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The payoff is in the future but let’s invest now.

May is motorcycle safety awareness month…here is an idea to help spread awareness to the children.

As we all know all the safety gear we wear and all the safety tech on our motorcycles are just not enough at times. Awareness of motorcycles by drivers of cars and trucks is as important as everything we do.

So, to help improve the awareness in others (and therefore ourselves) we need to start teaching children to watch for motorcycles. That is why the idea of teaching kids to count motorcycles instead of “punch bugs” is so important. If they are watching for motorcycles as kids, they will have an easier time seeing them when they start to drive. Thus, our safety as motorcyclist is improved. 

Make a game that has a small reward when they spot “X” number of motorcycles. Ask your non-riding friends to do this with their children. Mention it at events and gatherings, just get the word out. You know when a 6-year-old yells “motorcycle” that their parent is going to see it to!!

My wife mentioned that this is Women’s History month and that I should post something, just not photos of her. LOL

I went back into my vintage photo folder to look for those “old school photos of women and motorcycles. Women have been riding motorcycles from the start and these photos prove that women JustWant2ride.

Ride On, Ride Safe

I found this book, copyrighted in 1997, in a used bookstore on the quite dusty, bottom shelf of the transportation section sandwiched between a book on London busses and another on 1960 airliners.  How could I not purchase a book about motorcycles titled The Perfect Vehicle?

“The Perfect Vehicle” by Melissa Holbrook Pierson caused some struggles within as I read and now write about this book. Overall, I enjoyed and even related to stories of discovering and exploring motorcycling. Her infatuation with Moto Guzzi and the work to maintain it in operational conditions mirrors many of us and our experiences.

Her descriptions of riding to Laconia motorcycle rallies or traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway were fun to read. As was her trip to Europe and riding on a borrowed Moto Guzzi. She related both the tribulations and the exhilaration of motorcycling.

My problem is that either I have overlayed modern context on a book from the late 1990s or Ms. Pierson seem to be biased.  At times I felt condensation for those things that are not of New York City or European. That she would not approve of me or my choices because I did not fit a particular mold/view.

Like I said maybe I am projecting or maybe I am not, I will never know. However, I enjoyed the book well enough to give it 4 out of 5 stars.  If you find the book, it is worth the read, and I would like to see your thoughts.


Up ShiftDistinguished Gentleman’s Ride – This year plan on your Dapper Riding to take place on May 23rd.  The format of the ride will be based on the COVID rules where you live and ride.  Some will ride solo, other on specific routes and some may even get to ride as a group.

The event has raised over $27 Million dollars for men’s health causes over the years and the organizers hope to pop the $30 million mark this year.  To help that along Triumph Motorcycles will be provide four motorcycles to give to the top fund raisers worldwide. Check out gentlemansride.com for more details.

My Take – I have participated in a couple DGR rides and raised a small bit of money for the cause.  It is fun to dress up and go for a ride, especially for a good cause! 

Check out this video of me leaving for the 2014 DGR.

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Up ShiftInternational Female Ride Day – This year plan to set aside May 1st to get your International Female Ride Day on.  This year it is going to be a fix of solo rides, socially distanced gatherings, and meetups in 120 countries and every continent except Antarctica.

 According to IFRD’s press release, “The movement places a spotlight on the diverse participation of women already engaging in motorcycling and powersports while inspiring other women to learn to ride and obtain their license.” It goes on to state that, even though female ridership has doubled over the last decade, women still represent just around 20 percent of all motorcycle owners, and the momentum needs to continue to advance the future of motorcycling for women and, arguably, the sport.”

The 15th version of the IFRD is using the theme (and hashtag) of #FocusFemaleForward to put more emphasis on the IFRD’s goals of encouraging new women to ride while aiming to move women forward in all aspects of motorcycling.

My Take – The 15th year anniversary!  Yet another reason to get out and ride… not that we really need one! 

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Down ShiftFlying motorcycle by Subaru.  OK I thought this was an April’s Fools joke but maybe it is not.  Multiple sources are reporting, including Motorcycle.com, that Subaru has filed for a patent on a flying motorcycle.

From what I can tell the wings and engines of the flying motorcycle would fold up similar to those on a airplane on an aircraft carrier. When flying the wings would fold out, the motorcycle wheels would retract and way you are off into the wild blue yonder.

My Take – Hooey

motorcycle fail

There are so many crazy motorcycle videos out there I thought “Why not start a new weekly post?”. Not sure where this is going but drop me a note in the comment section if this is something you would like to see. Otherwise, I will do it until I lose interest, LOL.

In this video we find out that those little bumper sticks will wreak a motorcycle and the guy’s buddy has some quick reflexes.

