by Thomas Day

Motorcycle Mechanic in the News

Everyone from the New York Times to Slate Magazine has reviewed Matthew B. Crawford’s new book, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work. The comments on the “publishing sleeper of the year” are not uniformly favorable, but everyone appears to be interested in Crawford’s “nestled set of arguments on behalf of work that is meaningful because it is genuinely useful.” Crawford is an ex-think-tank political philosophy PhD who gave up the cubicle and a steady income to run an independent motorcycle repair shop. Shop Class is a sort of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for the current century. Dakar Race for Little Bikes Only

Future Dakar events will limit engine size. In an effort to create a competition where “real contenders are more numerous, and in which the drivers are competing with similar machines in their hands,” Dakar Race officials are limiting the 2011 race to 450cc and smaller engines. The 2010 competitors can use larger motors, but they will be required to install intake “restrictors” to level the playing field.

Life-Saving Motorcycles

In Africa, hearing a motorcycle approach may be the kiss of life. UNICEF has funded five motorcycle ambulances since April 2009 and the use of these bikes for life-saving purposes is expected to expand rapidly. British motorcyclist, Mike Norman’s company, eRanger, produces a “Rapid Response Unit” based on a 200cc dual purpose motorcycles that can be fitted with a side car containing mobile command post, fire-fighting, or ambulance equipment. The ambulance costs just $6,633 USD

Road America Results

Mat Mladin’s ninth victory (out of 10 series races) on Saturday provided spectators with a demonstration of why he has a huge 110 point lead in the American Superbike series as he outrode teammate, Michael Laverty (Suzuki) and Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) on a wet track. On a much more ideal racing day, Larry Pegram and his Ducati topped Mladin and Aaron Yates (Suzuki) on Sunday. Mladin led from lap 7 to 11, but the race swapped leaders 4 times on lap 8 and the race was a 3-way battle until the end.

50th Isle of Man TT Results

Steve Plater won Premier Class and 15-time-TT-winner, John McGunness dropped out after breaking a chain on the 4th lap. McGuiness set a new lap record of 131.578 mph before leaving the race. In the new TTXGP Class, a Agni alternative-fuel bike posted an average 87.434 mph in that single-lap race, almost up to 1939 petro fuel standards, but a good start for electric motorcycle racing. Honda put two riders on the Premium race podium, a nice touch for the company’s 50th anniversary. Senior racer, John Crellin crashed and died on his 5th lap of of the Senior TT.

And You Think You Have It Tough

The New York Times published an article about Venezuela’s “motorizados,” motorcyclists who brave Caracas’ traffic, street crime and general population hostility to provide transportation and courier services to the city. “I know we’re considered the scum of the earth,” says one motorizado, echoing the status of motorcyclists in many parts of the world. “The truth is that we provide a service that is in high demand.” Both sides have a valid argument, including pedestrians who have suffered hit-and-run injuries from the motorizados and the cyclists who are preyed on by murderous motorcycle thieves.

Marine Hi-Viz Standard Rescinded

After a several-year experiment requiring motorcycling Marines to wear hi-viz vests, the Marine Corps’ 21st Executive Safety Board has rescinded that order because “Marine Corps found no correlation between reflective vests and motorcycle accidents,” according to spokesman, Lt. Joshua Diddams. The data for the rule revision is less than inspiring as Retired Gunnery Sgt. Adam Gray explained, “In the past, most Marines who rode motorcycles complained about the reflective vest and its ability to save lives. They never wanted to wear them and they didn’t like the way it looked. Many Marines would not tell their command they had a bike because they didn’t want to wear a vest. The order requiring vests as mandatory gear for operation was written about 20 some years ago by a person who didn’t ride a motorcycle.”

After suffering the greatest number of fatalities in ten years of recording data, the Marine Corps is trying several tactics to lower the Corps’ motorcycle fatalities and injuries. One tactic is a motorcycle safety video called Semper Ride ( that was Marine-financed and heavily promoted on bases across the world. The Marines are also providing one-day Commanding Generals’ comprehensive off-duty recreation and motorsports safety fairs at MCB Camp Lejeune, MCAS Cherry Point, MCAS New River, and MCAS Beaufort. Along with requiring full gear, training, and the usual advice, the Marines are strongly pushing dirt biking and road racing experience as the core to becoming an expert rider. This is not your mom’s kind of advice; this is practical advice from James Stewart, Keith Code, Ben Bostrom, and Teach McNeil.

Have Your Say About Minnesota Highways

The Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) is looking for rider input regarding state and federal highway conditions. Give them your opinion at until August 1, 2009.

Those Outlaw Kid’s Bikes

While the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to stay enforcement of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) until May 1, 2011, it’s still possible for state prosecutors to enforce the CPSIA. The law is still in place and the sale of youth-model motorcycles and ATVs is still technically illegal.

NHTSA Recalls

Bombardier 2008-2009 Can-Am Spyder Roadster: Excessive steering effort causes steering over-correction which increases the possibility of a crash.

Ducati 2009 1198 S, 1098 R and F1098 S Streetfighter: Cracking of the right fork near the wheel pinch bolt allows the wheel to come off.

Piaggio 2005-2008 BV 500 and X9 500: Fuel filter to fuel pump hose can loosen, causing engine stalling, fuel leak and fire.


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