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Bikernet Book of the Week Club Review

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Review of Hunter Biden’s autobiography “Beautiful Things”
By J.J. Solari

Editor’s Note: All information in this article has come from trusted sources who wish to remain anonymous who have spoken to people who have read reports regarding speculations deemed to be actual and factual speculations regarding reported likelihoods that are considered well within the parameters of probability as determined by science with a plus or minus accuracy that is deemed acceptable over and above the charts and models traditionally used in the determination of determinants under conditions of anonymity.

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Motorcycle Cooling Vests Product Review

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A Cooling Vest Can Be a Godsend in Triple Digit Heat!
Photos and text by Gary Mraz

It gets hot there in the South West this time of year and a cooling vest can be a godsend in triple digit heat. There are a lot of options for us motorcyclists, and evaporative cooling vests are common. You pull them out when needed, soak them in water and become a human swamp cooler. Ice-chilled cooling vests require ice packs or cooling packs that can freeze at a moderate temperature of 58° Fahrenheit. There are even thermoelectric cooling vests utilizing water pushed through tubes with motors and batteries.

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Honda CMX500 Rebel reviewed

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Rebels Without a Pause: Since Hondas rarely break down

by Geoff Hill from https://www.mirror.co.uk

The original looked a bit wimpish, but a macho makeover has made this cruiser version of the hugely popular CBR500 a nice alternative for bikers clutching their brand new A2 licences in their gloves

A Honda Rebel is a bit of an oxymoron, like Boris Johnson’s hair stylist or Vladimir Putin’s sense of humour.

You see, Hondas aren’t really bikes for rebels. They’re bikes for chaps and chapesses who want to get from A to B efficiently and safely on machines which never break down and have fewer vices than Audrey Hepburn in A Nun’s Story.

Even their Fireblade superbike has always been a pussycat to ride, although in the hands of 23-times TT winner John McGuinness, a pussycat with very sharp claws.

Their cars are the same, as I found doing a lap of Silverstone in a Civic R with British Touring Car champion Gordon Shedden.

I thought it was going to be terrifying, but he and the car were so fast and flawless that it was a hoot going around corners sideways at 100mph while he chatted about the weather.

The one time Honda took a walk on the wild side was with the 1300cc Fury chopper in 2010.

It looked fabulous, but when MCN compared it to the Harley Rocker C, they said the Harley shook and rattled, and engaging first gear was like dropping a hammer in a bucket, but the Fury was too perfect, so they preferred the character of the Rocker.

You could just see the row of heartbroken designers at Honda HQ trudging out to the car park to commit seppuku.

So I rolled up at Belfast Honda on the Africa Twin with some doubts; particularly since when the Rebel came out in 2017 as a bobber cruiser version of the CBR500 which is hugely popular with bikers who’ve just got their lovely new A2 licence and are limited to 47bhp for a bit, it looked, well, a bit wimpish.

Bobbers, as those of you who have studied Dr Furtwangler’s A-Z of Motorcycles will know, were originally 1930s bikes with everything superfluous removed and the mudguards cut back or bobbed for a lean, mean, moody masculine look.

The original Rebel, though, looked about as masculine as Julian Clary in a frock.

All hail, then, to the chaps at Honda who’ve turned Julian into John Wayne, with a much more rugged appearance, not to mention new LED headlight and indicators and a slipper clutch to stop the back wheel locking during aggressive downshifting.

Climb aboard, and it’s still fairly compact for anyone over 6ft, although I was getting vertigo compared to the Monkey Bike I’d been on the week before, joining some lunatics riding them from Land’s End to John O’Groats for charity.

The mirrors are as useful as before, and the minimalist circular speedo now has, as well as the previous time, fuel gauge and mileage on the 2017 version, a gear indicator, a handy addition for newbies.

Start up, the air filled with a civilised purr, and I set off feeling suitably rebellious and looking for some grannies on scooters to beat up.

