Canadian Track Fanatics!
Discussions, pictures and scheduling for Canadian motorcycle track riders & racers.

Today's Messages (off)  | Unanswered Messages (on)

Forum: Motorcycle Site Feeds
 Topic: Church Of MO 2010 Zero S And DS Review
Church Of MO 2010 Zero S And DS Review [message #7400] Sun, 25 January 2015 05:51

“The e-bike continues to evolve.” That was the subhead used by former MO staffer, Jeff Cobb, when describing the 2010 Zero S and DS. Having just ridden the 2015 Zero model line, and claiming the electric motorcycle has finally arrived, for this week’s Church feature we revisit Cobb’s review of the then-new 2010 Zero S and DS. A lot has changed in the moto landscape since 2010, and Zero’s transformation in the last five years has been extensive. In 2010, range and power were major issues (not to mention the odd styling). Compare that to today and each measure of the bike’s performance has increased several times over. Continue that trend into the next five to 10 years, and the future of electric propulsion is destined to make major leaps and bounds. For now, however, let’s look back at 2010, and the Ford Model T of Zeros – the S and DS. Also, be sure to check out the three-page photo gallery for more pictures.

2010 Zero S And DS Review

The e-bike continues to evolve

After launching its first street-legal bike last summer – the Electric Supermoto, or Zero S – California-based Zero Motorcycles has introduced the 2010 Zero DS, a road-worthy dual-sport sibling and latest stablemate to a growing line of on- and off-road machines.

The S continues as a 2010 model with minor updates, and the two bikes are nearly identical except the DS comes with a few changes to suit it for light trail duty. Both of these electric motorcycles perform similarly to a “150cc to 250cc” 4-stroke gasoline-powered bike, according to CEO Gene Banman.

To make the DS, Banman says Zero replaced the S model’s street-oriented 16-inch front and rear rims with a beefier 17-inch front and 16-inch rear, and swapped tires to on/off-road knobbies. The rebound and compression-adjustable fork now provides 9 inches of travel, instead of 8, and different graphics set the bikes apart.

Voila, instant dual-sport!

The 2010 Zero S and DS are cut from the same cloth.

The 2010 Zero S and DS are cut from the same cloth.

Both the S and DS are rolling showcases of proprietary technology, including a unique lithium-ion manganese (Li-On) battery, an 18-pound (without shock) alloy perimeter frame, specially-designed brake rotor carriers that augment self-cooling, and a passive/active (airflow plus fan) cooling system for the motor dubbed “Z-Force Air Induction.”

The Z-Force Air Induction System allows passive airflow to cool off the hot-running motor, and it supplements cooling airflow as needed with a fan. This was deemed necessary for the street Zeros to increase the higher output motor's power and longevity.

The Z-Force Air Induction System allows passive airflow to cool off the hot-running motor, and it supplements cooling airflow as needed with a fan. This was deemed necessary for the street Zeros to increase the higher output motor’s power and longevity.

Of these innovations, Zero’s people are undoubtedly most proud of their battery, which was designed and is hand-assembled at the company’s Scotts Valley, Calif., facility.

Unlike some other Li-On batteries, Zero’s salt-based innards are highly resistant to getting hot or potentially catching fire from thermal overload. The 58-volt at 70 amp-hour (4 kWh) battery is also low-voltage enough for someone to touch both poles with wetted fingers and not receive a harmful shock.

Because it contains none of the toxic metals some other Li-On batteries do, it is landfill approved, although Zero’s VP of Worldwide Sales, John Lloyd, strongly suggests that worn out batteries be sent back for recycling.

As with all electric vehicles, the battery represents both the enabling and limiting factor in the state of the art.

In Zero’s case, its Li-On battery is enabling because it delivers four times more power per unit weight than a conventional lead acid battery, and that’s enough to create a reasonably light and powerful bike. But it’s also limiting because gasoline yields about four times more power per unit weight than a Li-On battery, so Zero’s battery needs to be the bulkiest component on the bike.

The curb weight for the S is 273 pounds; the DS is 277 pounds. This is about 100 lbs more than the MX, Zero’s heaviest off-road bike. The streetbikes’ battery assembly is therefore twice the weight and output. Unlike Zero’s dirtbike batteries, it is not set up for quick swap-outs, and including ancillary electronics and on-board charger, it weighs 95 lbs – about 34% of the total weight of the S/DS.

This notwithstanding, Zero reps say they have created the best electric bike battery on the planet. They predict significant and continual improvements in its storage capacity-to-weight ratio.

Zero's 95-lb battery assembly sits low in the frame. Note the recharging cable which accepts the same semi-triangular 3-prong connection that many home computer power cables have.

Zero’s 95-lb battery assembly sits low in the frame. Note the recharging cable which accepts the same semi-triangular 3-prong connection that many home computer power cables have.

Lloyd says all Zero’s batteries are good for 1,000 full re-charge cycles, and as is typical for Li-On technology, Zero’s battery can be stored on its smart charger for months.

If an owner subjects it to irregular charging, it doesn’t develop a “memory,” and recharging as-needed is actually recommended, says Lloyd, adding that small recharging top-offs do not count toward the total.

Depending on how drained it is, the battery can be replenished in four hours or less by plugging into a 110 or 220 volt outlet. In all, based on conditions the bike is subjected to, the battery is estimated to last from four to six years.

The expense of replacing a battery – which Zero considers “worn out” when its capacity drops to 80% – would likely be the highest cost of long-term ownership. Because they are so new, and would be under warranty for two years, the batteries have no price set as of yet. In a couple of years Banman says a replacement battery could sell for $3,500 or so, but this might not be as bad as it sounds because Zero predicts they should have more capacity by then – possibly as much as 30% more.

Because of a commitment to advancing its technology, all Zeros are modular, and will accommodate improved batteries as they become available. It is possible therefore that a replaced battery could make a Zero perform better than when it was new by increasing speed, range or both.

And unlike a gas-powered bike, motor work might be relatively paltry. Zero’s motor is estimated to last five to 10 years, but thus far none have worn out through normal use because the company only began producing bikes about three years ago. Banman says hypothetical rebuilds would not require the motor’s removal. Instead it would be a 25-minute job involving removal of an end cover to replace the brushes. He estimated the cost for such an overhaul based on a $75/hour shop rate plus parts at about $150-250.

Speaking of motors, Zero’s battery provides motivation for the S and DS via a single brushed-type permanent rare-earth magnet motor.

Lloyd says he has seen this motor dyno’d at about 30 hp and 65 ft-lbs of torque, but its power delivery is completely different than that of an internal combustion engine.

The Zero DS adds about 4 pounds worth of running gear to make it into a road-n-trail suitable all-rounder.

The Zero DS adds about 4 pounds worth of running gear to make it into a road-n-trail suitable all-rounder.

If you are familiar with how electric motors work, you won’t be surprised to read that max power is at 1 rpm. Redline is about 2,600, and from the moment the motor begins spinning, full power is available and remains pretty flat to about 50% of max rpm, where it begins to decrease at a linear rate.

As configured, top speed for these single-speed bikes is rated at about 67 mph, but they have been known to see up to 71. They also get there as quickly as one would expect from a small-displacement motorcycle.

The bikes actually have enough power to go much faster – up to 150 mph according to Lloyd – but they might only make it down the block at that rate before running out of juice. Thus, performance is limited as a compromise between acceptable power and range given the battery’s finite energy budget.

Depending on how hard they are pushed, the S/DS can travel as far as 60 miles or so, but they are intended for reliable trips of around 40. This would include a mix of around-town speeds and stretches of highway. If relentlessly pegged at 67 mph on a freeway, Lloyd says the S and DS are good for about 25 minutes.

The 420-gauge chain and sprockets account for some of the operating sound of these bikes.

The 420-gauge chain and sprockets account for some of the operating sound of these bikes.

The direct-drive motor for the S/DS turns the rear wheel via a 420-gauge chain rolling on a 16-tooth steel countershaft sprocket and 53-tooth hard-alloy rear sprocket. In addition to the motor whine, the humming of the chain, while not really noisy, is one of the louder sounds produced when these bikes are rolling.

A (quieter) drive belt was not used in part, Banman says, because belts don’t stand up to off-road dirt and grit or to jumps, such as one might encounter with a dual-sport or supermoto.Banman says a drive belt could be utilized on future street models, as could a Constant Velocity Transmission, as advances in battery power occur.

A CV transmission could be an elegant solution, Banman says, and could effectively provide an automatic trans that would keep the motor in the power zone to extend range and speed, while adding some weight to the motorcycle.

Aside from the special alloy frame – which Zero says is the lightest of its kind in the world – the rest of these bikes are pretty standard light-duty motorcycle stuff.

The bike rides on inverted forks and an 8-inch-travel rear monoshock. Braking is handled by a single stainless-steel floating front rotor pinched by a twin-piston caliper, and the rear stainless rotor is squeezed by a single-piston caliper. These are motorcycle brakes, not the downhill mountain bicycle-derived brakes as used on lighter Zero dirtbikes.

As part of the anorexic diet plan electric bikes must go through to minimize energy usage, Zero's 18-pound frame is thin, and light, but the company says it is strong, and none have failed to date.

As part of the anorexic diet plan electric bikes must go through to minimize energy usage, Zero’s 18-pound frame is thin, and light, but the company says it is strong, and none have failed to date.

Also unlike Zero’s X and MX dirtbikes, which use bicycle-style hand controls for front and rear brake, the S and DS employ a hand-actuated front, and foot pedal-actuated rear brake which Zero designed with a clever internal return spring.

Ergonomics are about what you’d expect for motorcycles of this type. The S sits tall with a 34-inch seat height (32-inch lowered saddle optional). The DS comes in at 35 and 33 inches respectively for the standard or optional seat heights, thanks to the taller fork, front wheel and tire.

Riding impressions

Pete and I had an afternoon to troll around the streets of Daytona on the S and DS, swapping bikes at intervals.

Turning the bike on involves switching a key that “arms” the system. A several-second diagnostic check of the gauges, battery connection, voltage, and more ensues before the bike is ready to roll.

A green light then comes on if everything is okay. Alternatively, a warning light illuminates if the diagnostics reveal a fault, whether at start up or during the ride (We never saw the warning light come on).

No tachometer needed here. Zero's no-frills cockpit delivers what you need to know.

No tachometer needed here. Zero’s no-frills cockpit delivers what you need to know.

Data provided in the instrument package includes battery level, turn signal indicators, trip meter, and a speedometer.

A twist of the wrist got the bikes smoothly underway, but they would not wheelie like Zero dirtbikes will. We might have slipped the clutch and gassed it, but alas, that was not possible.

As promised, the acceleration felt similar to a small gasoline-powered motorcycle because our S and DS were equipped with a revised twist grip-actuated electric throttle. This innovation simulates the gradual power increase of a regular bike, instead of the abrupt switched-on-like feel that is normally characteristic for electric motorcycles. It will be standard on all S and DS models as of this writing.

Coming to a stoplight, it was strange when surrounded by all kinds of running gasoline bikes during Bike Week. Our bikes were absolutely silent, and it was like being on a motorcycle with the engine off – but if we’d been dumb enough to twist the grip, we would have quickly been proven wrong.

Warning: old time riders who like to habitually blip the throttle will want to lose that habit in a hurry. Once the bike is powered up –“hot” – it is ready to go, which Pete nearly found out the hard way.

“Depending on the type of bike, I’m one of those that likes flicking the throttle tube while at a stop, just to hear the exhaust now and again,” admitted Pete. “Thankfully the S and DS don’t provide that instantaneous surge of torque that is possible with e-motor bikes. The one time I forgot that there isn’t a neutral and blipped the throttle I was still able to catch myself before bumping the bike in front of me.”

Another affect peculiar to e-bikes was felt while coasting. There was no engine braking, and overall I found them easy enough to get used to, and they were novel, fun and we wished we’d had more time to play with them.

What are they talking about?! Zero wants to put the noise police out of a job.

What are they talking about?! Zero wants to put the noise police out of a job.

Even so, we did manage to test the Zeros flat out. Heading over a highway bridge we were able to push them to just shy of a screaming 70 mph.

Unfortunately, we did not discover any off-road trails to put the DS through its paces, but it performed similarly to the S on pavement.

Pete did have some criticism for the DS, however. He remarked that the shock seemed a little harsh on initial compression over even the smallest high-speed bumps, and the fork exhibited quite a bit of stiction on rebound. Fortunately the suspension is adjustable, so there’s a good chance many of the minor drawbacks Pete observed can be improved with a little tuning.

Generally, handling was light and nimble, but Pete commented that steering on the DS felt a little vague, although he said it was likely the result of the DS’ knobby tires.

Ultimately braking performance was adequate, but not likely to make stoppies too easy.

