Review: Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT World Adventure

This year Suzuki is offering the V-Strom 1050XT in a World Adventure edition on the Belgian market. Due to Corona perils, we weren’t able to wander off with the V-Strom to the other side of the globe, so we picked out a worldly adventure close to home: the two of us went for a ride from the Belgian coast to the Pajottenland.

Suzuki pimps the World Adventure with a decal set with reflective details, aluminum cases, adjustable footpegs that they got from Gilles Tooling, a GPS mount, a Hepco&Becker aluminum bashplate with World Adventure label, heated grips and LED high beams.

You can get this adventurer in a yellow-blue, gray-blue or black livery. The black sparkles in the sun, which you can expect from “Glass Sparkle Black”. The many stickers are a bit over the top, but all in all it looks quite right.

When revamping the V-Strom in 2020, Suzuki returned to the legendary Dr. Big from yesteryear – just like they did before with their Katana. The new lines and the square headlight look nice and are reminiscent of the oldschool adventure bike.

However, the looks were not the most important innovation. Suzuki finally put its biggest adventure bike on the same level as the competition by adding a full electronics suite thanks to ride-by-wire. For example, Continue reading

2020: Jean’s year in review

I guess I don’t have to tell you 2020 was a somewhat special year. For me it started on January 1st with a job change: much closer to home. No more long daily commutes from Limburg to Brussels. And as if that hadn’t enough impact on my milage, there was also this virus. So not only the number of km’s dropped dramatically in 2020, but also the number of motorcycle tests. An overview:

9.110 km ridden, for the first time not a five-digit number (3.627 km with my BMW F 800 GS, 5.483 km with test bikes)

3 motorcycles tested (BMW F 900 XR, Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro, Yamaha Ténéré 700)

2 trips done (Tournée Staycationée in June and the Moselle in September)

1 trip cancelled (Alps in june, due to you know what)

1 motorcycle training attended

1 maintenance done (at 106.000 km)

0 offroad days :/

0 track days :/

0 pitbike sessions :/

0 falls 🙂

2019: Jean’s year in review

28.186 km ridden (14.724 km with my BMW F 800 GS, 13.462 km with test bikes)

84 days of moto-commuting

8 motorcycles tested: BMW R 1250 R, BMW R 1250 RT, Ducati Diavel 1260, Harley-Davidson Iron 1200, Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports, Moto Guzzi V85 TT, Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE and Yamaha Tracer 700 GT

3 falls with no harm done (2 times during a pitbike afternoon, 1 time during an enduro ride)

2 trips done (Pyrenees and Black Forest)

2 organized ride-outs done (Magic 12 Belgium Rally 2019 and an enduro day)

2 motorcycle shows attended (Brussels Motor Show 2019 and Matchlight Motorcycle Show 2019)

2 maintenances done (90.000 and 100.000 km, both at Peter Motor Works)

1 motorcycle training attended (at Grondpadman)

1 afternoon on a pitbike

0 tire changes (but it’s almost time to put the Pirelli Michelin combo six feet under)

0 track days 😦

0 accidents 🙂

BMW Motorrad Dealer Clash 2019

After the first Dealer Clash last year, the Belgian en Luxembourg dealerships again had a chance to show their custom building skills during the BMW Motorrad Dealer Clash 2019.

The contest’s concept changed a bit: next to the BMW R nineT Pure, also the R nineT Urban G/S, Racer and Scrambler were allowed as donor bikes for a custom creation. Moreover – and in contrast to the 2018 edition – the result had to be street legal.

The 18 participating dealerships are presenting their custom bikes in the BMW Brand Store in Brussels this week. Earlier today a professional jury picked their top 3:

1. R90 Shades Of Grey by Motorsport Mabbe:

2. Back To Basics by Louyet Motor:

3. Two In One by Ginion Motorbikes:

If you’d like to check out the 18 bikes in the flesh in the BMW Brand Store, you have until March 18th (Waterloolaan 23, 1000 Brussels, open from Monday till Saturday, 10.00-18.30, free admission).

After the expo the bikes will go back to the dealerships where they’ll be exhibited during the opening weekend of March 23rd and 24th.

For more pics and a look at the realization of the bikes, check the Dealer Clash site.

2018: Jean’s overview

41.958 km ridden (27.078 km with my BMW F 800 GS, 14.880 km with test motorcycles)

159 days of moto-commuting

12 motorcycles tested: BMW F 850 GS, BMW K 1600 B, Ducati Scrambler 1100 Special, Harley-Davidson Street Rod, KTM 1290 Super Adventure S, Moto Guzzi V7 III Special, Suzuki GSX-R1000R, Triumph Street Cup, Triumph Tiger 800 XCa, Yamaha FJR1300AS, Yamaha Niken and Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré

3 motorcycle trainings attended (Backtrail Offroad Training, Stefenduro Enduro Introduction and Motokhana Allroad Course)

3 falls without harm (1 time with a pitbike, 2 times during an Allroad Training)

2 trips done (Luxembourg and the Vosges)

2 ride-outs done (The Dutch 1000 and Endurofun Midzomerrit)

2 maintenances done (70.000 and 80.000 km, both at Peter Motor Works)

2 tire changes done (from a Pirelli Michelin combo to Michelin Anakee Wild, and from the Anakee Wild back to the PiMi combo which wasn’t at its end yet)

1 afternoon on a pitbike

1 new Jean Le Motard team member found (glad to have you on board, Jan F!)

0 track days done (boo!)

0 accidents

First time on a pitbike

A few days ago I rode a pitbike for the first time. A pitbike is a mini-motorcycle which you ride on a kart circuit. It’s a bit related to racing on a track. Some knowledge of racing lines, cornering technique and other track skills certainly is useful. But even without it I’m sure you’ll have fun. With a group of eight we headed to Racelandkart.

First we did a 12-minute practice heat to discover the track, then we had a 15-minute break, followed by a 5-minute qualifying heat (to determine the starting grid) and a 12-minute competition heat which – to everyone’s surprise – Jan F won.

The first heat really was all about getting used to the pitbike (a 125 cc YCF SM: small, agile, not really furiously fast) and to the unknown track (short and sweeping). But in two heats you make a lot of progress and you take corners faster and faster round after round.

The competitive element makes it even more fun. It’s less dangerous than racing on the circuit too. You are close to the ground and the speed rates aren’t incredibly high. I once fell quite spectacularly but I just ended up with a bruised hip. And I wasn’t the only one who fell. Seems to be part of the game. Continue reading

Our favorite test motorcycles of 2018

2018 is almost behind us. Time to look back at the bikes we tested this year and pick our favorites. Jan F rode five bikes in 2018 and chooses his number one. I tested twelve motorcycles. This is my top three:

3. Ducati Scrambler 1100 Special

Kicks, power, adrenaline! Sure it’s fun but it isn’t always crucial to me. Sometimes an impeccable mix of elements does the trick. That’s why the Ducati Scrambler easily makes it to this list. Great aesthetics, a wonderful sound and an engine that nicely blends accessibility and Italian fury.

Read the review of Ducati Scrambler 1100 Special.

2. Yamaha Niken

The Niken is one of the most polarizing motorcycles of recent years. Even though it’s not always greeted with enthusiasm, after a test ride you’ll find it hard to say goodbye. In my case, less than two hours in the saddle was enough to convert me. What a unique, amazing experience.

Read the review of Yamaha Niken.

Continue reading