Progress is surprisingly perky, helped by the fact that the CBR500 engine has been tweaked to deliver maximum torque 500rpm lower. Peak power comes in 100rpm lower as well, not that you’d notice.

Like all Hondas, you can thrash the bulletproof engine to death without fear of disintegration, but the bike’s perky enough without needing to, and that civilised purr never becomes more than a civilised growl anyway.

Handling, with the bike weighing only 190kg fully fuelled and 16in wheels, is a hoot, allowing even new bikers to fling it around corners as if they’ve been riding all their lives, and the suspension damping is better than on the original model as well, leading to a surprisingly plush ride on a smallish budget bike.

There’s only one brake disc up front, but on a bike this light, that’s all you need, with nicely progressive bit and feel from the rear on the rare occasions you might need to go near it.

For an even meaner look, you can detach the pillion seat, which looks about as big and comfortable as a carefully folded napkin, and for another 400 quid, the Special Edition version has a quilted seat, flyscreen for a bit more wind protection at motorway speeds and black fork gaiters for extra moodiness.

The Facts: Honda CMX500 Rebel

Engine: 471cc liquid-cooled parallel twin

Power: 46bhp @ 8,500rpm

Torque: 32 lb ft @ 6,000rpm

Colours: Grey; blue; black

Price: From £5,799

BMW S1000XR review: Genuine all-rounder with sportsbike-like performance

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by Fraser Addecott from https://www.mirror.co.uk

German firm’s adventure bike ticks all the right boxes in all the right categories.

BMW Motorrad positions the S1000XR in its range of “adventure” models, but, in truth, it should be in the “all-rounder” category – if there was one.

In fact, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what sort of bike this is – but only in a good way.

That’s because it offers sportsbike performance, adventure-bike styling and road presence, and tourer comfort and technical features.

It’s a great-looking bike, with sleek lines and a wave-like curve to the silhouette.

There’s a choice of three colourways and the paint quality is excellent.

On board, the seat is nicely cupped and not too wide, nor too high, which means you can confidently plant both boots on the tarmac.

Nevertheless, the ride position feels high and commanding, but extremely comfortable at the same time, with wide, upswept bars.

It fitted me perfectly and I felt I could ride all day.

The large TFT dash is clear and easy to use, and indicates which of the four ride modes you have selected – Rain, Rode, Dynamic or Dynamic Pro.

Each of these adjusts the throttle response and the amount of torque in the lower gears.

There’s also cornering ABS and traction control.

Start up and the engine let’s you know it’s credentials with a sound that’s more sportsbike than adventure.

On the road, the adjustable screen and fairing do a fine job of protecting you from the wind, and the mirrors offer a clear view past your elbows.

This engine is a real beauty.

It has all the power and torque of the superb S1000RR, but delivered in a more refined and manageable way.

The upper gears are long and the torque is smooth and power-delivery linear.

But don’t underestimate it. The acceleration if you open it up is awesome and you’ll be thankful for the (adjustable) wheelie control.

Suspension is via BMW’s D-ESA system which electronically adjusts the forks according to the conditions and has selectable rear spring-load setting for the monoshock.

There is also an upgraded D-ESA Pro, which offers a stiffer Dynamic damping mode and instead of the preload settings, has an automatic function to adjust the shock according to the load.

Through the bends, the S1000XR is an absolute joy.

It’s light and flickable, but also super sure-footed and confidence inspiring.

Braking, with 320mm front discs and four-pot calipers is extraordinarily powerful yet sensitive.

The superb D-ESA means you can brake quite hard into corners with no fork dive – and no rebound as you ease off and accelerate out.

As with all BMWs these days, there is a large range of configurations and optional extras available – mine came with separate Sat-Nav and fog lights.

Overall, this is a truly fantastic machine. The consummate allrounder.

A refined monster: Triumph Rocket 3 review

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by Fraser Addecott from https://www.mirror.co.uk/

It’s powered by an engine that’s bigger than the one in most cars, but Fraser discovers this behemoth oozes class and quality, and rides like a dream

The idea of fitting a motorcycle with an engine larger than that found in the average family car may seem bonkers – but thats exactly what Triumph has done in the shape of the Rocket 3.

