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The Italian Eicma exhibition is well over now, but there are some new things that have been shown that merit our attention.

Our roving reporter discovered some interesting new items, some that may or may not appear in our stores.

This is part 1 of the series of interesting new things appearing at Eicma.

Acerbis

Italian Acerbis showed an interesting motorcycle jacket that promotes our safety at night. As you can see from the animated gif photo below, the jacket has several LED strips built in to the jacket (sides, rear and front).

Acerbis High-LED jacket

Acerbis High-LED jacket

The LEDs have a low battery usage, and at night you can see the LED, but they are not strong. The animated gif was taken in full light, so you can not see how strong the lights are, but you get the message.

The jacket is called “High-LED” and is made out of Nylon Polyamide with Oxford 1680D reinforcements. It has a removable interior and EVA back protector

Airoh

Airoh helmets showed a different technology for motorcycle helmets to keep our cool during hot weather. They have a new visor system that reflects heat.

In the photo below, the first one you see the visor when it is hit by hot sunlight:

Warm sunlight

Warm sunlight

And in the next photo you see it during normal weather, when even with direct sunlight but not hot, the visor is clear. Obviously the sunlight strength is filtered out of your eyes, but more important, there is less heat coming into your helmet.

Not warm sunlight

Not warm sunlight

The visor has been approved in Europe for use on motorcycles.

D3O

We’ve already talked about the wonder material from D3O (click here to read it). It is light, extremely shock absorbant and it’s even high-tech. D3O have adapted their materials to the new protection requirement, EN1621-2.

D3O King Cobra

D3O King Cobra

The Cobra series are available for protection level 1 or 2. As you can see it is quite thin (22.5 mm) and will withstand crashes in all kinds of weather and temperatures.

D3O Cobra Pro

D3O Cobra Pro

The ultimate protection is called King Cobra, a level 2 protection for your back. The Cobra Pro featured here is level 2 as well.

GPA

French helmet maker GPA showed a Lacoste helmet. This is probably the ultimate helmet for fashion conscious bikers.

GPA Lacoste

GPA Lacoste

You can not imagine riding your Vespa scooter, dressed in your Dior or Armani clothes without this Lacoste helmet. It just wouldn’t look right.

GPA Lacoste

GPA Lacoste

More on Eicma shortly.

Eicma in Milan, Italy is world’s biggest motorcycle expo & show, with thousands of companies showing off their latest products. At the 2013 Eicma, one of the manufacturers that showed some new products was Xena, the company that makes some of the more interesting and high-tech locks for motorcycles and scooters.

Xena-Eicma-2013-01

Xena-Eicma-2013-06One of their latest products is a “Ground Anchor”. The Ground Anchor is used by drilling a hole in your garage floor (presuming it is concrete), turning in the rod, and when finished, hitting the end with a hammer. That seals the rod into the ground, making it almost impossible to remove, unless you’ve got a JCB or jackhammer.

On the rod gets mounted a cap onto which you can hook up a solid metal chain and lock (see the last item here). The cap folds down so you can ride over it safely.

Xena-Eicma-2013-02

What is interesting with this Ground Anchor is that compared with its competition, the cap turns on itself. This means you do not need to put stress on the lock or chain when placing it onto the cap. No matter at what angle you park your scooter or motorcycle (or even bicycle), it is going to be easy to place the lock & chain. No turning big metal chain to fit the opening.

Xena-Eicma-2013-03

Xena have also added many more colors to their existing alarm disc locks. Now you can color match the lock with your bike’s colors.

Xena-Eicma-2013-04

Another change made to the existing locks is the key. Previous versions of the key were in a “S” shape which allowed people to jam stuff into the lock making it difficult to open. The new key is “8” shaped and easier to use. Placing the key into the hole is simple, almost self-guiding, and it is more difficult to place junk into the hole, and easier to remove if it has been done.

Xena-Eicma-2013-05

Finally, Xena now have an alarm lock for chains and for the Ground Anchor. This means you can place the Ground Anchor in the ground, and with the lock you have a very loud alarm in case someone still tries to relieve you of your bike.

We have already mentioned one of our favorite roads to ride our motorcycles on, the Deal’s Gap also known as the Tail of the Dragon. Of course we are slightly biased since the ride is close to home, but there are many others roads that can equal some of the better known roads in Europe and Asia, and they are all found here in the States.

But instead of researching them, writing them up, and publishing them, we are more inclined to show you a web site that has done exactly that.

