Archive for the ‘Motorcycle advocacy’ Category

ijustwant2ride

I recently attended the Harley Owners Group (HOG) regional motorcycle rally. This year it was held in Winchester, VA.  Winchester is only an hour from my driveway there was no way I could miss this event.

The “Curves to Core” motorcycle rally organizers which put the event together really did a nice job. Why “Curves to Cores”?  I think the curves is self-explanatory, and the “Cores” is about a defining industry in the area.  This part of the Shenandoah Valley is a big apple growing area, providing a large part of the apples used in products across the North IMG_20190620_062955720America.

The organizers put a lot of work into making this event a success.  40+ motorcycle rides documented turn by turn AND with a memory stick full of GPS directions.  About half of this rides had an option for a guided tour version.  There were also scavenger hunts, poker runs and off bike events open to all attendees.

I chose 3 guided rides to participate in:

“Acting Like a Good Ole Boy”- A 130-mile ride crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains twice with a visit to “Cooter’s Garage and Duke’s of Hazzard Museum”.  If you are of a certain age you will remember the TV show following the daily troubles of Bo and Luke Duke.

“10 Turns of a Big Ole Yeee Haww” – A 90-mile loop ride with a stop at Summit Point Raceway. The highlight of this ride would be getting your Harley Davidson on the race track and letting it loose, so long as you did not run out of talent or floorboards (I have rubbed some of mine off and I had not been on a track).

“For Whom the Road Tolls” – A 80-mile ride on Snickersville Turnpike, the first toll road in America. Luckily it is no longer a toll road but it is a very, very quiet and scenic motorcycle ride though back country Virginia.

Unfortunately I was not able to do the track day ride.  I got an offer to test ride the Zero electric motorcycles.  Watch for a post about the Zeros in a future post.    IMG_20190619_102816460_HDR

I really enjoyed the other two rides and I will write about the rides in another post.

One of the day one activities was a scavenger hunt for large apples.  I called it apple picking.

We are currently scheduled to attend a second regional HOG rally in September, the “Hills and Hollows” rally in Johnstown City, TN.

Ride On, Ride Safe

 

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Lightning Strikes and Kills Motorcyclist. Why Rubber Tires Didn’t Protect Him. – Since 2006, there have been 10 lightning fatalities related to motorcycles in the United States

A new motorcycle movie? The “Long Way Up” and no BMW motorcycles? Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, getting it together?

Harley Davidson is going to build 200-500cc motorcycles in India for that market.  Will they make their way to the US and Europe?  Of course they will, Harley Davidson needs a small, cheap motorcycle to gain traction with a new market.

PRINT IS DEAD! and so is the print addition of Motorcyclist Magazine sadly.

Who made 5,000,000 of what?  No matter what your product that is a real milestone. So what did Harley Davidson do?

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The 28th annual International Ride Your Motorcycle to Work day is fast approaching.

The goals of this event are:

A day of rider unity.

     Highlight the positive aspects of motorcycling

     Arouse the curiosity of coworkers as they see a lot of motorcycles in the parking lot.

    Allows us to bring up important motorcycling related items such as distracted driving, E15 fuel, lane splitting, etc..

This event is always the third Monday in June!

Learn more and get free propaganda at the RIDETOWORK.ORG

Ride on, ride safe!

The Motorcycle Industry and its Future

Believe me, if I had a crystal ball I’d be playing the lottery. When it comes to something as ponderous as the motorcycle industry and its future though, it’s easier to make some educated guesses as to which direction it will lumber.

The industry is not known for its quick-fire changes, and to be fair,  it’s easy to see why, especially as motorcycle manufactures love to stick to a set formula. Namely, creating machines that give a styling nod to successful models from a back catalog and going on to spend millions in advertising telling you why you can’t do without it!

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In other words, it’s a legacy based business that trades heavily on its past. Let’s throw the big manufactures a bone though. It can’t be easy getting your R&D boffins to come up with the next best thing, that doesn’t require the entire manufacturing line replacing.

Then, of course, they’ve got to keep an eye on the opposition in case they’ve tapped into a vein and are subsequently enjoying big sales with a particular model. Also, let’s not forget, new designs have to go through endless software simulations, and thousands of road test-miles before going on general sale.

