Wednesday, November 25, 2009



Hi Dr. Phil,
I have some comments and questions relating to my most recent bike purchase. I hadn't planned to get myself a DR-Z400 since the guys I ride with have DR650s but it was such a bargain I couldn't pass it up. Anyway, my first job was to replace the 14T front sprocket with a 15T one to reduce the revs on the highway. Whilst this has made a bit of difference I was wondering if the bike could handle two less teeth on the back sprocket? We don't do any seriously steep stuff so I'm thinking the taller gearing shouldn't cause any major problems. Next job was to get a decent sized fuel tank and the 17L Safari tank was just the ticket. It actually holds 20L from empty so that gives the bike a great range. Here comes my next question, what difference the fuel type? I've run the bike on both standard unleaded and 95+ octane and can't say that I've noticed any difference. Am I missing something or just not riding hard enough to pick a difference? When I got the bike it had been de-restricted and I found the exhaust note a bit loud for my old ears. So I put some muffler packing in the back half of the stock muffler and it has made a bit of difference but I think it's still a bit on the noisy side. I was thinking about one of the Ballards “quiet” end pipes. I'm assuming they work by restricting the gas flow? If so will I need to re-work the carby to suit? We are planning to do the Flinders Ranges in autumn next year so I've fitted a B&B rack to the back which looks very neat. You guys have recommended Motzo Tractionator tyres for the ranges but none of my local dealers stock them. Can you recommend anything else that would handle the trip? Finally I've also had to change the battery. After only 15 months life it no longer holds a charge. What's going on, are they too fragile for offroad work, pity if that's the case. I've had the bike for six months now and only had one minor get off. The trip to the doctor cost me more than the repair to the bike! Other than that having a great time. Guess that's it for now, thanks for a great mag.
-- Dave Westmoreland, via

Thanks for your email, Dave. Yes, your bike will easily handle two less teeth on the rear sprocket, though just confirm you like the modified gearing prior to doing a big multi-day ride with it. Don’t cheap-out with your choice of fuel quality! Run 98 whenever you can, when it’s not available use 95 or 92 but switch back to 98 afterwards. Most tech gurus agree BP Ultimate 98 octane is better than the rest. You may not be able to notice the difference between 98 and 92 or 91 but you will after you’re more used to your bike, and besides, your engine WILL notice it even if you don’t.  Contact Motoz Australia direct on 02 9905 5155, mention you’ve contacted us and see what they can offer about getting tyres to you direct or through one of your dealers. If you go the quiet end pipe in the muffler, just ask Ballard's when you buy it, as they will know what jetting specs are recommended. Unfortunately we’ve had many letters about dodgy batteries in DR-Zs, we even had a dead battery on a new bike that was delivered to us for testing! As far as we know, Suzuki will replace batteries for free if the bike is still under warranty. Certainly the DR-Z battery is older technology compared to today’s modern sealed-cell batteries used on most late-model 450cc enduro machines. A replacement battery is all well and good, but that won’t help a rider when they are on the trail without a kick-starter and with a flat or dead battery!! I don’t believe the battery is too fragile, perhaps we’re looking at a quality-control issue at the battery production plant. Enjoy your ride!
-- Dr Phil,

Monday, November 23, 2009



After making a mighty effort to get a top-shelf Aussie team to the famed Score Tecate Baja 1000 desert race in Mexico last weekend, Team Australia KTM riders Ben Grabham and Brad Williscroft were outed while running in a stunning fourth place outright -- and it was caused by a busted wiring connection! Here's the report from KTM off-roasd team boss, Wonka:

“We needed a bigger stator than the stock KTM 530 XCW stator to power the large lights required for the late night riding, but ours purchased through Ricky Stator in the USA failed when the solder broke on the wiring, stopping the bike at the 242 mile mark - ending our Baja ride with major disappointment,” said Williscroft.


