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Johannesburg – Yamaha South Africa had a special treat for local MotoGP fans one earlier in December – not only did they bring Movistar Yamaha factory team rider Maverick Viñales to South Africa, but they also made him the guest of honour at the Yamaha R World track day at Kyalami.

Kodak moments with  Viñales

Fans had the chance to see the rising MotoGP star in action, while track day participants had the rare opportunity to have a group photo with Viñales taken on the starting grid.

Viñales, the first MotoGP rider to ride on the new Kyalami track, started proceedings with a private test session, before doing a six-lap session during which he was joined by local National Superbike and Supersport Yamaha riders, as well as and ten lucky Yamaha customers, who earned the chance to join in on the action by buying a Yamaha R1 or R6 during 2017.

Throughout the day, Viñales, accompanied by his girlfriend, the Andorran athlete Cristina Llovera, was happy to sign autographs and answer questions from fans.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

He revealed that his race number – number 25, which appears to have no obvious link to the Spanish rider – was significant in two ways: it is the number of his compatriot and role model, enduro racer Iván Cervantes, but also the maximum number of points that can be earned in a MotoGP race.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

After his laps around the track on a standard, street-legal R1, which Viñales quipped felt “like riding a pit bike”, he complimented Kyalami for being fast and exciting, although he thought the run-off areas were “not the greatest”.

He also mentioned that he would be keen to ride his YZR-M1 race bike on Kyalami. Later in the day, he took Llovera for a spin around the track on a bike supplied by Superbike Magazine’s Clinton Pienaar.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

After winning the Moto3 World Championship title in 2013, Viñales went from success to success, culminating in winning his debut race for Yamaha in Qatar in 2017 and also handing Yamaha their 500th Grand Prix victory in Le Mans. 

With his MotoGP tenure at Yamaha secured, the future is looking very bright for the young Spanish rider.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

Johannesburg – The AutoTrader SA South Africa Bike Festival, powered by Discovery Channel, returns to the legendary Kyalami Raceway with the already fan-favourite #RocoMamas Custom Bike Championship in tow. It’s year three for the wildly successful event, and it will take place from May 25 – 27, 2018.  

The RocoMamas Custom, Vintage, Classic and Retro Championship

‘Custom bikes, custom burgers’ is the RocoMamas two-wheel philosophy, and it delivers even bigger in 2018. The Championship expands with the addition of more classic and retro categories whilst maintaining its fan-favourite base of a nationwide search for the very best restored, maintained, hand-built, and customised motorcycles. 

Following a two-tier format, the Championship invites 60 top motorcycles chosen from around the country to warm their engines over two laps on the legendary track, before hitting the display stands for the duration of the weekend. 

On judging duties, the AutoTrader South Africa Bike Festival team welcome iconic international judge and builder Frank Sander back from Germany, while legendary trio Robert Coutts, Phillip Solomon and Cor Leijenaar from the 2 Stoke Club represent home-grown expertise.

Adding icing to an already monster cake, the visitor-judged People’s Choice Trophy remains in play for 2018. Here single builders; a group of engineers; or even a club are invited to show their engines – the only restrictions being a private rather than professional team, and customisation costs limited to R60 000. 

Image: AutoTrader SA

With the full list of 2018 categories finalised, builders and bike owners are invited to register ASAP – a successful application will secure their spot on the viewing deck inside the Kyalami Pit Building. 

RocoMamas brings all participants FREE ENTRY to the competition, plus the top sixty bike-owners chosen will receive all-weekend passes to attend the festival at their leisure. 

“Custom bikes and custom burgers – what more could you ask for from a day out?” said AutoTrader CEO George Mienie. “We are looking forward to seeing South African bike creativity at its best”. 

The RocoMamas Custom, Vintage, Classic and Retro Championship prize giving will take place on the festival main stage at 3pm, Sunday 27 May. 

For more information and to enter your motorcycle, click here

For further information, contact the team via southafricabikefestival.com or call / WhatsApp the dedicated marketing number on 061 505 5727. 

It is both interesting and important to learn one’s attitude to safety, which flows from character, and how this attitude can infect your riding manner. Riders represent a spectrum, from leisure to practical motorcycle operators, and have different reasons for riding. Seven segments can be identified, based on a spectrum of attitudes to risk, passion for riding and reasons for riding. Do you see yourself in one or more segment?

BMW Motorrad has launched its latest cruiser in SA – the K 1600 B ‘Bagger’.

Mpamalanga – BMW Motorrad chose the scenic and sinuous roads of the Mpamalanga Escarpment to launch their latest entry into the cruiser market, the K 1600 B ‘Bagger’. 

Based on the mechanicals of the K 1600 GTL tourer which we had previously reviewed, styling-wise the Bagger’s is a slightly commecialised version of the “Concept 101” concept study shown at the 2015 Concorso d’Eleganza in Italy. 

The Bagger features a drop-shaped silhouette, which terminates in deep-set side cases with integrated US-style rear lights.

Gallery:  2017 BMW K 1600 B Bagger

One look at the bike is enough to make it obvious that the United States is the primary target market, a fact which the general manager of BMW Motorrad SA, Edgar Kleinbergen, confirmed during the launch. 

The fairing features a low but effective wind screen, and deflectors to protect the rider’s hands from the elements. The rear-view mirrors also match the design concept, but offer they a good view of the traffic behind thanks to the large mirror surfaces which include an aspherical element.

Image: Rob Till/BMW Motorrad

The electronically controlled Dynamic ESA chassis offers “Road” and “Cruise” modes. In the standard “Road” setting, damping adaptation is fully automated, while “Cruise” mode offer much more damping for comfortable riding at low speeds. 

The net result is that riding the Bagger feels a bit like driving a luxury car, not unlike the sensation we noticed on the K 1600 GTL. 

Of particular interest to me was the reverse assist feature. This is activated by pressing a button on the left-hand handlebar panel to select reverse mode, and then pressing the starter button which causes the bike to reverse under the power of an electric motor. 

I had my doubts about this arrangement, but in practice it actually works extremely well – the bike backs up slowly with no effort from the rider, a handy feature on such a heavy machine.

The launch bike was equipped with the optional Shift Assistant Pro. While I have made no secret in the past of my dislike of quick shifters, I have to admit that I may now have met one that I could live with. The bagger’s shifter works particularly well at low revs and seems to prefer small throttle openings. Under relaxed riding conditions, shifting (both up and down) is smooth and effortless, adding to the Bagger’s luxurious feel.

Image: Rob Till/BMW Motorrad

Here’s an overview of some of the other features of the K 1600 B:

 • 6-cylinder in-line engine compliant with EU4 regulations, and featuring a power output of 118kW at 7 750 rpm and maximum torque of 175Nm at 5 250 rpm.
 • Low rear frame for reduced vehicle height, dropped passenger seat height ( -7 cm) and typical bagger look.
 • Fixed side cases with a new compartment design
 • Chrome-plated parallel silencers with ribbed end caps.
 • Folding rear mudguard for easy wheel removal.
 • Standard equipment includes ABS Pro, dynamic brake light, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, xenon headlamp, heated grips and seat heating, multi-controller, three ride modes, and cruise control.
 • Optional equipment includes Adaptive Headlight, daytime running light, Keyless Ride, Hill Start Control, and central locking.
 • Wide range of original BMW Motorrad Accessories

BMW Motorrad confirmed during the launch that the South African price for the K 1600 B is R 325 000.