“Initial bite from the lightweight front brake set up is too soft,” Pete said. “It was almost disconcerting at times when I thought maybe the brake wouldn’t dig in to the rotor. The lever travels about 50 percent before you really feel brake application. I know these are very light motorcycles, but they could benefit greatly from more aggressive stopping power, whether by a new system altogether or reworking master cylinder bore size, etc.”

These bikes employ a DC-to-DC electric converter to allow the 58-volt battery to deliver 12 volts for the gauges and lights. Since the S and DS were running conventional 55/60 watt halogen headlights, incandescent turn signals and brake light bulbs, I wondered why Zero had not used LEDs or some other technology that would reduce draw on the ever-decreasing electricity supply.


Last year’s S had a projector light, but Banman said the 2010 bikes were homologated for the U.S. and Europe. He added that LEDs and alternative low-draw headlights are possible for the future, but compared to the heavy-hitting motor, they require very little electricity, so the real solution is finding more battery power in coming years.

Zero is selling these bikes through a variety of sales channels including online, and an ever-lengthening list of selected dealers in North America and abroad. These eco-friendly bikes have an MSRP of $9,995 and are eligible for a 10% federal tax deduction. Additionally, 21 U.S. states (and counting) offer some degree of other financial incentives that range from $500 to $6,000 off the net purchase price. Currently, Colorado is leading the way, and Zero’s people are happy to do the math and tell us that an S/DS bought in the Rocky Mountain State after all kickbacks will be about $4,107.

2010-Zero-S-DSC_0102In all, we liked these bikes for what they were. Naturally, being the spoiled speed junkies we are, we think they could use more power. But even so, we could not help but sense the energy of Zero’s people who believe they are onto something revolutionary with their first two street-legal motorcycles.

“As much as I like the sounds, smells and mechanical aspects of petrol-powered motorcycles, I have to admit it looks quite possible that e-bikes could be a big part of motorcycling’s future,” Pete said, adding, “At any rate, if Zero’s products and zeal for innovation are a reliable indication of where the e-bike industry is headed, I’ll gladly embrace the electric motorcycle as part of my riding experience.”

Banman says the company receives funding from Invus, a New York-based private equity firm. While Zero is not in the black yet, and Banman is hesitant to make outright projections, he says it’s possible the company could reach profitability in as little as a couple years.

Church Of MO – 2010 Zero S And DS Review appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Weekend Awesome Al the Jumper Leaps Over Two Motorcycles
Weekend Awesome Al the Jumper Leaps Over Two Motorcycles [message #7397] Sat, 24 January 2015 14:21

This week’s video features Swedish daredevil Al the Jumper. If you’ve never heard of him, you can probably figure out his schtick just from the name. Al jumps. He’s best known for his videos showing him jumping over moving cars, but this time, Al uses his impressive leaping ability to vault over two sportbikes speeding at him at about 68 mph.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Al says he’s hoping to set a Guinness World Record with this jump over a Ducati 899 Panigale and Kawaski Ninja ZX-10R. For those who may not believe the video is real (the fact we only see one angle of the jump doesn’t help), here’s a video from Al’s Instagram page  practicing for this jump by standing a few feet to the side, instead of directly in the bikes’ path.

Weekend Awesome – Al the Jumper Leaps Over Two Motorcycles appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S: MD First Ride (Bike Reports) (News)
2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S: MD First Ride (Bike Reports) (News) [message #7398] Sat, 24 January 2015 11:10
Do you want to ride a slow bike fast or a fast bike slow? I hope more of our readers will agree with me—slow bike, please. But we don’t want to go too slow, so give us a little more power than a 250 tiddler for those times when we really need to go somewhere […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: 2015 Zero New Model Introduction
2015 Zero New Model Introduction [message #7396] Sat, 24 January 2015 03:42

In 2013, Zero introduced the platforms from which it would build upon for the future. Consisting of what, Zero claims, are the most energy-dense batteries on the market today, its propulsion systems remain quite advanced in the industry. However, off-the-shelf brakes, suspension and tires meant the bikes couldn’t quite reach their full potential. For 2015 however, Zero Motorcycles feels like it has finally come of age.

Leveraging the contacts of Zero’s CTO, Abe Askenazi, who spent 15 years at Buell Motor Company before its demise, Zero forged relationships with companies like Showa, Pirelli, Bosch and J. Juan, and now, those partnerships are finally seeing their way into the 2015 model line. Zero was so enthused by the transformation provided by these components it invited the world’s press to its Santa Cruz, California headquarters to test the entire model range.

The entire 2015 lineup benefits from Showa suspension, Bosch ABS and Pirelli tires.

The entire 2015 lineup benefits from Showa suspension, Bosch ABS, J. Juan brake components and Pirelli tires.

While fundamentally the same bikes introduced in 2013, the Zero S, SR, DS and FX see improvements in three key areas. First, all four bikes get an upgrade to Showa suspension. Second, the 2015 Zeros are the first production electric motorcycles to come equipped with ABS, with hardware provided by Bosch and braking components courtesy of J. Juan, a Spanish company with vast experience working with many different OEMs. Lastly, all models will come equipped with Pirelli tires, fitted to redesigned wheels.

The S, SR and DS feature three battery capacity options: the ZF9.4, ZF12.5 and ZF12.5 + Power Tank. These numbers correlate to the battery’s maximum capacity (in the case of the ZF12.5 + Power Tank, max capacity is 15.3 kWh). When measured using the industry standard nominal capacity, this translates to 8.3 kWh, 11.0 kWh and 13.5 kWh. With more juice comes longer range, and Zero claims an S or SR model utilizing the ZF12.5 Power Pack and accessory Power Tank (for a total of 15.3 kWh nominal capacity) could travel up to 185 miles in the city, or 94 miles on the highway at a constant 70 mph.

Unlike other electric motorcycle companies, Zero is pumping out motorcycles. This is just one room of many. In the adjacent room are 2015 models, in crates, ready to be shipped to Indonesia, Israel, Columbia, and numerous other countries all over the globe.

Unlike other electric motorcycle companies, Zero is pumping out motorcycles. This is just one room of many. In the adjacent room are 2015 models, in crates, ready to be shipped to Indonesia, Israel, Columbia, and numerous other countries all over the globe.

Below is a breakdown of how each upgrade transforms each individual model. ZF12.5-equipped S and DS models would take us along the twisties en route to the famous Alice’s Restaurant, while SRs fitted with the optional Power Tank, essentially another 2.8 kWh battery, would take us from Alice’s, down the Pacific Coast Highway for a stint, before hitting more curves back to Santa Cruz. FX models logged miles in and around the city to assess how they perform in the day-to-day. Since these aren’t all new models, each bike will get a quick briefing followed by riding impressions with the new updates.

After exactly 70 miles comprised primarily of twisty roads and some cruising along PCH, my SR registered 15% charge remaining. Meanwhile, the other, heavier, members of our group were down to single digits. Unfortunately, the rest of the trip was spent switching between several models, so it was difficult to get accurate range and charge figures. Overall, though, I consistently used less energy than the other members of the test, while keeping the same pace, no matter which model I was riding.

Zero S – $13,345 (ZF9.4), $15,345 (ZF12.5), $17,840 (ZF12.5 + Power Tank)


The standard chassis from which the rest of the “monolith” (internal jargon for the S battery pack) series of models are based, the S now sits in the shadows of the hot rod SR. With 54 hp and 68 lb.-ft. of torque from the air-cooled 420-amp motor controller (unchanged from last year), it’s still a capable performer.

Thanks to Showa, the S comes fitted with 41mm inverted cartridge forks, adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression. In the rear, a Showa monoshock features a 40mm piston, piggyback reservoir and full adjustability just like the front. Rake (24.0º), trail (3.2 in.) and wheelbase (55.5 inches) haven’t changed and neither has suspension travel (6.25 in. and 6.35 in., front and rear, respectively).

What has changed are braking components, as a 320mm wheel-mounted disc replaces the 313mm unit (and its carrier) on the 2014 model. The ABS sensor is cleverly integrated, meaning the ubiquitous speed sensor ring seen on most ABS-equipped bikes is out of sight. A Nissin twin-piston caliper is ditched for a similar J-Juan unit on the 2015 bike, while a single-piston J-Juan caliper grabs a 240mm disc in the rear. Pirelli Sport Demon rubber sits at both ends, the front a 110/70-17, the rear a 140/70-17.

Front end confidence is much improved over last year, thanks to Showa and Pirelli.

Front end confidence is much improved over last year, thanks to Showa and Pirelli.

These small but significant changes are instantly noticeable when comparing the 2015 S model to its predecessor. The partnership with Showa especially so, as both ends (but especially the rear) are far more communicative than before. In its standard settings, the ride quality from the shock was too harsh for my taste, especially over some big bumps and potholes. Dialing out a few clicks of compression damping seemed to do the trick for me, though heavier journos on the ride weren’t so lucky. Granted, preload wasn’t set for my colleagues with more, uh… girth. Had they been, these riders admitted they probably would have found a setting to their liking.

Meanwhile, the Sport Demon tires are a definite step above the IRC rubber seen last year. Edge grip was more confidence inspiring, and like the suspension, they seemed better able to communicate than before. As an interesting aside, without any engine noise I could hear the tires rolling on the road and noticed different pitches for different pavement surfaces. Even with earplugs. Braking, too, is a marked improvement. The J. Juan calipers and master cylinder offer great bite, but the big change is in the rear. Gone is the on/off activation and wooden feel from before, replaced with progressive bite you can actually modulate with your foot.

Zero SR – $17,345 (ZF12.5), $19,840 (ZF12.5 + Power Tank)


Zero’s latest flagship, the SR, takes the S model and ups the power via a 660-amp motor controller with higher temperature magnets. This results in a horsepower rating of 67 and a Hayabusa-beating 106 lb.-ft of torque. Like the S, the SR gets the same Showa suspension upgrades, ABS, and increased battery capacity as the S model. Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires replace the Sport Demons on the standard S.

The first (and last) time I rode an SR, my biggest gripes revolved around the shock, low footpegs and mediocre tires. While the pegs and their positioning haven’t changed, the tires and Showa suspension really transform the SR. Its immense torque is of course its central talking point, but with Showa and Pirelli on board, the SR feels like it’s finally capable of reaching its potential.

Neck-pulling acceleration has been the Zero SR’s main selling point since day one. Now it can add capable handling and good grip to the list.

Neck-pulling acceleration has been the Zero SR’s main selling point since day one. Now it can add capable handling and good grip to the list.

Our ride on the SR started at the famous Alice’s Restaurant, whipped through the hills and ended at the Pacific Coast Highway at Pescadero. Through it all, the monstrous torque would shoot bike and rider to the next corner while the upgraded tires and suspension instilled confidence in me to rail through them with more aggression than I would have before. Zero claims its bikes aren’t meant to be high-performance sportbikes, but the SR is pretty damn close.

Zero DS – $13,345 (ZF9.4), $15,345 (ZF12.5), $17,840 (ZF12.5 + Power Tank)


Essentially a Zero S chassis, the DS version comes with wider bars, longer travel suspension (7.00 in./7.03 in. front/rear vs. 6.25 in./6.35in. on S model), and Pirelli MT-60 rubber mounted on a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear. Power delivery is linear and smooth, just like the other models. However, where the bigger journos on the test were getting jarred by the S model’s suspension, the extra travel afforded by the DS made it their bike of choice, especially when the roads were particularly bumpy. Actual time in the dirt was virtually non-existent save for a quick pass by the photographers on a dirty, broken asphalt road, so its off-road worthiness will have to wait until we get one in our hands for a full test.

What I can say is that the wider bars (compared to the S) not only provide more leverage, but also give the feeling of more roominess in the cockpit since the arms are opened up just a smidge. It’s a sentiment other testers noted as well.

Zero FX – $9,845 (ZF2.8), $12,340 (ZF5.7)


Zero reps say, in 2014, the company doubled its sales over the year before, and believe it or not, the FX was Zero’s best selling model (we’d like to give at least some of the credit to our 2014 Zero FX dirt review). Despite this, it doesn’t receive the range improvements its S, SR and DS siblings see for 2015. For the FX, this means a claimed maximum range of 70 city miles. Still, like the rest of the Zero line, fully adjustable Showa suspension, Bosch ABS, J. Juan brake components and Pirelli tires are mounted for the first time. Specifically, the FX comes fitted with Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 rubber.

Combined with its relatively light 289 lbs. and 70 lb.-ft. of torque, the FX makes a great bike when slicing through the city or playing in the dirt is what you’re after. Its 8.6-inch and 8.9-inch suspension travel front and rear, respectively, soak up crappy roads while also giving a commanding view, thanks to its 34.7-inch seat height. With enough pep to loft the front tire off the ground, it’s best to respect the FX’s power.

