Life’s an adventure
You may have noticed tea and lunch breaks are more than a simple timed break from the work area or office floor. Those valued moments of freedom are breathing spaces where gossip can be spread, important news and world events can be read on our mobile phones and openly discussed, or a quick walk around the block to clear the mind. More often than not, here at Evotech Performance we discuss work, ideas for new products and obscure happenings in everyday life that make us smile.
One recent point of discussion over a brew of Yorkshire Tea was had, anyone else noticed the demise of hot hatchbacks and mid-sized saloon cars mirrors the increasing popularity of SUVs? Sports Utility Vehicles that are based on large off-road capable 4x4s but are really just tall, comfy cars with a smattering of off-road ability built in. Here in Lincolnshire, we reckon one in every three cars on the road is SUV-types. This chat soon turned to motorcycles.
Strange but true, 600-1000cc sports bikes aren’t as common on the road as they used to be. In their place are a wider range of bikes, like large and middleweight naked machines but more so big trailies, as we used to know them. In our younger days Suzuki DR Bigs and Yamaha XT/Tenere and Africa Twins used to be occasionally seen, but today’s modern equivalents – adventure bikes – are to be seen everywhere. The reasons why are obvious, though.
Motorcycling isn’t getting any younger; this is a way of saying new, younger riders aren’t as prolific as they were. Couple this with those of us who cut our biking teeth (ahem) a few years back and we are deemed the older generation – at an average 45 years of age! Blimey. Old before our time.
Yes, we have ridden sports bikes – we’ve got the memories of fun and fast times and scars and iffy joints to prove it – and now we are looking for a bit more comfort on two wheels but still get the kicks we get from riding.
Us “old ’uns” are, therefore, one reason why adventure bikes are on the increase. Upright seating positions, wide bars, tall screen and sumptuous seats tick our boxes. As do healthy torque and horsepower figures, decent suspension and braking systems. See, we can have our fun cake and eat it. Short trips, long trips, go anywhere and enjoy.
One of the problems with adventure bikes is that they are tall in stature. While this isn’t a problem when rolling, at a reduced almost walking pace when turning with bars on full lock, the height and top heavy feel can conspire against the short-legged among us. The result can be an embarrassing topple over. You don’t even have to be dressed in full Cordura and riding to become a victim of an embarrassing topple, as a motorcycling journalist recently found out.
While straddling his own (yep, some bike journos do buy their own kit) new S 1000 XR adventure-cross machine and paddling it backwards off his drive and onto the roadside, he and the bike ended up on their sides. Luckily no injury occurred to the BikeSocial journalist. Also fortunate for him was that he’d recently fitted our EP Crash Protectors and wheel spindle bobbins. The crash protectors took the brunt of the fall while the spindle bobbins didn’t get touched by tarmac.
BikeSocial’s full, review (description, fitting and… erm, test) of the EP products can be found on the BikeSocial website here. In the meantime, here’s a taster from John Milbank: “The axle protectors didn’t touch down in this drop – that’s not to say they’re unnecessary as in a slide the edge of the fork bottoms or the swingarm could get caught, but without the £89.99 Evotech-Performance crash bobbins, the fairing panel would have been damaged, and it’s likely the indicator would have suffered much worse.”
Strange as it may sound, crash protection isn’t the only form of protection that Evotech Performance manufactures for adventure bikes. Radiators and oil coolers are vital components to cool the engine’s life-saving fluids. EP Radiator and Oil Cooler Guards are recognised as leaders in protecting these fragile aluminium constructions. Just one flung stone chipping can you leave the bike and its owner stranded followed with a bill for replacement items – bike rads and oil coolers are notoriously difficult if not expensive to repair and replacement is the only real alternative.
For the intrepid explorers among us, those valiant enough to travel all areas of our planet regardless of the terrain and weather, EP Radiator and Oil Cooler Guards should be priority purchases. And on the same shopping list ideally an EP Engine Guard. Traditionally known as a “bash plate”, our engine guards are durable all aluminium cleverly designed and fabricated to mirror the underside of the engine. The formed aluminium plate is a hardy piece of equipment designed to absorb the troughs and stones and heavy landings that are just some of what you can expect traversing off-road.
Clutch lever and front brake lever systems are also prone to damage. Not just from a fall but also the result of an incident with other road users or roadside furniture. Our EP range of bar lever (clutch and front brake) protectors are growing every week and one of the latest editions is for the BMW R 1250 GS series. These latest protectors, which we have tagged EP Damage Deflectors, are designed to flow around the shape of the hand paddle guards – those plastic items that we as engineers call flimsy plastic-things.
Because we are engineers, it was decided to design a system that should provide substantial protection to these paddles and, at the same time, the levers and control switch gear. Using experience from manufacturing race specification and road-going EP Front Brake Lever Protector Kits, the main sections are CNC machined and fabricated aluminium that mount to the bar ends and follow the outer line of the handlebar paddles before attaching to the paddle mounting points. This design means the EP Damage Deflectors seamlessly blend into the R 1250 GS as if standard fitment and no modifications are made to the bike. Another very good point about the design is that the bar-end fitment utilises bespoke EP bar end weights with vibration damping qualities that significantly reduce or can banish high frequency vibes that can spoil the ride. Other models are currently at design stage.
We don’t think it’s because we motorcyclists are (allegedly) getting older but it’s apparent more and more of us (us too) are reliant on sat navs or smartphones to lead us to the nearest pizza house, home or sometimes further destinations. While many motorcycle manufacturers are supplying their own ‘branded’ sat nav systems and mounts to fit as aftermarket accessories or even as standard, many owners aren’t prepared to fork out for factory items that come with, um, solid retail prices. Instead, many prefer to use existing sat navs or smartphones. This then leads to how to mount them – not as easy as you’d think when handlebar tubes nowadays are lacking spare mounting space for RAM-type mounts among others.
For the above reason, Evotech Performance has produced a range of EP Sat Nav (plus phone) Mounts that attach to existing chassis points. In some cases the EP Sat Nav Mounts are fixed to the screen mounting points to utilise the mechanism for altering the height of the screen, this way the sat nav (or phone) remains in the rider’s eye view. So far we have mounts for a wide range of the latest Ducati Multistrada and Triumph Tiger models, not forgetting that stalwart of long travel adventures, BMW Motorrad’s GS range, from 1200-1250cc. As said, the EP Sat Nav Mounts can accommodate sat navs (TomTom, Garmin) and phones via Quad Lock and UltimateAddons fitment kits. Click here for more info on EP Sat Nav Mounts.