One of the things I learned when I switched over to a WordPress blog is that there really isn’t much of a selection of explicitly motorcycle-themed WordPress skins available. There’s about, uh, four I think, that I found online.
Well, now, I’ve more than doubled that number.
I’ve created a series of free WordPress themes for motorcycle blogs, and have tried to take care of both the sportbike guys, and the cruiser guys. All of the themes are 2.7 compatible, and widget-ready. There are no links to third-party sponsors or anything. Not even a link to me. Although, a courtesy link would be nice if you decide to use the theme.
Just click on the screenshot previews below to download the ZIP file containing the theme.
Blue Racer is a light-colored blue theme, with a racing bike header.
I certainly wouldn’t want to leave the cruiser guys out of the party. It’s a dark, grungy theme, in the orange and black colors that are traditionally associated with a certain motorcycle manufacturer.
Burnout is a sportbike theme, with a nice pic of a ZX-14 tearing up the asphalt. And its tires.
This one is a very neutral-colored, sepia-toned theme. Front and center is the image of the Tachometer of my Sportster. So, if you don’t ride a Harley, well, you might want to find another image to use as the header pic that doesn’t have a big ol’ bar and shield on it.
Like, maybe, this version, which is less Harley-centric.
High speed is done in dark steel blues, topped by a ‘busa screaming down the highway.
Sport Touring is square. The theme is square, I mean. Not a curve on it, and patterned squares are a central motif of this theme. As is the FJR1300 in the header (with all badges removed, for, uh genericizing it). Warm earth tones make this a soothing theme, in contrast to the sharp edges of the design elements.
So, I hope you like the efforts above, and find them useful if you have a blog.
I guess today has turned into Harley Davidson day here, but I came across this bit of news. Frankly, considering the current economic conditions, I found it surprising. But the MoCo is running a promotion from now until 31 Mar that will give Sportster riders the original MSRP of their bikes if they trade them in on a Big Twin.
Riders purchasing 2008 or 2009 model year Sportster 883 or 1200 motorcycles (excluding XR1200) at a participating Harley-Davidson dealership between Dec. 26, 2008 and Mar. 31, 2009 can trade that Sportster in within one year to receive original MSRP on trade-in for qualifying Harley-Davidson Big Twin or VRSC motorcycles.
Riders trading in a 2007-2009 model year Sportster 883 or 1200 motorcycle at a participating Harley-Davidson dealership between Dec. 26, 2008 and Mar. 31, 2009 will receive the original MSRP on that Sportster toward the purchase of qualifying Harley-Davidson Big Twin or VRSC motorcycles.
What is considered the MSRP value? Harley-Davidson defines it as the factory-delivered MSRP (including factory installed options) of the qualifying new motorcycle.
“Those are some sweet numbers, Wade.”
Cycle World has gotten their hands on a 2009 Harley-Davidson Road Glide, and after a decently log trip, has written it up. Apparently, they like the new changes.
In the end, the outside image remains quite traditional, but underneath is an ever-improving riding experience. The Road Glide is a very comfortable, easy-to-ride motorcycle in the Harley-Davidson touring tradition. But now it gives you a more solid position to make decisions about where you want to go, taking life’s curves with confidence and composure.
There’s not a lot of external change to the touring models, but there are big changes under the skin.The main change HD has made is to the frame. That’s where the bit about taking curves with confidence and composure comes from. The new frame apparently adds a signifigant amount of stability on the curvy bits, allowing you to ride with more confidence. Additionally, the MoCo’s engineers have decoupled braking and steering, so adding in a little trail brake doesn’t break you out of your line.
If I were to get another Harley, the Road Glide is the bike at the very top of my list.
The new harley-Davidson XR1200 seems to be racking up the kudos. Motorcycle Daily has a write up on it, and they conclude:
This is the ultimate Harley-Davidson Sportster, with performance and reliability completely unknown to the guys who owned a Sportster decades ago. Guys that dreamed (like Erik Buell) about what a Sportster might be or might become. That dream is finally a reality, with factory reliability and a factory warranty.
From what everyone is saying, this seems like the closest thing to a modern sportbike that Harley has ever built.
I hope that you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.
One of the big motorcycle events of every year is the Honda Hoot. Honda owners from all over North America show up every year in Knoxville, TN.
But, American Honda is pulling the plug.
American Honda announced today that the 2008 Honda Hoot will bring to a close 15 years of what has been one of the most successful motorcycle rallies in history. Over the years, almost a quarter of a million guests attended the Honda Hoot which was born in the hills of Ashville North Carolina and eventually moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. At the first event, a little over 3000 attendees enjoyed what would grow to become one of the largest rallies in North America…
Based on the current economic crunch which may have significant impact on our customers during 2009, American Honda will take this time to seek out new and innovative ways to engage with our customers so that we can continue to ride together.
