We use cookies on this website, you can read about them here. To use the website as intended please Accept Cookies

Inside Bikes

Got a question

Search for bike reviews by selecting...

Manufacturer:

Royal Enfields

Read more ...

Lead News Story
The Moto Guzzi V8

Read more ...

Looking for a cost effective litre bike that’s a very capable all rounder? You’ve might have just found it!

 

Launched in 2001, Yamaha’s FZS1000 Fazer 1000 initially promised a lot but once the road tests were in, it was obvious that it fell short in the expectations of many. That was mostly down to the fact that the Fazer was going to use an R1 engine, but hidden in the small print was how the R1 power plant was to be retuned for the big sit up and beg Fazer. The rest of the bike also came in for some flack, weight was 208kg and to keep costs down there was no alloy frame, instead it was more of a pumped up Fazer 600 chassis that graced the litre bike. The Fazer 1000 is ageing well though, the earliest 2001 bikes are now 16 years old, and on the whole most have survived pretty well. There’s more love for the Fazer now than there’s ever been and, away from race track press launches, comparisons to the R1 and other mismatched tests, the Fazer shines in the real world.



It’s easy to see where Yamaha scrimped. The suspension is very soft at both ends but, with the bikes getting older, many will have had shock replacements and forks overhauled. There’s plenty of knowledge on the web too if you fancy having a go yourself. Prices for honest bikes in good shape start at around £2,000. The Fazer had a production life of four years, so there’s plenty to pick from.

 

What’s it like to ride?


If you like big bikes you’ll love the Fazer 1000. Hop on board and you could be mistaken for thinking you’d just sat on an adventure bike; it’s a very similar stance with its high saddle, wide bars and sensibly placed pegs. Find a sweet spot on the choke lever, prod the starter and the Fazer burbles into life. There’s nothing fancy about the spec, the most glamorous components are the much talked about ‘blue spot’ brake calipers. They are still great brakes but lack the urgency of a contemporary R1, which uses the same bodies. This is probably down to the fact that it’s trying to haul up those 208kg, although it might also be down to the master cylinder?

 

With so many owners complaining about the soft suspension you might wonder what all the fuss is about? Sure, if you’ve just stepped off something more modern it does feel a bit soggy, but nothing that’s too nasty. The engine is the biggest talking point. There’s no shortage of power and with quoted figures of 135bhp being bounded about it’s easy to see the appeal of the Fazer. Compared to the R1 donor bike, Yamaha trimmed some bhp from the upper rev range and shaved some horses away from the lower rev range too. There’s still more than enough in the middle though, the red line on the analogue clocks sits at 11,500 revs, pin it into first gear around this figure and 80mph will greet you on the speedo face. The Fazer is a really practical package, the headlamps are brilliant, there’s pillion grab rails and even a centre stand is standard issue.

 

Mile munching on motorways is something that the Fazer does with ease. It’s hard to think of any other machine from this millennium that offers you so much bike, for so little money.

What to look for when buying a Fazer 1000


We spoke to Vinny Styles, sales manager at Wheels Motorcycles, Peterborough, and he said: “Not too many Fazers remain totally stock, aftermarket items like luggage, higher screens and bellypans are worth having, stumpy exhaust silencers and race replica paint work are less in demand. The engine is very exposed and can lose its shine on high mileage examples, but on the whole overall finish is usually very high.

 

“The biggest issue that affects the Fazer 1000 is the EXUP valve, it’s prone to seizing up. It’s easy to spot if it’s not working as it will ride like a wheezy 600cc. Some aftermarket exhaust headers do away with the EXUP valve completely, some owners think this is a bad idea, others swear by the mod, so do your own homework.”

 

What goes wrong with them?


We spoke to Chris Tombleson at Grumpy 1260, they service bikes and break a few old bikes for parts. He added: “The engine likes a drop of oil but don’t be alarmed by this. If you do lots of urban riding then oil consumption can be less than if you travel up and down the motorway on a regular basis. There’s a sight glass in the righthand side of the crank case, so it’s dead easy to check if you need to top up or not.

 

“With five valves per cylinder, big services will take a bit longer, which means that they’ll cost a bit more. The EXUP valve is a weak spot, it’s worth keeping it tip top. We’ve also fitted ignition advancers to plenty of these. It’s a cheap part to find on the internet and the norm is for a four degree advancer to be fitted as it sharpens the delivery up no end, and even aids your mpg figures. It’s a worthwhile mod. There’s a few options for sorting out the rear shock. A shock from a 2CO R6 is a common swap, the only downside is a decent one will set you back around £150. Beyond that they are solid bikes.”

