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YAMAHA YZF600-R THUNDERCAT

Overshadowed by the all-round greatness of the CBR600F and the. outright lairy nature of GSX-Rs and ZX-6Rs, the Yamaha Thundercat has still managed to win our hearts and minds. But is it-an emerging classic?

For many mid-1990s sportbike riders, Yamaha’s FZR600R was a track-day hungry, no-frills option at a price initially lower than Honda’s all-conquering CBR600F, but some riders wanted a more civilised means of going about their business that nevertheless still bore the FZR’s racier credentials, and voila, in 1996 Yamaha launched the YZF600R and christened it with more than mere initials: Thundercat. This new, fully faired model retained

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THE ROAD AHEAD FOR SUZUKI

Suzuki is slowly beginning to stand back up after the body blows it received from the economic collapse of 5 years ago. As the company gains balance on its feet and prepares to dust itself off, I fully expect it to rise to full height sooner rather than later. Truthfully, this is something I sense more than I know from being told, in part because Suzuki is keeping both marketing and product plans very much to itself—despite my trying to trick its PR staff into burping up info on tomorrow’s hardware. Damn professionals.

T e new V-Strom concept is appealing—and

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THE REAL TEST

To do anything these days, society gives us a test. If you want to live in Australia, you must pass a test. If you want a driver’s licence, you must pass a test. If you want to get through high school, you must pass several hundred tests and still have no direction in life.

It wasn’t that long ago that MA introduced a stricter method for coaching and allowing riders, especially juniors, on the track. At the moment, riders must do a minimum of five hours’ coaching each year and on each bike as they progress. To my way of

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THE Gold standard

2 0 1 2 BMW R 1 2 0 0 G S versus 2 0 1 3 R 1 2 0 0 G S

«Shocked at the difference!”

“Amazed a bike can improve so much in one year.”

“As different as two bikes with the same name could possibly be.”

Test Ride participants had the opportunity to ride the 2012 and ’13 GS models back to back, and the results were dramatic. Tough they still look similar in silhouette and even on the spec sheet, BMW’s all-new R1200GS couldn’t be more different than the bike that it replaces, as the

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The Bike That Berg Built

As a bike builder, Denny Berg has a lot to answer for—not least being his Cobra Sport Wing, created a full 10 years before Honda pulled the wraps off its new-for-2013 Gold Wing F6B. Similarities between Berg’s one-off custom and Honda’s production bagger are no coincidence. Of course, I may be biased. Denny is a good friend, and I count one of his builds, a hot-rod BSA Gold Star, among the handful of my bikes I’ll take to the grave. I’ve never told him this, but that Beezer, bought as a $100 basketcase when I was in junior college, significantly

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SUPER DREAM RACER

When you’re into your classics it can be a costly business — even if your chosen machine is a mere Super Dream. CMM meets Nick Jones to find out what is it about this humble Honda that inspires such fierce loyalty.

Perspective is everything in life. Take Nick Jones. He has a passion for the Honda Super Dream that borders on madness and it all stems from seeing one parked up in town as a nipper.

He recalls: “I was only about eight or nine when I saw one for the first time where I was growing up in Reading.

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STRIPPING YARNS…

Taking time out from a busy schedule, Steve Parrish is eager to crack on with pulling his FZ750 apart. What on Earth could go right?

What can you do in just under three hours and 10 minutes?

Well, you could watch films like JFK or The Green Mile but ex-racer and current BBC MotoGP pundit Steve Parrish can strip a Yamaha FZ750. Well, he can with a little help from his friends at IDP Moto.

50 WHAT’S THE STORY SO FAR?

Stavros came to CMM with a plan. The plan was to build something that he could ride in the

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RIDE ON

Hop is smashing up the hours and having a ball on the project Suzuki RMX450Z

Talk about extremes — it’s gone from bull-dusty dry conditions to extremely wet in my part of the world. We’ve had some of the biggest floods since 1968. You couldn’t get out for a ride without getting soaked straight off the bat so I just didn’t.

Call me soft but I wasn’t that keen to punish myself or the RMX. It would’ve been just my luck to have ended up upside-down in some flooded creek which wouldn’t have helped keep me on the DA project

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RELIGHTING THE FIRE

LIFE AFTER FACTORY RACING: DIRIACTION TAKES YOU ON AN EXCLUSIVE RIDE WITH AUSTRALIA’S ENDURO ICON

When Geoff Ballard resigned manager of Australia’s longest- standing enduro team last year, he set himself free. Years of devotion to steering a dominant force of riders towards becoming Australian champions was a burden now lifted from his shoulders.

While he certainly hadn’t severed all ties with the Yamaha family he’d long been campaigning for — nor were they about to abandon him — he was momentarily lost. The all-consuming world of chasing championships, race budgets, race bikes and rider contracts quickly drained from his

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PURE ENDURO

There’s something about dirt bikes that gets under your skin (and nails). Just ask Nick Green who was a passion for the Suzuki PE enduro range.

A rider popping a wheelle the length of Teignmouth seafront on a bright yellow two-stroke might not have done much for the image of motorcycling but 30 years ago It certainly left a mark on a Devon teenager.

The open-mouthed youth was Nick Green; the bike a PE Suzuki and three decades on from that memorable day he now owns one of the best collections of the iconic Japanese enduro machines in the country.

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