“From the moment we arrived in Baja everything was running really well.  We had great team support, and got in 1200 miles of pre running.  Our confidence was high, and we had a good game plan in place for chase vehicle positioning, and which sections myself and Grabbo would ride.


“Our strategy was for Grabbo to start the race.  He drew 12th position from a hat for the start, and unfortunately had to deal with a lot of riders dust.  The race got underway at 6:30am, and the air was very still with no wind, so it wasn’t until around the 70 mile mark before he could get clear air, and actually start riding hard. 


“The first rider change was at the 100 mile mark, by the time Grabbo got to me the race leader had a 25 minute lead, an obvious advantage was the lack of dust they had on route.  Grabbo handed the bike to me in eighth  place - he had already made up four positions.


“My stage was to get the KTM 530 XCW over a pretty big mountain face.  It was called The Summit and it had an elevation of 3500 feet above sea level. The ride up was the rockiest section I have ever encountered in all my years of racing.   The backside of the mountain face was completely different it levelled out, and wove through old creek beds, fast flowing rocky roads, across a dry lake bed which was ten miles wide, and through big open sandy plains. 


“By the next change over at 210 miles I had worked my way into fifth position, and pipped off three riders along the way.  Next up Ben took off for the 180 mile San Felipe loop which is notorious for big whoops, but when we were pre running it felt like they were nowhere near as big as the whoops at Alice Springs during the Finke Desert Race, so Grabbo was quietly confident he could dominate in this section.


“Grabbo got off to a flying start, and passed a racer early to move us into fourth position, but not long after he passed that racer the bike stopped at the 242 mark.


“By the time the chase vehicles and I got the radio message of Ben’s location it took us three hours to get to him, because he was on the race course with no access road.  We got to him with one hour left of daylight, and made a conscious decision not to risk ourselves any injury by trying to fix a problem that we had not clearly identified just to finish the race.  It’s a dangerous and risky race in terms of the ever changing terrain, so we loaded the bike on the truck and ended our race there.


“When we pulled the bike down to determine the problem, our disappointment intensified when we found  it wasn’t mechanical, but rather the solder had broke on the wiring of the stator purchased through Ricky Stator in the USA.  We needed a larger stator to the standard one on the KTM 530 XCW to support the larger lights required for night riding, but this one recommended let us down.


“Both Grabbo and I are really disappointed because we honestly felt we could have secured a podium.  It was a huge effort to get over to Baja, and we want to give special thanks to our major sponsors and supporters including Brian Finn from Force Accessories, KTM USA, Steg Pegz, Chill Dynamics and Mitcham Contracting.


“Our support crew in America are also worthy of a big thanks especially Warren Lovelace from   We learnt a lot about Baja from Warren and his crew. 


“We know we’re going to be asked a lot  if we will come back next year to give Baja another go, but that is undecided it will be determined by how much support we can get because it takes a massive team effort to enter Baja, and it cannot be done on a tight budget.”

Sunday, November 22, 2009



Hi Guys: Apparently your magazine showed an article recently promoting a product made by IB Engineering I think it was.  The product is a secondary adjustable sidestand for the right-hand side of you bike which allowed you to raise either the front or rear tryre off the ground so you could remove it for repair when you are out bush. I am having trouble finding a contact for the company that makes them.  I was hoping you could help me?

-- Dale Richter, via

No worries, Dale, here's the scoop: contact Ian at IB Bike Lifts on (02) 4955 9269 or check out the web site and get yourself one of their handy little stands.



Enduro Illustrated 2009 Just Released!

Enduro illustrated, the glossy, action packed, high quality, photo annual is back. Bringing together stunning images from each and every round of the 2009 World Enduro Championship, the second edition of this spectacular publication is a must for all enduro fans.

Available now from the revamped website, for 2009 leading off-road motorcycle photographer Jonty Edmunds has gone the extra mile to ensure 116 heavyweight pages of exciting, compelling and inspiring images. Enduro illustrated 2009 again features detailed editorial reviews, comments and interviews (written in English), covering all aspects of the thrilling eight-round series. Enduro illustrated 2009 will be the definitive WEC season review annual.

