Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Respect – David Barr

Riding a motorcycle on its own is difficult enough. Anyone who is just starting to learn how to ride one will know that. Even under the easiest of circumstances, you need to have a good control of your body in order to properly control your bike.

You can then imagine how difficult it is if you are someone like David Barr. David, a former professional soldier, lost both his legs when his car went over a mine in Angola. In order to save his life, the South African doctors had to amputate both his legs. But despite the fact that he no longer had any legs, David went back to active duty until his contract ran out.

When he returned to the USA, he took out to his “old” motorcycle, a 1972 Harley-Davidson Panhead which he bought just after returning from Vietnam in 1971. He restored to Harley, fitting it with devices that allowed him to ride his motorcycle with his prosthetics. He also fitted it with an electric starter, since there was no way he could start the heavy bike otherwise.

After getting used to the bike, he set out doing something that only a few people have done before him – all of them with no disabilities. He went and took his Harley around the world!

David Barr in China

During 3 1/2 years, David took his Harley-Davidson on an 83,000 miles journey around the world, often riding under extreme conditions and the most dangerous roads.

David finally returned home in 1994, and wrote a lengthy book about his ordeal. Called “Riding the Edge”, he describes, supported by many photos, his trip and all the memories.

In 1996, David finally put his trusty ride to rest, with 250,000 miles on it. He then set out in the same year on a new Harley-Davidson Sportser 883 with a sidecar, from France into the Siberian winter, traveling through a desolate Russia. The trip resulted in another book, called “Riding the Ice”.

David’s incredible adventures have earned him 2 Guinness World Records, and an induction in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.

With several books to his name, documentaries and worldwide recognition, David is now on the lecture circuit as a motivational speaker.

Click here to go to David’s website where you can read more about him and buy his books and/or DVDs.

Read Full Post »

This week sees one of world’s biggest and largest motorcycle exhibitions take place in Cologne, Germany. Called Intermot, this once-every-two-years event alternates with the French motorcycle expo.

The show, since that is what it really is, starts for the public on October the 3rd. Specialists recon it’s second to the Italian expo Eicma in size and visitors.

In 2010, Intermot saw some 195,000 visitors visiting the 110,000 square meters (some 131,558 square yards) of space, divided into 6 different halls. The exhibition is not a “German” event, it’s truly international. 1,106 exhibitors from 40 countries are present in this event, with large representation from Asia (particularly China), Europe and North America.

Intermot Halls Layout

2010 Exhibitor Countries

This year should be a bumper year, since most main motorcycle manufacturers will be launching many new and updated motorcycles for 2013. BMW on their home turf will be showing their best-selling and new all-round motorcycle, the GS. But in contrast with previous year’s models, this boxer engine will have liquid cooling, an enormous step for the Bavarian manufacturer.

Ducati should be splitting their new models between Intermot and Eicma (their home turf), but the internet has already leaked information on their new dual-purpose 1200 Multistrada, so it’s not going to be a surprise.

The same will apply to Kawasaki with their 300 Ninja and the ZX-6R. Information has been circulating on the web about their much expected new models. Many other manufacturers are known to have new models ready for launch; Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and even harley-Davidson.

But it’s not only motorcycles that are shown here. Accessories, helmets and clothing are everywhere. From traditional manufacturers, to even the smallest shops in India can be seen here. Often you’ll find the latest gadgets meant for riders anywhere being exhibited.

Intermot (and their Italian counterpart, Eicma) are two exhibitions that any true motorcycle lover should visit at least once in their lifetime. A bit like a pilgrimage to Mecca, it shows what is being done in the world of motorcycles globally. A must!

Source: Intermot

Read Full Post »

Unfortunately, recalls happen all the time. No matter how good the motorcycle manufacturer is, things slip through quality inspection at the factory, and motorcycles get recalled to rectify the problem.

The problem lies in the notification of the recall. Usually the manufacturer will contact the press, and sometimes the press will actually print a small story stating models and problem, but often this is not the case.

So in many cases vehicle owners do not know that their motorcycle or ATV has been recalled. And this can be a big, and often dangerous problem.

Robert Guthrie was one of these people. His Kawasaki ATV got recalled because of a problem with the front wheel that could result in the eventual loss of steering control. And that was exaclty what happened to him. He crashed his ATV, resulting in severe and permanent injuries. So he’s seeking $20 Million in damages from Kawasaki in a lawsuit.