Electronic suspension ZX-10R

Read more ...

BMW Grand America tourer

Read more ...

Ninja H2 SX

Read more ...

BMW R1200 GS Adventure

Read more ...

Suzuki Bandit GSF650

Read more ...

BMW F750GS and F850GS

Read more ...

Triumph’s new mountain bike

Read more ...

Tiger 800

Read more ...

2018 Honda CB1000R

Read more ...

Honda CB300R

Read more ...

Honda CB125R

Read more ...

Panigale V4

Read more ...

the Triumph Tiger

Read more ...

Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird

Read more ...

 Triumph Speed Triple 1050

Read more ...

 Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja

Read more ...

Yamaha YZF-R6

Read more ...

Prototype Triumph Tiger ‘Tramontana’

Read more ...

Suzuki GSX-R750

Read more ...

Triumph goes classic

Read more ...

Of all motorcycle manufacturers, Harley-Davidson could be said to be the one that is most resistant to change. With its retro style entrenched long before the current fashion took hold; a dedication, despite numerous subtle updates over the years, to the classic, air-cooled, American vee, plus a legion of devoted followers, particularly in the US, where its ‘Big Twins’ are far and away the largest selling machines of all, the American legend is, perhaps understandably, in no rush to modernize.

 

Which is why this comprehensive makeover of not just one of H-D’s cruiser twins but of them all, in what Harley describes as its ‘biggest ever model development programmme’, is big, big news.

 

harley softail 2

 

To clarify, where before Harley had five distinct families of machines – the Street 500 and 750, its 883 and 1200 Sportsters, the big twin Dynas and Softails – which included models as diverse as the Street Bob and Breakout – plus its Touring family, now it has just four. In other words, the previous twin shock Dynas and Softails have now been combined into one all-new family of Softail machines.

 

The fundamental change to achieve this is Harley’s all-new Softail frame – the first since the early 1980s. This maintains the characteristic ‘hidden shock’, hard tail look of before, which was previously achieved via twin short-travel shocks mounted horizontally under the gearbox, with an all-new lighter, stronger tubular twin loop affair which now has a hidden, angled monoshock under the seat, pretty much like Yamaha’s iconic LC.

 

harley softail 3

 

 

That basic frame is then modified via three different modular headstocks (giving head angles of 34, 30 and 28 degrees respectively) and two different swingarms (to suit narrow or wide wheels) to end up with a whole new family of Softail machines.

 

And it all works so well that H-D decided there was no longer any need for its twin shock ‘Dyna’ chassis, so old Dynas such as the Low Rider and Street Bob live on – but as Softails. The overall result is a new, eight-strong Softail family which comprises: the bare-bones, ape-hangered, bobber-style Street Bob; ‘70s chopper-style Low Rider; low-slung, ‘40s-looking Softail Slim, fat-tyred Fat Boy, aggressive hot rod Fat Bob, chrome and white-walled Deluxe, the now ‘40s-looking, screen-and-panniered Heritage and the drag-bike-inspired Breakout.

 

harley softail 4

 

And as the differing styles of those bikes suggests, nor are the changes restricted to merely the new chassis. All the new Softails also benefit from the significantly updated (and now four-valve) ‘Milwaukee Eight’ versions of the classic Harley V-twin powerplant, as introduced on the Milwaukee firm’s Touring family last year. Now displacing 1746cc (although four of the new models, the Breakout, Fat Boy, Fat Bob and Heritage, also have the option of the even larger 114ci/1868cc version). And with liquid-cooled exhaust valves fed by a neatly hidden oil cooler between the frame downtubes, this unit is not just around 10bhp more potent than before – it’s gruntier and (thanks to a new balance shaft) smoother, too.

 

Finally, all eight new Softails also benefit from a complete styling overhaul (with the Heritage and Softail Slim in particular going in a distinctly different, ‘40s direction) with new bodywork, lighter tanks, new wheels (particularly on the now monster truck-wheeled Fat Boy), uprated suspension and fancy new LED lights front and rear and instrumentation.

