2019 MotoGP Predictions and Changes

The new year has basically just arrived, and every petrol head is already talking about the biggest sports and what might happen, including MotoGP. There is a lot of changes to the teams, and the bikes are also changing a bit, making the talks even bigger as we might see a mix up of events as they race around the biggest international circuits.

Interestingly, many aren’t looking at the front racers for the biggest changes, but rather in the mid-field as we could see some new opportunities. Sure, the winner of MotoGP is important, but we also see major fights for the other titles, including top rookie, best improvements and more.

When it comes to the actual title, it’s almost impossible to look past Marquez. In fact, most aren’t even wondering about if he would win, but rather wonder by how much. This is already a bold statement seeing as the season hasn’t even started, but there’s no denying that the RC213V Honda will be improved on its already amazing performance in 2018.

MotoGP Bike Changes

Sure, each team finds new ways to improve their bikes and focus on unique sections. For example, the HRC team once again focuses on top speed runs but redesigning the front of the bike, but we also see some new standards enter the race.

One of the biggest changes applies to the IMU device of the bikes, which is used to communicate with the ECU. This device tells the computer and team what the current leaning angle of the bike it, which is important for changes.

The IMU will now be a standard device across all the teams, meaning fine tuning won’t be an option anymore. This has brought changes to bring the field closer together and make it more exciting as everyone would be able to keep up more. We know, it’s not like MotoGP isn’t already a close sport, but why not make it more competitive, right?

New Racers

With loads of changes and interesting predictions, we also see some new racers joins the field who have already shown some amazing results. There are currently four teams getting new racers for the season ahead, each determined to lead. As we all know, MotoGP is on a whole new level, but if history is any indication, it’s well worth reading up on what they’re capable of before rushing off to place your bets.

We’ll get to see what these new rookies can do soon enough, especially since the first test is just around the corner. The first new face in MotoGP is Miguel Oliveira who is making his way to the Tech 3 Racing KTM. There’s also Francesco Bagnaia who forms part of the Alma Pramac Racing team. We also get to meet Fabio Quartararo who is ready to join the field with the Petronas Yamaha team. Finally, we also see a new face with the Team Suzuki Ecstar team, named Joan Mir.

Modern Single Cylinder Engine vs. Push Rod Engine

Push Rod engines to use technology that’s old and just don’t need to be as efficient as modern engines that have completely gotten rid of the pushrods and have the cam directly above the valves instead. However, both these engines are still being used to this day.


The majority of motorbikes use the modern engine setup, but there are still some Harleys and Chinese knock-offs that use the technology. To understand the difference, we look to look at how these engines work, which mainly revolves around the way the valves open and close. Sure, many other aspects of the engine have changed over the years, but to compare a pushrod engine to one with a cam over the valves, this is the best place to start.


Push Rod Engines


A push rod engine has a camshaft right above the crank but below the valves. A single cylinder engine has 2 lobes, ones opening the inlet valve and the other opening the exhaust valve, which is about the same as any other engine. Some might have more valves, but the concept remains about the same.


From the cam, the engine uses pushrods that connect to the valve rocket, which is a simple plate that can tilt back and forward. When the cam lobe comes around, it pushes the tappet that’s connected to the push rod, which then lifts the rocket on the one side, making the other side tilt down and force the valve to go open.


The valve closes with a spring and ensures the tappet remains attached to the cam lobe for the best performance. However, since the spring can vibrate at higher revs, the engines tend to lose power when you rev it really high, making them ideal for lower RPM needs.


Over Head Cam Engines


An overhead cam engine is what we see in most modern bikes. They work a lot better and can rev much higher since the cam is above the engine and connects more directly to the valves.


As with the pushrod engine, the car is driven from the crank as well, but instead of gear, it runs off a chain that runs from the bottom of the engine all the way up to the top where the cam is.


These engines also use 2 lobes, one controlling the inlet and the other opening the exhaust valve. As you can see from the picture, it is in stage 1, meaning the inlet valve is open and allows clean air to enter the engine along with petrol. On the next compression, the spark plug will ignite the mixture, causing higher pressure and forcing the piston to go down, giving you power. As the piston reaches the bottom, the cam would have turned to over the exhaust valve, allowing the dirty air to flow out and repeat the process.


Since the valves are controlled directly from the cam, they have a lot more control as they have more stability, allowing the engine to rev much higher without valve float or bounce.

