by Thomas Day
Cops Take A Victory Lap
Polaris Industries announced the sale of a new Victory police model to two cities: Lenexa, Kansas (30 minutes south of the Kansas City, MO Harley factory) and Pasadena, Texas. The police models include features like front engine guards, custom seats, two-way radios, moving radar, hidden electronic gun racks, driving lights, GP tail lights, a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, a full fairing, and the usual flashing lights and whining sirens. The police models are, however, not a product of Polaris but of a company called Victory Police Motorcycles, from the minds of a Tucson, AZ Victory dealer and Shawn Ramsey, a local police officer. Victory Police Motorcycles offers 3 models: Commander I, Commander II, and Enforcer.
Michael C. Edwards, 36, of Gainesville, Virginia, nearly rear-ended the car in front of him in heavy rush hour traffic. Edwards swiped the car’s passenger side and hit the car’s side mirror. After both vehicles had pulled off of the road to assess the damage, Edwards took out his rage on the offending vehicle and driver by smashing the driver’s side window with his helmet. [As everyone knows, it’s always the leading vehicle’s fault for making the trailing vehicle follow too closely.] Edwards was arrested and charged with reckless driving, destruction of property and misdemeanor assault after being treated for minor cuts on his arm. The incident occurred on the fourth day of 90+ degree temperatures in the area.
New DPS Website
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) has redesigned its website (dps.mn.gov) and the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center website (www.motorcyclesafety.org). Per the PR release, “The new DPS Website includes all 15 DPS divisions, as well as its related boards and committees . . . [which the department hopes will] improve our customer service and satisfaction, and will ensure the website to be our most important and effective communications vehicle.” DPS and MMSC have dropped the HighViz.org promotion and many of the motorcycle-related information pages have disappeared or are dramatically reduced. Links to the MSF training programs are on the site along with licensing information.
Electric Pike’s Peak
Chip Yates and his SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing USA team are planning to take on the 2011 Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb Race on June 26th. Yates has been riding the road since early June and his team has been dialing in the 240hp electric superbike on the nation’s second oldest, most challenging, 14,110-foot course in preparation for the event. This will be the first year the race will be a mostly-asphalt course as the road to the top of the mountain was very nearly completely paved last year. It is scheduled to be completely paved by 2012.
“Ride The Southern Dozen” Contest
Johnson City, TN is promoting the kind of contest that MMM® long distance riders can love. The “Ride the Southern Dozen” contest prizes are “a two-night stay at a luxury hotel, a new Zox Thunder 4 Full Face Helmet with MP3 earphones, NASCAR tickets and a $200 gas card” and more. This touring promotion will send riders through scenic routes in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina. You can find maps and GPS coordinates at southerndozen.com and all 12 rides begin and end in Johnson City. To enter, “look for special markers along the designated routes, snap his or her picture in front of the sign and upload the photo to the Ride The Southern Dozen Facebook page at facebook.com/southerndozen.” The entry deadline is August 11 and the winners will be selected August 12.
A Winning Hoka Hey Sponsor
Last year’s Hoka Hey winner, Will Barclay, donated his winning bike, an Electra Glide named “Excalibur,” to the 2010 second place winner, Mark Story. Story, an Australian, wanted to make a run at this year’s competition but couldn’t afford to ship a bike to the US. Story called Barclay to ask if he knew of any available sponsors and Barclay offered to front Story his old bike. Barclay, who won $500k in last year’s event, is preparing a 2011 Street Glide for the 2011 race across 48 states, into Canada, and ending in Nova Scotia.
Crossing the Country on 70ccs
Mikael Tarkela, an ex-L.A. moped gang member, thought he lost his restored Peugeot 103 moped when a friend called to say the Brooklyn, NY storage unit where the bike had been kept had been vandalized. A week later, the Peugeot reappeared, intact. Tarkela decided to use this good fortune as motivation for a cross-country trip on the 100-pound moped and in late May he left New York bound for Los Angeles, 4,200 miles at a top speed of about 35mph. When asked why he didn’t do the trip on a more typical cross-country motorcycle, he replied, “Everyone does this trip on a motorcycle.”
Tarkela isn’t a typical adventurer. In 2008, he hitchhiked through Finland and earlier this year he spent seven weeks experiencing the life of a homeless person as background for an art installation he is planning. You can follow his adventure through his Twitter account @slackrabbit.
How Boomers Saved the Russians
The NY Times recently had an article that described how American boomers have come to the rescue of Ural. The ex-supplier of Russian Army motorcycles all but vanished with the Soviet Union until the company was discovered by older American utility and adventure riders. Down from 130,000 vehicles a year in the Soviet hey-day, the current Ural factory hand-builds about 650-1,100 units a year and 60% of that production comes to the US where the 40-hp sidecar units are purchased by upscale older riders for $10,000-and-up. Ural’s average US customer age is 48.
Erik Is Back!
Erik Buell Racing (EBR) is back in business, raising a fickle finger to Harley and friends, with the 1190RS production race bike. The new 175-hp, 390-pound sportbike is a limited edition (100 units) with a MSRP of $40K. EBR’s press release says, “The 1190RS will shock even the most experienced sport bike rider with its performance, styling and handling.” Check out erikbuellracing.com for details on the new bike and upcoming product releases. The company promises its new products will be, “the ballsiest American sport motorcycles ever built.” Go get ‘em Erik.
