Harrison ready for Spring Cup opener

Harrison ready for Spring Cup opener

The 2015 road racing season kicks off in earnest this weekend with the traditional Spring Cup races at Oliver’s Mount near Scarborough.

Mar-Train racing embark upon their first full season of pure road racing with the enviable task of giving the new generation Yamaha R1 its first competitive road race at the tight and twisty North Yorkshire circuit. It has been a challenging and exciting winter of development for the Lisburn outfit as they take on the mantle of Yamaha UK’s Official Road Race team and spearhead the new R1’s road racing a**ault with Bradford man Dean Harrison.

After notching up a brace of second places to Guy Martin at last year’s Spring Cup, Harrison went on to score Lightweight, Junior and Senior wins at the Cock ‘O’ The North races in July including the feature race itself. Following on from successful pre-season tests both in Spain and at home the twenty six year old is keen to continue the success he enjoyed at “The Mount” in 2014.

Team Principal – Tim Martin

“It is always exciting to start a new racing season even more so when you are embarking upon a new challenge. I’m looking forward to a full road racing campaign and have high hopes for Dean, he proved last year that he can compete with the best riders on the biggest stage and Yamaha have now given him the tools to build on that. I am confident we won’t be far away in either class this weekend despite how early in the development stages we are with the YZF-R1M.”

Rider – Dean Harrison

“I can’t wait to get started, we’ve had three really productive tests and are a lot further on than I expected to be at this stage. The R6 is even better than last year and the R1M is just mega, easily the best bike I’ve ever ridden so it will be good to put it to the test and see how we get on. There is a good entry for this weekend so hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans and kick the year off with some good results.”

Qualifying takes place from 09:15 Saturday morning with the traditional aggregated events held on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Source: Harrison ready for Spring Cup opener

First ride Honda Forza 125 review

First ride Honda Forza 125 review

Pictures by Zep Gori, Francesc Montero and Ulla Serra

What’s that old cliché about bikes making you grin? Nothing makes Phil grin.

Ah, that’s better.

Twin-dial dash with rev-counter

THE term ‘maxiscooter’ once referred to leviathan-like, luxury-laden twist ‘n’ gos with 500cc-plus motors. They had 100mph performance, enough creature comforts to shame an East European family car and price tags that wouldn’t leave much change from £9K.

Machines like the pioneering Yamaha T-Max in 2000 redefined scooter performance, thanks to its (then) 40hp twin-cylinder motor and clever chassis. Offerings such as Suzuki’s 650 Burgman and Honda’s 600 Silverwing provided luggage space, comfort and gizmos more commonly a**ociated with small cars. As exercises in excess, maxiscoots had it all.

Not anymore.

While range-toppers like the 650 Burgman have, admittedly, become bigger, flashier and even more expensive (the latest ‘Executive’ version is now £8,799), there’s also been a parallel trend for smaller capacity ‘maxiscooters’. Machines which deliver much of the comfort, equipment and luggage capacity of the originals, but with smaller engines of 250 and now 125cc. It makes more sense than you might think, too, by putting all that comfort and class within reach of A1-licence holders, ie those most likely to want this sort of vehicle.

So, Yamaha’s Tmax 500 was joined first by the Xmax 250 and, more recently, the popular Xmax 125. A 125 joined the 400 and 650 in Suzuki’s Burgman range and there’s a steady flow of similar newcomers from the likes of Piaggio, Peugeot and Kymco.

And now Honda itself has finally joined the quarter-litre superscooter class with this all-new Forza 125, which complements the existing 300cc version. The aim, Honda modestly claims, is to ‘be the very best a 125cc scooter can be’.

Even a cursory once-over shows this to be no idle boast. With no 125 badging to speak of, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Forza’s substantial, full-size proportions for those of a 250. The dual seat, with neat, contrasting stitching, is large and sumptuous. The bodywork (styled, incidentally, by the designer responsible for the wacky NM4 Vultus) succeeds at being both enveloping and sporty. Its front, in particular, has more than a shade of CBR600RR about it.

