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Forum: Motorcycle Site Feeds
 Topic: Sidi Mag-1 Boot Review
Sidi Mag-1 Boot Review [message #6651] Thu, 30 October 2014 18:03

Sidi Mag-1 Boot

Editor Score: 88.0%
Aesthetics 9.5/10
Protection 9.0/10
Value 7.0/10
Comfort/Fit 9.0/10
Quality/Design 9.5/10
Weight 9.5/10
Options/Selection 7.0/10
Innovation 9.0/10
Weather Suitability 9.0/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 9.5/10
Overall Score88/100

A motocross-related foot/ankle injury once kept me in non-weight-bearing medical status for six incredibly painful months. Twelve years of recovery and therapy later, the range of motion in my right ankle remains at only about 15%, and lingering pain is a regular reminder of my injury. Considering this history, it should be no surprise that I highly value foot protection.

Sidi has a long history of building quality motorcycle footwear, the Italian company consistently updating its lineup of boots over decades. The Vortice, introduced a few years ago, became my first choice of protective footwear for riding on a racetrack. I valued the snug fit made available by Sidi’s Tecno system of four nylon monofilament lines that tighten via a hand-turnable ratcheting mechanism. With slack taken up from the lines, the Vortices feel like a custom-fitted boot. In terms of fit and protection, they were nearly unbeatable. However, the Vortices’ collection of flaps, slots, tuners (and a zipper) made these the last pair of boots to choose if you were ever surprised by a “last call to the grid” message over a track’s PA. They are frustratingly finicky to don in a hurry.

But Sidi’s new Mag-1 boot takes lessons learned from the Vortice and transforms it from fussy to pleasingly effective. The Vortices’ plethora of flaps, tabs and zipper have been reduced to just three simple closures using the new Micrometric Tecno-3 magnetic closure mechanism. It uses small magnets to bring the closure tabs in the proper position in their slots, leaving a rider to simply dial up the amount of desired tension in the three coated stainless steel threads via the tunable ratcheting system.

Sidi’s Mag-1 boots offer high levels of protection and comfort in a stylish Italian package. MSRP is $495, the same price as the Vortice, which remains in Sidi’s lineup.

Sidi’s Mag-1 boots offer high levels of protection and comfort in a stylish Italian package. MSRP is $495, the same price as the Vortice, which remains in Sidi’s lineup.

The difference in booting-up times is astounding. Properly and completely strapping on a Vortice requires nearly one full minute – an eternity if you’re in a hurry, and don’t forget you have two feet to strap in. The Mag-1s require only about 10 seconds each, and removing one takes less than five seconds.

Hmmm, you might think, magnets are heavy, aren’t they? Apparently not so much, as Sidi claims the Mag-1s are 17% lighter than the Vortices because of the vast reduction in tabs and slots and also the removal of the zipper and the pivoting mechanism of the Vortice’s external frame. Nevertheless, the protective elements of the Mag-1s appear robust.

Nice touches: The red panel at the upper rear of the boot is a soft TPU section designed to prevent chafing. Note also the red tab in the toe area slid to its open position to ram in a satisfying blast of cooling air.

Nice touches: The red panel at the upper rear of the boot is a soft TPU section designed to prevent chafing. Note also the red tab in the toe area slid to its open position to ram in a satisfying blast of cooling air.

The internal support system is a frame of carbon fiber beams that resist side-to-side movement while not unduly restricting adequate fore/aft movement. The heel area is protected by an armored cup consisting of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and a rubber shock-absorbing layer. The arch and achilles areas are supported by two elastic TPU bands bridging the Tecno-3 magnetic closures, and a rigid TPU panel in the calf area ties it all together with the boots’ third closure.

The boot itself is made of a synthetic leather Sidi dubs Technomicro, which is purported to be lighter, softer and stronger than cow leather. It’s also water-resistant and easier to clean. All high-stress areas are double stitched. A cozy material called Cambrelle lines the toe box, while the rest of the interior uses a perforated Teflon-treated nylon that breathes exceptionally well.

Donning the Mag-1s is a pleasure, especially when compared to the Vortice’s puzzle of flaps and connections. The Tecno-3 adjustment system is able to snug the boot as tight as you like. The Mag-1s don’t quite achieve the hand-in-glove, custom-fitment feeling of the Vortice, but that’s a bar set exceedingly high.

The only comfort issue I have with the Mags is a toe box that is a little short, top to bottom, for the big toe on my left foot. As always, your mileage may vary, depending on the shape of your feet. Sidi offers a wide range of sizes, from 3-3.5 to size 15. The Mag-1s also incorporate an adjustable “micrometric” strap in the calf area that, with the Tecno-3 adjuster, can accommodate a gargantuan gam 15 inches in diameter.

Careful with those toes!

Careful with those toes!

The bike side of the CE-approved boot has far fewer protuberances than the Vortice, which, depending on a particular motorcycle, could sometimes get partially snagged by a footpeg bracket or frame rail. The Mag-1s allow hooves to snug up close to a bike, providing superior feedback through the feet. A relatively thin sole also helps transmit bike responses.

When laying out almost $500 for boots, it’s nice to know that almost every component is replaceable so they can be kept in top shape even after a lot of use and abuse. All screws that attach the various technical parts are recessed so they don’t contact and mar the bike.

The sad shape of these toe sliders resulted from my wonky ankle not allowing an optimum position on the footpegs of KTM’s RC390. A new fiberglass-reinforced nylon slider ($19.50) and metal slider insert ($11.25) will restore these boots to like-new status.

The sad shape of these toe sliders resulted from my wonky ankle not allowing an optimum position on the footpegs of KTM’s RC390. A new fiberglass-reinforced nylon slider ($19.50) and metal slider insert ($11.25) will restore these boots to like-new status.


The Mag-1s are a valuable addition to my riding wardrobe. They look terrific, seem to be very protective, and their trick closure system allows a customized fit. They also do a great job at dispersing heat, especially with the toe vents in their open position, which keeps feet happy even in hot conditions. And, when not on a racetrack, the slim calf area allows them to fit under riding jeans.

Sure, the Mag-1s aren’t cheap, but the best stuff never is. And if you’ve ever suffered a foot injury, spending $500 on top-shelf protection will seem to be a wise investment.

103014-sidi-mag-1-boot-_32A0730 (2)

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 Topic: Top 10 Bikes To See At EICMA
Top 10 Bikes To See At EICMA [message #6650] Thu, 30 October 2014 17:36


EICMA, the biggest motorcycle show of the year, is just around the corner. Hosted in Milan, EICMA is the international stage where the major (and some minor) manufacturers will reveal their new models. This week’s Top 10 is all about bikes we’re excited to see at the show. Truth be told, there are more than 10 bikes to choose from – Husqvarna’s three street models, and a possible KTM 1050 Adventure, are just a few which barely missed the cut. That said, the 10 we’ve gathered here have us truly excited for the year to come in motorcycling. Keep it here starting November 3, as the MO team brings you all the action from EICMA as it happens.

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 Topic: More Information On The Matchless Model X Reloaded
More Information On The Matchless Model X Reloaded [message #6649] Thu, 30 October 2014 15:29

Matchless, the former British manufacturer who built motorcycles from 1899 until 1966, has released this image of the Model X Reloaded, the bike it will be officially unveiling at EICMA 2014 next week.

We first covered the return of Matchless in this post from September, but at the time the only images we had of the new Model X were artist renderings. Here, we clearly see what looks to be a finished bike, which also looks remarkably identical to the renderings.

Powered by a 1916cc S&S V-Twin, maybe the more newsworthy feature of the Model X is the amount of adjustability built into the bike. Matchless says the Model X comes with “two separate beacons” (twin headlights), each of which are adjustable along a vertical plane for optimum lighting, depending on conditions. From there, the bars can be adjusted vertically, while the grips themselves can further move vertically or horizontally. The seat is also adjustable in a vertical plane, and the rider has the option to use forward footrests or a more neutral placement straight down.

Further details about the Model X Reloaded will be made available at EICMA.

More Information On The Matchless Model X Reloaded appeared first on News.

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 Topic: 2015 MV Agusta 800 Stradale Teased for EICMA
2015 MV Agusta 800 Stradale Teased for EICMA [message #6648] Thu, 30 October 2014 13:24

MV Agusta released an image teasing a new light touring model rumored to be called the Stradale for next week’s EICMA show in Milan. The teaser shows the now-familiar stacked triple exhaust arrangement used on MV Agusta’s three-cylinder models and the panniers with integrated turn signals.

Dutch website Nieuwsmotor published a leaked shot of the new model, revealing a more-touring variant of the MV Agusta Rivale. The Stradale appears to be MV’s response to the Ducati Hyperstrada, much like how the Rivale competes against the Hypermotard.


While most of the styling resembles the Rivale, there are some differences. The exhaust uses rectangular tips instead of the circular ones found on the Rivale and the company’s other Triples. The Turismo Veloce (unveiled at EICMA last year but still not yet available in showrooms) also stacks three rectangular exhaust tips, while the MV Agusta F4 has four rectangular-shaped exhausts under its tail.

The panniers don’t look very big, so we don’t expect the Stradale would be expected to handle more than short journeys. The integrated turn signals are a nice touch, but the wiring for them might further reduce the carrying capacity. The rear subframe will likely be different to handle the extra weight of the luggage and we can see a new passenger foot peg mount to make room for the bags.


Comparing the leaked images to the Rivale, we can see a new windscreen, seat and mirrors. The suspension should also be different to better accommodate luggage and two-up riding, and wheelbase also looks to be a bit longer as well.

We’ll find out more when MV Agusta reveals full details on the Stradale. will provide full coverage the announcement and all of the other news from EICMA starting Monday, Nov. 3.

[Source: MV Agusta]

2015 MV Agusta 800 Stradale Teased for EICMA appeared first on News.

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 Topic: Test your street survival skills
Test your street survival skills [message #6654] Thu, 30 October 2014 04:33

Australian safety program tests your situational awareness.

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 Topic: This weekend, World Superbike wraps up the 2014 season
This weekend, World Superbike wraps up the 2014 season [message #6653] Thu, 30 October 2014 01:10

Sylvain Guintoli will get his last chance to get past Tom Sykes in the standings at Qatar.

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 Topic: Rnine T in action: Costa rides BMW’s factory cafe racer
Rnine T in action: Costa rides BMW’s factory cafe racer [message #6652] Thu, 30 October 2014 00:27

Our test pilot even customizes the bike for fun; now, he's trying to figure out how to scrape together a deposit.

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 Topic: Whatever! Dingbats, Dingmen, the AMA and the CDC
Whatever! Dingbats, Dingmen, the AMA and the CDC [message #6643] Wed, 29 October 2014 20:24

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

I try to ignore so much of what goes on in the world, striving instead to only slow the decay of  my own tiny corner of it. But sometimes it’s impossible to stay above the fray. Say, what’s this thing young Troy Siahaan posted on MO last week?

AMA CEO, Rob Dingman, On Why The CDC Is Struggling To Fight Ebola + Video

What could the AMA President and CEO, the Center for Disease Control and Ebola possibly have in common? I had to click, against my better judgment … There’s our old pal Greg White interviewing American Motorcyclist Association CEO and Pres. Rob Dingman, who after he’s done praising this year’s AIMExpo (Larry Little, who puts the show on, is “AMA Motorcyclist of the Year”), launches into an unexpected discussion about how the CDC has “dropped the ball” on the Ebola outbreak because “it’s so pre-occupied with us motorcyclists.” CDC’s mission, Dingman says, is to prevent the spread of infectious disease, but they’ve gotten outside their box: “They’re trying to prevent people from motorcycling, it’s so crazy and insane people won’t even believe it!”

