at the first aid stand. The nurse there put some cold spray and applied a cream and when I asked if anything in there was broken, he just said naaaah.
Alright then, just a bit bruised then, I guess. The shoulder was making strange creaking noises when I moved it, but hey, what do I know. After all I've never had a broken bone in my 45 years.
I decided to have lunch, hoping the pain would go away. Then it started raining heavily. Crap, I was feeling pretty miserable at this point.

In a moment of mental clarity though, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. "I will NOT go home now, beaten and hurt. I will go out there and do what I came here to do!"



At that point, the sun had come back out and the track was starting to dry up again. I went back and test rode the Triumph Speed Twin. Wow, what a bike! It would be the perfect upgrade from my Street Twin. Lovely. Next I tested the Royal Enfield Interceptor: a nice bike, good looking and comfortable. If it had a bit more power though, it would be great.
I really wanted to ride the Ducati V4, but at that point my shoulder started hurting even more and moving my arm was becoming a problem. Dropping a shitty 310 is one thing, crashing a V4....hell no, I couldn't forgive myself!
To make me feel a little better I got myself a textile jacket on sale. Trying it on was an adventure as you can imagine.



Finally I decided to call it a day and drive home. At this point I was still hoping I could keep it hidden from my wife because you know, the "I told you so" look was not something I was looking forward to.

Well, turns out I couldn't hid it from her because I couldn't even take of my t-shirt by myself. I had indeed broken my collarbone. :-(


tons of pills


This caused my holiday plans to be postponed and forced my to wear some sort of medieval torture device, 24 hours a day for 8 weeks. I had planned for a 3 week bike trip through France, Spain and Portugal, but the summer was running out and I still didn't get the green light from my doctor.

When life throws you lemons, make a lemonade!
So again, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I started learning Spanish and French with a great app called Duolingo, and lo and behold, I stopped smoking. It took me 29 years and a
broken collarbone to finally quit.

That was my last 2 months, but now I feel much better and next week I'll fly to Italy and from there go on a bike trip to Southern France.

And to prove that I make great lemonades...I managed to buy 2 (small) bikes while dozing on my sofa. The first is a Moto Morini Corsarino Scrambler, first edition from 1967, original and unrestored. It's one of very few 50cc 4 stroke bikes and is quite sought after in Italy. I bought it for my dad who will use it as a daily runner.


The second is a bargain Kawasaki AR80 here in Thailand, which I got for a project I have in mind. More about it in another post. ;-)


As you can see, a small fall like that caused a lot of other things to happen, in my case mostly good things.
See you in Italy!!!



April 15, 2019

Find a custom workshop near you

Want to build the bike of your dreams but not sure where to start or who to ask?
Why not go to a professional shop and let them do it for you? The shop might be just around your corner!

Now it's easier than ever to find these shops, thanks to Geoff from 'Return of the Cafe Racers', who put a lot of work in compiling a map and database with all the best motorcycle custom shops worldwide. There are hundreds of workshops already listed. If you run a workshop and it's not yet listed, simply contact Geoff and he will add it to the database.

Check it out here!

March 7, 2019

The Thruxton Fairing - Handcrafted Excellence

We've been selling this fairing for less than a year now, but that was enough to make it one of the best selling fairings in the shop.
People love the sleek look of it, a nice balance of modern and retro vibes, and of course the fact that they get a handcrafted, unique piece of art. Not to mention that it's considerably cheaper than Triumph's original fairing made in plastic.

The Thruxton fairing sits now on bikes in many parts of the world, but we wanted to share with you 2 bikes that stand out. One is a Street Cup from Japan built by Hideki Ohtani, the other a Thruxton 900  by Beniamino Finocchiaro from Italy. Incidentally, both are professional photographers and both built stunning bikes which are getting a lot of positive recognition online.

If you're interested in getting this fairing for your bike (available for the air cooled Bonneville, the Street Twin/Street Cup and the new T100), or other custom made parts, please visit our website:
omegaracer.com

Street Cup by Hideki Ohtani



 


Thruxton 900 by Beniamino Finocchiaro 




March 5, 2019

Crafton Atelier Custom Seats



Check out this great video review by the famous MotoBob, examining the Crafton Atelier Rambler seat.
To celebrate, we've decided to offer a 30$ price reduction on both the Rambler and the Roadster model for the Street Twin, Street Cup, new T100 and T120.

The promotion will run throughout March
What better time to get one of these awesome custom seats, just in time for the upcoming riding season!


Follow these links to get your seat today!
Rambler: https://bit.ly/2HkG87U
Roadster: https://bit.ly/2s5gpIj







January 29, 2019

Imitation is flattery?

Today I would like to talk about something slightly different, but still pertinent to the world of motorcycles: PLAGIARISM



Does the saying "Imitation is the highest form of flattery" apply to the world of motorcycle business?

The Chinese are known for taking imitation to an extreme by copying everything they can lay their hands on. There are small versions of Ducati Scramblers, Panigale and Monster, copies of Honda Cubs and Monkeys, even Chinese versions of Rolls Royces.
Plagiarism though is not confined to China alone, it happens all over the world. It happens in places you would least expect it and it did in fact happen in a place I would not have expected it.