 

harley softail 5

 

Got it? Good. So, although to the layman, some of these newcomers look as distinctly, classically Harley as ever, in truth the changes are massive. Styling is stronger – particularly, as mentioned, with the new Fat Boy – equipment and cycle parts are better and, to a bike, all of them ride better as well.

 

And the model that probably sums these changes up best is the virtually all-new Fat Bob. Previously a fat-tyred, twin headlamped, aggressive softy of a cruiser (albeit a popular one), with its new chassis, inverted forks, wheels wearing semi-knobbly tyres, both choices of engine and stying rounded off with that striking new letterbox LED headlamp, the new Fat Bob has blossomed into a true hot rod with the dynamics to match. With the sharpest steering of the Softail family (thanks to that 28-degree head) plus decent suspension the new ‘Bob is an angry little scratcher of a Harley that’s also noticeably lighter and stiffer and rounded off with a decent amount of punch – especially in 114ci guise. So, if you were mourning the loss of the V-Rod in Harley’s 2018’s line-up, fear not: the new Fat Bob is more than hot rod enough.

 

harley softail 6

 

Best of all, though, this new line-up of Softails collectively suggests that Harley, after more than a few years in the doldrums and with its thunder seemingly well and truly taken by rivals Indian, has again found its mojo. These new bikes are just what we wanted: they’re better looking and equipped, punchier and with a better ride and handling as well. And by ‘better’, we’re thinking around 10 per cent better, all round. And while that might not turn the world on its head or change what most already thought of Harley, it certainly proves they’re back in the ball park with a more tempting line-up than ever.

 

Specifications

ENGINE TYPE

‘Milwaukee-Eight’ 107 or 114ci pushrod, 45-degree V-Twin, Four valves per cylinder, air cooled

DISPLACEMENT

1746cc (107ci) or 1868cc (114ci)

BORE X STROKE

100 x 111.1mm or 102 x 114.3mm

MAXIMUM POWER

86 or 93hp @ 5020rpm

MAXIMUM TORQUE

145 or 155Nm @ 3500rpm

FRONT SUSPENSION

Showa telescopic forks

SEAT HEIGHT

655-668mm

DRY WEIGHT

286kg to 316kg

FUEL TANK

13.2 to 18.9litres

Triumph Street Triple

Read more ...

BMW G 310 GS

Read more ...

Suzuki SV650X

Read more ...

Triumph Scrambler

 

What is it?

Super-cool Steve McQueen inspired Bonneville derivative was the bike that started the whole scrambler trend more than a decade ago.

 

Heavily based on the previous generation Bonneville, the Scrambler was inspired by the TR6 Trophy ridden by the Hollywood icon at the 1964 ISDT (International Six Day Trial) in East Germany and featured a detuned (to 54bhp) version of the 865cc parallel twin that used a 270° crank configuration from Triumph’s cruiser range rather than the 360° set-up from the Bonneville.

 

The result was a mellow retro roadster that was full of character and easy to ride, with loads of low down torque and a relatively low 825mm seat height. Those twin high level exhaust pipes really look the part (although many riders find them to be uncomfortably hot) and a wide range of official accessories (bash plates, Arrow exhausts, McQueen rep number boards, for example) can add to the coolness factor and mean that very few Scramblers are the same.

 

 2016 triumph scrambler.jpg

 

Arguably the Scrambler isn’t the most engaging bike to ride. The standard Bonneville is peppier and has a sweeter handling chassis. Many will also find the Scrambler’s riding position uncomfortable, but the vibe is funky and it’s a bike that’s as much about the look and the feeling than it is performance. Because of that, very few rack up big mileages, meaning that most bikes on the market have low mileage and are well looked after. Despite the desert sled looks, it really is not an off-road bike. The weight, limited ground clearance and basic suspension will hamper performance on the rough stuff, although the knobbly Metzeler tyres does at least give the Scrambler an ability to tackle fire roads and gentle dirt trails – if you must.

 

With its enduring classic bike looks, the Scrambler still draws a crowd today. The bike was a massive success upon its launch and remained a popular model throughout the years. After being dropped from the range in 2016, a new Street Twin based Street Scrambler has been introduced this year, but despite that, prices for the original Hinckley Scramblers remain strong.

 

What to look out for

There’s not a lot that goes wrong with these and, on the whole, they are bought as weekend toys rather than work a day commuters.