Whaaaat, they’re taking away our motorcycles?! This is an outrage! I surfed immediately over to the AMA site, where I found this:

‘Mission creep,’ not budget shortfall, affects CDC response to health issues

October 08, 2014

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — With Ebola on American soil and one U.S. child lost to the enterovirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is trotting out its tired old arguments that it needs more money to respond to such crises, but the American Motorcyclist Association believes the CDC’s problem is misallocation, not insufficient funds.

“Instead of focusing on infectious diseases, the CDC has been steadily widening its scope to such things as motorcycle safety, playground equipment, forestry and other issues unrelated to its original mission,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “We find the agency’s current budget complaints disingenuous.”

In July, the CDC’s Community Preventive Services Task Force called for universal mandatory helmet use by motorcyclists. While the committee members are volunteers, the CDC foots the bill for support staff and other expenses related to the committee’s meetings, research and published findings.

The Community Preventive Services Task Force also has studied such non-disease-related topics as seat belts, “social norming campaigns” in schools and designated-driver incentive programs. Meanwhile, a 2014 CDC report states that funding for public-health preparedness and response activities was $1 billion lower in fiscal 2013 than in 2002.

“The CDC should commit its limited resources to the study and treatment of infectious diseases and leave other public safety issues to the experts in those fields,” Allard said. “Several federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, are charged with roadway and vehicle safety issues. Let them do their work.”

The AMA strongly encourages the use of personal protective equipment, including gloves, sturdy footwear and a properly fitted motorcycle helmet certified by its manufacturer to meet the DOT standard. However, adults should have the right to voluntarily decide when to wear a helmet. The AMA does not oppose laws requiring helmets for minor motorcycle operators and passengers.

The AMA’s full position on helmet use can be found

Oh. So the CDC isn’t really trying to take our motorcycles away. They just think we should wear helmets. To me, that’s slightly different. On its website, the first paragraph of CDC’s mission statement is “to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.”

Is that a helmet you’re wearing, sister, or just happy to see me?

Is that a helmet you’re wearing, sister, or just happy to see me?

How many Americans have died from Ebola so far? One or two? Sure, the number could grow, but I’ll go out on a limb and bet it doesn’t surpass the 4,502 people killed in motorcycle crashes in 2010. Given that motorcyclists that year represented one in seven traffic fatalities, I think I’m going to have to go with, yes, this seems like a public safety issue to me.

Dingman is right, there are other federal agencies charged with motorcycle safety, maybe the biggest of which is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which provided the numbers I quoted above, and whose study goes on to conclude that, “in 2010, helmet use saved the lives of 1,544 motorcyclists, and an additional 709 lives might have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. With motorcycle ownership at an all-time high (8.2 million registered motorcycles in 2010, compared with 4.3 million in 2000), motorcycle-related deaths and their associated costs are expected to remain at high levels unless more effective protective measures are implemented. Helmets are proven to save lives and money, and universal helmet laws are the most effective way to increase helmet use.”

How could you not want to ride around wearing one of these?

How could you not want to ride around wearing one of these?

I don’t really need the CDC or the NHTSA to tell me helmets are crucial to long-term motorcycling enjoyment; Baby Jesus told me that the first time I fell off a bike and cracked my coconut on the pavement decades ago while wearing one, and he still reminds me every now and then. But I’m glad those agencies make the effort to inform people without my experience or an IQ above 60. My own kid just started riding on the street, a thing that would be an absolute no-go without a helmet.

If you were waiting around for the AMA to make your kid wear one, it’s apparently not going to happen. Its official stance remains that adults should be free to make up their own minds, and, well, you can read it in the link above. Yes, I know the AMA does a lot of good things, especially when it comes to keeping land open for off-road riding and sanctioning all kinds of rallies and races. It’s interesting to note that in every race event it sanctions, one of the requirements is that all participants wear a helmet. You have to wonder why, given that racers tend to be just the sort of highly skilled riders with plenty of training who should be able to just avoid accidents like the AMA states they should in its official position (much like teenagers should practice abstinence and just say no to drugs).

The Governator was AMA Motorcyclist of the Year in 2010, but it was actually a smackdown because he signed California AB 435 into law.

The Governator was AMA Motorcyclist of the Year in 2010, but it was actually a smackdown because he signed California AB 435 into law.

I guess if the AMA was just content to have its helmet position and leave it at that, I might still be a member. But that’s not the case. According to this 2012 article, the AMA spends millions lobbying for your right to ride helmetless, an effort at which it’s been highly successful over the last couple of decades. In the same article, you can see that where 47 states once had mandatory helmet laws, now only 19 do. The results are completely predictable. In 1997, 2,116 motorcyclists were killed out of a total 42,013 U.S. highway fatalities. By 2010, 4,502 of us had snuffed it, out of 32,885. We made it all the way from 1 in 20 fatalities to 1 in 7 in only 13 years. Is there a Grim Reaper award at this year’s banquet?

So, I can see why CEO Dingman might be a little upset about the CDC’s “mission creep,” as it attempts to reduce the rate at which we kill ourselves through the simple, proven expedient of getting us to just wear a stupid helmet. Through the feigned indignity, I think I sense a tiny pang of guilt deep beneath the Jim Carrey haircut, maybe because the CDC and NHTSA are doing what Dingman and the AMA know they ought to be doing and, for whatever reason, aren’t. (Well, it’s usually money isn’t it? Dingman reportedly makes a lot.) They’re doing just the opposite.

It all reinforces my initial instinct not to have clicked on the Dingman interview in the first place, really, but it also reinforces my naive idea that given a little time, the world can be self-correcting. As of April 30 of this year, the AMA claims just 215,707 members, down from a high of over 300,000 in 2007. I think Cycle World still has more subscribers than that.

As of 2010, you’ll recall, NHTSA said there were 8.2 million bikes registered in the U.S. It’s a shame, really, that Charlton Heston died and the AMA can’t recruit him from the NRA, which has about 4.5 million members. Just think, with any leadership at all, we’d be lane-splitting through all 50 states, parking on the sidewalks like we used to do in San Francisco in the good old days, having the entire U.S. Congress trembling in fear before us … For now, though, we motorcyclists will have to be happy with a nice banquet every year. And don’t spoil it bringing up all the people who aren’t around to eat anymore.

Now that guy is free.

Now that guy is free.

Whatever! – Dingbats, Dingmen, the AMA and the CDC appeared first on

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 Topic: Will Honda Be The Surprise Star of EICMA: Exotic Superbike and New Africa Twin Rumored (News) (Rumors)
Will Honda Be The Surprise Star of EICMA: Exotic Superbike and New Africa Twin Rumored (News) (Rumors) [message #6647] Wed, 29 October 2014 16:05
With all the hype surrounding models such as the Kawasaki H2 and Yamaha R1, could Honda surprise us all by being the big story at EICMA in Milan next week? Rumors have surfaced that two, long-anticipated new models from Honda could be unveiled in production form, including an exotic (and expensive) V-4 1000 cc superbike […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: A Story of Hope, Inspiration, and Beating the Odds + Video
A Story of Hope, Inspiration, and Beating the Odds + Video [message #6642] Wed, 29 October 2014 15:31

Talan Skeels Piggins is a diehard motorcyclist like the rest of us. Having owned a number of motorcycles, these days he finds himself racing a SV650 in the Brittish Thundersport series. However, the one thing separating him from the rest of his competition is the fact Piggins is paralyzed from the chest down.

Piggins was involved in a motorcycle accident when a car clipped him. He fell into the path of oncoming traffic and was subsequently struck and run over by a vehicle that couldn’t stop in time. Piggins experienced the whole range of emotions after his accident and learning he’d never walk again, but after learning about the opportunities still available to him, his focused changed. No longer was he hopeless, but instead hopeful. In this video, entitled “The Little Person Inside,” Piggins explains how he coped with life after a devastating accident.

The Little Person Inside – Documentary from Speechless Films on Vimeo.

A Story of Hope, Inspiration, and Beating the Odds + Video appeared first on News.

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 Topic: 2015 Freeride 250R Pops Up on KTMs US Site
2015 Freeride 250R Pops Up on KTMs US Site [message #6641] Wed, 29 October 2014 14:56

A new section for the 2015 KTM Freeride 250R has appeared on the manufacturer’s U.S. site. No official announcement has been made so this might just be a simple slip-up by KTM’s webmasters, but if not, the two-stroke Freeride 250R may be coming to the U.S. market.

The 250R appears on the Freeride tab which was only added recently on KTM’s U.S. website. This doesn’t necessarily prove that the Freeride 250R is coming, it’s important to note the page only lists the 250R while the same page on KTM’s European sites includes the Freeride 350 as well as the electric Freeride E-XC, E-SX and E-SM. If the U.S. page was a mistake, it likely would have included all of the Freeride models instead of just the 250R.

We will wait for official confirmation but we expect one to come shortly. (UPDATE: a member of the ADVRider forum says KTM North America is stocking hard parts for the Freeride and he has already placed an order.)


First introduced in Europe as a 2014 model, the Freeride 250R is billed as lightweight off-road warrior, claiming a weight (without fuel) of 204 pounds. By comparison, Yamaha‘s two-stroke YZ250 claims a fully-fueled weight of  227 pounds. Even factoring in about a full 1.8 gallons of fuel on the Freeride, the KTM should have an advantage in weight.

Two-Strokes Live On: Yamaha YZ125/250 Reviews


The Freeride 250R is powered by a 249cc two-stroke Single derived from KTM’s 250 EXC enduro machine. The Freeride engine has a new cylinder, piston and valve timing but lacks the EXC’s exhaust control system. According to KTM, the Freeride 250R’s engine weighs 4.4 pounds lighter than the EXC’s powerplant.


The engine is paired with a six-speed transmission specifically designed for the Freeride offering short gear ratios and an extended overdrive sixth gear. The undamped coil spring steel clutch was also specifically tuned for the Freeride to offer easy and precise control.

The expansion chamber is slimmer than the one used on the EXC, running through the chrome-molybdenum steel frame towards the undertail silencer.

The steel frame is matched by a subframe made of lightweight high-strength plastic. The subframe has integrated grip recesses making it easier for riders to grab should the rear wheel get stuck in mud and the bike needs to be pulled free.

Continuing on the lightweight theme, the swingarm weighs in at just 7 pounds while still promising high torsional stiffness and stability. The swingarm is connected to a PDS shock from WP Suspension offering separate high- and low-speed compression damping adjustment. WP also provides the upside-down 43mm fork with adjustable rebound and compression.


Formula supplies the braking system which consists of a radial-mount four-piston caliper up front and a two-piston caliper at the rear.

Other features include a 36-inch seat height, four-way adjustable handelbar, digital instrument cluster, lightweight cast foot pegs, CNC-machined hubs and Maxxis tires.

No prices were listed, obviously, as we still await official confirmation that the Freeride 250R would be imported to the U.S. Let’s hope that confirmation will come soon.

[Source: KTM, ADVRider forum; Studio photos by Mitterbauer H.]

