• Skidmarx Race Screens Now Include S1000RR and ZX-10R

    Skidmarx have been producing a wide range of aftermarket screens for motorcycles for years now. And they cover a wide range of machines for road and track use. The latest additions to their range are Skidmarx Race Screens for popular track and race bikes including the BMW S1000RR (2015-on), the Kawasaki ZX-10R (2016-on), and the new 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000.

    The Skidmarx race screens are made in the UK from 2mm cast acrylic. They’re 33% thinner than the road versions, which not only saves weight, but also means better vision looking through the screen. Which is important when you’re tucked in behind it more often on track. Plus an aftermarket screen will also protect the original version if and when you decide to sell your bike. And you can choose from standard, double bubble, TT Tall sizes, or even get one made-to-measure.

    New Skidmarx race screens include the 2016-on Kawasaki ZX-10RR TT Tall Screen
    The Skidmarx TT Tall screen for the Kawasaki ZX-10R (2016-on)

    If you’re still using your standard fairings, the race screens can be supplied with 6mm diameter holes to fit straight in. Or you can get them un-drilled if you need to customise them to match a race fairing. You’ll be in good company, as Skidmarx current supply BSB frontrunners JG Speedfit, and road racers including James Hillier.

    Skidmarx BMW S1000RR TT Tall Screen
    A Skidmarx TT Tall Screen for the BMW S1000RR (2015-on)

    The other advantage of using a Skidmarx aftermarket screen is the potential cost saving when it needs replacing. Prices for race screens start from £39.95, compared to the cost of a new replacement from the original manufacturer.

    Thinking about a motorcycle track day or starting to race? We’re compiling a guide section to help you, including the ultimate guide to motorcycle track days.

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  • 10 Tips to Keep Your Car Engine in Perfect Condition

    Automotive technology is constantly improving and modern cars are often capable of clocking up more miles than could ever have been dreamt of in the past coupled with ever-increasing service intervals. It almost seems as though we can now simply forget about engine maintenance. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth and keeping an engine in perfect working order requires rather more than good luck! There are a few simple measures that go a long way towards keeping the engine running well, lasting longer and with reduced risk of breakdown.

    1. Frequently Check Oil Levels – This may sound absurdly obvious but it is surprising how many drivers fail to carry out this most basic of all checks. Many cars offer electronic checks of oil levels but these are often wildly inaccurate and only give warning at a very low level. There is no substitute for regular checks on the dipstick.

    2. Change Oil Frequently – The manufacturer’s recommended period between oil changes should be regarded as an absolute maximum figure. Any car subjected to many short journeys or extended periods of high-speed driving will benefit from more frequent changes.

    3. Use Good Quality Oil – Car manufacturers invariably specify suitable grades of oil but even cars for which the lowlier grades are said to suffice will benefit from the use of synthetic or semi-synthetic oils which maintain their viscosity over a wide range of temperatures.

    4. Check Coolant Levels – This is another check that is often overlooked until it is too late. Electronic monitoring of levels is unreliable and waiting until the system overheats often means that major damage has already been done. Obviously, antifreeze should be of the correct concentration and type. Under no circumstances should different types be mixed.

    5. Check the Condition of Belts – Drive belts are an unavoidable feature of car engines powering auxiliary items such as alternators, power steering or air-con. A simple visual inspection and the renewal of any showing signs of wear can help to avoid a future breakdown. For those engines employing belt-driven camshafts, cam-belt failure can be catastrophic. Manufacturers usually specify cam-belt replacement intervals but many breakages still occur within these periods so the best recommendation is to change these belts much more frequently possibly at half of the quoted recommended mileage.

    6. Change Filters Regularly – Oil and air filters lose inefficiency as they are used and so it is essential to change them regularly.