Featuring a whopping 2,500cc capacity, this monster is truly impressive.

The bike comes in two versions – a touring-oriented GT and the more sportster-like R.

Both look fantastic, the proportions seem almost other-worldly, like something out of a superhero movie.

Yet the design and the way it all melds together around that giant engine is a thing of beauty.

The quality is superb, from the deep paint finish, to the distinctive twin headlights, the Monza-style fuel cap and the brushed aluminium shields on the triple header exhaust.

Internal wiring on the handlebars keeps everything looking clean and neat and the pillion footpegs fold twice so they tuck away into the fairing and seemingly disappear.

I really liked the layout on the TFT screen, simple and clear, and easily readable even in bright sunlight.

The main difference between the two models is the riding position.

The GT has forward mounted (adjustable) footpegs, a lower seat height and wider, higher bars, plus a brushed aluminium, height-adjustable pillion backrest.

It also comes with heated grips and a pretty effective flyscreen.

The R has a more aggressive stance thanks to the mid-mounted footpegs (also adjustable), higher seat and narrower bars.

With the keyless fob in your jacket pocket, fire up the 2458cc, liquid-cooled triple and you’re off.

For the largest production engine in the world, the sound is surprisingly muted, but, to my ear, not displeasing.

The Rocket offers four ride modes – Road, Rain, Sport and Rider-configurable.

Switch-Gear is illuminated and intuitive to use, employing a simple joystick on the left side.

Electronic wizardry includes cornering ABS, traction control, hill-hold control and cruise control.

With a dry weight of 291kg, this is clearly a heavyweight fighter.

Even so, the new cast aluminium frame and lighter engine components have contributed to a huge 40kg saving compared to the previous model.

And it shows.

The Rocket is surprisingly – and delightfully – rideable.

Oodles of torque across the band mean gear changing across the six-speed gearbox is minimal.

Power delivery is smooth and muscular via the low-maintenance shaft drive, and the torque-assist clutch offers light action, but precise, gear changes.

The big revelation is through the bends, where adjustable USD Showa forks and a Showa monoshock rear set-up, plus model-specific Avon Cobra tyres combine to provide precise, confidence-inspiring handling.

Braking is via state-of-the-art Brembo Stylema calipers and is progressive and super powerful.

As you can probably tell, I love the Rocket – it’s a monster, but it’s a refined and good-looking one – and an absolute joy to ride.

The Facts: Triumph Rocket 3

Engine: 2458cc triple

Max power: 165bhp

Max torque: 163ft lb

Colours: Red; black; grey

Price: £20,800 GT; £19,800 R

New Harley Boom Audio Helmet

By General Posts

As I was preparing for my trip to Sturgis, for the rally, I decided I needed a new helmet. Besides the normal reasons I wanted to upgrade to one that handled rain better.

I started researching helmets, and I came across the Harley-Davidson Boom-Audio NO2 Full-Face Helmet.

It is made of a fiberglass composite and weighs about 3 pounds 12 ounces. It has a washable removable liner and standard Double D-ring chin strap and of course meets all the Dot FMVSS 218 safety standards.

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Born To Ride Reviewed Again

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Where to start? Let’s start with saying this is another failed attempt to emulate Easy Rider but with a supposed humorous twist. Two bikers getting ready to head off to Sturgis, but they get side-tracked when one of them tries to save a dude being robbed by a couple punks, or as Keith Ball (as himself) playing a reporter, calls them, “Goons.”

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Livewire: a plug for a whole new generation of Harley-Davidson bikes

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By Mathieu Day-Gillett from https://www.driven.co.nz

Who on earth expected that it would be Harley-Davidson that would become the first major motorcycle manufacturer to bring to market a fully electric bike?

