Kawasaki Delivers At Tough Jolivet

Pepson Plastics Kawasaki South Africa racing with Motul enjoyed a great debut in the 2021 South African Cross Country Moto Championship opener at Jolivet in KwaZulu Natal on Saturday. Open rider D’artagnan Lobjoit rode his KX450XC to a splendid fifth in the competitive OR1 class, Taki Bogiages came home seventh in an even harder fought […]

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Pepson Plastics Kawasaki South Africa racing with Motul enjoyed a great debut in the 2021 South African Cross Country Moto Championship opener at Jolivet in KwaZulu Natal on Saturday. Open rider D’artagnan Lobjoit rode his KX450XC to a splendid fifth in the competitive OR1 class, Taki Bogiages came home seventh in an even harder fought OR3 on a KX450XC and Senior stand-in Achim Bergman ended a fine podium third among the over-30s.

“Pepson Plastics Kawasaki South Africa racing with Motul had a very good start to our South African National Cross Country Motorcycle Championship campaign,” team boss Iain Pepper confirmed. “Jolivet was a good event and we are happy with our results — Dart was fifth in OR1, Taki was seventh in OR3 and Achim a fine third in Seniors — it was a great start for the team and we now look forward to improve and move forward.”

“Jolivet was very rough, rutted and gruelling,” D’artagnan Lobjoit pointed out. “ It took five hours to ride 250 kilometres and my big Pepson Plastics Kawasaki ran like a train all the way. “It’s also always a really tough one to race against the locals in KZN, so to be the first upcountry bike home on our team debut was a brilliant result and a fine way to thank Kawasaki, Pepson Plastics, Motul and the whole team for their faith in me.”

“Wow that was a tough one,” Taki Bogiages explained. “But my Pepson Plastics Kawasaki racing with Motul KX250XC was so well suited to the terrain and allowed me to fight hard all the way “My quickest lap was competitive too and we have so much more to come — this was only our first national on my green machine and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”

“A week ago I thought I would be braaing at home on Saturday!” Achim Bergman grinned. “Then Iain called and told me that he’d hurt his shoulder and asked if I wanted to ride his Pepson Plastics Kawasaki South Africa racing with Motul KX250XC at Jolivet. “And here I am on the podium! “What a week — I really enjoyed riding the Kawasaki and am hugely grateful for the experience — I trust the Pepson team is satisfied with my weekend!”

“We now have a month before the second round in Madimode in four weeks time,” Iain Pepper concluded. “That terrain is also a little more suited to our Gauteng-based team’s forte of a faster route, so we’re looking forward to spending a little more time testing and fettling our bikes to be even better prepared for Nylstroom. “These are exciting times for the team!”

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LEAN, MEAN & LIME GREEN – KAWASAKI IS BACK!

The hills of Jolivet won’t be the only verdant green highlights when that KwaZulu Natal scenery comes alive to the sounds of the 2021 South African Cross Country Moto Championship opener Saturday 27 February. That’s because it’s also a huge day for Kawasaki, when those famous green XC machines return to the national level racing […]

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The hills of Jolivet won’t be the only verdant green highlights when that KwaZulu Natal scenery comes alive to the sounds of the 2021 South African Cross Country Moto Championship opener Saturday 27 February. That’s because it’s also a huge day for Kawasaki, when those famous green XC machines return to the national level racing fray for the first time in several decades.

Six all-new Pepson Plastics Kawasaki South Africa racing with Motul entered KX XCs will come under starters orders at Jolivet. And if the past weekend’s Rustenburg, Gauteng regional opener was anything to go by, the green machines can be expected to be right in the thick of the action from the get-go.

Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul OR3 class duo Taki Bogiages and Kyle MacKenzie will want to go a couple better following a brilliant debut in Rustenburg last week. The two KX250XC riders came home third and fourth in that super-competitive class. “Our Kawasakis proved a bit of a surprise at the regional,” Bogiages admitted. “Now we’re ready to do the team proud in our first National.” MacKenzie added: “Kawasaki is back in town — watch this space!”

Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul open class OR1 riders D’artagnan Lobjoit and Craig Alcock also enjoyed a great outing in the regional and both are champing at the bit to race their KX450XCs at National level. “I had a great run to fourth in Rustenburg,” D’artagnan explained. “We’ve worked hard to get there and we are ready for the national — I can’t wait.” Alcock added: “I truly love racing my KX450XC — I just can’t wait for Jolivet!”

Circuit car race fans will recognise Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing’s Senior rider Lee Thompson’s name. “I had a great run to fourth in Rustenburg and I’m now getting to grips with my KX250XC. “We are ready for Jolivet.” Team principal and Masters rider Iain Pepper will sit Jolivet out with a hurt shoulder, but Senior rider Achim Bergmann will race his machine in KZN. “I am truly thankful for this opportunity — I’m over the moon,” Achim admitted.