I've been selling JP Vintage seats now for over 5 years, very successfully I may add. So successfully in fact that Omega Racer has been awarded exclusive worldwide distribution rights for the time and resources invested in promoting these brilliant Triumph seats.

Of course, the buzz generated by these efforts, coupled with very positive customer reviews, attracted both new customers and retailers alike. One of these retailers was a shop from the UK who previously purchased some other parts from us and seemed very interested in selling the JP seats. They inquired about which models are the most successful and went on to order 2 sample seats at reduced prices, with the prospect of making a bigger order once they were satisfied with the quality.

This was in April 2017. After this, communication stopped and we just figured they were not interested and forgot all about it.
Until yesterday that is, when I casually googled Triumph and up comes a picture of a seat that looked very familiar. Turns out that the English gentleman was so pleased with the seats he got from us, that he proceeded to make copies of them and sell them as his own. Not only that, to add insult to injury, they used the all important google keywords to describe the seats: "JP Vintage" magically becomes "68 Vintage" and they didn't even bother to change the seat and color names that are specific to JP.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Personally, I always assume people are fundamentally good, and when I see evidence to the contrary, it leaves me in disbelief and disappointed. I believe in following the guidelines of ethical business, but I also believe that what goes around comes around.

I thought I give them the benefit of the doubt and sent them an email, asking for an explanation. A reply came back, citing an improbable oversight regarding the names and offering some lame excuses about the "general" design of the seats.

Let's have a look...
 The original JP Vintage "Brat Style"

The original JP Vintage "Rocker"


The copies


Note the "Dirty Brown" color, a color name specific to JP Vintage seats



Coincidence? General design? Hmmm

Description taken almost verbatim from the Omega website


The names have since been changed, but the plagiarized seat copies and descriptions remain, untouched.

I won't name the crooks as they don't deserve any publicity, but if you think you'll get a SQUARE-DEAL from them, think again.
Shady business practices such as these need to be exposed though, to protect the consumer and the people who invested time and energy to develop a new product.
Buyer beware!




November 29, 2018

Motor Expo 2018 Thailand

First off, I must apologize for not posting on this blog for a very long time. Life sometimes gets in the way and there are things that take precedence...even over motorcycles, believe it or not.

So, let's jump right back in with a juicy report on the 2018 Motor Expo in Bangkok. As usual, the good, the bad, the ugly as seen from my personal view point. The report doesn't pretend to be complete nor in-depth, but will show those bike "picks" that I regard as interesting. There won't be much about sport bikes, adventure bikes and definitely no cruisers, not even "pretties", sorry. There will however be a lot of retro inspired stuff, small displacement bikes, old and new Chinese offerings.
As incomplete as it might be, I hope you'll still enjoy this glimpse into the Thai motorcycle scene.
Anyway, you've been warned.


Firstly, a general consideration: The Chinese manufacturers (Chinese made and assembled in Thailand) seem to really have stepped up their game. Lifan, GPX and Benelli were joined by new manufacturers like CFMoto, Hanway, Zontes and Royal Alloy (Lambretta-like scooters). I can say that they are closing the quality gap with other established brands faster and faster. More details further down...


BENELLI

I really really like the Leoncino. It has a design that doesn't openly copy other bikes in the same segment...maybe because it was designed by Italian designers... It now comes in the original 500 and the new 250cc version. If I had to be nitpicking, I would say they could do a better job with the exhaust design, but for the rest it's a big thumbs up from me. The 500 costs 209.000Baht while the price for the 250 hasn't been released yet.






YAMAHA

40 years and still there! How about that!? The lovely SR400fi might not be sold in the rest of the world anymore due to environmental regulations, but here in Thailand she's still alive and kicking.
Yamaha released a beautiful limited edition SR with gold rims and a 2-tone color scheme for it's 40th anniversary, but I've been told they won't get here. Bummer!



KAWASAKI

The W family: W800 (the fuel injected version of the famous W650), the W250 (crazy expensive for a 250) and the little W125.



MOTO GUZZI

A bitter sweet love story. Sweet because I love Guzzis, bitter because sadly they are still weighted down by high import taxes and thus unobtainable, at least for me.
The new V85 TT was not present at this time and will probably arrive next Year in March.


HD with one of their typical customers...



TRIUMPH

Triumph came with their 2019 line-up...10 more HP, a lighter engine, new color schemes and new seat for the Street Twin and the new Scrambler 1200. While I didn't like it at first when looking at the photos online, I have to say that it looks much better "in the flesh" and it's definitely more scrambler than the 900cc version. The top of the line version, I think it's the XE version, comes with adjustable Showa suspensions and a decent ground clearance. Not sure how much exactly, but substantially more than the little sister.
The guys from Triumph Bang Na told me that they hope to get the new Speed Twin next week. Fingers crossed!







The XC is the standard model of the Scrambler 1200.