Okay, all cards on the table, I’ve really been looking forward to riding Harley’s Livewire on behalf of DRIVEN and www.onthrottle.co.nz. In fact, I was lucky enough to have ridden the Livewire’s precursor – 2014’s Project Livewire – and I was so blown away by the bike that I gave it my Bike Of The Year gong for that year.

For the production model, all the rough edges have vanished and Harley has given the bike a charging port in the traditional fuel filler location.

The lightweight alloy frame no longer has a rough finish to it, and while I was at first sad to see the cool textured finish of the concept bike make way for the smooth new frame, I can appreciate that owners of the Livewire would struggle to clean such a thing. Imagine the damage to your trusty old sponge if you had to wipe it over the sandpaper-like finish of Project Livewire?

Other minor changes come in the form of a small fairing around the LED headlight unit, a new sub-frame with space for a pillion, a variety of colour options (our pick is the Yellow Fuse colour scheme), and rather importantly the addition of a numberplate carrier which integrates the rear tail light and indicators also.

Most importantly, however, the Livewire now has functioning rear-view mirrors. Yup, as cool looking as the mirrors on Project Livewire were, in terms of function all they gave you a good view of was your kneecaps.
But what we really want to know is how it rides. Thankfully, Harley-Davidson sorted us out with a guided ride around Portland, with some wicked twisty back roads thrown in for good measure to help us see what it is like to ride the Livewire in the real world.

While it was only a taste of what the ownership experience will be like, riding the Livewire was easily a highlight of my year in motorcycling.

The bike has four pre-loaded rider modes (Road, Sport, Rain and Range) which can be toggled on the fly and each gives the bike a noticeably different throttle response.

Make no mistake, this bike is FAST. With all its power and torque (78kW/105hp and 116Nm) available from 0rpm this thing accelerates like nothing else. Just twist the throttle and the bike shoots off at warp speed.

Linked into the Livewire’s systems is Harley’s first traction control system, which is connected with a six-axis IMU and the ABS brakes. The result is a system that offers the necessary safety net for a bike that has its full power capability from the touch of the throttle.

Our ride route took us from the stop-go of central Portland, out into the hills through some incredibly twisty roads before looping back at the end of the day.

I’ll admit that I was slightly worried about setting off immediately into traffic at the start of the day.

My biggest memory of Project Livewire was nearly dropping the bike in low speed conditions, but Harley has really dialled in the throttle response of Livewire to the point that you can roll along as slow as you like without feeling like you need to slip the non-existent clutch.

In fact, the Livewire is actually an incredibly easy bike to ride in general. It’s well set up with fully adjustable Showa suspension, Brembo brakes and that host of adaptable nanny aids which alter their settings depending on which rider mode you have selected.

Rain is the most constrained with the slowest throttle response, while sport is an absolute riot and actually lets the real wheel slip a bit.

I did feel adjusting the settings on the suspension would have been helpful when really pushing it, as the bike wasn’t quite happy with my fat ass and some of the rougher road surfaces (contrary to popular belief, the roads in the US have their fair share of potholes).

The bike never instilled any sense of being out of my control though and was incredibly confidence inspiring.

Can it wheelie? Probably, I’ll admit I didn’t really try. I will say I’m pretty sure you can do burnouts and annihilate the rear tyre with the traction control off (I will neither confirm or deny trying). Either way having full power from the touch of the throttle is a sensation that quickly becomes addictive.

I did find myself only really using two of the rider modes, Sport (for obvious reasons) and when the riding mellowed out I would switch to Range mode which allows the most battery regeneration when either braking or coasting.

Riding like a loon will obviously drastically reduce your battery range, and I arrived back at base with 32 per cent left, while a much more sensible Australian rider arrived back with nearly 50 per cent!

On merit alone I feel the bike will certainly attract its fair share of buyers. New Zealand pricing is $53,995, which may lock out much of the younger market Harley-Davidson is working hard to attract to its brand.

