by Thomas Day

OPD is 13 Decibels Above the Law The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland PD’s new Harley Davidson cruisers will be modified, again, with louder-than-legal exhaust systems, at a cost of $500 each and a total taxpayers’ expense of $22,500.

“There’s an old motorcycle adage that you are heard before you are seen,” said Deputy Chief, Dave Kozicki, who is apparently unaware of discoveries made in physics during the Greek Dynasty. Kozicki’s justification for violating federal law and common sense was that an Oakland officer was involved in a crash with another motorist who claimed he hadn’t heard the police vehicle.

The Chronicle reported that, “Even the folks at the national Motorcycle Industry Council, which represents all the big bike manufacturers, were unaware of any safety benefits from louder mufflers.

“’We encourage all motorcycle riders to keep the original low sound levels that meet the … federal sound limit of 80 decibels,’ said industry spokesman, Mike Mount. ‘It would seem counterintuitive that a law enforcement agency would go against federal standards.’”

“So last year the department launched a $1,200 study in conjunction with the city’s risk management division to determine whether A) the louder motorcycles contributed to officers’ safety, B) were detrimental to their hearing, and C) complied with noise standards.

“Kozicki acknowledged that whatever safety-related findings the study produced were largely anecdotal. Still, after everything was taken into consideration, the department concluded ‘it was in the best interest of the officers to put more-audible pipes back on,’ Kozicki said.”

The AMA Asks Congress for More Public Lands Money An AMA press release stated, “Countering criticism that off-highway vehicles damage public land, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) told a congressional committee on June 5 that lawmakers need to provide more people and money for federal agencies to responsibly allow for varied uses of the land.” Testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, also said that active management of different forms of recreation on federal public land is needed rather than trying to cut the costs of management or eliminating motorized trails.”In both cases, everybody loses,’ he said. ‘What we have yet to see is the adoption of full-scale active management, a truly collaborative approach and the budgets and people to accomplish an achievable multiple-use mission.” The motorized recreation community has a long history of volunteerism and is already helping public land managers by maintaining trails, promoting ethical use and advocating for appropriate funding levels.’”

Mongols Cry “Overreaction” Riverside and San Diego police had cracked down on the Mongols, a police-labeled “outlaw biker gang, “ on its way through Temecula to a weekend bash in San Diego County. “I think that the motorcycle clubs are truly the last group that you can violate their rights and nobody says anything,” said Mongols’ president, Ruben “Doc” Cavazos. “They stepped all over us this weekend.”

The Press-Enterprise said, “Sheriff’s deputies and officers from around the area pulled over Mongols in and around Temecula, holding some at gunpoint, issuing 58 citations and arresting 17 people. Most were booked on suspicion of misdemeanor evading police, two for possession of methamphetamine, and one for possession of a concealed handgun.”

“I think they really overreacted this time,” Cavazos said. “Who was waving guns around? It wasn’t us.”

You might grant the police some slack if you remember one of the Mongols most notorious incidents. In 2002, the Mongols and the Hells Angels brawled at a rally in Laughlin, Nev, resulting in three dead bikers and a whole lot of mayhem.

Harley and MV Agusta? The financial gurus at Forbes Magazine and Italian magazine, Messaggero, reported that H-D is talking to MV Agusta (and that brand’s creditors) about acquiring the controlling stock position in the Italian company. What would Eric Buell do with a 150 hp, 4-cylinder sportbike motor? Maybe we’ll get to find out.

American IronHorseMotorcycles Sold Former defense-industry executive, Scott Meyers bought the brand for $6.7 million at a Fort Worth, Texas auction. Meyers plans to move to Fort Worth to run the company, and has yet to decide who the CEO will be. IronHorse choked out its last motorcycle in January and, two months later, declared bankruptcy. Meyers plans to honor past IronHorse owners’ warranties. The company’s inventory was not included in the auction, so parts availability is yet to be determined. In 2005, IronHorse had 450 employees and $100 million in sales. Today, the company has 8 workers and $10 million in debts. The $25,000 to $40,000+ cruisers lost marketshare and profitability as the US economy began to tank in 2006.

Honda Sells 60 Million Cubs Per Honda press release, “Cumulative worldwide production of Honda Cub series motorcycles reached the 60 million-unit milestone at the end of April, 2008. Honda Super Cub C100, first introduced in Japan in 1958 and has been being enjoyed by customers in more than 160 countries around the world. This August will mark the 50th anniversary of launching of Honda Cub series.”

July 16th is Ride to Work Day RidetoWork.org’s press release says, “This year’s 17th Annual Ride To Work Day is just a month away. The recent rise in gas prices have caused many commuters to turn to motorcycles and scooters to save money on transportation, and they are finding them to be an economical, efficient and enjoyable way to get to work and around town. Because of high world-wide gasoline prices, this is expected to be the largest RTW day ever, in terms of numbers of participants.