2015 Freeride 250R Pops Up on KTM’s US Site appeared first on News.

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 Topic: Brough Superior Alpine Grand Sports, Vincent Black Shadow, Up For Bonhams Auction
Brough Superior Alpine Grand Sports, Vincent Black Shadow, Up For Bonhams Auction [message #6640] Wed, 29 October 2014 14:08

Among the many valuable items on the block, the November 30 Bonhams Bond Street Auction will have two special motorcycles up for grabs: a 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports and a 1950 Vincent 998cc Series C Black Shadow.

Estimated at £270,000-320,000, the Alpine Grand Sports ($435,000 – $517,000) is named after the Alpine Trial, a famously grueling reliability run started in 1910. Taking in vast mountain peaks, chilling temperatures, and the twists and turns of Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and the infamous Stelvio Pass, it was a great test of endurance and skill – and not just for four-wheels.

George Brough – founder of the motorcycle marque – undertook the Trial in 1925 on an SS100, resulting in the award of six cups, including one for ‘Best Performance.’ The design of the Brough Superior Alpine Grand Sports took inspiration from its founder’s achievement, and was introduced to the market in 1925 for the 1926 season with a lower compression ratio (making it suitable for touring), a small fly-screen and a pair of tool boxes as standard – perfect for thundering through the Alps.

Ben Walker, Director for Bonhams Motorcycle Department said: “Brough Superior is a legendary marque in the motorcycle world. Coined the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of motorcycles, their distinguished status is well earned, with Brough products of the highest quality and engineering excellence, admired by all and highly sought-after – almost 100 years after the Haydn Road Works first opened their doors.

“The most charismatic of the marque’s stable is unquestionably the SS100 and we are delighted to be offering the model in its ultimate guise, a Vintage example in Alpine Grand Sports specification, boasting matching registration, frame and engine numbers – designed to honor the legendary Alpine Trial – the most arduous motoring test of its time.”

1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C - 3_feature

With a top speed of 125mph, the incredibly swift Black Shadow was faster than any vehicle of the time. It’s this peerless performance that made it an icon of the 1950s and one of the most desirable of all machines today.

In the half-century since production ceased the esteem in which this iconic motorcycle is held has only increased, fueling the demand among discerning collectors for fine examples of the marque, such as that offered at Bonhams sale, which retains matching registration, frame and engine numbers, carrying an estimate of £70,000-90,000 ($112,000 – $145,000).

The duo of legendary motorcycles will be on display at Bonhams London to Brighton Run sale preview held at 101 New Bond Street this week (30th - 31st October), and will also take part in the National Motorcycle Museum’s 30th Anniversary celebrations this Saturday, 1st November.

Bonhams Bond Street Sale takes place at Bonhams London headquarters on 30th November 2014.

1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C - 1 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C - 2 1950 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series C - 3 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports - 2 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports - 3 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports - 4 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports - 5 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports - 6 9068345-1-13

Brough Superior Alpine Grand Sports, Vincent Black Shadow, Up For Bonhams Auction appeared first on News.

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 Topic: Ninja H2 Video XXII: Precision Welding + Video
Ninja H2 Video XXII: Precision Welding + Video [message #6639] Wed, 29 October 2014 13:11

In Kawasaki’s 15th Ninja H2 teaser video, Team Green showcased the talents of its robot welders when creating the frames for their massively powerful bike. However, when it comes to complex curves or shapes, robots have their limits and humans need to take over. That’s where Kawasaki’s skilled craftsmen come in for this, the 22nd Ninja H2 teaser video. Check it out.

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 Topic: BMW to Reveal Two New Models at EICMA
BMW to Reveal Two New Models at EICMA [message #6638] Wed, 29 October 2014 13:04

BMW confirmed it will have two motorcycles making their world premieres next week at the 2014 EICMA show in Milan.

No details were revealed, but we expect one of the new models will be the S1000XR adventure-styled sport-tourer spotted by spy photographers in August.

Sporting the engine from the S1000RR, the XR will compete against the likes of other street-oriented ADV-style bikes such as the Ducati Multistrada 1200, Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and Kawasaki Versys 1000. With a new Multistrada featuring Ducati’s variable-valve timing technology also expected to bow at EICMA and the Versys revealed last month at Intermot, the Suzuki will suddenly be the oldest model of these four, and it was just introduced last year.

As for the other new model, we expect BMW will reveal a new bagger using the K1600 platform, the German manufacturer’s response to the Honda Gold Wing F6B. According to various reports, the new model will have lower, more aerodynamic panniers, a new windscreen and a redesigned fairing. will be reporting live from Milan, bring you the latest new model announcements from EICMA. Our coverage begins on Nov. 3.

BMW to Reveal Two New Models at EICMA appeared first on News.

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 Topic: Dual Sport Plus plans grand opening
Dual Sport Plus plans grand opening [message #6646] Wed, 29 October 2014 05:50

On/off-road specialist shop will have discounts, door prizes.

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 Topic: Study: Circuit of the Americas makes Austin a lot of money
Study: Circuit of the Americas makes Austin a lot of money [message #6645] Wed, 29 October 2014 00:28

Racing events at Circuit of Americas bring in a lot of dough to city, report says.

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 Topic: Video: Adventure of Two
Video: Adventure of Two [message #6644] Wed, 29 October 2014 00:05

Wanna go adventure riding? What if your budget for a bike is $300?

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 Topic: The Isle of Man TT, From a Cars Perspective + Video
The Isle of Man TT, From a Cars Perspective + Video [message #6634] Tue, 28 October 2014 21:16

The Isle of Man TT is the most well known motorcycle race in the world, its 37 miles of country roads making it a spectacle for all to see. On average, at least one rider and one spectator dies every year, and yet the Isle is witnessing a surge in popularity lately as more and more competitors and spectators are attending. There are numerous videos out there with a motorcycle going full speed around the Isle, but what would it be like to take a flying lap in a car? That’s exactly what Subaru was able to pull off, as professional rally driver, Mark Higgins, piloted a WRX STI on a full-speed blast.

The car itself is largely stock, though some concessions were made for safety reasons. Also, Subaru disabled the standard speed limiter, with the hopes of reaching 160-plus mph on many of the course’s long sections (the fastest motorcycles reach speeds around 200 mph). In standard trim, the WRX STI makes roughly 300 hp, and feeds its power to all four wheels. But since this is a motorcycle site and not a car site, I won’t bore you too much with the specifics. Still, the lap is a fun watch, and, personally, is as exciting to watch as a bike lap. Higgins ultimately crosses the line in 19 minutes, 16 seconds, with an average speed of 117.510 mph.

For reference, the outright lap record on two wheels around the Isle is 17 minutes, 06 seconds, averaging 132.298 mph, set by Bruce Antsey this year. More interesting, however, is the TT Zero electric motorcycle record of 19 minutes, 17 seconds, 117.366 mph/average, set by John McGuiness aboard the Mugen Shinden.

See the video below, with a cool overlay of the speed, and G-forces of the car, combined with Higgins’ heart rate, skin temperature and respiration rate. Also included is a lap timer and course map.

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 Topic: The KTM Adventure Rally Is Nothing Like Sturgis + Video
The KTM Adventure Rally Is Nothing Like Sturgis + Video [message #6633] Tue, 28 October 2014 18:59

As far as motorcycle rallies go, the KTM Adventure Rally is the furthest thing from Sturgis you can find. Instead of cruisers, you have adventure bikes. And instead of cruising the boulevard looking for your next tattoo, you’re looking for the next gravel road or obstacle to overcome. For 2014, KTM held its 11th annual Adventure Rally in Taos Ski Valey, New Mexico, where participants can indulge themselves in any and all things adventure riding.

KTM brought out some of its factory riders like Mike Lafferty, Russell Bobbitt, Chris Fillmore and Andrew Short to tag along for the multi-day event. Meanwhile rally goers were treated to numerous vendor booths, and riding seminars to teach them to handle the rigors of adventure riding. Of course, the main event throughout the rally was the riding, and each day the riders were exposed to over 100 miles of adventure riding bliss. Some days, the ride even topped 200 miles. Check out the video below to see exactly what went down.

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 Topic: Film Review: Morbidelli A Story Of Men and Fast Motorcycles
Film Review: Morbidelli A Story Of Men and Fast Motorcycles [message #6632] Tue, 28 October 2014 17:47

Some years ago, middle of the last century, thousands of young Italian men became obsessed with motorcycles. And in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, many of them decided to build their own. Not necessarily to manufacture and sell, but to put their own names on them and go racing. One such man was Giancarlo Morbidelli.

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But few of the other hobbyists grew to win world championships in Grand Prix road racing, as Morbidelli did. The small shop behind Morbidelli’s woodworking machine factory in Pesaro, Italy, launched top-level racing machines that earned four GP world championships.

102814-morbidelli-documentary-Giancarlo Morbidelli

This documentary film, directed by Jeffrey Zani and Matthew Gonzales, follows the working career of a craftsman who came to attract riders like Parlotti, Nieto, Agostini and Graziano Rossi, (whose son, Valentino, would later achieve abundant roadracing success).

Morbidelli’s 50cc and 125cc machines did well in Italian championship events in the Sixties. By 1969 they were ready for the world title series, the famed Continental Circus. But in 1972, Morbidelli’s top rider, Giberto Parlotti, crashed and died at the Isle of Man TT while leading the points chase. The decision for Morbidelli to continue was difficult, but he was urged by friends to carry on. The perseverance paid off with Morbidelli’s first world championship in 1975, with rider Paolo Pileri taking the 125cc title. Morbidelli went on to earn two more successive titles in the 125cc class, with Pier Paolo Bianchi. And 1977 also saw the diminutive Italian company win the 250cc class with rider Mario Lega.

bianchi (misano 13-04-1975)

Pier Paolo Bianchi rides the Morbidelli 125cc race bike at Misano.

The movie alternates between original racing footage of the era and contemporary interviews with Morbidelli, former employees and riders. The narration is in English, but the interviews in Italian are subtitled. They include some interesting inside stories on strategy, inter-team rivalries and reflections on specific races. And while most of the events took place three or four decades ago, the participants still display their original passion for racing. They are Italian, after all.

Eugenio Lazzarini won three world championships including the 125cc title in 1978 on a Morbidelli Benelli Armi bike.

Eugenio Lazzarini won three world championships including the 125cc title in 1978 on a Morbidelli Benelli Armi bike.

Those old enough to remember the era will recognize familiar faces – Charles Mortimer, Kork Ballington and Barry Sheene – and shudder at the dangerous tracks on which they raced. Safety often took a back seat to performance. Racer Alberto Ieva recalled being about 25 pounds shy of the Italian 50cc championship’s minimum weight requirements in 1971, so Morbidelli fitted him with a lead belt for the weigh-in. When it wasn’t enough, he added a few pounds of rocks in his helmet. Ieva went on to win the championship.


Franco Dionigi was a mechanic working on Morbidelli’s winning race teams of the 1970s.

In 1973 at Czechoslovakia, Pileri crashed in the 125 race and broke his shoulder. Taken to the hospital, he escaped through a window and returned to ride the 250 event, which he was leading up to a quarter-mile from the flag when the engine broke. So he pushed the bike across to finish second.

In 1976, Morbidelli teamed up with Benelli to battle the increasingly rapid Japanese teams, and Kawasaki bought one of the new bikes to learn some tricks Morbidelli employed in its engine. Meanwhile, privateer riders were lining up for Morbidelli’s 125 and 250cc machines, and a new 500cc racer was in the works. Agostini rode the 250 in an Italian race, but the electrics caught fire. Mario Lega recounts his experience of coming to Morbidelli and being astounded by the 250’s speed at Imola. He would go on the win the 1977 world championship.


