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BMW iX1: Brilliant Driving Machine

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

The electric vehicle revolution, that has gained so much traction in Europe and Scandinavia, has yet to make a significant impact in South Africa and it’s difficult to forecast when – and even if – it will happen. Charging infrastructure is one hurdle, while a patchy electricity supply is another obvious stumbling block, not to mention distances between major cities, that will always be beyond the natural range of electric vehicles, for the time being at least.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

But does that mean that a fully electric car, as opposed to a hybrid, is a non-starter in this country? On the evidence of our week with the BMW iX1, you would have to hope not, because this was one of the most impressive driving experiences it has been our pleasure to encounter.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

The iX1 is the smallest electric SUV in the BMW range, with the iX3, iX4 and iX7 completing the line-up. Mind you, calling it ‘small’ is a bit of a misnomer, as it is actually rather large, being 4.5 metres long, 1.85 metres wide and 1.65 metres tall, and weighing in at just over two tonnes. However, given the instant power available from the two electric motors – one front and one rear, giving four-wheel drive – and typically taut BMW handling, it drives a lot lighter than it actually is.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

Mounted underneath the floor is a 64.7kWh battery, giving a best range of around 350km, obviously depending on driving conditions, load, etc. This is rather impressive, if one is using it solely for urban transport with a charge point waiting in your garage but, as a long-distance carriage, it is rather less practical, when charging point availability and charge time is taken into account.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

Plugged into a normal household socket, charging can be painfully slow; from 9pm to 9am, battery level went from 48% to 78%. Naturally, this would be improved vastly by utilising the BMW-supplied fast-charging hardware or by using one of the surprisingly numerous charge points around Johannesburg, including those at BMW dealerships. When charging the test car at BMW Sandton, however, a notice informed us that, as from the 1st May, 2024, this would no longer be free.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

How much would a full charge cost? Well, according to figures supplied to us by BMW after we had charged the vehicle at BMW Sandton, a charge from 50% to 100% took around an hour, and cost approx R250, so you’re looking in the region of R500 for a full charge, giving 350km of range.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

As a comparison, our rough calculations have the BMW X1 sDrive18d M Sport giving 878km from a full tank of diesel, costing roughly R1,100.

So much for the details, which will either give food for thought or have you struggling to balance the pros and cons of fully electric vehicles.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

What will have the scales tipping in favour of electric is the performance which stretches credulity. With the equivalent of 309bhp and 493Nm of instant torque, the iX1 takes off like a scalded cat, even without the steering wheel-mounted boost paddle activated; a 0-100km/h time of 5.6 seconds is quoted! What makes it all the more impressive, is that acceleration is achieved in total silence and a complete lack of vibration of any sort.

It is so completely drama-free, apart from the shove in your back, but so outrageously fast, that you can’t help grinning like a schoolboy every time you mash your right foot to the floor, which is often; it does nothing for battery life but, boy, is it fun.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

The test vehicle was the top-spec M-Sport model, which gets adaptive suspension as standard and this gives a firm but never harsh ride, while road thumps and bumps are beautifully insulated inside the cabin. Because the bulk of the weight is carried low down thanks to the batteries being mounted under the floor, there is very little roll when cornering enthusiastically, although you can never quite forget that this is a heavy car, even though driver inputs are kept to a minimum by excellent variable power steering.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

Naturally, equipment levels are impressive, with no fewer than six driving modes (although three were locked to us, without access to the BMW ID code). ‘Personal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Efficient’ were accessible, but we had no chance to sample ‘Expressive’, ‘Relax’ and ‘Digital Art’. These latter three alter the dashboard screen graphics and allow the driver to select an engine sound that is piped through the stereo, apparently composed by Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer. Personally, we were so impressed by the silence in any driving situation that we hated the thought of introducing fake sounds to the equation.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

Various levels of regenerative braking are available to feed some power back to the batteries and, on the highest setting, the ‘engine braking’ effect was enough to catch us out at first when driving in traffic, so sharp is the deceleration. After an hour’s city driving, the dash indicated that 5.4km of range had been added to the battery life.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

One thing we weren’t too keen on was the almost total reliance on the touch screen for adjustments to the driving and cabin settings, necessitating taking your eyes off the road for far too long, even when more familiar with the set-up. Voice activation is available via a button on the steering wheel but it would have been much simpler to provide buttons/knobs for adjusting the fan speed, for example. Also, the driver’s information screen was a little fussy and awkward to read at a glance. But these are minor niggles and, no doubt, familiarity would make things easier, especially when certain settings that would rarely be changed were dialled in.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

Passenger comfort is very well looked after, the front seats being extremely supportive against cornering forces and featuring a wide range of adjustability. A common complaint about EVs is excessive rear floor height due to the location of the batteries but the iX1 doesn’t suffer from this malady, with the result that rear seat passengers can sit normally without having their knees up around their ears.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

Boot space is generous and there is a flap in the floor under which you can store potentially dirty charging cables. Overall, the cabin of the iX1 is a pleasantly distinguished place to be, with excellent quality materials used throughout and, thankfully, a lack of any form of wood trim, real or not.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

Out of curiosity, we opened the bonnet only to be confronted by machinery, the purpose of which we had absolutely no clue. It was rather disconcerting to have no idea what you were looking at after many decades of looking at internal combustion engines in various states of disguise. What did amuse us was the presence of a bog-standard car battery, exactly where you’d expect to find it in a normal-engined car. Thinking about it, that does make sense, given the need for various systems to remain working when the drive batteries are completely dead.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

In conclusion, this is a deeply impressive piece of engineering and a stunning driving experience that will never become boring through familiarity. But we just can’t get away from the issues of range and recharge time, no matter how hard we try. Given that most households have two or more cars, so that the petrol or diesel model will be used for long-distance trips, is such a big car as the iX1 needed for solely city use? Wouldn’t it be more relevant to look at smaller models, such as the Mini Cooper SE, which have all the advantages of full-electric drive but in a much more city-friendly package?

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Lifestyle

It seems as if we might be swimming in the face of public opinion, however, as an SUV is the default setting for so many drivers in SA. With that in mind, the BMW iX1 is a natural and logical choice, possessing a lot of qualities and few drawbacks.

A Quick Break Away From The City…

Living in Johannesburg is essential for the work that we do as the majority of our clients are based here, however, the hustle and bustle of city life does take its toll on your well-being, therefore, getting out into nature as often as possible is vital for one’s serenity.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

We’ve owned our Suzuki Jimny now for coming up 2 years and during this time, we’ve accessorised it to fit in with the adventure lifestyle that we enjoy in this magnificent country of ours. Some of the lifestyle additions that we’ve made to our Jimny are; Alu-Cab’s roof-top tent, Thule bicycle rack, General Grabber AT3’s and Takla seat covers.

Having our Jimny set up in this way, allows us to very easily get out of the big smoke and enjoy the outdoors, anytime, anywhere and in such an uncomplicated way…

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

And so it was on Friday 12th April, we decided that we needed a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, so we packed the Jimny first thing and headed up to Red Barn at Irene in Pretoria for a quick morning trail ride.

Our plan for that night was to camp at Somabula Nature Reserve in Cullinan, so our Jimny was set up for the adventure that lay ahead.

Arriving at Red Barn, I parked in a lovely wooded area and popped up the rooftop tent so that my partner Celia could hang back and relax whilst I hit the trail.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

This is what’s so amazing about Alu-Cab’s LT-50 roof-top tent, it opens and closes literally in seconds, making for a fantastic day bed for wherever the adventure may take you.

After a quick blast in the park, we packed up and set off for our afternoon/evening entertainment at Somabula Nature Reserve.

Somabula Nature Reserve is only an hour’s drive out of Johannesburg and is situated very close to Cullinan. Nestled peacefully in a valley surrounded by pristine bush, Somabula Nature Reserve offers the perfect environment in which to unwind. The reserve boasts a wide variety of antelope as well as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and an abundance of birdlife.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The campsites are stunning! They are widely spaced, unfenced, and grassed. Each site has its ‘own’ braai facilities, water on tap and access to ablution areas. The site we stayed at had its own private lock-up ablution block with toilet, shower and wash-up facilities, which are powered by solar lighting and gas-heated water (there is no electricity on any of the sites). What impressed us, was how pristine everything was, the ablutions were exceptionally clean.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Arriving at our campsite in the late afternoon, we quickly set up camp, collected some firewood, and then settled down for the evening as the sun started to set, the temperature dropped quite a lot. Getting a fire going is always such a magical experience, we then sat for hours under the stars and enjoyed a simple freeze-dried meal whilst listening to the ambient sounds of nature—it was a very blissful evening!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

We are not experienced campers, so going on a break for us means a break from our already complicated lives, therefore, the idea of setting up a ground tent just seems like too much of a mission, hence why we’ve tended to stay in accommodation in years gone by. The problem with this way of travel is that the cost of a weekend trip is high because of the accommodation costs. This is what drew us to the roof-top tent idea in the first place, we just like the idea of being able to simply get out of the city and into nature anytime we feel like we need to recharge our batteries.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

It gives us peace of mind knowing that our bed is on the roof of our Jimny and that it’s set up the way we like it, with everything we need for a good night’s sleep. Sleeping two people in the tent is very cosy and comfortable, we just added some cheap fairy lights at the entrance to give us ambient light. From our experience with the tent, I would say it is more of a glamping than camping experience—it’s very lekker!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The next day, we woke up to the melodic sounds of birds singing, with the tent zippers almost fully closed, we got to lay in a bit, and when we finally rose, we opened up the tent to what was an already glorious day.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Our morning routine started with boiling some water on a hiking gas stove, to make our coffees, which we enjoyed with a Woolworths Muesli Rusk. To which I can honestly say went down like a homesick mole!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

We then headed out for a hike around the reserve, which was a spectacular experience. Even though you are only an hour’s drive out of Jo’burg, you feel like you could be anywhere out in the bush—you wouldn’t say you were just next to Cullinan.

After our hike, we showered, packed up camp (literally in 10 minutes) then took a drive on the 4×4 route around the reserve, what a gem Somabula Nature Reserve is, we will ‘definitely’ be making this a regular spot to go and unwind away from the city.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Feeling recharged and rejuvenated, we headed back home to the big smoke, ready to tackle the daily grind all over again.

The bottom line is, yes there is an initial set-up cost to get yourself a lifestyle vehicle that is kitted out for adventure, but once you’re all set up, the cost savings of doing regular, convenient, simple trips that connect you with nature and your inner self, makes it all well worth it.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

As South Africans, we are so blessed to have such beautiful nature right on our doorsteps, as the famous bumper sticker tells us…

“One Life To Live. So Live It!”.

Husqvarna MC6 – The Perfect all-round E-MTB?

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The term all-rounder over the years has sadly received a negative connotation and sometimes it’s read as “good at nothing, but ok at most things”—in other words beige. This unfathomable mentality is the same one that would classify a Swiss army knife as beige, rather than an extremely useful tool that everyone should have. What am I going on about? For years the jack of all and master of none has been the hardtail, we all started on one and learned the important skills we needed before choosing our future paths.

With the hardtail came no ego, but rather a young impressionable soul yearning to learn it all. Fast-rolling cross country (XC), school and back commuter, jump bike and so much more. You know exactly what I’m talking about! The thing is, cycling in SA has slowly started to change thanks to European and American influence. Yes, SA’s heavily dominated XC cyclist landscape has in the last few years been introduced to trail riding. Trail riding is no long-distance endeavour, but rather a mixture of fast-rolling XC, free-ride jumps and fast-flowing rhythm sections. Rather than a physical or endurance challenge it has introduced fun back into cycling with less endurance but more skilful riding.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

This is where the new “Jack” comes into the picture and Jack goes by “trail bike”. Trail bikes cover a huge range of travel and riding styles, and within that spectrum, there are sub-categories of these bikes beginning to form. Either way, bikes in this category need to do everything well, we are talking about jumps, riding over rocky terrain, covering a reasonable amount of XC trail, handling well, being lightweight and still getting you to your local coffee meet.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Without further ado, we welcome Husqvarna’s Mountain Cross 6 e-trail bike. The ‘MC6’ flies the flag in Husqvarna’s MC range with its flagship full-carbon framed mullet bike setup and new Shimano EP801 motor that has been heavily angled upwards to position the 720Wh battery as low as possible for a lower centre of gravity. The MC6 has got a few nice touches from Husqvarna like the perforated battery cooling intake at the top of the fork tube marked ‘H’ for Husqvarna, the clever tool-free carbon battery hinged cover and the new hidden away charge port on the seat tube.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The MC6 isn’t your normal trail bike, but rather one that is built to send hard with its sexy 150 mm Kashima-coated FOX Float 36 Factory forks, 150 mm Kashima-coated FOX Float X Factory air shock, NEWMEN Evolution SL wheelset, Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres, Husqvarna Pro dropper post, 50 mm stem and its 4-piston Magura MT5 brakes.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Impressive hardware aside, Husqvarna also use a combination of high-end and durable Shimano and SRAM components. From Shimano, we see the EP801 motor, Shimano FC-EM900 cranks, SW-EN600-L mode switch and Shimano SC-EN600 LCD-Display. SRAM comes to the party with my favourite single-click X01 Eagle shifter, X01 Eagle derailleur, X01 Eagle chain, XG-1275 cassette and X-Sync Eagle 34 T chain ring.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

In SA we don’t have a local Whistler or Queenstown park for some hardcore shredding, but up in Gauteng, my local playground of choice and for the MC6 would be Wolwespruit MTB park. Wolwespruit offers riders the opportunity to do some technical descents, fast forest rhythm sections, black trail jumps and some slower technical trail riding, just perfect for testing out any trail-worthy bicycle.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

At 176 cm I fit perfectly on the medium with a roomy 475 mm reach and a decent 646 mm stack, it’s also great to see plenty of headset spacers for dialling in the bar height. Out on the trail, I pretty much left the MC6 in its ‘Trail’ boost mode as I felt this mode gave us a healthy balance of range and boost. To be honest ‘Boost’ mode just chowed battery like no one’s business and all for what felt like a 10% increase in boost.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

With the MC6’s 23 kgs running nice and low and with an 85 Nm of torque and 250 W on tap, it was just a laughing matter out at “Wolwes”. Lift it up out of the corner and a few pedals in, the front wheel starts to get light and before you know it, you are in the next turn, just effortless. The EP801 motor might not have the same low-down grunt as a Bosch motor, but it delivers its power smoother, which is more natural for a rider coming from a non-e-bike background and when climbing up a rocky section.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Riding with a good mate of mine Doug on the Husqvarna HC4 Enduro, we both agreed and are now massive fans of the mullet setup (29-inch front and 27.5-inch rear). Running the mullet setup makes the MC6 easier to initiate turns, and it doesn’t take much effort to pop up the front wheel. The mullet gives the MC6 quite a lively character without sacrificing its stability.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The ride on the MC6 can be described as smooth with the Fox 36 offering a supple feel and plenty of front-end feel in combination with the trail-focused Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres. The rear Float X shock provided good feedback and allowed me to place the rear wheel exactly where I wanted it each time. At the end of the day after riding at a decent limit I only managed to use 85% of the travel up front with compression dialled slightly higher than standard and around 90% on the rear—that’s with me weighing a good 78 kg fully kitted.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

So, how far can we pedal? Depending on which mode and how you configure it on the E-Tube app, you should be able to ride just over 100 km in Eco (4-5 hour ride), 70 km in Trail and 50 km in Boost mode. These are my figures and everyone will differ depending on terrain and your power output.

