by Thomas Day

Ban on Leaded Kids’ Bikes

On February 10, 2009, a Congressional Act intended to prevent the sale of lead-contaminated toys resulted in the removal of motorcycles and ATVs sized for children. The act bans all products “designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger” which contain lead in “substrate material” over 600ppm. The batteries used in motorcycle and ATV batteries contain substantial quantities of lead, resulting in dealers removing these vehicles to avoid violating the new law. The AMA has asked the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission  to “grant the manufacturers’ and distributers’ petitions for emergency relief and temporary exclusion from the lead limits of the CPSIA.”

Honda is out of AMA Roadracing and Cancels Honda Hoot

In December, Honda announced that the company “will withdraw Team Honda from participation in the 2009 AMA Roadracing Series.” The company blames “the current global economic situation and its impact on Honda” for the decision. While corporate sponsorship is gone, Honda will continue to participate in AMA Roadracing through the Erion Honda Racing and Corona Honda Racing teams. Honda will be back for the 2009 Supercross and National Motocross season with factory sponsored riders.

“While it is unfortunate that the current economic conditions led us to take this action, rest assured that Honda’s deep-seated passion for racing has not been, and will never be, diminished.”

Then in December, American Honda announced that “the 2008 Honda Hoot will bring to a close 15 years of what has been one of the most successful motorcycle rallies in history.“ The event has been cancelled due to “economic uncertainty.”

Jeremy Lusk Dies in Freestyle Motocross Competition

On February 11th, 24-year-old San Diego native and 2008 X-Game gold medalist, Jeremy “Pitbull” Lusk, died while attempting a Hart Attack back flip launched from a 100-foot jump at an event in San Jose, Costa Rica.

At the end of the stunt, Lusk was obviously having trouble returning to the bike’s seat, possibly hampered by winds swirling through Ricardo Saprissa Stadium. He was unable to regain control of the bike before he crashed and was launched, face first, into the dirt. He was rushed to San Jose’s Calderon Hospital where Lusk died several hours later, surrounded by friends and family. The cause of death was reported to be from head and possible spinal cord injuries. This is believed to be the first fatality in professional freestyle motocross.

Two Wheels and A Motor

Two Wheels and A Motor is a podcast ( described as “an informal group of Twin Cities riders who started this site to share our experiences and opinions.” MMM® contributor, Molly Gilbert, is one of the regular panelists.

Speed and Other Stuff Kills

A special 1 year NHTSA study found that a variety of things injured or killed drivers and speeding was only a minor contributor. Out of 5,471 crashes studied, the following factors were found to be the major cause: 36% turning or crossing an intersection, 22% driving off the edge of the road, 12% stopping, 11% drifting over the center line, 5% “traveling too fast for the conditions,” and so on. The study concluded that 21% of the crashes were due to “Inadequate surveillance” and 11% were due to “internal distraction.” The study concluded that most of the studied crashes were caused by “a failure to correctly recognize the situation (recognition errors), poor driving decisions (decision errors), or driver performance errors.”

Dealers Matter and Other Stuff

A new J.D. Power survey discovered that “dealer-related issues” were the prime reason customers picked the bike they bought in 2008. The unavailability of test rides, the lack of a model example on the showroom floor, poor service, price, and the lack of low-interest financing were the top reasons for choosing one brand over another.

Side topics of the survey found that “29 percent of motorcycle riders report that they changed their driving habits during late September and early October 2008 when gas prices averaged $3.42 per gallon . . . 75 percent report using their motorcycle more often for commuting to work or school, and 41 percent say they use their motorcycle more often when driving around town. Additionally, 31 percent report doing less cruising, and 30 percent say they did less extended traveling.”

MMSC Classroom Courses for 2009

The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center is offering a variety of classes beyond the standard Basic Rider Course (BRC) and Experienced Riders Course (ERC) for 09.

Street Smarts Workshop—A two-hour, interactive seminar for riders of all abilities. The workshop helps riders evaluate their own skill level and outlines the critical knowledge and skills needed to survive on the street. Topics include attitude, hazard awareness, riding strategy, riding skills and protective gear.

Basic Motorcycle Maintenance—A four-hour, hands-on course designed for new riders or people who want to learn basic motorcycle maintenance. Learn how to conduct a pre-ride inspection, make repairs on the road, and winterize your motorcycle.

Introduction to a Motorcycle—A 3-hour hands-on introduction to motorcycle controls and their operation, for “true novice” riders who want extra time for the basics before taking the BRC. Each course is limited to 6 students and will use two coaches.

BRC Refresher—Four hours of selected BRC range exercises for BRC graduates. This course uses MMSC training motorcycles, or students may ride their own 51-500cc motorcycle or scooter.

Scooter-Only BRC and ERC—These are exactly the same as the regular BRC and ERC, except students will bring their own scooters.

For more information visit:

Harley Brings the XR1200 Home

Even many Harley detractors admired the XR750, “the most dominating, American dirt track racing motorcycle of all-time.” Last year, Harley-Davidson released the XR750 replica, the XR1200, in European markets and irritated US customers in droves. In December the company announced that the XR1200 would come home to the US for the 2009 season.

Robbie Maddison Jumps a Tall Building

On New Year’s Eve, Aussie motocross stunt man, Robbie Maddison jumped his motorcycle to the top of the 10 story, 120 feet tall Arc de Triomphe at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas. Even more incredibly, he rode the bike off of the edge of the building and back down to the ramp.

Aerostich Hi-Vis Recall

Aerostitch sent a recall note to all of the registered owners of their Fluorescent High Viz Lime Yellow Darien, Darien Light, and Roadcrafter garments because of a problem with “color fading.” While the color fading “does not affect the strength or durability of the material,” it obviously reduces the high visibility characteristics. Typically, Aerostitch offered customers the option of returning “the garment for a new replacement garment or a full refund.”

NHTSA Recalls

BMW 2005-2006 HP2 Enduro: Loose fastener for the Paralever link allows the final drive to come loose causing a loss of control.

BMW: 2008 F650 GS, F800 GS: Chain sprocket fasteners come loose from the sprocket, jamming the chain and causing loss of control.

Piaggio: 2008-2009 Aprilia Scarabeo 100: Hoses routed incorrectly and dirt and/or faulty float valves in the carburetor cause flooding, hard starting, stalling, fuel leaks.

Piaggio: 2008-2009 Aprilia Scarabeo 200: Carb problems prevent proper function resulting in engine flooding, hard starting, poor performance and fuel leaking from the carburetor.

Suzuki: 2005-2006 GSX-R1000: Frame cracks/breaks from repeated hard landings from wheelies or other stunts. Dealers will replace the frame if cracks are found, otherwise a frame reinforcement brace will be attached.

Yamaha: 2006-2009 FJR1300: Ignition switch wiring comes loose causing sudden engine stall.

Harley-Davidson 2009 FXD, FXDF, FXDC, FXDL, and FXDB:  The jiffy stand spring anchor may have defective weld that may allow it to not retract as intended.

Ducati 2007-2008 1098, 1098S, 1098 Tricolore, 1098R, and 2008-2009 848: The motorcycle charging system may be adversely affected by engine heat and stop operating.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.