It is that time of year again, winter in the northern hemisphere. A time where many of us will begin to suffer from PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome), especially after the lost year of 2020.

Many of us will be tempted to get out and ride on a bright, warmish day, I know I will.  But take inconsideration the following tips if you decide to get out and ride.

9 – ATGATT! – means even more in the winter.  Not only should you dress for the slide you have to dress to stay warm, hypothermia can set in quickly if you are not prepared.  Wear layers under you motorcycle jacket and pants. If your outer layer supports armor, make sure it is installed.

8 – Watch for hidden ice – While you think you may be out on a sunny dry day frost and ice can linger in the shadows. Remember the rule about scanning ahead?  Now that small covering of leaves at the apex of the next turn may hide a patch of ice.

7 – Cold Motorcycle Tires – You know this, but it is worth reminding.  Your tires will take longer to warm up and may never reach the optimal grip temperature. Make sure you account for your lack of grip during breaking, accelerating and in turns.  A little fish tail at the stop light with warm tires can be interesting, on cold tires it could cause a crash.

6 – Tire Pressure – You really need to ensure your PSI is correct for the conditions.  Most tires have a year-round recommendation, some may have a different recommendation for winter.  Also, if you have not noticed, motorcycle tires seem to lose pressure in the winter.  Make sure your tires are at the proper PSI before every winter motorcycle ride.

The ultimate winter motorcycle tire

5 – More Tire Notes – Pay attention to the tread on your tires. Have the track day slicks on the bike, not a great idea for winter riding. Do not have much tread left? Not a good idea to go for a winter motorcycle ride. If you are going to be riding a lot of cold days, look for something that has a more rugged tread design.

4 – Install a Windshield – It is quite likely there is a windshield for your motorcycle.  If possible, find one and install it for your winter rides.  Not only will it reduce the wind it will also cut down on the splashing and spray from other vehicles. 

3 – Your Hands Need Attention – Your hands are out in the wind all the time and they are at the end of your circulatory system. Because of this they will get cold faster than the rest of your body. Heated grips help as well as a good set of windproof gloves designed to keep your hands warm. Pay close attention to the conditions of your hands so you can grab that clutch or break if you need to.

2- Heated Gear – If you plan on riding your motorcycle in cold weather a lot, invest in heated gear.  There is a lot of brands out there but make sure you purchase the one that will work best for you.  Can you plug it into your motorcycle, or do you need a battery pack?  Heated gloves, pants, jackets, base layers are all available, just figure out what works for your style of riding.

1 – Do not Ride if it is Below Freezing – Below freezing means ice will form. Below freezing means your bike might not perform as you expect.  Below freezing means it is just not worth the risk.

Ride on, Ride Safe

upshift

Hitting Neutral:  Both the US, Europe as well as many other countries have their own standards on motorcycle helmet safety. This year the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) will issue new regulations on the testing of motorcycle helmets.

This will be the sixth version of the regulation and will go into effect 3 years after the regulations are issued. At that point it will become illegal to sell helmets that are not in compliance with the new version.

So just what does the new regulations cover?  (From the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations website)

Modular helmets – Helmets equipped with a movable or detachable protective lower face cover, will be tested with or without chin guard in position.

Sun shields – Sun shields cannot restrain or prevent the movement of the visor. On opening the visor, the sun shield can pivot in the working position. By means of a simple movement the sun shield must be able to be moved separately from the visor. Helmets placed on the market with a sun shield shall be tested with the sun shield in working position.

Reflective stickers – In order to comply with national requirements, the helmet may be required to have reflective materials. These materials can be delivered with the helmet, with proper instructions on where and how to apply them on the helmet.

Accessories – Helmets placed on the market with accessories shall be examined to make sure the equipment has no adverse effect and that the helmet and/or visor still comply with the requirements. Testing will be done with and without the accessory and its support with attention to energy absorption, sharp edges and field of vision. You are not allowed to modify the helmet from its original specification as manufactured. Accessories must be fitted in accordance with the helmet manufacturer’s instructions. Only accessories tested during the type approval procedure of the helmet keep the type approval valid.

High speed particle test for visors – To make sure visors don’t shatter when hit by something hard during your ride, they shall be tested with a steel ball at 60 m/s. The visor should not fracture or deform, and the visor housing should not separate into two or more pieces, or no longer be capable of holding the visor in position.

Brain injury by rotation – An impact test method of measuring rotational acceleration will be introduced, to test the impact on the brain when the helmet is twisted during an accident. To test this, the helmet will be allowed to fall, under specified angles and with a specified speed on to a rigidly mounted anvil.