Let’s talk price! The MC6 as mentioned is the top of the range Mountain Cross and will set you back around 160k, at this point we are still waiting to hear from Husqvarna whether they will bring in any of their lesser-spec’d MC range (starting from the MC1). Price aside, the MC6 competes with the likes of Specialized’s Levo, Trek’s Rail and the Merida eOne-Sixty. We cannot deny that the MC6 competes with the best of them and we are very excited to see what Husqvarna and possibly even GASGAS have in store for the future in SA.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

For the more aggressive riders who need ample travel and a slacker head angle, Husqvarna does currently bring in the Hard Cross HC4. We are planning on doing a shootout between the two e-bikes to see which Husqvarna makes more sense for the average and more advanced shredder.

For more information on Husqvarna’s range of e-bicycles visit – www.husqvarna-bicycles.com

VR Equipment: From the Track to the Trail

Image source: VR Equipment

There aren’t many people on this planet who haven’t heard the name Valentino Rossi, you could have lived underneath a rock for the past 30 years and for some odd reason you would have still heard of the name or the nickname, “The Doctor.” Most remember him as the seven-time MotoGP world champion. Still, I remember him not only for his amazing talent and aggressive riding style but for his showmanship, the crazy victory celebrations, the epic motorcycle and leather liveries, the mad hairstyles and the unforgettable nail-biting on-track feuds with other riders. I think it’s fair to say that Valentino Rossi started an obsession for many youngsters before and during my generation, an obsession that has led us to watch MotoGP in an almost religious fashion.

Image source: Red Bull

Racing aside, Rossi was more than just a legend on track, but someone who stood out from the crowds, to this very day many think he has shares in the colour “Straw Yellow”. Straw Yellow or Rossi Yellow as fans would call it, formed a big part of Rossi’s image on and off the track. If there were four keywords tied to Valentino Rossi it would be Yamaha, AGV, Dainese and the colour Yellow.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

Rossi and his apparel company VR|46 have been in business for years and since branched out to functional and performance wear under VR Equipment. VR Equipment strays away from fan wear and is a focused collection of MX, MTB, STREET, ACTIVE and VISION wear for those who are active in the arenas of sport. The collection or kit still has a Rossi-inspired design but with no trace of the infamous number “46”.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

With blue and yellow blood flowing through their veins AMP South Africa has taken it upon themselves to extend their family tree with VR Equipment. For this season AMP welcome their new 2024 VR Equipment MTB collection. With AMP’s business manager Doug Farrell being a keen cyclist, we both kitted up in VR Equipment and clipped in on Husqvarna’s latest E-Bikes for a shred session.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

As we pedal out, AMP is currently bringing in two ranges from ‘VR’, of course, we are talking about the performance range and the trail range. The VR kit is heavily inspired by your free ride, trail and enduro style of mountain biking, so the kit isn’t your usual second-skin lycra roadie or cross-country style wear, but rather a more comfortable baggy look.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

The trail kit seen on Doug takes a more minimalistic approach in its colour and design but focuses on quality and functionality, whereas the performance range focuses on breathability and longevity with more durable Nylon material for those riders who treat their gear with less mercy.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

The trail t-shirt receives the full 100% polyester treatment which gets partnered up with a mesh body and moisture-wicking pinhole material, making for a fitted look, premium finish and overall breathable shirt. The front of the shirt goes big with the VR logo with what looks like a cheeky non-branded Dainese look-alike triangle in the ‘V’ of the VR logo.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

Although subtle in its design the fluidity of the yellow wraps around the shirt and the premium finish of the dark grey sleeves branded with the VR Equipment logos just round off the look. The trail ‘T’ does have less breathability than the performance ‘T’, but very minimal as far as we could tell. For the average Joe or all-season rider, the trail is the way to go. The kit is available in two other colours (in an all-black and a half-black half-white) and will cost around the R1,130 mark.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

On the bottoms, we see the trail shorts bring with them a four-way stretch ripstop front and durable saddle. Unlike the trail t-shirt, the shorts drop the high amounts of polyester for a more durable and flexible nylon material. Easy fitting and adjustments can be made with its clever double-sided waist adjusters and storage is sorted after with zip-equipped hand pockets.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

The shorts are comfy but do not come with built-in chamois, so unless you wear your chamois underneath your VR shorts, you will run into possible comfort issues on your ride. Colourwise the trail shorts also come in white and black with pricing at a competitive R2,043—they offer riders design elements that are unique to the VR brand.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

On the head, Doug and I are both wearing the half-face VR MIPS helmet, which comes in a trail helmet-inspired design with its extended peak and lower head protection. Hold up, what is MIPS? MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and is a low-friction layer located between the EPS and inner helmet liner that reduces rotational impact forces. This helps protect your brain from concussion and trauma and on our helmets that’s the yellow stuff that you see.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

This is something that has changed the mountain biking helmet industry as mountain biking opposed to road cycling has way more obstacles which lends itself to more dangerous accidents— the presence of action cameras on riders, such as GoPro’s hero range, has helped provide corroborating evidence and data of real-world crash dynamics. Even with MIPS, Doug and I feel that the air ventilation is still sufficient enough even with the extra padding for our hot southern hemisphere weather.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

Safety attributes aside, the half-face from VR Equipment is a seriously good-looking helmet with slick designs whether you put on the performance or trail design. The helmet is easy to use and adjust, you’ve got the retention system adjuster for adjusting the size at the back of the helmet and a magnetic slide-through chin strap—both of these systems are easy to use with thin and thick gloves. VR have priced the helmets well at just R1,957 which isn’t a lot for that extra bit of safety and they are available in the two above shown colour options.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

On the bars, we are both rocking VR’s Mountain biking closed-finger gloves, which are available in three colour options: black, grey and yellow. Obviously, Doug wasn’t going to settle with a set of grey gloves, especially when he could go for yellow and luckily with the VR kit you can make your own combo, as all the colours work hand in hand.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

The closed-finger gloves are again more trail rider-focused and feature a microfiber leather palm, laser-perforated material, and silicon lever grip, these gloves combine comfort with ultimate functionality. The gloves are thin and the silicon lever grip doesn’t just offer good grip on the levers but also that extra thickness for longevity. The VR Equipment Mountain biking gloves will set you back just under R640.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

Riding with the performance kit you can expect another level of in-your-face yellow, reflective stripes and loads of perforations to keep the rider cool and visible on the trails. This flashy ‘T’ has reinforced and perforated nylon on top of the shoulders in yellow and on the shoulder blades in black to strengthen, vent and give the performance range a sporty design.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

When riding you barely feel like you’re riding with a shirt on, it vents extremely well and looks like it came straight out of “Vale’s” cupboard. You will be looking at a slightly steeper price compared to the trail t-shirt, but as mentioned you get more ventilation and a more in-your-face design at a justified price of R1,434.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

My favourite piece out of the whole kit has to be the performance shorts. The shorts are not only feature heavy with abrasion-resistant fabric, waterproof zipped pockets, laser-perforated air intakes and reflective stripes, but they also have coordinates printed on both sides of the shorts with the location of Rossi’s Motor Ranch in Tavullia, Italy. Isn’t that just epic? You also get an outline graphic of the flat track on the shorts, performance half-face helmet, socks and matching trail black gloves.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

Unlike the trail shorts, the performance shorts only have one quick-release adjuster in the middle of the shorts. Otherwise, the shorts wear as good as they look with a decent amount of ventilation through the perforated holes in the centre of the shorts. Both the performance shirt and shorts are available in full yellow and a darker monster-styled design setting you back R2,433.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

To finish off the look you have the VR Equipment socks made with moisture-wicking materials and a ribbed arch, these socks keep your feet dry and have handled a few weeks of abuse with zero issues. If you like the feel of a compression sock, then you’ll enjoy a set of these. The socks will set you back around R550 depending on what style you end up going for.

Photo credit: Meredith Potgieter / ZA Lifestyle

At the end of the day, we lovers of petrol and nature are happy to see another fuel-powered brand enter the lifestyle market with a big stride in quality. We think VR Equipment offer a great product for a competitive price and for us, petrolhead, having an association with the legend Valentino Rossi is also a good spinoff.

For more information on VR Equipment contact Doug Farrell (Email: [email protected] or Cell: 084 247 0391).

Motul Athletes Among The Favourites For The Red Bull Car Park Drift

Image source: Red Bull

South African motorsport fans can look forward to a day of screeching, smoking tyres as SA’s top drifters gather in Durban for the Red Bull Car Park Drift. As a qualifying event for the World Drifting Championship taking place later this year in Oman, the stakes could not be higher – and the event will feature a stellar line-up of Motul Athletes including two-time winner and current champion, Jim McFarlane from XS Promotions.

McFarlane’s skill at sliding his car, and the flow and style he brought to last year’s event, saw him crowned South African National Champion. It’s a feat that he aims to repeat this year, but he’ll face stiff competition from Andre Leibbrandt and Mikey Skelton (both from Skellywags Drift), Chris Long AKA Some Drift Guy and Eric “The Viking” Van Eyssen.

Image source: Red Bull

In addition to partnering with these top athletes, Motul will once again be the official lubricant partner for the Red Bull Car Park Drift. The event takes place at Durban’s Suncoast Casino on Saturday, 13 April 2024 – and this year, the fan experience will be better than ever. As well as the excitement of watching extreme sliding and control and seeing top local drifters tackle the challenging course, enthusiasts can get even closer to the action by experiencing two Motul-hosted simulations.

Fans can take part in either an authentic drift experience simulation or a hot lap race around the track, complete with a live scoreboard. The Motul Athletes will be challenging their followers on social media to beat their Sims scores, making this the perfect opportunity for aspiring drift drivers to see if they’ve got what it takes to compete at the highest level.

Image source: Red Bull

“I’ll be doing my utmost to defend my ‘King of Drift’ title in Durban and help showcase the passion, tenacity and technical skill that can be found in the South African drifting scene,” commented 2023 winner, Jim McFarlane. “I love the camaraderie amongst the drivers, but all of that will be temporarily put on hold as we compete for the chance to go to Oman for the World Championship,” he added.

Image source: Red Bull

“I may not have made the top step last time out, but I’ll be fighting tooth and nail as I take on the five obstacles in the specially designed course,” promised Mikey Skelton. “Fans can look forward to more sound, more smoke and more exciting sliding than ever before – after all, there’s a great deal at stake,” he added.

“Drifting is one of the fastest growing motorsports in the world, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular,” commented Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa. “The Red Bull Car Park Drift makes a great family day out, and Motul is delighted to be a lead sponsor as part of our mission to make motorsports more inclusive and accessible.”

Image source: Red Bull

For Red Bull Car Park Drift tickets, visit Computicket.

Keep it or Sell it? That is the Question…

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Back in 2017, I bought a one-year-old Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4 4×4. It was a Suzuki SA vehicle that had been used in Ultimate Braaimaster, a cooking competition that was based on contestants travelling to cool destinations around the country and cooking up a storm. The cars which were sponsored by Suzuki SA were then sold through their dealer network. I bought the Vitara from Suzuki Bramley. It has been a great car and I have used it as my holiday vehicle. It has seen Namibia, Lesotho, and Botswana on numerous occasions. Now I am facing a bit of a quandary.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The Vitara is in excellent condition and has been adapted for how I use it. It has fittings for an X-Ramp, enabling me to load a bike behind the vehicle should I need to. It also has airbags fitted inside the rear suspension coils allowing me to compensate for load.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Great for the X-Ramp as well as for when I load the vehicle with all my camping stuff. Years ago, I also fitted Melville and Moon seat covers to protect the seats. They fit like factory seat covers and are superb. I have changed the standard rims for 17 inches, allowing fitment of decent BF Goodrich All-Terrain tyres. Thule roof rails accommodate my OZ Tent as well as Thule roof pod, which takes all my light but bulky items like bedding, groundsheets and the like. The Grand Vitara has accumulated 115,000 k’s of open road kilometres, which is not much, but it is now 8 years old.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Do I keep it or sell it? It meets my needs perfectly and is Suzuki reliable. Upgrading to a current suitable vehicle is going to incur a cost of at least R500,000 in addition to what my vehicle is worth were I to sell it. Ouch!! I have wrestled with this question for a while now and have decided that a paid-for Vitara is way more appealing than the thought of incurring a huge debt to buy a new bling 4×4. So here is the thing. I have decided to go through my Vitara with a fine-tooth comb and freshen it up for years of more faithful service. I have habitually kept my vehicles clean but now I want to deep clean the Vitara. This will also afford me the opportunity to check for issues which may need attention.

Enter Liqui Moly Car Care Products…

My priorities for the first clean were to clean ingrained dirt that escapes normal washing and wiping down, both inside and outside the car. For example, where badges are attached to the body grime accumulates over time. It is no big deal, but it detracts from the overall impression of cleanliness. Similarly, the door rubbers don’t always get cleaned and preserved properly, leading to cracking and hardening, which reduces their efficiency. The two Liqui Moly products that I pressed into service on my first cleaning quest were Super K Cleaner and ‘Gummipflege’ Rubber Care Spray.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Liqui Moly Super K Cleaner is a potent universally applicable cleaner that is suitable for metal surfaces, plastics, and textiles both in and on your vehicle. It comes in a 250mm spray bottle which makes it a doddle to use. You literally spray it on the dirt, give it a moment and then, before it dries, wipe it clean.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

I agitated the badges with a soft paintbrush to allow the Super K to get into every nook and cranny, then I washed it off. Inside the car, I attacked everything that resembled dirt with Super K and a soft cloth. The result was a beautifully clean interior and bling badges, restored to their pristine glory. Oh, and if your gym shoes are looking a bit gungy, Super K will clean them up too. A pleasant citrus aroma lingers to leave everything smelling as good as it looks.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

With the car washed and clean, it was time to take to the door rubbers. They were a little grey and stained after 7 years of wear and tear but still soft and pliable. I sprayed the Gummipflege onto a soft cloth and got stuck in. Every millimetre of door rubber got rubbed up with a liberal application of the good stuff. The result? Restored! Black and glowing with an as new lustre.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

I was so chuffed with the results that I took to the spare wheel on the back of my car and gave that the treatment too. And here is the other thing. It is a special feeling when you lavish attention on something that has served you well, and then stand back and survey your handiwork.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

I am so pleased that I decided to keep Suzi. It is a known entity and now I realise that the products are out there to keep it looking good and functional. Regular applications of Gummipflege will keep the rubbers supple and protected. I can unequivocally endorse these products. Watch out for updates on Project Suzi. She is most definitely a keeper!