The language of the announcement makes it sound like the cancellation of the Hoot is a permanent deal, not a temporary expediant due to the current economy.
This is especially interesting, coming as it does just days after the announcement that American Honda is withdrawing from AMA racing. Again, Honda is using the current economic situation as the reason for withdrawing. I do note, however, that in February of this year, Honda announced that in 2009, that its Motorcycle manufacturing operations would be transferred back to Japan. That announcement came well before any economic concerns.
It seems to me like Honda had decided almost a year ago that its US operations would be sharply curtailed, and we are now seeing the public ramifications of that decision. I’m inclined to the belief that something is going on at Honda. But I don’t know what. And I don’t know if that something is good or bad.
Based on Honda CEO Takeo Fukui’s rather downbeat speech a few days ago, Honda is under some financial pressure, but in the same speech, he seemed to be a bit more positive about the state of the motorcycle industry.
But the recent indications are that American Honda is really scaling back a lot.
Motorcyclists have apparently never loved motorcycles as much as they do right this minute. Apparently, according to J.D. Power, motorcyclists think their motorcycles are the tits.
Overall motorcycle ownership satisfaction averages 814 (based on a 1,000-point scale) in 2008, up 5 points from 2007. While all five components driving satisfaction improve in 2008, the most notable increases occur in the areas of cost of ownership and product quality.
I’d be a happy motorcyclist, too…if I had a motorcycle.
There’s been no progress at all on getting the FJR into a shop, no contact with the other drivers insurance company, or any other measurable sign that we’re moving towards resolving my damages that resulted from the accident.
On the plus side, while I still have achey legs, I was finally able to start walking without a cane yesterday. Still limping, but the cane isn’t necessary any more, so I got that going for me.
Viper Motorcycles has been trying to do two things. 1) Build a factory custom motorcycle that people want to buy, and 2) Get envionmental/emissions approval from the EPA–and CARB, in California–to actually sell that motorcycle. As of now, they’ve accomplished 50% of their goals.
John Silseth II, Viper Powersports CEO, stated, “We have received our EPA certificate and have successfully completed our CARB testing for approval in all 50 states. During testing, we knew the Viper 152 inch short stroke motor was clean and produced less heat than our competitors and we are excited at the opportunity to move forward fully compliant. The 2009 Diamondback is in production this month and will begin shipping in early 2009.”
According to Terry Nesbitt, Viper Motorcycle Company President, “We are 8 years into this project and are ready to take our place as an OEM. The Diamondback 152 Super Cruiser is the only production cruiser designed and manufactured in-house in its entirety utilizing proprietary component parts distinctive to the Viper brand.”
Viper is an interesting project. Based in Minnesota–which gives them plenty of time during the winter to work, instead of ride–the compnay produced proprietary engines and custom motorcycles. This move into the factory custom business in all 50 states moves them from a a custom chopper shop into an actual manufacturer.
Their premier bike, the Diamondback, has a Viper proprietary 152 c.i. V-Twin motor, belt drive, a six-speed tranny, and sports a 120/70-21 Metzeler tire in front, and a tiny little 260/40-18 Metzeler in back. Dry weight is 600 lbs. Rake/Trail is 34 degrees, with a wheelbase of 71 inches.
I’ll leave it to you to imagine the awsome canyon-carving ability the above implies.
Looking at the bike, it looks like a custom cruiser. I’m sure you’ll like it, if that’s the sort of thing you like. To me…well…it looks like another Arlen Ness inspired creation.To tell the truth, I’m not all that big on custom bikes.
Still, that’s just my personal taste, and I wish Viper all the success in the world. They’ll probably need all the good wishes they can get, too. The current economic conditions don’t make this the most auspicious time to introduce a new factory custom to the US market.
A Harley-Davidson dealer in Milwaukee has come up with an interesting promotional idea.
Milwaukee Harley-Davidson on the city’s northwest side is giving 100 shares of Harley stock to any customer who buys a 2008 model motorcycle and 50 shares with the purchase of a 2009 model.
I’m not sure if that’s as big of a draw as they think. HOG stock hasn’t been doing very well.
Shares of Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson closed at $16.72 on Dec. 9. The 52-week high was $49.56 per share, recorded in December 2007.
I guess whether it’s a good deal depends on whether you think that a decline of more than 50% in the last year means that this is a great buying opportunity…or we’re still in a price decline for the company’s stock. But, based on the way the economy has been going, I wouldn’t look for a return to that fifty bucks per share any time soon.