Best-Motorcycle-Roads

Motorcycleroads.com is a site that lists the best roads to ride on in the USA, and it is not based on the web master’s opinion but of the readers.

Anyone can list their favorite road, and then others can vote if it is really a nice road. So it is you, the reader, who decides which are the great roads. As democratic as you can get.

Each road on their site is accompanied by a map, a description, the scenery encountered, the quality of the road and the amenities (restaurants, garages, hotels, bars). You can also find several photos and videos of the road. And at the very bottom, you will find the individual reviews of that road.

Just have a look at their Top 100 roads in the USA. Just have a look at what they have to say about Deal’s Gap. In fact, Deal’s Gap is listed as 2nd best road.

But there are many roads I have never heard of, but many look like real fun. So many roads, so little time.

If you plan to ride several of their listed roads, you can also get an app for your iPhone or Android smartphone. This way you can go from road to road.

So head on over to the site and start planning your next fantastic ride.

Europe has predominantly roundabouts, while North America sees mostly 4-Way Stops at intersections. But the question is which is more efficient, and which is safer.

MythBusters tackled this hot issue by measuring throughput using both methods. You can see the results in the video below. But before you do….

Roundabout

Roundabout

For those who are not used to riding with roundabouts, the scope is that you have two types of roundabouts; one where priority is given to vehicles on the roundabout, the other is priority is given to vehicles coming onto the roundabout. The usage will depend on the traffic layout and road density. The most commonly used one, is for priority is given to vehicles on the roundabout.

4-Way-Stop

4-Way-Stop

The advantages of the 4-Way Stops are they require less money to make since roundabouts take up more space and use up more road materials. A 4-Way Stop is also built much quicker than a roundabout. Roundabouts can also be used for more than 2 roads, they can have as many as are required.

Paris Arc de Triomphe roundabout with 11 roads

Paris Arc de Triomphe roundabout with 12 roads

But as you will see from the video, the efficiency of a roundabout is a lot, and I mean A LOT, more efficient.

Ecology-wise, a roundabout makes vehicles use less gasoline. With a 4-Way Stop, even if you are the only vehicle, according to the law, you MUST come to a full stop. Then you start rolling again. Even with a motorcycle, that will use more petrol. With a roundabout, if there is no traffic on the roundabout itself, you do not need to stop, you just keep on rolling. So less petrol is used.

As a biker, I prefer roundabouts. They are a bit safer than 4-Way Stops since I am always afraid that some SUV is going to forget it was my turn to enter the intersection. I’m not talking about malicious intent, just a mis-communication. With roundabouts, there is no problem with mis-communication; if you are on the roundabout, you have priority. So it’s relatively safer. I say relatively, since on roundabouts with more than 1 lane, it is not unusual to see accidents with vehicles in the inner lane suddenly turning out of the roundabout. And that can cause crashes, as I have experienced firsthand.

But on a whole, roundabouts are the way forward. Traffic becomes more fluid, safer and more ecological. So what are we waiting for? However, sometimes planners go wild with roundabouts. Here is one you do not want to take with a motorcycle:

Multiple roundabouts inside one big roundabout (UK)

Multiple roundabouts inside one big roundabout (UK)

What do you think? Are you for the American system or the European?

Some of world’s motorcycle museums are very good, full of old bikes we have never seen. Usually the manufacturers have their own museums, where they have kept the models they have made over the ages in mint condition.

World’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer Honda has an incredible museum based in Montegi, and although Japan is a bit far away, you can visit this beautiful museum for free. Yes, you read that right, for free.

Thanks to Google and their Street View, you can now walk through the 3 floors that constitute the Honda Museum.

Honda-Museum-Montegi-3

Want to see what Honda merchandising they have? Just visit the shop on your way out. Just do not forget to tip the guide.

Honda-Museum-Montegi-2

What’s more, if you have 3D glasses, press the “3” on your keyboard to see the museum in 3D. It’s almost as good as being there, and it doesn’t cost you a cent.

Honda-Museum-Montegi-1

On the top left you will see the numbers 1,2 and 3. Press those to go to that floor. When “walking” through the interesting museum, you will also see a collection of their race cars.

Visit the Honda Museum by clicking here

Motorcycle gear does not get created just like that. It is not like someone waves a magic wand, and presto, you have got some new product. It takes time, resources, patience and most important, it takes imagination.