Yep, it’ll wheelie!

Yep, it’ll wheelie!

The FX will easily leave the cars at the light behind, and its narrow, dirtbike stature is ideal for filtering through lanes or maneuvering through tight situations. My time with the FX was limited to simply exploring Zero’s home town of Santa Cruz, but immediately I noticed rear suspension compliance was much improved over the Fast Ace unit used on its predecessor (the Fast Ace fork wasn’t so bad, actually). It’s difficult to tell without testing each piece individually, but the shock and Pirelli MT 90 combination communicated what the rear tire was doing more effectively than before.

As for the J. Juan brakes, lever feel is progressive with a decent initial bite and power that ramps up the harder you squeeze. With the skinny 90/90-21 front tire (120/80-21 rear), I was thankful for the Bosch ABS, as coming around a blind corner only to see a stopped car immediately in front triggered a panic stop reaction while leaned over. I actually heard the tires chirp for a moment before ABS kicked in, saving my bacon. As noted above, rear brake power and feel is a giant step ahead of its predecessor.

Inevitably, someone will comment about how stupid I am for sticking my foot out on the street. It’s not my fault, the FX made me do it!

Inevitably, someone will comment about how stupid I am for sticking my foot out on the street. It’s not my fault, the FX made me do it!

The FX’s wide bars aren’t changed for 2015, but the leverage they provide makes it supremely easy to throw the bike wherever you want it. This is good since, at slow speeds, the FX will turn in easily but requires more pressure from the bars to complete the arc. This isn’t an issue once rolling at higher speeds.

While we didn’t do any off-roading with the 2015 FX, we’ve spent plenty of time with its predecessor in the dirt, as witnessed in the 2014 dirt review above, and E-i-C Kevin Duke’s column. We were pleasantly surprised with the bike back then and see no reason why it won’t be equally as impressive now. From our short time cruising around Santa Cruz, it’s clear the evolution of the FX has put it a step ahead of last year.


Is this the future of motorcycling? It is if Zero has something to say about it.

Is this the future of motorcycling? It is if Zero has something to say about it.

It’s amazing what improvements like better suspension, tires, brakes and the addition of ABS will do to a bike. With battery technology advancing at an incredible pace, the sky is the limit as far as future potential. In the case of the 2015 Zero lineup, we’re no longer waiting for electrics to finally make it. All we’re waiting on is for prices to come down – a topic Zero execs are well aware is the number one complaint among many. Put price aside for a moment and judge on performance. In that sense, thanks in large part to Zero, the electric motorcycle has arrived.

2015 Zero New Model Introduction appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Blue Monkey To Distribute HealTech Quick Shifter
Blue Monkey To Distribute HealTech Quick Shifter [message #7395] Fri, 23 January 2015 23:44

Blue Monkey Motorsports, Inc. has announced that it is the exclusive North American Importer/Distributor for HealTech Electronics and has released information about Healtech’s newest product, the Quick Shifter Easy. Blue Monkey claims that the Quick Shifter Easy brings MotoGP technology to the masses while beating the price of similar units.

HealTech Quick Shifter Easy sensor

The strain gauge sends the shifting signal to the unit so it can work its magic.

The QSE cuts out the ignition rather than killing the fuel supply, yielding smoother shifts. The stand alone unit utilizes a strain gauge sensor to determine when pressure is applied to the shifter. Since there are no moving parts, the sensor can be used in both standard and reverse shift applications – unlike some other applications that require different parts for shift direction. Each bike uses its own model-specific wiring harness. Consequently, the OEM harness doesn’t need to be cut. The length of the cutout can be tuned based on rpm via a Bluetooth interface and an Android or PC controller app (no iOS, yet), allowing for use at a variety of engine speeds. Additionally, there are unlimited stored settings, meaning that the unit can be swapped from bike-to-bike. (Of course, each bike would need its own harness to connect to the unit.)

A quick perusal of the QSE compatibility list on the HealTech web site showed fitment options for bikes as old as 1999! Now, riders with older motorcycles can enjoy clutch-free full-throttle upshifts like the folks with current generation bikes.

HealTech Quick Shifter Easy Kit

The Quick Shifter Easy includes a model-specific wiring harness for the ignition cut out.

Since the QSE is a stand alone unit, riders don’t have to pay for features they don’t need, and the $290 price should offer plenty of bang for the buck. All QSEs include Healtech’s 30 day money-back guarantee and 2 year warranty.

For more information, visit the Blue Monkey Motorsports web site.


Blue Monkey To Distribute HealTech Quick Shifter appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Triumph Castrol Rocket Land Speed Bike at Dallas IMS
Triumph Castrol Rocket Land Speed Bike at Dallas IMS [message #7390] Fri, 23 January 2015 20:19

Fans of the quest for 400 mph who live in the Dallas area will want to hit the Progressive International Motorcycle Show (IMS) to see the Triumph Castrol Rocket streamliner in person at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center this weekend, January 23–25.

This bullet has its tip pointed at surpassing the current motorcycle land speed record of 376.156 mph on its way to the ultimate prize of 400 mph. Utilizing two Carpenter Racing tuned Triumph Rocket III engines, this beast pumps out 1,000+ horsepower as well as over 500 lb.-ft. of torque. The carbon Kevlar monocoque chassis stretches to a 25.5 ft. length and is impressive to behold.

The display will be open from 1:00–6:00 PM Friday, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM on Saturday, and 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Sunday. In addition to seeing this carbon fiber-wrapped bullet, attendees can enter a Triumph raffle for a US tour grand prize of $5,000 gift certificate to be used to buy Triumph parts, accessories, clothing and merchandise at

For more information on the Triumph Castrol Rocket, please visit


Triumph Castrol Rocket Land Speed Bike at Dallas IMS appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Victory Enters NHRA Drag Racing
Victory Enters NHRA Drag Racing [message #7389] Fri, 23 January 2015 16:55

Victory Motorcycles is going drag racing, forming a factory National Hot Rod Association team with the husband and wife duo of two-time champion Matt Smith and Angie Smith riding bikes based on the Gunner.

“Victory is excited to enter the world of NHRA Pro Stock Drag Racing,” says Steve Menneto, vice president of motorcycles for Polaris. “It is Victory’s intent to continue to test ourselves at the highest levels and the Victory Factory Racing Team is the perfect opportunity for us.”

While the Victory Gunner provides the basis, the drag bike will be much different from the production model. For starters, reports the official NHRA website, the Smiths will use S&S engines just as they did on the Buell-based bikes they raced the past few seasons including Matt Smith’s 2013 championship-winning campaign.

Unlike the Buell bike, the Victory machine will not have a wraparound fairing but a windscreen mounted over the round headlight which may require adapting their riding technique.

“I won’t know how I might have to adjust my riding stance until we get to the wind tunnel, but I think it’s going to be better,” Matt Smith tells “It’s pretty different from what I’ve ridden in the past, but it’s got a smaller frontal area than the Buell, which is always a good thing.”


Matt Smith finished fourth overall in the 2014 standings with 2,416 points, with a pair of runner up results. One of those final round losses came at the hands of Angie Smith was finished ninth overall with 2,223 points.

[Source: Victory, NHRA]

Victory Enters NHRA Drag Racing appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Custom Ducati Scramblers Revealed at Verona Motor Bike Expo
Custom Ducati Scramblers Revealed at Verona Motor Bike Expo [message #7388] Fri, 23 January 2015 14:35

Ducati presented three custom interpretations on its new Scrambler at the Verona Motor Bike Expo. Created by builders Deus Ex Machina, Mr. Martini and Officine Mermaid, the one-off specials highlight the Scrambler’s potential as a platform for customizers.

Discuss this at our Ducati Scrambler Forum.

The three builders were given free reign to reinterpret one of three versions of the Scrambler. Deus Ex Machina was assigned the Full Throttle, Mr. Martini used the Classic while Officine Mermaid was given the keys to an Urban Enduro Scrambler. The results were three different looks that showcase the Scrambler’s versatility.

Deus Ex Machina Hondo Gratton Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle

012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-17-_G208733_defBased on the Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle, the Hondo Gratton by Deus Ex Machina combines a retro look with speedway race bikes styling. Filippo Bassoli, managing director of Deus Italy describes the Hondo Gratton:

“We’d been waiting for the Ducati Scrambler for some time: in 2010 we did some drift riding with bikes on the Harold Park horse-race track in Sydney together with our friends from Ducati and back then we promised that a Deus creation would be made by developing one of their models. And today we’ve maintained that promise thanks to the Ducati Scrambler: we finally found a bike made with evident vintage inspiration but with the DNA and technical features of a real motorcycle.


“These characteristics allowed Emanuele and Peter to follow their instincts, particularly after getting their hands on the bike and dismantling it to reveal a fantastic frame. Our project started from there, the result of free and innovative ideas where the main focus is on the aluminum bodywork, with a single-piece tail, number-plate support and a headlight inspired by speedway bikes. An asymmetric mudguard completes the project, together with lots of little details such as the positioning of the conic filter within the frame, the disc brake and, of course, the dedicated exhaust.

“The name however comes from Carby, creative director of Deus Australia, who was in Milan at the time; he saw the project when it was almost complete and fell in love with it, naming it Hondo Grattan, after the horse that won everything on the Harold Park race-track. Who knows, in the not-too-distant future, perhaps our bike will end up on that track too.”

012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-33-02_Hondo Grattan 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-21-_G208685_def 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-20-_G208691_def 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-19-_G208703_def 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-18-_G208715_def 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-17-_G208733_def 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-16-_G208754 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-15-_G208764 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-14-_G208772 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-13-_G208783 012315-deus-ex-machina-custom-ducati-scrambler-hondo-grattan-12-_G208785

Mr. Martini Cafe Racer Ducati Scrambler Classic


Verona’s Mr. Martini went the café racer route with the Ducati Scrambler Classic. Nicola Martini of Mr. Martini describes the Café Racer:

“I decided to take part in the project because I was fascinated by the idea of working with this Italian brand and in particular by the opportunity of working with the young, dynamic and easygoing Scrambler team. Thanks to the bike’s versatility, I decided to revolutionize the basic concept, from Ducati Scrambler to Café Racer.


“The style is reminiscent of American rather than British design, owing partly to the fact that the roots of the original Ducati Scrambler project date from the seventies. Although the style is that of a Café Racer, this bike has a combination of elements that make it unique; In fact, details such as the high exhaust and knobby tires retain a decidedly Ducati Scrambler flavor. This fusion gave our bike its name: S.C.R. – Scrambler Café Racer.

“We’ve changed the nose fairing, the tail-piece, the whole of the exhaust, the foot-peg and handlebar mountings and the rear suspension unit and have, of course, given the bike a new color. The Scrambler Café Racer is in ‘total black’ including the saddle, undertail and timing belt covers.”

012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-34-03_Scrambler Caffe Racer 012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-31-_G208537_def 012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-30-_G208550_def 012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-29-_G208578_def 012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-28-_G208584_def 012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-27-_G208608_def 012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-26-_G208651 012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-25-_G208658 012315-mr-martini-custom-ducati-scrambler-cafe-racer-24-_G208660

Officine Mermaid Scratch Ducati Scrambler Urban Enduro


The Urban Enduro was the starting point for Officine Mermaid’s project, and the design team went in a raw, rough-edged direction. Dario Mastroianni of Officine Mermaid describes the Scratch:

“We decided to customize the Ducati Scrambler because we immediately earmarked it as a uniquely convertible Italian bike. We’ve infused it with our unmistakeable Officine Mermaid style, with a kind of rough-and-ready look that’s spartan and basic. We named it using the English word Scratch, to convey the idea of it being scraped or damaged.


“This can be seen straight away from the fuel tank, which we stripped of paint and treated by hand – a procedure we use only on our most exclusive bikes. The metal mudguards have been left rough (a bit like us) and then hand-brushed at the workshop. We’ve left only what is essential on the bike – anything that wasn’t necessary has been eliminated.

“Even the exhaust, for example, while derived from the original, has been reduced to a minimum. For the front we’ve chosen a traditional stanchion fork with a wide 21” wheel and an 18” wheel at the back, while the saddle and handlebars are made of vintage green leather with a decidedly Western style. Our Scratch has a main rally-style headlight and a smaller lateral spotlight.”

012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-32-01_Scratch 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-23-_G208671 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-22-_G208674 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-11-_G208816_def 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-10-_G208820_def 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-9-_G208825_def 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-8-_G208842_def 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-7-_G208865 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-6-_G208873 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-5-_G208879 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-4-_G208893 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-3-_G208901 012315-officine-mermaid-custom-ducati-scrambler-scratch-2-_G208928_def

[Source: Ducati]

Custom Ducati Scramblers Revealed at Verona Motor Bike Expo appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: KTM Sets New Sales Record with 158,760 Motorcycles in 2014
KTM Sets New Sales Record with 158,760 Motorcycles in 2014 [message #7387] Fri, 23 January 2015 12:46

KTM reported a new company record with 158,760 motorcycles sold in 2014. This represents the fourth consecutive record-setting year for KTM and a 28.2% increase on 2013′s sales, leading KTM to proclaim itself the world’s fastest-growing motorcycle brand.