Once again designed to excite, inform and interest enduro fans both old and new, Enduro illustrated 2009 captures the passion and commitment of those who competed in this year’s WEC. In addition it features coverage of the 84th ISDE from Portugal. The magazine’s content and design reflect the dynamic, exciting and professional nature of the World Enduro Championship and bring together photography, graphic design and written words gracefully, honestly and stylishly.

Enduro illustrated 2009 is a visual celebration of the ’09 WEC series. Each 116-page issue features a Matt laminate printed cover on 350-gram paper. All 112 full-colour internal pages are printed on 130-gram paper. It’s big, it’s packed with amazing photography, and it’s a magazine you’ll want to keep forever.

Enduro illustrated 2009 is available globally now, via a dedicated website – Costing just €9.50 plus packaging and postage, Enduro illustrated 2009 represents fantastic value for money.

Highlights of Enduro illustrated 2009:

The Gallery: Expanded and improved for 2009 no fewer than 38 pages will feature a diverse selection of photographs depicting action, emotion and the unexpected

We Three Kings: Mika Ahola, Johnny Aubert and Ivan Cervantes are this year’s three senior WEC title winners. Each of them explains what it took to beat the rest in order to become the best

Best of ’09: Naming the best of the best this image lead feature explains who and what got it right during the thrilling 2009 World Enduro Championship season.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009



We're flat-out right now gearing up for the Sydney Motorcycle Show at Homebush, which kicks off at 10am tomorrow. 

The Show is shaping up to be cracker, with a full raft of exhibitors and some wicked new two-wheeled weapons to check out.

If you're looking for a trick new road-rocket to park alongside your dirt churner in the garage, then make a bee-line to the Paul Feeney Group’s MV Agusta display, which is right near the Husqvarna stand, but of course.


Because there’s one oh-so-sweet MV Agusta F4 up for sale this weekend, and it’s one of just 100 that have been produced by the legendary Italian brand.

Here's the Press Release about the bike from the PFG -- make sure you're sitting down when you read the price -- and we'll see you there at the Show! 

Be sure to drop in to the TRAIL ZONE stand and say g'day sign up for your chance to Choose Your Ride and win your choice of a new Husqvarna TE450 or Kawasaki KLX450R or KTM 300 EXC or Suzuki DR-Z400E or Yamaha WR450F -- Clubby.

Press Release:

MV Agusta F4 CC: World's Most Expensive Production Motorcycle On-Sale at Sydney Motorcycle Show This Weekend!

The F4 CC is named after the President of MV Agusta, Italy, Claudio Castiglioni and boasts an exclusive retail price of $185,000 (AUD).

The F4 CC features an up-spec engine to 1078cc, 200hp, rated to 315km/h and an abundance of technical upgrades. There is a select build number of 100 units only worldwide. 1 for Claudio Castiglioni, 99 for the world.

The F4 CC also comes with a luxurious F4 CC Trussadi leather jacket and Girard-Perregaux watch which is individually numbered as the motorcycles production number.

Australian MV Agusta importer, the Paul Feeney Group secured one last production F4 CC machine and the bike will be available for sale this weekend at the Sydney Motorcycle Show.

In true Motorcycle Art form, MV Agusta is recognised as the world's most premium motorcycle brand which stems back to the glory days (1950's/60's/70's) with the marque winning 18 premier class riders Championships.




AUSTRIAN manufacturer KTM chose the annual EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan, Italy, last week to unveil the latest weapon in its formidable off-road arsenal. 

Dubbed the 350 SX-F Factory Racing, the all-new motocross bike is slated to go into production and be ‘ready to race’ in 2010.

Developed in conjunction with MX GP legend Stefan Everts, who is now KTM’s global MX race team boss, the new 350 slots between KTM’s current 250 and 450cc thumpers and is clearly aimed at shaking up the exisiting capacity classes in MX GP racing. 