Graziano Rossi, father of you-know-who, won three Grand Prix races with Morbidelli in 1979.

Graziano Rossi came on board nearing the end of the Morbidelli story, and he earned third place in the 1979 250 title chase after a few crashes and dicing with Ballington on the Kawasaki. Rossi went on to ride the 500 Square-Four prototype, which Morbidelli had developed with suspension help from Enzo Ferrari. But, as his son got more serious about Formula 1 car racing, Morbidelli’s interest in motorcycle competition waned. Nonetheless, he had established an impressive record as an independent builder, a man Rossi called “one of the best technicians in the world.”

This was an engaging chapter in international roadracing, the period when Italian marques like Moto Guzzi, Benelli, Moto Morini, Gilera, Ducati and Piaggio would rise to prominence. The film offers an entertaining insight into an era now widely remembered in moments of pleasant nostalgia, and a personal look at the lives of those who set the groundwork for the sport in the inimitable Italian style.

The DVD can be ordered from for 18 euro. It is available only in the PAL format, which will work in any computer but not in NTSC DVD players, the format used in North America.

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 Topic: Progressive International Motorcycle Shows Expands Partnership With EagleRider
Progressive International Motorcycle Shows Expands Partnership With EagleRider [message #6631] Tue, 28 October 2014 16:48

The Progressive International Motorcycle Show begins its nationwide tour this weekend in San Mateo, CA, culminating in Dallas, Texas, on January 23-25. For the 2014/2015 season, however, the IMS tour has expanded its partnership with EagleRider at each of the 11 stops. The EagleRider Travel and Tour Pavilion: The World on Two Wheels; is a brand new innovative feature dedicated to the touring, adventure and destination riders. From gear and products to DIY’s and seminars the pavilion is designed to educate attendees on what they need, where to go and how to get there.

Tracy Harris, Senior Vice President, Progressive International Motorcycle Shows: “We are excited to partner with EagleRider to introduce “The EagleRider Travel and Tour Pavilion: The World on Two Wheels” program. The addition of Travel Pavilion feature is part of our ongoing commitment to enhance our attendees show experience through innovative activations. The emergence of the touring and destination segment combined with EagleRider’s expertise as a pioneer in this category makes the program an exciting venture for this season’s tour.  

EagleRider offers enthusiasts the opportunity to rent a Harley-Davidson, Indian, Honda, BMW, or Triumph, with the option of a guided tour or to explore the world on their own. At the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows, EagleRider is offering special incentives on 60 spots for their very popular “Baja with Charley Boorman” tour series for the fall of 2015. These tours present riders with the opportunity to experience the Baja California peninsula while being guided by world travelers Charley Boorman and Russ Malkin as well as other surprise guests.

Shawn Fechter, Vice President of Brand Experience, EagleRider: “We are very excited to partner with Progressive International Motorcycle Shows to help riders who have been dreaming of experiencing the top riding destinations around the world a reality.”

EagleRider will have their experienced representatives on site at each of the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows to answer questions and help with bookings for their top selling tours from around the world. Riders will be able to go home from the show knowing that they are about to embark on the motorcycle journey of a lifetime. Approved riders will also have the opportunity to take advantage of EagleRider’s proprietary “Ride Now – Pay Later” promotion, allowing them to see The World on Two Wheels for as little as $99 per month.

For more information, please visit and

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 Topic: 2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR First Ride Review
2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR First Ride Review [message #6630] Tue, 28 October 2014 15:56

Last week we posted a First Impressions ride review of MV’s hottest Dragster model, the new RR version. Today, our Euro correspondent, Tor Sagen, delivers a full review of the Dragster 800 RR.

MV Agusta’s leader, Giovanni Castiglioni, describes the Dragster RR as “the pure, radical Brutale.” Indeed, the Dragster RR is radical, with a high tune in both the engine and chassis. This makes for a particularly lively motorcycle, which is both good and bad.

Giovanni Castiglioni Interview

The Dragster RR looks tiny and very athletic, and the 31.9-inch saddle barely accommodates me with hardly any leeway to move forward or backward. The stance is aggressive and, just like on a true sportbike, its weight bias is toward the front end.

Firing up the 798cc inline triple-cylinder engine awakens a deep growl reminiscent of a true racing bike. The MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR has received a full 15 horsepower more than the base Dragster (to a claimed 138 hp), while torque is bumped modestly to 63 lb-ft. Despite the rather large boost in horsepower, it’s the torque improvements that I notice straight away. The Dragster RR moves in a very smooth and predictable way as soon as you let the clutch out in first gear. The entire torque curve from beginning until end is meatier and makes the Dragster RR super fast in response times.


More horsepower and torque make the 798cc Triple MV’s best yet, says Tor.

The Dragster RR with its new torque curve is the best MV Agusta Triple to date in terms of low-rpm response and controllability. That fact makes it a very good roadbike and the best around town in terms of engine performance. However, the hardcore chassis and riding position pulls it right down to the downright uncomfortable.

Riding on fast and more open roads, the Dragster RR is eye-wateringly fast and quick steering despite the wide 200mm rear tire. Throttle response is fast, and the Dragster RR builds up to its 13,100 rpm max power like a racing bike. Taking into account its incredibly light claimed dry weight of 370 lbs and a short wheelbase of 54.3 inches, the Dragster RR keeps its composure nicely on a smooth road surface. But the story changes if bumps and uneven road surfaces are brought into the equation. Riding fast over any bump in the road puts my manly bits into grave danger every time if I’m not careful to rise a bit in the seat.


Like a true race bike, front end feel is only realized once you start pushing hard.

Taking the Dragster RR all the way to max power over uneven surfaces produces a proper headshake. Hence, I preferred to set the standard adjustable steering-damper to its firmest setting. It’s worth mentioning the Dragster RR has a poor low-speed turning radius, much like a repli-racer sportbike.

The RR’s front end is rock hard and, for any feel at all, you need to go fast – very fast. The Dragster RR features all-new full aluminium forks from Marzocchi. These are very exotic on a roadbike and save 600 grams per fork leg in unsprung weight, which contributes to how quickly the Dragster RR changes direction. It’s blisteringly quick through hairpin corners, perhaps too quick and light sometimes for comfort. It’s important to keep some heat in that Pirelli Rosso II front tire, which can only be achieved by going fast and putting some load on it whenever possible. The Dragster RR really does like to shoot its front wheel into the air, and the great torque curve makes it all controllable.The Dragster RR is MV Agusta’s best three-cylinder wheelie bike.


Like a true race bike, front end feel is only realized once you start pushing hard.

I never gelled completely with the Dragster RR’s front end, and that’s despite the fact the riding position loads the front more than on the standard Brutale. I would simply have wanted a slightly softer front setup for me to get more feel. On a racetrack, I suspect the Dragster RR would be in a league of its own among nakeds, but we were on partly dodgy stretches of public road just after a stormy night, so it was difficult to approach its performance limits.

The chassis and handling capabilities are very highly tuned and will not be to everybody’s liking because it’s simply hardcore. The front brakes are a radial Brembo set-up with Bosch 9Plus ABS and RLM (Rear wheel lift-up Mitigation), and this brake set-up is extremely powerful and responsive. With ABS turned off, it would easily be possible to loop on the brakes, so you may want to keep ABS on at all times and let the RLM take care of business should you be a hard braker.


Simply put, the Dragster RR is hardcore. It only knows one speed: fast. Note also the lack of space the rider has to move forward or backward.

Acceleration is superb, helped even further by MV Agusta’s EAS 2.0 (Electronically Assisted Shift) which enables clutchless upshifts and even downshifts. This leaves your left hand pretty much unemployed if you get used to the downshifting. I found it to be more of a curiosity during road riding, but could see great benefits for trackdays. It’s worth noticing that the EAS clutchless downshift only works above 30 mph in Sport or Custom with Sport rpm-limiter selected modes.


Wire wheels look great on the Dragster RR, but they add weight.

The Dragster RR also has an eight-step traction control, which is a great feature on a motorcycle so powerful and light with considerable amounts of torque to weight. Set to level 2, I still experienced fairly long rear-wheel slides during acceleration from the lower gears on grubby corner exits. It’s probably advisable to start off with the TC set at a higher number if you’re not used to such a high power-to-weight ratio in an aggressive chassis. It’s also possible to turn off TC, which is also the case for the other electronics on this motorcycle. The Dragster RR really turns into one ugly frightful beast without them.

Let’s stop for a moment and talk about appearances, because this is a key point with any MV Agusta. When viewed statically, the Dragster RR looks like a mixture between a scared impala and an aggressive leopard in full leap. Beauty and the beast all in one stance. The bespoke spokes on the wheels add about 300 grams of weight, helping settle the RR over uneven roads.

Dragster RR vs. Brutale RR

MV also launched the new Brutale 800 RR on the same day as the Dragster RR, so here are some notes on how they differ. The Brutale RR has most of the good bits of the Dragster RR, such as the upgraded engine, steering-damper, TC and EAS 2.0 quickshifter. But the Brutale’s upright seating position and friendlier suspension setup proves to be a lot more comfortable than the Dragster. It’s also more civilized to a potential pillion passenger. However, it’s not quite as visually striking as the Dragster RR.


For pure ride enjoyment, there isn’t much in it, because the Brutale RR is also one damn fine motorcycle in almost all areas. I believe most riders would appreciate the Brutale RR a little bit more for its “milder” ride qualities, but nothing beats the savageness of the Dragster RR.


I have more love than hate for the Dragster RR. Aesthetically, it’s pure love. And while the handling is far from neutral, there’s certainly no hate here either. The MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR feels a little bit like that historical badboy, the Suzuki TL1000S, but with all the safety features to avoid it being labelled a “widowmaker.”

Traction control, sophisticated ABS brakes, steering-damper and quickshifter makes the Dragster RR civilized enough to recommend, but not to those fresh from motorcycle training. I’d personally like to soften the chassis a bit to gain more feel for when not going flat out. The MV Agusta Dragster RR would be my choice of weapon in a track battle against the best “hyper” nakeds out there. But the Dragster RR is a poor choice for long daily commutes.
All in all, the Dragster RR is a daring model from MV Agusta, which could cause some sales disruption for its very own Brutale base model. If it’s love at first sight, I reckon that alone justifies the Dragster RR, and it is, in my opinion, a better value than the standard Dragster.


+ Highs

  • Engine with plenty of power and superb torque curve
  • Quickshifter that can downshift as well as upshift
  • It’s not exactly ugly, is it?
- Sighs

  • Handling for the expert rider; will scare others
  • Cool but heavy wheels
  • Commuter unfriendliness

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 Topic: Victory Motorcycles, Veterans, Combine Forces On Veteran’s Day
Victory Motorcycles, Veterans, Combine Forces On Veteran’s Day [message #6629] Tue, 28 October 2014 15:33

From a Victory press release:

Victory Motorcycles and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will continue their partnership supporting the men and women of the armed forces by joining together at America’s Parade in New York City on November 11. This nationally televised parade is the largest Veteran’s Day event in the nation.

Victory/IAVA have initiated “The Road Home” program during which Victory will contribute $500 to IAVA for each new Victory bike sold. This program is dedicated to empowering and assisting the military veterans who have served in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to adjust to life back home. Learn more at

“It’s an honor to join IAVA to celebrate the men and women who protect our freedom.” said Steve Menneto, VP Motorcycles for Polaris. “We appreciate their contributions and sacrifices, and admire the work done on their behalf by IAVA.”