However, the Livewire is not a bike which Harley expects to sell like hotcakes. It is, instead, the halo product of a much wider range of electric motorcycles from the iconic brand.

In theory, there are another four bikes scheduled to debut below the Livewire in terms of spec and price point in the next two years or so and that is a really exciting prospect.

Is the Livewire another orphan from Harley? Hell no! This is the shock the motorcycling market needs.

Review: 2020 Kawasaki W800

By General Posts

by Sabrina Giacomini from https://www.rideapart.com

A legend brought back to life.

The 2019 show season was a good one for Kawasaki. Not only did Team Green unveil the Z H2 as well as the updated Ninja 1000 SE SX+ and 650, but it also teamed up with Bimota to create the polarizing Tesi H2 prototype. As though that wasn’t enough, the manufacturer also introduced the W800, a stripped down, entry-level version of the W800 Cafe.

I remember vividly the collective gasp we had when the model was first unveiled. The clean and simple lines were a hit among the RideApart team. I even remember being just a little upset about the U.S. and Canada getting the bike in red rather than in the gorgeous shade of green we saw in Tokyo. My disappointment didn’t last long, however, and by the time I picked one up from the Kawasaki HQ, it was completely crushed by how charming the bike actually looked. More on that later, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

The year was 1965. While Americans and Russians were continuously outshining one another on the aerospace innovation front, Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers had an ongoing Space Race of their own. Instead of reaching for the stars, however, the Big Four were competing for the title as the maker of the most powerful motorcycle on the market.

The early- to mid-60s were also formative years for newly-formed Kawasaki Motorcycle Co—a new competitor on the motorcycle scene born from the fusion of Kawasaki Aircraft Industry and Meguro Manufacturing Company in 1964. Thanks to the solid foundations provided by Meguro’s 30-year experience with motorcycles, it wasn’t long before Kawasaki introduced its first big displacement bike, the W1, in 1965. The 624cc parallel-twin is credited for putting Kawasaki on the map as a big bike maker and a serious competitor to Honda and Yamaha. The W1 was followed by the W2, then the W3 before the badge was ultimately dropped in 1975.

Fast-forward 24 years and Kawasaki revived the nametag just in time for the new millennium. In 1999, the W650 became Team Green’s attempt to take its share of the retro-revival cake, going up against an old-school heavyweight, the Triumph Bonneville. The model sold in North America for a meager two years before lame sales caused Kawasaki to pull the bike from the States and focus on the European and Japanese markets instead.

The reality of emissions standards soon caught up to Kawasaki and, by 2007, the manufacturer had to bid the W goodbye once again. Thankfully, the company didn’t wait another quarter of a century to revive the venerable badge. In 2011, it introduced the new and improved W800. The parallel-twin was fully overhauled a met the then current regulations. The fun lasted for another five years before the European Union came knocking once more with new regulations on emissions. This time, the turn-around was much faster and after a short year off the market, the W800 made a triumphant comeback in 2018.

Interestingly, instead of introducing an entry-level model first and following up with more elaborate version, Kawasaki did the opposite got the W ball rolling once again with the W800 Café. The entry-level W800 came the following year as a 2020 model-year. 55 years later, the W continues to roll out of the same plant that first produced the W1—talk about looping the loop.

2020 Kawasaki W800
Engine: 773cc, four-stroke, parallel-twin
Transmission: five-speed
Performance: 52 hp/46 lb-ft
Brakes: 1 x 320 mm disc with two-piston caliper front, 270 mm disc with two-piston caliper back
Suspension: 41mm telescopic fork front, preload adjustable twin-shocks back
Wheels: 100/90-19” front, 130/80-18” rear
Wheelbase: 57.6 inches
Seat Height: 31.1 inches
Weight: 496 pounds
Price: $9,199

If you like the look of the Kawasaki W800 in pictures, wait until you see it in person—I have yet to find a photo that does it justice. The W800 is a handsome bike. The proportions are elegant and Kawasaki found the right balance of chrome and black so that the bike doesn’t look like a disco ball. The manufacturer has been particularly attentive to the small details that give the model its tasteful but not tacky vintage look. Features such as the peashooter exhausts, the round turn signals, the braced fenders, and the exposed bevel-drive camshaft were borrowed from the original W, the one that started it all.