The record number includes Husqvarna motorcycles but the bulk of the sales were for KTM-branded bikes. KTM didn’t specify exactly how many Husqvarna motorcycles were sold, but even if you include just KTM models, the orange brand will still likely eclipse BMW‘s figure of 123,495 motorcycles sold in 2014. Ducati also set a new company sales record while Triumph also reported a banner year since the company’s modern revival, making 2014 a pretty good year for the European brands, though we still await figures from MV Agusta and Piaggio.

The record sales generated €864.6 million (US$973.9 million) in revenue, a 20.7% increase on 2013′s sales revenue. Earnings before interest and taxes are expected to reach €75 million (US$84.4 million).

[Source: KTM]

KTM Sets New Sales Record with 158,760 Motorcycles in 2014 appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Friday Fudge
Friday Fudge [message #7393] Fri, 23 January 2015 03:29

This week in Friday Fudge: A kindergarten kid arrives at school in style.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Report: Honda working on leaning three-wheeler
Report: Honda working on leaning three-wheeler [message #7392] Fri, 23 January 2015 00:06

Will Big Red join Yamaha and Peugeot in the leaning three-wheeler market?

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Top 10 Terrific Tales from the Del Mar Flat Track
Top 10 Terrific Tales from the Del Mar Flat Track [message #7378] Thu, 22 January 2015 21:05


It seems like motorcycle events do best when they climb onto the back of equestrian ones. The horsey set has a lot of nice facilities that don’t require you to drive beyond the Pyramids. Bing Crosby and his buddies started racing ponies at Del Mar, California, in 1937, when Pasadena and Santa Anita grew too hot for their liking. Twenty miles north of San Diego, Del Mar was where the surf really did meet the turf.

Today the state of California owns the sprawling beachfront facility and leases it to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, and it’s also hosted motorcycle races and shows off and on for quite a few years. Last weekend, the good people at IV League Flat Track put on an ⅛-mile event in the Del Mar Arena, right next to the big mile track. Quite a bit more casual than the last flat track event I attended, the Pomona Half-Mile, the Del Mar deal definitely had its own attractions. Shall we scratch the surface…

Top 10 Terrific Tales from the Del Mar Flat Track appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: The Secrets of the Honda True Adventure Concept? (with videos) (Bike Reports) (News)
The Secrets of the Honda True Adventure Concept? (with videos) (Bike Reports) (News) [message #7384] Thu, 22 January 2015 19:24
British rag MCN claims to have the inside scoop on the forthcoming production version of Honda’s True Adventure concept unveiled at the Milan show last Fall. Follow this link to the full MCN story, but here are the highlights. According to MCN, the bike should feature a 1,000 cc parallel-twin engine making in the neighborhood of 110 […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse Revealed in CARB Documents
2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse Revealed in CARB Documents [message #7377] Thu, 22 January 2015 18:25

New certification documents from the California Air Resources Board reveal a model name for Indian Motorcycle apparently in the pipeline for the 2016 model year: the Chief Dark Horse.

The CARB executive order certifies the new 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse, indicating it uses the same 1811cc Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin engine powering the Chief Classic, Chief Vintage, Chieftain and Roadmaster. The emissions test results are similar to those of the 2014 and 2015 models, suggesting no major engine updates.

The document also lists the Dark Horse’s “equivalent inertial mass” (EIM) at 470 kg (1036 pounds), or 10 kg lighter than the Chief Classic. The EIM approximates the fully loaded inertial weight of the vehicle and is not to be confused with the dry or wet weights. Still, at 22 pounds lighter than the Chief Classic, we can expect the Dark Horse to have a fully-fueled weight of around 800 pounds.

Based on Indian’s recent history, we expect to hear official details about the Dark Horse at Sturgis this summer, if not sooner. The Dark Horse may not be the only new Indian coming soon. Indian Motorcycle filed a trademark application for the name “Indian Springfield“, a reference to the company’s original home in Springfield, Mass.

[Source: CARB]


2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse Revealed in CARB Documents appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Aprilia Red Devils – Portimao Test (Industry Press Releases)
Aprilia Red Devils – Portimao Test (Industry Press Releases) [message #7383] Thu, 22 January 2015 18:23
APRILIA-RED DEVILS WSBK – PORTIMÃO TESTS TWO DAYS ON THE TRACK AT PORTIMÃO FOR THE APRILIA-RED DEVILS TEAM. TESTING CONTINUES FOR LEON HASLAM AND JORDI TORRES, WORKING ALONGSIDE MAX BIAGGI. Portimão, 22 January 2015 – The weather certainly did not help, but the Aprilia-Red Devils Superbike team leaves Portimão with the great satisfaction of having […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Trizzle Goes Flat Trackin At Del Mar
Trizzle Goes Flat Trackin At Del Mar [message #7376] Thu, 22 January 2015 17:43

It’s Sunday, January 11, and I’m killing time browsing through my social media feeds. For as much grief as social media gets for destroying a person’s ability to be productive, sometimes there are occasions where scrolling through your feed is actually beneficial. This is one of those times.

While scrolling past pictures of my friend’s dinners and Sean Alexander’s video of a dancing cow, a poster on Roland Sand’s feed appeared. It was a drawing of two flat trackers, sideways, with their feet sticking out, and at the top of the poster it read, “Return To Del Mar, Jan 17 and 18.” Lately I’ve been wanting to give flat track a try, and the opportunity to ride at a famous venue like Del Mar seemed like a good place to pop my flat track cherry, but I’d never done this before. Surely I’d want to get some sort of practice or training in first, right?

When Roland Sands gets behind an event, you typically want to see what it’s all about. When it involves flat track, then you definitely want to see what it’s all about.

When Roland Sands gets behind an event, you typically want to see what it’s all about. When it involves flat track, then you definitely want to see what it’s all about.

The website on the poster,, led me to a registration page with a list of classes for both pros and amateurs. One in particular stood out. “Open Knob,” it read. Any bike goes, the only rules are: The bike has to have knobby tires, and the rider must have zero flat track experience. Screw learning the ropes. Let’s jump into the fire.

Of course, a few hurdles stood in the way. First, despite having the venue and motivation in place, I was missing one crucial element: a bike. And with the event less than a week away, several emails were spread asking if a sucker kind soul would be willing to let me attempt to flat track on their motorcycle. As the return emails were understandably coming back negative, I reminded myself flat track is one discipline I’d never done before. What was I thinking entering a race?!

Just as I was having second thoughts about the whole thing, Harlan Flagg, proprietor of Hollywood Electrics, the largest Zero dealer in the country, and all-around awesome guy, reminded me why I liked him so much. “I think I’ve got something, how long is the track?” he asked. After my reply that it would be an ⅛-mile track, on Friday, January 16, a day before Del Mar weekend was to begin, he handed me the key to a stock 2014 Zero FX. There was no backing down now.

A supporter of my crazy moto ideas in the past, Harlan Flagg was nice enough to lend me a 2014 Zero FX from his Hollywood Electrics fleet for my first foray into flat track. Photo: Hollywood Electrics

A supporter of my crazy moto ideas in the past, Harlan Flagg was nice enough to lend me a 2014 Zero FX from his Hollywood Electrics fleet for my first foray into flat track. Photo: Hollywood Electrics

That’s how I ended up at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the return of flat track racing at the famed course. It’s been a decade since motorcycles were getting sideways here, and Brian Bell, the mastermind behind IV League Flat Track, and the one responsible for organizing the event, knew there would be a decent turn out. He had expected anywhere between 150-200. Instead, a total of 306 competitors, including yours truly, took part in the event.

The field was as diverse as the motorcycles, as Del Mar had it all. One minute, little tikes on 50s were running in circles, the next, guys on road-legal Harleys were banging bars and getting sideways. Then of course you had your Speedway bikes and converted dirtbikes, followed by grown men riding pull-start minibikes dressed in lucha libre masks and capes. As much as the return to Del Mar was about the racing, the loose nature of the event provided comedic interludes throughout the day.

Check out the big wheel! The kids easily got the loudest cheer from the fans all day long.

Check out the big wheel! The kids easily got the loudest cheer from the fans all day long.

Back in my pit, which consisted of a camping chair and the bed of my little pickup truck, I waited for my friend, Sean Aron. He arrived with his 2007 KTM 250 XC-F in tow but claimed he just came to watch. After seeing the track, the people, and the Open Knob class, I prodded him into forking over the $45 entry fee and joining in on the fun. “This sounds like a terrible idea,” he said. “Let’s do it!” Sean caves in to peer pressure easily. That’s why I like him.

Neither Sean nor I had any idea what we were doing, but I did what any respectable racer would do in this situation: I watched Youtube videos from my phone on how to flat track. In short, the technique would be to tap the rear brake to start a slide, tip-toe through the corner, then pile on the electrons on exit.

Seemed easy, especially as I wouldn’t have to worry about shifting on the FX. However, when the Knob class was finally called for its practice session, we were told we’d only have two sessions of three laps. So much for easing into things…

Meanwhile, my form on the FX was rather atrocious. Really, only one picture of me bringing up the rear is all this story needs. Photo by John Burns.

Meanwhile, my form on the FX was rather atrocious. Really, only one picture of me bringing up the rear is all this story needs. Photo by John Burns.

With such a limited number of laps, I put the FX in Sport mode and charged head first into turn one. Immediately, the rear was spinning the chewed knobbies that had seen quite a few street miles. While this was concerning, the high placement of the rear brake lever meant I’d lock the rear as soon as I touched the it with my big, clunky MX boot. I did, however, tip-toe through the corner, but getting on the e-throttle again would deliver more power than the rear could handle and instead of driving forward, I was spinning sideways. Rinse and repeat for two more laps and it was about this time I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

Considering the steep learning curve, Sean and I sought the advice of others in the pits. One look at us and the advice we got was simple: Get a steel shoe. Putting the metal plate at the bottom of our left boot would allow us to slide our bikes while using our left foot to glide across the ground as an outrigger if needed. Without it, our boots could catch in the dirt and yank us off.

This is what it’s supposed to look like.

This is what it’s supposed to look like.

Great advice, but we didn’t have access to a steel shoe. Instead, for the next practice session I switched the FX’s power into Eco mode in an attempt to gain more traction on exits. As for the brake, I’d just have to manage. Fortunately, the softened power delivery was exactly what I needed. I was still locking the rear on entry, but at least I could be more liberal with the power and still get drive. But with only three laps, there wasn’t much else to work on. On the bright side, at least Sean was riding at a similar pace to me (read: we were both similar levels of slow).

Because of the huge turnout, the schedule needed a few adjustments to fit all the races without spilling into Sunday morning. One of those changes was making the first six-lap Open Knob heat a qualifying session for the second six-lap heat that would also serve as our main. Once the flag dropped for our first heat, the pace at which Sean and I found ourselves slipping towards the back had us wondering about the “zero flat track experience” some of the folks on the grid with us claimed. No matter, as at least Sean and I were at the same pace.

The action was pretty heated in the Pull Start Mini class, as grown men were coaxing the most out of tiny motorcycles.

The action was pretty heated in the Pull Start Mini class, as grown men were coaxing the most out of tiny motorcycles.

For the first three laps I could keep Sean in my sights and even pull even with him at times, but he didn’t leave me an opening to pass. On the fourth lap Sean ran wide into the first turn, allowing me to duck underneath. From there it was an even drag race to turn 3. I had the inside line, only this time it was my turn to run wide. But as Sean regained the point, he struggled to find traction on exit, at which point I squared off the corner and powered back in front of him. We played this cat-and-mouse game for the remaining laps with me edging him to the line. After bumping fists coming off the track we knew we were hooked!

It was a few hours before our last heat/main would be up, and with that downtime there was opportunity to reflect on the bike. Really, ⅛-mile flat track is a great venue for an electric bike. With better tires and a properly setup machine, I believe a skilled rider could take advantage of full power in Sport mode and compete with 450cc Singles. And because of the short race distances, thermal cutback from the air-cooled motor isn’t an issue.

In this classic Del Mar clip from 2003, watch Tommy Hayden battle with a young hotshot named Jared Mees. In case you don’t know, Mees is the current AMA Flat Track National Champion.