Doing Basic Carburettor Checks if your Bike Doesn’t Start


Having an engine that just refuses to start can be one of the most annoying things of them all. It seems so simple as you only need fuel and spark, but it can be a little more complicated. Luckily, the other checks are easy and once they’re all sorted, it can only be the carb giving you the issues.

In the guide below, we run through a few common issues you’ll find on a motorbike carb that could give you a headache when it comes to starting. Having the right mixture is important as it determines how well the bike runs.

Start with Timing and Spark

To get the fuel to burn in the engine, you need to have a strong enough spark and that spark has to ignite at the exact right time. Therefore, before you do anything to the carb, check that the timing is right by lining up the crank mark with the cam gear.

Once that’s confirmed to be in good order and all covered up again, remove the spark plug wire, put a screwdriver up the plug and let it lay somewhere close to metal (about quarter of an inch away). Do not touch the screwdriver while testing as it will give you a shock. With the screwdriver in place, turn over the engine while looking at the gap between the screwdriver and metal part and you should see a spark running between them.

If you don’t see the spark, you might have a faulty CDI, coil or even spark plug wire, which might just be your problem. First, replace the items mentioned and ensure you get spark before moving on. If you get a spark that you didn’t get before, put the bike back together and try start it first.

Checking the Carb

If you have spark but the engine won’t turn, move on to check the carb. Start with the float by using the carb is actually getting petrol. Towards the bottom of the carb, you’ll find a nozzle and a screw. Attached a clear pipe to the nozzle and turn the screw, which should start to fill the pipe with petrol. Allow it to run through just a little to ensure the carb is getting enough fuel and that it’s clean.

Before you detach the pipe, hold the bike in an upright position and hold the tip of the pipe upwards next to the carb to see the level of the float. The petrol should reach about the high of where the float bowl and carb meet.

Clean the Carb

If the float is around the right level, you’ll need to remove the carb, open it up and use a decent carb cleaner to clear the jets. Be sure to make marking of your air mixture and idle screws and count how many times they turn out as this will make reinstalling a lot easier.

Learning How to Wheelie


One of the most desired tricks for any beginner is learning how to pick up the front wheel and controlling the power for as long as possible. We have all seen the funny videos of people trying to learn the art of a wheelie only to find themselves falling off the bike or completely flipping it backwards.

Of course, none of us want to be in those videos or flip the bike in front of our friends or even worse, the club. Well, if you take the time and practice, you will find most ringed the wheelie is actually very easy as the bike allows you to take full control as long as you stay focused and consider all the possibilities.

Below, we look at the steps of performing a wheelie and how you can go from being an admirer to getting your own front wheel up in the air or impress everyone.

What Bike You Need

Many people make the mistake of using a big superbike to perform their first wheelie or attend to it at least. This is the worst possible way to start as the bike is heavy, has a lot of power and can be extremely intimidating when you try to do stunts such as wheelies.

To get started, it is recommended to use a smaller bike such as a 125 or even 250 dirt bike. These have a lot more power than you think and are more than capable of lifting the front wheel, some even without using the clutch. The benefit of these bikes is that they weigh a lot less, some more than 200 lbs less than superbikes, making them easier to control and they are not as intimidating.

Where to Start

Get ready by pitting on the right protective gear and your helmet. It is best to go to a quiet road or even a dirt road where there aren’t any obstacles or trees nearby. The more space you have to make mistakes, the better as this will avoid you getting hurt on your first few tries.

Before you begin to try wheelies, take the bike for a spin and get used to when it delivers power. If you are borrowing a dirt bike from a friend, you’ll have to spend at least half an hour just getting used to the bike, especially 2 strokes with their sudden power peaks.

Practice Wheelies

Once you got the bike all sorted if you want to start with the most difficult wheelies as these will give you the best technique and the best results. Depending on how much power the bike has, start in first or second gear and move slowly. Always be sure to keep your foot on the back break ready to catch the bike if the wheelie goes too far.

In the beginning, you just want to of the touch while giving it a bit of juice, just enough to get the front wheel all the ground and back down. Do this as often as possible and find your comfort zone before giving more gas as you did to touch and get the front wheel higher.

Tuning Your Bike for the Best Performance


It doesn’t matter if you’re on a dirt bike, super-bike, adventure bike or even a cruiser, getting it to run perfectly is a must. Those who want to apply additional modifications would need it to run right so that any new additions work well and don’t cause even more trouble.

Luckily, a motorbike is easy to tune, but you need to know what to do before just diving in. The most common out of tune item on a bike would be the carburetor, followed by the ignition timing and finally the valve timing.