Many people have ideas for motorcycle related products. They can be out for a ride, and something happens to them or their bikes, and they think about some item that could solve the problem in the future. But going from idea to manufacturing is an enormous step. The step is so gigantic that 99.99% of the people do not even bother.

The thought of drawing up their idea, getting financing, making it, shipping it, etc. It’s a nightmare. But thanks to the internet, one of the biggest headaches in the life of a new product is now reduced; that of financing.

Stack Of Cash

In the old days, if you wanted to make a new product, you needed to go to either a bank or an investor. But either way, you ended up leaving your shirt. Banks charge interest rates and investors want a piece of the action.

Today crowd funding has arrived and is giving the traditional financial institutions a run for their money. With web sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter (and a few more), if you have an idea, you put the idea in one of these websites, and ask the crowd to help fund it.

How Does It Work?

Once you have designed your product/idea, calculated what it will cost you to make, you go to one of the crowd funding sites. Once you have entered your product and the total amount of money you will be looking for, you need to let people know what they can get when they pledge money.

This is where the nifty part of crowd funding comes in. People pledge money, they don’t transfer money directly. The only time money is taken from your bank account is when the financial goals are met. In other words, if Joe is looking for $20,000 to make Gismogritzers, any money pledged will only be taken from the people who have pledged once there is $20,000 in the pot.

The pledges are usually different amounts, and with each different amount, the rewards are different. A reward can be for example if you pledge $1, you can a hand written postcard, or for maybe for $2 your name is listed in the credits on a web site. In other words, you do not need to pledge much money. On the other hand, if the idea for a product is attractive, and you are interested in having that product, you will usually be able to pledge money to buy the product at a lower price than when it goes into production. A kind of “early bird special”. But remember, no matter how much you pledge, you will only need to pay if the target is met.

So the person who had the idea does not have to hand over equity in their new company, nor have to pay monthly interest rates to a bank.

What Kind Of Products?

There are many different kinds of motorcycle related products finding their way into crowd funding sites. From accessories, to new technology, to books, to charity, etc. For example, one idea that was funded last week is an interesting book about a guy named Karl Allan who travelled around the world on his motorcycle. Not only has he got very interesting stories to tell, but he also collected many local food recipes which he explains in his book, and shows you how to make it.

Forks-Book

The book, entitled “Forks”, was put in the Kickstarter site for $20,000. In a few days (about a week), Karl managed to get the funds he needs to make, print, publish and distribute the book.

Another example was that of Joseph Campo in the United Kingdom. He wanted to make a web TV comedy series about a biker gang. He went to Kickstarter and got the funding to make the TV series (The Clandestine). He is now in his second season.

New motorcycle accessories can be found here as well. For example, Vololights, a way to warn drivers behind you that you are decelerating (by engine braking or down shifting), was looking for $50,000 to start production. They got $53,000.

But of course not all products find a crowd. Some may have a great new product idea but have not been able to sell the idea to the masses. Some have not so realistic financial goals, and a crowd will ‘feel’ this, and not bother.

But as you can see, it is not only a great way of putting new products out there, but also a great way for you to find something new and interesting.

Here are some of the crowd funding site that have motorcycle related items:

Motorcycles come in all sizes; there are small ones, usually 50 to 125cc, medium sized ones and even big motorcycles, like the BMW GS series. But what is a truly big motorcycle?

Fabio Reggiani from Italy recently made the Guinness Book of World Record by making world’s biggest motorcycle; a 16 ft 9 inch (5.10 meter) tall, twice as long as it is high and weighing 11,000 lbs (5,000 kilos). That is 6 times as big as a normal motorcycle.

Fabio-Reggiani-Tallest-Rideable-Motorcycle

But this is not a static bike, it actually runs. To power such an enormous big bike, it has a 5.7 liter V8 engine developing 280 horsepowers.

Fabio-Reggiani-Tallest-Rideable-Motorcycle-2

Just watch the video below to get an idea how big this monstrosity is. Of course it is not as long as world’s longest motorcycle (measuring 72 ft 2 in – 22 meters), but it is taller than the previously tallest motorcycle measuring 11 ft 3 in (3.429 meters).

But if the world record of the most number of people on a motorcycle stands at 54 (source), imagine how many can be on this record breaking motorcycle?

But one thing is for sure. No one in his right mind is going to cut off this bike on the road.

You can follow Fabio on his Facebook page. If you want to read more about the record breaking bike, you will need to buy the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records.

But remember, it is not size that counts.

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