If all that wasn’t bad enough, the bike industry is currently suffering from lack-luster z2sales . Not only are the baby boomers slowly hanging up their crash helmets, but also the Millennials are failing to take up the slack.

Industry observers state that this is the first generation not automatically drawn to life on two wheels as a right of passage. Safety issues, ease of use, and environmental concerns are all cited as the reasons why.

So what exactly is the collective motorcycle industry doing to address this problem?  In real terms, surprisingly little.

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Industry in a Holding Pattern

You can’t really count making a big song and dance about electric bikes. Or hiding behind the smokescreen of whacky teaser concepts shown at the EICMA in Milan, but why does it feel as if the industry is in a holding pattern?

Environmental legislation is having a monumental effect on the look and performance of every new bike produced the world over. It’s safe to say that in the not too distant future, the noble carburetor and air-cooled engine will be mere museum exhibits.

z3The omission of these two factors, plus the likes of compulsory ABS, enormous air-boxes and gargantuan silencers, will affect the look of future bikes. The real war for future sales, though, will be fought on two fronts; safety, and technology.

In the past, a sideways glance at the auto industry generally gave the game away for future motorcycle innovations. Just look at ABS, the first car fitted with the system was a decade ahead of an ABS fitted bike. It’s a similar story with electronic fuel injection, cruise control, and electronic driving aids.

The situation still pervades today. This time, it’s the race for a production-ready autonomous car that will greatly influence the motorcycling world.  So does this mean we can all look forward to sitting with our arms folded while our bikes ride themselves?

If anything is certain in the future of motorcycling, it’s that riders will never relinquish total control of their bikes with the same willingness as car drivers.

Borrowing from the Auto Manufacturers

The autonomous vehicle is good news for the future of the motorcycle industry because of the enormous leap forward in multi-sequential processors. These components are the electronic brains capable of processing vast amounts of data from a number of sophisticated radar and lidar sensors around the vehicle.

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The mega-processors then convert the information into commands sent to the vehicles brakes, steering, and engine management system.

The speed and compartmental processing ability of new generation units are groundbreaking. The big deal to the motorcycle industry however, is due to the auto industry’s need to mass-produce; resulting in the dramatic reduction of both the price and the component size.

This factor means we can look forward to motorcycle manufacturers pushing the envelope in terms of electronic rider aids, onboard communication systems, and rider information.

With the advent of 5G networks, we may even be able to automatically upload engine management information to a Cloud so that we can fine tune or service our bikes via a smartphone.

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This highly advanced processing ability will also see massive gains in the subtlety and range of electronic rider aids and braking systems. All of which will make motorcycles safer and more attractive to a tech-savvy generation.

When it comes to rider safety, though, the big news for the future of the motorcycle industry will be the introduction of onboard radar systems.

Small is Beautiful

Thanks to small-footprint front and rear-facing cameras, and side mounted motion detectors, bike manufacturers will be able to offer a degree of safety previously unheard of in the two-wheel world.

They would make it happen though if only they could move fast enough. KTM and Ducati may have put their necks on the line by saying they’ll have a rudimentary hazard warning system on top shelf bikes by 2020, but they’re leaving it to Bosch to develop.

Furthermore, the real groundbreaking work in developing this type of system is being championed by small-scale tech start-ups like Damon X Labs. The Vancouver based entrepreneurs predict that their self-learning, 360-degree accident warning system will dramatically reduce accidents by alerting riders to imminent danger while giving them enough time to take evasive action.

Smarter and Safer Motorcycles

If the motorcycle industry is going to win back the missing biker generation, then clearly technology and safety are two major factors, but what about their other concerns, ease of use, and environmental issues?

Luckily enough both of these can be slam-dunked by the electric motorcycle. These bikes are quiet, environmentally friendly, and what could be more convenient than ‘twist and go’ with no messy transmission.

But hang on a minute, if battery powered bikes are the second coming of two-wheeled transport, then why aren’t the big bike manufacturers churning them out by the thousand?