    7. Use the Correct Grade of Fuel – Many cars are designed to run on standard grades of petrol and using a higher octane fuel offers no advantages. Other cars may require a high octane fuel and a lower grade can potentially cause problems such as pre-ignition and overheating. Many others are able to utilise different grades with no risk of damage in which case the higher octane fuels usually offer better performance and efficiency.

    8. Do Not Disregard Engine Warnings – Almost all cars feature a system of on-board diagnostics and any fault usually results in the illumination of a dashboard display lamp. Many drivers regard these warnings as a nuisance and there can be a tendency to ignore them especially when they display intermittently. This is folly and any warning messages must be investigated.

    9. Check for Fluid Leaks – A visual check of the engine compartment should be made for any signs of leaks. Any fluid leak is potentially very serious and should be remedied without delay. Any signs of coolant, lubricant, fuel or hydraulic fluid could all be warnings of impending disaster. Perhaps the only insignificant fluid leak is the dripping of condensation from an air-conditioning system.

    10. Engine-Friendly Driving – Adopting a considerate driving style can reap benefits in terms of running costs and engine longevity. Engines should be treated carefully when cold and warmed up by driving gently rather than by idling for a long period.

    There is a well-known adage of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” but this should never form the basis of a maintenance schedule. You certainly would not want your favourite airline to adopt such a policy so why should any motorist? If you can maintain your car correctly then you have the option to browse used cars for sale as well as new ones, in safe knowledge you are able to keep it ticking over in a healty and well maintained way.

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  • SW Motech Kit Out the BMW R nineT Racer

    SM Motech has released a range of accessories to protect your BMW R nineT Racer from damage, or to add some stylish luggage. The German firm has added to the Legend Gear range for vintage-style bags, and sturdy guards and crash bars for Boxer engine. Check out the SW Motech products for the BMW R nineT Racer below.

    SW Motech products for the BMW R nineT Racer

    SW Motech Legend Gear Luggage for the BMW R nineT Racer:

    Whether you plan on a motorcycle holiday, commuting, or just have too much to carry in your pockets, bike luggage comes in rather useful. And the SW Motech range suits the retro look of the R nineT Racer. The bags are constructed from waxed canvas and Napalon synthetic leather to look like classic motorcycle kit. But they also have a polyurethane coating on the inside, waterproof inner bags and rain covers for modern protection from rain and damp.

    The two pannier style bags are the SW Motech LC1, which carry 9.8 litres per side and cost £139.99 per bag, or the larger SW Motech LC2 which carry 13.5 litres and cost £149.99 each. Either size will be attached using SLC Side Carriers which are designed for the R nineT Racer with touch steel tubing fitted to original mounting points. That gives you the flexibility to carry one or a pair of bags, and there’s a quick-lock system to get them on and off quickly. You can attach other Legend Gear bags onto each pannier using the army-style webbing loops and alloy hooks. The side carriers cost £59.99 each.

    SW Motech BMW R nineT Racer Legend Gear Side Bags

    Alternatively, there’s also an SW Motech Legend Gear Tank Bag LT2 available for £125.99. That’ll carry 5.5 litres, and attaches with a classic strap mounting. The strap has two clip buckles, to let you get to the fuel tank filler when you need it.

    You get the same mix of vintage look construction and waterproofing as the panniers. But for the handy stuff you need when riding there’s a clear PVC window for smartphones and satnavs. Plus a hole for your charging cables. And you can also add accessory bags or smart phone bags for more storage by using the same additional fastening system.

    SW Motech BMW R nineT Racer Legend Gear Tank Bag Strap

    SW Motech Crash Protection for the BMW R nineT Racer:

    So that’s all your kit carried. But what about saving your retro BMW from damage? There are three options to save your engine in particular from potential problems.

    The SW Motech Engine Guard will protect the block and sump from debris being thrown up off the road, particularly by the front wheel. It’s made from 4mm brushed aluminium, and has a rubber mounting to reduce vibration. It attaches to your bike via existing mounting points, using steel brackets. And it features air intake holes so your engine still benefits from the cooling airflow. It costs £178.00.

