November 30, 2011

Yamaha SR and the Dunlop TT100 Roadmaster

Tyres are obviously an important feature on any bike and the final choice when buying them are often dictated by a mixture of performance, look and price.

There is a great variety of tyres for the SR, but after doing some research on various websites and forums, I eventually found there were 2 main competitors for the cafe racer style crown:
the Bridgestone Battlax BT45 and the Dunlop K81 TT100 Roadmaster. 

So what's the difference between the two tyres? The answer to that question is a very subjective one.
The BT45 is an excellent tyre and the first choice for SR riders all over the world due to it's outstanding grip, fast response and durability.
Dunlop Battlax BT-45

However, if you're an SR rider who appreciates the vintage design of the original Dunlop K70, but don't want to put up with it's vintage technology (read: dangerous), you might like the TT100 Roadmaster. 

The TT100 Roadmaster is by far the number 1 tyre choice in Thailand and I talk from personal experience when I say that it is indeed a great tyre. If you don't believe me, read the following reviews:

You have to be pushing it fairly well to get the TT100/K81 DUNLOP to slide or be on a poor/slippery surface. The key thing with these tyres are that when they do let go and start to slide, the whole transition from grip to slip is predictable. You can feel the tyre starting to get "squigglie" as you push harder through the turns and if you go a bit harder they will let go fairly "slowly". I have ridden on some tyres that seemed to go from full grip to absolutly no grip instantly, and they are the tyres that hurt, as you have to be real quick to catch the slide, and quite often when you do catch it, you end up going over the high side. With the low power output of the SR and the smooth easy way it delivers the power, it is quite easy to control a SR when it starts to slide, no matter what tyres are fitted.

I have fitted and ridden on DUNLOP TT100's (AKA K81's) almost exclusivly since I bought my first SR back in 1980. I tried PIRELLI Phantoms and a few other "performance tyres" in the 1980's but always went back too the DUNLOPS as being the best compromise between wear, grip and predictability . They don't give as good a grip as some of the newer tyres such as the BT45 Bridgstones, but they wear well and give more than enough grip for most riding situations that you will subject a SR500 too. Having said that they will let go and slid if you push them too hard, but if you are riding that hard you should give up the SR and buy a modern sports bike. When they do let go they are quite predictable. 
from SR500 forum

What inspired me first to write this blog entry, was an article about the TT100's history which I found very interesting. Here it is...

written by Jim Reynolds

One day in 1967, Dunlp's chief motorcycle tyre designer Tony Mills got a call in his Birmingham office. It was Doug Hele on the line, the man in charge of development at Triumph, who wanted to discuss a tyre for a new model being worked on. The 750cc three-cylinder Trident. Hele explained that the bike would be high performance model with ace tester and racer Percy Tait doing the testing.
Mills and his team of David Buck, David Lamb and Graham Barton based their thinking on the popular triangular section racing tyre and produced a 4.10in (104mm) section, in what David Buck called the Trigonic shape, to fit Triumph's standard 19in rim. It used a four-ply nylon bias-ply construction to accomodate the Trident's weight and for extra grip they used a tread compound similar to that in their race tyres. Named the K81, it was tested at the Motor Industry Research Association testing ground, near Hinckley, Leics, and got a strong thumbs-up from Percy.
Out on the road, including some very illegal speeds down the stretch of road known to the factory testers as The Meriden, it passed with flying colours. When the Triumph-BSA Group launched the new Trident and Rocket-3 modelsthey wore K81s and Norton's Commando did the same. It was unique in having a directional rotation arrow moulded into the sidewall to make correct fitting more simple.
Triumph entered 650cc T120 Bonnevilles in the 1969 750cc Production TT, wearing K81s because road legal tyres were compulsory.
It's a matter of history that Malcom Uphill was the hero of the day, putting the production lap record over 100mph for the first time and winning at a record 99.99mph race average. More than that, it was the first time a road legal tyre had put in a TT lap at the 'ton'; history made in two ways. It was too good a chance for Dunlop's publicity people to miss; they renamed the boot the K81 TT100 Roadmaster and a legend was born.
It went on to be produced in 18in rim sizes and a variety of widths up to 4.25in (108mm) at the rear and 3.60in (91mm) up at the sharp end, at Dunlop factories in England, France and Japan.
What's more, when the company produced a new race tyre for the 125cc class in 1977, it was called the TT100GP - that won several World 125 Championships plus National titles.
It's still in production, at Lucon in France, in the original 4.10x19in size, but continual development work has seen it changed from four- to three-ply construction. Forty-two years after it earned its title, the legend lives on.