Boasting an all-new, high-output, fuel-injected four-stroke motor, another of the most obvious changes in the bike’s spec is the adoption of a linkage rear suspension system, in place of KTM’s traditional PDS rear end.

The new 350SX-F is set to be raced in the 2010 AMA MX Nationals by young gun Mike Alessi, with the factory claiming the new capacity offers the best of both worlds: near-450cc power in a lighter near-250cc chassis and handling package. 

From where we stand, we just can’t wait for the ensuing KTM 350 EXC variant, which would have to make a sensational giant-killing machine in trail and enduro conditions – bring it on! 

-- Clubby,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009



The Alexandra District Motorcycle Club  has allowed readers of the web site a last chance to enter the 2009 SAWMILL Rallyto be held near Mansfield, in Victoria without having to pay the late fee. Just note EMD on your entry.

If you find yourself without anything to do this Sunday (November 15) with the unfortunate cancellation of the Blue Light Ride due to bush fires and damage in the area, this is your last opportunity to get in for the Sawmill ride, which will feature two 70km loops through pristine trails around Mansfield in the Victorian High Country. We've ridden these trails extensively and there is some great riding to be had. So don't be disappointed: get in now while you still can.

The ride, which is presented by Honda and proudly supported by Kenda, EK Chains, HoleShot Images and BikeMart, and at the close of the event, all participating riders will go into a draw to win a 2009 CRF 50 (proudly donated by HONDA).

2009 Sawmill Rally Highlights

  • Entry is Only $70, Pillions are Free (Conditions Apply)
  • No Race Licence Required (Current full license or learner's permit required)
  • Fully Arrowed Course
  • Recreational Registration Accepted
  • Less Road More Track
  • Meal and Trophy for All Riders
  • Noisy Bikes Will NOT Start

Entries close November 6th, 2009

Download the entry form here


Tuesday, November 10, 2009



It's that time of the year again: show-time! Which means the annual Sydney Motorcycle Show at Sydney Showgrounds at Homebush is roaring up on us again and is set to fire into life at the end of next week, November 20/21/22. We'll be there again with the TRAIL ZONE stand, so make sure you drop by and say g'day and sign up for your chance to Choose Your Ride and win a brand new Husqvarna TE450 or Kawasaki KLX450R or KTM 300 EXC or Suzuki DR-Z400E or Yamaha WR450F. We'll see you there -- in the meantime, here's the latest press release for the Show from the event organsiers, so check it out! -- Clubby.

For Immediate Release:

Australia’s leading stunt bike, freestyle motocross, trials and mini moto stars are set to entertain crowds at next week’s Sydney Motorcycle Show, with up to four daily shows included free upon admission.

Doors to the event will open from 10am each morning from Friday November 20 through to Sunday November 22 at the Sydney Showgrounds at Sydney Olympic Park.

The Yamaha Action Arena will be the centre of attention for fans of the four popular disciplines of two-wheel action sports.

Celebrating its 10th year in 2009, the Yamaha Showtime FMX team, featuring riders Matty McFerran, Kain Saul and Brad Burch, will bring its jaw-dropping display of aerial acrobatics to the fore.

Launching up to 40 foot from the ground, the trio will pull off a stunning series of backflips, whips, no-handers and various combinations high above the precinct.

“This will be my fourth visit to the Sydney Motorcycle Show, it’s an event the whole team enjoys because we get so close to the crowd and they get such a good view,” said McFerran.

“The show has a great atmosphere and we really enjoy mixing it with bike fans of all ages over the three days.” 

Keeping things closer to the ground will be stunt sensations Matt Mingay and Lukey Luke from Australia’s leading outfit, Stuntz Inc.

Voted as crowd favourites in the past, the duo will light up the bitumen with their own custom moves, including wheelies, stoppies and burnouts.