Another advantage of flat tracking electric is the silence. During our final heat/main, I got a decent launch and held second place for a few laps. However, a yellow flag and maneuvering around a fallen rider messed with my head and put me out of the zone, allowing two riders, including Sean, to get around me by the third lap. I could hear them coming, too, their gas engines telling me whether they were on my left or right. Meanwhile, in my attempt to re-pass Sean, he was clueless where I was as he couldn’t hear me. Sean eventually beat me to the line, grabbing third place (and me fourth) out of six riders. However, he later told me not knowing where I was made him paranoid. If I were a better rider I likely could have taken advantage and forced him into a mistake.

Still, our first experience flat tracking was nothing short of memorable. The turnout was huge, the atmosphere was laid back and casual, and of course the racing was action packed from start to finish. All told, at the end of the day the FX still had 85% battery left. In fact, I suspect I used more electrons tooling around the pits than I actually used up on track. Best of all, I didn’t drop the bike once – something Harlan wasn’t so confident I would accomplish.

Who knows, we might be looking at a future champion amongst the kiddos in the Youth 65cc class.

I see now why Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, and many of the world’s best road racers use flat track as a training ground. Managing slides and compromised traction are vital skills on any bike, and let’s face it, it downright looks cool too. Now, where can I get a steel shoe?

Trizzle Goes Flat Trackin’ At Del Mar appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Crescent Suzuki Concludes Portimao WSB Test (Industry Press Releases)
Crescent Suzuki Concludes Portimao WSB Test (Industry Press Releases) [message #7382] Thu, 22 January 2015 17:28
Team Suzuki Press Office – January 22. Crescent Suzuki WSB has concluded its first pre-season test of 2015 at the Autodromo International do Algarve after rain halted proceedings for much of the two-day event. Inconsistent weather brought showers and cold winds for most of Wednesday, hampering progress and allowing racers Alex Lowes and Randy de […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: The Racing – Ducati Superbike Team concludes its first tests of the 2015 season at Racing – Ducati Superbike Team (Industry Press Releases)
The Racing – Ducati Superbike Team concludes its first tests of the 2015 season at Racing – Ducati Superbike Team (Industry Press Releases) [message #7381] Thu, 22 January 2015 17:25
Portimao (Portugal), Thursday 22 January 2015 – The Racing – Ducati Superbike Team today concluded its first test session of the 2015 season. The unstable weather conditions undoubtedly affected progress at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal but overall the squad is satisfied with the work it has completed. The Racing – […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Island riding: Zac visits Isles de la Madeleine
Island riding: Zac visits Isles de la Madeleine [message #7391] Thu, 22 January 2015 11:00

Last summer, our news editor got a chance to take the BMW F 800 GS to Quebec's remote outpost in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: W.C. Distributing shares plans for Chinese bike imports
W.C. Distributing shares plans for Chinese bike imports [message #7380] Thu, 22 January 2015 05:36

Company is trying to source parts for bikes sold under Pitster Pro name to help customers left hanging.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS – First Ride Review
2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS – First Ride Review [message #7375] Thu, 22 January 2015 00:57

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS

Editor Score: 83.25%
Engine 17.0/20
Suspension/Handling 11.25/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.75/10
Brakes 8.00/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.50/10
Appearance/Quality 8.75/10
Desirability 8.50/10
Value 9.00/10
Overall Score83.25/100

If you asked most motorcyclists what defines a cruiser, you’d probably hear something like: a laid-back riding position with classic (or even retro) styling, powered by a V-Twin engine. Well, what if one of the major motorcycle OEMs learned through research that there is a whole swath of almost riders out there – let’s call them Intenders – who haven’t quite made the leap to buying a cruiser? Is the definition of a cruiser flexible enough to allow the exclusion of some of the main features traditional cruiser riders expect? Kawasaki has taken its extensive research with interested parties on the cusp of buying their first motorcycle and designed a motorcycle to fit their desires. The result is the 2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS.

As large corporate entities typically do – be they product manufacturers or idea creators, such as a cable TV network – the leaders of big internal projects distill their goals down into their most concise form to give structure and focus to the process. According to Yoshifumi Mano, Kawasaki Heavy Industries lead engineer of the Vulcan S, the design goals were: fit, comfort, and confidence in riding. How Kawasaki approached these goals in developing the Vulcan S sets the bike apart from the previous cruisers designed to attract newer riders.

012115-2015-Kawasaki-Vulcan-650S-8939-fPitching a Fit

The boldest step Kawasaki took with the Vulcan S was they way in which the bike was designed to fit a wide variety of riders. While it’s not unusual for manufacturers to offer accessory seats and handlebars to address shorter riders, these typically need to be ordered and require some knowledge on the part of the buyer in choosing them. Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit concept differs from the norm in two ways. First, all three corners of the rider triangle are addressed. Second – and perhaps more importantly – Kawasaki has created Ergo-Fit Centers at 700 dealerships where Intenders can sit on bikes in three different riding configurations to experience which dimensions fit best.

2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS/LT First Ride Review

Traditionally, motorcycles have been designed to fit humans ranging from around 5-foot 7-in. to 6-feet. Given that the average male falls within that range, this approach seems to make sense. However, there are plenty of male riders whose height falls well outside of that span. Then there’s that other gender – you know the one offering, perhaps, the greatest growth potential in motorcycling – that has an average height skewing below the typical design parameters. Or what about those with long legs but a short torso? You get the picture. A significant number of people are not average sized, making their fit on a motorcycle a compromise, the size of which varies with their deviation from the “norm.”

Kawasaki Vulcan S saddle

This Mid Reach seat comes standard on the Vulcan S. The Reduced Reach seat moves the rider 2 in. forward while the Extended Reach moves the rider an inch rearward in addition to providing a slightly wider perch.

Although we’re not yet at the point where every component can be custom made to fit a rider’s unique dimensions, Ergo-Fit minimizes the compromise people have to make to fit the Vulcan S. Mano told me that, while Kawasaki has always considered the fit of a motorcycle for its target audience and has provided size options for riders as accessories in the past, this is the first time that providing a range of options was brought into the foreground as a major design and selling point. Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit concept provides two handlebar options, three seats, and three peg locations to fine tune how the bike fits the rider, rather than making the rider adapt to the bike.

Furthermore, Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit centers will have three bikes set up in the three extremes offered, standard (or mid) fit, reduced reach, and extended reach, giving the prospective rider a chance to sample the riding positions. The beauty of the center is that the bike can then be delivered already set up to the rider’s specifications. If the optional bar or one of the two non-standard seats are required, they’re installed in place of the standard parts at no additional charge. Absolutely brilliant.

Animated GIF of Vulcan Ergo-Fit Combinations

The difference in the Ergo-Fit extremes from Reduced to Mid to Expanded is quite profound when experienced in the saddle.

Of course the bugaboo is that, with 18 potential Ergo-Fit combinations, novices could get overwhelmed, or they simply could make a wrong choice based on the difference between a stationary bike and one in motion…for hours. For example, Kawasaki has the fits divided along three size ranges: Reduced Reach (<5-ft 6-in.), Mid-Reach (between 5-ft. 7-in. and 6-ft. 0-in. – also known as the standard shipping form), and Extended Reach (> 6-ft.). At 5-ft. 11-in., I’m near the top of the Mid-Reach, and sitting on the bike revealed a closer affinity for the stock set up. I even felt that the way the back of the seat’s bucket cupped my buttocks was just about perfect. However, out on the road, after about an hour in the saddle, I realized that what was comfortable at a stand-still wasn’t going to cut it over the long haul. The Kawasaki support crew fit an Extended-Reach seat while I was enjoying the sumptuous lunch. For the rest of the day, my tush was much happier. The customer who makes the same mistake would need to buy the $250 seat (although it could probably be negotiated down a bit if the other seat were exchanged with the dealer).

Kawasaki Explains Vulcan S Ergo-Fit Concept + Video

Still, this minor issue aside, the advent of Ergo-Fit should have a profound positive effect on Vulcan S sales, as they convert Intenders into riders, and may even ripple across the motorcycle industry as a whole. I could see this technology trickling up to other, pricier motorcycles.

Kawasaki Vulcan S Engine

The 649cc parallel-Twin provides good power in a package that allows for a 27.8 in. seat height.

360° V-Twin

Cruiser traditionalists may want to avert their eyes (or just move on to the next paragraph) because what comes next may be quite upsetting to you. Intenders don’t care about engine configuration. They are more interested in the character of the power the engine produces. The unifying desire was to have the engine be powerful enough to get away from traffic without drama, tying in to the confidence in riding. Other than that, they wanted the engine to be smooth – a comfort feature. These folks had clear desires from what they needed from a cruiser, not what some think it should be.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S muffler

While unusual in cruisers, under-engine mufflers have almost become the standard. Erik Buell should be proud.

Throwing open the engine configuration to something other than the ubiquitous V-Twin (which was considered) gave Mano and his team of designers the freedom to explore the other engines contained within the Kawasaki catalog – from a 300cc V-Twin (too small) to a 1000cc inline Four (too big) – that could provide the kind of power that the Intenders wanted from their first cruiser. In the end, the 649cc parallel-Twin that has powered the Ninja and Versys 650 was selected as the ideal package for the desired power and weight characteristics.

Middleweight Intermediate Sportbike Shootout – Featuring the Ninja 650

In the past, we’ve been quite fond of this engine configuration, saying just this past November that the Ninja 650 “had pleasurable grunt at the bottom end and midrange, something we appreciated on corner exits.” In December, Editorial Director Sean Alexander’s first ride of the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS/LT enthused that the Versys 650 ABS and LT models “had moved into entirely new territory: parallel-Twins that actually feel smooth in the real world.” With ancestors like these, the Vulcan S had a great powerplant to build on. The flywheel mass was bumped up 28% for easier starts off the line – confidence building, check. Although altering cam profiles is often a means of boosting an engine’s low- and mid-range power (changes listed in the press materials in comparison to the Ninja 650), I was told that the S has the same lift and duration as the Versys. Additionally, the intake funnels, air intake, throttle bodies, and ECU were modified. For example, the intake ports are fluted when compared to the Ninja 650 – for the differing job descriptions of the bikes. One clever way that lower rpm power was enhanced was through the use of dual-walled headers. Externally, the headers look large and virile, but they use narrower internal piping to improve bottom-end grunt.

However, those 649cc don’t want to lollygag in the bottom end. This engine loves to rev out to its redline. After rolling through the slight vibration in the mid 4,000s range, the engine’s intake honk deepens and becomes an entertaining holler as it pulls towards the top end – then begins to fall off a bit before the 9,500 rev limit. During our photo sessions, various editors could be heard riding past the turn around point in order to have a chance to rip through the gears a few times without the rest of the herd in front of them. The slick-shifting six-speed transmission also added to the fun factor.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S headlight

The riding position, which sits the pilot down in the cockpit, combines with this shapely headlight nacelle to minimize the wind blast all the way up to extremely un-cruiserish speeds. New riders will like how the breeze won’t excessively tire them as they rack up the miles.

The EFI performs flawlessly in most circumstances. The dual 38mm Keihin throttle bodies and their sub-throttle butterfly valves deliver crisp response at most speeds – both on and off the gas. However, one niggling issue reared its head in around-town riding at low engine speeds. While trying to maintain neutral throttle, the transition to off-throttle could be quite abrupt, akin to a stumble. Coming back on the gas could also be abrupt at these low speeds. This issue is odd for a bike built with the stated goal of giving new riders confidence out on the road as they build their experience level. Although I didn’t feel any excessive throttle cable lash, a Kawasaki representative said he thought this could be the issue and would check it out. Unfortunately, this conversation took place after the riding for the day was over, making it impossible to verify the cause.

Framing the Issue

Engine design affects areas other than just the Vulcan S’ motivation; it also determines ground clearance. With the engine hung from the frame rather than cradled in it, space is freed up to allow the exhaust system to be located completely under the bike. No slash cut duallies on this cruiser. Now, both the rider’s reach to the ground is narrower, as are the peg locations. In a feet-forward riding position, narrower pegs result in better cornering clearance. While riders won’t forget that they are on a cruiser (and will still need to place their heels on the pegs for maximum clearance), the pegs touch down cleanly and nothing else does – even when ridden extremely hard.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S foot peg

If you look closely where the peg mounting bracket attaches to the frame, you can see the hole for moving the assembly rearward.

The steel perimeter frame is also responsible for the Vulcan S’ backroad manners. Where some cruisers that are less torsionally stiff respond with a slight delay to a snap steering input, with a short pause before the chassis follows the front wheel, the sprightly 650 changes directions quickly and doesn’t protest under mid-corner corrections. Neither does it wobble in high-speed sweepers like many cruisers. If Intenders are looking for a motorcycle that does what they want when they want it to do it, as the Kawasaki reps stated in our briefing, the bike’s handling illustrates Kawasaki’s design efforts. With a 31° rake and 7.1 in. trail, the Vulcan has the stance and stability that cruiser riders love, yet remains maneuverable.