Guthrie’s complaint is that Kawasaki was negligent in warning him that his ATV was not longer safe.

And that’s where the problem lies. Manufacturers often rely on the media to warn users, but as far as news goes, it’s just not interesting enough to print.

Manufacturers have enormous databases with the client lists. They send out mailers offering new models and services all the time. But they rarely involve these mailing campaigns for recalls.

And what happens when you sell your vehicle? The manufacturer will not know who has your bike. So the big question is why manufacturers have no access the DMV databases. There they can quickly scan who has what vehicles, and send a mail recalling the vehicle. It would be the safest way of ensuring that all vehicles get recalled. But that takes time & money, and already the manufacturer is out of pocket running a recall of thousands of motorcycles.

In the USA, there is a government web site with all recalls (Recalls.gov), but this means that the owners need to go and check themselves, and not many people will do that. The responsibility lies with the owner in this case, while it’s should be on the manufacturer’s.

But maybe there’s no choice, and it should become mandatory for all manufacturers. If the DMV doesn’t want to hand over the files, then they should do it. It’s safer, and this way anyone who has that model can be ensured that they get a recall notice.

Also, often the manufacturer will know of a problem, but will only recall when things get really bad, preferring to leave things as is.

Source: DealerNews

 

Read Full Post »

Last time we looked at biker specific terms, the lingo used by bikers allowing you not to stand out in a crowd of bikers. But it’s not only this general terms that you’d need to know, but there’s also a bunch of terms related to motorcycles.

Here are several motorcycle-specific terms:

ABSAnti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motorcycle to continue interacting with the road surface as directed by biker steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up (that is, ceasing rotation) and therefore avoiding skidding.

Ape Hangers - Ape hanger handlebars rise far above the mounting location so that the rider must reach up to use them, hence the name. They are popular on chopper motorcycles. They are available in heights up to 20 inches. Some jurisdictions have regulations on how high the handgrips may be above the seat.

Bagger – A motorcycle equipped with saddlebags and other touring amenities.

Beemer – BMW

Rice Burner – Japanese sportsbike

BHP – Brake horse power. A unit of measurement for engine power output.

Blinkers - Turn Signals

Bob, Bobbers, Bobbed or Bobbing – A bobber is a custom motorcycle that usually has had the front fender removed, the rear fender “bobbed” or made smaller, and all superfluous parts removed to make it lighter This was all part of the early customizing done by the returning WWII fighter pilots.

Brake horsepower - Brake horsepower (bhp) is the measure of an engine’s horsepower before the loss in power caused by the gearbox, alternator, differential, water pump, and other auxiliary components such as power steering pump, muffled exhaust system, etc

Cafe Racer – A cafe racer, originally pronounced “kaff racer” is a term used for a type of motorcycle, as well as the motorcyclists who ride them. Both meanings have their roots in the 1960s British Rocker or Ton-up boy subculture, although the type of motorcycles were also common in Italy, France and other European countries. The term refers to a style of motorcycles that were and are used for fast rides from one coffee bar to another.

CC - Cubic centimeters. A 1000cc engine = 1000 cubic centimeters in volume

Center of Gravity – The point in or near a body where the force of gravity appears to act. If a body is balanced at any point on the vertical line through it’s center of gravity, it will remain balanced. The center of an object’s mass.

Chicken Strips – The tread remaining on the sidewalls of a motorcycle. How much of this there is (or isn’t) is how some bikers size each other up. The less chicken strips, the more angle you will have used when taking curves.

Chopper – A chopper is a type of motorcycle that was either modified from an original motorcycle design (“chopped”) or built from scratch to have a hand-crafted appearance. The main features of a chopper that make it stand out are its longer frame design accompanied by a stretch front end, or increased rake angle.

Crotch Rocket – Sports motorcycle

CruiserCruiser is the term for motorcycles that mimic the design style of American machines from the 1930s to the early 1960s, including those made by Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior and Henderson.

Dirt Bike – Off-road motorcycles that are not legal on the street.

Dresser – A motorcycle set up for long distance touring.

Dual Sport - A motorcycle made for both on and off the road travel.

Duc or Duck- A Ducati motorcycle.

EnduroEnduro is a form of motorcycle sportrun on courses that are predominantly off-road. Enduro consists of many different obstacles and challenges

Fairing - The plastic body panels that protect the rider from the wind and rain and from other debris.