Everywhere you look there’s typical Honda quality and lavish equipment. Different materials and finishes – matt, satin, gloss – blend and compliment each other. All the lights – head, tail and indicators – are full LEDs.

Onlookers are left in little doubt the Forza is a quality piece of kit.

Inside (if scooters can have an ‘inside’), the impression continues. The dash comprises a full ‘car-style’ twin a***ogue dial layout, for speedo and tacho, though why you need a rev-counter on an automatic is beyond me.

There’s the usual (in this case beautifully damped) cubby hole in the fairing inner, complete with 12-volt power socket.

The mirrors are classily useful and also easily fold out of the way when wiggling through traffic.

But what already sets the new Forza apart from rivals, like Yamaha’s Xmax, is that it goes above and beyond the usual. So, for example, the new Honda features a switchable ‘idle stop’ function, whereby the engine turns off to save fuel after three seconds stopped in traffic. It then immediately restarts when you twist the throttle. If you prefer, you can easily deactivate it via a switch on the right-hand bar.

Honda’s newcomer also has what is almost certainly the most voluminous luggage space in the class under its beefy saddle. Two large full-faces are genuinely accommodated in the 48-litre cavity, or a lid and bag, or any similar combination of your choosing. While the Forza’s ‘piece de resistance’ is surely its one-hand height-adjustable windshield – a first in the class – whereby the screen slots in and out of the bodywork on a six-way ratchet system over a range of 120mm.

Continue reading

Related Content

The prototype Terminator needed work, especially on its vehicle selection software.

Sporty bodwork

Space under the seat for two lids and whatever that red thing is

LED lights all round and useful mirrors

It may sound like the new Forza is adding up to one substantial, overly sophisticated machine, and a bit of a handful for newcomers, but from the saddle it’s anything but. Honda claims to have gone to great lengths to keep its newcomer light, lean and manageable, and it seems to have succeeded. Slide on board, rock it easily off its mainstand (there’s a side stand, too) and the Forza immediately comes over as an easily manageable, typical scooter. It’s lighter and less c**bersome than more usual maxi-scooters but at the same time decently proportioned and not as dinky as most 125s.

Honda claims it’s a full 15kg lighter than its closest competitor, thanks to weight-saving measures such as an all-new part-alloy chassis. The starter motor and alternator are combined into one unit, which the firm says saves more weight.

The Forza’s just as natural and easy on the move. In town traffic its pick-up is pleasing and brisk enough to dart through the gridlock. The liquid-cooled four-stroke engine isn’t completely new; it’s an evolution of that already in Honda’s SH and PCX 125 scoots. But a full 60% of its components have been reworked in a bid, Honda says, to give the Forza class-leading sports performance while remaining inside the 15hp A1-licence condition. .

The result, from my seat-of-the-pants perspective, is pretty impressive in any case. Around town the Forza’s definitely perky and responsive enough. As the roads open up it will happily stay with traffic in the real world 50-70mph zone. It was only beyond that, on dual carriageways or motorways or brisk uphill gradients, that the 125cc unit gave its diminutive size away and began to feel at all labored or breathless.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still decent. Keep it wound open and the Forza will cruise at around 70 or so, enough to safely keep with M-way traffic. It will hit 80 tucked in with the aid of a downhill slope – and that’s better than some 250cc roadsters I could mention.

That performance will be enough for many and means the Forza also returns some pretty impressive economy figures. Honda claims 123mpg and even during our relatively thrash-happy test the Forza’s dash display claimed between 108-112. Either way, with a decent 11.5-litre tank, that’s enough for a useful range of between 250 and 300 miles or, as Honda put it, a week’s-worth of commuting.

And considering the Forza’s practicality, equipment and handling, that all makes it a happy place to be. With a 15/14-inch front/rear wheel combination, the new Honda gives a good blend of agility and stability. The 33mm forks and twin, five-way, pre-load-adjustable shocks give a plush ride that never feels wallowy.

The single disc front and rear, ABS-equipped brakes are smooth and strong enough and the machine’s overall balance and steering is just, well, right. It all works and does what you’d hope for from a scooter like this.

