December 15, 2017

Best US Roads for a Motorcycle trip

A bike trip through the US is on many biker's bucket list. It certainly is on mine.
Let's have a look at these amazing places to get our imagination rolling.

The wind rushing past your face, the fresh air around you, the winding roads, and of course the
adventure. These are the best parts of any good motorcycle trip, and any adventurous biker is dying
for the next big thrill. Any bike trip can turn into a great adventure, but the best ones need the best roads
-- amazing sites, twists and turns, and stunning views. We’ve compiled a list of just that.
Across the United States, there are roads just asking for you and your bike to come for a ride, so check
out our list of the best roads for a motorcycle trip.

1. Route 50 George Washington Highway, West Virginia

Imagine winding your way through the twists and turns of rural USA. That’s exactly what this road gives
you. This trip is best in the fall as the cool wind whips past you and the orange leaves fall from the trees
in rural West Virginia. The George Washington Highway goes past sites like Monongahela National
Forest, home to hiking trails, waterfalls, and lakes all atop the mountains, and the Cathedral State Park,
home to spooky tree-lined paths and more lakes. Make this a true adventure by continuing on to the
Blue Ridge Parkway to wind your way through the roads overlooking drop offs from the Great Smoky

2. Needles Highway, South Dakota

Another winding rural highway, this road takes you past some of the most stunning scenery the
continental United States has to offer. Lose yourself as you wind through the towering granite rock
towers and dark granite tunnels. Not to mention, of course, all the wildlife South Dakota is home to --
bison, mountain lions, and more. This road even brings you to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally,
which draws in over 700,000 bikers every August. This is a bike trip you really just can’t miss.

3. Beartooth Pass, Wyoming

Over the hills and through the woods on the motorcycle ride we go. This road takes you up and down
sloping mountains, past rushing rivers, through the forest, and into the wilderness of Wyoming.
Described as the biker’s version of a roller coaster ride, this journey is the extreme biker’s biggest
adventure yet. If you’re a national park or nature lover, this road gets even better -- it leads you right to
the entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Watch Old Faithful erupt in front of your very eyes, or watch
the colors of Grand Prismatic Springs.

4. Cherohala Skyway, Tennessee

This empty, isolated highway is every biker’s dream. For 40 miles, the only things you’ll see are the
winding roads, kayakers in the river below, and you and your hog. Literally, for 40 miles, the only signs
of outside civilization are the occasional bathroom.The Cherohala Skyway travels between the cities of
Knoxville and Chattanooga in Eastern Tennessee and during the winter months can become quite
dangerous, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.

5. Pacific Coast Highway, California

What sounds more fun than riding past the California’s beaches with the wind whipping past you? The
PCH, as its also known, brings you over the famous Golden Gate Bridge, through Big Sur  over the
Bixby Bridge (one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges) and past the beaches of , Santa Cruz,
Santa Barbara, Malibu and Orange County. From San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego,
California is full of incredible sites and cities, begging you to take that bike trip along the West Coast.

November 30, 2017

Bangkok Motor Expo 2017

The Motor Expo in Bangkok has just opened its doors (until the 11. December) and I have to say I was very pleased to see some interesting new bikes for the Thai market.

The first stall was GPX where I was greeted by the new Panigale V4, ehhh I mean the "mini Panigale" called Demon 150GR, a nifty little bike that obviously copies the lines of the Ducati counterpart. Despite the shameless copying though, I just can't hate it, because it's actually quite well made. You can take it home for only 63.800Baht. The only problem (for me at least) is the cramped seating position, which is to be expected for a bike of this size. It's just not possible to move your arse back to crouch down behind the fairing for those times when you feel like 'racing' at 200km/h. Nevertheless, if you're 1.50m, it'll be perfect for you.

Demon CR5 EFI, 200cc 64.500Baht


YAMAHA...I have no idea what's new and what's not. Frankly, I don't care much for all those XSRSTFJSCRyaddayaddayadda, I get a headache trying to distinguish one from the other. The only one I care about is the SR400. See? Such an easy name. Lovely.
I was pleased to find out that production hasn't stopped completely, due to the strict emission laws in Europe (DAMN YOU!), but the legend is still alive and kicking, now in a new blue color. Not the best color admittedly, but at this point I remember my grandmother's wise words: beggars can't be choosy.

KAWASAKI: 2 new additions in the classic W line-up for the Thai market. The W250 (220k Baht) and the W175 (around 80k I believe). Not a big difference in the engine displacement, but a big difference in price! While the 250 is made in Japan, the 175 is made in Indonesia apparently. There's quite a big difference in the look and the "feel" of the 2 little W's. The 250 has a good looking little engine and lots of chrome, even the controls are just like those of the 70's. The seating position is generous and relaxed. It's a lovely bike, but at 220k it's not something that will sell a lot here. The 175 on the other hand is perfectly priced to fit in the retro sub 500cc niche and undoubtedly will take away several customers from the likes of Stallions and GPX. Sure, you don't get all the nice bling of its bigger sister, but I'm sure it's something we can live with.
Just like the SR400, the W800 is not sold in Europe anymore, but happily lives on in Thailand. Praise the Lord!





Retro styling gone too far? Control switches from the 70's parts bin

The W175 on the other hand looks a bit more contemporary

for 220k you get a good looking engine

For the love of the emissions regulations. I have none, so this would get binned on the very first day

80k buys you a less beautiful engine, quite messy too!

W250 bling bling bling

W175 mmmm meh



Let's not forget the sweet Z900RS (485k Baht) and its uglier sister, the Z900RS Cafe.

 From whichever angle you look at it, the Z900RS looks gorgeous!