    SW Motech BMW R nineT Racer Engine Guard

    For the sides of the engine, you can also invest in SW Motech Cylinder Guards. You can probably guess they cover the valve and spark plug covers. So they’ll help if the side of your Boxer engine comes into contract with the road. Laser-cut, brushed aluminium is used, with an anodised aluminium pad, and a rubber lining to cushion the engine in a fall. You can choose from Black and Gold or Black and Silver finished for £158.99 per pair.

    SW Motech BMW R nineT Racer Crash Bars and Cylinder Guards

    And for even more protection, why not whack on a paid of SW-Motech Crash Bars. The heavy-duty steel protectors come in a choice of plain powder coasted black for a stealthy look at £177.99. Or shiny stainless steel to give you even more to polish at £226.99.

    As always, it’s a fair investment for all the crash protection listed. But having seen a brand new Japanese middleweight written off when a low-speed fall cracked the engine casing, it’s a lot cheaper to add crash bars in advance. Especially when your insurance excess will often be a couple of hundred pounds anyway. And they’ll save the engine from scuffs and marks when you might consider selling it in a year or two. Which means you’ll be able to get more cash.

    So those are the current SW Motech products for the BMW R nineT Racer. If you’ve already bought and fitted any, let us know what you make of them in the comments. Or your thoughts on the R nineT Racer itself…

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  • New Citroen C4 Picasso

    Right now it is difficult to see a better practical family car hitting the roads than the new Citroen C4 Picasso anytime soon. In addition to being a stylish and attractive car, this is also one which is surprisingly spacious, comfortable and efficient and has been very well received. Here is everything you need to know about this great vehicle:

    Appearance

    This MPV is a mid-sized people carrier that has been given a fresh makeover, including a sleek headlamp unit and body-coloured bumper that gives it a modern very feel. It is immediately recognisable as a Citroen thanks to the trademark three-stage light signature. There are also two fantastic new colours to choose from – Lazuli Blue and Soft Sand.

    The 2017 Citroen C4 Picasso

    The 2017 Citroen C4 Picasso

    Inside

    Despite being a compact 4.4metres by 1.8 metres, the new Picasso C4 is extremely spacious and comfortable inside which makes it a great choice for families. This is thanks to the clever design, luxurious materials and impressive features like the electric massage (yes you read that correctly!) and adjustable footrest in the front seats. The elongated wheelbase allows for passengers to stretch out with plenty of legroom. There is also a larger seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso available for larger families.

    Performance

    The new Picasso C4 features a refined BlueHDi engine that delivers CO2 emissions of just 99g/km and fuel consumption of 74.3mpg- the best in its class and ensuring that it is very cheap to run. In terms of driving, it is a comfortable experience with responsive handling, but it does not reach blistering speeds which makes it a good choice for city use.

    It also features a host of impressive driver aids, including active blind-spot monitoring, active safety brake, speed limit recognition, adaptive cruise control with stop function and various others. Motorists will also enjoy the fantastic onboard equipment, which will make any journey easier, more comfortable and more enjoyable. This includes an intuitive 7-inch Touch Drive interface and new 3D navigation system which can be voice controlled.

    Price

    In addition to very low running costs, you can find this vehicle for affordable prices brand new when you know where to look. Places like Robins & Day make it simple to find a range of models and trim levels, as well as different finance options.

    The new Citroen C4 Picasso is a leader in its class thanks to its stylish design, spacious interior, impressive technology and superb efficiency. For those in the market for an MPV with excellent practical touches, you cannot go wrong with this vehicle.

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  • QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING: BEST OF THE BEST!

    Cool temperatures fail to lower motorcycle fever at the Quail and keep Jim Palam from delivering this photo report.

    Low temperatures, brisk winds and overcast skies did nothing to dampen the spirits of over 3,000 visitors to the 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 6 at the beautiful Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, CA.

