Kawasaki Scores First Cross Country Podium

Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing made its presence felt with a first podium at the second SA Cross Country national at Modimolle on Saturday. While results remain provisional following a scoring conundrum, D’Artagnan Lobjoit ended a stunning third in OR1 on his KX450XC, Taki Bogiages rode his KX250XC home fifth in OR3, Peter Holl was […]

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Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing made its presence felt with a first podium at the second SA Cross Country national at Modimolle on Saturday. While results remain provisional following a scoring conundrum, D’Artagnan Lobjoit ended a stunning third in OR1 on his KX450XC, Taki Bogiages rode his KX250XC home fifth in OR3, Peter Holl was also fifth in Masters on a similar machine and Kyle Mckenzie had an encouraging run in OR3.

“That’s Modimolle done and dusted!” D’Artagnan Lobjoit explained. “It was great to be back on my Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing KX450XC, which felt great the whole day in virgin conditions that also suited my riding style. “My Showa suspension soaked up the bumps when the track became rougher as the day went on to let me keep on charging hard. “I’m feeling comfortable and confident on my Kawasaki and looking forward to a good year ahead for the team and me!”

“The results are a bit confusing, but yesterdays race was really challenging for me,” Taki Bogiaiges explained. “I woke up feeling ill, which made it tough from the get go. “The terrain was really hard but awesome, my Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing KX250XC really felt great everywhere, even when I was really tired. “I pushed through and the result wasn’t bad! “I was one of many to get a little lost, so let’s see what happens, but I am delighted with a provisional third in class.”

My Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing KX250XC never missed a beat this weekend,” Kyle Mackenzie pointed out. “It performed perfectly throughout without any problems. “I really enjoyed the terrain that included everything from sand to fast flowing sections and then straight into the mountains and I felt more comfortable after each lap. “I’m happy with my fitness and never got tired — I am so lucky and privileged to be part of such an amazing team.”

Peter Holl was delighted with his one-off weekend on the little Kawasaki KX250XC. “I was shocked by the pace of my little 250cc machine,” the 2018 Masters champion admitted. “I’m used to the brute power of the 500 I usually ride and was expecting sto struggle, but the little Kawasaki 250 proved shockingly quick and so nimble, which made it possible for me to compete with the Masters on the 500s up front and that really is impressive.”Thanks to Iain and the ream for the chance to race!”

“The guys rode their hearts out and we scored some brilliant results at Modimolle this weekend,” Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing team boss Iain Pepper concluded. “In only our second race, we are on the podium on stock standard engines and suspension, which is truly heartening. “Now we need to continue to progress — we have a brilliiant team, great riders and great bikes — Pepson Plastics Kawasaki Motul Racing is only going to improve — see you at Vryburg at the end of May!”

Photo credit: GXCC / www.motorsportmedia.co.za

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Home Town Venue Awaits KRT

Kawasaki’s official WorldSBK team will continue its on-track preparations for the new season with Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea riding the new Ninja ZX-10RR in a two-day test alongside all their main 2021 competitors. The action will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, between March 31 and April 1, and just a few hundred […]

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Kawasaki’s official WorldSBK team will continue its on-track preparations for the new season with Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea riding the new Ninja ZX-10RR in a two-day test alongside all their main 2021 competitors. The action will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, between March 31 and April 1, and just a few hundred metres from KRT’s HQ and workshop facilities.

Each KRT rider has tested the latest Ninja ZX-10RR individually during their most recent track outings. Rea continued his winter testing schedule at Portimao in early March while Lowes rode at Jerez much more recently, after recovery from a shoulder injury sustained during a winter training incident.

Lowes’ positive Jerez track test was proof that he had recuperated well ahead of what will be the first main competitive test at the start of his second season as an official Kawasaki rider. Already a race winner on the previous ZX-10RR, Lowes is going out to confirm his base settings for 2021 and explore the furthest reaches of his new machine’s performance.