For more information on Liqui Moly’s car care products, visit: www.shop.liqui-moly.co.za

Living the ZA Lifestyle life

ZA Lifestyle may be a new and extremely exciting evolution, however it is more of the same for me. Fact is, I’ve always felt an almost magnetic attraction to our wilderness areas. It’s fascinating to see how many of these areas have changed over the years, becoming more accessible and less wild. My first trip to the Okavango Delta in Botswana is a case in point. It was back in the late 1980’s. Ever since reading as a boy, Sir Laurens van der Post’s ‘The Lost World of the Kalahari’, I had a deep longing to travel to this incredible part of Africa.

The Okavango Delta is in the Northeast of Botswana, where seasonal flooding turns it into a veritable Garden of Eden. It spills into the Central Kalahari, bringing respite from the brutal heat for the animals that frequent this wildlife wonderland. The water flowing into the Delta has its origin from the highlands of Angola. By road, it is an 1100k road trip from Pretoria to get to Maun, a large town on the southwestern edge of the Delta. Maun is the springboard to most of the lodges in the Delta.

The view from an aircraft flying over the Okavango Delta in Africa

Botswana was a very different country for travellers in the late ‘80’s. Infrastructure was sparse when compared to today. Fuel stations are now reliable, however, in those days there was no guarantee that fuel stations, such as they were, would have fuel. It was a case of ‘fill up when you can’. I planned a trip to Maun over the Easter long weekend, with a couple of extra days tacked on. My mate Johann shared my wanderlust, so it was early on a Thursday morning that we drove out of Pretoria on our first Botswana adventure. We were driving my tiny Suzuki SJ410 Jeep. It was a yellow soft-top model with a 1000cc four-cylinder motor. With its short wheelbase and solid axle suspension it was not the most comfortable little beast or the fastest. Cruising speed was in the order of 95 kph.

Suzuki’s 4×4 heritage

The plan was to camp, so I had removed the back seats and put a 6” layer of sponge down to cushion the goods we were carrying. The last thing we needed was broken beer or whiskey bottles in our cooler box, not to mention pre-scrambled eggs! Our plan was to make the border at Martin’s Drift, where Johann’s sister lived close by, overnight there and then continue our journey the next day. About 300 k’s from home, I jokingly asked Johann if he had his passport. He looked totally aghast, and it dawned on him that he had omitted to bring it. Well, we did a U-turn, and our short day became a very long day! Just before midnight, after 1000k’s of bouncing in the little Suzy we pulled into his sister’s yard, feeling somewhat second-hand.

The next morning early, we were up and through the border and on the road to Palapye when I realised that I had forgotten to put in fuel after our marathon day. 10 k’s short of Palapye the tiny Suzy stuttered, gasped, and came to a fuelless stop. While Johan curled up in his sleeping bag next to the Suzy I hitch-hiked to town, very kindly picked up by a schoolteacher who also took me back to my stranded beastie with a can of fuel. My first interaction with the locals was thus very positive. With tar roads all the way to Nata, we arrived in the late afternoon, realising we had no chance of making it to Maun which was still 300 k’s away. It was also 300 k’s of a rutted, sandy, and corrugated white calcite track. A far cry from the road that exists today. Even at its potholed in places worst, it is a superhighway compared to back in the ’80s. It was, consequently, incomparably wilder. I had my first experience of Nata Lodge, which in those days was privately owned. It was a wonderfully welcoming place. We sat on a slasto paved area under tall and shady trees and sipped on our first ice-cold St Louis beer. We were properly hot and bothered as the little Suzy had no aircon. Thinking back, it was somehow more real. Africa has always been a sensory overload and in those days, it was even more so.

Nata Lodge in Botswana

We got excited, and if the truth be told a little apprehensive at the prospect of a night of free camping on the Makgadigadi pans. We drove 30 odd k’s from Nata before pulling the Suzuki a few hundred metres off the road and out of sight, before setting up camp. Nobody ventured down that shocking road at night, so it was totally devoid of traffic. I pitched my 3-man First Ascent tent while Johan got a campfire going. What followed was an epic evening under the vast African skies. The sun set onto the dusty pans creating a spectacle of colour as pinks faded to mauve and the angry sun gently softened and kissed the earth goodnight. Unsullied by any light source, the stars hung like jewels in the cloudless sky. We braai’d some chops whilst sipping on still cold beers and Johan introduced me to a method of cooking veggies which I still use on occasion. He produced an old biscuit tin with a tight-fitting lid, tossed in our veggies, added probably a tot of water, then put it adjacent to our coals, turning it from time to time. The result was baked potatoes, butternut and marrows which complimented our chops to a T. Why is it that meals enjoyed in these surroundings generally taste so good?

ZA Lifestyle on the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana

The night sounds compliment and add to the unique atmosphere that is an evening in the African wilderness. At the top of the list of sounds is categorically the roar of a lion telling the world that you are venturing into his Kingdom. We settled onto our blow-up mattresses accompanied by the sound of lions roaring, hoping against hope that our little tent would be foreign to them if they came calling. Sadly, lions are no longer prevalent this far south anymore. We enjoyed a peaceful night occasionally woken by the indistinguishable bush sounds that are such a part of the African bush. It is always a bit of an adrenalin-pumping moment to leave the sanctity of the tent for a call of nature. You carefully scan your surroundings by torchlight before doing your business.

ZA Lifestyle at Night in Botswana

The new day dawned with a soft and cool morning light that also has a way of banishing all elements of apprehension lingering from the night. Today was the day that I would at last get to experience Maun for myself. We packed up and got back onto the calcite track that led to Maun. Kudu, wildebeest, zebra, and giraffe all noted the tiny Suzy’s passing as it scuttled and bounced along. A Tawny eagle sat its perch next to the road until we were almost adjacent before taking flight. Despite the beating that the road was dishing out, we were enthralled by the wildness of it all. This was an Africa that I had read about but never experienced for myself. It took us almost six hours to do the 270 k’s to Maun. The old calcite road entered Maun some way north of the current tar road.

The Maun of today is a very different place from that of the ’80s. The town centre was dominated by the dirt landing strip that was the lifeline of the Delta. Bush pilots would ply their trade, flying visitors and provisions to the remote camps in the Delta. The town itself was a tiny settlement with dusty streets wide enough to allow passage to Cessna’s to taxi from the strip to Riley’s garage, where they would fill up their tanks from the dedicated Avgas pump. Next to the strip was the social centre of Maun, comprising a legendary pub called ‘The Duck Inn’. The beers were always properly cold, and the food was good and reasonably priced. It was run, if my memory serves me, by a German woman named Gaby. It was the spot frequented by all the safari operators and had a notice board where folks would leave messages for travellers in and out of the Delta. It was typical of the ‘make a plan’ attitude of the time before social media destroyed our peace and quiet. The Duck Inn was where you went to wash the calcite dust from your throat and get the lowdown on how Maun worked and what was happening in the Delta.

Riley’s Garage in 1981

The lodges that existed at that time were generally dotted along the banks of the Thamalakane river that runs through Maun, then splits into the Boteti and Nhabe rivers that flow into Lake Ngami and as far southwest as Rakops, adjacent to the Central Kalahari. The amount of water flowing through Maun depends on how good a rain season happened in the Angolan highlands. This water literally takes months to reach the Okavango Delta. We first attempted to set up camp at Audi camp on the west side of the river but were thwarted by the amount of Devil’s thorns scattered everywhere. We eventually gave up and crossed the bridge to Island Safari camp, where we pitched our tent under huge shady trees. We parked the Suzi then arranged for a poler to take us on a two-day trip into the Delta itself, where we would camp on islands at night. We were taken out to Mokoro Island by motorboat, from where we would depart in a dugout canoe called a Mokoro the next day.

At the crack of dawn, we were being poled into the Delta through the channels between the islands. The poler stands on the back of the mokoro and, using a rather flimsy pole with a fork on the end, he punts the mokoro along at a steady speed. We had all our provisions for two days in an army ‘trommel’, as well as our tent and sleeping kit. It was a stark contrast to bouncing along in the Suzy. We glided silently along the channels, past animals not spooked by our progress. Tiny Malachite Kingfishers clung to reeds and Fish Eagles heralded our arrival with their distinctive and haunting calls. In the late afternoon, we found a suitable island on which to set up camp. Our polar would throw out his net while we were pitching our tent, and in no time come back to camp with a catch of sizeable bream.

Sailing in traditional mokoro in The Okavango Delta, Botswana

Cleaned and gutted, we stuffed the fish with tomato, onion, and garlic, wrapped them in tin foil and popped them on the coals. We gave our poler mielie meal which he cooked in his three-legged ‘Mandela microwave’. The sun was all but set when another Mokoro arrived with a rather sunburnt couple and their poler. Turns out it was a British optometrist and his girlfriend roughing it on an African adventure. They hastily put up a tiny tent then, virtually in darkness, took out some freeze-dried hiking meals. By this time our dinner was cooked, and they were almost salivating with hunger. As is the way of travellers in foreign lands we invited them to join us and we had a magnificent evening eating delicious fish and ‘sadza’, washed down with whiskey and swamp water. They were blown away by how chilled we were in the bush. Africa is quite a daunting place for kids who have grown up in London.

The Delta in those days was totally unspoilt, as only the hardiest travellers with appropriate vehicles, ever made it to Maun. In addition, the waters that flooded the Delta annually would remove all signs of human habitation. Climbing out of your tent in the early morning would reveal an absolute wildlife spectacle. Wild animals of every description dotted the islands in abundance. Elephant, buffalo, lechwe (an antelope common to the Delta with splayed hooves for traversing swampy ground) giraffe, kudu, sable, rhino, leopard, lion, and hyena to name a few. Ever present and to be avoided at all costs are hippos and Nile crocodiles. We did several game walks on the islands. Some of the islands are huge. It would take a couple of days to cross them. Our poler would guide us with an axe over his shoulder. I don’t know if that was for our protection or to put us out of our misery if attacked by some beast!

Modern-day Maun at Old Bridge Backpackers

Returning to Maun after two days in the Delta we partied up a storm with some Tuks students who had arrived in the interim. Surrounded by some nubile students, Johann played his guitar, smoked his Texan plain and sang, while we warded off dreaded dehydration with numerous Captain Morgan’s and coke. I am talking ‘proper’ Coke! This was before the world went crazy. Today it would be diet Coke and vaping. The balmy atmosphere in the Delta at Easter time is amazing. Warm days and comfortable nights. It was a reluctant pair that loaded up the Suzy and tackled the long road home. Botswana made an indelible impression on me. It is one of the last places where wild animals still roam largely free. I have subsequently been back many, many times, revelling in introducing friends to this stunning land. I have witnessed Maun grow into a vibrant modern town with all the creature comforts that come with that. It has expanded so much that it is hard to imagine the tiny dusty town of the ’80s. There is even a Woolies in town now!

Despite the ‘modernization’ of Maun, it is still the springboard into the Delta. Sitting at an eatery just down from the airport you hear any number of foreign European languages spoken, interlaced with a smattering of yanks too. What is surprising is how few South Africans visit these natural wonders despite it being on our doorstep, relatively speaking. We certainly have our fair share of challenges living in SA today, however, we also have access to some of the most amazing places on the planet. Take this journey with us as we travel far and wide using all the latest goodies that make ‘roughing it’ a pleasure. We look forward to sharing it all with you.

ZA Lifestyle is Born!

Since ZA Bikers arrived in 2014, the website has established itself as the preeminent motorcycling platform in South Africa, featuring a wide diversity of motorcycling content from some of the best journalists in their respective fields, creating a platform that has gained the trust of the industry for its accuracy, integrity and quality.

Image source: ZA Bikers

There are no points, however, for standing still and resting on your laurels. At ZA Bikers, we’re always looking for ways to improve and add value to both our clients and our readers and we think that our new direction will do just that.

Talking new direction, the culprit that inspired us, came into our lives back in 2022 when our outgoing support vehicle needed an upgrade. Creating decent content for our clients requires transporting camera equipment and the like to some weird and wonderful places. After further research and several test drives, we concluded that the Suzuki Jimny was going to be the best-suited vehicle for our specific requirements.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Coming from the motorcycle world, we didn’t anticipate how big the lifestyle vehicle and aftermarket accessories industry was. Chatting with a few key players, we very quickly got sucked in by their passion for this industry, which led us down a rabbit hole with our Jimny.

An ongoing build project then began, with the likes of; General Tire, Takla Products, Des Sol, Jimny Wild, Alu-Cab, 4×4 Megaworld and Liqui Moly all falling part of this project. We recorded our build progress in our Jimny blog, here.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Before we knew it, Suzuki Auto SA announced their Jimny Gathering event in Clarens, which we attended as Suzuki’s media guests.

We were not only blown away by how many Jimny’s attended this event (approximately 1000), but, by how many of these vehicles were heavily customised. The camaraderie within the Jimny faithful is not too dissimilar to the biking fraternity in that there’s a feeling of unity. An example of this is that you flash your lights whenever another Jimny passes you in the street, as bikers do with the nodding of their helmets.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

What has been an eye-opener for us, is how our Jimny content has been well-received with our ZA Bikers audience, this led us to understand that people who ride motorcycles tend to have a lot in common. They love the outdoors, getting out and about, and with the popularity of adventure motorcycles, enjoy camping. Many seem to own 4x4s too—this is when we realised there was a gap in the market.

Enter ZA Lifestyle (www.zalifestyle.co.za).

So, ZA Lifestyle is more an evolution than a revolution. We want to keep our content stimulating and relevant. In addition to your regular biking fix on ZA Bikers, we will keep you informed on other aspects of the outdoor lifestyle that we enjoy, in this beautiful country of ours.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Expect to read about ‘Lifestyle Vehicles’, plus all the necessary mounting ‘Accessories’ to transport your recreational two wheels out into the wilderness.

Our ‘Gear & Products’ section will be focusing on camping & outdoor gear, maintenance & care products for your lifestyle vehicles and bikes, plus we will be featuring content on the devices we use to capture those moments.

Finally, as lovers of anything with two wheels, we’ve decided to start featuring the growing industry of ‘E-bicycles’.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

As always, we will create original content rather than regurgitate what others have put out there. If we tell you about it, it is because we have tried it and experienced it ourselves.

How to find ZA Lifestyle? It’s simple, all of our social media platforms (Facebook/Instagram) are fully integrated. You don’t even need to type in a new web address: ZA Lifestyle is accessible from the ZA Bikers platform (and vice versa). Alternatively, go directly here (www.zalifestyle.co.za).

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

We hope you’ll enjoy our new direction. If you have any suggestions for content or businesses and products you really think we should feature on the website, we’d be really happy to hear from you…

Introducing Motul Bike Care for Peak Performance: Gear up, South African Cyclists!

Image source: Motul

For over 170 years, owners of powered vehicles have enjoyed the benefits of using Motul’s innovative range of premium automotive and motorcycle fluids and lubricants. With the introduction of the new Motul Bike Care range, cyclists can now enjoy the same performance advantages.