Maybe they can get a bailout…
It sure has seemed like a long week. I went back to work Tuesday, and, of course, at work I can’t take any of the percosets I was given by the doctor on Friday. I’m reduced to Tylenol for pain-killing during the day.
Tylenol is worthless.
Oddly enough, it isn’t the broken toe that gives me trouble, it’s the horribly bruised right shin that’s killing me. It’s still swollen to about 1/4 larger than its normal size, and the hematoma now spreads all the way down to the sole of my foot. My ankle bones have disappeared in all the swelling.
If I do any prolonged sitting or prolonged standing, the leg starts to hurt like the blazes again. So, every hour or so, I’ve got to get up and hobble around on my cane for a few minutes, to get things unsettled and recirculating. Just sitting or standing, and the fluid from the hematoma and swelling start to migrate with gravity towards my foot. And that, in turn, irritates my leg as it migrates.
Every day, I gotta just suck it up until I can get home and take a percoset, and dull everything down to a mild throb, so I can get to sleep.
My left knee still has a few twinges and weakness, but it’s getting back to normal.
The toe is still really, really swollen, but I got the big splint off of it, and I’m wearing one of those open-toed orthopedic hard shoes. The toe doesn’t bother me minute to minute, but about three times a day, i still whack it in to something hard enough to see starts for a few seconds. The toenail is a total write off. The swelling is so bad that the toenail is just sitting on top of my toe like the cork in a champaign bottle.
Yesterday, I noticed a little blood was seeping out through my sock again. I went into the bathroom at work, and while I was manipulating my toe, trying to get a better look at it, I must have popped off the scab at the edge of my toenail, and about a tablespoon of blood and fluid came pouring out of the edge of the toenail. That was kind of icky. Once it stopped bleeding, and scabbed over again, the swelling came back full force, though, so the toe now is all boated and round again.
So, that’s been my week. What a joy.
There was some good news though. I got a call right at 5:00pm today from the police department, letting me know that my police report was finished. So, that part of the waiting is over. Now I can go pick it up, and get a copy to my lawyer, so they can begin the settlement talks with the stop-sign-running idiot’s company insurance carrier.
I also went to the local BMW dealership–I’m fortunate enough to have one right here in town–and looked at a K1200GT. I’m really kind of interested in the new K1300GT as a replacement for the FJR. I asked a few questions, but they didn’t really know much about them. They said they should be getting them in in February.
I still can’t lift my leg enough to actually sit on a bike yet, so all I could do was look, but, man, those BMWs have every bell and whistle imagineable on a touring bike. WHo knows how long it’ll take to get this insurance claim sorted out, and for me to get back to 100% for riding, so a February delivery of the new K13GT might be just at the right time.
The american Motorcycle Association finally came out in opposition to the plans for imposing a 100% tariff on all European bikes imported to the US that have an engine displacement of 50cc-500cc.
The federal measure is designed as retaliation to the 27-member European Union’s continuing import ban on American beef treated with growth hormones. EU officials haven’t lifted that 20-year-old ban, despite a World Trade Organization (WTO) order to end it.
If U.S. officials impose the retaliatory tariff, it would double the price of a host of under-500cc on- and off-highway machines from brands such as Aprilia, Beta, BMW, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husaberg, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM and Vespa.
“There is no logical link between European motorcycles and the dispute over beef,” said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, in his comments submitted to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. “Imposing these stiff tariffs on motorcycles would do nothing to resolve the trade dispute, but would punish American buyers of European motorcycles.”
I’ve never been a big fan of tariffs anyway. This is even stupider than most tariffs. The Euros won’t buy our hormone injected beef, so we won’t buy their small, economical motorcycles? It’s hard to see what the linkage is there. Beyond that, the idea seems to be that if the Europeans want to penalize their consumers by denying them access to our beef, the best response is to penalize American consumers by restricting our access to their products?
On the other hand, I’m sure the Japanese support this tariff proposal every inch of the way. Since there aren’t actually any American manufacturers producing motorcycles of that size, the Japanese are the big winners.
I’m not even gonna try to deal with this myself. I got rear-ended in my SUV a couple of years ago, and I handled it myself, and I got screwed.
No, this time, I’ve already set the lawyer wheels in motion. Their investigator is coming by today to look at the bike, and my hurty toe.
What really gets my goat is that the guy who hit me was a professional driver, working for a commercial livery service, not some stupid airhead soccer mom on a cell phone. He should know better. It’s his job.
So, I’m not gonna be some patsy for his company’s insurance carrier. I’m gonna get someone who damn well knows how this stuff works, and can ensure that I am made whole again. I want my bike fixed or replaced, my medical bills paid, my gear replaced, and to be repaid for the time away from work this is gonna cost me.
