by Guido Ebert
guido@mnmotorcycle.com

E15 Debate

Motorcyclists and federal lawmakers spoke out about their concerns over E15 fuel in a rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 19. Attending as part of the American Motorcyclist Association’s “E15: Fuel for Thought” event, the riders gathered to urge their senators and representatives to call for independent testing of the E15 ethanol fuel blend in motorcycle engines before it is allowed for sale at retail gas stations.

E15 is a gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume, a higher percentage of ethanol than in E10 fuel blends now on sale. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved E15 for use in 2001-and-newer light-duty vehicles, no motorcycles currently in use are on the EPA approved list and no manufacturer has approved E15 for use in its motorcycles. Many riders are also concerned about misfueling with E15 leftover in the pump hose from a previous user.

Lawmakers speaking at the rally included: U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Chris Stewart (R-Utah), Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Tom Petri (R-Wis.).

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is one of the first research institutions to include motorcycles in a vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology study and is preparing to deploy prototypes by the end of summer. Technology installed in test cars will make drivers aware of nearby motorcycles, providing them with instant location and speed data to help avoid collisions.

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), a trade group representing manufacturers, donated a Honda Goldwing and a Star Silverado to the university for its research. “This emerging vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology has real potential to develop, improve and become a part of the daily transportation scene and really help save lives,” said Ty van Hooydonk, MIC director of communications.

Suzuki

Suzuki recently revealed its 2014 RM-Z450 and RM-Z250, both with updated ECM ignition programs that improve starting, as well as – wait for it – race-inspired Champion Yellow-and-black graphics.

In other Suzuki news, the company plans to return to MotoGP in 2015, following two years out of the series. The team already is working to create a 1000cc In-line four GP racer.

Norton

Canada is about to receive its first batch of Norton motorcycles in 30 years. Peter Howes, president of Norton Canada, was in the UK in June to oversee the shipment of the 10 hand-built Norton bikes from the factory.

EagleRider & AMA

All AMA members now are elligible to receive 15% off any EagleRider motorcycle rentals or tours from EagleRider corporate locations. Starting out as a motorcycle rental and tour company in 1992, EagleRider has expanded into a diverse motorcycle company, with used motorcycle dealerships, service centers, and its newly launched motorcycle parts and accessories superstore.

Rallies

The 2013 BMW Motorcycle Owners of America International Rally is to be held July 18-20 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds (N44 degrees, 57.453”, W123 degrees 00.670”) in Salem.

Because of its location, the theme of this year’s rally is Beemers, Bigfoot and Blue Skies. In its 41st year, the rally features an 8k running race, vendor pavilion, demo rides, children’s events, prize opportunities, GS and GT track opportunities, a vintage bike show, nearly 100 seminars to choose from, an Ambassadors meeting and the MOA Board of Directors meeting.

In other rally news, BRP hosted nearly 850 Can‑Am Spyder roadsters and more than 1,300 people in June during the sixth annual North American Can-Am Spyder Owners Event in Maggie Valley, N.C.

The two-day event included rides, prize giveaways, a customization contest, meals and entertainment. There were also demo rides of the new 2013 line-up, including the all-new Spyder ST designed for sport touring.

“This was the largest Can-Am Spyder Owners Event since we launched the vehicle in the winter of 2007,” said Yves Leduc, vice-president and general manager, North America division. “The presence of so many passionate Spyder owners illustrates the health of the brand and the growing nature of our rider community.”

Recalls

Brammo, Inc. is recalling five of its 2013 Empulse electric motorcycles manufactured February 22, 2013, through March 29, 2013, for a high current cable that was attached to the motor controller incorrectly. An electrical short can cause a complete loss of power while riding the motorcycle or a fire. Production of about five bikes per month?!

KTM/Husaberg is recalling about 7,000 off-road motorcycles for a crash hazard. The recall includes 11 KTM models, including the 85 SX, 85 SXS, 125 SX, 150 SX, 150 XC, 200 XC-W, 250 SX, 250 XC, 250 XC-W, 300 XC and 300 XC-W, as well as two 2012 and 2013 Husaberg models: the TE 250 and TE 300. The bikes were sold at authorized KTM and Husaberg dealerships from January 2012 to April 2013 for between $5,300 and $8,450.

KBC America is recalling 456 Harley-Davidson Hybrid Ultra-Light Classic Cruiser Half Helmets, sizes L, XL and 2XL. During testing, the affected helmets failed to conform to impact and penetration requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218. Harley-Davidson is asking dealers to check their inventory and quarantine the affected products pending instructions provided in a service bulletin.

Triumph is recalling 349 of its 2012-2013 Speed Triple ABS because the transmission on some motorcycles may have been built with an incorrect detent spring. The transmission may inadvertently shift out of gear while the motorcycle is moving. The bikes were manufactured June 2012 through January 2013.

Triumph also is recalling 279 of its 2012-2013 Speed Triple, manufactured June 2012 through January 2013. The incorrect engagement of the neutral switch and gear selector drum could cause the neutral light to remain illuminated despite the motorcycle actually being in gear.

Finally, Triumph is recalling 513 of its 2012-2013 Trophy/Trophy SE for a fuel tank that may leak. The bikes were manufactured September 2012 through March 2013. The two layers used in the construction of the fuel tank may have failed to adhere, which may result in a fuel leak. (See the MMM review of the 2013 Trophy SE in this issue).


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