Posts Tagged ‘news’

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Hitting Neutral ­– Harley on a new course – Harley Davidson Motorcycles changes course, again. Out with the old boss in with the new boss. Out with the old plan in with the new plan.

When the last Harley Davidson CEO was in charge, he put in place an ambitious plan of 100 new motorcycles in 10 years. 

The new guy thinks that is an overreach and ended the effort and has stating that 30% of new models will be cut. This is paired with a cut to production to “make them more exclusive”.

While the new streetfighter motorcycle looks like it may be on the cut list. Its engine sharing brother, the Pan America adventure bike, is coming out with the 2021 models.

The new guy also wants to drive up the parts and accessories business along with merchandise. 

My Take: Who is right? According to the board of directors, not the guy that got fired.  I thought trying to expand appeal by having different Harley Davidson motorcycles was an interesting idea.  Not sure where cutting production will help exclusivity when there are 1000’s of bikes on the used market.

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Upshift: The King of Baggers RaceMotoAmerica is adding a touch of the surreal to American motorcycle racing. Well maybe, in the age of COVID who knows.

If you always wanted to see American V-Twins race at Laguna Seca raceway, maybe this is the year.  Watching a mildly modified Harley Davidson Road or Street Glide swinging through the corkscrew is going to be bonkers at best.

The race is getting attention.  Drag Specialties is the King of Baggers sponsor. A bunch of accessory companies are getting in on the action, for example Saddlemen, the motorcycle seat and luggage maker, is sponsoring bike #87 in the race.

And Indian and S&S are teaming up to run a Indian Challenger as well.  It should dominate on the straights as it has more than a few cubic inches on the Harley’s.

Currently the race is schedule for October 23-25, but who knows if it will happen until it happens.

My take: OH HELL YEAH!

I have been looking forward to flying cars and motorcycles from my childhood day watching the Jetsons.  The hoverbike is as close as we have come so far, at least for about just under $60,000.

But do I really want to be on the road, so to speak, with the same people I ride my motorcycle with today.  Holy krap, in gamer speak I just do not have enough hit points now let alone the ability to take fall damage.  PLUS, the four blades of a blender …. Gives me shivers!

The video above show that these quad-chopper hoverbike motorcycles can be ridden well.  However, the one at the bottom shows that it takes some serious training to get it right.

The police officer trainee walks away from the crash but DAMN!

Yes, I would, today, take one for a test ride but no way would I get more that 5 feet off the ground.  And, I would have to armored up even more then when I ride my motorcycle.  Humm maybe I would not ride one, but it the blades had shrouds maybe I would.

Still looking forward to the Jetsons future.

Ride on, Ride Safe

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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

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DOWNSIFHT: Norton Motorcycles May Not Last Much Longer – Norton has gone into norton“administration” which from an American view appears to be like bankruptcy. They have a £300,000 tax bill to the Queen; orders they can’t fill and internet rumors that they were taking parts off bikes in for service to put on the production line.
There was a lot of high hope for Norton Motorcycles recently with the introduction of Atlas and Ranger 650 parallel twins as well as a new V4. But the new plant for the 650s is not finished and may never be completed now.
MY TAKE: Is this yet another sign of the decline of the motorcycle industry? Sells are down even where the economies are good. Norton has been struggling but unless something starts a turn round, I think we will start seeing other manufactures closing shop as well.

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dakarUPSHIFT: An American Wins the Dakar Motorcycle Rally – Riding a Honda CRF 450 Ricky Barbec finished the 11-day, 5000-mile rally in 40 hours and 2 minutes! The rally was held within the boards of Saudi Arabria this year. Starting in Jeddah, Barbec took the lead in stage 3 and never gave it up.

MY TAKE: WOW and I never heard or saw it on TV or in the news. Sad