Turning isn’t the only area of handling responsiveness the Vulcan S will be judged on. The 41mm telescopic fork has 5.1 in. of travel and worked well in every situation thrown at it – even getting slightly airborne over a railroad crossing. (Sorry, Kawasaki. After five photo passes, I just couldn’t restrain myself.) The solo shock, which people who only follow cruisers might be tempted to say looks like the Indian Scout, follows the lines of the frame back to the swingarm in a similar fashion to the Ninja 650 and Versys 650. Rather than being connected directly to the swingarm, as with those other models, the Vulcan’s shock utilizes a back-link to provide the shock with a longer stroke than a direct link would allow.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S shock

The shock does a good job of handling most bumps over the rear wheel’s 3.15 in. of travel. Easy access to the ramped preload adjuster is a plus.

This is a good thing since the Vulcan S only has 3.15 in. of travel in which to absorb the slings and arrows of outrageous pavement. For the most part, the Kayaba shock performs its duties admirably. On the highway, the suspension is supple enough to make the ride comfortable at elevated speeds, and with the quick steering we’ve already discussed, the S also benefits from great backroad manners. However, in the urban jungle, where pavement is often broken, the shock can only do so much in its efforts to manage those forces – despite the fact that it has a longer stroke than the Harley 883 (2 in.) and the Star Bolt (2.8 in.), but shorter than the Harley Street 750 (3.5 in.). The end result is a jarring ride over broken pavement.

All Style is Personal

When looking at a Vulcan S, no one would ever say that it, unlike many cruisers, harkens back to a different time. This is a thoroughly modern motorcycle. I take it as a sign of the strength of the cruiser market (which is second only to the touring class in recent Kawasaki sales) that Mano and his design engineers not only stepped away from the V-Twin hegemony, but also didn’t feel it was necessary to mimic the motorcycles of the distant past. Yes, the lines swoop from the 18 in. front wheel to the 17 in. rear in true cruiser fashion, but the bike’s modernness is emphasized throughout by details like the brushed metal radiator cover and the textured tubular frame which leads the eye back to the D-section steel swingarm. Similarly, the front wheel’s ABS pickup is a silver circle within the silver circle of the single 300mm disc’s swept area contained by a black five-spoke cast wheel – all of which is framed by a Kawasaki Green pinstripe. The effect is striking and couldn’t be further from retro.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S

This ain’t yer Daddy’s retro cruiser!

Although I initially surmised that the styling was a deliberate nod towards the younger urban cruiser segment, Mano said that the model research had found that Intenders of all ages had gravitated towards the American-style cruiser lines but not necessarily towards vintage styling.

“The traditional type of cruiser was one of the options we considered for our new model. However, there’s a lot in the market already. What’s the point in Kawasaki joining that?” said Mano, “Rather, we want to be very focused on the Kawasakiness. So, we are going to make a new motorbike that is long and low which can be categorized as a cruiser type, but we want to stand out from the crowd…and communicate to the customer that it’s a Kawasaki.”

Still, Kawasaki’s press materials, emphasizing the engine’s Ninja roots (while completely ignoring its use in the new Versys) and displaying images filled exclusively with young people in mostly urban settings, betray a focus on luring the younger, hipper market to our sport. However, I guess my 52 year-old affection for the new Vulcan’s clothes confirms that the styling ain’t just for the kids.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S front disc

The two-piston calipers deliver good stopping power from the 300mm front brake. ABS is a $400 option which is well spent, lessening the consequences of overusing the brakes while learning proper technique.

Saddle Up!

As we’ve stated before about attracting new riders to motorcycles, the first impression – that moment when the Intender throws her leg over the bike and lifts it off its side stand – colors the entire experience. Here, the Vulcan shines. Carrying its weight low and forward, thanks in part to the space behind the engine freed up by the parallel-Twin’s cylinder location, the S feels light and well balanced. Riding around at parking lot speeds only cements this impression. Aside from the Ergo-Fit, both levers offer five position adjustment, again accommodating a variety of sizes.

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan SAnother way to attract Intenders is to give the Vulcan S a low MSRP. The standard model checks in at $6,999 while the ABS version, which new riders owe it to themselves and their loved ones to buy, costs only $400 more at $7,399. Both models are available in Flat Black, Candy Lime Green, and Pearl Crystal White sometime in February 2015. While the Vulcan S is sold with a solo saddle, a pillion can be ordered for $125, but the footpeg kit adds another $240 to the price. Only the rider can decide if having another human wrap their arms around them while riding is worth the price. Expect to see Vulcan S riders cropping up in the coming months.


+ Highs

  • Revvy parallel-Twin
  • Modern styling
  • ABS option
- Sighs

  • Short rear suspension travel
  • Abrupt low-speed throttle transitions
  • ABS is an extra-cost option
2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS Specifications
MSRP $7,399, $6,999 (non-ABS)
Engine Type 649cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, parallel-Twin
Bore and Stroke 83.0 x 60.0 mm
Fuel System DFI® with two 38mm throttle bodies and sub-throttles
Ignition TCBI with Digital Advance
Transmission Six-speed with positive neutral finder
Final Drive Chain
Front Suspension 41mm telescopic fork, 5.1 inches of travel
Rear Suspension Lay-down offset rear shock with linkage and adjustable preload, 3.2 inches of travel
Front Brake Single 300mm disc with twin-piston caliper, ABS
Rear Brake Single 250mm disc with single-piston caliper, ABS
Front Tire 120/70 18
Rear Tire 160/60 17
Wheelbase 62.0 inches
Seat Height 27.8 inches
Claimed Curb Weight 498.3 lb.
Fuel Capacity 3.7 gal.
Available Colors Candy Lime Green, Pearl Crystal White, Flat Ebony
Warranty 12 Month Limited Warranty

2015 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS – First Ride Review appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: IOMTT announces hopes to go global
IOMTT announces hopes to go global [message #7379] Thu, 22 January 2015 00:01

Race organizers now looking for promoter to take series to other countries.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Exclusive: Energica electric bikes to come to Canada
Exclusive: Energica electric bikes to come to Canada [message #7372] Wed, 21 January 2015 20:36

WC Distributing also working on Lightning Motorcycles, adding Brammo dealers.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Ducati Scrambler Icon: MD Ride Review, Part Two (Bike Reports) (News)
Ducati Scrambler Icon: MD Ride Review, Part Two (Bike Reports) (News) [message #7373] Wed, 21 January 2015 18:22
Following up on Part One of our report, we have put more miles on our Ducati Scrambler Icon test unit, and have some additional feedback to report. Let’s focus on styling for a minute, which is an important aspect of any motorcycle, and is certainly something Ducati has paid a lot of attention to in its […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Honda Developing Leaning Three-Wheeled Motorcycle
Honda Developing Leaning Three-Wheeled Motorcycle [message #7366] Wed, 21 January 2015 18:20

Piaggio brought leaning three-wheelers into the industry mainstream with its MP3 scooter in 2006, with similar vehicles later introduced by Quadro 350D in 2012 and the Peugeot Metropolis in 2013. More recently, Yamaha released the Tricity as the first in a new family of leaning multi-wheel vehicles.

012015-honda-leaning-trike-patent-2014-193677-2If newly-published patent filings are an indication, it looks like Honda is the latest manufacturer to develop a leaning trike. The Japanese Patent Office published three patent applications from Honda related to a leaning trike with a pair of front wheels.

Unlike the examples above, Honda’s design will not be a scooter. Instead, the patent diagrams illustrate a motorcycle using a similar-looking chassis and engine as Honda’s NC700S. The NC platform has proved to be fairly versatile so far, lending itself to the CTX700 and NM4, so it’s no surprise it may once again be called into duty for this trike.

The tilting mechanism is a variation of the parallelogram suspension design similar to those on the Yamaha and Piaggio trikes. The term parallelogram isn’t actually accurate in Honda’s design as the left and right sides (29L and 29R in the diagram below) aren’t parallel but are slightly farther apart at the bottom.


Instead of two solid lateral arms (the top and bottom of the parallelogram), Honda’s design uses a single upper arm  and separate arms (26L and 26R) extending left and right from a central subframe (23) that runs up the middle of the parallelogram. The left and right arms are offset when the vehicle is tilted, and the two sides (29L and 29R) thus tilt at two different angles when the vehicle is leaned over.


The sides 29L and 29R each connect to one of the front wheels. As with the MP3 and Tricity, the suspension components are kept between the wheels. Yamaha uses a cantilevered fork with two downtubes on either side of the wheel axis and Piaggio opted for a leading link system. Honda’s design uses a trailing link suspension with arms going down from the tilt mechanism to a link in front of the wheel axis.

012015-honda-leaning-trike-patent-2014-193677-3Of course, we have to remember these are just patents that may never result in a production model. The finished product (if there is one) may not look exactly the same as the diagram, though Honda’s choice to use the NC700S as a model would at least indicate the direction the designers are considering.

[Source: JPO]


Honda Developing Leaning Three-Wheeled Motorcycle appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Whatever! – No Longer Bitter
Whatever! – No Longer Bitter [message #7365] Wed, 21 January 2015 18:18

People occasionally drop me a note or friend me up on Facebook and say, “Hey! I used to love your ‘Bitter Little Man’ column when you were at Motorcyclist.” I always love fan mail, everybody loves a little pat on the back. But hey, that was a long time ago … and I’ve been cranking out new pearls of wisdom every three weeks here on MO for a year now. Hey, Lama, how about a little something, you know, for the effort?

Maybe I’ve lost it. I’m just not as bitter and angry as I used to be, in spite of the fact that the state of the nation is considerably more ridiculous than it was then. Back before 9/11, we mostly restricted our stamping out of non-approved sects to Branch Davidians in Texas. Now that we’ve taken the act international and launched the Department of Homeland Security (Orwell couldn’t have come up with a better name), there are even more reasons for me to go off the reservation. But I mostly don’t. Combative is just our American, nay, human, nature.

In extensively researching this column, I watched the 1957 sci-fi thriller 20 Million Miles to Earth, in which an alien lizardman creature larva is brought back from Venus with predictable results. Back on Earth, when the spaceship commander has the still smallish creature cornered in a barn, he says to the cringing female love interest, “Actually they’re not normally ferocious unless provoked – hand me that prod!” Did it ever occur to anybody for even a second to offer the newly hatched creature from Venus a big bottle of formula or a ham sandwich? No, and soon enough we’re battling the thing through the streets of Rome with tanks, flamethrowers and bazookas.

There’s that old saying: A man who isn’t a liberal at 25 has no heart. A man who isn’t a conservative by 35 has no brain. I disagree with that assessment, but anger is sort of the same deal. If you’re not angry at the world at 25, you have no heart or brain; if you haven’t learned to let go of a lot of it by the time you’re 50, you better enjoy writing manifestoes by yourself in a tarpaper shack in Idaho and know the difference between cover and concealment. (Judging from the reviews, I must be the only guy who really enjoyed Robin Williams in Angriest Man in Brooklyn. Vicarious anger is the way to go.)

Maybe I was a little angry, but it wasn’t my fault man ...

Maybe I was a little angry, but it wasn’t my fault man …

Outside of our little band of motorcycle ne’er do wells, nobody much wants to hear it. Especially the ladies. Going negative triggers their “poor provider” instinct, even if going negative is one’s stock in trade. Anyway, the love of the fairer sex showed me the error of my ways. That and the Paxil, which I devoted a whole column to, circa 2000?

I only took the stuff for a short while and loved it, but I had to give it up because, while it made me feel like Putin, it also sort of stymied what passes for my “creativity,” which reinforces my idea that people who are happy all the time are just not very attuned to their surroundings. It also messed with my libido, and that’s never good. More dangerously, it took away the reservedness from my nature. Being assertive is really only a good idea if what you have to say is complimentary to those around you, especially your peers and workplace superiors. Paxil bypassed my filter – and it felt awesome – but honesty is not always the best policy. For instance, instead of saying, “Thank you for your constructive criticism of my tank bag review,” I might say something like, “YOU SURE AS F**K SUCKED EVERY MOLECULE OF LIFE OUT OF THAT, DIDN’T YOU!?” There’s a good reason why nature makes some of us introverts.

When I suddenly began pushing back, my ex-wife phoned up my doc and demanded he cut off my supply immediately. Good times. Anyway, something flipped a switch in my brain or maybe it’s just the natural aging process, that made me understand that lashing out and fighting the Man was not the path to long-term serenity. Well, I still fight Him whenever I can, but always with a smile on my face, a song in my heart and a planned escape route. I used to be disgusted, but now I’m just amused. I used to self-medicate with alcohol and tobacco. Now I hop on my bicycle and knock out 11.7 miles around the Back Bay. Then I sit down and self-medicate: The endorphins or whatever they are really add to the buzz.