November 29, 2011

Bike Of The Week #19

I've posted a video of this bike some time ago and today I want to feature it as Bike Of The Week. I really like the simple lines and the understated goodies on it. That Benelli tank is really cool too and seems to pop up quite a lot lately.

November 23, 2011

Every type of four-stroke bike engine ever made

Interesting article about the various types of 4 stoke engines.
(written by Robin Goodwin, taken from
Check it out...

Single cylinder

With only one piston, engines don’t get any more basic than a single.  This simplicity – one piston, one con-rod, one set of valves, one head and base gasket, etc – lends itself to the production of small cc, cheap motorbikes and scooters. Such uncomplicated engine architecture also results in minimal weight and compact dimensions, also attributes ideally suited to small motorcycles.
The biggest downside to the single cylinder engine is vibration. The bigger the engine gets the more pronounce vibration becomes and without another piston to space the firing intervals this imbalance is exaggerated.  One solution to minimise vibration is the fitment of balance shafts to oppose imbalanced forces.

Good at: Simple, compact, cheap

Bad at: Vibration, drivechain life, not-suited to big cc

Sum up: Powers the ‘ped
Iconic single: Honda C90

Parallel twin

The dimensions of a parallel twin lends itself to the conventional motorcycle chassis design – narrow, short and compact. With double the power strokes per crankshaft revolution, the parallel twin can be viewed as being twice as efficient as a single.
Having an extra piston also helps dampen the single’s vibration issues; however a parallel twin is not without its own vibration troubles.

Good at: Compact, versatile

Bad at: Bad vibes

Sum up: Obvious middleweight choice
Iconic twin: Meriden Triumph Bonneville

Inline three

Triples attract a cult following because of their haunting engine and exhaust note. They benefit bike design by striking a good balance of power and width, being only slightly wider than a twin yet narrower than a four. 
For a manufacturer, a triple can allow a bike to have great handling characteristics, allowing the rider to maintain a high corner speed because of its slim figure. To counter this argument, the gargantuan Rocket Three Triumph uses an in-liner three cylinder but flipped through ninety degrees to run longitudinally.

Good at: Corner speed, narrow, balance 

Bad at: Errr...

Sum up: Howling note
Iconic triple: Laverda Jota

Inline four

First made commonplace by Honda with the ground-breaking CB750 in the late 60s,  the inline four has been adopted by most Japanese manufacturers – hence coining the phrase UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle).
A four provides the ideal starting point for engine design when high performance is required striking an almost ideal balance between power, weight and ease of packaging - modern-day fours are as narrow as yesterdays twins.

Good at: Performance, power-delivery 

Bad at: Tingly vibes

Sum up: Best packaging/power balance
Iconic four: Kawasaki Z1

Inline six

More of showcase than a necessity, an inline six is a rarity through its issues in production as the engine is incredibly wide, complex and very expensive to make. This exotic piece of engineering results in not only a beautiful note but exclusivity.
The configuration allows for perfect primary and secondary balancing factors through the even spacing of the crankpins - this quality allows for a smooth power delivery and once sampled it is never forgotten.

