Try This with your Road Glide

Kain Saul has converted a Harley-Davidson Xr1200 to Dirt use–including a heavily modified suspension–taken it out into the Australian countryside…and done a back-flip on it.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fqgwo_WdyRo

Pretty cool.

And, yes, I do know that Chuck Carothers did the same stunt in Czechoslovakia.  Or the Czech Republic, or whatever the hell it’s called now.  But he didn’t stick his landing and got thrown off the bike.

FAIL!

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New WordPress Themes

Once again, I’ve whipped up some new WordPress themes for motorcycle blogs.  As always, these themes are free, though I would ask that you not remove the backlink to my business website way down on the bottom.  This time, the themes are all model specific.  As always, simply click on the screenshot image to download the zip file containing the theme.

Fireblade WordPress Theme
Fireblade WordPress Theme

This theme’s colors are predominantly red and gray, with a stylized pic of a CBR1000RR as the header image.

Big Green Screenshot
Big Green Screenshot

Kawasaki’s traditional color is green.  A very bright, irritating green.  But some people seem to like it so here it is, with the ZX-10R as the header.

R1 Screenshot
R1 Screenshot

This one is very blue.  It’s headed by a detail shot of a Yamaha R1.

All of the other wordpress themes I’ve created can be seen here.

BMW S1000RR: Training Aid

Well, I have to say this is interetesting:  Keith Code’s Sportbike/track/racing school has dumped the Ninja in favor of brand new BMW S1000RRs as the training sportbike for their racing courses.

“We are proud to offer our students training on this spectacular motorcycle,” his website proclaims (highlighting the last two words in red), and he’s not the only one to praise the Beemer; hyperbolic raves have been flowing from bike journos since the German bike’s recent introduction at the Portimao circuit in Portugal. Roadracing World says Keith has “no hard feelings” towards Kawasaki, which reportedly discontinued their sponsorship as a cost cutting measure.

It’s been interesting to see the powerfully positive reviews of the BMW S1000RR in the motorcycling press. And now, having gotten Kieth Code on their side–undoubtedly with valuable consideration changing hands–BMW has a powerful ally in California with Kieth Code using their bikes fore Superbike Training.

Naturally, I would be willing to provide a completely unbiased report on superbike training with the S1000RR…if Mr. Code would invite me up for a training session.

Hint, hint.

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Times Are Tough All Over

The US isn’t the only place where motorcycle sales have been dismal this year.  ACEM, the Motorcycle Industry Association in Europe, is reporting that, as of September, year-over-year motorcycle sales in Europe are down by 27%.  Here’s the ugly, ugly chart:

ACEM Sales 2002-2009 (September)
ACEM Sales 2002-2009 (September)

That’s definitely not the sales results graph you want to see.

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Ram Mounts Arrive

Last week, I ordered some Ram-Mount devices to mount my GPS and iPod/XM Inno devices to my FJR.  Previously, I used the cheap, jury-rig method of zip-tying some mounts to the handlebars.  But, the Ram-Mount stuff arrived this afternoon, so now I’m stylin’.  Click on the photos for hi-res (15 Megapixel) images.

Devices set up on the Ram-Mounts
Devices set up on the Ram-Mounts

The nice thing about the Ram-Mount mountings is that they are really adjustable, so you can move things around so that you get a clear view of everything.  The mount and device holders have rubber-coated aluminum balls, conected to a 4″ armature that tightens on both balls with a large wing nut.  When you tighten the nut, it locks the mount and device in solidly.

Ram Mount for TomTom One XL-S
Ram Mount for TomTom One XL-S

This mount affixes to the top of the brake reservoir, with the ball in the center of the mount.  They also have a reservoir mount with the ball sticking off to the side, if you prefer that.  The mount comes with three different sets of torx screws of varying lengths, so they can fit pretty much any bike’s reservoir screws.  There are 6 screw holes, so you can mount them on either two-hole reservoirs like the FJR, of a four-hole reservoir on other bikes.

