Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle safety’

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

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 SERVICE BRAKES, AIR

Summary

Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA (Yamaha) is recalling certain 2019 YZF-R3 motorcycles. The brake hose holder may come loose, potentially causing damage to the brake hose protector and hose, resulting in a brake fluid leak.

Remedy

Yamaha will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front brake hose holder, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 28, 2020. Yamaha customer service at 1-800-962-7926. Yamaha’s number for this recall is 990134. Note: Motorcycles in this recall are also affected by NHTSA recall number 20V-071.

Notes

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

 

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Manufacturer Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

Components SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Summary

Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA (Yamaha) is recalling certain 2019 YZF-R3 motorcycles. The front brake hose my chafe against the horn lead wire when the handlebars are turned from left to right, potentially resulting in a brake fluid leak.

Remedy

Yamaha will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the front brake hose, replacing it as necessary, and reroute the horn lead wire, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 28, 2020. Owners may contact Yamaha customer service at 1-800-962-7926. Yamaha’s number for this recall is 990135.

Notes

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to http://www.safercar.gov.

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Manufacturer Akoury

Components EQUIPMENT

Summary

Akoury is recalling certain Boss67 motorcycle helmets, part number BFR CO, in sizes S, M, L, XL, and XXL. The helmets may lack proper impact protection. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 218, “Motorcycle Helmets.”

Remedy

Akoury will notify owners, and dealers will replace helmets or provide a credit for the helmet, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Akoury customer service at 1-514-824-0666.

Notes

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

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

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Manufacturer Arcimoto Inc

NHTSA Campaign Number: 20V032000

Components STEERING, SERVICE BRAKES

Potential Number of Units Affected 50

Summary: Arcimoto Inc. (Arcimoto) is recalling certain 2019 FUV motorcycles. During full right steering lock, the brake line may contact the steering main-link.

Remedy: Arcimoto will notify owners, and dealers will inspect for proper clearance between the hard brake line and the steering main-link, correcting as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in January 2020. Owners may contact Arcimoto customer service at 1-541-683-6293.

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Manufacturer Arcimoto Inc

NHTSA Campaign Number: 20V031000

Components ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

Potential Number of Units Affected 50

Summary: Arcimoto Inc. (Arcimoto) is recalling certain 2019 FUV motorcycles. Due to electrical interference within the electrical harnesses and modules, the instrument cluster display may intermittently go blank. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 123, “Motorcycle Controls and Displays.”

Remedy: Arcimoto will notify owners, and dealers will install a flyback/damping-diode to the exterior of the wiper motor to block a power surge, add filter and surge protection to display backer board or inline to upgrade display’s ability to block electrical noise, and install Check RAM Corruption (CRC) software. All services will be performed free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in January 2020. Owners may contact Arcimoto customer service at 1-541-683-6293.

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Manufacturer Triumph Motorcycles America, LTD

NHTSA Campaign Number: 20V015000

Components STRUCTURE

Potential Number of Units Affected 3,244

Summary: Triumph Motorcycles America, LTD (Triumph) is recalling certain 2016-2018 Thruxton, 2016-2019 Thruxton R and 2020 Thruxton TFC motorcycles. The side stand spring may fracture, possibly allowing the side stand switch to activate and shut off the engine.

Remedy: Triumph will notify owners, and dealers will replace the side stand spring, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 10, 2020. Owners may contact Triumph customer service at 1-678-854-2010. Triumph’s number for this recall is SRAN 570.

 

Manufacturer Triumph Motorcycles America, LTD

NHTSA Campaign Number: 20V014000

Components POWER TRAIN

Potential Number of Units Affected 1,304

Summary: Triumph Motorcycles America, LTD (Triumph) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Speed Twin motorcycles. The gear shift lever linkage may separate from shifter ball joint, resulting in an inability to change gears.

Remedy: Triumph will notify owners, and dealers will secure the attachment with a different thread locking compound, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 27, 2020. Owners may contact Triumph customer service at 1-678-854-2010. Triumph’s number for this recall is SRAN 569.

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Manufacturer Genuine Scooters, LLC

NHTSA Campaign Number: 20V010000

Components SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Potential Number of Units Affected 148

Summary: Genuine Scooters, LLC. (Genuine Scooters) is recalling certain 2020 Royal Alloy GT150 scooters. The front brake rotor may become uncentered within the front brake caliper allowing the inner brake pad to dislodge from the top of the brake caliper.

Remedy: Genuine Scooters will notify owners, and dealers will reposition the brake rotors with spacers to prevent the brake pads from dislodging, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in January 2020. Note: Genuine Scooters requests owners to not drive their scooters. Please have the scooter towed to a dealer for repairs. Roadside assistance coverage has been provided along with owner’s warranty so the tow will be free of charge. Owners may contact Genuine Scooters customer service at 1-773-433-1311.

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. 