My Take: As I am normally inclined, I am not a fan of regulations as too often it is a bureaucrat’s way of job justification that only adds to the expense of a product.  However, with the execution of one area, I do not see a problem with this update to the rules.

The problem I have is with the “Accessories” section.  I my mind I see accessory as anything placed on the helmet that was not sold by the manufacturer as part of the helmet.  I have a problem with that as it will be used as a cudgel against motorcyclists.

In Australia there is already a similar rule regarding helmet accessories.  Motorcycle riders are often pulled over and ticketed for have accessories on their helmet, click here for an example from “MotorBike Writer”. The primary culprit seems to be action cameras and Bluetooth communications modules. This new rule will infringe on the rider’s documentation and even their job.

 

Ride on, Ride Safe

safety

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. It is important to get the word out to your non-riding friends and family!

I don’t own any of these photos about motorcycle safety but I have gathered them from across the internet. I think “Fair Use” is in full operation in regards to their use.
So copy and paste these motorcycle safety pictures &, memes. Post them up to all your favorite sites. Point them out to non-riders, we already get it!
Ride safe.

 

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 outside the USA, use the appropriate website to locate recalls that may impact you.

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Manufacturer Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

Components ENGINE

Summary

Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA (Yamaha) is recalling certain XV250 motorcycles. An oil passageway in the engine side cover may not be properly manufactured, possibly blocking lubricating oil to the engine.

Remedy

Yamaha will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace of the engine side cover, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin April 17, 2020. Owners may contact Yamaha customer service at 1-800-962-7926. Yamaha’s number for this recall is 990136.

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Manufacturer KTM North America, Inc.

Components SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Summary

KTM North America, Inc. (KTM) is recalling certain 2019-2020 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R motorcycles. The rear brake hose may overheat, causing the rear brake system to fail.

Remedy

KTM will notify owners, and dealers will install a new rear brake line, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 1, 2020. Owners may contact KTM customer service at 1-888-985-6090. KTM’s number for this recall is TB2011.

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Manufacturer Indian Motorcycle Company

Components ENGINE

Summary

Indian Motorcycle Company (Indian) is recalling certain 2020 Challenger motorcycles. The engine output shaft bearing may not have been sufficiently lubricated during assembly, possibly resulting in bearing failure at very low mileage.

Remedy

Indian will notify owners, and dealers will lubricate the output shaft bearings on motorcycles with less than 50 miles on the odometer, free of charge. Motorcycles with greater than 50 miles will not require a repair, and can either be inspected by a dealer, or the owner can self-report the odometer reading directly to Indian. The recall is expected to begin in April 2020. Owners may contact Indian customer service at 1-877-204-3697. Indian’s number for this recall is I-20-02. Note: Owners with an odometer reading of less than 50 miles are advised to not operate their motorcycle until it is repaired.

 

 

 

garage

As long as there has been machinery, there has been mechanical problems, as long as there has been mechanical problems there has been a man or lady that has the skills to repair it.  These highly skilled people either spent most of their young lives as an apprentice or studying at a college to ultimately become the person who repairs your motorcycle, the mechanic.
Photo provided by Mark JamesHistorically, if we have had problems with our motorcycles our first stop would be to reach for the yellow pages and call the nearest affordable garage or bike repair shop. Fortunately for the modern day motorcycle enthusiast things have have changed for the better since the arrival of the internet, the motorcycle owner of today can simply search the internet for a solution to their problem, and within a minutes there is a good chance the owner will find someone who has had the same issue, and possibility a solution, this information may come in the form of a blog, a forum thread, Facebook groups, Reddit posts or even a YouTube videos.
Although information alone is no substitute for good old fashioned experience, there is allot to be said for “the have go hero’s” amongst us, at the end of the day there is a sense of pride and achievement when we repair our own things, this is not to mention the money we can save be doing it ourselves.
Despite the wealth of mechanical information on the internet there can be no betterPhoto provided by Mark James source of information than a official workshop manual, these manuals are developed and written by the manufactures of the motorcycles, so its fair to say the information within the pages of these documents is gold.
One of the best investments any motorcyclist can have is an automotive eManual, these very detailed step by step documents can hold the hand of the most inexperienced arm chair mechanic, and walk them through the most complex of tasks. Unlike their hard-copy cousins, these eManuals are easier to access and are more of a sustainable option.
One of the largest databases of motorcycle eManuals on the internet is located in the UK, RepairBooks.co.uk is a family run business and was established in 1999, with a growing inventory of over 12,000 titles. Any manual that is not listed on their database can be sourced within a short period of time.

Mark James is an car and motorcycle mechanic with over 25 years in the automotive industry. Head of department at Nissan Sunderland, England for 10 years.