Just like the advancements in smaller, faster processors, it will be the advent of cheaper, longer lasting fuel cells with faster charging times, that will finally open the floodgates.

As for the motorcycle industry and its future, I don’t foresee the big manufacturers letting go of the legacy angle in the very near future.  Just don’t be surprised to see a battery powered, radar-equipped Bonneville’s, Z1’s, CB’s XS’s and GS’s sometime soon. Remember where you read it first.

Author Malcolm Lee : I bought my first motorcycle, a Honda SL125 at 16. I went on to become a welder and fabricator until in my mid-twenties when I jumped ship to work for a local newspaper. Since those early days, I have been lucky enough to own and build over 40 motorcycles and have gained a Masters Degree in Interactive Journalism.  I enjoy writing for motorcycle magazines, websites and blogs all over the world and have interviewed and photographed some pretty cool leading lights in the biking world.


 

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When you first get your motorcycle, the feeling is incredible. It doesn’t matter how many motorcycles you own in your lifetime, the feeling is always the same.

If you’re planning on buying a motorcycle for commuting, or want to start commuting on a motorcycle you already have, you’re in for a treat. However, as with everything, there is good and bad. If you go about motorcycle commuting the wrong way, you can find yourself uncomfortable, frustrated, and ready to go back to driving.

Here are a few quick tips for commuting on a motorcycle.

1. Get A Reliable Motorcycle

This should be obvious, but you shouldn’t commit to commuting on an unreliable motorcycle. Make sure you keep up with the maintenance on your bike, like changing your oil and your brake pads. Simple steps like this can help ensure you have a reliable ride every day.

2. Invest In A Motorcycle-Specific GPS

Unless you plan on only going to and from the same place every day, the benefits of purchasing a motorcycle-specific GPS device are hard to ignore. Unlike your phone, a motorcycle GPS is generally waterproof, easier to see, easier to use, and provides more data, not to mention, it won’t siphon off the battery from your cellphone.

When you’re riding, you need to be able to focus on the road. Using a GPS device that is designed for motorcyclists is a great way to make sure to get where you need to go, while still being safe and aware of your surroundings. (If you want to learn more about these, check out: https://theridersmarket.com/best-motorcycle-gps/)

3. Get A Waterproof Backpack

Another motorcycle commuting essential is a good, waterproof backpack. If you don’t have saddlebags, you’re going to want a safe, dry spot to store everything you need to bring with you.

A good motorcycle backpack will be comfortable, have plenty of storage, durable zippers and be able to resist light rain.

4. Take The Path Less Traveled

Traffic jams are much more obnoxious on a motorcycle than they are in a car. On a bike, if you sit still for too long, it gets hot, your back starts to hurt and if you’re in stop and go traffic, you’re at risk of being rear-ended by someone who isn’t paying attention.

Even if this means adding an extra 5-10 minutes to your commute, find a route that isn’t as busy so you have a more enjoyable ride.

5. Always Stay Alert

The more often you ride, the more likely you are to get in an accident. Be sure to always follow the basics of motorcycle safety. If you take the same path every day, it is easy to get complacent and lazy with your motorcycle safety. Always remember – everyone is out to kill you. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but you should still act that way! Ride defensively all the time. Ride like everyone wants to hit you. This way, you’re ready to avoid a collision and keep the rubber on the road.

6. A CamelBak Is Great In Warm Weather

If you live in a warm state down south, setting up a Camelbak in your backpack is a game changer. If you do end up getting stuck in traffic or are out longer than you thought, having quick access to a drink can be super helpful.

Make sure you clean your Camelbak every so often. It is easy just to want to fill it up, but it will eventually get the ick if you don’t clean it at least every few days.

7. Check Tires Regularly

Another simple maintenance to-do is to keep an eye on your tires. If you ride through the city, you’d be surprised how easy it is to run over a nail on the road and be none the wiser. Every week or so, check your tire pressure and inspect for any punctures. If you find a leak, make sure you take care of it right away.

8. Bring Music

As long as you can still hear what’s going on around you, music is an excellent addition to your motorcycle commute. It can help pass the time and make your ride that much more enjoyable. If you have speakers that you can mount to your bike, get that set up or invest in some motorcycle-friendly headphones for the ride.