As a company with nearly 30% of its owner base having a military affiliation, Victory is especially honored to support military personnel, veterans and first responders. Victory currently offers these individuals $1,000.00 off the cost of a new Victory motorcycle. Offers vary and exclusions apply. Complete details are available at

America’s Parade in New York City is a magnificent event to bring attention to all the brave men and women who have placed themselves in harm’s way to keep the American way of life secure.

For details about IAVA programs and how you can support IAVA or get involved, visit

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 Topic: Tomfoolery – Serving Kenneth Mandler
Tomfoolery – Serving Kenneth Mandler [message #6628] Tue, 28 October 2014 14:24

Any California motorcyclist who’s suffered a lane-splitting accident in the last few months should consider consulting an attorney regarding any legal standing you may have to sue Mr. Kenneth Mandler. Why? Because it was him and his sanctimonious indignation that forced the CHP to retract its Lane-Splitting Guidelines – a safe riding tip sheet that may have helped riders avoid crashing or minimize potential injuries while lane-splitting had it been available.

“By forcing the California Highway Patrol to remove its guidelines, Mr. Mandler and the Office of Administrative Law are denying the public vital safety information,” said Nick Harris, AMA western states representative and a member of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program Advisory Committee, which helped write the guidelines.

“Lane splitting is still allowed, and motorcyclists are still using this long-recognized riding technique to relieve traffic congestion and improve safety,” Haris said. “But now, neither riders nor motorists have a place to turn for authoritative guidelines on the practice.”

Is lane-splitting safe? I posed this question in my Truth About Lane Splitting article one year ago. Because, at the time, no motorcycle safety study had ever concluded with any authority the safety of lane splitting. That has now changed thanks to Thomas Rice and Lara Troszak.


Lending support to a lane-splitting lawsuit against Mr. Mandler is the recently released preliminary report by Rice and Troszak: “Safety implications of lane-splitting among California motorcyclists involved in collisions” conducted by the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center University of California Berkeley. The complete study will be made available at the first of the year (and we’ll fully report the findings then), but the preliminary report has this to say in regards to the CHP Lane-Splitting Guidelines.

“We compared the proportion of collision-involved, lane-splitting  motorcyclists with injury across several body regions by whether the lane-splitting was done in a manner consistent with the former CHP guidelines. The guidelines had recommended that lane-splitting be done only in traffic flowing at 30 mph or less and that the motorcycle speed should exceed the traffic speed by no more than 10 mph. We found that the proportion with each injury type was high when the lane-splitting was consistent with neither recommendation, was lower when it was consistent with one recommendation, and was lower still when it was consistent with both recommendations.

For example the proportion of motorcyclists with head injury was:

  • 6.3% for those lane-splitting consistent with both guideline components.
  • 9.0% for those lane-splitting in traffic flowing faster than 30 mph but exceeding traffic speed by less than 10 mph.
  • 10.7% for those lane-splitting in traffic flowing at 30 mph or less but exceeding the traffic speed by more than 10 mph.
  • 20.5% for those who were lane-splitting in traffic flowing at more than 30 mph and who were exceeding traffic speed by more than 10 mph.

The study also found that motorcyclists who practice lane-splitting were better helmeted and less likely to suffer head injury, torso injury, and fatal injury than other motorcyclists. There were also fewer instances of alcohol consumption or being unlicensed among lane-splitters.

Last year, Mandler petitioned the California Office of Administrative Law claiming the CHP Lane-Spitting Guidelines were  an “underground regulation” that the CHP was unlawfully promoting. The Office of Administrative Law agreed and forced the CHP to remove the guidelines.

Mr. Mandler has the right to oppose lane-splitting. But instead of exercising his rights via the legislative process in an effort to illegalize lane-splitting, he attacked a good-deed effort of the CHP to promote safe and responsible lane-splitting, thus potentially endangering the health and safety of motorcyclists who choose to lane-split. And for that, we think the man ought to hear our voices.

Your lawyer can reach Mr. Mandler at Please be polite.

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 Topic: Motorcycle Insurance: They’ve Got Us Covered
Motorcycle Insurance: They’ve Got Us Covered [message #6627] Tue, 28 October 2014 14:03

As riders, we have to do a few things to legally enjoy our time out on the road. First, good karma, accident statistics, and our desire to ride without fear of Officer John Law dictate that we get a motorcycle license. Really, there’s no excuse not to have the correct endorsement. Second, the vast majority of states require a minimum amount of insurance (or some other kind of demonstrable financial responsibility) in order to operate a motorcycle legally on the street.

Even if you live in one of the four states (Florida, Montana, New Hampshire (sort of), and Washington) that don’t explicitly require proof of financial responsibility, do you really want to risk your property or the financial stability of your family by riding without insurance? The liability requirements vary from state-to-state and only deal with your responsibility for the expenses of others’ property and injuries caused by your actions. Remember liability insurance only covers the other folks involved in your at-fault accident. If you want to cover the cost to repair your bike, you’ll need more comprehensive coverage.

In the past, we’ve written about the various forms of insurance and how to figure out what types you want or need. If you’re not sure about your level of understanding in the various forms of insurance, take a quick hop over to our sister site,, which contains all of the informational articles written for MO in one easy-to-digest place. Don’t worry, this article will still be here waiting for you when you get back.

The Major Players

Even if you haven’t been looking for motorcycle insurance recently, you’re probably already familiar with the primary national providers of motorcycle insurance in the US. How can we say this? Well, watch any motorcycle-focused TV, and these companies are out there during the commercial breaks. Motorcyclists are an important market for insurance providers. They’re competing for our hard-earned dollars.

The internet has made it easier for riders to take advantage of competitive shopping. If you don’t watch any motorcycle TV shows (shudder), you can always pop over to MO’s insurance buyer’s guide to find where to go to get quotes for your bike. You’ll need your bike’s VIN, but otherwise, you should be able to fill out the forms easily. (You won’t even have time to set your DVR to record anything with motorcycle in the description, while waiting for the quotes to be returned to you, but you should do it anyway. You’ll thank us.)


In less than three minutes after filling out the forms, this quote arrived via email. You could comparison shop during commercial breaks of a MotoGP race.

Since comparison shopping is so easy in the internet age, insurance providers are having to find ways to capture, if not the hearts of riders, then the dollars. Sponsorship of motorcycling events or race teams is always a good way to get attention. Additionally, producing motorcycle-specific advertisements and not shuffling motorcycles to the back corner of the consumer website.

As motorcycle-specific social media posts and pages become more common, in addition to new media approaches through smartphone apps, we thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look at the national insurance providers to see who “gets” motorcyclists.


We have to be honest, an Allstate press release was the genesis of this article. The release claimed: “Quite frankly, when it comes to motorcycle insurance & helping keep riders riding safely, no one else out there is doing anything like what Allstate is doing.” This piqued our interests in an “oh, really” kinda way, and so, we set out to see what Allstate is actually doing for motorcyclists and to check if it is more than the other companies.

Just from the release, alone, we see that Allstate has some interesting outreach techniques. First, on their motorcycle-oriented Facebook page, you’ll find all the usual social media attempts to connect to customers. However, there is one big area – actually, a Facebook app – the Rider Risk Map that stands out. This is a crowd-sourced, interactive map that shows intersections and roadways that may be of special concern to motorcyclists. While the map covers all of North America, the entries are mostly from the US, with a smattering in Canada – with one all the way up in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Go ahead, you know you want to check out places near where you live.

Go ahead, you know you want to check out places near where you live.

The user-submitted flags vary in usefulness. As with any crowd-sourced project, people have to do a little work to make the tool worth using. The process involves searching for a location/address via the Google Maps interface and dropping a pin. Then users are given the opportunity to make comments and even submit photos. Google also inserts Street View photos if available. Armchair traveling around the country, you will find many good warnings, but unfortunately, quite a few are nothing more than a dropped pin with no explanation. If there is no Street View photo, the pin has limited usefulness. If Allstate remains committed, the value of the app will increase over time, but it really needs a dedicated user base like the one that has made the Waze App so successful.

How To Use Allstate’s Rider Risk Map

If you look closely at the map, you’ll also see yellow caution signs and blue motorcycle icons. The caution signs mark places where Allstate installed roadsigns to warn of dangerous intersections for riders. These are part of Allstate’s federally-recognized O.N.E. Program which places the signs to increase driver awareness of motorcycles. The bike icons denote the 11 rallies that the Allstate Rider Protection Zone will be traveling to during the year in an effort inform and educate riders about safe motorcycling (and sell insurance policies, natch). Allstate also has annual sweepstakes with custom bikes as the grand prize, like a Rick Fairless Victory 8-Ball for 2014. This year’s list included Americade, Daytona Bike Week, and Sturgis.

An online motorcycle magazine. What will they think of next?

An online motorcycle magazine. What will they think of next?

Next, the Allstate Rider News website offers a wealth of educational and entertaining articles by industry “Moto Experts,” a few of whom you may be familiar: Fred Rau, Vicki Sanfelipo, Bill Gade, Arlen Ness, and Rick Fairless. (An online motorcycle magazine featuring quality names from inside the industry. Who would have thought of that?) The depth of information covered in the Rider News tips the scale as a bit heftier than your typical blog or social media corporate presence.

Allstate also offers an Android and iOS app to record ride routes, find cheap gas, and give a portable maintenance log. Unfortunately, the Good Ride App is marred by bugginess that makes it less successful than the company’s other efforts.


Of the four insurance companies in this article, Foremost is probably the one that readers are least familiar with. Unlike the other three insurance providers, Foremost is predominantly a specialty insurance company, covering more obscure or specialized products. For example, Foremost developed the first insurance policy created specifically for travel trailers. Although a member of the Farmers Insurance Group, Foremost remains smaller and more focused in its offerings than other, bigger companies. Still, Foremost is the motorcycle insurance provider that AARP chose for its members’ motorcycle insurance needs.

Sponsoring a reality TV show about a privateer superbike racer is a unique approach to marketing your brand.

Sponsoring a reality TV show about a privateer superbike racer is a unique approach to marketing your brand.

While Foremost’s website fills the checkboxes of what a company needs as an online presence (online quotes, Facebook page, etc.), the scale of the offerings is significantly smaller than the the bigger players. Because of its smaller size, Foremost’s approach to marketing itself is, not surprisingly, unique. Foremost has chosen to sponsor a superbike racer for the past several years rather than sponsoring rallies or other big events. If hanging in with the AMA Superbike series during the tough years under DMG’s stewardship doesn’t demonstrate an affinity for motorcycling, we don’t know what does. However, the support doesn’t stop with just sponsoring privateer racer, Larry Pegram. The company also stands behind Pegram’s reality show Superbike Family. Lest you think that cruisers are being left out of the shuffle, Foremost’s YouTube channel offers a series of videos titled Bill and Jack’s Adventures, featuring Sturgis and other biker gatherings.


GEICO is another one of the major players in the motorcycle insurance market. With clever commercials, like the one above, the company has definitely made a splash when it comes to brand familiarity. GEICO has the requisite website with quotes and some motorcycle-specific information which reads much like you would expect an insurance company’s motorcycle page to read – the information is there, but it’s not terribly inspiring. What is inspiring about GEICO, however, is its sponsorship of motorcycle events and races. The company is listed on the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally website as one of the event’s main sponsors. Just a couple weeks ago, the American Motorcyclist Association

announced that GEICO was “a Platinum Sponsor for the 2014 American Honda AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.”