Universal Ram-Mount for devices
Universal Ram-Mount for devices

I got a universal device holder because I switch out my iPod and my XM Inno unit.  This is a handlebar mount which fits–barely–on the AE model of the FJR.  The shift unit hogs up a lot of space that is empty on the A-model FJR’s.  Despite that, I managed to get the handlebar mount properly seated.

You may notice that my Inno is all banged up.  That’s because I didn’t properly secure on the old jury-rigged mount I replaced this evening.  On my way home, I zommed off from a light–and left the Inno behind.  It got pretty scratched and banged up, but, miraculously, no one drove over it and crushed it, and it still works fine.  I think.  I won’t really know until I try to listen to live programming with it tomorrow.  But the recorded stuff I had on it played fine all the way home.

Wiring runs through the handlebar cable harness
Wiring runs through the handlebar cable harness

The glove box on the FJR is just big enough to hold the 12-volt power plugs.  I got the Radio Shack car plug that splits the power cord into two 12-volt car plugs, and the YomTom and Inno are plugged into those and stored in the glove box.  The power cables run out of the glove box, through the cable harnesses on the triple tree, then up to the devices.  The power cords are small enough so that I can close and lock the glove box…which is full to the brim now with car plugs and extra cable.

Fortunately, when you turn the FJR off, it cuts power to the 12-volt car plug on the glove box, so I don’t have to open it, drag out 12 feet of cord and unplug it.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll get to test the mounts out on the road.  So far, though, they seem about 1,000% better than zip-tying universal car accessory mounts to the handlebars.

No 2010 Suzukis in the US

Hell for Leather is reporting that Suzuki will not be importing any of their 2010 model motorcycles to the USA.  Due to the slowness of US motorcycle sales, Suzuki has seen their sales decline to 434k motorcycles for the first three quarters of this year, compared to 772k last year.

So, until the current inventory has been absorbed by buyers, no new bikes will hitting the US from Suzuki.

Free Erik? Done.

As of this afternoon, Harley Davidson announced that Erik Buell has left the MoCo, and is opening a race shop.  His new venture, Erik Buell Racing LLC, will specialize in creating race-use only 1125r motorcycles under a lciense from Harley-Davidson.

As such, he will no longer be an employee of Harley-Davidson, and will once again be directly involved in the motorcycle racing world.

The fascinating question is whether or not this is just a stop-gap venture to take up his time until February 2011, when his no-compete contract with H-D expires, and he is free to join up with another motorcycle company to begin building bikes for the rest of us again.

The full press release from Harley-Davidson is below the fold.

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Pass the Popcorn

The big difference between current MotoGP and WSB racing is that MotoGP racing is limited to 800cc bikes, while World Superbike runs literbikes.  The reason for the MotoGP switch to 800cc bikes was that the literbikes were just too powerful and dangerous…or some such nonsense…for MotoGP racing.

Well, a few weeks ago, Dorna MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta said on Spanish TV that he wants MotoGP to return to literbikes for the 2012 season.  Which means essentially that MotoGP and WSB would more or less be conducting the same races.

Well, this put WSB boss Paolo Flammini’s panties in a wad.  he doesn’t like the idea one bit, and he’s said so to the Italian motorcycling news web site GPOne.com (in Italian).  He also says,

I repeat what I said earlier: we have had assurances from the FIM President Vito Ippolito that this regulation would not be approved…We are ready to take whatever action is necessary to defend the contract we have with the FIM, which, let us not forget, also covers the 600cc class based on production bikes.

So, Ezpeleta says he wants literbikes, and Flammini says he can’t have them.

I expect someone is going to be deeply disappointed, but only after some hideously interminable court proceedings in Barcelona, Rome, and/or Brussels.

KTM Slashes Prices

For the 2010 model year, KTM announced a while ago that they would undertake a “strategic price realignment” to make their bikes more competitive in the US marketplace.  That’s probably a wise move, considering that KTMs, while nice bikes, have always been very pricey.  But the announcement didn’t give us much of an idea of what “strategic price realignment” meant to the Austrians.  Now we know.

