by Thomas Day

Malcolm Smith Rebels

The CPSIA, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, has riled up more than just little motocross league dads. The act regulates all manufacturers of children’s toys, including the anti-lead requirements that put a stop to sales of motorcycles intended for under-12-year-olds. Malcolm Smith, owner of Malcolm Smith Motorsports in Riverside, CA, has put his name, reputation, and industry recognition on the line to get some of this law modified by selling three of the banned OHVs for television cameras. The buyers were Troy Lee of Troy Lee Designs, Glen Helen Raceway’s owner Bud Feldkamp, and Jeff Ward (yes, that Jeff Ward).

Malcolm said, “We’re selling a few bikes, and only a few because I can only afford so many fines! I’m going to have to ask the public to donate to pay them if they put me in jail.”

Smith was ready to confront the legal reaction to his act of civil disobedience, but no such response came. Some of his fans were disappointed and arrived wearing “Free Malcolm Smith” shirts. Malcolm Smith Motorsports isn’t in the clear, yet. The company faces possible fines of $100,000 per offense, which could amount to as much as a $300,000 fine for the 3 vehicles sold. If his first demonstration doesn’t get the government’s attention, Smith has a Boston Tea Party planned. “I’m going to get a little motorcycle, get it certified that you don’t have any oil in it or any pollutants – gasoline or anything – put it on the back of a Sea Doo, get a couple girls with bikinis and ride around Long Beach Harbor where all the containers are coming in, go in front of the Queen Mary and push it in the ocean.”

From the AMA’s Political News Desk

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed House Resolution 269, a bill entitled “Supporting the goals of a motorcycle safety month.” The bills sponsor is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ-8), who is co-chair of the Congressional Motorcycle Safety Caucus and an avid rider. Rep. Giffords was joined by fellow co-chair of the Motorcycle Safety Caucus, Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX-26), as an original co-sponsor.

The bill encourages all road users to be more aware of motorcyclists and their safety. In addition, it encourages all riders to take appropriate rider training and learn safe riding skills. The bill is now headed to the House floor for a full vote. Riders are encouraged to contact their representatives to request their support for H.R. 269.

House Resolution 1253 has passed. Sponsored by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX-26) and cosponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI-1). H.R. 1253 would require that people signing up for a health plan to receive in writing an explanation of treatment limits or non-covered conditions, along with other plan limitations, “in a form that is easily understandable.” This legislation is supported by several organizations, including the AMA, Motorcycle Industry Council, American Council of Snowmobile Associations, American Horse Council, American Recreation Coalition, American Trails, Americans for Responsible Recreational Access, Blue Ribbon Coalition, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Motorcycle Riders Foundation, National Ski Areas Association, Specialty Vehicle Industry Council, Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association, the Washington Road Riders Association, and many others.

For only $11,500,000

For the low price of $11,500,000, you could own Corbin Pacific. The Hollister, California seat and accessory manufacturer is up for sale. “Retirement” was given as the “reason for selling.” You’ll have to hit the ground running because the “seller will provide training for 4 weeks at 40 hours/week.” In other words, you have four weeks to figure out how to manage an 82,000 square-foot “State-of-the-Art vertically integrated manufacturing facility” before Mike Corbin is out the door.

Minnesota “Fail to Yield” Bill

As of this writing, the Minnesota “Fail to Yield” Bill (House HF45 and Senate SF639) is progressing through the congressional system. In March, three more State Representatives have joined the list of authors (Brown, Scalze and Newton joining Emmer, Kohls, Morgan, Brynaert, Kiffmeyer, Gardner, Tillberry, Bly, Slocum, and Urdahl) to provide a little more clout to the bill. If you want to see this pass, contact your state representatives and let them know how you feel. Electricross?

San Jose’s 408MX Motocross racetrack witnessed the Guiness World Record “largest electric motorcycle race.” Ten teams competed in a 24-hour all-electric motocross marathon. Team Hotchaulk won after completing 1,015 laps and more than 500 miles. Check out for a full report and the quietest motorcycle racing in history.

June 15 is RTWD

The 18th annual Ride to Work Day is on Monday, June 15 this year. “Motorcycles and scooters consume less resources per mile than automobiles, and they take up less space in parking areas and on roads. Rider’s seek employer support for this efficient form of transportation, and more government and public awareness about riding’s many benefits,” states Andy Goldfine, the program organizer.

Help promote our contribution to transportation by putting your bike on the road June 15.

Big Win for Buell

Fontana, California’s Auto Club Speedway was the site for Danny Eslick’s big win in the AMA Daytona SportBike class. The double-header event saw Eslick win both races on a Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R. The first event was Eslick’s first career AMA Pro Racing win and the first AMA Pro win for the Buell 125R.

Eric Buell was almost as excited as Eslick on the winning podium, “We are so honored to have this great Bruce Rossmeyer/RMR/GEICO team and a rider like Danny Eslick. Danny is exploring all the differences of the Buell, like ZTL brakes and fuel in the frame, and he likes what he’s finding. AMA Pro Racing’s new Daytona SportBike class is great competition, with six brands finishing in the top ten. It’s going to be an incredible season to watch motorcycle racing in America, and best of all to watch an American sportbike finally battling for wins.”

Best Buy in the Motorcycle Business

Beginning on the west coast, Best Buy will be marketing the all-electric $12,000 Brammo Enertia. This isn’t your average electric bike. The Enertia can do 53mph, has a range of 45 miles, hosts a webserver and open-ended software applications, and may have accessories like an onboard webcam. The two-seat version of the Enertia may have a range of 100 miles and a top speed of 75mph. Service will be provided by Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

Why Isn’t Detroit Doing This?

Harley’s latest marketing campaign, “We Ride Free,” attempts to convince the Motor Company’s fans to trade their old ride for a new one. With fears of sales as low as 264,000 units for 2009, Harley Davidson is offering substantial trade-in value for smaller bikes for buyers who meet specific conditions in upgrading to a more expensive ride.

Bikers and Cops at the Midwest Motorcycle Swap Meet

The first annual Midwest Motorcycle Swap Meet in Collinsville, IL drew two unexpected groups in late March. The event was intended to be “a swap meet where all were welcome as long as all attitudes were left at home.” Apparently, some attitudes came-with some spectators. Upon rumors that “members of rival gangs and a few Hell’s Angels” would be at the swap meet, brining their usual threat to the event, local police setup for a response. The setup included long-range automatic weapon sniper sites and riot control officers stationed near the event. While some gangbangers were spotted at the event, the majority of the crowd appeared to be the usual sort of suspects who attend motorcycle swap meets; dangerous types like you and me.

Here We Go Again

The new CEO of HD, 59-year-old Keith Wandell, does not own or ride Harleys. Wandell is a refuge from Johnson Controls, serving as the President and COO of that company. It is not known if he has any background in motorcycling. Back in December, Wandell was one of many corporate execs pitching a Detroit bailout to the Senate.

Among many other executive changes, Enrico D’Onofrio will take over MV Agusta, Harley’s new Italian sportbike acquisition. D’Onofrio’s previous corporate incarnation was as Ducati’s CFO.

NHTSA Recalls

BMW: 2008 F800 GS: The front axle shaft “wall thickness may not have been manufactured according to specifications . . . if the wall thickness was not sufficient, the axle shaft could deform and could break.” Limited to units manufactured September 11-16, 2008.

Kawasaki: 2009 Vulcan 2000: The multiple bulb headlamp assembly and lens elements “were assembled with lenses incorrectly positioned” and do not meet DOT standards.


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