Come for the racing, leave with insurance?

Come for the racing, leave with insurance?

When it comes to racing, GEICO has been particularly involved in the sport. As the title sponsor of the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout, a series designed to address the dearth of professional American motorcycle roadracing events west of the Mississippi during the death throes of the DMG control of AMA Superbike in 2014, GEICO made sure that western racing fans were able to see some national-caliber racing on their side of the country. GEICO Powersports has been involved in AMA racing for many years and sponsored the 2014 GEICO Suzuki AMA racing team which featured 2014 AMA Daytona Sportbike Champion Martin Cardenas. The company isn’t just involved in racing on pavement. The company also joined forces with Honda to form the GEICO Honda motocross team.


As the largest motorcycle insurer in the US, perhaps it is fitting that Progressive’s influence on popular culture is second to none, thanks to its extensive list of commercials featuring Flo the “perky insurance saleswoman.” Almost as important in the minds of motorcyclists is the title sponsorship of the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows visiting 11 cities, starting this weekend in San Mateo, CA and ending in late January in Dallas, TX. Additionally, Progressive plays a sponsorship role with rallies, such as the Laconia Motorcycle Week and has its display area travel the country to other events. These are things that only big dollars and a serious commitment to motorcycling can deliver.

That logo on the top left corner may not look like much, but when you attend an International Motorcycle Show, you’ll have a hard time missing it on the event flow.

That logo on the top left corner may not look like much, but when you attend an International Motorcycle Show, you’ll have a hard time missing it on the event flow.

Progressive also makes a powerful statement by providing the branded insurance policies for the 800-lb. gorilla of the motorcycle world: Harley-Davidson. Billed as “insurance designed exclusively for Harley riders,” these policies are underwritten by Progressive, and we’re sure that doesn’t hurt the company’s bottom line a bit.

However, looking at Progressive’s motorcycle section of its website and its Facebook page for outdoor sports, including motorcycles, gives the impression that the other, smaller insurers, comparatively, are working mighty hard to endear themselves to riders and steal away some of Progressive’s market share.

The View from Here

While everyone complains about having to pay for insurance – particularly males of the species with a ticket or three and an open-class sportbike in the garage – having companies of this caliber vying for our insurance dollars is a good thing.

Having the ability to sit on your couch, with the lead up to your favorite racing series playing in the background, and compare insurance rates to make sure you are getting the best deal possible points to the fact that motorcycles are a desirable market for insurers. We’re no longer the redheaded stepchild of the insurance world. They want our money, and they – some more than others – are willing to work for it by supporting the sport that we love.

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 Topic: SpeedMob Introduces 2015 Airoh Aviator 2.1 Helmets
SpeedMob Introduces 2015 Airoh Aviator 2.1 Helmets [message #6626] Tue, 28 October 2014 12:51

Off-road riders in the U.S. may not be as familiar with the Airoh line of helmets, but the brand is popular in Europe and now SpeedMob Inc. is introducing the 2015 lineup of Airoh Aviator 2.1 off-road helmets. After a successful first year (2014) in the North American market and on the racetrack, SpeedMob readies for an even stronger year for Airoh helmets in 2015.

For 2015, there are four rollover designs and ten brand new graphics being offered in North America. This year’s lineup includes a “222” Antonio Cairoli replica, a stunning new Van Horebeek replica design and the Valor design available in two color schemes. Also new is the Arrow helmet design available in three color offerings; Yellow, Orange and White. The Six Days helmet returns with a limited edition numbered badge, sporting the colors of Argentina this year. The Linear Bicolor returns with new color combinations. The final design is the brand new Clash helmet with a bright mixture of orange, yellow, black and white. Returning are the Black Matte, Pearl Gloss, Rockstar and the Carbon.

Here is more information about the Aviator 2.1, courtesy of Airoh/SpeedMob:

The first feature pro riders comment on is the exceptionally low weight of this helmet, as many riders equate “heft” to safety. The proprietary multi-strand Carbon Kevlar weave and engineered EPS liner ensures this helmet both maintains integrity and disperses energy from all angles with engineered points designed to fracture and absorb impact in worse case scenarios, much like modern cars have designed crumple zones to protect their passengers.

The second feature riders notice is the incredible balance and immense airflow this helmet allows. After a long, hard day on the track or on the trails, these properties really earn the respect of those riders lucky enough to wear these helmets. With an incredible five ventilation intake ports, this helmet noticeably flows air. Add two massive top exit ports along with a modular rear exit diffuser that draws the air out, you can ride in relative comfort even in intense heat and humidity.

Because the Aviator comes as a very complete package, all helmets come with top vent “rain” covers, an extended peak visor, a GoPro mount and even a lanyard with helmet tool included in every box. Safety, rider comfort and helmet functionality top the list of items the Airoh engineering team constantly strive to improve on for our customers. With 17 years under Airoh’s belt and 55 World Titles there is a reason why champions choose Airoh Aviator helmets.

See the gallery below for all the helmet graphic options.

1a75e463-2762-4a02-a90f-a4c89abecdb3 1c632592-3337-447b-98c4-50e272260ad0 4b5c8e08-ff90-4fdc-aca2-7cc9781d39be 4f42cceb-f667-4c07-bed2-468a975bb3ad 17e326df-1b8f-46c6-a033-1466f61806cc 46f4de34-abc0-4805-ad32-7fae81f3824b 71eabf68-c2cc-43d8-b23e-16b0384c2edf 98d22dcd-da91-45ba-8f26-b4bfec7d0234 270cc7b6-340e-4b7e-b97c-693b2364a4d8 26136700-118d-4f2e-924b-e8949b499abf afa4b348-5567-4bf6-ba78-584b205d488d b47bf2ba-f2dd-49a4-b955-47899f624d21 dddce598-c3a3-4b47-9238-e9e5bf878fe1 f85acbc3-8aba-4ede-a1cb-8827cf652b5e

SpeedMob Introduces 2015 Airoh Aviator 2.1 Helmets appeared first on News.

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 Topic: Video: Hard Enduro highlights from Red Bull
Video: Hard Enduro highlights from Red Bull [message #6636] Tue, 28 October 2014 05:20

Check out what happens when hard enduro hits the city streets.

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 Topic: Berkeley studies lane-splitting
Berkeley studies lane-splitting [message #6635] Tue, 28 October 2014 00:26

University says practice is getting safer, more widely accepted in California; when will rest of continent catch up?

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 Topic: All set for the 2014 WSBK season finale in Qatar (Industry Press Releases)
All set for the 2014 WSBK season finale in Qatar (Industry Press Releases) [message #6625] Mon, 27 October 2014 18:08
Barcelona (Spain), Monday 27 October 2014 – The final round of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Champion takes place this weekend at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar. For the first time in WSBK history, the event will be held under floodlights thanks to the impressive lighting system that powers the entire venue, […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Will Inner-City E-Motorcycle Parks Spark Younger Generations? (News)
Will Inner-City E-Motorcycle Parks Spark Younger Generations? (News) [message #6624] Mon, 27 October 2014 15:06
Like most Baby Boomers, I had relatively easy access to off-road riding areas as a child. Although I lived in a city (just outside of Los Angeles), I was riding mini-bikes and motorcycles before the age of 10 in the dirt near my home. Boomers who grew up in the country had it even better, […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Ninja H2 Video XXI: Top-Shelf Components
Ninja H2 Video XXI: Top-Shelf Components [message #6618] Mon, 27 October 2014 11:40

The 21st teaser video for Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 highlights the the components in the construction of the H2: KYB suspension, Brembo brakes, Ohlins steering damper, slipper clutch and dog-ring transmission. Stay tuned for further videos leading up to the H2′s release at EICMA, November 4.

Ninja H2 Video XXI: Top-Shelf Components appeared first on News.

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 Topic: My little Moto GP habit
My little Moto GP habit [message #6623] Mon, 27 October 2014 09:58

Editor 'Arris bemoans the power of Dorna and the need to watch Moto GP.

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 Topic: Video: Stories of Bike
Video: Stories of Bike [message #6622] Mon, 27 October 2014 04:35

Here's another video from the Australian hipster motorcycle film series.

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 Topic: Video: The Green Lane Relay
Video: The Green Lane Relay [message #6621] Mon, 27 October 2014 00:18

Watch one man's quest to ride off-road through England.

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 Topic: Young Gun Meets Old Pro
Young Gun Meets Old Pro [message #6620] Mon, 27 October 2014 00:01

Double world Moto GP champ Marc Marquez managed to hold off the wily nine-time world champion Doctor – Valentino Rossi – in an excellent race in sweltering 35C heat and 70% humidity in Malaysia.

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 Topic: Kruger confirms appearance at Macau GP
Kruger confirms appearance at Macau GP [message #6619] Mon, 27 October 2014 00:01

Canadian roadracer Dan Kruger has confirmed he will appear at the upcoming Macau GP, despite his injuries suffered at the Suzuka 8-Hour.

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 Topic: Sepang MotoGP Results (News) (Race Results)
Sepang MotoGP Results (News) (Race Results) [message #6617] Sun, 26 October 2014 22:55
Honda’s Marc Marquez won his 12th race of the year today, equaling the premier class record of Mick Doohan. With one race remaining Marquez has a chance to set the all-time record for race wins in a single season. Yamaha factory riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo finished in second and third positions, respectively. For […]... Click Here for Article
 Topic: Hottest events this week
Hottest events this week [message #6616] Sun, 26 October 2014 20:00

Wonderingggggg what large and interesting motorcycle related events are happening this week? Wonder no more, here’s the CMG list of the week’s hottest (and maybe some not so hot) motorcycle activities. Enjoy.

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 Topic: MotoGP 2014 Sepang Results
MotoGP 2014 Sepang Results [message #6615] Sun, 26 October 2014 15:41

Under a blistering Malaysian sun so hot the track itself was sweating, Repsol Honda champion Marc Marquez returned to his winning ways, claiming his 12th win of the 2014 season and tying Mick Doohan’s 17 year-old record. The Bruise Brothers of the factory Yamaha team, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, joined young Marquez on the podium in the festival-like atmosphere of Sepang, suddenly one of the great venues of MotoGP.

With the 2014 title having been decided two weeks ago at Motegi, there was less than usual at stake today, but you couldn’t tell from the way the riders were flying around the circuit and falling off their bikes. Eight of the 22 starters failed to finish today, including Repsol #2 Dani Pedrosa, who saw his slim chance of a second-place finish in 2014 evaporate on Lap 2, when he lost the front chasing Lorenzo for the lead. Pedrosa re-entered the fray in last position and worked his way back as high as 11th when he crashed again, this time on Lap 12, for the benefit of those fans who had missed his earlier gaffe. For the ninth consecutive year, Pedrosa finds himself tasting ashes at season’s end, misfortune his constant companion.

Something seems missing here …

If Pedrosa was today’s biggest loser, the day’s biggest winner, aside from Marquez, was the inimitable Valentino Rossi. With grip issues plaguing him during practice, and starting from the six hole, Rossi found something extra early in the session. In the first turn of Lap 1, Lorenzo and Marquez came together, Lorenzo getting the better of it, pushing Marquez wide and back into the pack, while the Mallorcan emerged at the end of the lap leading the race. Once Pedrosa crashed, Rossi and Marquez soon fell in line behind him, and the first group took shape.