Good at: Smooth, balance, sound

Bad at: Expensive, complex, wide

Sum up: Trophy of engineering
Iconic six: Honda CBX1000


An unmistakable booming sound denotes a v-twin engine. The angle of the V can vary with around 30 different permutations and, uniquely, the engine is able to work both transversely and longitudinally, the former demonstrated by Moto Guzzis.
For supreme balance characteristics the most advantageous angle is 90 degree, shifting the measurement of the V to a lesser or greater slant the excellent balance can become compromised, however narrow angle V’s are easier to pack within a chassis. The power attributes of a V are well-suited to grip/traction as the firing pulses are ideally matched to current tyre construction, allowing the carcass of the tyre time to recover.
Ducati name their twin an L, essentially it is just a 90-degree V but starting with the bevel drive 900ss, the Italian manufacturer has named it this way just to be a bit different.

Good at: Traction
Bad at: Hard to package for best weight distribution
Sum Up: Boom Boom
Iconic V-twin: Ducati 916


The operatic tone of the V4 has been lauded and lusted over since it powered Honda’s RC30 in the 80s. Similar in method to the twin, the V4 has two additional cylinders in a bid to liberate a bike of vibration. The benefits the engine gives is a broad range of power all contained in a compact chassis.

Good at: Compact, broad power
Bad at: Expensive to make

Sum up: Has a die-hard following for a reason
Iconic V4: Honda RC30


There has only been one production, and limited at that, V5 motorcycle engine ever made and it powered Honda’s MotoGP bike from when the series changed to four strokes in 2002. Rather than use an orthodox inline four, HRC went with the V5 as they thought it was in keeping for the manufacturer’s ‘spirit for innovation’.
The unique, never-tried-before V5 type had the placement of the cylinders at 75.5 degrees with three facing forwards and two rearwards. The RC211V had exceptional balance when compared to its rivals and was awesomely fast, powerful and unlike anything seen before. From its debut, up until it was replaced by a V4 configuration for the 800s, the prototype machine won 48 races.

Good at: Winning races, bhp, top speed
Bad at: Being available (and affordable)

Sum up: HRC indulgence
Iconic V5: one and only Honda RC211V


Laverda had an ill-fated attempt at creating a V6 motorcycle engine in the late 70s. At the time the Italian manufacturer was an expert of the triple configuration and felt that a V6 would be relatively easy to produce, as they would effectively be joinin two triples together.
Displayed as a concept at the Milan show in 1977, Laverda sought to prove the potential of the V6 at the 1987 Bol d’or – which is just what they did. In the practice session the V6 recorded a top speed of 175mph on the straight. Unfortunately, it was hampered by its bulky size, was a handful to ride and never actually finished the race. Hoping to re-enter the following year, Laverda’s V6 engine was brought to a close as the series organisers imposed a four-cylinder limit.

Good at: Rapid
Bad at: Weight, size

Sum up: Extinct V6 experiment
Iconic V6: Laverda V6


Better associated with American muscle cars, the V8 has made a brief appearance in motorcycling. Back in 1955, Moto Guzzi used this configuration to demonstrate their aptitude for engineering. Named the ‘Otto Cilindri’, the engine made it into Guzzi’s 500cc Grand Prix bike – capable of 78bhp and 172mph. Ultimately the Otto Cilindri out-performed the tyre, suspension and brake technology and after a three-year period (that saw many of its riders suffer severe injuries) no-one was willing to ride the bike and the project was shelved.
The V8 did also make it to production motorcycles, although in a limited scale powering a Morbidelli and the Boss Hoss cruiser. Listed as the World's most expensive motorcycle, the Morbidelli was an 850cc sports tourer using a liquid-cooled, 32-valve, 90-degree V8.