Gixer – Suzuki GSXR Series motorcycles

Goose - A Moto Guzzi motorcycle

H.O.G. – Harley Owners Group – but it also relates to the larger Harley models.

Hack – A term for a motorcycle sidecar.

Husky - Husqvarna motorcycle.

Kwak – Kawasaki

Moped – A motorized bicycle, often with pedals still attached for human power assistance, usually legally defined in states and provinces as having fewer than 50cc and not be capable of propelling the moped over 30 MPH (50km/h) on level ground.

MotocrossMotocross is a form of motorcycle racing held on enclosed off road circuits.

Naked Bike - Motorcycles with no or a very small fairing; allowing you to fully see the engine.

OEM – “Original Equipment from Manufacturer,” refering to parts or components.

Pasta Rocket - Italian Sportbike (Ducati, Aprilia, MV Agusta, Benelli).

Pipes – Exhaust System.

Rat Bike – Motorcycles made from several different parts of different motorcycles and kept on the road using as cheap as possible and usually painted matt black. Often dirty and shoddy.

Rev(s) - See Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). A term used to describe how fast an engine is spinning.

RPM – “Revolutions Per Minute “. The number of revolutions the engine makes in a minute.

Rice Rocket - Japanese Sport Motorcycle

Sissy Bar – The backrest put behind the pillion part of the saddle.

Sled - A motorcycle.

Street Fighter - A bare bones sportbike (or any bike that originally had fairings) stripped of all extraneous bodywork. Also called a hooligan bike.

Stock – A motorcycle set up to OEM specifications with no alterations.

Super-motardSupermoto or Supermotard is motorcycle racing on a circuit that alternates between three types of track: flat track, motocross and road racing, using motorcycles designed for that purpose.

Trials Bike – For competition over radical, rough terrain. Trials motorcycles are designed to be extremely light, minimalist off-road specialties with low gear ratios, high ground clearance and a control layout suited for a standing rider .

Trike – A three-wheeled motorcycle with no sidecar.

Trumpet – Triumph motorcycle.

Read Full Post »

You may be a newbie, or a veteran biker, but what’s for sure, our hobby and transportation means is full of jargon. Some terms are a must to know, some are for insiders, but it makes sense to know a few of them.

When frequenting other bikers, it’s good to know a few terms, so here are a few of them. We’ve divided them up in General Terms and Motorcycle Specific ones. Next article is about the motorcycle specific ones.

General Terms

1%er – A biker belonging to an outlaw motorcycle club, like the Hells Angels. The term was coined by the AMA, when they mentioned that these biker gangs represented 1% of the biker population. You will find a “1%” patch often on their vests.

Ape HangersApe hanger handlebars rise far above the mounting location so that the rider must reach up to use them, hence the name. They are popular on choppers. They are available in heights up to 20 inches. Some jurisdictions have regulations on how high the handgrips may be above the seat.

Apex – the line a motorcycle must take in order to minimize the time taken to complete a curve.

Armor – The reinforced parts of your riding gear, often found in motorcycle jackets and trousers. Armor can be made out of different materials, like Kevlar, Foam or plastic, and can often be removed.

ATGATT – All The Gear, All The Time, meaning you should always wear all your protective clothing, no matter when you ride. ATGATT Gear means helmet, gloves, vest, trousers and boots.

BAMBI – Born Again Motorbiker, a biker who having reached middle age, starts riding again after years of not riding.

Belly-Shover – A motorcycle racer who, because of the forward position on a sports bike, has the belly on the fuel tank.

Big Slab – A highway or motorway.

Brain Bucket – A helmet

Bubble Gum Machine – The signal that there is police up ahead. The signal is accomplished by patting the top of your helmet several times so that opposing bikers can see they are riding towards a police trap.

Burnout – By holding the front brake and accelerating, the rear wheel of the bike will start spinning and burning rubber, hence the burnout.

Cage – A car or SUV

Cager – Someone who drives a car.

Century – 100 mph

Doughnut – A burnout done while the front wheel stays in place, and the motorcycle turns 360% on the front wheel, making a complete circle.

Do-Rag – A cloth covering the biker’s head and forehead, avoiding sweat in the eyes and helmet hair. Often used by non-bikers as fashion. Examples

Duck Walking – Sitting on your motorcycle, and pushing it with your feet, usually done when parking your bike, or moving forwards a few feet (like at a gas station).