According to the United States Census Bureau and the Department of Transportation, over eighty million cars and light trucks are used for daily commuting on American roads, and about 200,000 motorcycles and scooters are a regular part of this mix. On Ride To Work Day, the practical side of riding becomes more visible as a larger number of America’s 8,000,000 cycles are ridden to work.

“Ride to Work Day helps demonstrate how these vehicles make parking easier and help traffic flow better. Studies have shown that across equal distances, commuting motorcyclists reach their destinations in less time than those using automobiles, that motorcycles and scooters consume less resources per mile than automobiles, and that they take up less space on roads. Motorcycle and scooter riders seek improved employer recognition and support for this form of transportation, and more public and government awareness of the positive value of riding.”

As if the Original Wasn’t Fast Enough Yamaha/Star introduced the latest version of the much anticipated VMAX redesign in San Diego on the USS Midway’s flight deck. After a viciously politically-incorrect burnout, journalists got a look at the new 1679cc V4 Hayabusa-eating monstrosity. The new bike has 16 valves, a 11.3:1 compression ratio, a five-speed transmission and shaft drive, throttle-by-wire injection control, YCC-I chip-controlled intake, and makes 197 hp, 122 ft/lb out of all that technology. On the chassis side of the improvements, the VMAX sports an engine stressed-member aluminum frame, fully adjustable 52mm forks and single rear shock. 2,500 VMAX’s will be produced in 2009 and they will list for $17,900. You may place your nonrefundable nontransferable $1,000 deposits now. Just in time for $6/gallon gas.

Ducati Will Raise the Tech Bar Again While Honda is Holding Off When it arrives, the Desmosedici GP9 may change MotoGP chassis design forever. The GP9 carbon fiber chassis is shaking up rival manufacturers’ design teams, and Ducati expects to enter the new bike and technology in the 2009 MotoGP series. Current champ, Casey Stoner, test rode the new bike at Catalunya and set the day’s best time on his qualifying tires. Stoner’s opinion of the new bike was reflected in his comment, “”I’m happy with the way today has gone. The objective was to understand whether this new chassis concept has potential and I’d say that for now it looks to be the case. . . “

Honda’s Dani Pedrosa overwhelmed the competition at Catalunya, and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), who is currently leading the pack in the World MotoGP series, and Stoner fought over 2nd and 3rd place. Rossi, with his tax problems behind him, appears to be in top form and is 7 points ahead of Pedrosa and 50 points ahead of 4th place Stoner, so Ducati may not be jumping the gun in the search for a technological advantage.

Honda has been talking about testing their new pneumatic valve engine in MotoGP racing for almost a year. However, the motor is still in “development.” Since they are doing fairly well with their traditional motor, Pedrosa is holding on to 2nd; seven points behind Valentino Rossi. They apparently feel they have time to delay the new motor’s release. When the new motor does make its debut, they expect it to rev 1000 rpm higher than their current motor and provide a higher top speed.

Helmet Consumer Ratings J.D. Power names Arai the Award Recipient in their 2008 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study. Rating top helmets for Overall Satisfaction, Ventilation, Faceshield, and Styling, Arai and Shoei topped the survey with high marks in every category. You can see the results at: http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/motorcycle-helmet-ratings.

The study sited a 26 index point improvement over the 2007 results. Helmet customer satisfaction is at the highest level since the study began in 1999. “Manufacturers continue to improve on the key attributes that have the greatest impact on overall helmet satisfaction, maintaining the upward trend that began in the 2002 study,” said Tim Fox, research manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Across the industry, satisfaction with all 11 attributes improves by approximately the same amount, indicating consistency in efforts by manufacturers to enhance overall satisfaction.”

Moto-Flipflops? Bata Bangladesh has introduced the ‘MotorSandal’: fiberglass reinforced sole plate, gear shift protection, toe bumper and fluorescent back strap reflectors. And it can be worn as a comfortable slipper. The five styles of the ‘MotorSandal’ are available for Taka 900 and Bata Bangladesh expects to sell 100,000 pairs in 2008.

NHTSA Recalls Kawasaki 2006-2007 Ninja ZX14: Crossmember separates from the frame causing rear suspension collapse. Dealers will check engine mount adjusting collar torque and replace the frame, if needed.

Kawasaki 2009 KLX250T9F, KLX250T9FL: Throttle handlebar grip comes off the handlebar causing loss of control.

Correction The second photo in the road test last month (MMM issue #103) of the Moto Guzzi Norge should have been atributed to Michael Winn.

M.M.M.

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