Harley-Davidson mounted Mingay said the event was a highlight of the team’s calendar and looked forward to putting on a show for Sydney-siders.

“We perform at a number of motorsport events throughout the year but the Sydney Motorcycle Show is unique because the fans are so close to the action,” said Mingay.

“It’s a great day out, we look forward to seeing thousands of visitors through the doors and cheering on during shows.”

Lukey Luke's skills will be showcased aboard two bikes - his regular Triumph, and for the first time ever, the fully-electric Zero Motorcycle.

Putting on a show within their own custom-built arenas will be Australian Freestyle Entertainment trials stars Jack Field and Jack Kavanagh, plus the popular Brown’s Grafix Mini Moto team.

Crowds are sure to be amazed as the trials duos manoeuvre their custom-built motorcycles up and over obstacles in a seemingly impossible display.

Packing a punch of just 50cc per bike, the Mini Moto team make up in prowess what they lack in power – up to 8 riders will showcase their own blend of tricks over a ramp and quarter-pipe.

All show entertainment and Yamaha Action Arena displays are included with the purchase of an entry ticket, which starts at just $13.

A family can make a day of it at the Sydney Motorcycle Show for just $46 – entry includes 2 adults and 2 children.

The event showcases over 500 new motorcycle models from 16 of the world’s most iconic and renowned manufacturers, while also featuring displays from various accessory, apparel, parts and service exhibitors.

For further information, please visit 


Sunday, November 8, 2009



Congrats to Steve 'Wolfman' Smith and Lance 'Russ' Turnley for getting together a mighty posse of adventure bike riders to head south last Friday from Moss Vale, NSW, to the annual Snowy Ride charity event at Thredbo.

Wolfman and Russ had teamed up with the event organisers to deliver a dedicated adventure bike route at the Snowy Ride on the Saturday, and thought why not go the whole hog and guide any intereted riders down to the event on the Friday, and back again on the Sunday. Why not, indeed!

So a pack of 18 of us gathered at Moss Vale last Friday morning, aboard all sorts of hardware ranging from a couple of classic Yamaha XTZ660 Teneres through BMW F 800 GSs and big-banger KTM 990s and Beemer 1200 GSs. I was mounted aboard our brand new TRAIL ZONE Yamaha XTZ660 Tenere Project Bike, while Russ fronted up aboard our current Husky TE610 Project Bike -- all of us would be chasing the Wolfman and his snarling Big Pig 1200 GS Adventure, which is decked out with more fruit than your local Grower's Market.

The ride started out innocently enough as we followed the tar back-roads through the southern highlands before hitting the dirt at Marulan. Not long after there the fun and games started ... 

Just 30km or so into the bush, Jim Wells managed to pile-drive his Kawasaki KLE500 into a bank after missing a turn in the dust, wrecking the bike's front end and cracking his collarbone in the process! The crazy thing was, he didn't find out it was broken until he made it to Cooma hospital that night. 

Luckily the Wolfman had laid on a support vehicle and trailer, so Jim's shortened KLE could be loaded up and dragged along with us the rest of the way to Thredbo and back again.

Reaching Braidwood we refuelled, then Wolfman took off in the direction of Araluen to find some sweet forest trails to give the boys on road-biased tyres plenty to think about, before climbing back up over the mountains and leading us on a meandering course to Numerella and Kybean before topping up on sausage rolls and lattes for a late afternoon tea at Nimmitabel.

With the sun setting quickly in the west (but of course), the final blast took us across to Berridale, where we bid our fond farewells and took off on the remaining stretch to Jindabyne and Thredbo, depending on relevant accommodation arrangements.

Myself, Russ, Wolfman and sweep riders Clive and Heath from were all bunking down in Thredbo, and as soon as we arrived we tubbed up (seperately, of course, although I did hear Russ asking Wolfman if he needed someone to wash his back ... while picking up the soap ...), before catching the Honda-sponsored dinner with former Aussie GP hero turned commentator, Daryl Beattie, and a pack of luminaries.