 *****

Manufacturer: Indian Motorcycle Company 

SUMMARY:

Indian Motorcycle Company (Indian) is recalling certain 2019 Chieftain motorcycles. The tail lights may be too bright, exceeding the maximum light output allowed. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

CONSEQUENCE:

Due to increased brightness, other drivers may have difficulties discerning the brake light from the tail light, and thus may be unaware that the motorcycle is braking, thereby increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY:

Indian will notify owners, and dealers will update the engine control module software to correct the rear tail light’s intensity, free of charge. The recall began September 18, 2019. Owners may contact Indian customer service at 1-877-204-3697. Indian’s number for this recall is I-19-04.

 

RIDE ON, 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 in Europe use the Safety Gate website to locate recalls that may impact you. 

 *****

Manufacturer: BMW of North America, LLC

SUMMARY:

BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2019 C 400 X, 2018-2020 G 310 GS, and 2017-2020 G 310 R scooters and motorcycles. The front and rear brake caliper pistons may corrode, possibly causing the piston to stick or drag in the caliper bore.

CONSEQUENCE:

A sticking or dragging brake could affect braking performance, increasing the risk of a crash.

Remedy:

BMW will notify owners and dealers will replace the fort and rear brake calipers free of charge.  The recall is expected to begin October 4, 2019.  Owners may contact BMW service at 1-800-525-7417.

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Manufacturer: Harley-Davidson Motor Company

SUMMARY:

Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Harley-Davidson) is recalling certain Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles, including 2017-2019 FLHTCU, FLHTCUL, FLHTK ANV, FLHTKL, FLTRU, FLHTK, and 2016-2019 FLHTKSE, FLHTKSE ANV, and FLTRUSE models equipped with a Harley-Davidson Detachable Tour-Pak Luggage Conversion Kit (Part numbers 53000291, 53000291A, and 53000567). The kit did not include replacement rear red reflectors for the ones that are eliminated by installing this kit. As such, these motorcycles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

CONSEQUENCE:

Without the rear red reflectors, the motorcycle has reduced visibility to other drivers, increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY:

Harley-Davidson has notified owners, and dealers will install the replacement reflectors, free of charge. The recall began August 19, 2019. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0629.

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Manufacturer: Piaggio Group Americas. Inc.

SUMMARY:

Piaggio Group Americas. Inc. (Piaggio) is recalling certain 2016-2018 Moto Guzzi Audace 1400 and Eldorado 1400, 2017-2018 Moto Guzzi California 1400, 2017 Moto Guzzi MGX 21 Bagger, 2013-2014 Aprilia Mana 850, 2014-2016 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750, 2018-2019 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900, and 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 motorcycles. Due to a problem with the front brake master cylinder, the front brakes may drag or apply, causing the motorcycle to unexpectedly slow down or stop completely without activating the rear brake light.

CONSEQUENCE:

Unexpectedly slowing down or stopping while driving with no warning to following traffic can increase the risk of a crash.

REMEDY:

Piaggio will notify owners, and dealers will inspect, and if necessary, replace the front brake master cylinder free of charge. The recall began August 16, 2019. Owners may contact Piaggio customer service at 1-212-380-4433. Piaggio’s number for this recall is PA2ZZQ1904.

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Manufacturer: Darsan Trading Co.

SUMMARY:

Darsan Trading Co. (Darsan), dba as Helmet City, is recalling certain HCI 100 matt black motorcycle helmets in size XL. These helmets may not adequately protect the wearer in the event of a head impact during a motorcycle crash. Additionally, the helmets do not list the month and year of manufacturer. 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:

HCI will notify owners, and will provide replacement helmets or give the consumer a credit for a replacement helmet, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in August 2019. Owners may contact Helmet City customer service at 1-888-550-3731.

Ride On, Ride Safe

safety 1

I ran across this list of dangerous states to ride motorcycles quite by accident. I was looking for something about riding in Virginia and up this popped on page 2 of the search results. The article was published in May 2019.

Interesting to say the least. Based on 2017 data QuoteWizard used the following methodology:

“We looked at 2017 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fatality figures in each state and compared it with 2017 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) motorcycle registration data to find which states had the highest rate of fatalities per registered motorcycle. Below is a ranking of all 50 states, with 1 being the highest rate of fatalities and 50 being the lowest.”

Below are the 5 worst and 5 best states to ride motorcycles. You can find the entire list here!

5 Worst                                                 5 Best

Mississippi                                           Montana

Texas                                                 South Dakota

South Carolina                                     Alaska

Florida                                                New Hampshire

Arizona                                                Minnesota

The 5 best also look among the top coldest too…… humm

 

Ride on, Ride safe

recall

For the first time since I have been doing the recall lists, there were no recalls! As of July 28 (I try to post recalls on the 28th of each month) everything is good!        But….

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.

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.

*****

Manufacturer: Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

SUMMARY: Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (Suzuki) is recalling certain 2018-2019
GSX250R motorcycles. Water intrusion may corrode the rear brake light switch causing the rear brake light to fail to illuminate or remain illuminated continuously when the brake is not applied.

CONSEQUENCE: A failure of the brake light to illuminate, or continued illumination when the brakes are not being applied, can increase the risk of a crash.

