When Is A Motorcycle A Car?

Sounds like a TV show riddle, doesn’t it? Cars and motorcycles are two distinctly different vehicles; cars have 4 wheels and motorcycles 2 (or three, but then it’s a sidecar). So why should a motorcycle be a car?

Honda Project 2&4 (Concept)

Honda Project 2&4 (Concept)

The answer is when the manufacturer is a motorcycle manufacturer and it uses a motorcycle engine, and it feels like a powerful sportsbike. Honda Motorcycle (not Honda cars) have released their concept Project 2&4. As stated, it’s a concept, so don’t rush to your local Honda dealer to buy one. They are just testing the waters.

Honda Project 2&4 (Concept)

Honda Project 2&4 (Concept)

But the beast, for nothing else describes it better, is powered by Honda RC213V engine, the same engine that propelled Marc Marquez to the world championship MotoGP last year. In other words, an enormously powerful engine, bolted onto a very light and flexible chassis.

The 1 liter engine develops 212 brake horsepower, and the whole motorcycle car motocar (for a lack of another word) weighs 893 pounds. The red zone starts at 13,000 RPM but at 10,000 you already have 118 Nm worth of torque. The center of gravity is very low, helped by a seat which “floats” (in other words, it’s not fixed, but moves with the motocar).

Honda Project 2&4 (Concept)

Honda Project 2&4 (Concept)

And yes, there is room for a passenger. That is, if the passenger is willing to sit in that contraption and hold on for dear life.

But is this the first motorcycle car? No, far from it. One the recent success stories comes from Austria, and it’s made by the Big Orange company, KTM. KTM have a successful X-Bow car (Crossbow), which is street-legal, but often found racing in Europe in its own category. But to be honest, it’s not a motorcycle engine that is used, but an Audi 2 liter engine, but it is a motorcycle company that is making it. Click here to read more about the KTM X-Bow.

KTM X-Bow (Crossbow)

KTM X-Bow (Crossbow)

Honda’s Japanese competitor, Suzuki, also released a concept motocar a few years ago (2001), using their successful high performance Hayabusa engine. Called the Suzuki GSX-R/4, the 181 mph capable vehicle never materialized as a production model.

Suzuki GSX-R4-RA

Suzuki GSX-R4-RA

Other manufactures have been designing cars with motorcycle engines, so it’s nothing new. In fact, back in the “old” days, it was quite common. Remember the post WWII BMW 600? Seen photos of it, right? It’s uses BMW 600 cc flat twin of BMW’s R67 motorcycle.

BMW 600

BMW 600

But let’s face it, the Honda 2&4 looks amazing and probably gives you sensations as rich as riding a powerful motorcycle down Laguna Seca. But would you buy one if you could go to your local Honda dealer? Well, maybe for a test ride…

Of all the skills used when riding your motorcycle, emergency braking is the most important. You can take curves at lower speeds, you can park a motorcycle anyway you want, you can even split lanes while riding carefully – all items you need to learn, but that requires a lesser skill level than emergency braking. If your cornering skills requires improvement, all you do is take a corner with less speed.

Emergency-objectBut when you suddenly need to hit the brakes hard, for whatever the reason, you need skills and experience. In other words, a skill you will need to practice regularly to gain and retain the muscle memories. So practice, practice and more practice. Go to some remote parking lot, place a visual mark on the lot, and pretend that it’s a object you are riding towards and you need to brake hard. Start slow and build up speed after each attempt. This way your reflexes will be automatic when you are faced with such a situation.


So here are a few tips for emergency braking:

  1. Don’t grab the handle and pull with all your strength. That is the “normal” reaction of an untrained biker. If some car driver suddenly opens a car door in your path, your normal reaction is to pull the brake lever as hard and as fast as you can. Big mistake, even if your motorcycle is equipped with ABS. Pull hard, but not fully, and then continue pulling harder progressively. If you pull hard all the way, your tires will lock up and you will no longer be in control of your bike.
  2. Use both brakes, front and rear. The front should be used at about 80%, the rear at 20%. But both are important. If you use the front more, the rear will lift and be useless. If you use the rear too much, you will stop far less faster.
  3. Squealing tires mean you are braking too hard. This means you have lost control. Loosen up a tad.
  4. Weight distribution. The weight, in fact your weight, is going to be distributed since the bike is going to lower in the front and your body will want to get off the bike at the front. To counter the front ejection, keep your arms straight and locked.
  5. If you can, and this is where ABS comes in very handy, try to avoid the object. Counter-steer as hard as you can. You can do this while still hitting the brakes.


Practice, practice and practice until you got it perfect and then practice some more. And remember to do it often enough.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been riding, and on what kind of terrain, you will eventually end up riding your motorcycle towards a sudden obstacle. Riding on a blacktop, minding your own business, and suddenly there’s an object in front of you. A shredded truck tire, wooden plank, roadkill, a refrigerator. Okay, forget about encountering a fridge; if that happens, you are the roadkill.