I was just out in the garage looking at Fidget, and I was just sick. There’s this beautiful motorcycle I put my money and time into getting it just the way I wanted, and now she’s wrecked.
I’m pissed off.
The Norton post about rotary-engined motorcycles got me thinking about motorcycle engines in general. There haven’t been a lot of rotary motorcycle engines–or car engines for that matter. Frankly, despite the valiant efforts of Mazda, the fact is that the Wankel engine has problems.
The seals at the three apexes of the rotor are always problematic. The seal area is relatively small and prone to breakdown, and hence, leakage. Heat differentials are a problem, too, in that the engine casing receives a big differential in heating. Lots of engineering is required to make it reliable, and give it acceptably long engine life. The heat from the exhaust will bake you as well. And efficiency has always been a problem with Wankels. They just tend to use more fuel. For instance, that old Norton commander only got about 30-35 MPG, which is pretty low for a motorcycle. They also have high emissions due to incomplete fuel burning, which of course, contributes to the engine’s poor fuel efficiency.
But the advantages are really great, especially for motorcycles.
Vibration with a rotary engine is almost completely eliminated, because there are no reciprocating parts like a conventional engine. You don’t have to convert the up and down motion of the cylinders to a revolving crankshaft. That eliminates a huge number of moving parts, and, hence, weight. Manufacturers have tried to reduce this vibration with counterbalancers and the like, but, of course, while they do a decent job, they add even more weight. Conversely, the Wankel engine really has only one moving part, the rotor, and it’s already moving in a circle with the crankshaft. Rotary engines are, therefore, far more mechanically efficient. Conventional engines only have about a 30% efficiency rating. Much of the engine’s power is lost in converting reciprocating movement to revolving movement and whatnot. A Wankel engine’s mechanical efficiency approaches 80%. The Wankel engine also has instant power delivery, since the stroke movement of a conventional engine is eliminated. And, of course, when something catastrophic goes wrong in a Wankel engine, it just tends to slow down to a stop. A conventional engine tends to destroy itself and break large numbers of internal parts.
Still, until recently, the higher cost and lower fuel efficiency of the Wankel engine has made them a non-starter as a standard engine. In recent years, Mazda has addressed the fuel efficiency problems with the RENESIS engine for the RX-8. And even independent manufacturers have come up with more efficient designs that can meet modern emissions standards. For instance, Freedom Motors is a US company that has been working on more fuel-efficient and emmissions-compliant wankels. They produce a 1300cc twin rotor engine that weighs 120 pounds, and puts out 120HP.
Still, the Wankel is comparitavely expensive, and less fuel efficient.
So, how do you get a rotary engine that keeps the advantages of the Wankel engine, while eliminating the disadvatages? Is it even possible?
Well, it may be.
A new concept called the DART engine might just do it.
The DART engine has three moving parts. It has two differently-sized rotors, and a sliding connector.
What makes it such a great concept is that, it uses the Atkinson cycle, rather than the Otto cycle for combustion, so there’s a power stroke in every revolution of the engine. Every revolution also scavenges exhast gas, mixes it with intake air, and reburns it, resultion in more complete oxidation, meaning higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions. The sealing problem of the Wankel is also eliminated since a significant portion of each rotor edge seals to the engine casing, as opposed to the small apex seals of the wankel rotor.
This is a very exciting concept and promises to deliver extremely high power output with excellent fuel efficiency, low emissions, instant power delivery, and no vibration from reciprocation. In addition, it can use gas, diesel, ethanol, or any other kind of internal combustion fuel. There’s even a hydrogen burning variant called the HART concept.
And you get the same power output of a conventional engine, with half of the physical size and weight.
You can learn more about the DART engine here.
This is a very exciting engine concept.
Take a look at the motorcycle below. Take a good look. It is a 1991 Norton Commander F1.
This is one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever built. It was powered by a 588cc twin-rotary Wankel engine. I think the 588cc is a bit of a misnomer. It was a twin wankel, so it would more properly be an 1176cc equivalent.
This bike took the racing world by storm in the last few years of Norton’s existence. The civilian version of it originally cost about $48,000. And they still sold like hotcakes. There are currently about 60 left in the world.
Brit businessman Stuart garner already owns Norton racing, and he intends to buy all of the remaining parts of the old Norton Motorcycle Co., that are now for sale. Garner has already built a brand new version of the twin-rotary Norton, and has created a racing team that will be entering the new bike at the Isle of Man TT race in 2009.
In addition to the Commando, Garner says he intends to bring the rotary commander back to life, too. it will be a road-going version of the NRV 588.
I just hopes he takes his styling cues from the 1991 F1, and brings that magically beautiful bike back to life again.