REMEDY: Suzuki will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear brake stop light switch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 28, 2019. Owners may contact Suzuki customer service at 1-800-934-0934. Suzuki’s number for this recall is 2A90.

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Manufacturer: Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)

SUMMARY: Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) is recalling certain 2019 CB300R, 2018 CBR300R, 2018 CRF250L, 2018 CRF250L Rally, and 2018-2019 CMX300 motorcycles. The circlip, on the transmission’s main shaft, may detach allowing for gear misalignment.

CONSEQUENCE: A misaligned gear can shift the transmission from neutral into gear during engine start, potentially resulting in unexpected motorcycle movement or seize the transmission and rear wheel while the motorcycle is in motion. Both conditions increase the risk of crash or injury.

REMEDY: Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the transmission main shaft, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 28, 2019. Owners may contact Honda customer service at 1-866-784-1870. Honda’s number for this recall is KK3.

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Manufacturer: Ducati North America

SUMMARY: Ducati North America (Ducati) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Panigale V4, Panigale V4 S, Panigale Speciale, and 2019 Panigale R motorcycles. Excessive pressure in the fuel tank may cause fuel to spray when opening the fuel cap.

CONSEQUENCE: Fuel spray can increase the risk of injury and a fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source can increase the risk of a fire.

REMEDY: Ducati will notify owners, and dealers will update the fuel cap venting system, provide an updated page for the owner’s manual, and affix a warning label decal to the fuel tank, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 13, 2019. Owners may contact Ducati customer service at 1-888-391-5446. Ducati’s number for this recall is SRV-RCL-19-001. Note: This recall includes motorcycles that may have been previously remedied under recall 18V-238 for a similar issue.

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Manufacturer: Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

SUMMARY: Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (Suzuki) is recalling certain 2018-2019 Burgman 200/UH200 scooters. The rivet connections may fail and allow the movable driven face (drive plate) of the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to break.

CONSEQUENCE: If the drive plate breaks, the scooter will lose power to the rear wheel, increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY: Suzuki will notify owners, and dealers will replace the drive plate, free of charge. The recall began June 5, 2019. Owners may contact Suzuki customer service at 1-714-572-1490. Suzuki’s number for this recall is 2A89.

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Manufacturer: Indian Motorcycle Company

SUMMARY: Indian Motorcycle Company (Indian) is recalling certain 2014 Chief and Chieftain motorcycles. Due to a problem within the Vehicle Control Module (VCM), all of the front lights, including the headlight, may go out while riding.

CONSEQUENCE: The loss of lighting can reduce visibility, increasing the risk of crash.

REMEDY: The remedy for this recall is still under development. Owners will be informed of the safety risk beginning in June 2019. Owners will receive a second notice when the remedy becomes available. Owners may contact Indian customer service at 1-877-204-3697. Indian’s number for this recall is I-19-02.

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Manufacturer: Strategic Sports, Ltd.

SUMMARY: Strategic Sports, Ltd. (Strategic Sports) is recalling certain Zox Sierra ST-560 helmets, sizes XS, S, M, and L. 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: Objects may penetrate the helmet during a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

REMEDY: Strategic Sports has notified owners, and instructed them to return the helmet, for a full refund. The recall began April 30, 2019. Owners may contact Strategic Sports customer service at helmet.recall.info@gmail.com or 1-619-861-8110. Strategic Sports’ number for this recall is OA-218-170423.

lighting

I am sure that title is a common sense notion but, three riders have been killed by lighting in the last 16 years.  The latest to die this way was a man in Florida.

So I thought why not some sort of Public Service Announcement about lightning and motorcycles.  Turns out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation had already done so.  So I will present what the MSF put out in a recent AMA “American Motorcyclist” magazine.

There is a myth that being in/on a vehicle with rubber tires somehow insulates the occupants from lightning. Cars and trucks provide occupants some protection from lightning strikes, but that is because the electrical current travels across the exterior metal skin of the vehicle and into the ground, not because the tires offer protection.

Occupants are in contact with the fabric and plastic parts of the vehicle, so they are insulated from the exterior unless they’re touching metal parts, such as the ignition switch, shift knobs or door handles.

Vehicles not fully enclosed by metal, including convertibles and motorcycles, are dangerous to operate in conditions where lightning is likely to occur.

If lightning strikes an open-top vehicle, the electrical current can connect directly with its occupants, especially if the occupants’ heads extend above the top of the vehicle. It’s rare, but it does happen: two motorcyclists in Colorado were struck and killed by lightning bolts in the past 16 years.

If you’re riding and see lightning, find an underpass or parking structure where you can wait out the storm. Don’t park under a tree. Trees attract lightning, due to their height and moisture content and can transmit the charge to you, and branches can be split by lightning and fall on you. If you can’t find shelter, make a U-turn and ride away from the storm.

And if you haven’t started your ride and are aware of an approaching thunderstorm, delay your ride until at least 30 minutes after the storm has passed and you’ve heard the last round of thunder.”

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!

z1

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.

(https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-blur-close-up-engine-345121/)

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.

z5

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.

z6

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.