Most of the time, just the carb’s timing already solves most of your problems with idling and even some misfiring issues. If you’re sure the carb is clean, the jets are clear and they are the right size, you’re all good to go on following this guide to tune it right. If you’ve applied addition mods to the bike already, including a better air filter or had the head gas-flowed for example, you might need to replace the jets as it would be running lean. Remember, the more air the engine gets, the more petrol the mixture needs.

Before you begin the tuning below, it’s recommended to replace the spark plug as this ensures the bike runs well.

Tuning the Carb

To tune the carb, you’ll need to heat up the motor, which simply requires a 10 to 15 minute ride. When you get back, don’t turn off the bike. Look for both the air and fuel screws on the carb and be careful not to burn yourself on the motor.

The air screw commonly sits between the carb itself and the engine. It could be on the side or even at the bottom pointing downwards. The fuel screw would be on the side with a Philips head. If you’re working on a 2-stroke, the air-flow screw would commonly be situated away from the engine.

Turning the air screw clockwise would make it lean as more air comes in while turning it the other way makes it richer as the fuel in the air is higher than it should be. It’s the opposite with the fuel screw as a clockwise turn would make it richer as it allows more petrol and an anti-clockwise turn would make it leaner as it limits the amount of petrol.

To start tuning, use the fuel (idle) screw to increase the revs to around 3000 rpm, then use the air flow screw and turn the bike completely lean. It will decrease the RPM’s as you turn it, but make sure it doesn’t go too low and kill the engine.

You’ll find the bike runs, but with a quick look at the tachometer, you’ll find it’s not steady. The final step is to start turning the idle screw anti-clockwise, which is sure to increase the RPM’s once again. However, don’t turn it too fast (1/8th of a turn at a time). Once you get to a point where the tachometer is stable and around 1,100 RPM, you’re most likely at the perfect tuning position. Repeat the process if you need to or to simply ensure you’ll got it as good as it can be. A quick twist at the throttle would ensure you’re spot on as it responds quickly.

Heading Off-Road? Choose These Entry Level Boots


Whether you’re on a dirt bike, quad or taking your adventure bike off-road, having protection for your feet, ankles and shins are very important. There are various objects that would do some real damage that you won’t commonly find on the road, which is why it’s well worth investing in boots.

The great thing is, you don’t have to go spend huge amounts of cash on the best brands an many now provide excellent protection for under $150. These boots aren’t only great for riding but they also offer a comfortable and secure fit for on-road use as well.

While all of the boots mentioned below are similar in many ways, they certainly have their own unique benefits that would make a difference to your particular requirements. We go over some of the best entry-level options below, allowing you to see the differences and how they can work for you.

O’Neal Element – $149

The O’Neal Element boot is a great choice for riders who want great protection, save some money and don’t mind getting black boots as it’s the only color they come in. This is an excellent example of a decent entry-level boot that provides great styling with white stitching and a molded sole design with additional padding over the toes and shin area. It provides a very comfortable fit but tends to be a little tight at first, meaning you’ll need to wear it in for the perfect fit.

Thor Blitz – $139

Right off the bat, the Thor Blitz boot provides more options, including 4 colors that allow you to choose according to your kit. In terms of protection, the boot actually offers a similar range of features at a $10 lower price tag.

It provides a traditional stitched on sole and includes the metal plate on the toes. It also has excellent shin protection with the shin plate and provides 3 straps to keep the boot secure. It’s also quite stiff as a new boot, which might call for some adjustment once you’ve had it on a few times.

Answer AR1 – $139

The Answer AR1 boot comes in at a great price but offers a better range of features compared to the boots mentioned above.

There’s a lot that stands out on the boot, especially in comparison to the other boots. Firstly, it’s a bit flatter to provide more control and allow you to really grip onto the bike. It also offers a bigger opening at the top that allows you to use slip-in knee guards without making it too tight, making it a great choice for those who want to use a full MX kit.

The boot offers a lot more protection and comfort, not just with heat protection around the calf, but with a special designed D3O light in-sole with shock absorbing. It also offers a much nicer interior with additional padding and material that’s sure to last longer.

Maintaining your Motorbike Chain


Motorbikes require lots of care and maintenance, especially when it comes to the drive train, brakes and other commonly used. It might be annoying at times and even get a little messy, but once you get into the habit of maintaining each aspect of the motorbike, it will never run better, and you’ll always have the cleanest bike at the gathering.

One of the most important parts of the motorbike is the chain as it connects to both the gearbox and the back wheel and is actually the most important part to make the bike move forward. The chain isn’t one of those parts that you can just do once a year and expect it to last, no matter how often you ride.

