Archive for April, 2008

It is Bike Security 101: lock it or lose it, but it’s not just for the street anymore. Many bikers feel that parking their bikes out of sight in their garage makes it unnecessary to go through this routine but the thieves among us have gotten very clever: motorcycle thefts from garages are on the increase.

There is a high demand for certain motorcycles just as is the case with cars, so bikers need to be wise and street smart: don’t advertise your bike by parking it on the lawn. Bike thieves rarely break into a garage at random: don’t give the opportunity to case your bike and steal it from your garage.

Taking measures to secure your bike in your garage like it was on the street is the first step: the second thing you have to do is deny a thief the opportunity to get into your garage. That means keeping your garage keys out of sight in a place where thieves cannot get to them easily. That may not stop every thief, but the harder you make it for them to gain access to your bike the more likely they are to give up on the heist.

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The state laws that make it mandatory for bikers to wear a helmet laws are useful, but the new “reckless driving” law proposed in the State of Florida (HB137 2008), may cause problems for bikers who are riding safely.

If this new law goes into effect, it will prohibit motorcyclists from performing stunts such as “wheelies” on public roads. At first glance it sounds like a good idea; it’s easy to see how a motorcyclist who performs a stunt on a public street or highway poses a danger to themselves and other motorists.

Basically this new law states that bikers must keep both wheels on the ground at all times. If a biker fails to do this or is driving 30mph over the speed limit, a police officer can arrest and take the rider into custody.

The rider’s motorcycle will be seized and if the rider is found guilty the Department of Motor Vehicles will be ordered by the Court to revoke their motorcycle endorsement. The rider will lose their bike and their privilege to legally ride a motorcycle in Florida. Follow this link to read the bill: Reckless Driving.

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If you have ever dreamed of owning and riding a motorcycle, here’s another reason to make that move: the zero emissions Brammo “Enertia” electric motorcycle gives you a thrill while you go green.

Electric motorcycles have been around for quite a while—and they’re no wimps either. In fact, if you have 100 Grand sitting around gathering dust, the “KillaCycle” is ready to drop your jaw at 168mph over a quarter of a mile, making it the world’s fastest electric motorcycle.

For the first time bikers who want to go green and spend a little less “ka-ching,” the Brammo Enertia will be the fist legal motorcycle powered by electric batteries. The production announcement was made in July 2007 and the advance orders are pouring in for the first mass-produced electric motorcycle. Obviously, this bike is not meant for touring, the main focus is the urban commuter market.

With a price under $15,000 it’s easy to show Mother Nature respect without giving up on the performance you crave: the bike goes from zero to 30 mph in 3.8 seconds. And charging your bike batteries is easy too: at a speed of 50 mph the Enertia gives you up to 45 miles per charge, just get yourself to the nearest outlet and you’re good-to-go. Check the videos at http://www.enertiabike.com.

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JAFRUM serves the motorcycling community in North Carolina and has a passion for the safety of every biker. With regret we learned that Cameron Wagner, a 20 year old student at Western Carolina University died in a crash when he lost control of his bike last week.

Time and again we hear these stories: inability to maintain control of the bike is one of the significant factors in many motorcycle accidents and the other is insufficient training/experience. Unfortunately many bikers allow their ego to choose bikes that they ill-equipped to handle and overlook the need for continuous riding skills training.

First, get the right bike and riding gear. A new rider must have a bike that is easy to handle, for instance the Suzuki VanVan 125 or the Kawasaki Eliminator 125. Let the Harley-Davidson 600+lb. Fat Bob be your object of lust and dream of the day you can ride it. But this is definitely NOT the bike an inexperienced rider should buy. Wear a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 helmet and bright reflective clothing to be as visible as possible.

Second, get the training. The 15 hour Basic Motorcycle Rider Courses is the mandatory starting point; then pump up your training with the techniques that the professionals use. Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider’s Handbook Politics aside, if you have ever seen a police motorcade on the move, you have witnessed the result of superior riding techniques that every biker can learn to use to steer clear of danger and stay alive.

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While the mystique of riding a motorcycle causes many to yearn to shed their conventional mode of transport and don a leather jacket instead, for bikers around the world who enjoy the experience on a regular basis the goal is much bigger. Many bikers dream about it, but only a few ever have the ability to make the dream a reality, here are two of the few.

Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor are two bikers who started a mind-bending 15,000 mile trip on May 12, 2007 from John O’Groats, London to Cape Town, South Africa. The journey that took 85 days included a crew of photo and videographers who chronicled the adventure.

Of course there is much more to this story than charting a course for a motorbike run. Beyond the weeks of planning was hours of physical training for endurance; traveling through different types of weather conditions, climates and time zones can be grueling and disorientating to say the least.

The book “The Long Way Down” won the Play.com Popular Non-Fiction Award at the Galaxy British Book Awards, a fitting reward and a well-earned thumbs up for motorcyclists everywhere. The film will be released on the National Geographic channel in July 2008. Check out the videos at http://www.longwaydown.com/

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In case you haven’t heard, if you own a Honda VT750s VT600s, VLXs and VTX 1300s manufactured in 2006, 2007 or 2008 you may be in danger every time you start your engine.

Honda has issued a recall of these models which is now in progress as of April 10, 2008. The recall is due to the discovery of an improperly manufactured fuel control value diaphragm which could leak and poses a fire hazard in the fuel delivery system. Honda dealers will replace the fuel control valve diaphragm assembly free of charge. The recall will affect 39,000 VT600s, VLXs and VTX1300s and apparently all 750 V-twins designated ’07 or ’08 models.

A warning issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states: “the fuel control valve diaphragm and the fuel valve may drip fuel. In the presence of an ignition source, dripping fuel poses the risk of fire.” Follow this link for the official NHTSA document.

Consumers may contact Honda at 1-866-784-1870 Reference Recall No. Q75 or the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or view more info at http://safercar.gov or consumeraffairs.com

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Alfred P. Sloan was elected President of General Motors in 1923 and led the company to phenomenal success for 23 years. Flint, Michigan was famous for making carriages long before it became known for automobiles. The Alfred P. Sloan Museum located at 1221 E. Kearsley Street is part of the Flint Cultural Center dedicated to preserving automotive history.

Before World War II, the motorcycle was used because of its practicality as a form of transportation. The “Rides and Rebels,” exhibit runs until July 2008, is a tribute to the motorcyclist who has become the symbol of individual freedom and discovery.

This exhibit shows that there is more to the motorcycle lifestyle than the image presented by the film “Rebel Without a Cause.” Bikers are responsible and creative individuals who value the environment: motorcycles use far less gasoline and produce fewer pollutants than cars.

The display features 60 motorcycles on loan from Michigan riders, famous racers, including a section called “My First Bike” featuring a Tiger Triumph named “Tea Time” restored by local leather artist Bob “Leatherman” Katrinic, that’s adorned with silver spoons, teapots, teacups and crystals from chandeliers. There is also artwork, photographs and a lot of leather jackets.

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