The Forza’s not perfect (nothing is, is it?). But it comes pretty close. The motor, though good, is still ultimately a 125 and on longer, faster trips there’s no getting away from that.

Although well-equipped and built, with some class-leading features, I’d have liked, say, span-adjustable levers. And I’m not entirely convinced adjusting the screen makes much difference, or that it’s as easy to do on the move as Honda makes out.

Finally, at around £4K, the Forza’s got the GT-style price to go with its GT-style spec and equipment.

However, the best never comes cheap. Honda set out to build a ‘premium 125 super scooter’ and the firm has done it. Scooters of 125cc don’t get much posher.

Model tested: Honda Forza 125

Engine: 124.9cc single

Price: £3,995 (TBC) plus on-the-road charges

Power: 14hp @ 8,750rpm

Torque: 8.9lbft @ 8,250rpm

Kerb weight: 161kg (162kg with ABS)

Tank capacity: 11.5 litres

Fuel economy (claimed): 123mpg

Seat height: 780mm

Colours: white/blue, brown, grey

  • Sign up for Visordown’s weekly newsletter, Bugsplat, to get the best motorcycle news, road tests and features plus exclusive competitions and offers direct to your inbox. Register as a Visordown member here and tick the box for Bugsplat in your newsletter settings here.

Related Content

Source: First ride Honda Forza 125 review

Challenging Day for Buildbase BMW at Donington Park

Challenging Day for Buildbase BMW at Donington Park

It was a challenging day for the Buildbase BMW Motorrad team in the opening round of the 2015 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.

After dominating the weekend and storming to pole position on Sunday, Ryuichi Kiyonari was unable to transform his pace into results. The Japanese rider struggled with a lack of feeling in the first race. These issues were resolved ahead of race two and he was able to run at the front, but pushing too hard too early meant he crashed out of a four-way battle for the lead on lap six.

Lee Jackson enjoyed two solid points-scoring finishes in his first race with the team as a full-time superbike rider. Two crashes on Saturday saw the Lincolnshire youngster qualify further down the field than he’d have liked but he fought through in both races to take 13th place.

Lee Jackson: 13th & 13th:

“I’m really happy with today’s results, after two crashes yesterday it’s really important to walk away with two solid finishes. As much as I’d have liked to be in the top ten I know what I’ve got to do and we made a lot of progress today so I’m pleased with that. I need to be able to get a good qualifying spot moving forwards so I can challenge further up in the races, but it’s not been a bad start. I’m looking forward to brands but it’ll be quite difficult with so many riders on such a small circuit!”

Ryuichi Kiyonari, 14th & DNF:

“Until this morning, this weekend had been almost perfect. We haven’t been fastest in every session but we were there most of the time. This morning the temperature was quite high, not very hot but it was much warmer than yesterday and feeling of the machine completely changed. It wasn’t a problem with the bike I just had no feeling. We made a small change for the second race and the feeling was better. I needed to pass the three in front but it was just too much too fast. Maybe because race one wasn’t very good I was too tense and hurried too much. The most important thing is we fixed the issue and because of that I’m feeling confident for Brands, I will try to win.”

Steve Hicken, Team Manager:

“It’s been a strange day. To dominate free practice and qualifying like we did to end up with the day that we had, jeez. It wasn’t what we expected! We’ll just have to dig deep and come back at Brands. We’ll have to start chipping away at points straight away as we need to get into that top six. We’re not lacking pace, we’ve got plenty of that. We’ll have to have a look at the reasons why race one and race two happened and take stock of it and come back stronger.”

The Buildbase BMW Motorrad team will be back in action in two weeks’ time at Brands Hatch.

Source: Challenging Day for Buildbase BMW at Donington Park



Belgium outfit Sarolea has launched its new 2015 Saroléa Electric Superbike at Autoworld, the vintage car museum in the centre of Brussels.

The new Saroléa is an evolution of the 2014 model and has been modified and enhanced on a number of levels. The Belgian team is now targeting a podium place at this year’s SES TT Zero Race on the Isle of Man.  The talented Scottish rider Robert Wilson, who flew over for the presentation, will once again ride the Saroléa SP7.

