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Review: 2011 Kawasaki W800

Posted on May 21, 2011 by Andrew in Review. 56 comments

Stand down and be counted – meet the new W

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…”


Review: Zero Motorcycles S

Posted on April 20, 2011 by Andrew in Review. 19 comments

Danger, danger – low voltage. Zero’s 2010 “S” model meets the Pipeburn underground bunker

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…


Long-term review: 2010 Icon Airframe Construct Helmet

Posted on January 15, 2011 by Andrew in Review. 17 comments

Top vents are adjusted by a slider between the two vents. Mouth vent has a small adjuster beneath the “teeth”. Jowl vents are adjustable internally

“How big is your head?” Scott asked me. Smart arse. I waited for the punch line. “No, seriously. What size helmet do you take?” Oh, right. “I’ve got an Icon helmet,” he said, “they’ve given it to us to review. It’s a large. You want to do it?” I was stoked. We’ve done reviews before on Pipeburn, but mostly of our own gear – which is a double-edged sword as you get plenty of time to really know a piece of kit, but then you wouldn’t have purchased it if you didn’t think it was the best option.

But this was different; a brand new helmet that I had no intention of purchasing was now in my hot little hands awaiting a full and detailed dissection. And that’s exactly what this is. I’ve got five month’s worth of detailed notes and a laptop with a fully charged battery – let’s do this.


SPY Roland Sands Collection

Posted on January 7, 2011 by Scott in Review. 7 comments

Roland Sands can now add ‘sunglass designer’ to his long and impressive résumé. I’m not sure how hands-on Roland was in designing these sunnies but I guess if your name is on them you would make sure they didn’t suck. SPY were nice enough to send us a pair of the Murena Woodgrain (pictured) and I was actually surprised by how solid and well made they feel. But more importantly I wanted to know how they handled on the open road. So I went for a ride.

I usually wear vintage styled Carrera Champions which I like, but are a little too big inside a helmet. They also don’t have polarized lenses like the Murena’s and this is the first thing I notice. The polarized lenses completely remove any harsh glare, especially from white cars – perfect for riding on a bright sunny Sydney day like today. Where my Carrera’s are too big, the Murena’s fit snug in my Shoie open face helmet. They almost look like they were custom made for my helmet, not letting any stray objects near my eyes – there’s nothing worse than a bug hitting your retina at 100kph.

Overall I give the SPY RSD Murena’s two thumbs up and I would definitely recommend the polarized lenses, don’t think I will be going back now I’ve seen the difference. If you want to check out the whole limited edition range visit the SPY Optics website.


Review: GoPro Hero HD Motorsports Camera

Posted on December 13, 2010 by Andrew in Review. 10 comments

Box shot – the GoPro Hero in it’s protective case.

I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a GoPro HD camera last week and I’ve just spent a few days trying it out around Sydney. Included in this rigorous testing regime was a full-day ride with a bunch of mates in some glorious weather north of Sydney. But more on that, and the footage I captured, in another post.

First things first. The GoPro Hero HD is a tiny 5-megapixel miniature point-of-view video and stills camera that mounts to your bike and takes wide-angle HD quality movies and pictures while you ride. Included in the kit is the camera itself, a battery, a waterproof plastic case, leads, and a whole bunch of mounting options centred around a GPS-on-your-car’s-windscreen-style suction cup.


Barbour Vintage Leather Jacket

Posted on November 6, 2010 by Scott in Review. 5 comments

There’s some things in life you can skimp on; like Valentine’s Day cards, maps, hair cuts, your mother-in-laws xmas presents, and then there’s leather jackets. The good ones should last forever, like these Barbour Vintage Leather Jackets – you can almost smell the adventure. They come ‘new’ with a broken-in vintage look, so you don’t have to look like ‘that guy’ who just bought a leather jacket. Plus there’s loads of functions you’d expect from a Barbour jacket; like button storm flap, adjustable waist belt and loads of pockets for much needed storage. With a genuine leather outer they also have a lining made with wool tartan and a polyamide quilted drip strip (sounds impressive). Still reading? Then you can buy one at the Barbour Store – your son will thank you for it… one day.


Long-term review: 2009 Alpinestars SP-1 leather gloves

Posted on September 27, 2010 by Andrew in Review. 7 comments

Review and photos by Andrew Jones (AKA Pamberjack)

I’ve had these gloves for a little over a year now, and I thought it’d be a perfect time to write a little piece on how they are holding up. Hope you like it.

Initial impressions were good. They seemed very well made which instilled confidence as to their toughness and durability. Style-wise they are obviously targeted towards more of the “sport” end of the market. I got these black and white ones, as the all-black ones I had originally planned to purchase weren’t available in my size. The white does add a little to the track day feel, but I’d be more than happy wearing either style on any bike made since the seventies.


The Great Frog London

Posted on September 20, 2010 by Scott in Other, Review. 16 comments

Who doesn’t like a skull? Iconic London jeweller The Great Frog have created a new Biker Skull ring. The Great Frog aren’t new to skull rings, they claim to have created them. Now in its 37th year they have made jewellery for many rockers, bikers and those on the “edge of the mainstream”. They also have designed original pieces for Metallica, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Slash – just to name a few. Great Frog caused a stir a few years ago with this graphic tv ad which was quickly banned, but generated loads of free publcity. Check out the new Great Frog Blog to see more from these bespoke jewellers. [Photos by Mads Perch]


Product Review: Draggin Jeans ‘Slix’

Posted on August 20, 2010 by Andrew in Review. 11 comments

If you care about your backside and you ride bikes, you’ll no doubt have encountered a similar issue to me in regards to what you wear while riding. I wear jeans most days, but I quickly realised that if I were to come off at a decent speed they’d be about as much help as a set of superfluous genitalia in protecting me from the cheese-grater-world-of-pain that is yr average patch of bitumen.


Or Glory – 21st Century Rockers

Posted on August 16, 2010 by Scott in Café Racer, Review. 3 comments

A few years ago renowned German photographer Horst A. Friedrichs released a stunning book on Mods called I’m One: 21st Century Mods. Thanks to Friedrichs amazing photography, the book quickly became an international best-seller. Now he has recently launched the Rocker version, titled Or Glory – 21st Century Rockers. The book features ton-up boys and Rockers from around the world – and of course many classic café racers. For a hard cover book of this calibre we were pleasantly surprised to discover it retails for a reasonable $23 on Amazon. [Spotted on Southsiders MC]