Sunday, May 3, 2009

2009 Triumph Daytona 675SE Revealed


It won’t take a degree in rocket propulsion to guess that the ‘SE’ lettering Triumph has slapped on the end of the 675 model code is for ‘Special Edition’, but if you’ve got just such a qualification and that was your guess, good for you sport.

With a new pearl white colour scheme and a sparkle blue frame (it may be sparkly, but blue means it’s okay for boys), Triumph’s special edition version of the Daytona 675 has been created to give the acclaimed bike a fresh new look.


Before the hardcore performance nuts among you get too excited, the 675SE is a purely aesthetic update, with the special edition powered by the same 93kW (125hp) 675cc three-cylinder as the 675.

There’s a wide range of accessories to go with the 675SE, including lightweight carbon fibre components, a ‘plug-and-play’ quick shifter set and race-style rear footrests and silencers, developed with Italian race specialists Arrow Special Parts.

The Daytona 675SE will arrive in dealerships in August, with pricing to be confirmed.

2009 Suzuki GSR600 Naked Now Available


Suzuki’s 2009 GSR600 naked street fighter is now available and stalking the streets with all its bits on show (and the Gixxer 600’s donk hanging below the frame).

And interestingly, it looks like you can get it in any colour provided it’s Pearl White.

With a lightweight, aluminium-alloy frame and swingarm for agile handling, the GSR600 promises heaps of performance in a convenient middleweight package.

A week in the saddle will tell the tale, but with that liquid-cooled, 599cc, four-cylinder DOHC engine (borrowed from the GSX-R600) combined with Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) fuel injection system tuned for low-to-mid range torque, it has the right on-paper credentials for strong all-round sports performance.

With sleek lines, sharp distinctive looks front and rear, and naked-bike cred, the 2009 Suzuki GSR600 looks an appealing package and deserving closer scrutiny .

Suzuki also claims optimum rider and passenger comfort thanks to a relaxed riding position and short reach to the handlebars.

Backed by a two-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, the 2009 Suzuki GSR600 is now available for $11,290rrp (excluding dealer delivery and the normal government theft charges).

2009 Gilera Fuoco Road Test Review


Gilera’s innovative Fuoco blends scooter convenience with added grip and stability.

With the cost of fuel, city traffic congestion and an increasing awareness of global warming, commuters are exploring alternatives to the humble car in ever greater numbers.

And if you ever wanted a clean, green commuter with low running costs, convenience and head-turning appeal, Gilera’s futuristic, three-wheeled Fuoco fits the bill.

The Fuoco (which is Italian for ‘fire’) has been quite a hit with the Aussie public since its debut, and Aussie distributor, Piaggio Australia, says it shifts around 20 of the avant-garde machines each month.


Piaggio, who owns the Gilera name, went out on a limb with its three-wheeler format, first releasing the MP3, now available in both 400cc and 250cc versions, then the Fuoco – the latter under the sportier Gilera badge. All three share the same technology platform, with two wheels forward, one wheel aft, but the Gilera we’re looking at here boasts a punchier 492cc engine, and more aggressive styling.

The concept is really quite simple. Retain the user-friendly and fun nature of a normal scoot, but give it extra stability and grip – and therefore extra safety – by adding a third wheel.


The really clever bit here is how it steers. Utilising a ‘parallelogram’ front end with cantilever suspension, both front wheels lean together as you corner – so it handles rather like a conventional scooter, just with the extra reassurance of a second front contact patch.

Each front wheel lifts independently of the other, and at rest both can be fixed in place using an electro-hydraulic locking system, activated by a handlebar-mounted switch. This means you can park it on an uneven surface with ease, while the lock disengages when you move off down the road.


The Fuoco is powered by a 492cc, four-stroke, four-valve, single-cylinder engine. Piaggio says it complies with strict Euro 3 emissions regulations, and while its 29kW engine produces plenty of go to get its 244kg claimed dry weight zipping along, it’s a relatively frugal performer too.

You can expect over 5.4 l/100km from the Fuoco, which makes good sense at the bowser – especially if your other major form of transport is your typical big Aussie six. I know what I’d rather be filling up.

“…that third wheel gives you the confidence to attack corners with gusto.”

And don’t think that just because it’s economical, the Fuoco isn’t fun to ride. After a day that took in city traffic, open highways and winding mountain roads, I can say that extra wheel has hasn’t adversely affected the fun factor.

It does initially feel a little strange when cornering – like that front end is moving around a little – but you quickly adapt, and in no time you realize that third wheel gives you the confidence to attack corners with gusto.

The suspension does a decent job of soaking up the bumps, while the three disc brakes are more than up to the task of hauling the thing down from its quoted 143km/h top speed.


And if you lock up that front end under brakes – a move that’s often a precursor to a conventional two-wheeler tumbling down the road – you’ll cop nothing more than a squeal of rubber and a bit of a shimmy at the bars as you continue on, upright and unscathed.

The Fuoco remains as slim as a regular scoot despite the extra wheel, and with its weight carried low it will still thread its way through traffic congestion with ease.

At a shade under $13,000 the Fuoco isn’t as cheap as most traditional scooter offerings, but you’re certainly getting some smart technology for your money. Throw in a gorgeous finish and the Fuoco is the full package.

If you’ve been eyeing the scooters zipping past you in traffic with envy, but have been put off by the thought of toppling over should things to wrong, the feisty Fuoco could well be the machine to truly light your fire…

2009 Honda Silver Wing 400 Released


Honda has added a new mid-size scooter, the Silver Wing 400 to the Honda pack. Complementing the (much) larger Silver Wing 600 scooter, the 400 offers a similar level of comfort and performance as its amply-fed bigger brother.

And like the Silver Wing 600, the 400cc version also provides a similar ‘cargo-carrying’ capacity, with a tardis-like 55 litres of under-seat storage space. (Can that be right? That’s enough space to get a cow under the seat… ok, a small cow, a 55 litre one.)


Keeping the scooter (and cow cargo) motivated is a liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC parallel twin engine.

Like most scooters, with the Silver Wing there is no necessity to worry about swapping the cogs or juggling the clutch at lights; Honda’s V-Matic automatic belt drive transmission looks after things there. Honda promises “easy linear power delivery” in getting the power to the tarmac.

With nice aerodynamics and wind protection (to stop you getting blown into the boondocks), the Silver Wing 400 also features a low centre of gravity which should make it a doddle to manoeuvre around the ‘burbs.

There is also a broad and comfortable tandem seat, heavy-duty suspension and strong braking performance (with ABS on Oz models). On paper at least, the Silver Wing 400 promises safe and sure-footed handling for the open road as well as for the city commute.


Keeping the environment happy, there is a HECS3 oxygen-sensing catalytic converter system to minimise harmful exhaust emissions and ensuring full EURO-3 compliance.

Available now from your local Honda Dealer nationally, the Silver Wing retails for $10,990 and comes in a black or silver colour scheme. (A cow is extra.)

We’ll review it and give you the verdict.

Go to for the full specs.