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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Exclusive Interview: Charley Boorman talks Extreme Frontiers - South Africa

Earlier today Momentum Blog caught up with motorcycle adventurer Charley Boorman to find out about his upcoming trip Extreme Frontiers: South Africa, which follows on from his ride across Canada last year.

Motorcycle News: Momentum Blog caught up with Charley Boorman earlier today
Charley and his crew, which includes director Russ Malkin who accompanied Charley and Ewan on the Long Way Round and other trips, will be departing on a 6-week trip to South Africa on 6th June and we caught up with him to find out what the adventure is all about:

"Just like the trip to Canada last year, Extreme Frontiers: South Africa aims to raise awareness of the culture and people that live in the areas we're visiting in South Africa. The idea is to prove that it's not as daunting and dangerous as people might think." explained Charley, "We plan to immerse ourselves in their world, experience their lifestyle, food and traditions and venture off the beaten track away from the typical tourist areas. There's no better way to experience it and be a part of the environment than on a motorcycle."

Charley will be tackling this challenging ride on a trusty BMW R1200GS Adventure, the bike that has seen him through a number of trips in the past "The guys at BMW are great and we know the bike is up to the job, it's so well proven now" added Charley.

Motorcycle News: The 2012 expedition is called Extreme Frontiers: South Africa
The trip has a number of stop-offs on route for various adrenaline inducing activities such as swimming with sharks (without a cage), mountain climbing and paramotoring down the Limpopo river. Despite these planned activities, Charley isn't planning to stick to a hard and fast route: "We know it's going to be a long way, probably about 6-7000 kilometers in total, but we don't want to map it out completely otherwise we risk losing some of the excitement and we could miss out on meeting people along the way."

Despite having a support crew in tow, Charley will be riding alone and told us "It's different to driving round in a car or a off-road vehicle, you're much more a part of the environment on a bike. I'm particularly looking forward to the Wild Coast in Africa, they say it offers some of the most incredible riding experiences". The best thing about the trip, as Charley explained to us, is that this kind of adventure is open to anyone "You don't have to do crazy things, i'm going to be doing the sort of things that anyone can go and do."

Motorcycle News: Charley on his 2011 trip across Canada
The team depart on 6th June and a lot of preparation work has gone into organising it, "I get very involved in the planning, it helps to get you really excited about it all" said Charley "We're going in their winter time, which means that whilst it will be warm in the day, it can be very cold at night, and on a motorbike you've got to pack for everything really".

We asked this experienced adventurer if he had any tips for riders planning their first big trip, Charley's pointers included "Get yourself a decent tent and a decent sleeping bag, because no matter what happens, if you can get a good nights sleep, you can tackle anything!" He also said that he couldn't live without his Garmin GPS, although it's a good idea to always have a map with you.

Charley and his team will be tweeting and updating Facebook and the website (www.extremefrontiers.co.uk) as they go along, with the idea of sharing their experiences with people as the adventure progresses. The trip will also be filmed and will be running as a four part series on Channel 5 later this year.

We'll be updating the site with news from Charley and the team as we hear it, but be sure to follow @charleyboorman and @extremefrontier on twitter to get direct updates!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Bennetts e-petition to make biking safer

As a well known name in the motorcycle industry for heir insurances services and sponsors of racing, Bennetts have a lot of clout when they get behind something. Their latest initiative is a campaign for biker-awareness questions to be made compulsory in British driving theory tests.

Despite our roads being at pretty much their safest ever levels, there is still a lot of work to be done to reduce motorcyclist casualties and fatalities, check out the infographic that Bennetts have created below and then sign the e-petition by clicking here.

The Evolution of Motorcycle Safety

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Compact waterproof solutions from REV'IT!

As we frantically planned our ride-out to Assen for the World SBK round, we happened to catch the long-range weather forecast, which to sum up in a couple of word was - f'ing wet! After firing off a quick email, REV'IT! came to the rescue, delivering their waterproof Cyclone H2O jacket and Acid H2O trousers the day before we departed!

Motorcycle News: REV'IT! came to our rescue with their waterproofs!

Being grateful to avoid damp and clingy leathers, i slipped on the lightweight jacket and trousers (a slick operation thanks to the specially designed non-stick PVC-free coating), which were a good fit thanks to the elasticated waste and velcro tabs on the trousers and drawstrings on the jacket.