Six-times WorldSBK champion Rea set excellent lap times at his Portimao test, making early use of the performance enhancements on the 2021 model. With a higher revving engine and improvements to both front and rear aerodynamic designs the 2021 Ninja ZX-10RR is expected to be an even more potent track tool than its class leading predecessor.

The officially titled Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, also known as Montmelo, features a 4.627km long layout, comprising eight right and six left hand corners. It was a first-time WorldSBK circuit last season and will be on the calendar again this year, adding another spicy ingredient to the mix during what will be the first and only supported test of the 2021 season.

Due to the ongoing global pandemic the official KRT 2021 Team Launch event will be held online this year, with the new Ninja graphic design and colours unveiled at 19.00 CET on Tuesday 30 March, via the following link – https://kawasakiracingteamworldsbk.com. The Montmelo test will see Rea and Lowes in their full 2021 race livery for the first time, not the winter test graphics seen on track thus far.

Alex Lowes, stated: “This is going to be a good opportunity to go out and test again after blowing the cobwebs off at Jerez recently. We have two or three important things to try, especially on corner exit. We are looking to finalise our base setting for the year so that is the priority at this Montmelo test. Obviously we will also continue development of the new Ninja ZX-10RR, not only based on what we did in the recent test but also what we did in November last year. It is going to be great to get back out there with all our competitors. Montmelo is a track that I did not go well on last year so this is going to be a great opportunity to test and improve on that. It is also a track that I really enjoy, even though I do not have that much experience on it. Hopefully we will have good weather to get back to work. It is going to be great to be in our new colours. I really like the 2021 graphics for the KRT and Kawasaki racing project – I think they are great – so I am keen to see how it all looks on track and how it comes out in the pictures.”

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is an exciting time because although the start of the season seems far away this is the first official test where all our competitors will be on track together. So it will really feel like the start of the season. We have been focused in the off-season on developing our new Ninja ZX-10RR and step-by-step getting a good feeling. Barcelona is also a track that I have not done so many laps of in the past, but we raced there last year. We will keep understanding the track, all the needs, and it is my team’s home venue. We will arrive with our new visuals and colours as the team launch will occur just before the tests start. It will be exciting and I can’t wait to get started. I feel really well-prepared and I’m looking forward to carrying on what we have been doing in the last few months.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “This is an important test as it is the first opportunity we have to test alongside the other manufacturers, teams and riders. It will be a real chance to see where we are in terms of performance. We still have a month and a half before we start the championship so we have a lot of jobs to do, but this will be a very useful test to check where we are. I think it will be a chance to understand the situation for everybody. It is a ‘home’ test, very close to the workshop, so it is easy to attend this one and organise the logistics. We will also use this test to make the team launch. That will be an opportunity to show the new model, new colours, the new clothing and the whole team. We have prepared a very cool video which I think will be very interesting for people to watch.”

#NinjaSpirit

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First Ride: The New SYM NHX 125

Small capacity motorcycles are usually either affordable or good looking, but seldom both. That’s where the Taiwanese manufacturer SYM comes in. We’ve been massively impressed with their balance of cost and style so far, and the new SYM NHX 125 roadster looks to continue that trend. The NHX 125 shares the same bones as its […]

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Small capacity motorcycles are usually either affordable or good looking, but seldom both. That’s where the Taiwanese manufacturer SYM comes in. We’ve been massively impressed with their balance of cost and style so far, and the new SYM NHX 125 roadster looks to continue that trend.

The NHX 125 shares the same bones as its crossover sibling, the NHT 125—a bike that gave us a lot to rave about at just R29,000. The NHX is brand new and pricing has yet to be confirmed, but if it’s in the same ballpark, it’ll be hard to argue with.

Although they use the same motor, LCD display and combined braking system, the NHX sheds the NHT’s adventure bike styling for a roadster look and feel. It gets lightweight 17” alloy rims, sportier ergonomics and a minimalistic single headlight design.

Overall, it’s a more attractive bike. It looks dynamic without looking completely like a hooligan machine, but doesn’t drift towards the beige side of yawnsville either. The NHX should appeal to younger riders with its strikingly sharp lines, cool graphics, full LED lighting and usable tech.

