KTM: 2-Wheel Drive Patent

Via RILYSI, it looks like KTM, the respected  Austrian Motorcycle manufacturer, has applied for a patent for a 2-Wheel drive, hybrid motorcycle.  Even more interesting is that they’ve apparently fast-tracked it to production sometime in the next 24 months.

The word is that it will have an internal combustion engine driving the rear wheel, and an electric engine driving the front wheel.

Coming on the heels of KTM’s expected zero-emissions Enduro racer, it looks like KTM should change its flagship color from orange to green.

Except that Kawasaki already took that color.

Modular Helmet Testing Results

I’m one of those people that needs to wear a modular (flip-up) helmet.  I have two of them, a Harley-Davidson Stealth, which is OK, and an HJC Sy-Max II, which I like a bit better for the lower wind noise.  Unfortunately, I have to wear glasses or contact lenses, and, even with my contacts, I’m kind of light-sensitive, so I need to wear sunglasses.  A full-face helmet makes that a bit difficult.

But there’s always been some controversy as to how well modular helmets poerform in a crash.  This is kind of important, since about a fifth of crashes involve the biker taking one to the chin.  I’d kind of like that bit protected,  since chicks dig guys with chins.

So, I am interested to learn that, over in the UK, SHARP is testing modular helmets for crashworthiness, and rating them.  They’ve already started putting ratings up, so you may want to amble over and see if your helmet appears, and how it did in testing.

If you are wearing a KBC FFR, or a Duchinni D601…well…you may want to go to the dealership and see how much a BMW System 5 helmet or a Caberg Trip will set you back.

I’m just saying…

Versys: 50-State Legal

Well, it only took two years after its introduction in the rest of the world, but the Kawasaki Versys is finally California-legal for the 2009 model year!

2009 Kawasaki Versys
2009 Kawasaki Versys

I’ll make a special trip to the dealership to take a look at this one.  Everything I’ve read about this bike is that it is a fantastic all-rounder.  It’s zippy and fun, but well balanced, light, handles responsively, and…well…everything.

It’s said to be a great commuter bike due to its lightness and maneuverability.  It’s very economical, too, getting 60 MPG from the 650cc, counter-balanced, Parallel-Twin power plant.  Everything I’ve read says that this is a great all-rounder.

One shortcoming, however, is the 33-inch seat height.  That’s a bit lofty for smaller riders, and perhaps a little intimidating to newer ones as well.

But it’s reputed to be a dream to ride, so I think I’m going to try to wrangle a test ride, if possible, to see if I agree.