Team Saroléa are using the data obtained during last year’s race and testing to optimize and improve its motorcycle.  The new design has improved aerodynamics, which will provide higher top speeds. The motorcycle is considerably slimmer which also enhances the position for the rider.

Modifications to shift the centre of gravity will also increase the bikes handling. Saroléa has also managed to reduce the bike’s weight. The modifications are mainly related to the use of more Carbon Fibre and more t**anium parts as well as the use of 3D printed parts.

A proprietary Vehicle Control Unit and Battery Management System have been implemented. All communication is now flowing through fibre optics.

The biggest improvement however is the new motor. It has been entirely developed in house and it has a major increase in torque. Early tests by Saroléa are demonstrating a 50% increase.

With the launch of the new SP7, it is clear Saroléa wants to become one of the major brands on the electric motorcycle racing scene. Saroléa is using the extreme racing conditions presented by the TT Mountain Course as a research and development platform for its propriety Saroléa Electric Drivetrain.

Bike specifications


Total Weight (kg) – 190
Acceleration 0-100 kph (0-60 mph) – 2.8 sec
Maximum Speed (kph [mph]) – 270 [168]

Front – Bridgestone Racing Battlax V02 120/600R17
Rear – Bridgestone Racing Battlax V02 200/655R17

Front –  Beringer 320mm Aeronal discs              with Aerotec  Radial Calipers
Rear – Beringer Aerotec 2D1 caliper

Maximum Output (KW [hp]) – 110 [150] 
(Isle of Man configuration)
Maximum Torque (Nm) – 900
Battery Output Voltage (V) – 370 or more


Bridgestone Europe, Beta Tools, DQ Advocates, Punch, Motokouture, Seco Tools, Beringer, Autoworld Brussels,  Benton Apps, Atelier Noterman, Stoddart Racing.


Looking for Ulster GP info

Looking for Ulster GP info

I’m wondering what the events are on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the Ulster GP week in August.
We won’t be able to attend the big race on Saturday, and are hoping that there is lots of racing and practice from Wednesday through Friday.
Source: Looking for Ulster GP info

VJMC 2015 Show only a few weeks away now

VJMC 2015 Show only a few weeks away now

Hi, I would like to get the word out to all at :bikerie: that the 2015 Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club will hold their 5th show on Sunday the 3rd May 2015 from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the National Show Centre, Swords (beside the Coachmans Inn pub and across the road from Dublin Airport)

Admission is a mislay €5, so please support a club who tries hard to do positive things on the biking scene with very little funding. We cant afford radio advertising this year so please help get the word out there about the show :thumbsup2:

Here are some of the things that will be on display at the VJMC show –
BMW through the years display
A special Ralph Bryans display (Ireland’s only Moto GP champion and)
A special HRC bikes display
CBX owners club display
Z1 owners club special display
Special tiddler (mini bike) display
Goldwing display
IVVMCC Display
Race paddock
And loads of autojumble and trade stalls

There is a full restaurant on site, free parking and kids under 16 go free, not much else we can do to be honest :lbhbh:

Ok, lads and ladies, thanks, I will post again the week of the show as a reminder and if there is anyone who wants a stall please advise 0863238203 Jay €50 = small stall, €100 = big stall, €200 = very big stall, it will be cottage industry stuff like, metal polishing, custom builder stuff, seat upholstery, bits and bobs, stuff for your bike, clothing etc….

Thanks for the support :bikerie:

Also see www.vjmc.ie for photos of the 2014 show, we had 2000 visitors in attendance, so hopefully bigger and better for 2015, cool :lbhbh:

Source: VJMC 2015 Show only a few weeks away now

Wanted : gearbox for triton

Wanted : gearbox for triton

im building a triton (slowly) , its a 1951 tiger 100 alloy head engine and a slimline norton featherbed frame . frame is from a dominator iirc . i have plates for a bsa gearbox of some sort but will get/make new plates if needed . anything suitable out there ?
Source: Wanted : gearbox for triton