With thousands of riders in Thredbo for the event, the proceeds of which go to benefit the Steven Walter Foundation and childhood cancer research, there was definitely a happening vibe in the alpine haven, which saw proceedings kick off early on Saturday morning as the throngs headed out on the respective road bike and adventure ride loops.

Wolfman and Russ had mapped out the adventure bike loops for the event, so once again they took the point as a throng of keen dual-sporters chased their dust. After a quick commute back to Jindabyne, we hit the dirt south of Dalgety and racked up the miles along some of the best dirt back-roads you'll find anywhere in the country. 

By midday we had looped south then north into Cooma, and that was my call to have to bail-out and head back to Sydney to battle with a serious case of deadline-pressure for TRAIL ZONE issue #27, which is in the final stages of production right now.

So as I steered the sweet-running Tenere Project Bike back to Nimmitabel and then Braidwood via Kybeyan, the boys headed north toward Shannons Flat and Adaminaby on some little-used dirt roads that proved to be a hit with the adventure bike contingent.

From there they made a bee-line back to Thredbo for the Snowy Ride's final presentation in the town square, before hitting the sauce and washing the dust from their throats – while paying a collective vote of thanks to Steve and Lance for all their efforts in making the adventure ride component of the event a roaring success. Top job boys!

(Look out for the full story and pix of the Snowy Ride adventure ride in TRAIL ZONE issue #27).

-- Clubby

Tuesday, November 3, 2009



Bestselling author and film star Charley Boorman will visit the Sydney Motorcycle Show on Sunday November 22 to promote his newest book, Right to the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means.

Boorman tells the story of an epic adventure with fellow traveller Russ Malkin, covering three continents using any mode of local transport available.

Quad bikes, wooden scooters, motorbikes, hovercrafts and paragliders, amongst others, were used in the journey which began in Sydney and weaved its way through Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Phillipines and Taiwan before finishing in Japan.

New readers and existing fans will delight in the re-telling of his encounters and the test of endurance faced in what he considers his most challenging journey yet.

The Irish-born star is well-known for his adventures alongside Ewan McGregor, which were documented in print and via a popular television series. In 2006, Boorman penned another best-seller, 
Race to Dakar, a typically humorous and entertaining insight into his Dakar rally journey. 

Boorman will be a guest of Cycle Torque magazine at the Sydney Motorcycle Show (Sydney Showgrounds) and will appear on stage as part of a podcast panel from 12.30pm on Sunday November 22.

He will be discussing his latest travels and giving visitors a first-hand look at the real-life experiences behind 
Right to the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means. (Published by Sphere at $35)

Following the podcast, Boorman will sign copies of his book available from the Cycle Torque exhibit adjacent to the stage.

Event Manager Mark Petersen was excited to welcome Boorman to the show and said enthusiasts of all walks of life would be entertained by his adventures.

"Charley is a very unique character and we're certain visitors will delight in hearing accounts of his many adventures first-hand," said Petersen.

"The experiences from his newest title began here in Sydney before heading north throughout a number of countries, so it's fitting he is back here to launch the book to a local audience."

Doors to Australia’s largest and most comprehensive showcase of new motorcycles and related products and services open at 10am each morning, from Friday November 20 through to Sunday November 22.

Tickets start at just $13 with all details available online at

-- Ends.

Sunday, November 1, 2009



Struggling to find that special gift to give the dirt bike rider who has everything?

Well, struggle no more!

DEP Pipes has just announced the arrival of Australia's first-ever motocross bottle opener and how's this: it plays two-stroke and four-stroke sound effects each time you rip the cap off a cold Crownie!

It's priced at just $9.95 and available at leading motorcycle shops and accessory outlets everywhere.

Or if you have trouble finding one, get in touch with the Aussie DEP distributor, John Titman Racing in Brisbane, to find the name of your nearest stockist.

-- Clubby,