Motorcycle News: Easy to get on on thanks to their non-stick coating

Within 10 miles of departing our base in West Sussex, surely enough the heavens opened as predicted and we felt the full force of a heavy downpour. The only better way to test the 100% waterproof claims that come with these garments would have been to take a Lorenzo-style dive into a swimming pool! We're pleased to say that the Cyclone jacket and Acid trousers excelled in this test, keeping me perfectly dry for the full 20 minutes until we cleared the rain clouds.

Motorcycle News: The REV'IT! Cyclone H2O Jacket

Throughout the rest of the trip the waterproofs came in very handy, their compact size and free carry cases meant you could easily throw them in a rucksack to ensure you didn't get caught out 30 miles from the hotel. Throughout the trip they kept me dry and comfortable, even through a heavy hail storm in Holland (yes in April!).
 
Motorcycle News: The REV'IT! Acid H2O Trousers

The other handy features to point out are the laminated reflective panels, which help increase rider visibility, especially if you opt for the more subtle black jacket as we did (the Cyclone also comes in a neon yellow colour option).

The Cyclone H2O jacket retails for £39.99 and the Acid H2O trousers are £34.99, whilst you could pick up a cheap one-piece suit for less, these are so well designed that you'll be kitted up and gone whilst your mates in their cheap suits are still hopping around getting wet!

For more information visit www.revit.eu


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Oxford Roll Top RT15 Waterproof Luggage Review

So despite booking our trip to Assen for the World Superbike race months in advance, as usual i found myself in the situation of preparing for it just a few weeks before. A five day trip on a GSX-R750 demands a reasonable amount of planning in the luggage department, something which i had so far neglected!

Motorcycle News: Oxford's RT range launched just before our Assen trip
Luckily though our friends at Oxford Products were on hand to help out! Having recently taken delivery of their brand new Oxford Roll Top (RT) waterproof luggage range, they were quick to despatch 3 of their multi purpose Roll Top RT15 models down to us. Out of the three bits of luggage that arrived there was a tank bag and two tail packs that double up as panniers.

Unfortunately the wide panels at the back of the 2010 GSX-R aren't really suited for panniers, so i opt for the tank bag plus single tail pack and lend the other to a mate. After picking out the kit i think i'll need for the trip (and then brutally halving it), i unravel the Oxford RT15's from the packaging and split my gear between the two equally-sized packs.

Motorcycle News: The 15-litre RT15 packs are bigger than they first appear
Despite their small appearance, the packs are deceptively big and the handy roll top feature means you can squeeze that extra hoody in and adjust the strap for the slightly bigger load. The quoted capacity for each pack is 15 litres, which was just about perfect for our 5-day excursion.

Luggage on a sportsbike is never going to be 100% straightforward, but after a couple of minutes it was clear what the best way to fit each piece was going to be. The tank bag is effortless with its detachable magnetic fitting system, it slaps straight onto the tank, and straps around the top yoke for added peace of mind.

Motorcycle News: Note the innovative use of old socks to protect the paintwork!
The tail pack takes a bit more work, strapping it under the pillion seat is the first step, then running two of the double D-ring straps (included with the luggage) from the Oxford RT15 down to the luggage hooks on the pillion pegs. One more strap to secure the back end of the pack around the number-plate holder and then i'm good to go!

We depart at 4am on a cold and wet April morning and the tank bag positions itself nicely for me to lean on as i get tucked-up behind the double-bubble screen. After a couple of hours riding and a quick fuel stop we reach the Euro Tunnel and i check how the luggage is doing. Needless to say it hadn't moved a millimeter, and a quick inspection inside the tank bag reveals my kit is still bone dry, the Oxford RT15's removable waterproof lining performing excellently in the torrential British rain.

Motorcycle News: The tank bag is easy to fit for day trips out to local bike shops!
After arriving at our hotel near Assen i remove the luggage and another check proves that all my clothes stayed dry for the duration of the trip, exactly what you want from your luggage. Over the next few days i threw the tank bag on for the odd day trip, easily swallowing camera and paperwork when we headed to the TT circuit.

Overall i was hugely impressed with how the luggage performed, if you're planning longer trips or you find it impossible to travel light, then you'll be pleased to hear that Oxford also produce bigger versions of this luggage in the form of the RT30 tailpack/panniers (30 litre luggage capacity) and the RT60 giant tail pack (a whopping 60 litres luggage capacity). Well worth checking out in our opinion.


All Oxford Roll Top luggage is completely waterproof (when used with removable lining in), made from tough rip-stop nylon material and comes with a life-time guarantee. Find out more at www.oxprod.com