There’s no fluff or luxuries involved here—the W800 has standard ABS and that’s about as fancy as it gets. The two big dials at the center of the headstock are your analog speedometer and rpm gauge. There is a small digital display that shows mileage, trips, time, and such in the left-hand side dial and the usual panel of warning lights in the right-hand side one. There isn’t even a fuel gauge to let you monitor your progress. Just like on an older bike, you either have to do a bit of guessing or wait for the fuel warning to turn on.

As a standard, the W800 is your run of the mill, easy-to-get and to ride-on type of bike. The ergonomics are relaxed; for my 5’8” stature, the knees were at a comfortable, almost-90-degree bend and the straight handlebar is easy to reach without having to stretch the arms completely. This is as standard—and as comfortable—as this type of bike gets.

The Ride

If you’re looking for a bike that stands out with a particularly spicy or spunky personality, then chances are the W800 will feel a little underwhelming. Keep in mind that this isn’t a bike meant to be flashy—it plays the understated card and it plays it well. There’s beauty in simplicity, and while the W doesn’t have the spark of, say, a Z, it does have a few good things going for it.

The engine note is my favorite part. As the Kawasaki representative put it when I picked up the bike and did the walkaround, the bike has a really rich note at low rpm. Then, around the 5,000rpm mark, the grunting engine evens out and becomes as smooth as silk. Sure enough, I started the engine and a nice, musical rumble echoed out of the peashooters. Having to hear that aria in parallel-twin at every take-off definitely made city commuting a delight.

In the city, the W behaves impeccably—not even the addition of an occasional passenger fazes it. It’s nimble and easy to whirl around in an environment where obstacles and traffic lights abound. The stopping power provided by the single discs front and back was efficient without being too mushy or aggressive—a good middle ground for a standard bike that won’t try to buck you off the saddle.

Despite weighing a healthy 496 pounds, the bike is easy to maneuver at low speed, or even to walk out of a tight spot. The steering is breezy and light in the hand, you don’t have to wrestle it into submission or convince it to make a turn.

Once you get on the highway, you get acquainted with the bike’s only real flaw. At a certain speed, I could feel the front wheel buffet, a feeling exacerbated by speed. If you wish to put a few hundred miles on the factory tires (hey: they’re “free” tires!) then adjusting your speed accordingly, below the 70-mph mark will help for a while. If you’re willing to spend the extra money, a good set of radials can make the bike virtually perfect.

The engine itself is irreproachable at any speed. Even cruising at highway speeds felt effortless and I barely even touched the fifth gear—the mill happily purred away in fourth around the 6,000rpm mark. Power is easy to manage, the gears are long (you only get five instead of the now-standard six) and the throttle output is nice and gradual. The clutch is light under the fingers and the gears are smooth as butter—just make sure you give the lever a good kick shifting from first to second, the travel between the two seems a tad long which means I often ended up in Neutral. User error, probably.

The Conclusion

A small part of me thought the W800 would have a little more personality. Just a little something-something to give it more oomph, like with the other Kawasakis. However, I was wrong to expect that of the W because that’s not what the bike is for. It’s the celebration of a legacy rather than something revolutionary. Did I smile while riding it? I did, so in that regards, it fulfilled its mission.

The W800 is designed to be simple, straightforward, and mostly to play nice. In fact, it’s so well-mannered that I could easily recommend it as a starter bike. Think about it: it’s easy to maneuver and easy to control which also makes it easy to learn on without being overwhelmed.

Personality-wise, it might not be the right fit for me. That being said, if I could justify owning more than one bike, I would own a W for its looks alone. If you decide to buy one, be ready to have people come and ask you about it because they will. It seriously is that pretty.