9. Know The Gas Stations In The Area

If you have a small gas tank, it’s easy to find yourself near empty without any idea where the nearest gas station is. Make sure you fill up your bike once you see the low-gas light come on, or once you know you’re running low. You don’t want to be on your way to work and get stuck pushing your bike a mile up the road for some gas.

Remember – Motorcycle Commuting Should Be Fun!

If you’re going to commute, it may as well be on a motorcycle. Life can be numbing. The day-to-day sameness can give life a feeling of dread. Let your commute be your escape. Learn to enjoy the time you spend going to and from your destinations. With this mindset, you’ll look forward to your commute every day, rather than dreading it.

 

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The folks on Mighty Goods asked me to contribute to an article about preparing for a long motorcycle trip.  So I did!

My content is at the bottom of Mighty Goods article:

8 Motorcycle Tourers Share How They Packed and Prepared for the Big Trip

In the article I mention the motorcycle luggage we use for long trip along with tips that have made those longs days on a motorcycle a little more comfortable.

Check it out along with the rest of the Might Goods website.

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motoamerica-logoMay 4-5 MotoAmerica motorcycle racing is at the Virginia International Raceway in Danville, VA.  I and the rest of the DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio “Pack” will be covering the races.

With press passes from MotoAmerica, we will be all over the event.  Expect MANY posts and “LIVE events” on my IJustWant2Ride Facebook and on my @IJustWant2Ride Twitter account.  Who knows I might just even post to my under utilized Instagram account.

Phil will be posting to the DawgHouse twitter and Facebook pages if you want to see all the things we are up to.

You can count on a FB Live broadcast of the start of the MotoAmerica Superbike race on Saturday, right from the pit lane wall!

From my POV MotoAmerica has the best motorcycle racing in the world this year.  Any of motoamerica live6 riders could win week to week, assuming they hit the setup.  JD Beach won this weeks American Flat Track race, a win with the superbikes would be a true feat!  You can catch both the Saturday and Sunday MotoAmerica Superbike races on Fox Sports 2 (3PM EST) or streaming on MotoAmerica Live +…. you might even see me on TV!

recall

Be aware that this motorcycle recall list is for the United States, there is no way I could cover the entire world. But in the world of global manufacturing, if a motorcycle is being recalled in one country there is a good chance it is under recall in others. Also, this should not be considered a definitive list, check for yourself if you have any questions.

If you are US based use the NHTSA website http://www.safercar.gov. Enter your VIN number to see if your motorcycle is affected by the recall.

If you are based in Europe use the Safety Gate website to locate recalls that may impact you.

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Manufacturer: Polaris Industries, Inc.

SUMMARY: Polaris Industries, Inc. (Polaris) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Slingshot motorcycles. The driver-seat and passenger-seat seat belt and seat back anchoring bracket may have been improperly welded. Additionally, differences in the seat assembly may prevent proper latching of the seat slider, allowing the driver’s seat to move unexpectedly.

CONSEQUENCE: If the seat belt buckle or seat back detach from the seat base, there would be an increased risk of injury in the event of a crash. If the driver’s seat unexpectedly moves, it can cause the driver to lose control of the motorcycle, increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY: Polaris will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the seat belt bracket and seat back welds, and the seat slider latching function. If the weld is missing or incomplete, or if the slider doesn’t latch properly, the seat bases will be replaced, free of charge. The recall began on March 25,2019. Owners may contact Polaris customer service at 1-855-863-2284. Polaris’ number for this recall is T-18-01. Note: this recall is an expansion of recall 18V-195.

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Manufacturer: Triumph Motorcycles America, LTD

SUMMARY: Triumph Motorcycles America, LTD (Triumph) is recalling certain 2019 Speed Twin motorcycles. Improper routing of the coolant hose may cause it to contact the exhaust header pipe, damaging the hose and resulting in a coolant leak near the rear tire.

CONSEQUENCE: Loss of coolant near the rear tire may cause a loss of traction, increasing the risk of crash.