Well-known South African distributor of high-quality bicycle brands, Rush Sports, has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Motul which means the full Motul Bike Care range will be available in leading bicycle stores across South Africa, from the end of March 2024.

Image source: Motul

The comprehensive eight-product range has been formulated to meet the needs of road and MTB cyclists, electric bicycles as well as professional bicycle workshops. The full Motul Bike Care range covers every major component in all riding conditions, and comprises of:

  • Motul Frame Clean
  • Motul Dry Clean
  • Motul Chain Clean
  • Motul Brake Clean
  • Motul Chain Lube Dry
  • Motul Chain Lube Wet
  • Motul EZ Lube
  • Motul Tubeless Tire Sealant

The launch of Motul Bike Care is entirely aligned with Motul’s commitment to sustainability, as encapsulated in their new tagline: PRESERVING OUR PLAYGROUND. Motul is delivering on this promise by making sustainable cycling products more widely available.

Image source: Motul

Each product in the Motul Bike Care range has been engineered to be safe to use, and kinder to our planet. The biodegradable formulas achieve exceptional results without the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as aerosols, solvents, silicones and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

In addition, the packaging for each Motul Bike Care product is made from 100% recycled (and recyclable) materials, further reducing the impact on the environment. These sustainable packaging materials have also been rolled out across the rest of the Motul product offering.

Image source: Motul

In short, Motul is as serious about improving every ride (whether competitive or just for fun) as they are about enhancing every drive!

“Motul and Rush Sports are perfectly matched in terms of their culture and values, with a shared focus on delivering real performance through technical expertise and exceptional products, whilst protecting the environment,” commented Andre van Aarde, Founder and COO of Rush Sports. “I’m excited to introduce South African cyclists to Motul Bike Care products and to help them find solutions to the challenges they face,” he added.
“We’re delighted to welcome cyclists into the Motul family by launching Motul Bike Care,” commented Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa. “Together with our friends at Rush Sports, we look forward to sharing our expertise and outstanding products with riders in South Africa – a country that was made for cycling,” she added.

Image source: Motul

To find your nearest Motul Bike Care stockist, visit the Rush Sports website. For more information about Motul’s full product range, visit the Motul ZA website.

Bass Lake Boogying! With Our Suzuki Jimny!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

If, like me, you didn’t get to go away for a holiday over the Christmas season for whatever reason, you sometimes find yourself looking for a suitable spot within easy reach of Jozi to chill for a day. Kids do not take kindly to chilling around the house. Even their electronic devices cannot save them from terminal boredom. After doing some online research to come up with an appealing spot for a day out, Bass Lake Adventures became our spot of choice.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Bass Lake Adventures is at Henly on Klip, a mere 50 km from Jo’Burg. Whilst it is well known to the Scuba Diving fraternity, where many a diver has done open water training, it has also, in recent years, become popular as a picnic venue, camp spot, 4×4 training facility, and hiking venue. We packed the Jimny, bundled the kids into our vehicles and drove to Bass Lake for the day. The weather report looked favourable so a good day in the great outdoors was in the offing.

We parked the Jimny literally at the water’s edge and set up camp. Our Alu-Cab LT-50 rooftop tent was a great changing room to get into cozzies, and in no time the kids were frolicking in the water. We hired a small boat, and much fun was had by all, paddling around the lake. Again, the rooftop tent was such a pleasure! It gave us a comfortable vantage point, out of the sun, from which we could keep an eye on the kids.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The LT-50 rooftop tent is extremely lightweight, weighing a mere 50kg, which includes the mattress. Opening the tent is so simple, all you need to do is open the latches and push upwards, the gas struts then lift the tent into position. Closing the tent is ‘basically’ the same process just in reverse, you simply pull on the grab handle/rope, close it and then lock it.

This is the first time I am using the tent in a day trip environment, and I must say that being able to open/close it in seconds turns our already very versatile Jimny into an incredible go-anywhere family fun vehicle—it is now just so rigged for fun!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The Alu-Cab LT-50 rooftop tent is perfect for a daytime snooze spot away from crawling insects and offering respite from the sun.

Lunchtime quickly arrived, so it was time to use another very cool item fitted to our Jimny, enter Alu-Cab’s Rear Door Dropdown Table. With the door open you have a work surface conveniently located and at an ideal height, with an additional slide-out chopping board, making sandwiches outdoors has never been so simple—a great addition to our ultimate micro-overlanding beastie!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

After lunch, we cleaned up all our mess and threw it away into our Alu-Cab Spare Wheel Bag which is conveniently mounted at the rear of the vehicle onto the spare wheel with straps.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Our cans were crushed down in size using Alu-Cab’s Can Crusher, which is also mounted on the spare wheel. Very simple little add-ons, but very useful when out camping/picnicking.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The beauty of all these features is that they are so easy to set up. They don’t roll around in the vehicle during transit and set up in seconds. It helps with the planning too. They are part of the vehicle, so you don’t get to your picnic or campsite to discover that you forgot your table or umbrella.

Whilst chilling up in my day bed, it got me thinking, watching the kids having such fun swimming, snorkelling and paddling, that the reason kids spend so much time on their phones and other devices, is because they don’t get out into nature enough. Allow them to have some good old-fashioned family fun time and they are all in.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Our Jimny once again proved what an amazing little vehicle it is. It runs me around Parkhurst and its surrounds, impervious to gnarly roads and potholes, it doubles up as a practical workhorse for ZA Bikers when out in the field creating content.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

And then, with a few thoughtful add-ons, becomes the perfect family picnic partner. It is incredible how versatile the Suzuki Jimny ‘actually’ is!

After a long day of fun in the sun, it was a pleasantly weary yet happy family that drove back to the big smoke after an idyllic day in the fresh air.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

For more information on Suzuki’s very versatile Jimny, visit: www.suzukiauto.co.za

Husqvarna Hard Cross HC4 Enduro and Light Cross LC2 E-bikes–A Fine Formula For Fitness and Fun!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room right off the bat. Most of us who have ridden bicycles, and particularly mountain bikes over the years, are kind of dyed-in-the-wool types. Somehow the idea of an E-bike is like cheating. South Africans have this hardcore “no pain no gain” mindset. We believe that our sport has got to beat the hell out of us, otherwise, it kinda doesn’t count.

The truth is it is sometimes difficult to put in the amount of consistent training effort to maintain a level of fitness to enjoy our cycling. Juggling family, career and other commitments often leaves us struggling to find time for our leisure activities. The activities that are supposed to chill us out end up becoming an additional source of stress. This has been my own experience. Could E-bikes provide a solution to this dilemma? We collected a couple of Husqvarna E-bikes from Sven Voigt at PIERER New Mobility SA to try and come up with some answers.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Bjorn was going to ride a medium framed Husqvarna Hard Cross HC4, an enduro spec E-bike weapon that is built and specced to conquer serious mountains and technical terrain. It sports a ‘mullet’ design, the phrase coined for a 29” front wheel and a 27,5” rear wheel. The 29” front rolls over obstacles whilst the 27,5” is more responsive to pedal input, giving a more agile and dynamic ride. The Hard Cross is a beast, sporting 180mm of front wheel travel and 170mm on the rear. The ride is so supple and plush that it absolutely annihilates trail irregularities uncannily.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

E-bikes carry their weight low and have a longer wheelbase than conventional mountain bikes. As a result, they are incredibly stable, even when descending the gnarliest slopes. Both bikes have dropper posts as standard.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Top-level mountain bikers become mobile chicanes for the hard-charging Hard Cross. The first thing that blows your mind is this amazing suspension action. And then of course there is the electric motor. The Shimano EP801 motor churns out 250W of power and 85Nm of hill-flattening torque.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The bike offers three power modes. Eco gives a constant pedal assist, making pedalling just that bit easier everywhere, also negating the 25kg weight of the bike. Hit a hill and a touch on the mode up button on the left handlebar pops you into Trail (medium) mode. It feels like you just got a shove from behind. The torque overcomes the slope with ease. Here is the thing though. E-bikes thrive on maintaining a good pedalling cadence, so you need to ride it like you would your conventional bike.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

If you have never ridden an e-bike, the electric motor assist brings a level of fun to your mountain biking that you cannot imagine—giving you an extra boost each time you pedal/shift through the gears.

Even if you are properly fit with your best race face on, you cannot match the shove of 85Nm of Shimano motor power. Bjorn is a real free-ride purist, so he was revelling in the adrenalin-inducing performance of the Hard Cross. When he wasn’t on the back wheel he was descending at fiendish speed or attacking every ascent with gusto. The third mode is ‘Boost’ which gives full power. Engaging boost had Bjorn cackling like a banshee.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

I was on the large framed Light Cross LC2, which shares the Hard Cross’s mullet wheel sizes but has a way more conservative 120mm of wheel travel at both ends. Having said that, I never felt I needed more. Designed for less gnarly terrain, the Light Cross made mincemeat of everything I threw at it. Loose, rocky inclines that would have had me spitting blood on my carbon-framed Giant Anthem full susser, were smashed at warp speed on the Light Cross. Don’t for a moment think that you don’t get a workout though. I found myself maintaining a healthy cadence but never having to stomp the pedals with knee-shredding effort. It essentially ups the fun and reduces the pain whilst giving you a fantastic cardiovascular workout.

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Bjorn and I rode for 40km on an outride through the plots in a very hilly area east of Pretoria. We probably had another 40km of power left ‘in the tank’. We had an absolute blast. I am not bike-fit at the moment, yet the electric motor assistance allowed me to enjoy the ride without compromise. This means I could ride with my tri-athlete son on his mountain bike training rides and stay in touch. Similarly, wives can ride with husbands and pace them up the hills and have them time trialling in their wake on the flats.

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The thought of what I must go through to get to a level of fitness to enjoy my mountain biking has had me hesitating to get back on my bike. An E-bike would completely negate that issue. I would be on it at every opportunity, getting fit while I have fun. Bjorn on the other hand is reasonably fit, yet he too conceded that he had enjoyed the Hard Cross in a way that is just not possible on a conventional bicycle. We stopped for a coffee at a roadside spot and found ourselves talking about where we could ride these bikes with fresh levels of enjoyment. They really are that addictive.

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To enjoy motorcycling to the full you need to maintain a degree of physical fitness. These E-bikes are just the ticket to attain that fitness. The hardcore and supremely capable Hard Cross will set you back R129,999, which gets you a bike with an extremely high level of specification. The Light Cross is maybe the better choice for people like me who cannot even come close to exploiting what the Hard Cross offers.

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The Light Cross costs R89,999, which gives you an extremely capable bike, albeit at a lower spec level. Both bikes performed flawlessly throughout our ride. Shifts were precise and accurate; handling was brilliant and suspension action was better than you could ever expect. I am sold! The first prize is when your fitness regime is no effort at all, and you can’t wait to do it. That sums up what these bikes are about.

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If you peruse the spec sheets you will see that the Hard Cross has top-quality components that contribute to and justify the significantly higher price. The Shimano motor and battery also give an enhanced range over the Light Cross. You must decide if your riding ability and preferences can justify the higher spec.

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The Light Cross is all the bike that I need, but watching Bjorn on the Hard Cross made me realise why some would consider the higher-spec essential. Both these bikes are European spec which legislatively governs their maximum assisted speed to 25km/h, however future US spec bikes will set the speed at around 32km/h. For us it was a case of “no sweat, we’ll catch you on the uphills”.

For more information visit: www.husqvarna-bicycles.com

XRAMP – The Thinking Man’s Bike Hauling Solution

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Over the years I have owned a number of trailers with which to haul bikes. Sometimes it was taking dirt bikes to the trailhead, or maybe taking a bike with me on holiday. At this stage of my life, I found that the benefits of having a trailer were being outweighed by the hassle of a trailer.

The last trailer I owned was a one-bike trailer which could be stored on its end. It ‘broke’ at the neck and could then be stood up. This was a nice feature, as it partly solved one of the main hassles that I refer to, and that is where do you store the trailer that you only use a few times a year? Even when folded, this trailer took up significant room in my already crowded garage. It also necessitated moving my garage around when I did want to put it to use, as it was logically put at the back of the garage where it would not impede access to other things (usually bikes) in my garage. So, by and large, it stood outside my townhouse, a constant source of irritation to my wife.

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Then I learned of XRAMP. To understand how an XRAMP works, it is easiest to just look at the pictures. In essence, it is a ramp which slides into two bespoke mounting brackets bolted to the chassis of your vehicle, not the towbar as some people tend to think. The XRAMP has a mounting ramp as part which allows you to roll the bike onto the carrying ramp which then positions your bike parallel to the back and in the slipstream of your vehicle. Four anchor points as well as recesses for the wheels in the carrying ramp keep the bike securely in position. The bike rides far enough behind the vehicle for there not to be issues with handlebars or other bike hardware clearing the back of the vehicle.

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The XRAMP probably works best on load-bearing vehicles like single and double-cab bakkies or vans. I drive a Suzuki Grand Vitara 4×4 2.4, the last of the Vitara’s to be equipped with a low-range transfer case. It is a medium-sized vehicle with permanent 4-wheel drive. It is ideal for what I want from a 4×4.

The problem from an XRAMP perspective is that the car has coil spring-independent suspension all around. After fitting the XRAMP I found that the weight of my bike behind the Vitara caused too much sag in the rear ride height of my vehicle. In truth, it has been an issue when loading my car with all my camping gear as well.

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My problem was solved by fitting Firestone air assist ‘springs’ at the back. These are heavy-duty airbags which fit inside the rear coil springs. There are valves which allow you to pump them up to maintain rear-ride height when carrying a load. Perfect for my XRAMP too. Bakkies, obviously don’t have any issues and ride better with a bit of a load to temper what can be overly hard rear suspension.

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I have now used my XRAMP several times and find it a pleasure. I load my bikes single-handedly without hassle and find it makes life much simpler than a trailer. I now also only have 4 wheels to worry about as opposed to those on a trailer as well. I am an XRAMP convert.

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Your XRAMP also comes with a wall mount which allows you to store it in your garage without taking up useable space. So, if you need to solve your bike-hauling issues, take a serious look at XRAMP. There are some interesting developments in the pipeline at XRAMP allowing you to adapt your XRAMP for hauling bicycles as well.

If you think that an XRAMP could just be the answer to your problems, give Marthin MacKillican at XRAMP a ring at 0794496002. He is more than qualified to help. An XRAMP like mine will set you back R6950 (excluding delivery & fitment).

For more information visit: www.xramp.co.za

Turning our Suzuki Jimny into the Ultimate Micro Overlander with Alu-Cab’s LT-50 Lightweight Roof-Top Tent

Creating decent content for our clients requires transporting camera equipment and the like to some weird and wonderful places, as some of you may already know, we bought a Suzuki Jimny late last year as a backup vehicle for doing such a job.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

We’ve told you about several upgrades that we’ve done to our Jimny to fine-tune the vehicle to suit our requirements in our ongoing blog.