With that said, it’s important to mention that different types of bikes require their own unique maintenance as well. For example, a road bike might not require the same maintenance as a dirt bike that’s covered in mud and dust all the time. Naturally, the dirt bike needs more care and lubrication, but don’t underestimate the requirements of your road bike.

Below, we look at how you need to take care of your chain and how quickly it actually is. Most recommend cleaning the chain about every 500 miles, which would be a simple scrub down and checking that everything is still in order. Once every 1,000 miles, it’s worth stripping down everything off the chain and reapplying the lubricant.

Determine the Chain you Have

The older chains look exactly the same as the ones we use today, but the difference is they don’t have O-rings on each and every link to ensure dirt and dust doesn’t go into the actual moving parts of the chain. In most cases, you’ll have an O-ring chain, unless you’ve chosen a special racing chain or off-road chain for your bike. The difference with these chains is with cleaning as you cannot use harsh cleaning methods such as metal brushes on a chain with O-rings as you’ll damage them.

If you aren’t sure what chain you have, it’s safest to just assume you have an O-ring chain as none of the cleaning procedures for the O-ring chain would be bad for the older chain.

What You’ll Need

There are a few additions for the toolbox when it comes to tool maintenance as you’ll need a special cleaning spray, which would be available at most spare shops. Be sure to choose one that’s O-ring friendly as the others might include cleaning chemicals that would hard the O-ring, which would basically end your chain’s life much sooner.

Get a nylon scrubbing brush as well. These allow you to really get in there and get the rest of the dirt loose after spraying the chain cleaner on it. Don’t be shy with the cleaner either. The tins are cheap and actually contain a lot of cleaner.

Finally, once the chain is clean and dry, apply chain wax. This is much better than normal lubricant as it doesn’t fling off the chain all over the bike when you take it out for the first time. To apply it, simply apply a single layer of the wax to the inside of the chain.

Best All-Round Adventure Bikes


The adventure bikes range has become extremely popular over the last few years. The BMW GS series might have been the most popular of the lot, but now just about all manufacturers are creating the ultimate adventure opportunity of their own. Not only are the big engine 1200s available, but some even cater to newer riders with everything from a 300cc, including BMW.

Today, we’re not looking at a specific engine size or price tag, but rather some of the best adventure bikes out there. Each of them has their own advantages, have become extremely well-known with sports or simply reputation and they all have what it takes to put a smile on your face as you discover new roads or even create some of your own.

On the list today, we take a look at the Triumph Tiger 800 XRt, the BMW 1200GS, the KTM 1050 Adventure and of course, the Honda African Twin. There’s no doubt that each of these bikes are leaders in the adventure category, so much so that most state that it comes down to preference.

Power and Engines

When we look at the power and price of these bikes, it’s very much so. The BMW is the most expensive, but it also offers the most power with 125bhp. The other 3 bikes actually make the same amount of power (94bhp) and offer small differences in price, but they are all a couple of thousand less that the mighty BM.

It’s understandable that the BMW comes with more power and a higher price as the bike has at least 150cc more than any of the others on the list. It would have been great to compare a 1,000cc BMW to the others, but when it comes to adventure bikes, BMW goes from the popular 800cc straight to the 1200GS.

The Honda features a parallel twin 4-stroke 998cc power plant while the Triumph keeps with an 800cc 4-stroke inline triple engine. The KTM is the second biggest of the bunch, offering an odd 1050cc engine that’s liquid cooled like the others and comes with a v-twin 4-stroke engine.

How they Perform

Most who have been waiting for the Honda’s arrival expected the bike to be somewhat bland and not nearly as good as the competition, but as with most of their new arrivals, the manufacturer delivers an excellent bike that’s quick on the throttle and offers an amazing ride all-round. Even the exhaust isn’t what you’d expect from Honda as it delivers a roar right through the rpms, giving that real adventure bike touch.

The BMW is the perfect companion for those who like it stick to the road a little more while still having all the benefits of an off-road bike. It’s simply better equipped and great choice, even with the additional weight.

The Tiger also has many of the same gadgets as the BMW, but it just doesn’t seem to have the same quality and finish as the BMW. Sure, the BMW is getting a little older and its certainly time for an all-new model, but there’s no denying that it really works well. It’s not a major off-road bike either as it just doesn’t do as well as the BMW or the Honda.