REMEDY: Triumph will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the coolant hose routing, rerouting the hose and replacing it if necessary, free of charge. The recall began April 15, 2019. Owners may contact Triumph customer service at 1-678-854-2010. Triumph’s number for this recall is SRAN563.

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Manufacturer: Ivolution Sports Inc. (Motorcycle Helmets)

SUMMARY:

Ivolution Sports, Inc. (Ivolution) is recalling certain IV2 HY808 helmets, part number Hy808, in sizes S, M, L and XL. These helmets may not adequately protect the wearer in the event of a head impact during a motorcycle crash. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 218, “Motorcycle Helmets.”

CONSEQUENCE: A helmet that does not adequately protect the wearer from an impact can increase the risk of injury in the event of a crash.

REMEDY: Ivolution will notify owners and provide a full refund for the helmets. The recall is expected to begin in April 2019. Owners may contact Ivolutution’ s customer service at 1-951-852-6327. Ivolution’s number for this recall is HY808-XL.

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Manufacturer: BMW of North America, LLC

SUMMARY:

BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2013-2018 BMW C600 Sport and C650 Sport and 2013-2019 C650 GT scooters. Repeated turning of the handlebars to the left most position may cause the front brake hose to crack and leak over time.

CONSEQUENCE: A brake fluid leak can reduce braking ability, increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY: BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the brake hose, adding an additional protective sleeve that will cover the hose connection fitting, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin April 22, 2019. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417. Note: This recall includes scooters previously recalled under 15V-738.

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Manufacturer: Indian Motorcycle Company

SUMMARY: Indian Motorcycle Company (Indian) is recalling certain 2019 Indian Scout, Scout Bobber, and Scout Sixty motorcycles equipped with Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS). After the manufacturing process, air may remain trapped within the brake system, possibly reducing brake performance.

CONSEQUENCE: Reduced brake performance can increase the risk of a crash.

REMEDY: Indian has notified owners, and dealers will perform a brake fluid bleed of the front and rear ABS to evacuate the air, free of charge. The recall began March 7, 2019. Owners may contact Indian customer service at 1-877-204-3697. Indian’s number for this recall is I-18-07.

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A new study has just reveled that Virginia is the worst state for phone distracted drivers.

I also live right next to another top ten worst states, Maryland. Based on my personal experience I am surprised Maryland was not at the top of the list.

Zendrive’s study ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia on distracted driving and calls out “phone addicts as the primary cause.

This study was based on 160 billion miles driven by 60 million drivers.

You can check out the study for yourself here!

NOW DO NOT GET YOUR HOPES UP, this was not a study to help motorcycles, quite the opposite.

Zendrive, in a very cursory review, is a proponent of “Vision Zero” and “Road to Zero”. Both efforts are to reduce traffic deaths/injuries to zero. The only way you can do that is to get rid of motorcycles.

Getting rid of motorcycles was even a tenant of the early Vision Zero leaders until they got to much heat.  Several of those “safety leaders” have made multiple statements suggesting that motorcycles and Vision Zero could never find a real consensus.

Now almost every state and most countries have Vision Zero political organizations advocating to politicians about “saving the children”.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

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April is Motorcycle Helmet Awareness month so how about an air conditioned helmet?

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The EPA Wants to VIOLATE your WARRENTY! The EPA wants to hep you do just that. – On March, 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it would makes regulatory changes to allow year-round sales of E15 fuel. This action would put the owners of millions of motorcycles and ATVs at significant risk because the dangers of this fuel are not clearly identified at the pump, E15 can cause engine and fuel system damage to machines not designed for its use and use of E15 may void the manufacturers’ warranty.

The American Motorcyclist Association opposes the proposed change and we are urging you to take advantage of the public comment period for this regulatory change and tell the EPA to reconsider this move and protect American motorcyclists from this unsafe fuel.

I you want to help fight this you need to join the AMA or Motorcycle Riders Foundation

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Suzuki’s radar reflector – An interesting idea to hep motorcycles fit into the world of auto-piloted cars.

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Even a Rolling Stone can get robbed. Keith Richards, still alive BTW, was robbed of some classic off-road motorcycles including 1977 Maico 400.

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Motocross racer breaks his motorcycle in half landing a jump.