Next up in our build project was turning our Jimny into the Ultimate Micro Overlander.

We’ve been researching for a while now several roof-top tent options that are available for the Jimny, personally, I like the clamshell roof-top tent design as they are so simple and easy to use. Unfortunately, at the time of purchasing our Jimny, these types of tents were all generally too heavy for a Jimny as they had been designed for much bigger 4×4 vehicles.

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So we were stoked to hear that the Cape Town-based and internationally renowned 4×4 accessory company Alu-Cab had launched a ‘light-weight’ version of their clamshell design roof-top tent which they specifically developed around the Suzuki Jinmy.

Enter Alu-Cab’s LT-50 Lightweight Roof-Top Tent

Storage & Fitment:

Okay, so before we dive into the features/specifications of the roof-top tent, I first want to discuss the fitment and storage aspect of owning an LT-50.

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First up, we’ve fitted Alu-Cab’s LT-50 Wall Mount in the garage at our offices. This is a very cleverly designed mounting system made up of 3 main parts; there’s a set of hinged brackets mounted at ground level that keeps the LT-50 off the floor, what I like about the design of this bracket system is that you can kick the brackets out (one side at a time) which enables a single person to lower the LT-50 onto the floor without needing any assistance from a second person.

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There’s a padded base plate mounted higher up on the wall with a strap running through the back which holds the LT-50 snuggly in place—it takes minimal space in the garage when stored.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Talking more about single-person fitment, for me ‘personally’ I wanted to be able to fit the LT-50 on/off my Jimny without needing any help. So I made a simple pulley system so that I could lift the LT-50 into the air, drive my Jimny underneath and then lower it down into position (please note: that a pulley system is not totally necessary; if you have an extra set of hands then lifting the tent onto your load bars or roof rack would be straightforward).

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Finally, we opted to mount our LT-50 onto a set of Alu-Cab’s Load Bars using their Load Bar Mounting Kit, the kit is made up of 8 brackets (4 that mount underneath the LT-50 onto the side channel of the bars, and 4 that mount from the sides of the LT-50 onto the top of the bars), the load bars have gutter mount feet which then fit onto the Jimny’s roof gutter system. What we do is keep the load bars mounted to the tent all of the time (because we have a secondary roof rack system), so that when we remove the tent from our Jimny we just loosen the gutter feet mounts, lift the LT-50 in the air, and then drive our car out from underneath.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Alu-Cab tells us that they are developing a quick-release system which will work with various roof rack systems, as soon as these are available, we will test them out on both our rack systems and give you our feedback…

Out in the Field:

We headed out recently to the Magaliesburg region on a mini-weekend adventure to test ride Husqvarna’s Norden 901 Expedition. This was a perfect opportunity for me to properly test out our new LT-50 Roof-Top Tent from Alu-Cab.

So let’s now dive into the specs…

The LT-50 weighs in at only 50kg (including the mattress) which is ideal for small vehicles such as the Jimny—where weight really matters.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

It is made from a lightweight hard-shell aluminium construction, which can carry additional gear of up to 30kgs. There are mounting channels on the sides of the LT-50 where you can fix an 8mm eyebolt so that you can strap down your gear; we’ve opted for the additional Roof Molle Plate which increases the loading capacity to 50kgs, you can then mount and fix your gear directly onto the Molle Plate.

The LT-50 has a streamlined aerodynamic profile, which is wind-resistant thanks to its single-sided opening. I’ve tested this driving to and from the Jimny Gathering in Clarens and I can tell you that there is minimal wind noise and drag.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Opening/closing the tent is the real party trick of the LT-50, it is so simple to do; I’ve even demonstrated this act with intrigued fuel attendants when filling up at a gas station, to which their eyes lit up in amazement. You simply open the latches and push upwards, and then the stainless steel 316 marine-grade gas struts take care of the rest.

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Voila! your tent is erected; your mattress is a permanent fixture, so all you really need to do to finish the set-up is to attach the Telescopic Ladder (optional extra) take in your pillow and blanket and you’re set up for the night—it’s that simple.

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Closing down the LT-50 is a doddle, all you need to do is pull on the extended rope handle and then close it and lock it—it doesn’t get much easier than that.

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Once opened, there are 3 points of access, at the front and on both sides. There’s a double zip mechanism so if everything is zipped up then it’s pitch black inside, if you zip down the inner zip then there’s a midge-proof mesh screen which gives plenty of ventilation for those hot South African summer nights. On the nights that I’ve slept in the tent, I’ve zipped the top down on both sides ever so slightly, revealing a bit of the mesh, which gave me enough ventilation and also it wasn’t too dark.

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The fabric is a dual-layer 280gsm UV-resistant ripstop canvas. We’ve fitted the Rain Cover (optional extra) to our LT-50 which fastens with velcro at the top and then extends out with provided poles, giving you extra protection in the event of rainy weather. On the nights that I’ve slept in the tent it has been dry so I am not able to comment on this aspect.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Comfort-wise, the top and bottom of the cabin are insulated, then there’s a 60mm high-density foam mattress with a zip-off cover. I do not come from a hard-core camping background (I like my comforts in life), so for me personally, sleeping in the LT-50 was more of a glamping experience, I found it to be very cosy and I slept well in the tent.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

I liked the fact that whilst out during the day on an adventure, I wasn’t stressing about where I was going to sleep that night, as I knew I had a home-away-from-home sitting on top of my Jimny. So I could enjoy the adventure with the peace of mind of having one less thing to worry about—that’s flipping cool if you ask me.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Other things to mention, we have also fitted to our Jimny a few other accessories from Alu-Cab. First up is the Exterior Molle Plate that we’ve mounted a set of 5L Jerry Cans onto (Alu-Cab has a Jerry Can Mounting Kit available for this).

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

This was particularly useful for topping up the Husqvarna with fuel when out in the field. Obviously with the Jimny not having a big fuel range, when on an extended trip, carrying an extra 10L of fuel along gives you peace of mind, especially when out in some remote areas (like Botswana for example).

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

We’ve also fitted to the inside rear door of our Jimny, Alu-Cab’s Rear Door Dropdown Table, this is so useful when camping, it even has a pull-out wooden chopping table that I’ve been using mainly for boiling a kettle in the mornings to make a cup of coffee. A very practical addition for Jimny camping enthusiasts. 10 out of 10 from me.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Last up is Alu-Cab’s Spotlight Bracket, we’ve fitted these along with a set of spotlights that turn on/off using a button located underneath the steering column. It is one of those items that you didn’t realise you needed until you had them fitted. I tested them when leaving the Suzuki Jimny Gathering at 05:00 in the morning, the camp we were staying at was just outside of Clarens, and was several kays from the main road, so it was very dark. Once the lights were switched on they lit up my pathway giving me excellent visibility, so much more so than the standard lights on the Jimny. Very impressive indeed!

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Overall we are very happy with our Alu-Cab additions that we have fitted to our Jimny and we look forward to many adventures ahead with our new Micro Overlanding Machine.

See below for further information…

Dimensions & Weight:

Overall Dimensions: (L x W): 2258 x 1261mm
Height Roof Closed: 172mm
Roof Open: 1155mm

Tent Weight: 46kg
Mattress: 4.55kg

Mattress Dimensions: (L x W): 2070 x 1085mm Depth: 60mm

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Pricing + Available Accessories:

For further information about Alu-Cab visit: www.alu-cab.com

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Liqui Moly Pro-Line PTFE Powder Spray

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One advantage of living in the times that we do is being able to get bespoke products that address very specific needs. Liqui Moly’s Pro-Line PTFE Powder Spray is just such a product. I own a Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4 4×4. The car has independent suspension with coil springs at the rear. Now here is the thing. It provides a very comfortable ride both on-road and off, however, if I load the car for an extended road trip, or use my X-Ramp bike carry system, it tends to be too soft in the rear and sags the back of the car like a smacked puppy. This compromises ride quality and safety. I had a similar issue with my Jimny, so I knew how to fix it, but this is where I encountered another irritating problem. Let me explain…

Firestone manufactures what they call Coil-Rite Air Helper Spring Kits. It comprises two bespoke cylindrical airbags made from a very tough rubber that fit inside the rear coil springs. They have valves akin to a car tyre which allows you to pump them up to restore your vehicle’s ride height when loaded. They work brilliantly. Air is perfectly progressive, so as the bags compress, they get stiffer, resisting sag.

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So, what is the problem you may ask? The squeak, that’s what!! To prevent the bags from pinching it is recommended that you always run some pressure in the bags which is cool as the ride quality and control is superb. The negative is that the rubber bags rub against the inside of the encasing spring. As the springs compress and extend it gets a real squeak going which between here and Botswana would have me off my rocker. Typical lubes work for a while but are magnets for dust. In no time the dust removes the lube, and you are back to square one.

Luckily, we are connected with people in the general lube business, so I asked Liqui Moly’s Boss lady Melicia what I could use to keep my sanity and solve my squeak issue. PTFE she responded. Tell me more…Liqui Moly Pro-Line PTFE Powder Spray is made for exactly this kind of application. With elements based on Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene (try saying that after a few), it is a dry lube that does not attract dust or dirt and provides long-lasting squeak, creak, and stiffness protection whilst minimising wear. It operates through a very wide temperature spectrum, so it is as effective in Antarctica as in the Sahara. Well, that’s the theory anyway, but how well does it work in practice?

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

We went off to Botswana for a few days of R&R with some mates. The trusty Suzy was the obvious car of choice, but we would be traversing the pans and dirt roads which would put any lube to the test. I sprayed the coils and bags with PTFE Powder Spray before we left, a task made easy by the clever nozzle system which easily allows you to access areas needing attention. Peace!! Gone was the dreaded squeak. I was now intrigued to see how well the application would last given the rigorous conditions that it would be exposed to. I packed the powder spray in the boot just in case I would need to re-apply the spray during the trip.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

I need not have bothered. We drove to and from Botswana, dirt to our first-night stopover at Woodlands Campsite, traversed the pans twice and did our customary visit to Elephant Sands without a single squeak. What a pleasure! As with every single product by Liqui Moly that I have tried, it more than delivered on my expectations. You can’t ask for more than that. Available online from Liqui Moly the PTFE Spray will set you back around R192,88 for a 400ml can. Sanity never came this cheap!!

Having learnt how effective the PTFE Powder Spray is, I used it on various areas on my bikes. I applied a coating on all the surfaces where rubbing typically takes place. For example, where the seat rubs against the tank, as well as the seat rubbers on the frame. Although these are places that you don’t see, I like the peace of mind of knowing that those areas are protected. Happy bike happy life. Another top-class product from Liqui Moly.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

 

Suzuki Jimny Gathering 2023

We attended the inaugural Suzuki Jimny Gathering event in Clarens on the weekend of the 22-25th of September 2023, watch our highlights video to see how it all went down…

Suzuki Jimny Gathering 2023: The Countdown Has Begun…

The weekend of the 22nd to the 24th of September will see the biggest gathering of Suzuki Jimny’s that the southern hemisphere, and possibly the world has ever witnessed.

We at ZA Bikers are super excited to be taking our Jimny along.

Make sure that you look for the ZA Bikers Jimny and pull in for a chat.

We are super excited to see you all.

Our Jimny Journey Continues: Bumping into Guy from Jimny Wild

When we purchased our Jimny as a content creation backup vehicle, we never understood what an amazing journey we had embarked on.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

As bikers, we totally get people who are passionate about their rides. What we didn’t quite appreciate was that some cars elicit the same response from their owners. The Suzuki Jimny has attained cult car status in South Africa and elsewhere in the world. When we saw the response to our Jimny story both locally and internationally, it prompted us to start our ZA Lifestyle platform. It was clear to us that bikers enjoy wide open spaces, camping and adventure. The dirt bike boys invariably need to get their bikes to the ‘trailhead’, as the Yanks put it. Bakkies or vans then come into the equation.  

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

ZA Bikers operates primarily out of Parkhurst in the Big Smoke. Yeah, we know the world is our beat, but even bikers need a base to operate from. Since owning the Jimny we tend to pay extra attention to other Jimnys. This is how we met Guy from Jimny Wild. Guy also lives in Parkhurst so little wonder that we regularly saw his pimped Jimny cruising the ‘burb. We hooked up with Guy to chat all things Jimny over a coffee.

When his wife Jemma (@jemmawildsafaristyled) got given a Jimny to do promo content creation for Suzuki SA, he too fell under the spell of this amazingly capable little 4×4.

Photo credit: @jemmawildsafaristyled

When the time came to give Zazu back to Suzuki (Yes, they named the little Suzy), they found that they couldn’t bear the thought of doing life without Zazu, so a deal was made. Guy started thinking about how he could improve on an already good package. He started sourcing goodies for his Jimny and found that other Jimny owners wanted what he had. He saw a business opportunity and as a result, Jimny Wild was born.

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“My first small consignment created quite a stir on the Jimny social media groups, before I knew it, I was ordering again. I knew that I was onto something. With the help of my very creative and artistic wife Jemma, the Jimny Wild brand was created and the first dedicated aftermarket Jimny accessories online store in South Africa was born.

“From that point forward, I was constantly looking for new products that I could offer to the Jimny community to make their vehicles that much more enjoyable. My Jimny became a mobile showroom and a place for me to install and test all the new products I was importing, to ensure that they performed the way that I advertised.

Photo credit: @jemmawildsafaristyled

“It is very satisfying hearing how every customer is on their own journey with their Jimny and how they want to make it an extension of their own personality.

“From mall crawlers, and overlanders to extreme 4×4 enthusiasts who push their Jimnys to the limits, there are many different aftermarket parts that can be installed and I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to style your own Jimny”, said Guy (Jimny Wild).

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

After researching Jimny Wild’s online shop, and seeing some very interesting products on display, we placed a few orders there and then.

First up, we got a fiendishly clever adjustable armrest that fits into the drink’s holder between the front seats. With the lid down, it functions as an armrest.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Open it up and you still have a place for drinks but also, you can wire up a multiple-socket USB port, which is neatly located inside the armrest.

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Additionally, there is a compartment to store your phone, out of sight to passers-by. It is one of those things that makes you wonder why such a thing didn’t come standard. Should you want to keep it closed as an armrest, you’ll need alternative drink holders.

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Jimny Wild have a solution for that too, with a drinks holder that attaches to existing Allen Key screw mounting points on the dash (available for both driver and passenger side), no drilling is required, and your drinks are now conveniently within reach.

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The final piece of kit that we got from Guy has no function whatsoever but just looks off-the-charts cool. It is a bespoke aftermarket grill with a Suzuki logo in funky cursive writing, which reminds me of the grill that Ford used years ago on their Bronco. Fine-tuning the function and form of our Jimny is just plain fun.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

We wanted to get these parts fitted before the Jimny Gathering in Clarens (from the 22nd to the 24th of September) so that we can enjoy the new practical additions during our road trip to and from Clarens.