Both Marquez and Lorenzo had been fast in practice, so it was no surprise to see them running up front. But as we’ve seen all year, once the lights go out, Rossi, at age 35, still seems to get a sufficient adrenaline boost to lower his lap times by a few tenths, which is all it takes for him to challenge for the lead.

Jorge Lorenzo’s season is ending better than it started, challenging for the lead at Sepang against Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez.

By Lap 9 things had gotten tight up front, with Rossi beginning to actively attack Lorenzo while defending against Marquez. On Lap 10, first Rossi, then Marquez went through on Lorenzo who appeared to be losing front grip. The next time around, Marquez went through cleanly on Rossi, at which point the day’s top three matched the year’s top three. Over the next seven laps, both Rossi and Marquez were running at the absolute limits of adhesion, Rossi refusing to concede, Marquez refusing to surrender. It was only on Lap 18 of 20 that my notes read “VR broken.” Marquez would eventually win by three seconds, with Lorenzo closing to within a second of Rossi at the finish.

With his 12th win of the season, Marc Marquez ties the previous record set by Mick Doohan in 1997.

At the end of the day, life amongst the Aliens saw little change. Champion Marquez had tied one record and set a second – most poles (13) in a single season. Rossi added some margin to his lead over Lorenzo in the fight for the vice-championship, and will be lugging a 12-point lead to the finale in Valencia. Pedrosa is likely to complete his season in Spain with his lowest win total (1) since entering the premier class in 2006. One must feel a little sympathy for the man with the third most career podia in MotoGP history, but who has never experienced the joy of winning a premier class title.

Elsewhere on the Grid

Pramac Ducati tough guy Andrea Iannone, who knocked Pedrosa out of the race at Phillip Island last week, earning a penalty point for his trouble, mixed it up in the rain with Marquez during FP2 on Friday and crashed again, damaging his arm and shoulder and giving him a DNS today. Afterward, Marquez took the blame for the incident while Iannone took the contusions. Other riders failing to finish today included GO & FUN Honda sketcher Alvaro Bautista, who collided with hard-luck Aleix Espargaro on Lap 2, factory Ducati #2 Cal Crutchlow, retiring with mechanical issues on Lap 5, and Drive M7 Aspar pilot Nicky Hayden, who crashed on Lap 7, thus avoiding a post-race interview with yours truly. Karel Abraham, Danilo Petrucci and Alex de Angelis all found their way from the bottom of the food chain to the gravel run-off areas of Sepang.

Aleix Espargaro was one of several riders who did not finish the race.

LCR Honda refugee Stefan Bradl started and finished fourth today, taking the spot usually reserved for Hayden at Sepang. Ducati #1 Andrea Dovizioso started fifth and looked strong early until he was seen coasting on the back stretch with a pair of Vise-Grips in his gloved hands, trying to adjust his front brake, eventually finishing down in eighth place. The two Tech 3 riders, Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, spent most of the day together, Smith ultimately edging out his teammate for fifth and taking another point out of Espargaro’s lead for sixth place for the year. Espargaro gets a gold star for effort, as he raced today with a broken bone in his foot, courtesy of having done a Zarco in FP4 on Saturday – setting his bike on fire and going high side a moment later. A tiny shard of glass embedded in his oil cooler was later discovered to have been the culprit.

Pol Espargaro finished sixth, a respectable result considering the crash he suffered earlier in the weekend.

A Few Final Thoughts on Race Weekend in Malaysia

From start to finish, it was a pleasure being one of a small group of American journalists invited to attend the 24th running of the Malaysian Grand Prix. As gracious as our hosts have been, it must be said that the GP itself is an endurance race. During the post-race press conference, it was acknowledged by the Big Three, and Tito Rabat, who secured the Moto2 championship today, that conditioning is as important as set-up in this race.

Esteve “Tito” Rabat finished third at Sepang, good enough to guarantee him the Moto2 championship.

It was roughly 100°F in the shade today trackside, and there wasn’t any shade; the tarmac registered 58°C, which, I’m pretty sure, is a lot (ed.: 136°F!). The riders, encased in their leathers, had to be suffering as the grid lined up before the race. The crews working in the garages, the marshals and the fans all got a healthy dose of life near the Equator. If there is a race where the local riders enjoy a home advantage, it is Sepang. Without question, it takes more than a few days to become acclimated to weather like this.

On the positive side, the people are friendly and helpful; almost everyone speaks English and is happy to do so. The food everywhere was sensational and safe to eat. Kuala Lumpur is a thriving metropolis, with enormous buildings going up seemingly on every other corner. The American dollar is strong these days, and a vacation here is relatively inexpensive. One hears a jumble of languages and accents on the street. Although it is a Muslim-majority country, there is no hint of prejudice against Westerners; tolerance seems to be the nature of the locals.

Steaming temperatures aside, Sepang is a top-notch venue posing a tough challenge for MotoGP racers.

One thing that is almost impossible to find here in Malaysia is pork sausage. Chicken sausage, beef sausage, lamb sausage – no problem. If this works for you, there are plenty of worse places to go for a holiday or a racing weekend. If, on the other hand, this one item is a deal breaker, then by all means spend a week at your local Bob Evans restaurant.

“Visit Malaysia” is not just the theme of the country’s tourism program. It’s a good idea.

2014 MotoGP Sepang Top Ten Results
Pos. Rider Team Time
1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda -
2 Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha +2.445
3 Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha +3.508
4 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda +21.234
5 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech3 +22.283
6 Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech3 +34.668
7 Yonny Hernandez Energy T.I. Pramac +38.435
8 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Corse +48.839
9 Hector Barbera Avintia Racing +50.792
10 Scott Redding GO&FUN Honda Gresini +59.088
2014 MotoGP Top Ten Standings After 17 Rounds
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1 Marc Marquez Honda 337
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 275
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 263
4 Dani Pedrosa Honda 230
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 174
6 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 126
7 Bradley Smith Yamaha 119
8 Aleix Espargaro Forward Yamaha * 117
9 Stefan Bradl Honda 109
10 Andrea Iannone Ducati 102
* indicates an Open Option entry.

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 Topic: Church Of MO 2003 Ducati Multistrada
Church Of MO 2003 Ducati Multistrada [message #6614] Sun, 26 October 2014 07:44

The Ducati Multistrada has been getting a little buzz this week, as Ducati announced the Multi would be the first recipient of its new DVT engine with variable valve timing. The Multi has long been a favorite touring bike amongst the MO staff, so for this week’s Church feature, we travel back to 2003 and the original Multistrada. Remember the air-cooled engine? The upper fairing piece that swiveled when you turned the bars? It was a unique bike (this was also the era of the 999 Superbike, remember?), but we liked its quirks. Here, we get Yossef Schvetz’s take on the Multi. The bike, which, at the time, was difficult to place into any pre-existing category. Also, be sure to check out the photo gallery for more pictures.


2003 Ducati Multistrada

By Yossef Schvetz Mar. 16, 2003

Vrooom-vrooom, vroooooom-vrooom, vrooom-vroooooom. I’d give a quid or two to read the thoughts of the passengers sitting next to me on the flight back from the Ducati Multistrada launch in Sardinia. 

A forty-year-old emitting v-twin engine sounds, tilting his head right and left while twisting an invisible throttle. The Multistrada left an indelible impression on me and it’ll take a while to get it all out of my head. This is no classic Italian V-twin vrooom-vroooming we’re talking about, like the one performed in a cramped fetal position with your face kissing the instrument panel and your ass propped up ala 916. No. This is another sort of vrooom-vroooming. A new one, really new. Not a “new frame this,” “improved engine” that or bold new graphics BS. More like a new idea.

We might never have given Yossef the Aerostich if we'd known he was never going to take it off.

We might never have given Yossef the Aerostich if we’d known he was never going to take it off.

As reference, you might want to use a Suzuki V-Strom or a Yamaha TDM, both Sport/Adventure-do-it-all twins. But as cute as these bikes are, they are also typically Japanese in their softness, niceness and overall mushiness. They’re mentioned only to paint the broad direction. The Ducati Multistrada is a sort of do-it-all Sporting twin too, but conceptually it’s something else and looks more like a political refugee from the swinging sixties. It is boldly minimalist, it is painted a blaring, communist-party red, it is sexily slim and there’s a true air-cooled motor sitting down there, just like they used to make `em.

A wonderful bastard, the fruit of a happy collision between a rabid Supermotard, say a KTM Duke, and the comfy and protected habitat of a big trailie–the whole plot held together by an immortal Bolognese space frame. When the Multistrada prototype was first shown at Milan’s 2001 EICMA, the collective reaction of the world’s motorcycling press (me included) was less than lukewarm. Another Terblanche oddball? A Mike Hailwood Replica tail married to a Paris-Dakar replica front end? What in friggin’ hell is that? After a day of flogging the tits off the thing, I have a perfect understanding what the Multistrada is: A stonking ride and I definitely want one parked in my garage.

Just your garden-variety, steel-tube trellis...

Just your garden-variety, steel-tube trellis…

The Multistrada might have a fairing but technically speaking it’s so naked that there ain’t much left to the imagination. MO-ridians have met the 1000cc power unit at JB’s assessment of the SuperSport 1000DS, so we can cut some corners here. The major revamp from 900 to 1000cc and the adoption of another spark plug per cylinder, among other things, have done this power unit mucho good. Not that there is much competition for the crown nowadays, but it definitely deserves the title of Best Air-cooled Engine in Biking. The frame is a classic Ducati affair of dead straight short tubes that create those stiff little triangles in bridge-like fashion. There are some interesting new niceties on the cycle side of the equation. An impressive tubular rear subframe that continues the triangulating theme supplies support for two riders, twin underseat mufflers and optional panniers. Under the subframe, the forgotten single sided swingarm of the 916 (albeit in reworked form) makes a re-appearance. A fully adjustable Showa shock dampens the action on the back through a progressive linkage and has a practical remote preload adjuster. On the front end, the same firm supplies a fully adjustable 43mm USD fork. The suspension components might look similar to stuff on street Ducatis but spec sheet says that there is considerable more wheel travel in here: 165mm at the front is mid-ground between true Dual-Purpose and Adventure Tourer, while on the back, 140mm hints at a more road-oriented direction.

03_Ducati_Multistrada_21Darn good looking 17-inch wheels are attached to the spindles and these shift the equation even more towards sporting road duties. An interesting surprise up the Multistrada’s sleeve are the never seen before the side bar. Triple Brembo Gold series brakes complete the cycle package. Then there is the fairing-fuel tank-seat-tail combo that deserves special mention, as very brave decisions by Pierre & Co have been taken here. At first sight, the mating of the aggressive tail with its two smoking gun barrels to a tall and almost scooter-like fairing seems odd, but I ended up loving it. I seem to have that thing about split personality types. The large flanks of the fairing have also a crucial importance in the Multistrada’s lean looks. These side panels hold space-sapping elements such as the battery, electrics, toolbox and more, while shifting weight to the front end. Further space was freed by creating a singular fuel tank that extends from the steering head all the way to the back seat. Why is that important? Have a look at the empty and airy space behind the Multistrada’s engine. There’s a photogenic shock to be seen, and that’s all–a wet dream come true for somebody who loves bare-bones tools. Compare the Multistrada’s side view with that of any other big trailie and you’ll grasp the considerable achievement of the design team in an era when many bikes seem to get more and more heavy visually speaking.

Is its picture less than Greek? Maybe it's not that funny looking after all...