2010 KTM RC8
2010 KTM RC8

First up is theKTM RC8, the base-model superbike with the 1190cc V-Twin engine.  The price for this bike has been slashed by $3,000, with a new MSRP of $16,498.

The RC8’s 1148cc V-Twin mill pumps out 155HP at 10,000RPM and 88.5 lb-ft of torque at 8,000RPM.  Without fuel, the ready-to-race weight is 405 lbs.

2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R

But, maybe you’re one of those lusty, gusty fellows who needs a bit more power.  If so, the RC8 R, with it’s 170HP , 1195cc V-Twin, and upgraded components, has also been priced significantly lower, at 19,998.  They’ve got red Bull and Akraprovic special edition models, at slightly north of $23k, but the R model is now superbike ready, at a bit less of a superbike price.

All of the other KTM models, including the popular–but agonizingly ugly–990 Adventure also see similar price cuts.

2010 KTM 990 Adventure
2010 KTM 990 Adventure

Aaaaaugh!  My eyes!  My eyes!  The pain!

I’m sure uglier motorcycles have been seen out on the road.  But not by reliable observers.

I hear it’s quite popular among the well-to-do adventure biker set, though.

Buell: Sadness, Anger and Rumors

For a motorcycle brand with such a relatively small group of owners, Buell Motorcycles evoke fierce loyalty.  So, H-D’s decision to kill the brand hasn’t been well received.

As an expression of that displeasure, Hell For Leather Magazine is offering special T-shirts, for both men and women.

"Free Eric Buell" T-Shirt
"Free Eric Buell" T-Shirt

That’s the anger.  Now comes the sadness.  Hell For Leather also has this picture, taken of a dumpster outside Buell’s East Troy factory.

Not all of the baby turtles make it to the ocean.
Not all of the baby turtles make it to the ocean.

And now, finally, we come to the rumors.

I got a call this evening from a fellow who related a rumor that, just prior to the decision to eliminate Buell Motorcycles, Harley-Davidson had gotten an offer–or, at least, the proposal to make an offer–from Bombardier (the parent company of Victory Motorcycles and Can-Am Spyders) to purchase the Buell Division from H-D.

Now, nobody else I know has mentioned this, but I did find a mention of this rumor, or, rather, a similar one, at Motorcycle Daily:

There are of course rumors about Erik Buell traveling to Canada to meet with Bombardier (makers of the Can-Am Spyder). The font of this rumor, a guy posting on a chopper forum, claims a reliable source, but his credibility is undermined, as he lists his hometown as “Bonertown” in his profile.

So, I can definitely confirm that there is a rumor about Buell and Bombardier, for all the good that does you.  Unfortunately, that’s all I can confirm about Bombardier.  Unless Chopper-Boy from Bonertown has really good sources, it’s probably just an internet rumor, so you shouldn’t get your hopes up about Erik Buell applying for Landed Immigrant status in Montreal.

I can say this, however:  I do know that there are a couple of people outside Milwaukee who are very interested in talking to Erik Buell about…ummm…pursuing new challenges.  As soon as his 15-month non-compete agreement with H-D expires, of course.

And, for right now, that’s all I have to say about that.

UPDATE: What was I thinking?  Victory’s parent company is Polaris, not Bombardier.

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2010 Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V

Moto Guzzi has announced the newest generation of their Norge sport-tourer, the Norge 8V.  New for 2010 is a new 1200cc L-twin with 4 valves per cylinder, as well as a redesigned fairing for better heat management and weather protection, and some more comfort features.

The Italian Eagle’s press release describes the new generation of the Norge in glowing terms, but that’s all PR stuff, so, if you want to read it, it’s below the fold.

There are few spoecs available yet, but MG claims 83lb-ft of torque at 5,800RPM, and “more than 100HPin power, all at a maximum rpm nearly that of an automobile”, whatever that means.  The gearbox has six speeds, and seat height is 31.5 inches.

It’s certainly a pretty bike–all the MGs are–but at 100HP, it’s the least sporty of the sport-tourers.  And, of course, here in the US, dealer network support is even sparser than BMW’s.

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