This is how happy I am now. (Photo courtesy BBC)

This is how happy I am now. (Photo courtesy BBC)

Among the things amusing me lately are the speed with which new buzzwords enter the lexicon thanks to the internet. Reach out is a good one. “I’m going to reach out to the plumber to come fix my leaky faucet.” “Let’s reach out to the waiter to see if he’ll bring us some food today.” Etc. What was wrong with “call” or “contact” or “yell at”? Suddenly everybody’s reaching out. I don’t want a hug (wait, maybe I do?), this is not the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I just want you to respond to my email or whatever. There is one context in which this phrase makes sense. “If you don’t stop saying scenario and branding and literally, I’m going to reach out and strangle the uvula out of you.”

Facebook is actually pretty awesome; who knew all those people were alive and still living next door? But why is the only button LIKE? Where’s the DISLIKE, the BULLSHIT! and STFU buttons? I suppose it’s the modern equivalent of “if you can’t say anything nice…” My mom died this morning. LIKE!

Is anybody on LinkedIn besides me? That’s a rhetorical question. Everybody and their dog is on LinkedIn endorsing each other for everything they’ve ever done. Can Bob find his ass with both hands in the dark? Yes, he can! 23 people endorse Bob’s ability to find his ass. You must be the only guy who remembers the night Bob required assistance from his cute new admin assistant to find his ass in the dark and how harassing co-workers was really the only skill Bob brought to the workplace. LIKE! If people wrote on LinkedIn what they say at the bar, it would be filled with things like, “Carlo’s about as qualified to be a Creative Director as I am to be a drug-sniffing canine or the first female Sherpa,” or “A million monkeys on a million typewriters would all do better work than Bill within 15 minutes,” or “Diane is a veritable font of ignorance and a one-woman Berlin Wall in the path of progress.” None of those will advance your career.

A thing to bear in mind is that 100 is the average IQ, meaning that half the people you come in contact with every day are thicker than average. (Or is that median?) They have to work too, to keep the economy humming, and they dislike you for being a smug smart-ass even more than you deplore them for picking their nose in the Range Rover in the left lane and being Senate Majority Leader.

Here I would anger the cop by pointing out to him “dumb ass” in this case should be two words, since “your dumbass” implies another person that you’re in charge of.

Here I would anger the cop by pointing out to him “dumb ass” in this case should be two words, since “your dumbass” implies another person that you’re in charge of.

I bet you thought I’d never get to motorcycles, didn’t you? In spite of all the silliness in the world and the roadblocks thrown up by groupthink and the current Keystone Kops, I’m seriously moved lately when somebody or some clan overcomes all of it to build something like the new Yamaha R1 or H2 Kawasaki or KTM Super Duke or Buell 1190 SX, all of which really do literally fly in the face of modern civilization, for reasons inexplicable to 99 percent of the populus. Like a Rembrandt or Beethoven’s Ode to Joy or the love of a beautiful creature of the opposing sex (or the same sex if that’s your deal, not that there’s anything wrong with that), a good motorcycle transcends all. I think I’ll be able to maintain as long as I can get in a few rides a week. Halleluja.

Whatever! – No Longer Bitter appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Pirelli announces commitment to small sport bikes
Pirelli announces commitment to small sport bikes [message #7371] Wed, 21 January 2015 09:54

Manufacturer says new tires available for 250-class machines.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: More MotoAmerica details: RC390 series schedule, regs
More MotoAmerica details: RC390 series schedule, regs [message #7370] Wed, 21 January 2015 09:11

Here's more information on the KTM spec series. It sounds like an interesting project - now we're just waiting to hear about Canadian sign-ups.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Video pass for 2015 WSB season now available
Video pass for 2015 WSB season now available [message #7369] Wed, 21 January 2015 08:38

Dorna will also offer viewing for other FIM motorcycle series soon, including trials, ISDE and speedway.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Polaris Slingshot: Stop sales, stop riding
Polaris Slingshot: Stop sales, stop riding [message #7368] Wed, 21 January 2015 07:24

Company issues notice to dealers, owners.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: KTM Releases Details On KTM RC Cup Racebikes
KTM Releases Details On KTM RC Cup Racebikes [message #7364] Wed, 21 January 2015 01:55

From a KTM press release:

KTM Motorsports is excited to announce important details about the race competition KTM RC 390 Cup Racebike that will be available for purchase for participants of the 2015 RC Cup Series, a five-round series in conjunction with the 2015 MotoAmerica Racing Series.

The highly-anticipated RC Cup Series will allow riders between the ages of 14-22 years old holding an AMA Superstock Limited license to participate. All riders must race aboard 2015 KTM RC 390 Cup Racebikes. These motorcycles are designed as racing competition bikes (not street-legal) and have been prepared by KTM with over 40 PowerParts and other enhancements to increase racing performance. Some of the new features include:

  • Fully adjustable WP Racing Fork
  • Fully adjustable WP Racing Rear Shock with high/low speed compression and rebound damping, adjustable preload and adjustable shock length
  • Titanium Akrapovic Exhaust
  • Racing Windshield, Tail Fairing and Belly Pan
  • RC8 R-style Throttle Assembly
  • CNC-machined Racing Foldable Levers
  • CNC-machined Racing Rear Sets

Each RC Cup Racebike has been dyno-tested and tuned to 38 hp. To maintain competitive parity, the engine is sealed and may only be serviced by KTM’s trackside partner HMC Racing. Modified street-legal RC 390’s will not qualify for participation in the MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup Series but will be allowed in regional racing.

KTM’s partnership with HMC Racing will add a benefit to all riders during the racing weekend, as HMC will provide the following services to race participants:

  • KTM HMC semi-truck will be present at each event to provide a relaxing hospitality area for participants
  • The KTM HMC technicians will provide technical assistance and have parts available for purchase if needed as part of the trackside service program
  • KTM HMC technicians will provide a motorcycle safety check on motorcycles prior to the race and will help MotoAmerica regulate the validity of all race units to maintain motorcycle parity throughout the race series
  • Professional KTM HMC SuperBike racer, Chris Fillmore, will attend each event and offer guidance to each young participant

KTM will offer a contingency platform for the top five in each race, with the following payout structure:

1st – $500.00
2nd – $400.00
3rd – $300.00
4th – $200.00
5th – $100.00

The RC Cup Racebike will be priced at $9,999 (USD) MSRP and bikes will be available in limited quantities for pre-order from January 19th to February 15th and will be delivered to dealers in mid-April. To request a KTM RC Cup Racebike, a rider will need to visit a participating KTM dealership, provide a refundable $1,000 deposit and provide a copy of their AMA Road Racing Superstock Limited license or license application. RC Cup Racebikes will be available on a first come, first serve basis with limited availability.

For more detail on the license eligibility, please visit:

KTM Releases Details On KTM RC Cup Racebikes appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Kymco brings Super 8 R Naked 50 to Canada
Kymco brings Super 8 R Naked 50 to Canada [message #7367] Wed, 21 January 2015 00:01

Four-stroke model replaces previous two-stroke entry in beginner scooter lineup.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: MotoAmerica KTM RC390 Cup Schedule Announced
MotoAmerica KTM RC390 Cup Schedule Announced [message #7356] Tue, 20 January 2015 19:40

The AMA and MotoAmerica, the new home of professional road racing in the U.S., has announced the rounds of the MotoAmerica calendar in which the KTM RC390 Cup will compete in. First announced in November 2014, the KTM RC390 Cup is a spec class designed for riders aged 14-22 to race in front of a national (and sometimes international) audience while building their race craft. All riders will compete on identical KTM RC390 Cup bikes. The series serves as a stepping stone to move up through the ranks, with the hope of maybe one day even producing a MotoGP champion.

“The partnership that KTM has created with the AMA and MotoAmerica has provided an opportunity for KTM RC Cup competitors to compete in a professional environment to launch their road-racing careers,” said KTM North America Director of Product Development and Product Marketing John Hinz. “We are excited to offer the RC Cup at key venues across the nation to give more riders a chance to participate in this new and exciting series.”

KTM RC 390 price, availability and purchasing information will be announced shortly by KTM North America Inc.

2015 AMA MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup Schedule
(Provisional; subject to change) 

May 29-31: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
June 12-14: Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala.
June 26-28: Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah
July 17-19: Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif. (World Superbike support race; one race only)
Sept. 11-13: New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, N.J.

MotoAmerica KTM RC390 Cup Schedule Announced appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Larry Romestant’s SpecialK BMWs
Larry Romestant’s SpecialK BMWs [message #7355] Tue, 20 January 2015 19:20

BMW, having earned its logo emblem from a stylized spinning airplane propeller, took off in another direction when in 1923 the German company debuted its first motorcycle, the R32, featuring the now famous “Boxer” air-cooled opposed-Twin engine: In this first iteration, it displaced 486cc and churned out 8.5 horsepower. For decades the “airhead” became the cherished mainstay of the Bayerische Motoren Werke (a.k.a. Bavarian Motor Works) while enjoying a non-stop evolution. But then in 1983 BMW took off on a design tangent that created a love-hate reaction still inciting strong reactions, and passions, especially from the BMW purists.

The new machines were labeled with a K, and powered by an all-new inline four-cylinder with fuel-injection and liquid-cooling, which would became known as “the Flying Brick.” The K100 displaced 987cc and was claimed to produce 100 hp. It was joined in 1985 by a three-cylinder version, the K75, rated between 68 and 75 hp. The K bikes initiated the ABS braking system later incorporated in the traditional Boxer-powered models.

The engine is called the 'Flying Brick' because of the shape of the motor, and the rectangular similarities to an actual brick, as represented in the appearance of the valve and crankshaft covers.The K-series’ laydown inline-Four engine remained in production in the K1200LT until 2010. In 2005, the K1200RS had the Brick swapped for a transverse inline-Four.

The engine is called the ‘Flying Brick’ because of the shape of the motor, and the rectangular similarities to an actual brick, as represented in the appearance of the valve and crankshaft covers.The K-series’ laydown inline-Four engine remained in production in the K1200LT until 2010. In 2005, the K1200RS had the Brick swapped for a transverse inline-Four.

In a way, the earlier K bikes became the step-child in that, while they were super-smooth-running machines, the styling was considered “butt ugly” by many. Again, beauty is in the eye, and sometimes the seat of pants, of the observer/rider. In addition, the Ks stood rather tall in the saddle and are not well suited for short-inseamed riders. On the pro side, they were bulletproof, could take you to the moons of Jupiter and back, and as the years rolled on, used K bikes were bargain priced.

This brings us to Larry Romestant, SpecialK bikes, and the fortuitous intervention of the Post Office. Larry’s an engineer by training, and his resume includes stints at Apple and JBL, having spent months in China developing a factory for the latter. He also happens to be an avid motorcyclist who rides BMWs as well as Japanese machines.

“Then one day in 2004 I was in my garage when our postal carrier noticed me at work on a bike,” explained Romestant. “She said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a BMW sitting in my garage and I don’t ride it anymore. You’re welcome to have it for the deductible difference since the insurance company paid off on it after it was damaged in the Northridge earthquake.’ And I thought, wow, wouldn’t it be great if it was a nice old Boxer? I went over to the house, she opened the garage, and it was a purple 1990 K75 standard bike, a Triple. It was in very good condition, the only damage being a scuff to a saddlebag. I only had to pay $500 for the bike and after getting it running, had my first ride on a K bike and couldn’t believe it. It sounded like a sewing machine and yet so powerful, smooth and comfortable but it also looked like crap. I thought, you know, this is pretty cool, this has got some potential. At that point, I knew nothing about K bikes, but I was willing to learn.”

That pivotal tipping point took place a decade ago. The rest is SpecialK history, and we’re not talking the breakfast cereal. Fast forward to 2014, several projects and part designs later, and Larry’s created several outstanding variations on the K-bike theme: commuter, cruiser, sport tourer, supersport bike.

What happens when you seamlessly blend BMW’s mechanical prowess with Italian and British design and Yankee ingenuity? Call it Larry Romestant’s SpecialKs. This particular version was built for Evan Bell of Irv Seaver BMW and is dubbed Bell Kaff.

What happens when you seamlessly blend BMW’s mechanical prowess with Italian and British design and Yankee ingenuity? Call it Larry Romestant’s SpecialKs. This particular version was built for Evan Bell of Irv Seaver BMW and is dubbed Bell Kaff.

“The plan was, keep the bikes serviceable by BMW shops even though they didn’t look like standard BMWs, rather ones that could have been built by the factory. Because it’s a BMW, I wanted our SpecialK versions to represent the level of sophistication and class those bikes carry. What makes BMW special is that they manage to keep the execution of complex engineering simple, well thought out. While I don’t think styling was really a big deal for BMW, they knew how to make things work, a motorcycle that was robust and durable. After all it’s a Teutonic machine. I just thought I could make some beneficial changes.”