But when you suddenly encounter a (small) object, you need to be prepared. Your automatic reaction will be to serve around it. But that can be a dangerous maneuver, since you will not have had the time to see what’s driving up next to you. Also, your reactions might not dictate that you serve; many bikers will roll right into the object – it’s called fixation.

Another reaction would be to hit the brakes hard. On its own, this could work, but you’ll need to check your rear; if there’s an 18-wheeler close behind you, it will never be able to stop in the distance you stop, so you’ll be toast. But if there’s nothing behind you, and you have the time to stop; great. But if not, here are a few pointers:

  1. Line up as much as you can to hit the object straight on. If you hit it at an angle, you’ll most certainly crash. If you encounter an object while in a curve, straighten your bike.
  2. Hold on firmly to the handlebar. Use all your fingers to grip the handlebar. If you, like many bikers, ride with 2 or 3 fingers covering the brake lever, your fingers during the impact might just action the brakes, which at that stage is bad news.
  3. Depending on your motorcycle type, just before hitting the object, lower your center of gravity by standing on your foot pegs. Obviously if your bike is one with pegs way at the front or rear, it will be more problematic.
  4. Don’t stand fully on your pegs, but raise yourself enough to have your knees bent so they can absorb much of the impact energy.
  5. Just before hitting the object, open the throttle. You don’t need to go full throttle, but enough to accelerate. By doing this, weight will transfer to the rear wheel, and your front wheel will lift (even if it’s very slightly).
  6. Shift your weight to the front when you cross the object with your front wheel. This will make it easier for your rear wheel to go over the object.

If you went over a hard object, and you had a real bump, better pull over and check your bike for damages. But wait until the motorcycle is back in a straight line, stabilized.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s quite a natural process. Repeat the steps in your mind, and if possible try the process a few times on a quite road or parking lot. You don’t need to ride over a shredded tire, you can image something lying there when you see a crack or a line on the road.

Practice makes perfect.

Sturgis Main Street (c) Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Sturgis Main Street (c) Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The famous and world’s biggest motorcycle event, Sturgis, is celebrating 75 years. The iconic event is not 75 years old, but 75 years young, since younger and younger bikers attend the rally and subsequent parties.

3rd, even 4th generations of bikers have attended, or will be attending the gathering. Grand parent, parents, children and even grand children have been here, so we’ll maybe see 5th generation bikers attend the 75 year celebrations.

Officially the events start on July 30th, ending on the 15th of August, but already on the 28th you ‘ll find activities at the Buffalo Chip and the following day will see many parties at the main saloons and bars. The rally starts on the 3rd of August, ending on the 9th.

Because the magic number “75”, a vast number of bikers and fans are expected this year, with many campings and hotels already showing the “full” sign. But with a little bit of luck, you might find a space to squeeze into.

Needless to say, a ton of music groups will be playing all over Sturgis, too many to list here. Click here to see all events in Sturgis, listed by date. Of course Buffalo Chip have their own thing going, with some rock legends like Alice Cooper and Nazareth playing. Click here to see their schedules.

Remember, if you are riding to Sturgis, pack your motorcycle smartly, and for sure, ride safely. Better arrive a bit late, then never. Below you’ll find a few links to articles we’ve written about riding safely.

Enjoy if you are attending.

Jafrum-Logo-new-siteYou may have noticed it, but the Jafrum site has been totally revamped. More modern and up-to-date, it is now much easier to shop for your motorcycle gear, with not only easier navigation, but also a more intuitive way of getting information. Because let’s face it; we’re not only shopping for gear based on price. That would be too easy. You generally are looking for the most information, even comparing similar product.

There are now several ways of getting to what you are looking for. One easy is to shop by type of motorcycle; just click on the top icons.

Motorcycle Type Selector

Motorcycle Type Selector

If you are looking for a specific type of gear, for example a helmet, just hover your mouse over the menu bar below the motorcycle icons. You’ll see, in the case of the helmet menu, all helmet types appear. Click on the type of helmet, and you’ll be brought straight to those types of helmet.

One of the new and interesting functions of the new Jafrum site is the ability to specify the price range. Often bikers go looking for new motorcycle gear with a price budget, for example, they are looking for a helmet between $100 and $200.

Price range selector

Price range selector

The new site has a slider. Slide the left slider to set the minimum price, and the right slider to set the maximum price. This way, only helmet fitting to the price range are displayed.


You can also specify the type of helmet, riding style, color, gender and even brand. These are inclusive options, so each time you select one of the entries, your list is narrowed down even further.

The same selection functions exist for all other types of gear. So an easy way of finding what you are looking for in 1000’s and 1000’s of items in the store.

Many of the items not only have high resolution photos, but also you will often find videos explaining more about the product. We highly recommend you to look at any of the videos (if there is one for an item). They usually give you much more information then what you can find written.