Is its picture less than Greek? Maybe it’s not that funny looking after all…

Another fresh detail is the upper portion of the fairing, which swings around together with the handlebars. Why go through the trouble of splitting the fairing in two parts? Because to avoid contact between brake and clutch levers and the fairing at full steering lock, windshields usually have to be positioned further away from the rider, thus reducing their efficiency. With the Multistrada’s solution, the windshield can be much closer to the rider, protecting him more without being too big. The idea is not totally new, it was first seen in the early `80s on the limited edition Yamaha 1100 Martini, but Terblanche definitely deserves the credit for this new incarnation of a bright idea.

Maybe a new helmet would be good too?

Maybe a new helmet would be good too?

Time for some non-virtual vrooom-vroooming. Even though Ducati claims that the Multistrada was specifically developed to be the ultimate tool for a canyon road near Bologna named Passo Della Futta, the launch was held on the island of Sardinia. A cute and somewhat touristy place with an outstanding statistic: Some 95% of its surface is mountainous. Sounds good on paper and gets better as the island’s amazing tarmac rolls under the Multistrada’s wheels. Talk about crazy canyon rides, Sardinia’s roads left me quite speechless. A paved roller coaster ride and to top it all I was about to ride here with the infamous British motorcycling press lads. As it would turn out, I shouldn’t have worried as the Multistrada did its best to make me feel at ease from the word go. It’s tall but so am I, seating posture is bolt upright and provides total control of the road ahead, there is plenty of room for long limbs and to move around, all classic big trailie stuff. But here all similarity to Big P-D replicas ends. We head towards a coastal canyon road in an Indian line led by a Fiat full of Ducati mechanics that know the road by heart, and soon enough they are attacking the turns with wheels screeching and all of us in hot pursuit. Thirty moto-journos gassing it on a canyon road lined with sheer 300-foot drop-offs. Cool.

Any worries that the Multistrada will start weaving here and there on its longish suspension struts is immediately dispelled. The pace picks up, the Pirelli Scorpions reach working temperature rather fast and there I am, throwing the Multistrada with abandon into the gnarly twists without thinking twice about the consequences. You can feel the 999 DNA in the stiff frame but unlike that supersport ride, there is no adaptation period required. The intuitiveness with which the Multistrada can be handled is quite amazing and the same goes for the neutrality of its mid-turn poise. During the photo shoot, while doing the same corner over and over again, I start to press the Multistrada even more, with strong braking into turns and steeper lean angles. Yet, it still gives the feeling that it can take it all in stride, and it’s only me shying away from leaning and gassing it even more. The quite excellent Scorpions have an important part here too, but main praise goes to the well-damped suspension and sorted out geometry. I can easily imagine the aforementioned adventure tourers jumping up and down on their pumpers in this paved fettuccini of a road that the Multistrada simply eats for breakfast. The only time you’re really aware of not being on a pure supersport tool is while flicking the Multistrada hard on its side. The high CG and the longish suspension travel cut feedback from the front during the turn-in phase for a fraction of a second. You just have to trust that everything’s gonna be fine, and it is.


Lunch should stay warmish in here

Twin ray-gun exhausts carry Euro 2 emissions stuff in Europe, not so much as a catalyst in North American models

Your 5.3 US gallons of benzine are carried low and amidships. Tricky.

Something old, something new… white-faced tachometer, LCD everything else works well together

Daktu, maraba, clacktar, beelzebub… reminds me of a praying mantis, you?

When you learn to trust the front end you get dividends in the shape of very linear turn-in and smooth arcing through the turns unfazed by throttle play. The Multi’s power unit is really grunty but never threatening. The motor allows you to play racer if you like, vrooom-vroooming and downshifting before every turn, or simply leave it stuck in one gear and torque out. This engine’s useable rev range is 3000-8000 rpm–something that covers nicely a typical slow mountain road of 30-75 mph in one gear. Obviously the racer approach pumps more adrenaline into your veins but in classic Ducati fashion, it’s a motor that gives you the choice. The power delivery and throttle response is super friendly, so unlike in the Aprilia Tuono R, you’re never afraid of exaggerating with your right hand.

After some hours we do reach a somewhat calmer and straighter stretch of road that seemingly leads from nowhere to nowhere else. A good place to evaluate the Multistrada while not in full attack mode. As the road opens up, the relaxed ergoes and comfy saddle get their chance to shine. It’s really nice to straddle the slim tank, and the narrow at the front/wide at the back saddle feels fine after quite a long stretch. Things are less rosy with the fairing. Up to shoulder level and 85 mph it does a really good job. Above 85 mph things could be better; my helmet was left out in the air stream and even shorter riders complained too. After all the talk about the innovative fairing, the wind protection was somewhat disappointing. It has to be added though, that Ducati does already offer a couple of higher screens for the Multistrada as part of its Ducati Performance accessories line. In my humble opinion, the Multistrada (like many other bikes) should be sold with the taller screens to begin with. Talking about speed, in the very short straights that came our way I did see around 125 mph.

Time for a mid-day break. Everybody is pulling into the parking lot of a cozy restaurant, helmets are pulled off and there are plenty of grinning faces around. Even the hard to please British hooligan journos are smilling and seem to constantly mutter “really nice bike.” Not that I needed their nod of approval, the Multistrada really spoke for itself, but it was interesting to see that even delegates of the most sportbike-crazed country in the world (Fireblade leading sales) were more than impressed.

For lunch I sat next to some of them and a guy from Ducati USA, all seem to agree that the bike is good but how do you market a Ducati that is so damn practical? The Multistrada has a soul that’s 100% Ducati, but it adds a new dimension of versatility that was missing from the Bolognese line-up since the days of the Elefant 900 P-D replica or even the 600 TL. Ducati dealers will need some new words in their vocabulary, like “comfort” and “chuckabiltiy.” While the discussion heats up I turn to a bubbly older guy with graying hair and cool English manners sitting next to me and ask him what publication does he work for? I am half expecting to hear something like the “The Oxford Times.”

“Well, I am not a journalist, I am just an old racer invited over by Ducati, my name is Paul Smart. Nice to meet you.”

Uh-oh, this one's been made over by the Ducati Performance catalog, looks like

Uh-oh, this one’s been made over by the Ducati Performance catalog, looks like

Oops, I nearly choked on my food. Paul is the guy without whom Ducati might not be where it is today at all. His win in the 1972 Imola 200 race, the “Daytona of Europe,” on the very first 750SS, was the feat that put Ducati firmly on the map as a maker of true road burners. The factory riders of Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph and MV took a serious beating that day. As we stand up it’s hard not to notice Paul’s typical racer stance, compact and sporty. As we leave the restaurant in small groups I don’t miss my chance to ride for a while behind a past champion. A real shame that I didn’t have a video camera mounted on my Multi. For long minutes I totally forgot about my task of road tester and was simply riveted to Paul’s smooth and flowing riding. Without any of the fuzz and drama of the pathetic knee-dragging journos, Paul throws his Multi into impressive lean angles and proves that there is indeed life after 50. Slowly our riding group spreads out and I am left with Paul and demon riding Ducati engineer Andrea Forni to play with in the twisty bits. Now, with fewer lunatics around, I can go back to doing my job. With more saddle time I trust the Multistrada more and proceed to search its limits as well as problems. Both are hard to find. In terms of lean angle clearance, I managed to scrap my right footpeg once or twice. When I checked other bikes at the end of the day, there where only a few that showed signs of heavy peg grinding, and that’s after some 90 journos punished the bikes during the three day launch. The niggling problems are’t that many . While using the powerful and fade free Brembos (not quite as good as the 999′s four-pad jobs), the slippery injected rubber seat surface had me sliding forward. Same thing happened over slower, bumpy stuff when the stiffish rear suspension wasn’t really swallowing it all. A stickier cover please. I wouldn’t mind having longer mirror stems and more rearward positioned footpegs either. At their current position my right boot was constantly touching the clutch cover.

On the other hand, it’s hard not to notice the serious thought that was given to so many details, not your typical Italian job here. Turn lights imbedded into the mirrors, a true passenger handle that my girlfriend would love, the easy access to the tool compartment, the fact that there is a tool compartment, ears ready to accept an optional centerstand… At the end of the day, the only thing that could be lacking with the Multistrada might be power, but to find out for real I’ll have to test it in more wide open scenery. In Sardinia’s twisties there wasn’t really a moment where I wished for more power, and the thing is as strong as Yamaha’s TDM 900 anyway. In Europe’s fast-paced roads and autostradas, five or more ponies on top of the current 85 could be useful. Final verdict will have to wait for a full, month-long road test I am already volunteering for. Another open issue is the Multistrada’s true all-road ability. With the thing being much, much lighter than a BMW GS or Triumph Tiger, it would have been interesting to see what it can do on an unpaved road. Ducati clearly vetoed us from trying the thing off-road, and with 100% road-oriented tires, rightly so. It could all mean that a slightly more off-road oriented option is in the works…

Sardinia, an Italian island, is so named for its fishy aroma

Sardinia, an Italian island, is so named for its fishy aroma

By the end of the day Paul, Andrea and I stop at a beautiful marina by the seaside for a last breath of fresh air before turning in the bikes. I don’t say it that often, but money allowing–11K Euros in Italy–I could really picture myself owning one of these, I hear myself saying out loud.

“I think I’m going to look for a nice deal on one,” says Paul.

When such a new concept manages to convince two sporting types to rethink ownership, it means that Ducati have guessed right with the Multistrada. It’s still left to see how the world at large will accept this radical new motorcycle, but if it clicks the Multistrada could easily follow the Monster’s precedent as a sales leader for Ducati.


Type: L-twin, 2v/cylinder, air cooled
Displacement: 992 cc
Bore x stroke: 94 x 71,5 mm
Compression ratio: 10:1
Power (claimed): 84 hp @ 8000 rpm
Torque (claimed): 8.5 Kgm @ 5000 rpm
Fuel injection: Marelli electronic fuel injection, two 45mm throttle bodies
Transmission: 6-speed
Clutch: Dry multiplate with hydraulic control
Trasmissione primaria: straight-cut gears, 1.84:1
Trasmissione secondaria: Chain; 15/42

Frame: Tubular steel trellis
Wheelbase: 57.6 in
Inclinazione cannotto: 240
Sospensione anteriore: 43mm inverted Showa, fully adjustable, 6.5 in. travel
Sospensione posteriore: progressive linkage with fully adjustable Showa monoshock; hydraulic remote pre-load control, 5.6 in. travel
Freno anteriore: two 320mm semi-floating discs, four-piston calipers
Freno posteriore: 245 mm disc, two-piston caliper
Ruota anteriore: New six-spoke design in light alloy, 3.50 x 17 in.
Pneumatico anteriore: 120/70ZR-17
Ruota posteriore: five-spoke light alloy, 5.50 x 17 in.
Pneumatico posteriore: 180/55ZR-17
Capacit` serbatoio benzina: 20 L/ 5.3 US gallons
Claimed Weight w/battery & oil: 441 lbs
Seat heightz: 33,5 in.
Instruments: Speedometer, rev counter, clock, scheduled maintenance warning, warning lights for low oil pressure, fuel level, oil temperature, fuel reserve, neutral, turn signals, average speed, average fuel consumption, fuel injection diagnostic system, immobilizer

**Garanzia: two years unlimited mileage
Versioni – Versions

Tank and fairing colours: Two-tone grey, red
Frame colors: red, black
Wheel colors: light grey

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Current Time: Fri Oct 31 17:12:04 EDT 2014