Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Learning motorcycle safety and riding skills in a basic riders course

Are you afraid to ride a motorcycle? Are you so nervous about motorcycles that even the written exam seems scary?

A recent story in the The New York Times tells the story of a skittish motorcycle beginner taking a basic riders course.

Basic riders courses start newbie riders out on simple tasks, like turning the bike. Participants in the course come from all walks of life and skill levels.

Within the microcosm of my Basic Rider Course, I recognized every cliché in the book. There were two men who bought Harleys when they turned 40. There was the wife who was sick of riding on the back of her husband’s bike. (So she bought her own 1,200 cc Hog.) There was the young daredevil who just got a sport bike. And there was the couple who wanted to ride together. All but two students (me and another journalist) already owned and rode motorcycles.

Motorcycle safety is more than just knowing when to switch gears or how to turn. Mental skills and keen observation are just as important.

Source: The New York Times

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Victory Vision Demo Ride Tour part of Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach

The Victory Vision motorcycle has been getting a lot of attention for its sleek looks and Ipod compatible sound system, but nothing beats seeing a bike like the Vision up close and taking it for a ride.

The Victory Motorcycles website offers cities and dates on the Victory Vision demo rides. The Victory Vision demo rides are part of Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach, October 18-21.

Source: Polaris Industries

LoJack reports 67% of motorcycle owners at risk of theft


LoJack Corporation recently released the results of an online "Fitness Test" geared to gauge the risk of theft for motorcycle enthusiasts. The online survey, a part of LoJack's ongoing education initiative with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), revealed that a full 67 percent of motorcycle owners who responded to the survey are at a high risk for theft. More than 1,800 respondents participated in the 10-question Motorcycle Theft Prevention Fitness Test on the LoJack website during the months of July and August 2007.

The Fitness Test revealed that the majority of respondents were at a high risk for theft because they are not taking necessary precautions, such as securing their bike to an immovable object when parked in a lot or garage, and arming their bikes with theft deterrents (alarms, kill switches, etc.) and recovery systems. Respondents did score well, however, when it came to applying good common sense theft protection measures, such as parking in a concealed area at home, parking in a well lit area in a garage/parking lot, and never leaving keys on the their parked bike.

The survey results come at a time when motorcycle theft rates are on the rise. According to the most recent figures by the NICB, 71,523 motorcycles were stolen in 2006. Motorcycle theft has risen a full 137 percent since the year 2000.

Source: LoJack

Monday, October 15, 2007

Jacket air-bag saves life of motorcycle rider

An air-bag motorcycle jacket saved Joseph McPhatter from serious injury after a wreck last September.

The WBALTV.com reports that McPhatter was thrown 100 feet and hit the ground at around 140 mph.

McPhatter was wearing air-bag jacket, which inflated and protected him from the force of the crash, leaving him with only minor injuries.

This is the first know instance where an air-bag style product has saved the life of a motorcycle rider.

Source: WBALTV.com

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

HFT by Honda - A New Automatic Transmission System for Motorcycles


With new motorcycle riders hitting the road for the first time, Honda's new HFT (Human-Friendly Transmission) is a welcome advancement to let riders focus on the road instead of their bike.

Here's what Honda's Press release has to say about the HFT...

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced that it has developed the Human-Friendly Transmission (HFT), a new automatic transmission system for motorcycles using Honda’s own infinitely variable hydraulic mechanical transmission. Easy to operate, the HFT realizes outstanding relaxed riding comfort, riding feel with direct response and excellent transmission efficiency. The HFT will be installed on the DN-01, a new motorcycle scheduled for market launch to be introduced at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show.


With Honda's own infinitely variable hydraulic mechanical transmission, this HFT realizes the lightweight and compact configuration required for motorcycles. To meet the wide range of rider needs, HFT offers a selection from two fully automatic shifting modes—D mode for ordinary riding and S mode for a sporty riding experience—or the 6-speed manual mode, which gives riders the option of riding with a manual transmission feel. The HFT creates a unique riding feel through easy operation, ranging from relaxed and laid-back riding to nimble and sporty with direct throttle response.

An HFT is a transmission system with a wide range of functions in a single unit, the HFT is a compact and highly efficient infinitely variable transmission system encompassing functions for starting, power transmission and shifting, all on a single shaft. The basic configuration of the system consists of an oil pump for converting engine power into hydraulic pressure, and an oil motor for converting the hydraulic pressure back into power for output. Both are made up of multiple pistons, a distributor valve and a swash plate for piston operation, while the cylinders are integrated into the output shaft, forming the characteristic structure of the HFT.


