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When Is Much, Too Much?

After the plethora of new motorcycle announcements at the German Intermot and the Italian Eicma motorcycle exhibitions, you have got to ask yourself “why”.

It’s not the amount of new motorcycles that is making me ask this deep thought-provoking question, but what is happening at the top-end of the super sportsbikes; the search for more and more power.

Ducati 1299 Panigale S

Ducati 1299 Panigale S

If you consider that many sportscars have around 200 hp, a motorcycle weighs 2 or 3 times less. So the performance these bikes have nowadays is impressive, that’s for sure, but they are also incredibly high. Maybe too high.

Apart from some German motorways, there are no places on earth where you can use the power these bikes have, legally that is. So unless you spend most of your time on tracks, you would not be using the power these bikes generate. But you will have paid for it.

So the question remains, why? Why would manufacturers start a race to who has the most power. And it’s exactly what it has become; a marketing race for the manufacturers so that they can say their motorcycle is the most powerful one; bragging rights.

Some countries have limited the amount of power a motorcycle is allowed to have. France for example, power is limited to 100 hp. Granted, it’s a stupid law, since as we know, hp is nice but torque is far more important. Obviously a higher horsepower equates in general to a higher torque, but still….

If you had all the money in the world and your name is Jay Leno, would you still buy a motorcycle that has 200+ hp? Knowing that you can’t really use it (legally). Would you?

Eicma-2014

Next week, 6th of November, world’s biggest motorcycle exhibition in terms of exhibition space, visitors and stands opens its doors to the general public in Milan, Italy. This gigantic exhibition area is located just outside Milan, and consists of 16 enormous halls (although only half are in use for the expo). This year, they are celebrating 100 years of exhibitions in Milan’s Eicma.

Eicma-Floorplan-2014

As usual, this annual event has become the mecca for motorcycle riders, owners, manufacturers and lovers. It’s the annual pilgrimage for anyone working or associated with the motorcycle industry.

And as usual, there will be a plethora of new motorcycles and scooters presented, as if the new ones presented only a month ago at the German Intermot exhibition weren’t enough. We know that there will be a lot of new bikes (BMW, Honda, Triumph, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Energica, Piaggio, Matchless, Kymco, Husqvarna, Bimota, Harley-Davidson and Sym all have scheduled press conferences), but we also know that there will be a lot of accessories launched; helmets, jackets, gloves, boots, safety equipment…. the list is very long.

Since we will be there to cover the two press days (4 and 5 November), instead of just telling you some of the new stuff, let’s try something new:

How about you tell us which of our stocked brands you want us to look at closer? Just put in a comment of the brand, and we’ll hike on up to their booth and find out what’s new. How about that?

Schuberth is one of the top quality helmet manufacturers at this moment. Their helmets are high quality, innovative and you can find them not only in the motorcycle world, but also in car racing (just look at the Formula One races) and even in the fire fighter communities around the world.

They are also very expensive and in case you were wondering, yes, they are German. And like with most German things, they are well built, and made to last.

Schuberth has different motorcycle helmet lines, all beginning with a letter indicating the type of helmet (S for sports, SR for racing, C for flip-up/modular, J for jet/open face, etc). Schuberth are also known for their female helmet models. For example, their latest flip-up helmet, the C3Pro also exists in a C3Pro Women version.

Schuberth M1

Schuberth M1

At the German motorcycle exhibition Intermot, Schuberth showed their latest model range, the M range. M stands for Metropolitan, therefore it’s a jet/open face type helmet.

As we know by now, jet helmets are more prone to being dangerous (compared to integral/full face helmets). But Schuberth would not be Schuberth if they did not try to minimize any dangers. Therefore the M1 helmet is designed in such a way that it’s safer than a conventional jet helmet. You can see from the photo above that the cheek area offers better protection than conventional jet helmets. More of the face is covered, but the mouth & nose part remains uncovered.

Schuberth-M1-2

The M1 comes in seven different colors, and the quick release visor comes in five different colors. The built-in sun visor, also available in five different colors, can be used without the normal visor, hence the quick release mechanism for the main visor.

Schuberth-M1-3

The helmet is equipped with a very good ventilation system, with a rear extractor vent that can be closed. But the M1 is also pre-equipped for the integrated wireless communications package from Schuberth called the SRC-System. In fact, the wireless communication device comes from the American Cardo systems. The inside of the helmet has a built-in antenna that will greatly enhance communication quality and range.

