February already! And oh boy, a lot has happened since the last Bike Devil’s Two-Wheel update…
Arguably the biggest news is that Norton Motorcycles has sadly gone into administration. We’re pretty sure you will have seen the announcement already to be honest, it’s been on the radio, online and also on TV. There have been many attempts to save the business, such as the launch of a share scheme in November, but none of them have enabled the brand to keep trading. Our thoughts go out to all those impacted – including those with deposits on bikes that haven’t yet been made.
In other news, according to a blog on the Gov.uk website, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency removed over 100 instructor licenses and took 18 ATBs off the official register during 2019. While they didn’t – and can’t – go into too much detail as to specifics, reasons for closing include some schools simply selling certificates, delivering short CBTs, training on unfit vehicles and on unapproved sites.
An investigation by the BBC into smart motorways. Love them or hate them, we’ve all probably used them! The BBC found that it takes an average of 17 minutes to spot a broken down car and another 17 to get it off the live carriageway. As we all know, as there is no hard shoulder, drivers and riders have to rely on the refuges (which can sometimes be up to two miles apart) and the ability of the lane to be closed electronically. We can fully imagine this is an extremely scary experience for anyone in that position. The government is planning to publish a review soon – so let’s see what they say…
Onto more happy news – well for people who aren’t bike thieves in London anyway – London’s Met Police have taken delivery of seven new BMW F750GS-P’s. These specially-designed machines will be used by highly-skilled officers whose focus is to take a stand to curb the rise in motorcycle theft and moped-related crime. Watch out, watch out, there’s a BMW about!
Ducati launched two new Ducati Scrambler 1100 variants too, the Pro and the Sport Pro. While both touches such as an improved seat, colour schemes, lower number plate housing, new exhaust and a shorter rear mudguard – the Sport Pro also gets Ohlins suspension, lower handlebars and stylish mirrors. We like!
The World SBK teams have had their first tests of the year in Jerez and Portimao. At the Jerez test, it was reigning World SBK Champ Jonathan Rea who topped the timesheets – despite only completing 19 laps – followed by Yamaha’s Toprak Razgatlioglu and BSB Champion Scott Redding in third place. It was another Brit, Alex Lowes, in fourth, Michael van der Mark in fifth and Leon Haslam aboard the brand-new Fireblade in sixth.
At Portimao, it was a similar picture – although the Kawasaki Racing Team weren’t there -Toprak Razgatlioglu was fastest, with Scott Redding second, Loris Baz third and Michael van der Mark fourth. Chaz Davies put in the fifth quickest time, ahead of Leon Haslam in sixth. Roll on Phillip Island in less than one months time!
While we’re chatting all things WSBK, have you seen the Jonathan Rea Arai RX-7V replica helmet? Designed to celebrate his five-in-a-row win by Aldo Drudi (also Valentino Rossi’s helmet designer), it’s expected in dealers in May.
Few more bits from us – pricing has been revealed for the Moto Guzzi V85 TT at £11,999 and deliveries are expected to begin this month and Triumph and Baja have announced ‘a long term, non-equity partnership’ to build a range of mid-size motorcycles – exciting hey?!
Journalists have been getting their hands on some of the new bikes for 2020 too – including the new Suzuki V-Strom XT 1050 and the Honda CBR-1000RR-R SP Fireblade – so be sure to check out your favourite mag or website to read their thoughts…
And some positive news to round out our report for today – Jack Miller raised $18,000 to help the New South Wales Rural Fire service fight the Australian bushfires after auctioning off one of his helmets.
Log On, Tune In, Ride Out….