Good at: Power

Bad at: Slimming accolades

Sum up: Reputations are made of this
Iconic V8: Benelli Otto Cilindri

Flat twin

Originally conceived by Karl Benz in 1896 a flat twin, or boxer, has the cylinder heads separated from each other, diametrically at 180 degrees on either side of the bike. A boxer engine gives good primary balance as each piston works by opposing the force of the opposite piston.
There is however a minor element of unbalance in the movement of the crankshaft, as the pistons are offset from one another.
Generally found on BMW’s, a boxer’s traits from its lengthy years of development include a smooth delivery, easy maintenance and reliability.

Good at: Easy maintenance, smooth, reliable
Bad at: Appearance

Sum up: Old and reliable tractability
Iconic boxer: BMW ...


A flat-4, is just that, as the engine is flat with the four cylinders arranged horizontally in two banks of two, on each side of a central crankcase. The configuration generally results in inherently good balance of parts, as the pistons are usually mounted on the crankshaft in a way that the opposing piston moves back and forth in opposite directions at the same time.
The design also allows for a low-centre of gravity, a very short length and efficient air-cooling.

Good at: Balance, gravity, short
Bad at: Expensive to manufacture
Sum up: Cruises efficiently
Iconic Flat-4: Honda Goldwing Gl1000


The Flat-6 is like it's smaller four cylinder brother but with an extra two. The six cylinders are again arranged horizontally in two banks of three on each side of a central crankcase. The benefits of the engine are also much the same with the four, with good balance, low-centre of gravity and efficient air-cooling

Good at: Balance, gravity, short
Bad at: Expensive to manufacture
Sum up: Cruises efficiently
Iconic Flat-6: Honda Goldwing GL1800


The eccentric rotary engine made a brief foray into motorcycling for its advantages over conventional power plants; notably for its lack of camshafts, intake and exhaust valves, and a reduced number of moving parts. Originally an experiment by manufacturers into alternative engine configurations. Suzuki introduced a wankel powered bike with the mass-production of the RE5. Smaller production runs of Wankel engined road bikes were made by Hercules and Van Veen.
Unfortunately conventional proved best as the bike was hampered by a heavy weight and high fuel consumption. A rotary engine did achieve some positives with Norton as the British manufacturer used the engine type in the Commander and the TT-winning RCW588 ridden by Steve Hislop in 1992.

Good at: Unique, smooth

Bad at: Rotor tip sealing

Sum up: Keeps warranty departments busy
Iconic wankel: Suzuki RE5

Square four

Originally offered to BSA by designer Edward Turmer, the square four motorcycle engine was rejected by one British manufacturer but picked up by another, Ariel, who used it in their eponymous Square Four between 1931 and 1958. Also known as a U, the Ariel Square Four’s engine was effectively a pair of parallel twins joined by their central flywheels, with one four-cylinder block and one head.
On one hand this design offers the ultimate in compact dimensions but reliant only on air-cooling, the Ariel square four was particularly prone to overheating its rear cylinders.

Good at: Pulling sidecars

Bad at: Keeping cool
Sum up: 27 year production run
Iconic square four: Ariel Square Four

"The Way of the Thai Biker" (or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Riding)

Today I found this brilliant essay about Thai bikers on the GTRider forum (original link) written by Ian Bungy. If you've ever wondered why Thais ride the way they (insert obscenities here) ride, this will tell you why...

"The Way of the Thai Biker" (or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Riding)