    Gordon McCall, motorsports director for the Quail Lodge, was once again the perfect ringleader for this 9th Annual gathering. It featured over 300 rare and historic bikes, as well as a generous sampling of custom and modified rides from some of the rising stars in the motorcycle enthusiast’s expanding universe. GEICO Motorcycles presented the event.

    Jim Palam, our man (and Triumph rider) on the West Coast was up and out early to capture the action. The show was so good that he forgot to eat his complimentary gourmet lunch – but he did take a big bite of The Gathering’s tasty essence – yours now to enjoy.

    Taking the Design and Style Award was Simon Waterfall’s super-clean and serious ‘75 Moto Guzzi 850T, Top, rebadged as Supernaturale. Designed and built by Hugo Eccler of Untitled Motorcycles of San Francisco (pictured) the bike features a custom aluminum tank, advanced electronics and fingertip controls. Its overall brushed satin finish will intentionally age gracefully, developing an individualized patina from the way the rider handles the bike.

    What do you do if you have a beautiful old Triumph race tank? If you’re Californian Bryan Thompson you build the quintessential ‘58 Triumph Tiger from ground up, around the tank. So good is this build that this Black Beauty has been racking up a bounty of awards – including First Place in the Quail’s Custom/Modified category. Well-done Bryan!

    Chris Carter has become almost as famous as the spectacular motorcycles in his amazing All Things Two Wheels collection. So thanks Chris for bringing your gorgeous ‘14 Jefferson Board Track Racer to The Gathering. It took 2nd Place in the American category.

    Considered one of the most innovative motorcycles ever created, only 10 hand-crafted Britten V1000 superbikes were ever built. This Britten, #10, resides in the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, just a few blocks from my home. It belongs to the museum’s owner Virgil Elings and he proudly displayed it at The Gathering. Virgil’s son Jeff rode it up onto the winner’s ramp to accept the Significance in Racing Award.

    I met Richard Mitchell as he was rolling this meticulously customized BSA A65 Thunderbolt up to the Entrant’s Window late Friday afternoon. When Richard is not designing for Tesla, his passion is motorcycles. His beautiful creation went on to win 2nd Place in the Custom/Modified category.

    Ole #38 didn’t look like much when from a distance when I spotted owner Gary Landeen trying to kick-start her for a bevy of patient judges. On what was surely his last kick she fired up – and like the menacing roar of a Coliseum lion she fired up the crowd as well! This bike is the legendary Ed “Iron Man” Kretz’s Pre-War Big Base Indian Scout FDB 381 that competed successfully on a national level from 1941 through 1967. What a thrill to see and hear #38 roar at The Gathering!

    Two For The Road! If you’re a Motorhead you find beauty in design, function and performance. So forgive me if my heart beats a little faster when I take in the sexy symmetry of John Stein’s ‘70 Twin Motor BSA drag bike – bared for all to see in the Competition On Road Class.

    The 750 Sport was essentially a racier version of Ducati’s first big V-Twin, the 750GT. Its Goldenrod Yellow and black paint scheme and lean, aggressive styling made this Italian beauty really stand out from the crowd. Robert Jordon owns this stunning and pristine example.

    Wake Me Up Before You Goggo! The Hans Glas GMBH Company of Germany produced the Goggo Motorscooter in the 1950s. They were dependable and offered better performance than their Italian counterparts. They were however a bit pricier and few ever made it to the States. Harley and Deb Welch brought this nifty ‘55 Goggo 150 to The Gathering.

    And now for something different: The ‘76 Hercules W2000. Powered by an air-cooled, single-rotor Sachs-designed Wankel engine, it was manufactured in Germany. Innovative for sure, but criticized for its high cost, insufficient ground clearance and low performance. And of course, now, in high-demand by collectors! Congratulations to Stephan Haddad for the bike’s 2nd Place win in the Other European category.

    Words & photos by Jim Palam, http://www.jimpalam.com/

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