It seems that everyone with a Jimny and those that cater to Jimny owner’s needs, are going to be there. Guy and Zazu will be there too, so if you want to see what Guy has to offer, then visit – www.jimnywild.co.za

Photo credit: @jemmawildsafaristyled

Editor’s Note:
You can buy your official Jimny Gathering spare wheel covers from Jimny Wild HERE.

We will be there showcasing some never-before-seen Jimny goodies from Alu-Cab, and also some very interesting products from General Tires and Liqui Moly. So, if you are in Clarens over that weekend, then be sure to come and chat with us and check out our awesome little beasty—we look forward to meeting many more Jimny fanatics like us. 😁

See you guys there!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

A year with our Jimny

We’ve had our Jimny now for almost 1 year and during this time, it has fulfilled its role as a go-anywhere backup vehicle. With a few key upgrades, we’ve taken this already very capable off-roader to a completely different level…

Bajaj Qute: A motorcycle in disguise?

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

When I first saw the Bajaj Qute, I knew I had to give it a try. After all, I had to figure out whether it is classed as a car with a motorcycle engine, or a motorcycle wrapped up in an enclosed body, masquerading as a car. As it turns out, it is classified as a quadricycle, whatever that may be. Still, when the opportunity was presented to me to drive it, I gratefully accepted!

The body of the Qute is a mixture of plastics and metal and it measures only 2752 mm long and 1312 mm wide. It has four doors with sliding windows, and even a roof rack to carry luggage. Like a Porsche, the engine sits at the back and in the front, you have quite a spacious, lockable cavity.

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The performance, however, is nothing like the car from Stuttgart. The engine is only 216 cc, providing a modest 11-ish hp. It is probably sourced from Bajaj’s motorcycle engine parts bin and is therefore mated to a 5-speed sequential gearbox. It has all the mod-cons of a car: lights, indicators and even a windscreen wiper (yes, singular). I had a good chuckle at the stalk that you use to activate the wiper. It has two settings: on and off. There is no variable speed or even an intermittent mode. It either rains or it doesn’t. The severity of the downpour is irrelevant!

There is no getting over the diminutive size of the Qute, but looks can be deceiving. The interior is actually remarkably spacious and cleverly thought out. You can pack quite a lot of luggage in this car, but you will have to scatter it around the cabin a bit. Obviously, the front boot can hold a small suitcase and a few loose items.

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You also have storage under the two front seats for your valuables, as that will hide them from view. The rear seat can fold forward in a 60:40 split, which will reveal a limited amount of space behind the seat. There is also a fire extinguisher back there, which is probably there because of some Indian by-law. As a last resort, whatever does not fit in the car can go on top of the sturdy roof rack.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The rear passengers will have nothing to complain about. I am 6 foot 1, and I can comfortably sit in the back with more than enough head and leg room. There are roof-mounted fans for both rows of passengers and there are two adjustable vents in the A-pillar. They may look primitive, but they are very effective.

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The front of the car is very driver-focused. Only the driver seat can adjust forward and back, but the backrest is fixed in place and ends about halfway up your back. The front demister has only one outlet in front of the driver, and the driver is the only one with a sun visor. There are two lockable cubbyholes on the dash, on either side of the instrumentation, which can be used to store your valuables. Just be aware that they lock with the key, so once you are on the move, you are not getting anything out of them. The door pockets are very generous. One thing you can credit the Bajaj with, the car is a lot roomier than its dimensions would suggest. The car even has seatbelts for four passengers!

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South Africans are notoriously picky when it comes to cars. It has to have every single luxury item and electronic gadget, just to keep up appearances. With that in mind, most people might scoff at the little Qute, but you have to evaluate the car within its intended purpose parameters. There is really nothing else to compare it to in South Africa, though. The only other vehicle that comes close might be a Tuk-Tuk, and by those standards, the Qute is very luxurious.

Getting into the Qute is simply no effort, as the doors swing out almost 90 degrees. They close with a solid-sounding thud and overall the fit and finish are reasonable. Even though it is small, the controls are laid out like you are driving a truck. Your arms reach down towards the steering wheel, and the pedals require a downward, rather than forward movement.

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The gear lever sits proudly in the middle, and if you have ever ridden a motorcycle, the sequential box will be easy to operate. There is even a small MP3 player with built-in radio in the dash, as well as a 12 V socket for your electronic devices. Getting the car into any gear requires a firm hand, and each gear change is accompanied by a reassuring mechanical clunk.

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With four very thin 16” wheels at each corner, you can appreciate that the ride is a tad firm. The steering is not power-assisted but is light enough for it to not be an issue. I took the car to a local parking lot, and the turning circle is less than the width of three parking bays. The small wheels do make the handling vague, and cornering is best done at low speed. Because the Qute is so slim, your passenger is sitting very close to you, and you will be rubbing shoulders through a fast corner. Not the car for you if you are not a fan of other people in your personal space.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Thankfully, the top speed is only 70 km/h, and it gets there without much fuss. You can easily keep up with city traffic, and you should not be frustrating too many people. Do not venture onto the highway, though. I tried that for a short period but got off at the very next off-ramp. You never realize how slow 70km/h really is, until trucks pass you at speed – a positively terrifying experience.

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In the suburbs, it is a different story. When I returned the car, I took the long way there, winding my way through the city, and here you don’t notice the lack of power as much. I had a blast driving the Qute. It is slow, and makes an awful racket when you are driving, but not once did I not have a smile on my face. Smiling people stared at me, and I got a lot of inquisitive onlookers wherever I stopped.

I do not see these cars being used by families as their everyday vehicles. However, it will be the perfect car to nip to the shops quickly. We did our weekly shopping with it and it was probably cheaper than using Checkers sixty60! You can easily achieve a fuel consumption figure around the 30 km/L mark. Combining that with the selling price of R 85 000, the Qute makes a lot of financial sense!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

 

Keeping the Lights on with Hagenz’s Portable Power Station

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By now most of you will know of the importers called SAM (Southern African Motorcycles), the team that has stirred the South African commercial market with brands like Big Boy, Jonway, Voge and Gomoto. What many people don’t know, is that SAM bring in a host of non-motorcycle-related products too and one of these products is the Hagenz portable power station.

SAM’s philosophy when it comes to business, is all about bringing in a product that the end user really needs, not wants, but needs! With Hagenz we are looking at a product with massive market potential in SA, not just for powering entertainment at home or powering up the wifi and kettle on a camping holiday, but to help those who would like to work remotely and keep their Starbucks coffee intake at a low.

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The last case mentioned above is the exact reason why the Hagenz 1000 portable power station (PPS) is my perfect match. Like many other office-bound employees, I was given the opportunity to work from home, but with this came many obstacles, like broken internet connections and the lack of money to set up a good backup system. After spending months commuting to the solar power office in JHB and working remotely at coffee shops, the monthly costs started to rise in an unsustainable fashion.

So, with loads of research and a plan to get out of the electricity race, the business bought a portable power station from SAM…

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First of all, what is a portable power station? In layman’s terms, it’s a rechargeable battery that provides off-grid electricity. Haha, this dude is trying to sell me a battery, you say. Well, it’s a bit more complex than you think. For instance, they’ve got more in common with a power bank than a battery, but are much larger in size, have a higher output power, and have AC outlets that can power anything from office to home appliances.

Just by taking a deeper read of the Hagenz PPS, I certainly noticed that there are a number of components and technologies that send stored energy safely and efficiently to appliances, which a normal battery just couldn’t do. The Hagenz in particular has tech that makes the battery recharge faster, an LCD screen that indicates input, output and time till empty in hours—more expensive ones have apps for remote energy management.

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On the front of the Hagenz PPS, we’ve got two USB ports, type-c, car charger, 12V and 5A DC output. These functions are divided into two separate boards with their own on/off switches. On the back of the PPS, we see two three-prong sockets with their own on/off switch. For charging you are really spoiled for choice with a car charger, DC charger, PV charger and you can also charge through type-c. One thing to note is to have a habit, if time allows, to charge the PPS at 50 per cent battery life in order to prolong the PPS’s lifespan of 1200 charges—it usually takes 4.5 hours to charge from 50 per cent to full.

My typical setup consists of all of these devices being connected to the PPS: iPhone, wifi, laptop, monitor and sound bar. With all these devices connected, I average 100W, which works out to 10 hours of battery life and that’s if all these devices were to be connected for the full 10-hour period. Obviously, my laptop and phone wouldn’t need to be connected for so long, which means the battery life on the PPS would go up after charging those devices. Your typical MacBook only needs 30min of charge from 50 per cent battery charge and so too an iPhone, therefore bringing the 100W down to around 38W to run just the wifi, monitor and sound bar.

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All this electrical talk might sound like gibberish, but it’s the current times we live in, get used to it. What’s interesting to me is with the current stage 3 and 4 load-shedding schedules in my area, I typically have 4 hours out of my 8-hour working day in the dark. After some careful math, my daily average watts work out to 50W a day which means the PPS working at this average over the 4 hours will last me exactly one week. This is very good because these PPS systems have a recharge limit of around 1200 charges, which in my case would only be reached in 11 years if I were to charge it twice a week. Yes, this is near impossible because I’ll end up using it for more than just work, but that just puts things into perspective.

I’ll go one further, just bear with me for a minute. This is painful and embarrassing to say, but for research purposes, it rocks. Last year my accountant (girlfriend) had a look at my monthly expenses and worked out that I was spending R3,200 on coffee and breakfast a month, just in order to charge and connect to wifi during load shedding. This is without adding fuel, so with the Hagenz only costing R13,000, it would have saved me R38,400 last year. Eish!

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So, if you want my opinion on the Hagenz portable power station, I think it’s a must for those who want to work remotely or from home on a tight budget. Yes, it’s not going to run your house, but it will help you keep all things businesswise sorted. It’s easy to maintain, it’s noiseless and all it requires is a ventilated area to function.

For more information visit: www.takealot.com

Keeping Your Tyres From Getting Tired…

Given that our tyres are responsible for making the final connection between your vehicle and the road, we should pay serious attention to their wellbeing. In the crazy-paced world that we live in, this vital aspect of vehicle maintenance is often neglected. I say ‘vehicle’ because the principles are the same for both four and two-wheelers. When we had our first proper foray onto the dirt with our Jimny sporting its General Grabber AT3 tyres, we were very impressed with the all-round performance of the Generals.

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Chatting with Ryan Visagie from General Tire SA after the trip, he asked us some questions about tyre pressures etc that we could not answer, and this really got us thinking.

He sent us a short information video to elaborate.

So, to sum up…the demands placed on tyres on modern vehicles with their advanced dynamic ability are huge. When you don’t pay proper attention to tyre pressures you not only compromise performance you often put your life on the line. This is true for cars, but especially for bikes, where if stability is compromised a mishap is highly likely. Tyre pressure maintenance is an absolutely essential part of vehicle maintenance that should be performed weekly without fail. Just a quickie – when last did you check the tyre pressure on your car and bike, or worse, on your wife’s car? Gotcha!

I put my newfound tyre info to the test during our December family holiday. We took the Jimny down to the Wild Coast, we decided to take the road less travelled driving down via some of the scenic dirt roads skirting the Berg (Lower Loteni) and then one particular stunning dirt road between Port St Johns and Coffee Bay.

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Armed with an accurate tyre pressure gauge and a portable mini compressor, I diligently inflated and deflated my tyres according to the terrain we were traversing. The results in enhanced comfort and dynamic performance were nothing short of spectacular.

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Driving out of Jo’burg with a reasonably laden car, required harder tyre pressures. Obviously, this will depend on your particular vehicle and load. Typically your Owners Handbook will give the recommended pressures. Most vehicles display the pressures with a sticker on the driver’s door frame making for quick reference.

Care should be taken not to overinflate your tyres. This increases centre wear and reduces traction significantly. On irregular surfaces it can cause your tyres to skitter over, rather than ride the road surface, compromising overall stability.

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Consider that your tyres are your suspension’s first line of defence. Overinflating your tyres can result in uneven wear too. Conversely, tyres should be deflated significantly for off-road duty. With more give in the tyres, the ride comfort improves significantly over corrugations and road imperfections.

Traction also improves significantly as the footprint lengthens. Be aware that the greater tyre flex builds up heat which can damage the tyre if you neglect to re-inflate the tyre when you get back on tar and speed up again.

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One should also be careful not to deflate the tyres too much. This causes the sidewalls to bulge which makes them vulnerable to damage from sharp stones and the like.

What we are essentially saying is that we need a high level of awareness when it comes to our tyres. Running the correct pressures will not only maximise the performance of your vehicle, but it will give better tyre life and general safety too.

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When The Rubber Meets The Road (And Dirt)… General Grabber AT3s Shine In Sabie

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When we do a whole lot of research on modifications you want to do on your vehicle, there is always just a hint of apprehension. Will it all work out as you hope, or will there be niggles with the change you bring about? Literally, the first mod to our Suzuki Jimny was to spoon on a set of General Grabber AT3 50/50 All Terrain tyres. Would we gain in one area at the cost of another?

We did not go blindly into our decision to choose the Generals. We did a lot of research and studied the technical specs. What we learned was that the General AT3s were not necessarily the best in any one area, but rather really competent all-rounders. Given that our Jimny has to perform as a city runabout, smash the odd long-distance trip and be competent in the dirt requires all-round ability.

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The AT3’s design brief was to provide exceptional grip, deliver off-road and not compromise ride comfort. The tread pattern is designed for enhanced grip as well as to be self-cleaning in mud. Sidewall lugs are meant to reduce the chance of sidewall damage from offroad hazards. Digging a little deeper, we see innovations like ‘DuraGen technology’, where steel belts reinforced with two nylon cap plies are used to provide penetration resistance as well as give better durability and stability at speed.

We recently had the opportunity to put some of these features to the test. We drove down to Sabie for some content creation. The Generals had already impressed with their good ride quality on dodgy tar surfaces around Jo’Burg as well as their impressively silent performance on the highway.

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We were now going to get an opportunity to evaluate them off-road. We were heavily loaded with all our kit and camera equipment and with a bike-laden trailer in tow. The Jimny was also sporting Des Sol upgraded suspension. The ride quality and stability were a significant improvement over the standard suspension and highway spec tyres. Clearly, the upgraded suspension and General AT3s had transformed the road demeanour for the better. No compromises there then. Now for the dirt.

We needed to traverse logging roads around Sabie, contending with gradients, ruts, fesh-fesh-type sand and loose gravel. To say that the Generals ‘impressed’ us is a wild understatement. The ride quality on a solid axle short wheelbase vehicle was superb, inspiring confidence over all the surfaces that we traversed.

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In the course of recording some video footage for Des Sol we drove the Jimny in a particularly spirited fashion over some gnarly roads. The fact is that the upgraded suspension allowed us to push the car significantly harder than what would be considered ‘normal’. This had the effect of asking a lot more of the AT3s than normal too. They took everything we threw at them and begged for more! At no stage did we feel limited or compromised by the tyres. On the contrary, their performance was stellar!