Finally, A Flying Motorcycle
Chris Malloy, an Australian designer, is working on a science fiction dream: a flying motorcycle. The Hover Bike starts with an 1170cc flat twin 4-stroke fuel-injected powerplant and a pair of Heliptera Tasmanian Oak propellers. The 230-pound, Kevlar-reinforced carbon-fiber frame provides a cockpit for the rider, support for the engine, front-and-back propellers and their gearboxes. The unit has yet to be flown, but the estimated specs are for a 10,000-foot max altitude, a 92-mile range (double that with the secondary tanks installed) and a top air speed of 150KIAS (appx. 172 mph). All of the estimated specifications have yet to be verified as the Hover Bike has yet to hover untethered.
The High Cost of Relationships
Thong Kham Vang bought himself a motorcycle the day before his birthday. For a birthday present, he discovered his girlfriend was also someone else’s girlfriend. So, he allegedly went drinking and finished off the night joy riding through downtown St. Paul to vent his frustration. Mr. Vang’s blood-alcohol level reportedly measured 0.12 and while he didn’t have a motorcycle license, he did manage to give the St. Paul police a chase for their money. Wheelie-ing down Dale from University Avenue, Vang entered I-94, passing cars and changing lanes. Moving the chase to the Hamline exit, he turned on University Avenue where he eventually swerved into a police car near Rice Street and “tipped over.” Mr. Vang abandoned the bike and ran a few blocks before wrestling with police and getting Tasered.
Keep Your Head Cool
RMIT University’s (Melbourne, Australia) Dr Sinnappoo Kanesalingam has invented a self-cooling liner for a motorcycle helmet. He replaces the helmet liner fabric with a polymeric water-absorbent textile and energy storage “phase change materials” and the combination lowers helmet temperatures by 8 -9oC. Dr. Sinnappoo’s liner can be used in a standard helmet without modification. Currently, the product is being sold in Asia but it will probably reach the US soon.
One of the UK’s largest insurers, AVIVA, has stated that it will not insure any motorcycle used to carry passengers. The “no pillion” rule is being equally applied to all types and sizes of motorcycles. If this rule becomes standard among Euro-insurers, motorcycles will become solo-only vehicles, drastically limiting utility and sales.
National Geographic and
National Geographic’s series, Megafactories, will feature Harley Davidson’s Kansas City, MO factory and Ducati’s development of the Multistrada 1200 S. The shows highlights are a behind-the-scenes look at product development, product testing, and design and engineering in these state-of-industry manufacturing facilities. The Ducati show even gives views access to the Ducati Corse racing department’s top secret testing facilities.
Harley Opens the Vault
The Harley Davidson Museum’s 2011 summer exhibit is called “Collection X: Weird, Wild Wonders of the Harley-Davidson Museum.” The exhibit is featuring never-before-seen concept bikes, early 20th century motors designed for “everything from lawn mowers to military drones,” and the rich history of 108 years of Harley Davidson accessories. In a special event on July 23, Frank Fritz, from the History Channel’s American Pickers, will be at the museum telling stories of his, “pursuit of rare and unique treasures.”
Around the World on Sixteen Tires
Paolo Pirozzi on his Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring finished his “lap around the world” May 27th, having ridden almost 100,000 kilometers in 350 days, crossing 80 country boarders, laying down tracks in Europe, Asia, North and South America, North Africa, and Australia, while using eight sets of Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires. Pirozzi averaged 285 km per day, rode in temperature extremes of -10ºC (Denver, CO) to above 40ºC (Tokyo, Japan), and on every kind of road surface negotiable by motorcycle. Pirelli and Ducati provided sponsorship for his round-the-world trip and the Pirelli tires averaged 12,500 km per set.
McQueen Still Has Box Office Clout
Steve McQueen’s 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross (plus a wooden trunk of motorcycle accessories and McQueen’s trophies) sold for $144,500 at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, proving that Mr. McQueen is still a money-draw. McQueen “posed” for Sports Illustrated’s August 1971 cover; shirt-less and wheeling on a Husky just like the one sold at Quail. No one is certain this was the magazine’s photo bike. Valentino Rossi donated a race bike to be sold for charity at the event and there was a lot of vintage iron at the event. A pristine 1925 BMW R32 hauled in $139,000 and the Guggenheim’s Art of the Motorcycle Easy Rider replicas drew $52,650 and $24,570.
And Who Named This Product?
Harley announced a new accessory product for their touring models, the “Bat Wing Ape Handlebars.” The $180 satin-black 12” rise bars “feature a tall stance and minimal pullback to achieve a cool yet comfortable riding profile.” I guess you can have confidence in products with insulting names if you can get away with calling one of your most expensive models the “Fat Boy.” It’s hard to imagine someone saying, “Man, I need a Fat Boy for my fat ass and some ape handlebars for my ape arms!” I used to wonder who ate at Big Boy and Fatburger and the Fatmobile. Now I know.
NHTSA June Motorcycle Recalls
Triumph 2010 Thunderbird, Thunderbird ABS: Thread locker/screw combination at the front fender mounting digs into the tire sidewall causing tire failure.
Zero 2009/2010 Zero S & Zero DS, 2010 Zero S: Front brake caliper bracket deforms under high braking loads causing the front brake pads to not properly contact the front brake rotor resulting in compromised braking ability.
KTM: 2010-2011 KTM 690 Enduro R, 2011 KTM 450 EXC, 530 EXC, 2010 Husaberg FS 570: Handlebars slip in the clamps causing the operator to lose control.
Polaris 2011 Victory Cross Country: Handlebars slip in the clamps and/or risers causing the operator to lose control.