The new seat is taller than the old one and has more padding

The new clock is painted black instead of silver, clearly following what customers have done in the past couple of  years


The Scrambler 900 still looks gorgeous, especially with this new paint scheme



CFMOTO

CFMoto is one of those Chinese manufacturers that start to deliver nice looking bikes at more than reasonable prices. They have bikes ranging from 250, 400 to 650cc.
The 250 comes in 2 versions: without ABS 87.500THB and with ABS 95.500THB.
The 400NK costs 149.000THB while the 650NK is 185.000









An electric concept bike and the first prototype.





GPX

GPX presents their new model called MAD, a 300cc naked bike that looks decent enough apart from the huge headlight assembly. Price is 89.800THB.




The "Gentleman" gets a new fairing and becomes the Gentleman Racer, 200cc and 72.500Baht.




LIFAN

Although probably the biggest Chinese manufacturer of them all, Lifan seems a bit behind when it comes to design and overall build quality. They still prefer to copy known designs from other brands instead of finding their own voice.

Mix a bit of MSlaz and a bit of...well, everything else, and you get the 150R

Seriously!? LOL This mini Ducati Scrambler can be yours at only 51.000Baht

Is it a Honda GL100? No, it's a Lifan!

Is it a Honda Sonic? No, it's a Lifan!!

Is it a....well, I don't know wtf this is supposed to be, but yes, it's also a Lifan.
 I don't even know where to start...just, just take it away please.


Lifan Bobber, based on the Lifan Custom, 250cc, 94.000Baht
 HANWAY

Hanway is a new (Chinese) brand in Thailand and has some nice 150 and 250cc models.
I especially liked the 250 Scrambler.
Regarding build quality there is still space for improvement, but not bad as a start.


Definitely not the best looking engine block and messy tubing and wiring

Blackcafe 250


Looks like fun!



This is giving me a headache and I want to scratch my eyes out

Yours truly...




ZONTES

Also new is this manufacturer called Zontes. The front page of their brochure reads:
"Super Motorcycle - It is as if the bike is from the future world. The outlook is formed by the full muscle definition and it's ready to shake the surrounding air."
A bold statement and I give them 2 points for trying, but lets see if it's all smoke or if there's actually some meat.
Zontes are already selling their bikes in several countries around the world and their plant has seen a massive investment which enabled them to install hi-tech machines and robots to produce their bikes.
In Thailand you can get 2 models, both 310cc, fuel injected and dry sump engines, both with ABS and an array of electronic novelties, for example the tank lid opens by pressing a button on the left handlebar and the seat unlocks with a button on the right side. The X310 (touring) and the R310 (naked) don't use a key to start but the rider gets a fob that enables the bike to start when he's in the vicinity.
Overall I've been very impressed with the build quality of these 2 bikes. The seem well designed and made with quality parts. Just look at that nice aluminium alloy swingarm. I've been told that the engine is not a copy of an old Honda design, like so many others do, but is an in-house design. Respect


It's a shame covering this bike with so much plastic


Aluminium alloy swingarm...delicious

A look behind the curtain



Neat





ROYAL ALLOY

Royal Alloy offers 2 Lambretta lookalikes, a 200cc with metal body parts (also in 150cc version) and an all plastic 150cc. Both models are with carburetors only.
In my opinion they actually look far better than the Lambrettas themselves, at least the new incarnation of Lambrettas. The Grand Prix200 is big, especially the rear. I told the sales girl "tuut yai" which means big ass in Thai. She didn't really appreciate my comment, maybe because she was on the heavier side as well... Such is life.


The 200 Grand Prix has this air intake for the radiator. I thought it looked pretty cool on a scooter

Generic controls



At 158.000Baht for a 200cc scooter it's going to be a hard sell I think





MV AGUSTA

Gorgeous and sexy... words fail me




ROYAL ENFIELD

When it comes to Royal Enfield I have a kind of love-hate relationship. I like the look of their bikes, the heritage, the single thumpers, the sound...but I have very low expectations when it comes to build quality. You can say what you want, but when you hear actual owners saying that they bought the worst bike they've ever owned, you will think twice before forking out your hard earned cash. Granted, they are cheap, really cheap, even the new Interceptor with its twin engine. They cost 215.000Baht, which is about half of a new Street Twin, but are they half of everything else too?
Personally, I do hope that the reliability will match its looks and I'd be happy to change my mind in the future.



Love this custom racer






The engine compartment  looks a bit "agricultural" but still pleasing to the eye


Lovely color

The Continental GT with the new twin engine




That mess at the rear HAS TO GO!!







HONDA

There are 2 models that interest me of all the Honda offerings: the new Monkey (99.000Baht) and the new Super Cup (89.000Baht). Very pricey for what they are, but Honda knows how to play the heart strings of vintage bike enthusiasts.



Very serious sport for very serious money. The limited edition Monkey goes for 130.000 Baht


Limited edition Cub, 115.000 Baht
 DUCATI

Here's the only sports bike I looked at. I looked at it for a looong time until the sales guy offered me a test ride at Ducati Viphavadee, probably with the intention of getting finally rid of me.








MAZDA CX-5

Yes, it's a car... It's the only car I looked at, I swear!