Posted On 22 Mar 2024
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This entry is part 21 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#25



Yamaha really has thought of everything when making the MT- 07 look amazing. This month we fitted the Gilles Tooling frame plugs to cover up those holes in the frame that look a little “bare” to create a cleaner look. The colour we chose is titanium to match a number of other accessories we’ll be fitting. There are four plugs – two each side for the frame tube and the pivot of the swingarm. A matter of a few minutes was all it took to fit them and wow, what a super-dooper look! Priced at $98.75 per set, they are well worth the money.

We’ve only just clocked up the 1000km mark this month, so the first service is being planned. Next month we’re fitting the wonderful Venhill braided brake lines. SW

Harley-Davidson XL1200V ‘72’ Sportster JUST SHOCKING: IKON SHOCK ABSORBERS

Price – $594 plus postage in Australia

Every motorcycle embodies a set of compromises. The reason is simple: all bikes (like pretty much everything) are built to a price point. Within the cost limitations this creates, manufacturers will spend more on the things they think will help to sell the bike, than on the things they think most people won’t notice. These are necessary compromises if the cost is to be kept down.

It is not surprising that shock absorbers are near the head of the list of manufacturers’ compromises.

Depending on the model, a lot of buyers will not explore the limits of their bike’s suspension, so they don’t need particularly good shocks.

The other owners, who do, are generally expected to upgrade their suspension at their own cost. It’s an interesting exercise to factor this in when you buy your next bike – consider whether you will want to upgrade shocks, possibly fork springs and quite often the exhaust system. Then add the cost to the price of the bike for a… well, a shock!

Anyway, we decided to upgrade the Sporty’s rear suspension as one of the very fi rst things. The suspension travel is so short that any help in that department would obviously be much appreciated. We wanted shocks which would improve the ride and offer some adjustability, but we didn’t want to pay the earth.

The choice was simple: we decided on Ikons from Proven Products.

You may not realise that Ikon shock absorbers are made in Australia; they come from Albury in the south of NSW. Proven Products was an importer in 2000 when Koni decided to close down its production of motorcycle shock absorbers.

The companies signed a licensing agreement which allowed Proven to manufacture shocks under the name of Ikon, and it now supplies the whole world. The Albury factory has R&D facilities and offers customising services as well.

Our Ikons look very much like the shocks they have replaced, but they work significantly better. We kept the same length, so we didn’t change the geometry of the bike. With the preload set for my lithe weight (compared to Stuart, anyway) and a bit of fiddling with damping we have a noticeably different bike. The suspension is now more progressive, and despite that the bike is considerably less likely to bottom out. It was definitely worth making the change. Add the stylish and shape-fitting Mustang seat and I have a much more comfortable 72. PT



Simple, easy, reliable and good looking, that’s Andy “Strapz” for you. No, no. It’s what our mate Andy has made available to all Suzuki V-Strom 650 owners with his pannier frame kit.

Priced at $370 for the pair, they took all of ten minutes to fit (in fact I think it took longer to unwrap them than to fit them!). The frames are not designed to carry the weight of a pair of panniers, just to keep them safely away from the wheel and the exhaust, which means that they are intended for use with soft luggage. The weight with soft panniers is carried by the straps(z?) across the seat.

To give the frames a fair trial, we matched them with Andy’s Expedition Pannierz, priced at $345. These roll-top bags are made from heavy and almost indestructible-looking material, are waterproof and hold a heap of gear.

Fitting them is easy – join the hook and-loop straps over or under the seat and then thread the small strap at the base of each bag through the loops on the frame. The result is bags that sit securely on the back of the bike and do not flap or move about.

I took Andy’s handiwork for a two-day blast through the countryside west of the Sandstone Curtain on our long term Wee Strom, and could not have asked for better or easier to use luggage. And space was not a problem – I fitted all my camping gear including a stove plus clothing and so on into the bags. The only other luggage I used was the tank bag, for fiddly bits, and a camera case.

For cameras.

Now I have a theory, based on considerable experience, that anyone tackling serious gravel or dirt should fit soft bags because chances are that you will fall off. If hard bags break off in a fall they’re much more difficult to re- fit than soft ones. Admittedly that isn’t always true; in a recent crash of mine, a car tore the pannier right off the side of my bike and cracked the plastic material practically all the way through. Despite that, it fitted straight back on. I suspect that would not be true with the popular and more rigid aluminium cases. Anyway, it’s easiest with soft bags.

I’m happy to highly recommend this combination from Andy Strapz, which also probably costs about half of what you’d pay for OEM luggage. PT



Photo by Hood Imagery.

In Sydney recently, the Autorush show was held at The Dome, Homebush.

Mainly a car customisers heaven, Autorush also featured a number of fine custom motorcycles on display. This included our award winning Yamaha Bolt outfit, which stole the show with huge amounts of onlookers.

We had the Bolt on the 2SUS Custom Resprays stand (who painted our Bolt) and it was mixed in with a number of Harleys and all sorts of wild looking cars.

Not long after that, The Bear took the outfit to the Australia Day CARnival as part of the NSW Motorcycle Council display. Organised by the Premier’s Department (thank you), this took place in drizzling rain but still managed to impress the damp crowd with its selection of bikes and cars. The Bolt’s paint shone even in the rain!

Where will we be showing the Bolt, Next? Watch this space… SW

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