In the following photo you can clearly see the SRC installed in the back of the helmet.

Schuberth-M1-4

As jet helmets go, the Schuberth is beautiful, and safer than most. Top notch, but expensive. No prices have been released so far, but expect it to be in the $300 to $400 range.

Schuberth M1 with sun visor only

Schuberth M1 with sun visor only

Electric motorcycles and scooters, as the type name implies, run on electricity. Obviously, the two wheelers don’t have a very long extension lead plugged into a socket, but instead they run on batteries.

But normal 12V motorcycle batteries as we know them will not supply enough power to propel the bike any further than a mile or two. No, to be able to ride a reasonable distance on an electrically powered two wheeler, you need more batteries, and these batteries need to have a higher energy.

Take for example one of the top American electric motorcycle manufacturers, Brammo. This is what a Brammo will look like if you cut it open:

Brammo-Batteries-1

Those blue things are the batteries. They are Lithium-Ion batteries, and they are not 12V but 103 Volt (with a max voltage of 117.6V). They supply a total capacity of 9.31 kWh, with a peak of 10.2 kWh.

Brammo-Batteries-2

It’s the battery pack capacity that counts for electric motorcycles. The higher the number, the more power it has.

But to recharge so many batteries requires special equipment. Depending on where you plug your bike in (known as Level 1, 2 or even 3 charging) you can fully charge your bike in 3.5 hours or 8 hours (in the case of level 1, your household electrical socket).

But all those batteries make the bike heavy. If you look closely at the photos, you’ll see that the engine is the smallest part, in sharp contrast with its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cousins. The biggest volume is taken up by the batteries. In total, the Brammo Empulse weighs 460 lbs (some 213 kilos).

But despite the heavy weight, the Brammo can still deliver an incredible 90 Nm of peak torque, more than most sportsmotorcycles.

Even electric scooters use similar large amounts of batteries. Take for example the BMW C-Evolution:

BMW-C-Evolution-Batteries

Apart from the 12 cells (which by the way come from the electric car from BMW, the i3), there is one “normal” 12V battery located in the front housing which takes care of the normal electrical functions (dashboard, horn, etc).

The engine’s batteries, like the Brammo, are Lithium-Ion and supply 8 kWh. Recharging these batteries using a standard domestic 12A socket takes 4 hours (if it’s a 16A socket, it’ll take 3 hours).

The 12 cells supply 60 Ah and 133V, and the whole scooter weighs 265 kilos. But despite that weight, you get a torque of 72 Nm which is available all the time.

So as you can see, batteries take up the biggest amount of space on an electric bike. By far! Over the next few years, even decade, the batteries will start becoming smaller, lighter and packing more punch, allowing for longer rides. But until then, you will need to content yourself with riding 60 to 100 miles before requiring a charge. Far enough for a daily commute, not far enough for a weekend ride of the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap.

At the Intermot international motorcycle exhibition in Germany, Scorpion came out with full guns blazing with at least 6 new helmets. Here are their new helmets.

Exo-2000 Evo Air

Scorpion-EXO-2000-EVO-Air

Scorpion-EXO-2000-EVO-Air

Although not a brand new model, the Exo-2000 Air is now called Exo-2000 Evo Air (so it’s an evolution) and it is even lighter. To be exact, it now weighs 1280 grams. This helmet is best on the track, which it was designed for.

The helmet is equipped with the internal air-expansion system using an air-pump (AirFit HelmetPump), visors with the Pinlock system, Titanium Double-D closing system and quick release in case of an accident.

Exo-1200 Air

Scorpion-EXO-1200-Air

Scorpion-EXO-1200-Air

The new Exo-1200 Air replaces the Exo-1000 Air and has a visor mounting system (Ellip-Tec) that is easier and with a higher performance. The new shape reduces aerodynamic turbulence.

The helmet is intended for both track and street use.

Exo-710 Air

Scorpion-Exo-710-Air

Scorpion-Exo-710-Air

The Exo-710 Air replaces the 5 year old Exo-710 Air. The model is meant for bikers looking for high quality full face helmets without all the bells and whistles. So no sun visor, but with multiple ventilations slots and the AirFit helmet pump.