The HFT also features the world’s first (based on Honda research) lockup mechanism for an infinitely variable hydraulic mechanical transmission. When cruising, this lockup mechanism works to minimize transmission efficiency losses, contributing to improved fuel economy.

Source: Honda

Bullet Proof Leather Jackets - Stopping road rash with Kevlar

Bullet Proof Leather Jackets takes their name from Kevlar used to reinforce their leather jackets. While Bullet Proof Leather Jackets are not intended to stop gunfire, a single layer of Kevlar in a leather jacket can minimize "road rash" and offer an alternative to heavy, cumbersome, and expensive armored jackets, padded jackets, and racing suits.

Bullet Proof Leather Jackets start with a leather shell, soft and supple enough to be worn often and be comfortable. Key areas are reinforced beneath the leather with true Ballistic Kevlar (not Kevlar tape for plumbing and screening, not Kevlar cloth used for oven mitts, or Kevlar felt used to help strengthen seams in work clothes) but true Ballistic Kevlar.

Although it takes about 9 layers of this material to stop a bullet, a single layer of Ballastic Kevlar will take plenty of abuse from the road.

Source: Yukon Leather

Monday, October 08, 2007

Who created the first "chopper" motorcycles?

Where did the term Chopper come from?

Choppers.com features as short history of the chopper and how the term came about and the early motorcycle riders coined the name.

According the article, returning vets from World War II came home and found that European bikes were lighter and easier to ride compared to their American counterparts.

These vets became some of the first "bikers", riding together and modifying their bikes to become less cluttered by "chopping" off the fenders.

Source: Choppers.com and Bikerweb.

Aprilia SL 750 Shiver



The 2008 Aprilia SL 750 Shiver features an extremely compact new generation engine: the brand new 90° V2, produced entirely in-house by Aprilia. Thanks to the advanced electronic management, it can deliver a level of power comparable to four cylinder engines in the same class, but with much more favorable torque at low revs for an efficient ride even on everyday routes. The innovative mixed trellis/aluminum frame provides standard setting rigidity. All this makes the bike extremely compact, perfect even for the beginner and gives the 750 Shiver a dry weight of just 189 kg

The Aprilia V90's maximum power of 95 HP at 9000 revs and maximum torque of 81 Nm at 7000 revs are excellent for a twin of this capacity.

A latest generation engine management unit controls all engine parameters. All data passes through a CAN (Controlled Area Network) line to the instrument panel, which also acts as a diagnostic terminal. The CAN line uses just two cables to transmit all data. This simplifies the electrical system enormously as well as reducing the total weight of the bike

The exhaust is made entirely from stainless steel. The manifolds come together under the seat in a single silencer with twin tail pipes.

The reduced longitudinal dimensions of the engine made it possible to obtain a short, agile bike, which created valuable space for the exhaust manifolds.

The combined digital and analog instrument panel receives all the data over a CAN line and acts as an integral part of the self-diagnostics system as it also has a memory. All functions can be switched by means of the handlebar control.

Source: Aprilia

Friday, October 05, 2007

2008 Yamaha YZF-R1


Yamaha's homepage features details on the 2008 YZF-R1, described as "the most advanced Open-class production motorcycle ever built". Riders love the YZF-R1. Why? Because it's fast...bug-smearing fast. And the 2008 version has some advances that Yamaha thinks will make it even better..

Other details about the YZF-R1 from the Yamaha site...
  • The YZF-R1 uses the YCC-T fly-by-wire throttle system for flawless response under all conditions.
  • Inline four-cylinder engine is the most powerful, tractable R1 powerplant ever, thanks partially to the world’s first electronic variable-length intake funnel system.

  • Lay-down-design cylinder head optimizes weight distribution, straightens intake tracts for improved cylinder filling and allows frame to pass over instead of around the engine for great strength and a narrow chassis.
  • A Deltabox frame tuned for optimal flex carries the lay-down four-cylinder stressed-member style for great handling an efficient aerodynamic penetration. A truss-type swingarm is extremely strong and tuned for optimal traction and feedback.



Source: Yamaha

Thursday, October 04, 2007

POV.1 lets you record your ride and keep both hands on your motorcycle


Recording your motorcycle ride from a driver's point of view could a bit hazardous with a standard camcorder. Using the POV.1 makes showing off your riding skills easy. Just attach the camera head to your helmet and record!

The V.I.O. POV.1 is a fully integrated point-of-view (POV) video system that's waterproof, dustproof and shock-resistant. The system includes a mountable camera head, built-in video recorder, wireless remote and software for managing your point-of-view videos.