Our test bike was dressed in a very striking red and grey livery, but to be honest, I prefer the blue and white option it comes in. It gets some faux carbon touches too, which add a pseudo-premium touch.

The big surprise is that this 125 has a full complement of LED lights—something my 2016 Yamaha MT-09 doesn’t even have. I really dig the headlight on the NHX, and the little ‘carbon’ flairs on either side of the headlight look pretty cool too. It also worked extremely well on my late commutes, but the clicking flickers can be annoying at a stop (they’re a good reminder for beginners, though).

Around the tank are sharp mini fairings with little air scoops to finish off the front of the bike’s design. Another nice touch from SYM is the swingarm-mounted license plate bracket, which cleans up the short tail section.

The NHX also has a handy centre-stand and tubeless wheels. And if you peer under the tail, you’ll find a pair of cut-outs that act as grab handles for getting it on and off the stand, adding practicality without visual bulk.

So it’s a 125 that looks the part and sounds the part—but does the NHX make as much sense as its proven sibling, the NHT? I spent a month, and a few hundred kilometres, on it to reach a verdict.

You’ll find the same 124.1cc single-cylinder fuel-injected motor from the NHT in the NHX, delivering 10 hp @ 8,500 rpm and 9.5 Nm @ 6,500 rpm. With 5 kilos less and sportier rubber, the NHX accelerated slightly better and used less fuel on the same daily commute as the NHT. Although a little better, the NHX still needs a lot of revs to get off the line, and unfortunately, high revs (6,000 rpm and higher) need to be maintained to keep it going up any sort of incline.

The motor pulls well, especially in third and fourth, which is where you need it the most. The NHX cruises comfortably at 90 km/h at around 7,000 rpm, leaving you with another 3,000 rpm before you max out at 116 km/h. Vibration is surprisingly low for a single, and SYM have even fitted a peppy sounding exhaust, too.

On the NHX, you get a very modish LCD display that’s laid out well and brightly backlit. From a trip meter and odometer, to fuel and battery levels and even a gear indicator, this 125 has got it all.

If you’re a millennial that needs to charge your phone, or newbie rider that needs to charge your GPS, the NHT has a USB charge port right at the top of the tank, too.

Generally, I found the cockpit a very comfy place to be. The leaned forward riding position connects you with the front wheel, and the one-piece seat is comfy, but a bit short for larger pillions. A big positive for the NHX is its low seat height of 780 mm, vs the NHT’s 818 mm, which makes the NHX more accommodating for a variety of riders.

The NHX offers a sporty ride, meaning you can enjoy some spirited cornering with utter confidence. I’ve ridden a few 125 cc bikes and many of them just struggle when it comes to balance and weight distribution—making the bike either super flighty, or seriously heavy to steer. The NHX feels perfectly balanced to me.

When it comes to slowing down, the NHX has schweet-looking CBS (combined braking system) equipped wavy discs upfront and at the rear. This is really nice while riding on the road, because you can pretty much stop using your front brake lever altogether and just modulate your braking with your foot. I did notice a delay when using both the hand and foot brake together, but other than that gripe, the brakes work well.

The NHX’s strong point is its great fuel efficiency, and the range it gets from its 11-litre tank. I managed to get an average of 31.6 km/L in hilly Pretoria—so with a quick calculation, you would get a range of 347 km.

Here’s a fun fact; the average teenager drinks 80-litres of sugary drinks a year. Let’s round that off at 7-litres a month, at R22 for a 2-litre soft drink, that’s R154 a month on sugary drinks, versus R176 for a tank of fuel that can take you far and wide. My advice, stop drinking crap and buy a bike instead!

Conclusion; the SYM NHX 125 is a great around town commuter bike for those who want to get an early start into motorcycling, or for those looking for an affordable daily runner. In all honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better starter bike—and if the NHX costs anywhere near the NHT’s R29,000, in my mind, it’s a done deal.

Article and Static Photo’s by: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

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