Eating Asphalt – Crashing your bike

Gearhead – Someone who is very interested and passionate about mechanical objects, like cars and motorcycles.

Hammer Down – Accelerate very quickly.

Heat – The police

Highsider – Being ejected from your motorcycle while riding, above the motorcycle.

Iron Butt – An association that promotes and holds rallies aimed at travelling very long distances. The shortest distance, the Saddle Sore, is 1,000 miles in 24 hours, the longest, the Bun Burner Gold is 1,500 miles in one day. The Iron Butt Rally is 10 days riding 1,000 miles each day.

Lid – A helmet

Lowsider – A motorcycle crash with the bike falling sideways and the biker ejected sideways.

Monkey Butt – When riding for hours on end, your rear end becomes uncomfortable and becomes sore, often the result of chafing.

Newbie – A beginner.

Organ Donor – A biker who rides without a helmet, or rides likes a squid.

Patches – Emblems and symbols sewn on biker jackets and shirts, displaying an affiliation, a club, a brand, or anything that is special to the biker. 1%-ers will always have several patches on their jackets.

Pillion – A passenger on the motorcycle.

PMS – Parked Motorcycle Syndrome, usually the result of not being able to ride in the winter.

Poker Run – A motorcycle run involving usually five stops where you get a card. At the end of the run, the biker with the best hand wins the run. Often used in charity runs.

Popping The Clutch – Letting go of the clutch rapidly, making it possible for the motorcycle to accelerate very quickly.

Poser – A wannabe biker, or a biker with all the gear, shiny and new, but rarely rides. Usually found at motorcycle shows with very low mileage full-chrome motorcycles.

Pucker factor – A very close call when riding.

Ride Captain – The leader of a motorcycle rider-out. The ride captain opens the ride, and is up front.

Ride Lieutenant – An experienced riders who rides as last in a ride-out, making sure that every thing goes according to plan with all the other bikers.

Road Rash – Marks from the asphalt left on your body after you have been thrown off your motorcycle, highside or lowside, a skidded alongside the road.

RUB – Rich Urban Biker, a biker who rides an expensive motorcycle only on the weekend, and never very far. Often RUBs are Posers.

Safety Nazi – A person who rides in absolutely full safety gear, often to an extreme, obeys every law, and wants all others to do the same.

Two Up – Riding with a pillion.

Stoppie – Stopping a motorcycle by pulling only the front brake, resulting in the rear wheel lifting off the ground. Often used in stunts.

Squid – A biker who rides with no protection, and rides very dangerously.

Tank Slapper – A high speed wobble resulting in the handlebars banging against the sides of the fuel tank. Usually an extreme Pucker factor.

Twisties – A part of a road that has many curves, turns and bends. Twisties are very much sought after when riding a motorcycle.

Wannabe – A person who wants to be a real biker, who dresses like one, who tries to behave like one, but probably only drives a SUV or a moped.

Wave – A greeting between bikers on the road, involving raising a hand, usually below the handlebars. The Wave is done to bikers on the opposite direction.

Wheelie – Sudden acceleration and slight pulling of the handlebar (unless your bike has enough torque to do it by itself), resulting in the front wheel of the motorcycle moving up in the air, and riding on the rear wheel alone.

Whoops – An obstacle section on a dirt track that has rows of mounds, requiring expertise to ride within a race.

Wrench – A mechanic.

Read Full Post »

As we’ve mentioned in our previous article, there are a couple of things a biker needs to have. It’s not just about buying a motorcycle, and possibly some proper clothes, but there are elementary things you need to function as a biker.

If you are lucky enough to have your own garage, then there are a couple of items you will really need, and some that would be nice to have. They will not cost you an arm and a leg, but having them will make your life so much easier, meaning you will be able to get your motorcycle up and running, enjoying your rides.

Basics

The already mentioned (see previous article) HD-40 oil and duct tape, two indispensable “tools” of the trade. Also put a window cleaner spray and some paper towels (best is a kitchen roll) to clean your helmet.

If your motorcycle has a chain (in other words not a belt or shaft drive), you’ll need chain lube. You can get them in nice & easy sprays.

Bugs are bad for your bike, so get a bug cleaner, usually a spray. Make sure you have a proper soft cleaning cloth, preferably a microfiber one. Some cloths may scratch your bike, so make sure you get a good one.