Driving home we reflected on the performance of our ‘modded’ Jimny. It is enhanced in every way. Nothing we have done to it has required us to live with any sort of compromise. It is simply a significantly better package.

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The General AT3s have allowed us to get the full potential from the suspension improvements, whilst giving us enhanced confidence in their tough, go-anywhere ability. We would recommend them unequivocally to anyone wanting all-round competence without compromise in their 50/50 All Terrain tyres.

Versatility: Our Jimny gets kitted out by Des Sol

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There is an inherent problem with buying a Jimny. It is nigh on impossible to leave it standard. Now don’t get me wrong, Jimnys work well and look the goods straight out of the box. Till a pimped one drives past, that is. There is a camaraderie amongst Jimny owners that strikes a chord with what we experience as bikers. Jimny drivers greet each other with a flash of the lights in passing.

We obviously needed to do the ZA Bikers logos. This is subtle, but looks insane (in our considered opinion) with the red ZA matching the red mud flaps to a T. Then came the General Grabber AT3 All-Terrain tyres. Now our Jimny has the hiking boots it needs for its intended use. The interior is protected with custom seat covers, load liner and floor mats by Takla Products, complete with the ZA Bikers logo embroidered into the front seats. Load Bars were fitted initially to accommodate our Thule pod. Good to go, or so we thought…

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Enter Des Sol

This is a Durban-based company that builds bits for the Suzuki Jimny that they export worldwide as well as sell locally. It says reams about the Jimny that a viable business can be built around accessorising these fantastic little beasties. The peace of mind that comes from buying locally-produced products is a no-brainer. All the development was also centred around South African conditions.

They make a Rack-Tech Roof Rack that is wonderfully slim yet brilliantly functional. A roof rack gives you the option of loading all sorts of goods that you may need for an extended trip, be it cargo, fuel, water or whatever. The rack is aluminium and coated with a high-strength 5-stage ‘military-grade’ coating process for maximum durability. Various mounting brackets are available from Des Sol, however, we have also found that our Thule pod and Front Runner cargo box/mounts also fit onto the rack.

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I personally prefer this rack to other racks on the market as it sits much lower down on the Jimny’s roof, which gives it a sleeker look in my opinion. The aerodynamics of the rack is excellent—wind noise/drag is almost non-existent.

Accessing the goods on the roof is made easy by fitting a Rack-Tech Roof Rack ladder which mounts adjacent to the spare wheel on the back of the Jimny.

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It didn’t end there… After much soul searching and consideration and bearing in mind what we would be asking of the Jimny, we went the whole hog. On went Des Sol’s Gen 4 Suspension upgrade. Now please understand, there is nothing wrong with the standard suspension on the Jimny. The vehicle is extremely capable straight out of the box. What we are talking about here, is the equivalent of fitting Öhlins or Wilbers suspension to your bike.

The suspension kit is totally engineered, utilising replacement springs and lumo green Gabriel HDP shocks together with all the supporting hardware to marry them to the Jimny perfectly. It should be noted that there is no cutting or drilling required. Everything is a bolt-on.

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As good as the standard kit is, as, with the bike analogy, an immediate difference is felt in the general ride quality and behaviour of the Jimny, especially over poor surfaces.

Oh yes, it looks frikken’ spectacular too!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Important to note: You typically void your vehicle warranty as pertains to the parts that you change, however, Des Sol and Gabriel do warrant these bits.

We would love to say we are done with our Jimny, but you just never know. The Jimny is the kind of car that you engage with in a way that you typically only see amongst bikers. We just love to pimp our rides. It is part of the joy of owning a motorcycle. So it is too with this iconic little Jimny.

Our Jimny is raring to go on its first assignment.
Watch this space…

 

Our Jimny gets fitted with Interior Protection by Takla Products

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Sometimes bikes just don’t work as pack-horses. Creating decent content requires transporting camera equipment and the like to some weird and wonderful places. This is where our newly acquired Suzuki Jimny ‘go-anywhere’ support vehicle fits the bill.

With the Jimny not having a traditional boot space, to maximise packing space, we needed to fold down the rear seats, which then provided us with decent packing space for all of our equipment (groceries & school bags also apply here).

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We needed to figure out a way to protect the inside of the vehicle. On our first attempts, we found that our equipment slid around in the back, which would cause damage to the inside of the vehicle in the long run, if a solution was not found. After many hours of researching the internet, a potential solution presented itself…

Enter Takla Products

This is a South African company that is based in Kyalami, these guys are the best in the business in manufacturing high-quality interior protection solutions. After consulting with them, we decided to go with their ‘signature range’ Cantech fabric throughout the vehicle, this is a more expensive option, however, it comes with a Lifetime Warranty—so it’s worth the extra spend.

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This is a high-quality, fully waterproof fabric which has been designed to withstand whatever a typical African adventure throws at them. So yes, they are extremely durable. Our seat covers are diamond-stitched and have a luxury feel to them. Our ZA Bikers logo is embroidered onto the front seats, which really finishes them off nicely.

At the back, we went with their fully integrated load liner, which completely protects the loading area of the Jimny. We can now load pretty much anything we like into the back of the Jimny with peace of mind knowing that our vehicle is fully protected. We’ve tested this now several times and can report that the padded fabric of the load liner provides enough friction so that our equipment no longer slides around as before. This is exactly what we needed to convert our Jimny’s unconventional boot into a practical pack-horse.

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One of the most overlooked areas of any vehicle is the footwells, when in fact, this area gets more wear and tear than anywhere else in your vehicle. Takla Products has a solution for this too with their fully integrated TakMats. Unlike traditional floormats, the TakMats cover every square inch of the footwells, providing protection from muddy boots, etc… We now have even more possibilities for additional ‘protected’ packing space behind the front seats. Yay!

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Overall, we have been really impressed with Takla Products, their customer service has been excellent so far…

For more information visit: www.takla.co.za

General Grabber AT3 All-Terrain tyres – Our Jimny gets some hiking boots

Photo credit: ZA LIfestyle

We told you about the Suzuki Jimny that has joined the ZA Bikers vehicle fold. We go to some weird and wonderful places in the course of our content creation, so the capable Jimny is an excellent go-anywhere support vehicle. Like most SUVs, the Jimny comes standard with what are essentially highway spec tyres. Considering the places our Jimny will be going we needed to equip it with more capable ‘shoes’. After much research, we settled on General’s highly rated Grabber AT3s. Like with bikes, the right tyres for the application are vital for performance and safety.

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We considered function primarily, but also form. We needed tyres that would fall within Suzuki’s specification for the Jimny, but that would up the ante when we ventured off the beaten track. The General Grabber AT3s are perhaps best described as the ‘GS’ of All-Terrain tyres in that they are not necessarily the best at any one thing, but really capable across all typical applications. Whilst we wanted off-road performance, it couldn’t be at the cost of road manners. Chunky ‘Mud Terrain’ type tyres might look cool, but the incessant howl they emit on the highway will have you doing push-ups on your penknife after an hour or two. The Generals ticked all our boxes in that the enhanced performance would not have any real trade-offs.

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General Tires is part of the huge Continental Tyre group. The Grabbers feature three new technologies that enhance the overall performance of these versatile tyres. ‘TracGen’ is an open-shoulder design aimed at enhancing grip properties. ‘DuraGen’ is a rubber compound that enhances rip resistance for durability offroad without sacrificing traction. Lastly, they have what General call ‘ComfortBalance’. This is a technology to enhance ride comfort and reduce vibration on the road, achieved by a specific tread block design. We also love the look of the Grabbers on our Jimny. The tyres really enhance the ‘tough little Dude’ attitude of our Jimny.

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So there you have it. In the fullness of time, we will report back, on our experience with our Jimny’s new hiking boots. I can already tell you one thing… it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Meet AMO RC: MV Agusta’s First Limited Edition Single-Speed E-bike

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In today’s times, the demand for sustainable and accessible mobility is slowly beginning to grow. Over the last 10 years, we’ve all begun to familiarise ourselves with the term e-bike, and fast forward to the present day, we are starting to see not only common bicycle brands but motorcycle manufacturers just like MV Agusta jumping straight into this more efficient form of urban travel.

Most of us grew up cycling, I know I did, whether it was cycling to school, doing small shopping runs for the fam, or a social ride with the buds, life was just so much fun and petrol free. Yes, lactic acid, muscle cramps, and the many punctures we got were all part of the daily pains of keeping up with the faster guys and girls in the group, but I would take that back over almost R30 a litre of go juice today.

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We still hear preaching of the good old days when youngsters used to start off their riding ventures on 50 cc motorcycles in high school and aspire to one day own something bigger and faster. The future of two-wheeled transportation is certainly very exciting, as e-bikes become more accessible, I think we might start to see a similar trend, whereby, junior e-bike cyclists will one day aspire to own an e-motorcycle when they are grown up.

Are e-bikes the future of urban mobility?

To find out for ourselves we clipped in for a ride on MV Agusta’s latest AMO RC single-speed e-bike, imported by Fire It Up! So, the name is AMO, which stands for “I love” in Italian, this new line of e-bicycles takes after MV’s passion for everything on two wheels. The AMO is available in six model variants of which two are available in SA; the RR, and the RC. The heart of these two city slickers features a 250 W silent Mahle engine that can run at an assisted speed of up to 25 km/h. Powering the motor is a 250 Watt-hour Panasonic battery rated for up to about 75 km on a single charge.

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Over the years e-bikes have been hated by purists and many bystanders for being hefty in weight and bulky looking due to their chubby frames made to fit a massive battery. Thanks to today’s battery technology bike brands have been able to create smaller batteries and in return, this has ecstatically made e-bikes better looking with narrower frame designs and less weight. With a closer look at MV’s first try, you can’t even tell that the AMO is an electric bicycle and it sort of leaves you scratching and wondering, how have they fitted a battery into that frame? To put it into perspective the ‘RC’ only weighs 4.5 kg more than my Rook One single-speed at a low 15.5 kg, which is around your common mountain bike weight.

Part of this clever trickery is that the AMO is a single-speed, which in cycling terms is the simplest and most puristic form of cycling. The reason for that is, that there are no gears which means no cassettes or mechanical gearboxes, just two sprockets and a belt drive. To match the simplicity of the single-speed nature MV hasn’t tricked out the AMO with loads of tech, screens or buttons, but rather just one button that does it all. To help keep the weight down the RC has been equipped with beautiful carbon wheels and a carbon front fork, which might not sound like much but every kg counts when your legs are doing most of the pushing.

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The single operations button really makes the AMO feel like a normal bicycle and it’s sort of easy to operate. With a neat button on the centre tube, you can turn on the RC and select one of three boost modes, of which there are three different colour LED lights to let you know which mode you’re in. There is also an option to turn off the boost mode to save some electricity on the downhills. The LED light on the button will also change colour as the battery life decreases on your ride, giving you an idea of which Starbucks to start hunting down.

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It was on my first ride from Fire It Up! in Bryanston to our offices in Parkhurst where I got to experience the pure fun of cycling on a super single-speed, the AMO RC. The boost functions across the modes were so smooth that I sometimes forgot I was actually riding an e-bike. Because there are no gears, you have to keep your momentum levels up high when facing uphills, however, you are rewarded with a ‘boost’ of electric assistance that makes easy work of steep climbs. The electric assistance also helps keep you ahead of the traffic when starting off from the redlight—which suddenly makes the AMO a good city slicker.

It’s only obvious that the ride isn’t going to be the comfiest of rides due to the lack of suspension, but the Italian-made Fizik saddle, straight bars, and Brooks grips make it all manageable. Once in Parkhurst where trucks are offloading goods, dogs are running across the road and peak traffic can be insane, this is exactly where the AMO strives. The grip is supplied by nothing other than Pirelli tyres and when coming to a quick stop you are sorted out with strong Magura disc brakes.

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So, how long did the 10 km commute take me? Well, it usually takes between 20 min to 30 min by car on the b-road that we drive and on the RC I clocked in at 25 min, which is 2:30 min/km at an average speed of 24 km/h. Now, this sounds like a professional athlete at his peak fitness, but I can promise you that I’m not and it’s probably more likely the RC that did 60 percent of the work for me.

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After 10 km I used just over 10 percent battery which takes no time to charge up. Once completely drained of all its power the battery will take around 4 hours to charge to full capacity, which sort of sounds like a lot of time but if you’re commuting to the office or place of work then you’ve got time to spare. My offices are usually at my local coffee shops and just getting out of the house for a different vibe or atmosphere for work is what I like to do, which sort of makes the AMO e-bike series suit my lifestyle and home to “office” commuting range. Most coffee shops won’t stop you from plugging in your bike, especially if you invest 3 days a week there with your laptop on charge for an average of 4 hours anyways, so the loopholes have already begun.

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The future of e-bikes taking over the urban mobility side of things is quite possible, but it’s society who needs to decide whether it’s too dangerous or safe enough to cycle on their daily commutes. Even with the dismal chances of the government allocating inner city bicycle lanes, I still think it is safer to ride an e-bike over a motorcycle in the urban jungle.

At the end of the day, the AMO RC is inspired by MV Agusta’s legendary Reparto Corse and is limited to only 200 units and will set you back R79 900, which in e-bike terms is surprisingly competitive considering that it’s a special edition. The winner for me is the cheaper and more city-ready RR at R69 900 as it is more obtainable and has stronger rims for our rough road conditions. If it was up to me, I would be making my commutes cheaper, fresher and more fun. Who would have thought you could beat traffic so well on an MV?

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Joining the Suzuki family…

Photo credit: ZA LIfestyle

We have been in a bit of a quandary lately as our outgoing ZA Bikers support vehicle had its limitations. To create decent content for our clients requires transporting camera equipment and the like to some weird and wonderful places.

Sometimes bikes just don’t work as pack-horses. So we were looking to get a suitable vehicle, but what? It was actually Fanie Scholtz’s ‘Footpeg Diaries’ that provided the solution. His West Coast foray with the brilliant V-Strom’s makes for great viewing. Every now and then you get a glimpse of their support vehicle. The iconic, capable and funky Suzuki Jimny. The little 4×4 has been a runaway success for Suzuki from day one to the extent that they have attained an almost cult car status.

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After further research and several test drives, we concluded that the Suzuki Jimny was going to be the best-suited vehicle for our specific requirements.

So, we contacted our good friends at Suzuki SA as we have come to learn, that these guys are movers and shakers. Numbers were crunched and a deal was done.

Keep an eye out for a grey Suzuki Jimny featuring in our content going forward.

Thanks to Suzuki SA / Suzuki Kyalami for assisting us with this deal, you’ve welcomed us with open arms into the Suzuki family. You guys Rock!

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There is a whole wide world of Adventure awaiting…

The Vintage Electric Scrambler

Some die-hard petrol heads believe that anything that doesn’t vibrate and make noise, isn’t a ‘real’ motorcycle. If that’s you, then you’re probably not interested in an E-bike with pedals that looks like a vintage board tracker. But you should read on anyway, because the Vintage Electric Scrambler is one of the most interesting electric bikes on the market right now.