 

v With just 54bhp, the Scrambler engine is relatively unstressed and bulletproof, while Triumph boss John Bloor’s obsession with build quality means that the cycle parts generally hold up very well. Triumph issued a recall for some 2014 bikes, which related to an ECU problem that could lead to a fuel injector being jammed open and cause the bike to run on one cylinder. Check if this has been done if the bike you are looking at was built in that year. A few owners have reported leaking countershaft oil seals. This is rare and any occurrences should have been replaced under warranty but are still worth checking.

 

Gear shifts can be heavy and notchy and brakes are a touch weak, but these are more characteristics of the model than an indication that anything is wrong. If you’re looking at a bike with any mechanical issues or scruffy finish it’s best to walk away (unless it’s very, very cheap) as there are plenty of top notch examples out there.

 

Any updates?

Visually, the Scrambler remained more or less unchanged throughout its 10-year production run, with the exception of the usual annual colour changes.

 

Early bikes featured old school twin carbs and are often preferred by the purists due to this and some of the more traditional detailing. These ‘pre-injection’ bikes were assembled at Triumph’s UK plant in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and featured classic two-tone paint with hand finished coachlining, steel mudguards and metal tank badges.

 

triumph scrambler.jpg

 

First year bikes featured polished engine cases, with all later models running blacked out motors. A switch to fuel injection came for the 2008 model year (to meet Euro3 emissions regulations) and with it came some small detail changes, such revised brake discs and the different tank badges. This period also saw some of the metal components from the early examples changed for cheaper plastic ones, while these bikes were now assembled at Triumph’s factory in Chonburi in Thailand. Although these are less popular with hard core Triumph fans, the quality of the later bikes is every bit as good as, if not better, than early English examples.

 

These injected bikes have a slightly smaller fuel capacity (16 litres compared to 16.6 on the original bikes) but the fuel injectors are cleverly hidden inside fake carb bodies to retain the original Sixties styling.

 

Later bikes (2009 on) have upgraded instruments that are shared with the standard Bonneville, which means a two-dial set up with a rev counter, rather than the simple single dial setup on the first bikes. These later bikes also tended to feature more sober colour schemes, with black and military style matt green featuring heavily in the Triumph catalogues. Traditionalists may prefer the early bikes, making them a better long term investment, but the riding experience remained more or less the same throughout the Scrambler’s 10 year lifetime.

 

What to pay?

As a rule, Scramblers tend to lead a fairly sedate life and there are very few high mileage or poor condition examples on the market.

 

You should budget in the region of £6000 for a low mileage three year old example. Prices tend to bottom out at around the £4500 mark, but early carburetted examples are pretty scarce and don’t tend to come to market as often as the later EFI bikes, meaning that they regularly fetch as much as newer examples.

 

Looking for more info?

www.triumphrat.net - Huge American based forum covers all things Triumph and has a wealth of information on the whole parallel twin range in the ‘Twin Talk’ forums.

 

www.triumphtorque.net - UK based forum was originally set up by fans of the Nineties T595 but has now expanded to become a virtual meeting point for all things Triumph. Head over to the ‘Classics’ section to read first hand accounts from Scrambler owners.

 

 

 

 

Want Triumph Motorbike insurance? Contact Carole Nash

Moto Guzzi V7 III

Read more ...

Honda CB1100RS

Read more ...

Honda FireBlade

Read more ...

retro Z900RS

Read more ...

Ducati Monster 600

Read more ...

Kawasaki W650

Read more ...

Suzuki GSX-R1000

Read more ...

Suzuki GSX-R125

Read more ...

Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster

Read more ...

Suzuki DL650 V-Strom

Read more ...

Yamaha XTz750 Super

Read more ...

MV Augusta Dragster

Read more ...

Kawasaki vulcan

Read more ...

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

Read more ...

Honda XRV750 Africa Twin

Read more ...

Kawasaki Versys

Read more ...

Yamaha YZF1000 Thunderace

Read more ...

Ducati Monster 1200R

Read more ...

honda motobike

Read more ...

Yamaha tracer

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Yamaha 300cc

Read more ...

Honda CB500F

Read more ...

BMW Rnine T Urban G/S

Read more ...

Honda CMX500 Rebel

Read more ...

YAMAHA SCR950

Read more ...

New triumph colours

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

Read more ...

cn header banner 960x200 insidebikes dna