“We are delighted to be able to bring Kawasaki Motorcycles South Africa back to National Cross Country racing,” Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing team principal Iain Pepper concluded. “We had some great results in our regional dress rehearsal last week, but now the real race begins. “We’d like to once again thank Chris and Kibble from KMSA for putting their faith in us and we look forward to flying that Kawasaki flag high in Cross Country Racing.”

Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul races with Bikewise, Pirelli tyres, Arai helmets, Renthal handlebars, Acerbis plastics, DID chains and SBS brakes. Its riders are protected by Fasthouse SA clothing and they are kept in top form by Margie Smith Training. The Green Team races Kawasaki’s brand new bespoke 2021 KX250XC and KX450XCs cross country racers based on its ’21 KX motocross machines.

Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing will rekindle Kawasaki’s rich Cross Country Racing history that saw legends, the likes of Alfie Cox, Neil Woolridge, Chris Brand and others riding the green machines to many a race win and championship over the years.

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SYM T1 WOLF – Inner City Slicker

SYM’s smaller Wolf is almost identical to its 250 cc big brother. Styling is heavily reminiscent of Honda’s CB1000 R, even down to a look-alike rear wheel design. Seat design is stepped, with a tidy tailpiece and grab handle with a distinctly SV Suzuki look. Toss in a tidy rear-wheel hugger and belly pan and […]

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SYM’s smaller Wolf is almost identical to its 250 cc big brother. Styling is heavily reminiscent of Honda’s CB1000 R, even down to a look-alike rear wheel design. Seat design is stepped, with a tidy tailpiece and grab handle with a distinctly SV Suzuki look. Toss in a tidy rear-wheel hugger and belly pan and you have a really handsome and appealing visual package, especially in the glossy black paint job of our test unit.

Hop aboard and everything falls neatly to hand. The handlebars have a unique bend and fall nicely to hand, which gives them the feel (but not looks) of really nice “Clubman’s”. The seating position centralises you nicely with your feet under your butt (where God intended) and a slight forward lean to your torso. Nice.

Gauges are a combination of digital and analogue. With an analogue rev counter flanked by a neat digital display for speed, trip x2, gear indicator and fuel gauge. A tiny colour-coded flyscreen rides over the headlight and looks the business, rather than performing functionally. No problem, given the relative performance of a 125 cc bike.

Talking performance, the fuel-injected 124,5cc, air-cooled single develops a sedate 9 hp @ 8500 rpm and 6,64 Ft. Lbs of torque @ 6500. It does need to be fed quite a few revs to get going, however, it has a flattish torque curve once rolling. Overall performance is satisfactory, albeit somewhat tame. Top speed is in the order of 110 kph but it really feels like you are caning the little motor unmercifully at that speed. Practically speaking it has a cruising speed of around 95 kph. Adequate for urban sprawl if you steer clear of highways. Filtering through traffic is effortless given the bikes tidy dimensions. A 790 mm seat height has you flat-footed at the lights.

For me, where the little SYM shines is in the chassis and suspension department. Generally speaking, ‘budget bikes’ have been guilty of offering up really wimpy suspension. You get the feeling that all the shocks do is keep the wheels suspended in the chassis, rather than doing anything to enhance the ride. The Wolf’s conventional, right side up front forks and preload-adjustable rear monoshock, are decently damped and turn into corners nicely, with the stability and accuracy of way sportier bikes. In a way, this is why the engine underwhelms because the chassis feels so capable. You would like to charge a bit harder than the 125cc’s allows.

Brakes are discs at both ends and are perfectly capable of hauling the SYM to a stop without fuss or bother. The bike comes standard with both a main-stand and side stand, which is just as well, because the side stand is a spring-loaded affair. This means, like was the case with BMW’s in the seventies, that you have to lean all the bikes weight on the side-stand so that it will not spring back. If you are on even the slightest downhill it is guaranteed to roll off the stand. Goodbye clutch lever and flicker. Bad idea. The main-stand is a doddle to use on a light (140 kg) bike so just use it habitually.

I am quite a keen cyclist when time allows. If any of you play in that space you will know how you have to shell out serious loot for even half-decent bicycles these days. For the price of this little SYM (R20,995) you would only get a ‘hardtail’ bicycle, ie, one with no back suspension. Bicycle parts are also fragile and expensive. I got thinking about it and here you have a proven, super reliable and economical motorcycle that can carry you far and wide for similar money to a bicycle. E-bikes are touted as the go-to urban commuting tool. Well guys, you would have to cough twice the price of a SYM T1 Wolf and not even come close in terms of performance, range and safety.

A 16l tank on the SYM will take you over 500 k’s between fill-ups. There is such a place in our gridlocked urban sprawl for bikes like this, which may be low on excitement, but off the scales for practicality, where the purchase price would literally be recouped in next to no time by your fuel saving.

Surely the masses will ‘get it’ at some stage, as they have in the rest of Africa. Problem is, in South Africa, we still have First World pretensions, almost as if it is ‘infra dig’ to commute on a small capacity motorcycle. Look around and wise up SA, there is a whole world of convenience waiting for you!

Article by Dave Cilliers/ZA Bikers and Photo’s by Bjorn Moreira/ZA Bikers

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