Review by Marlon Slack.
There’s two sides to Icon. Half their of their apparel draws from a colour palette best described as ‘kids sneakers’ while their motocross jerseys wouldn’t look out of place on a 90’s football team. I guess this is what most people like – but it’s not for me. The other half of their products belong to the 1000 line – blacked out and earthy tones on military-inspired cuts, held together with buckles and press studs you could beat a man to death with. The Icon 1000 line is equal parts On Any Sunday and Mad Max. So when I found out the Basehawk jacket I was being sent to review sat firmly within their 1000 collection I was ecstatic.
A little while back I received an invitation from Yamaha to the XJR1300 European press launch. Naturally, I was thrilled to be part of it and sent back a RSVP with the requested passport information saying I would love to be involved in the European launch. So my mind wanders off, picturing where we would be riding the XJR? Maybe we would be taken on the legendary German autobahn where pesky speed limits have been slain? Or perhaps we’ll disappear down the picturesque Amalfi coast with the Mediterranean breeze flowing in my locks? Or could we be taken up one of the most famous and photographed roads in Italy, the Stelvio Pass, with its endless hairpin turns? Then reality hit when I finally read the details of the invitation. The launch was actually going to be held in Sydney, Australia! What? That’s where I live. So after the initial disappointment, I realised being a native could actually come in handy while doing the press ride, like being comfortable riding on the left hand side of the road… but more on that later.
Of all the items of motorcycle apparel available, I find it hardest to get excited about boots. Jackets? Easy. Gloves? There’s a dozen pairs I want at the moment. There’s even a good variety of Kevlar jeans that don’t look like they’re designed for my Gran. But protective motorcycle boots usually look like a cyborg’s leg sprouting tumours – with lurid bits of plastic and obnoxious logos hanging off at all angles. And for a long time boots like these were the only real option if you wanted to protect your feet and ankles. But then there’s the Icon Elsinore 1000. Modelled after motocross boots of the 1970’s, the Elsinore 1000 tries to combine traditional styling with modern safety features. I think they look fantastic, but if you think that they look like ridiculous steampunk accessories there’s no helping you – you’re probably not the target market for the Elsinore’s anyway. But if you like the look of them, you should seriously consider buying a pair. Here’s why.
This is the review I have been putting off writing. Not that I didn’t want to write it, I just didn’t want Andrew (from Pipeburn) to read it. You see, one morning a few months ago I received a knock on my door and there’s a FedEx dude holding two large boxes. I quickly signed for them and opened up the first one and there in all its glory was a brand spanking new leather jacket from ICON. It’s probably a good time to mention that ICON are a sponsor of this site but we pride ourselves in giving unbiased reviews – just check out the last Icon product review). Anyway, after pulling out the jacket I instantly knew there was a serious problem – there was only one of them. The problem being there are two of us that run Pipeburn so when it comes to products like new leather jackets it can cause problems. I had two options. Don’t tell Andrew that I was sent the jacket and always wear my old jacket when we go for rides together. Or the other option was just to tell Andrew and see what his reaction was. I chose the later. So I text Andrew and he replies faster than Marion Jones on speed. “I want it!” he says. “you have a cool jacket and mine is shit”. He had a point, his jacket is ugly as sin. But this was going to be a hard one to hand over. So I try the jacket on and it fits perfectly. Then my wife walks in right on que. “wow! nice jacket” she says. The last time she said that was on our wedding day and I was wearing a very expensive suit. Seriously. This was a keeper, plus it was pretty much second hand now. Couldn’t give Andrew a second hand jacket could I?
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We recently tried to get our greasy little hands on a Harley-Davidson 883 to review. Unfortunately due to a long list of rules (who would have thought Harley was into rules?) we didn’t meet their criteria – and no it wasn’t because of our lack of pony tails. It was mainly due to the fact we hadn’t had years of experience on heavy bikes. Anyway, as luck would have it, one of our good mates Laurence Cronin recently purchased his very first Harley. He is no newcomer to riding, just hung up his riding boots for a few years while he raised a couple of kids. Now they are all grown up, he decided to fulfill one of his lifelong dreams – own a Harley. And like many, he fell for the ‘man magnet’ they call the 883. This is Laurie’s review after riding the Sportster for a few months….