So you not only have all the wonderful, high quality items available for competitive prices at the Jafrum, but now you can find them much more easy, and fully informed.

Happy shopping!

Click here to go see the Jafrum site

This little news item has been hitting the motorcycle web sites and magazines for a while now. The issue is that the Federal Bureau of Investigations, also known as the FBI (and also known under a few not so flattering names) likes to profile people. Profiles help them focus on who to go after. For example, if you have an Arabic sounding name, flown to Yemen for the last 3 times, then to Afghanistan and attended some training activities in those countries, you are “profiled” as a terrorist. Even if you are just a business person trying to make an honest buck. But maybe you are a terrorist.

But how far should these profiles go. According to the US government, it can’t go far enough. For example, if you buy a motorcycle, or even just get your motorcycle endorsement, the FBI automatically flags you as a gang member. You know .. like the Hells Angels, Bandidos, etc.

According to Wikipedia, a gang is defined as “A gang is a group of recurrently associating individuals or close friends or family with identifiable leadership and internal organization, identifying with or claiming control over territory in a community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent or illegal behavior.

So it doesn’t matter if you are an 80-year old who only rides to church on Sundays on her Harley. The fact that you have a motorcycle license, and you happen to have a bike, you are defacto profiled as a gang member.

So when you get pulled over by some state trooper, after a quick radio verification, they get a warning that you are a gang member. Crazy is a word that doesn’t even describe it.


Now let’s think about this differently. Law Enforcement also use motorcycles. They have cops who have a motorcycle license and ride a bike. Does this mean they are also classified as a gang member? Granted, we all do belong to an enormous gang, the gang of motorcycle riders. But it’s not a gang as such, it’s a brotherhood. Nothing wrong with that. The motorcycle cops are indeed part of a gang, especially if you read the definition of a gang above.

Let’s hope someone in the government has enough intelligence to stop senseless profiling. It has its uses, but limited only. Common sense should be the thought of the day, not a profile.

Do you feel you are part of a gang? Would you be offended by that, or do you think it’s normal?

Source: Washington Post

At times it just can’t be helped; you need to transport your motorcycle on a trailer instead of riding it. Either you have great distances to go with multiple people, you have a need to have a car and a motorcycle at your destination, or your motorcycle is not roadworthy and needs to be transported on a trailer – or all of the above.

There are a couple of points you need to take into consideration, especially if it’s the first time you trailer your bike.

First point is the actual loading of the motorcycle onto the trailer. The best is always with the help of another person. But riding the bike up is usually going to require a nice repair bill:

If you are alone, and the bike is too heavy to push up, you can use the engine like so;

Having a second ramp for the biker to walk on is a much better and safer idea.

  1. Stupid point, but I’ve seen this happen. Make sure you trailer can hold your motorcycle, i.e., it’s big enough. Whether a standard trailer or a pick-up truck, you don’t want the bike overhanging the trailer. Imagine all the nasty things that can happen to your ride while it’s sticking out.
  2. Bring up the bike and make sure the sidestand is down. It should be off the ground once you have properly secured the motorcycle. I tend to keep the sidestand down, just in case, but others are totally against the idea.
  3. Get good solid straps/tie downs. You’ll need at least 4 of them. Buying cheap is going to cost you more, trust me. From the different types of straps, my own preferences goes for ratchet type. Once the strap is on, all you need to do is activate the ratchet to tighten, so much easier and you have a better control of the strength.Tie-Down-strap
  4. A wheel chock IMHO is a must. I know several bikers who don’t use them, but I also know a few who have had their bike tilt over and faced interesting repair bills. Once the bike is on the trailer, move it into the wheel chock. That will hold nicely.
  5. Attaching the frame is one of the better parts to hold on to. A common attachment point is the handlebar, but you need to be sure that the handlebar is not mounted on a rubber ring. If that is the case, do not tie down via the handlebars, since the rubber is going to compress during the trip and that’s bad news for your bike.
  6. WATCH OUT that you don’t pass the straps over hydraulic lines or any cables. The stress the straps will face, will crush the lines. Stay away from them.
  7. Compress as much as you can the front suspension, but never to a maximum. Leave some play. During your trip, the trailer is going to hit a few potholes or bumps in the road. That will make your motorcycle go up in the air (by a few notches), and on its return the suspension is going to compress and that will loosen the straps.
  8. Don’t strap down the mirrors, pannier bags, top case, exhaust or even a sissy bar. Unless of course you don’t mind them being ripped off the bike.
  9. The straps should go in the front around a 45° angle, and the same at the back. It is this angle that gives you the best possible grip.Trailering-Motorcycle-Straps
  10. Once strapped in and secure, walk around the trailer/pick up truck and with your hand, shake the motorcycle. If it moves, it’s not secure.

There, now all you need to do is drive carefully and not go too fast through the curves. Remember, the motorcycle is behind you, not under you.


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