I think what kills the cafe version for me is the green color with the white stripes. Perhaps another metallic color would suit it much more.



Sadly no new V85 prototype, but still... 2 nice Thai made custom V7 II.

Interesting exhaust bracket...

beautiful in matte red!

The Roamer
The Flying Fortress MGX-21

600k for a red VESPA....maybe if you're the heir to the Red Bull, wait...


Last time I bashed Honda for its lack of designing skills and head-scratching marketing decisions. This time it's not all that bad.
First off, I decided to give the off-road scooter the benefit of the doubt and actually sat on it for a while to get a better understanding of that thing. Now I can definitely say: it's still shit.
The riding position is still that of a scooter. The only off-road you're going to do with this 415k Baht plastic bucket, is if you get drunk one night (trying to forget the mistake you made of buying this thing) and end up in a ditch on the side of the road.

GPS, to help you stay on the road

words fail me...
Now we're talking. Not the best color choice though.

Ups and downs, and downs

UP UP UP!!! Super sweet CB1100RS (559k THB), a real eye candy. Apparently already sold out!

Honda redeeming itself. The new CB150R looks really nice and has the right balance of retro and modern design. See? I can praise Honda, sometimes.


At the TRIUMPH stand there were several Bobbers in different colors as well as the new Speedmaster. 

Inquisitive look, the girl I mean

I quite like the seating position on the Bobber, it gives you a feeling of "bad boy biker".

Love this tank!

A sales guy surprised me with this picture. Nice touch Triumph!

new color for the Street Twin, otherwise unchanged

Street Scrambler

The new Speedmaster, one for the cruiser fans.

With this handlebar and seating position it's probably aimed at American customers, or for those who like to sleep on their bikes.

Outstanding build quality, as usual.


Wouldn't mind testing the new 390, but don't ask me about all the other bikes there, I have no idea. I passed through the KTM stand as fast as possible because my eyes hurt from all the sharp angles and bright colors.


Since I didn't take any decent pics of Harley Davidson last time around, today I took lots of them, but something must have happened with my flash card. Dozens of pics were corrupted and only 2 survived....sorry! Maybe more luck next time.



A modified Ryuka Infinity. Classy welding

I really liked the Cub Classic (39k Baht). Compared to the old model, it has a few more modern touches, like the LED courtesy light, turning lights and even a USB port. My only problem was, once again, the seating position. If you sit squarely on the rider's seat you are far too pushed forward. I found I was most comfortable with my ass right between the rider's and the pillion seat.

USB port
Another nice touch was the pillion seat, which can be removed and reveals a luggage rack.

If a Ducati Monster and an MV Rivale got drunk one day and had sex together, their child would most likely look like this.


I was really looking forward at seeing the new BENELLI Leoncino in the 'flesh'. When I got there, I tried to keep my head cool and judge the bike for what it is and not what I imagine it to be. I studied it for quite some time, looking at all the details, trying to find hidden blemishes, design flaws and cheap details. But as hard as I tried I couldn't find any. Maybe the seating position was crap? I decided to find out. Even though people were not supposed to sit on it, I asked the sales guy and he kindly agreed after he saw my eager face. The seating position is great.
Seriously, it's a lovely bike and at (maybe!) 220K well priced also.
Well done Benelli, you made that quality step we all hoped you would make.

This is a 250 (I think), but looks like a much bigger a positive way.

Those stickers though....meh

The Leoncino!


Like Benelli, Moto Parilla is, or rather was an Italian brand with a long, but less distinguished history. Probably Chinese owned now like the Benelli, but the similarities end there. Their Levriero scooter may look alright from a distance, but from 3 meters away you start to notice cheap, ill fitting plastic parts, questionable  quality control and you get an overall feeling of "thanks, but no thanks". At 70k Baht not cheap either!
That said, I wonder why Scomadi wasn't present at the show...

the handlebar was too narrow for my taste

A more interesting offering from Parilla was this electric bike/bicycle, bloody expensive though. Well, at least the design is interesting. Carbon fiber and aluminium, 70kg, 250k Baht for the top version, 190k for the standard.


LIFAN also have a Honda Cub clone, but not quite as nice as the Ryuka one.

Lifan reaching new heights in copying! Just look at the new Ducati Scrambler clone. I find it quite amazing what these Chinese companies can get away with. I doubt they could show these bikes in Italy though.


 Random Bling Bling


DUCATI is on every bikers mouth due to the new V4, the first V4 in Ducati's house (if we exclude some old prototypes).
Here's a nice "Roland Sands" version of the Scrambler.

The Desert Sled. Love it!

And here's the queen!

Seating position on the Diavel....naaah

 How often can you see a MotoGP Ducati up close?


BMW, nothing much to report from BMW.... RnineT still looks fabulous, even in the GS version, in all its versions actually.

Seating position on the GS? YEEEEAAAAAHHH

Nice couple!


As with the Benelli Leoncino, I approached the Himalayan with the same objectivity. At least I tried to. RE is a huge company with a century of bike building experience, yet it seems they're stuck in the 50's, both in the style as well as in the production department. You would think that after 100 years they would be able to build bikes that don't fall apart after a short ride (owners experiences). Apparently, it's normal practice to start inspecting the tightness of all the screws after every ride. They might say it's part of the RE appeal, I say it's shoddy workmanship.
The Himalayan, sadly, gives me the same impression. It's when I looked at the exhaust pipe that I lost all hope. What the hell?!?

What were they thinking when they designed this mess??

Come on RE....really??

That's it for this year's Motor Expo. Congratulations if you made it this far with reading my ramblings and sorry if I bashed your favourite bike. Well, not really sorry, but you know what I mean.

Till the next show!