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Its pedal-assist electric hub motor, and limited size, speed and range, put the Scrambler squarely in city commuter territory. But with a highly refined aesthetic, top-shelf finishes and premium price tag, it feels more like a luxury item than a mere runabout.

There’s no getting around it: the Vintage Electric Scrambler isn’t cheap. It’s one of the top models in Vintage Electric’s catalogue, coming in at R 129,000 in stock trim, with an optional ‘race mode’ for another R 2,850. (That pricing is also subject to exchange rate fluctuations.)

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That puts it in the same ballpark as a BMW C 400 X or a Yamaha MT07. But if those are the bikes you’re comparing it to, you’re probably not the target market.

Vintage Electric is imported into South Africa by classic and exotic car specialists, Crossley & Webb. Their Cape Town showroom is an automotive mecca, and their clients not only have impeccable taste, but are well-heeled too. And the Scrambler doesn’t look one bit out of place parked between a Ferrari and a Maserati on C&W’s floor.

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A friend quipped that he could build an electric bicycle with the same specs for a fraction of the price. He probably can, too… but it won’t look or feel nearly as classy. The Scrambler is borderline art—nailing the retro vibe without descending into cliché territory, and built to a high level of finish.

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The Scrambler’s silhouette is reminiscent of old-timey board trackers, thank’s to its hydro-formed aluminium frame. But the real standout is Vintage Electric’s proprietary battery box—a sand-cast aluminium unit that echoes V-twin motors, right down to the polished fins. It holds not only the battery, but the controller and other electric bits too, like the Scrambler’s charge port.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Most of the finishing kit is a mix of off-the-shelf mountain bike components, with a few custom touches. There’s a vintage-style LED motorcycle headlight up front, with a small LED tail light tucked under the seat. The Scrambler also gets CNC-machined direct-mount handlebar clamps, a nice wide set of riser bars, and a generous rear mudguard.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Everything’s wrapped in a stealthy black finish, with subtle graphics on the frame’s top tube that remind me of the AMF Harley-Davidson logos of the 70s. The seat and grips feature leather trim, and there’s even a set of neatly-stitched leather fork bumpers, to protect the frame at full lock.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Vintage Electric place the Scrambler as their ‘go anywhere’ model, so the running gear’s specced for dirt and asphalt. It rolls on wide 26” wheels, shod with 26×2.35” Schwalbe Black Jack knobblies. The frame’s a hardtail design, but there’s a set of upside down forks up front, offering 60 mm of travel.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Vintage Electric place the Scrambler as their ‘go anywhere’ model, so the running gear’s specced for dirt and asphalt. It rolls on wide 26” wheels, shod with 26×2.35” Schwalbe Black Jack knobblies. The frame’s a hardtail design, but there’s a set of upside down forks up front, offering 60 mm of travel.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The Scrambler’s motor is a 3000 W rear hub unit, limited to 750 W until you plug the ‘race mode’ dongle in. It’s a pedal-assist system, and it’s dead simple to use: switch it on, then use the plus and minus buttons to set your level of pedal assistance. As you crank the single-speed drivetrain, the motor will add as much boost as you’ve asked it to. As for the thumb throttle, it works at any speed—so you can use it to pull away, or to add some top end.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

I found it best to add a little thumb throttle to start out, crank the pedals up to speed, then switch to the thumb throttle at the top end again. Riding like this, I got the Scrambler up to a top speed of 55 km/h on a flat road (faster than the Honda Express I used to commute on when I was 19).

Vintage Electric claim a top speed of 58 km/h in ‘race’ mode, so considering I weigh in north of 120 kg, 55 is close enough to the mark. And while it’s not the sort of acceleration that’ll pull your arms out of their sockets, I was surprised at how zippy it actually is. The top speed in ‘street’ mode is listed at around 32 km/h, and the best I could do while pedalling with pedal assistance on (sans throttle) was a hair under 30 km/h.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The Scrambler’s relatively compact proportions, combined with chunky tires and wide handlebars, make it an agile tool for urban exploration. I spent half a day cruising around Cape Town’s CBD and Woodstock, and relished the fact that I wasn’t confined to just the street. Bike lanes, sidewalks and back alley trails all meshed together into one city-wide gymkhana, with the Scrambler happy to change direction and pick a new line on a whim.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The chunky tyres and dual density seat add a fair amount of compliance to the ride, and the front forks do their job well enough. But if you’re a big guy like me, the lack of rear suspension becomes painfully apparent as soon as you try to hop a curb too enthusiastically.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The 48 v 23.4 Ah battery takes a claimed 4.5 hours to charge, and is reportedly good for anything from 64 to 120 kilos, depending on how you ride. I didn’t have time to test its range properly (nor did I charge it myself), but I managed a good few hours of riding without running into trouble. And seeing the regenerative braking add bars back onto the battery level indicator was a trip.

With nothing to do on the day but put the Scrambler through its paces and take photos, I spent my time exploring parts of the city I hadn’t seen before, and hunting for new locations. It played on my nostalgia too, reminding me of how I used to go literally everywhere on my skateboard as a kid.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

More swish than a garden variety E-bicycle, but not as powerful as a full-sized electric bike, the Vintage Electric Scrambler occupies an interesting space. It probably won’t draw seasoned motorcyclists away from their big machines, but it is likely to attract new riders with its charming looks and ease of use.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

If you can wrap your head around the price, the Scrambler’s a great pick for scooting around town in the week, and cruising down both boulevards and dirt roads on the weekends. And the fact that it’ll look just as good charging in your living room as it will hopping from cafe to cafe, doesn’t hurt either.

For more information visit: www.crossley-webb.com

Urban Mobility, E-Bikes, and the Cannondale Habit Neo 3

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

After our review of Energica’s new electric motorcycles, we promised that we were going to take a more in-depth look at the application of electric power in two-wheelers. When you start researching the massive worldwide effort to solve the urban mobility problem, you find a consistent theme; bicycles, E-bicycles and hybrids (essentially E-bicycles without pedals) are at the forefront.

Image source: super73.com

So what’s the buzz about urban mobility? Essentially, the world’s cities are becoming gridlocked smog dens, and no real solution has been forthcoming. Londoners pay a levy to take cars into the city centre, but to no avail—traffic remains a nightmare. The UK government has allocated billions of Pounds to fast track developments of E-mobility as future forms of public transport in the attempt to promote social distancing in a post-COVID-19 era. Hopefully, we should see both an increase in technology and a decrease in price over the coming years.

Photo credit: Milagro, courtesy of Vespa.

Sales of E-bicycles (or pedal assist bikes) have soared exponentially over the last few years. E-bikes outsold conventional bicycles in the Netherlands last year. The UK are hoping that E-bikes will replace cars for short hop commuting and trips, saving a bomb on infrastructural wear and tear, as well as public health costs as citizens get fitter and healthier.

Image source: www.bulls-bikes.com

Major car and motorcycle manufacturers are all allocating huge spend and R&D resources to develop E-bikes. Both Ford and GM have launched E-bikes, and urban transport players like Uber and Lyft are already experiencing big success with them.

Every major bicycle manufacturer offers E-bike options too. On the motorcycle front, Ducati, KTM and Triumph all have bicycle options, and I am certain that other manufacturers will follow suite.

Image source: Ducati.com

This can be the boost that the motorcycle industry has needed, manufacturers just have to be wise in how they approach it. We know that the ‘Playstation Generation’ are not riding bikes in any great numbers, but electric mobility might just be the answer.

Think for a moment how incredibly cool a retro style cruiser E-bike from, say, Harley-Davidson would be? Kids could have this uber-cool retro Harley bicycle that captures all the soul and heritage of the brand. Come the time when such a kid wants more than the E-bike can offer, he has already bought into the Harley ethos, and they have a potential motorcycle customer.

Image source: super73.com

Harley-Davidson clearly understands this, because they’ve already stated their commitment to E-mobility across a wide range of applications. The H-D LiveWire sits at the top of the spectrum, with their IRONe range of electric balance bikes offering something for the little ‘uns. And brands like KTM, Ducati and Triumph clearly get it too.

Photo credit: Harley-Davidson

The hybrids I referred to earlier offer a stepping stone from bicycles to motorcycles. These are torque-rich, electric-powered dirt and urban weapons. Companies like CAKE and Super73 in the US are building amazing two wheelers that utilise electric power.

Image source: ridecake.com

Range issues which plague full size electric motorcycles are a non-event for these city slickers. Their more moderate power demands allow a more practical riding range with plug-in-and-play convenience. Rather than being a threat to petrol powered bikes, I believe they could be the salvation, and we’ll be looking at these in more detail in the near future.

So what is a bicycle with an electric motor actually like to ride? We got my son (also Dave), who has ridden motorcycles since age four, and also happens to be a top Ironman competitor, to put the Cannondale Habit Neo 3 to the test. Along to take some pics was our other resident mountain-bike free ride junky, Bjorn Moreira.

Photo credit: Hanlie De Bruin

Sure, it’s a mountain bike—which makes it more of a hobby machine than a mobility solution. But the principles of a pedal-assist MTB and a pedal-assist commuter bike are the same, it’s just the terrain that’s different. Here’s the report…

The Cannondale Habit Neo 3

Being a keen and competitive cyclist nowadays comes with a certain perceived aura. So if you’d asked me previously whether I would have been up for a ride on an E-bike, the answer would have been a resounding “over my dead body.” After all, I am a ‘proper’ cyclist.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Well, recently my ego was served a massive slice of humble pie after doing just that. And oh boy, what a tasty slice it was.

My active and competitive participation in triathlons has led to me regularly testing and reviewing bicycles. So I put my tail between my legs, and collected the Cannondale Habit Neo 3 E-mountain bike from Epic Sports in Centurion. Epic owner, Paul Cordes, gave me a quick rundown on the ins and outs of all things ‘lazy cycling,’ and what seemed like a very technical set up.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Off I headed to Big Red Barn in Centurion, to test what initially felt like a weighty, electronic behemoth, compared to my regular lightweight dual-suss race rig. I say ‘behemoth’ with a bit of Aromat sprinkled on, because I had to drop the tailgate on my Ford Ranger to load it. At a hefty 23 kg, thanks to the addition of the Bosch electric motor and battery, can you blame me?

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Red Barn is littered with tight, twisting single track, with berms and jumps for days. It’s a facility that seems to be set up for lightweight race snakes, on race bikes that weigh the same as a feather from a down duvet. You would think that the Habit Neo would battle to carve the turns and jumps—but on the contrary, it absolutely slays them, with an effortless ability to change direction!

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

I believe this is due to the location of the battery and motor. They both sit nice and low on the bike, below the cranks, centralising the mass and giving the Neo a low centre of gravity. Like the late rugby legend, Jonah Lomu, the Habit Neo is hefty, but has a wicked side step.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

It’s also a dirt jumper’s dream, in that the weight adds an uncanny stability in the air. Unlike a lightweight race machine where you cannot afford to be an inch too far forward or back, this chunky beast actually feels way more settled and forgiving. (Even for the likes of me, who spends way more time on my TT bike than dirt jumping.) In fact, it reminded me more of my days of scrubbing table tops on my KTM 250 when I was young and fearless.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Adding to the immense amount of grip in turns, and the ability to absorb impact on landings, are wheels and tyres that look like they could have come off my 250. Laced in are a set of WTB ST i29 TCS tubeless rims, with proper grippy Maxxis Rekon 29×2.6” rubber.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The Habit range is predominantly built for trail and enduro riding, so suspension is of the utmost importance. There’s been no skimping here—the Habit Neo 3 is pleasantly specced with RockShox 35 Gold RL air forks with a whopping (in MTB terms) 140 mm of travel. They not only help absorb landings, but also make hard hits from unexpected lurkers less bone-crunching and wallet-draining.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

At the rear you have the equally burly and well-damped RockShox Deluxe Select R air shockIt has 130 mm of travel, which is yet again crucial for saving the tush and lower back from unnecessary punishment.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The more expensive Habit Neo 1 has far more budget-buckling suspension in the form of RockShox’s Deluxe Ultimate RT, which allows for more fine-tuning for expert level riders. But I was more than impressed with the Neo 3’s suspension setup (then again, I am by no means a full-time pro.)

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Imagine Siya Kolisi accelerating to Wayde Van Niekerk-level speed, and suddenly needing to stop. The potential person on person impact, or, in the case of the Habit Neo, human on tree impact, could be catastrophic! Luckily a massive Magura MT30 twin pot caliper on the front, with an equally massive Spider rotor, gives you complete peace of mind.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

But the Habit Neo’s real stand-out feature, is the ‘E’ factor. In the early days of the E-bike craze, you climbed on, pedalled and received this heavenly shove in the desired direction with only one setting. Now, on this machine, you have the option of multiple assistance settings, ranging from ‘Eco,’ for some minor and fitness-promoting assistance (20%), all the way to ‘Turbo,’ for serious acceleration.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The ‘Turbo’ setting, when engaged with just a minor turn of the pedals and the flick of a button, shoves you forward in a way that would make my dad’s Triumph Tiger need to drop a gear. Unfortunately, the top speed is limited to roughly 30 km/h (legislation limits E-bicycles to 25 km/h). So once you’ve dropped your mates like a bad habit, you need to have some serious quads and fitness levels to stay ahead of them on a flat road, where speeds in excess of 30 are not unheard of.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

At 23 kg this would be a challenge, hence the bike being better suited to trail and enduro-type riding. Having said that, if all else fails, you can catch them on the next uphill!

Other modes include ‘Tour,’ for a more sedate ride, as well as the ‘EMTB’ mode for a more competitive edge, when acceleration is needed between turns without ripping your arms off. All of these modes come with different battery life restrictions—ranging from 40 km in ‘Turbo’ to 100 km in ‘Eco’ and ‘Tour.’

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The last setting, which is the one that created the most boyish giggles, is, wait for it… ‘Walk’ mode! You heard me; imagine being caught in a bottleneck up a climb and having to dismount and push 23 kgs up a loose, sandy incline. No problem for the Habit Neo. Flick it into ‘Walk,’ and the motor will engage just enough to make the Habit Neo roll alongside you, while you stroll along without sweat pouring down your brow.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

All said and done, the Cannondale Habit Neo 3 was an immense surprise to me. Not only because I realised how much fun E-bikes can be, and how the industry is sure to boom with them, but also because of how much attention to detail and passion has gone into the bike. This is a bike built by a company with an obviously talented and well-groomed R&D department, that has tested their bikes in every conceivable type of terrain.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

The Habit Neo is a great bike and certainly one to consider, even if you are competitive like me, but are looking for hours of no-nonsense fun without the pressures of having to train. If your mind remembers what your body has long since forgotten, and you are not sure that you need the pain of getting back up to speed again, then the Habit Neo 3 could make the whole exercise a pleasure.

Photo credit: ZA Lifestyle

Whatever type of rider you are, I do believe that once you have slung your leg over one of these it will find place in your stable, even if the prices range upward of R80,000. But hey—how can you put a price on hours of fun in the sun?

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