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Next time you walk into your local newsagent just have a look at how many crappy magazines there are crammed on all those busy little shelves. And let’s be honest, most of them were more useful as trees – and probably better looking as well. So when we were sent a copy of a new magazine called ‘Head Full of Snakes’ we were initially sceptical, to say the least. Until about 10 seconds after we opened up the envelope and pulled out a magazine that didn’t feel like the usual glossy motorcycle mag we’ve come to expect. This felt more like something that was made in the 60’s or 70’s. It felt handmade. It felt like an old friend; the way a motorcycle magazine should be. Not completely filled with advertising. Not overly polished or slick, but instead a solid collection of great photographs and honest stories. You can almost smell the passion and sweat that went into it. The magazine is the brainchild of motorcycle nuts and graphic designers Luke Wood and Stuart Geddes. Here’s how Stuart describes his magazine…
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Everyone loves a shortcut. And everyone hates it when they find out that the way they’ve been doing something for years and years might have not been the best way to go about it at all. Take, for instance, washing you precious personal transport – a ritual handed down from parents to siblings for thousands of years. Or there abouts. And here’s how it goes. Wet the vehicle. Apply approved soapy substance with sponge. Rinse the vehicle. Chamois dry the vehicle. Wax if desired. Armour-All if anal retentive. Now what if there was actually a better way to do things? Namely, what if you could remove all the elbow grease involved in the process and jump straight to the chamois part? Sounds good, huh? Well there’s a fairly big chunk of the bike cleaning market now occupied by products that promise just that – a spray on, wash off, wipe down set of instructions that would have us believe that we’ve been wasting a hell of a lot of time in the past. But have we?
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Most countries have their associated stereotypes. Apparently Australia is full of lunatic blonde animal hunters, the U.S. is populated solely by gun-toting Christians and the UK is full of pasty people who constantly complain about the weather and finish every sentence with the word “Guv’nor”. Of course, for the most part that is all baloney. Turns out that McCartney and Wonder were right – people are the same wherever you go. But there’s one particular cliché I have found to be true. Italians do dress well – very well indeed.
Enter stage left the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer – a very dapper version of the already pretty damn suave V7 Café. If the standard model is meant to conjure long-forgotten images of the “good ol’ days” with it’s upswept pipes and obvious design cues from the original 70’s V7, the Racer looks about as subtle as the moon hitting your eye like a big pizza pie. But is it “amore”, or is it just a one-ride stand?
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My Dad. Knows absolutely nothing about motorbikes bar their mechanical basics and (in his eyes at least) their inherent danger – that and whatever his still-sharp 60 year-old senses tell him. So picture the vista when I roll up to my parent’s farm for Mother’s Day on a brand new Kawasaki W800. Of course he knows that the last bike I reviewed was Zero’s brave but flawed Zero S, and he briefly casts his eyes over this new one as I rev it up to give him a listen to the engine. There’s a moment of deep contemplation, much like a Kung Fu master might do, then he calmly pronounces, “Another electric bike, is it?” I laugh out loud. An electric bike? “Come on! Just look at the thing,” I blurt, pointing out the two massive pipes hanging off the back. “I know it doesn’t look like an electric bike,” he replies. “But it sure does sound like one…”
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When I was a kid growing up on Sydney’s southern beaches, there were two certainties you could count on during the long, hot Christmas holidays in January. The first was cricket on AM radio, and the second was afternoon storms. Now the two may not seem to be related in any way, but stick with me for a moment. You see, while I was standing there in my swimmers and towel, dripping chlorinated water on my mother’s linoleum floor and sucking down a Berts soft drink, I’d often hear little bursts of static interrupting the monotone drone of the commentary coming over the airwaves. They’d be faint and infrequent at first, but slowly and surely they’d build in volume and frequency until they were joined in a chorus of distant thunder and white strobes of light on the horizon. Our little valve radio had discovered it’s second job; as a lightning detector for the approaching electrical storms.
Our most recent poll asked a simple question; electric bikes – yes or no? Surprisingly (well, to me at least) most of you were in favour of them or at least were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But how many of you have actually ridden one? I’m guessing not many, and I too would have been on that list had we not been contacted by Phil Wilkinson of Zero Motorcycles Australia. He was kind enough to offer us a lend of one of his electrical wonders for a few days to get a first-hand feel on just what the future of motorcycling may be like. Or at least Zero’s version of it. I’m also pleased to note that this is the first ever proper bike review Pipeburn has done, and by the looks of the emails in my inbox it won’t be the last. Now if you’ll follow me…
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