The POV.1 features a high-quality wearable video camera that records with 720 x 480 resolution at 30fps and an ergonomic user interface design enables single-handed operation and hands-free video capture. The components are shock-resistant, water-resistant and dustproof for use in the most hazardous environments.

Source: Sci Fi Tech Blog

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Cycle Trader sponsors 2008 AMA Premier Touring Series

The American Motorcyclist Association is proud to announce that Cycle Trader, the market leading motorcycle classifieds magazine and website, has agreed to sponsor some of the greatest road rides and events on the planet.

Cycle Trader will be a presenting sponsor of the 2008 AMA Premier Touring Series, as well as the title sponsor of the all-new National Convention Gypsy Tours and AMA Grand Tours Series. Cycle Trader's support will allow the AMA to continue improving these great rides, which already have a reputation for excellence among the road riding community.

"Cycle Trader is well known and well respected for meeting the needs of motorcyclists buying and selling machines," says AMA Senior Vice President Greg Harrison. "They have always supported the AMA, and we are proud they've chosen to partner with us to power these quality recreational riding programs in 2008."

"We are extremely pleased that the AMA has chosen Cycle Trader as a 2008 title and presenting sponsor," said Lori Stacy, Vice President of Recreational brands for Cycle Trader. "The prominence of the AMA events will reinforce the Cycle Trader brand name with cycle enthusiasts, dealers, and national advertisers. This exposure, coupled with aggressive event and grass-roots marketing efforts, should drive traffic towards our business. We look forward to a long relationship with the AMA."

The AMA Premier Touring Series is a collection of great road-riding rallies and tours. With different formats to suit various tastes and numerous events across the country, there's a good chance that you'll find one near you. For more information on the AMA Premier Touring Series, see the AMA website at www.AMADirectlink.com.

Steve Tyler brings Rock and Roll Style to Red Wing Motorcycle


Rocker Steven Tyler is getting into the motorcycle business. Tyler, in collaboration with Mark Dirico and AC Custom Motorcycles, have launched Red Wing Motorcycles.

According to Red Wing Motorcycles...

Red Wing Motorcycles are the fusion of rock and roll artistry and superior engineering. Imbued with Tyler’s sense of style, each motorcycle is as comfortable to ride as it is sexy.

Tyler’s artistic vision drove the outrageous design of the custom motorcycles, each hand crafted and hand signed by the legendary rock star.

“You get on one of these bikes and you can ride for days,” Tyler said. “These bikes are sick, rugged, and just damn cool. And they’re amazing to look at.”


According to Red Wing, their bikes are built with a 35% increase in horsepower to the rear wheel compared to a stock Harley Davidson.

Red Wing Motorcycles debuted at the New Hampshire International Speedway’s Sylvania 300. Exclusive viewing of the bikes can be found at Manchester and Nashua, NH Harley Davidson dealerships. Each bike is backed by an extensive warranty and can be fully serviced by local Harley dealers.

Bikes will be available in partnership with select dealerships across the East Coast through 2008 with a national roll out planned for later that year.

Source: Red Wing Motorcycles

The Boss Hoss BHC-3 LS2



According to Boss Hoss Cycles, the 425 horsepower, Boss Hoss BHC-3 LS2 is "both a beauty and a beast, it rumbles and it purrs, and it is definitely impressive and even a little bit intimidating."

Boss Hoss unveiled the new model at the Sturgis Bike Rally in August, 2007. The 425 horsepower, Boss Hoss BHC-3 LS2 is the newest addition to Boss Hoss Cycles line of V8 powered bikes and trikes. It features an all-aluminum, third generation General Motors V8 LS2 small block with multi-port fuel injection engine for the highest performance. This LS2 brags 425 hp and 425 lb-ft. of torque.

The BHC-3 LS2 is 364 cubic inches, and has a low seat height and short wheelbase, much like the Super Sport model, which made its debut in the 2007 production lineup.

This new LS2 model will replace the big block 502 hp that will no longer be produced due to 2008 emissions regulations. It is 235 lbs lighter than the big block, and is 6.0 liters instead of the big block’s 8.2 liters.

“The new LS2 model is the best overall motorcycle that we have ever built,” says Rad Hunsley, COO of Boss Hoss. “The lower center of gravity and incredible power-to-weight ratio provide a performance and feel unmatched by any other production motorcycle I’ve ever ridden! We may have just produced the perfect motorcycle."

Source: Boss Hoss Cycles