The KTM was rather disappointing as it just didn’t deliver the same features and excellent ride-ability. Sure, it’s the direct rival for the Africa Twin, but it just doesn’t seem to be completed and the ride-ability and comfort just doesn’t stack up with any of the others.

Studies Show Black Bikers are at 50% Higher Risk of Death

The study of accidents isn’t something everyone can handle, but it’s important data that has to be captured to reveal certain aspects of why it happens, who’s involved and how it can be improved.

The studies have recently revealed that black bikes are at an astonishing 50% higher risk of dying from a motorcycle accident, even though they are usually the ones that wear the protective gear more than those fatal accidents with white riders involved.

The study reveals various possibilities for the result, including medical care that might not be as good as the ones white riders choose. Just this one step could reveal various possibilities, including the response times of the emergency teams and their level of training. They might also not provide the same level of aftercare on cheaper plans, leaving riders with land-lasting effects that eventually lead to death. The study reveals that even white riders who crash without helmets are less likely to die from the injuries.

However, it also has a lot to do with the quality of gear as studies reveal that the majority of black bikers tend to wear the cheaper gear that might not have the same safety level and passed the same tests as the bigger brands.

How to Improve Your Safety While Riding

While it’s possible to spend thousands of dollars on decent safety gear, it’s not always a must, but there are a few things to take into consideration when you get your first motorbike.

Of course, the first and most important is your riding gear as this determines just how badly you’ll get hurt. This is even more important than a better medical aid as poor gear might not even lead anything for the medical team to work with.

You don’t have to spend thousands on your gear, but there are a few things you would need to spend more on. The first is the helmet as this protects the most important part of your body, which is also the most expensive when it comes to surgeries. Therefore, spending a bit more for a helmet that has the safety rating and has passed the safety tests would be the first step.

Secondly, you’ll want a padded jacket that comes with additional protection over your back and chest. These might not be the most comfortable as they restrict movement, but in case of an accident where you side, you’re sure to see the benefit of these.

Once again, leather isn’t a must, and you don’t have to spend thousands. In fact, the cheaper materials are a lot cheaper and actually provide very similar safety features as the leather jackets. Just make sure it’s got decent padding in the right places and that it has passed the safety tests.

Finally, you’ll have to choose a pair of reinforced boots that protect your feet and ankles. The new technology makes boots really easy to wear and comfortable while still offering the highest possible level of safety. These are important as bike accidents commonly begin by trapping the rider’s foot between the road and the bike itself.

Black Female Biker Club in South Africa

Biker clubs are all over the world and has been around for many decades. Even though it’s been dominated by men, there’s no reason women can’t take to the roads on two wheels, especially not when it for a good cause.

With the apartheid now behind the country, it was only a matter of time before black bikers would take to the streets and also enjoy the roads as many other clubs have been. Today, the biking community doesn’t just feature a large variety of mixed cultures, but now it even includes a few women clubs.

One of the biggest has over 400 riders that have made their way across the country a couple of time. Not only do they do it for the open road and wind in their hair, but also for good social causes.

The Bikes they Ride

Most would be impressed to find out that these women ride all types of bikes, including anything from the classical Harley Davidson bikes through to incredibly fast sports bikes such as the Kawasaki 1400 and even a few Ducati models.

The club is inviting of new riders who usually begin on smaller bikes. However, it doesn’t take long for the women to work their way up and enjoy the power of 600cc and bigger options.

To most male clubs in South Africa, it’s rather strange to see women handle the amount of power these bikes have to offer, but they are all left speechless when some of the ladies begin to perform tricks!

What They Bring to the Biker Club World

Some of the riders comment that the introduction of women in motorcycle has softened the rough “biker gang” status, making it more enjoyable for everyone and making it less threatening. Besides, a bike you club is not all about violence, but rather the ability to enjoy the roads with your friends.

They also say that the bike it turned has allowed them to become a stronger family who share the same amount of love (if not more) than male biker clubs. They also follow various charitable causes and make excellent progress when it comes to support.

As mentioned above, the women in the club have taken the time to travel throughout Southern Africa, making the new biking style known while also allowing women throughout the country to see that biker clubs aren’t just for the men.

Getting Along with the Male Clubs

It is important to remember that this is not a biker gang but rather a group of women who made their way into the biking world. Therefore, it’s not about dominating and violence, but rather to ride for the good causes and enjoy what these motorcycles are capable of.

The client gets along well with just about any male club as they get together regularly and enjoy gathering together. Of course, many of the women riders have husbands in the male clubs, turning the whole motorcycle environment into one big South African family.

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