Wax for the bike, wax for the leather. Wax protects your motorcycle from the elements. Rain and sun will slowly deteriorate the metal and leather parts of your bike. Wax your bike at least once a month.

A battery charger will go a long way for making sure you can ride. If you ride everyday, there’s no need, but if there are intervals of several weeks before the bike is fired up, you might want to invest in a trickle charger and hook up your motorcycle every time it gets pulled into the garage.

Not only is a tire pressure gauge essential, but a small electrically powered air compressor is very handy. You can get them relatively cheap, and they will work on 12V, so powered by your motorcycle. Depending on whether you ride alone, with a pillion and/or with cargo, you will need to adjust your tire pressure.

Another essential piece of equipment is a strong light that you can use to inspect your motorcycle. Even if your garage is well lit, you’ll still need to inspect at times the lower parts of your bike, and with a handheld torch, or light, it will make your life so much easier.

And the last item you’ll want in your garage is a motorcycle cover. Just because your bike sleeps in the garage does not mean dust will not get on your ride. So cover it properly. Unless of course you like cleaning your bike (I prefer to ride mine).

Wrenching

If you plan to do maintenance yourself, then you’ll need quite a lot of stuff. Obviously, all the tools to open up your bike and perform open-heart surgery, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, you name it, the list is long. But apart from that, you will be well served with the following:

Gloves. Unless you love scrubbing your hands to clean off the grease, mechanic gloves will save you wear & tear of your hands.

Trays for parts, and trays for oil. If you’re going to change oil, you’ll need to catch the old oil. The parts you take off your bike when working on them should go in a good sized tray, because if you don’t you’ll be spending more time looking for them then actually wrenching.

Good solid shoes. Don’t wrench while wearing flip-flops. You can easily skid and hurt yourself in a garage. You need shoes that are solid, with a good ankle support.

Obviously a motorcycle lift would be great to work on your bike, but that does cost a lot of money. But if you are planing to do a lot of work, it might be a worthwhile investment, since it will make working a lot easier. You can get quite elaborate lifts, but there are simple, manually operated lifts available. It also makes changing tires os much easier.

Read Full Post »

Many of us have suffered from PMS – Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. In some areas, the winter has been very harsh, and we have not seen our motorcycles for many months. But now the riding season is there, and we are ready to hit the road.

But before we do, we need to check a few things before firing up the engine. The last thing you want is to start your motorcycle, start riding, and 1 mile further up notice that you have a problem and need to push your bike back into the garage. Not fun, and not necessary if you take a few precautions.

Battery

Even if your battery has been hooked up to a trickle charger, or un-hooked, open the filler screws and check the water level, and more importantly, check to see if the plates are straight (plates that have started curving will require you to change the battery).

If your battery was disconnected, top it up with a battery charger. If the water level is low, fill it up with demineralized water.

Oil & Filters

The first thing to check is the engine’s oil and air filter. Your bike has been immobilized for a while, and all oil has gone to the bottom. Start your engine for a few seconds to warm it up and then shut it down. Check the quality of the oil from the dip stick, looking for very small particles embedded in the oil. Best thing you can do if your bike has been out of action for a few months is change the oil and filters. Play it safe.

Tires

Many motorcycles when they are stored in a garage are left on their tires. The weight of your bike will be pressing down for months, so you’ll need to inspect if spots & cracks have started to appear in your tires. Today’s tires are very solid, but you never know. A spot (color difference) in your tire can spell disaster when riding.

Make sure your tires are all up to their proper air pressure.

Leaks

Oil-LeaksCheck below your motorcycle for oil and hydraulic fluid leaks. If you do find some, better find out where it is coming from and fix it.

Lights

Turn on the lights and check all of them, including the blinkers. Bulbs can die off when not in use.

Chain

Check the tension in your chain. Make sure it’s according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Nuts & Bolts

Its a good idea to go around your bike and tighten all nuts & bolts. It’ s not really necessary, but it’s one of those things that does not cost much time, but can save you a lot of grievance later on.

Zero motorcycle in the sunset

(c) Zero Motorcycles

Now your motorcycle is ready to go out for the first time, but are you? Before you go out, remember that riding a motorcycle requires experience and instinct. This is normally acquired by riding many miles. It’s a good idea to start your first few rides more slowly than you would in mid summer. Take it easy and build up your instincts and traffic sense.

Ride smart, and be safe.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 225 other followers