Most religions are burdened with the concept of opposites such as good and evil, heaven and hell, and light and dark. Buddhism however recognizes the inherent one-ness of all things and sees these supposed opposites as facets of the unity and totality of existence. To follow the way of the Thai Biker, you too must cast off all illusions of duality, such as the concept of two traffic lanes moving in opposite directions. The Thai Biker sees both lanes as part of the one road, and both directions as an expression of the eternal flow of all things. When you have grasped this, you will understand why Thais swerve fearlessly into oncoming traffic to overtake, and why they are completely serene as they hurtle along a busy road the wrong way. This is because there is no wrong way, only ‘The Way’. 'The Way' is clearly outlined in the Thai Highway Code, which consists of a single teaching, 'He who dares wins'. 
It’s the same with traffic lights. To the enlightened Buddhist driver, red, amber and green are not different colours, but simply different ways of seeing the same traffic light. Unlearn such confusing Western notions as ‘right of way’ and your inner eye will open, and guide through the intersection. Remember Green Amber and Red all have the same meaning, refer to the Highway Code for more guidance.
In Thailand, existence is not a linear progression from birth to death, but rather an endless cycle of life, death and rebirth. As one’s soul gains experience and enlightenment from each lifetime, that soul is reincarnated, until Nirvana is achieved and the Thai Biker escapes from this eternal cycle into a state of perpetual bliss. You never die, because life is a mere Honda Dream. As such you should never fear death, even when careening along a twisty Thai highway at 200km an hour with a bottomless chasm beside you. This life will end when it is time. No matter how often you check your mirrors, a pick-up truck can hit you from any direction making that time now. Accept this as inevitable, and you will be free to follow the way of the Thai Biker, overtaking on blind corners and driving in the rain at breakneck speeds without a helmet, or at night without lights to guide you. 
Those who wish to spend a little longer in this lifetime should be especially careful when driving past Buddhist temples, because the drivers coming out have probably just made merit, an ideal time for reincarnation while the getting is good. 
Be like the water, which is the essence of all life and, as such, has many lessons to teach us. Water can seep through even the smallest crack, and so too can the Thai Biker. He can manouever into any space between two speeding vehicles, no matter how small it may be, or at what speed he is travelling. When confronted by an obstacle, water does not stop, but flows around, never losing momentum. So too must you.
Patience is also necessary when starting off, or turning across an oncoming lane of vehicles. You must slowly edge onto the road, keeping an eye out for even the tiniest cracks in the teeming traffic. What is the sound of one horn honking? As you travel the road to enlightenment, you will ponder this repeatedly. The answer is childishly simple. It depends on how many times it honks. One honk indicate that someone is overtaking or coming through, while a series of several honks is meant as a warning that someone is trying to move you along the path to enlightenment.
There is also the puzzle of the turn signal. A blinking left indicator can mean the driver is about to make a left turn, or it can mean he is about to make a right turn or no turn at all. Understanding intractable questions like these is the secret to mastering the way of the Thai Biker.

November 21, 2011

No More Getting Wet!

After watching this video you'll realize you could just have bought this tent-coat for a few bowls of rice instead of spending your hard-earned cash for the latest high tech rain gear. It's practical, it's cheap, it's cool!
And you can piss wherever you are and nobody will notice! Priceless!

You must feel pretty stupid now, don't you...


November 12, 2011


Dream Road in South Tyrol

I got a bad case of homesickness today, thinking about the great mountain roads at home in Northern Italy where I was born and raised. One road in particular, starting 1km from my house and going up to the top of a mountain, has been the racing track of my choice since I was 14. The road goes from the city of Bozen in South Tyrol (Italy) up to the Rittner Horn.

View Larger Map

Here's a video I found where you can see what I'm talking about. Home sweet home!

November 3, 2011

SR for sale, with registration

Here's another registered SR for sale.
As usual, I'm just providing a service for potential buyers and in no way connected to the seller.

The bike is for sale at 90.000Baht including name transfer and is located in Saraburi.

Here is the LINK to the original ad.

November 1, 2011

CB400SS for Sale in Phuket, Thailand

For the aspiring cafe racer living in Thailand, here is a splendid 2001 Honda CB400SS. It comes with Green Book and goes for 85.000Baht. Not too bad for such a nice bike.
If you're interested follow this link.

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Monster Is Magic

I need you!

This time it's for the chance to win a Ducati Monster 795. Please, help me to fulfill the dream to ride this otherwise unattainable bike by following this LINK and VOTE for my picture.
Don't forget to check your inbox to validate the vote by answering the confirmation email.

T H A N K S !!!!!!