The helmet will weigh on average (depending on size) 1450 grams.

Exo-3000 Air

Scorpion-EXO-3000-Air

Scorpion-EXO-3000-Air

The Exo-3000 Air was a surprise for everyone since Scorpion had only recently released the modular flip-up helmet Exo-910 Air. But the Exo-3000 Air is lighter and much more silent.

The upmarket version of their flip-up helmet is equipped with their air-expansion system, and removable sun visor.

Exo-220

Scorpion-EXO-220

Scorpion-EXO-220

The Exo-200 is a open face/jet helmet that is well vented. It has two air inlets and two air extractors. The new helmet replaces the Exo-210.

The visor itself is long and wide, allowing for better visibility in traffic.

VX-15 Air Evo

Scorpion-VX-15-EVO-Air

Scorpion-VX-15-EVO-Air

As the name implies, this model is an evolution of the VX-15 Air. More graphics, a more aggressive chin and visor and the insides that can be adjusted using the HelmetPump.

Not all technical data was released for all new helmets (data like weight). Neither is it known which if these models will receive DOT/Snell approval.

Airoh ST 701

Airoh ST 701

Airoh presented at the Intermot motorcycle exhibition in Germany, their latest helmet the ST 701. The ST 701 is an integral, full face, helmet with some interesting features.

Airoh-ST-701

First of all, in the chin is an air vent that can be opened. So far, nothing new. But in this case, the air vent can be opened at 2 different levels; totally open, allowing for air to circulate throughout the helmet, and half open, that makes the air circulate only into the visor through special vents. This way you can blow away any fog during those cold days when you don’t want too much cold air on your head.

Airoh-ST-701

The same applies to the rear air vent, that has several positions for the air extraction.

Airoh-ST-701

The ST 701 has the Airoh quick & safe release system in case of an accident. If you have crashed, paramedics need to take care removing a helmet since the removable movements can cause permanent damage to your neck. Remember that a helmet should be fitted tight. So you can imagine removing a helmet from someone’s head can be a struggle.

The quick release system involves pulling the red tab, that releases the cheek padding. With the cheek padding gone, you can simply pull out the helmet since there is no more pressure to the head or neck.

Airoh-ST-701

Several color exist already for this helmet. However, the helmet is brand new and has not received DOT homologation, and has only just passed CE certification.

Airoh are working on bring it to the North American market.

Intermot-LogoWorld’s second largest motorcycle exhibition (the largest being the Italian EICMA), Cologne’s (Germany) Intermot, is going to open its doors at the end of the month. Held every two years, the last Intermot exhibition saw 203,000 visitors from all over the world, and 1,022 exhibitors from 37 countries.

Motorcycle exhibitors from all over the world will be showing off their wares, and a lot of new products will be shown for the first time to an overflowing crowd.

Intermot exhibition center

Intermot exhibition center

Of course there will be a plethora of new motorcycles; Ducati will be showing off their new Scrambler, Honda will have one or two new motorcycles and at least one new powerful scooter and both Suzuki and Yamaha are expected to be launching some new bikes at the popular show. Since this is the home turf of BMW, we expect to see at least one new or major revised motorcycle and/or scooter.

The only two USA based motorcycle manufactures who have a press conference to introduce new stuff are Harley-Davidson and Zero Electric.

Many of the manufactures are vying for sales in Asia, particularly India and Pakistan which is a very growing market for them. So expect quite a lot of low displacement models in the 100 to 200 cc range. Suzuki already mentioned a 150cc Gixxer, Yamaha have been making sub-200 cc bikes and then of course Honda who have lost their partnership with Hero and now attempting to take over the market on their own.

Intermot's main Boulevard with all halls on the side

Intermot’s main Boulevard with all halls on the side

But it’s not only new motorcycles that will be shown. Many manufacturers will be showing new helmets, clothing and security gear such as communicating locks (locks that communicate with your phone, in case of a theft attempt). More and more clothing manufacturers are incorporating airbag jackets, so expect to see many more of these.

The official opening is on Wednesday October 1st, but press day (the day the new stuff is introduced) is on Monday 30 September.

So after those dates, you will find much of the new stuff over here. Plenty of photos and a firsthand look at interesting products.

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