Focusing on the green-framed café racer, completed in January 2014 and which Larry refers to as the “Kaff” (Brit slang for café), specs include a modified, shortened front end from a K75S with Brembo fork legs fitted with Progressive springs matched to a frame donated by a 1997 BMW KLT. The rear section of the frame is custom from two lateral arms mount, so Larry’s hybrid design emphasizes the trellis appearance, the components fashioned by Larry from 4140 chromoly. You might notice the Velocette-inspired adjustable shock set up and the 4-into-4 Magni-style pipes, custom made in England by Larry Swan. The seat design echoes the classic Ducati 750SS.

SpecialK’s hybrid frame design emphasizes a trellis appearance, the components fashioned by Larry from 4140 chromoly steel and painted Imola green.

SpecialK’s hybrid frame design emphasizes a trellis appearance, the components fashioned by Larry from 4140 chromoly steel and painted Imola green.

The Bell Kaff uses the four-cylinder engine from a 2004 K1200RS, an 1171cc powerplant claimed to produce 130 hp in stock trim. The Kaff uses stock internals, but its intake and exhaust systems have been tweaked to yield an extra 15 hp, according to Romestant.

Handcrafted gas tank is the work of Evan Wilcox. Romestant fashioned custom instrument nacelles.

Handcrafted gas tank is the work of Evan Wilcox. Romestant fashioned custom instrument nacelles.

The beautiful polished alloy tank, mudguards and seat were hand-fabricated by master builder Evan Wilcox. Other details include VDO gauges mounted in custom-made CNC’d nacelles designed by Romestant. The rear hub is also one-off, crafted from a chunk of solid 7075 aluminum and matched to the front 4-leading shoe vintage Suzuki GT750 “Water Buffalo” unit. Its wire wheels, sourced from Buchanan’s, are shod with Bridgestone Spitfire II rubber.

The Kaff was built in collaboration with Evan Bell to honor several milestones. Bell is one of the industry’s trail blazers and owner of Irv Seaver BMW, which is celebrating its 100th year in business and Evan’s 50th year of ownership. Romestant wanted to show his appreciation for all of Bell’s achievements as well as to promote his SpecialK bikes, and it turned out a perfect match – Bell helped with the parts, while Romestant did the build.

Larry, who spent untold days and nights working on the bike, laughs and says, “It was crazy grueling. I actually lost 35 lbs. during the build. The bike itself shed about 100 lbs. from stock.” A film documenting the story is currently in production.

Larry has produced several SpecialK models, in both four- and three-cylinder versions, and is currently taking commissions for new machines for clients that want a unique BMW experience, one that “fuses engineering and artistry.” More information at or call Larry Romestant at 818.231.3014.

SpecialKs can be built in several flavors.

SpecialKs can be built in several flavors.

The early K motors ranged from 68/75 hp for the K75 and K75S respectively, to 100 hp from the K100 and K1100 series. The K1200LT had closer to 100HP, whereas the K1200RS produced 130HP. The LT had more torque and different gearing for touring. The LT’s lower output meant the it didn’t need an engine oil cooler, which the RS required.

The early K motors ranged from 68/75 hp for the K75 and K75S respectively, to 100 hp from the K100 and K1100 series. The K1200LT had closer to 100HP, whereas the K1200RS produced 130HP. The LT had more torque and different gearing for touring. The LT’s lower output meant the it didn’t need an engine oil cooler, which the RS required.

Velocette-inspired adjustable shock setup is matched to Progressive dampers.

Velocette-inspired adjustable shock setup is matched to Progressive dampers.

Functional beauty in the form of a cast aluminum fork brace from Italy’s Tarozzi.

Functional beauty in the form of a cast aluminum fork brace from Italy’s Tarozzi.

The custom-made 4-into-4 exhausts were inspired by the sexy pipes from the MV Agusta Magni.

The custom-made 4-into-4 exhausts were inspired by the sexy pipes from the MV Agusta Magni.

Several SpecialK’s have rewarded discerning customers, each custom tailored to its owner. In any light, a SpecialK glows with a special light, the personal vision of its designer.

Several SpecialK’s have rewarded discerning customers, each custom tailored to its owner.


In any light, a SpecialK glows with a special light, the personal vision of its designer.

In any light, a SpecialK glows with a special light, the personal vision of its designer.


Larry Romestant’s SpecialK BMWs appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Spec Fuel Announced For All MotoAmerica Classes
Spec Fuel Announced For All MotoAmerica Classes [message #7354] Tue, 20 January 2015 19:08

From an AMA/MotoAmerica press release:

The AMA and MotoAmerica, the new home of the AMA Superbike Series, have announced an update to the 2015 rulebook regarding spec fuel. 

Sunoco RMR has been named as the controlled fuel for all classes in the series. Sunoco RMR is available throughout the country and will be available at MotoAmerica race events. Participants can go to to find the nearest distributer.

The updated rules are available at

Spec Fuel Announced For All MotoAmerica Classes appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: 2015 Harley-Davidson Premium Dyna Suspension
2015 Harley-Davidson Premium Dyna Suspension [message #7353] Tue, 20 January 2015 16:46

We’ve oft complained about the lack of travel in the stock rear suspension of Harley-Davidsons. Maybe we ride a little faster than we should, pushing the American cruisers and tourers beyond their intended performance parameters. Still, even if we didn’t, the 2.1 inches of travel in the twin shocks of H-D’s Dyna models is a minimalist approach to functional suspension.

Premium Emulsion Shocks fit '06-later Dyna models (except FLD and ’10-’11 FXDSE).

Premium Emulsion Shocks fit ’06-later Dyna models (except FLD and ’10-’11 FXDSE).

Enter H-D’s 2015 Premium Ride Emulsion Shocks ($600) and Premium Ride Single Cartridge Fork Kit ($350) for Dynas. According to Harley, the suspension units were designed in conjunction with one another specifically for Dynas and developed “at our world class test track.” Test track? Well, we must not be riding H-D’s too fast or too hard, then, are we?

Compared to stock Dyna shocks, the Premium Emulsion ones differ by way of:

  • Larger 36mm pistons
  • New urethane bumpers
  • Wider preload range
  • Nitrogen gas charged, high performance oil
  • Internal valve stack

What Harley didn’t list is an increase in shock travel. Because there isn’t any. The Premium Emulsion shocks carry the same 2.1 inches of travel of the stock shocks. Can the performance really be that much better, especially for the premium $600 price tag? Harley took us for a short ride in the rain to feel for ourselves.

The picture doesn’t convey it, but the route home from lunch through the Portugese Bend section of Palos Verdes Dr. is under constant attack from geological forces. The road’s so F’d up it would have sent the stocker I rode earlier into a tizzy, but the Street Bob outfitted with the Premium suspension units performed admirably through the asphalt minefield.

The picture doesn’t convey it, but the route home from lunch through the Portugese Bend section of Palos Verdes Dr. is under constant attack from geological forces. The road’s so F’d up it would have sent the stocker I rode earlier into a tizzy, but the Street Bob outfitted with the Premium suspension units performed admirably through the asphalt minefield.

Amazingly, while cresting bumps that would easily have had the stock units bottoming out in terse fashion, the Premium Emulsion shocks affixed to the Street Bob I was riding kept things compliant. Harley says that some of the improvements, such as the new urethane bumpers, “provide a softer feel when the shock bottoms.”

So, maybe they did bottom a few times and the landing was soft enough for me not to notice. Either way, the Premium Emulsion shocks provide a much more supple ride than do the stock units. The shocks are preload-adjustable, but not adjustable for compression or rebound damping.

Less is more? As the name implies, the Premium Ride Single Cartridge Fork Kit utilizes a single cartridge in one fork leg, compared to the stock unit’s dual cartridge arrangement. The non-adjustable fork upgrade fits ’06-later Dyna® models (except FLD, FXDWG and ’10-’11 FXDSE).

Less is more? As the name implies, the Premium Ride Single Cartridge Fork Kit utilizes a single cartridge in one fork leg, compared to the stock unit’s dual cartridge arrangement. The non-adjustable fork upgrade fits ’06-later Dyna models (except FLD, FXDWG and ’10-’11 FXDSE).

A Street Bob at the event was also outfitted with the new Premium Ride Single Cartridge Fork Kit. It’ll take more than some severe bumps on a wet and rainy ride to get good feedback from this suspension upgrade. But here’s what we know:

  • The new Single Cartridge Fork Kit is said to provide improved handling performance
  • Damping is controlled by a piston and valve stack specifically developed to work with the rear shock
  • The compression piston improves low-speed damping, while the rebound spring provides a smoother feel during topping
  • Better bottoming resistance
  • The triple-rate spring and oil lock allows the fork to better absorb bumps under hard braking

According to Harley, the Single Cartridge Fork Kit and Emulsion Shocks were designed to work best with one another. This may be true, or it may be a way to ensure better sales of both units. What we know for certain is that the Premium Shocks were a noticeable improvement on our short but very bumpy ride home. To determine a real improvement in the Single Cartridge Fork Kit, we’ll need to spend more time aboard a Dyna outfitted with the upgrade to subject it to our regular battery of high-speeds tests. Anyone have the street address for Harley’s test track?

2015 Harley-Davidson Premium Dyna Suspension appeared first on

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Stop Sale and Stop Ride Ordered for Polaris Slingshot
Stop Sale and Stop Ride Ordered for Polaris Slingshot [message #7352] Tue, 20 January 2015 15:56

Recalls and safety bulletins are a normal course of business, especially for brand new models and in particular, those that that differ significantly from a manufacturer’s other products. It’s not entirely surprising, therefore, that the Polaris Slingshot has a few teething issues, with Polaris issuing a stop sale and stop ride notice on the three-wheeler to correct two separate issues.

Discuss this at our Polaris Slingshot Forum.

A letter signed by Mike Jonikas, Polaris vice president of Slingshot, addressed to explains that some vehicles may have defective ball bearings in the steering rack which may result in an unexpected loss of steering control. A separate letter addressed to dealers was also posted on the forum, reconfirming the problem.

In an unrelated issue, the notices also explains Polaris is voluntarily replacing the roll hoops on certain Slingshot vehicles. A part supplier informed Polaris that the roll hoops, located behind the driver and passenger seats, may not be up to Polaris’ specifications.

Formal safety bulletins will be sent to dealers this week with service parts to follow before the end of the month. We’ll have more information if/when a full recall is announced through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

[Source: 1, 2]

“Stop Sale and Stop Ride” Ordered for Polaris Slingshot appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: MV Agusta Hires Jim McKenna To Help Bolster U.S. Presence
MV Agusta Hires Jim McKenna To Help Bolster U.S. Presence [message #7351] Tue, 20 January 2015 12:49

From an MV Agusta press release:

As part of MV Agusta USA LLC’s transformation and dedicated efforts to establish a strong business in the USA, the company is pleased to announce that it has strengthened its sales leadership with the addition of Jim McKenna.

Mr. McKenna is a lifetime motorcycle enthusiast and brings over 25 years of powersports industry leadership to MV Agusta USA. His broad cross-section of skills from his experience working at the dealership level to leading national sales and network development teams will benefit the company and dealers.

In his new role as National Sales & Network Development Director, Mr. McKenna will oversee commercial operations, including dealer relationship management, building and managing the US sales operation, network development, and overseeing the appointment and dealer upgrade processes.

Says McKenna; “This is such an exciting time! MV Agusta is a great and storied brand; and this the project of a lifetime. I am extremely pleased to be part of the leadership team actively working to re-launch this iconic motorcycle company here in the USA.”

“Over the past few years, MV Agusta SpA has focused its efforts on developing a strong product development pipeline launching exceptional, technically advanced products across many segments”, said Helen Vasilevski, CEO, MV Agusta USA LLC. “As we continue to secure strong, accountable leaders who take charge, inspire others to go above and beyond and ultimately effect lasting change in the USA where consumer interest for MV Agusta is high, we know that we will be able to develop stronger connections and continue to build loyalty with our consumers and dealers who share our passion for this brand, one with a long history of racing and exceptional design. We are thrilled to have someone with Jim’s background join the team.”

MV Agusta Hires Jim McKenna To Help Bolster U.S. Presence appeared first on News.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Review: Mondo Sahara DVD/OST
Review: Mondo Sahara DVD/OST [message #7360] Tue, 20 January 2015 09:11

Zac gets his hands on the final release of Mondo Sahara, plus the soundtrack.

... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Honda is Canada’s top-selling bike brand in 2014
Honda is Canada’s top-selling bike brand in 2014 [message #7359] Tue, 20 January 2015 07:33

Company out-sells nearest competitor by more than 1,000 bikes.

... Click Here for Article
Pages (2): [1  2    »]

Current Time: Mon Jan 26 17:25:33 EST 2015