by Thomas Day

Zero At the Fair

You might have noticed that Zero Motorcycles had a substantial presence at the EcoExperience in the Technology Building at the Minnesota State Fair. The Hitching Post and Zero Motorcycles were displaying several electric motorcycles and . . . handing out copies of the September MMM® which had a review of the Zero DS Dual Sport.

Sponsors Looking for Riders

Vemar Helmets, AGV, and SIDI boots are all looking for riders to sponsor for the 2012 season. Limited support is available, but if you’re looking for racing season help, email

Five Die at “Bikers Who Care” Festival

On the morning of September 19, three men and two women were found dead on the grounds of the Bikers Who Care festival when the fumes from a nearby generator leaked into their camper. The deaths are being investigated, but no foul play is suspected. All of the victims were from the Clarksville, TN area.

Fumes from a nearby generator migrated into an open storage hatch on the camper. The carbon monoxide fumes were so intense that some of the people who found and recovered the bodies were taken to a hospital for “feeling dizzy and lightheaded.”

The annual Tennessee event features motorcycle drag races, live music, a bikini tattoo contest, free beer, and a toy run. The 30-year-old event’s purpose is to collect toys for needy children and as a fundraiser for Camp Rainbow, a summer camp for seriously ill children.

Minnesota Electric Motorcyclists Looking for Record

Author, writer, journalist and Minnesota resident Kevin Clemens has set a National Land Speed Record for electric motorcycles at the BUB 2011 Speed Trials in August at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Clemens rode a 1971 Honda 175 Scrambler frame, modified to accept five 12-volt AGM batteries and an eight-horsepower DC electric motor to set a new record of 61.544 mph for the flying mile in the 150 kilogram (330 pounds) unstreamlined, electrically powered category. Six electric motorcycles were among the hundred of bikes trying to set and break records on the salt.

“While the other teams were competing in heavier and unlimited weight classes, mine was the only 150 kilogram bike running this year, “ said Clemens. “ A fifteen-foot long 200-mph electric streamliner is really impressive, but building a relatively lightweight and usable-sized electric motorcycle with off-the-shelf components has its own engineering challenges.” Clemens built the motorcycle over last winter in his Lake Elmo, MN workshop and has plans to return to Bonneville next year and go faster. “Nobody has ever gone 100-mph on a 150-kg electric bike. That would be a good goal.”

Coming Soon on Your Next GS?

BMW applied for a patent on a new motorcycle seat that includes a collection of electronically-controlled motion dampers. The seat design includes sensors at the front wheel and seat that supply information to the seat control circuitry. That ought to tame those nasty Pan-American Highway bumps.


At this year’s Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge in Lexington, OH, 20 contest entrants were tasked with creating vehicles that could maintain 70 mph with a headwind, be rider-friendly and comfortable, and “carry four bags of groceries onboard” over a 110-mile course. This year’s winner was Charly Perethian of Dahlonega, GA who managed 153mpg on his Honda NX250-based creation. Perethain has been on that podium before when he won the 1983 challenge on a Yamaha 185cc fuel miser that burned 372 miles per gallon. The rules were different then (50mph speed requirement, no comfort limits, and no cargo space, for example). Mr. Vetter placed 6th with his weird-looking 250cc Honda Helix-based scooter.

Hooligan Marketing

The Canadian marketing geniuses at Wasserman and The Media Merchants came up with the brilliant idea of combining a 30-foot electronic billboard with traffic radar and video camera. The idea is that when you see your vehicle projected on the big screen under a giant “School Zone! Slow Down!” sign, you’ll be embarrassed and slow down. Motorcyclists, however, are using the big screen to show off their wheelie-ing abilities and the sign is inspiring all sorts of anti-social squidly two-wheeled behavior. The Law of Unintended Consequences?

Shayna Texter AMA Win

Shayna Texter became the first female racer to win a Grand National Dirt Track race at the AMA Pro Singles Half-Mile at Knoxville, Iowa. The Willow Street, PA native started racing when she was 3 years old and was the 2003 AMA Female Sports Rider of the Year. She was also the 2003 Hot Shoes champ in the 450 Pro Sport Class. Texter was joined at the podium by Brian Bauman and Michael Toon. Bauman and Texter traded first and second several times to the last lap. Pro Singles points leader Mikey Martin finished fourth.

Speed Trap States

The National Motorists Association identified the 25 most speeder hostile cities in North America and published the list in August. Listed by order of “speed traps per 100,000 residents.” The top of the list is Livonia, Michigan with 29.9 traps per resident, followed by Windsor, Ontario (17.6), Orlando, Florida (17.2), Las Vegas, Nevada (11.1), Denver, Colorado (10.9), and Reno, Nevada (10.4). Looks like Nevada is going the extra mile to live up to its “Lost Wages” reputation. California bagged four and Texas claimed three of top-25 trapper cities. Contrary to popular opinion, no Minnesota, Iowa, Dakotas, or Wisconsin city made the list.

Celebrating Reagan and the Lazy Fairy Market

Seven hundred and fifty VIP motorcyclists from 11 Southern California Harley-Davidson dealerships celebrated Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday on on Sunday, September 25 at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA. Mark Ruffalo, owner of California Harley-Davidson and chairman of the second annual Reagan Library ride said, “Harley riders all have a special place in their hearts for President Reagan and his role in rescuing the company in the 1980s by imposing tariffs on imported motorcycles.” [Will they celebrate the associated technological and performance advantage the 700cc limit gave the Japanese manufacturers?]

Salvatore Licitra Dies

The “new Pavarotti,” Salvatore Licitra died in Catania, Sicily’s Garibaldi Hospital after crashing his Vespa scooter into a wall and suffering severe head and chest injuries. His physician speculated that the crash may not have been the cause of his death, but a consequence as the singer may have suffered cerebral hemorrhage, immediately before the accident and that he died “after suffering an interruption of blood to the brain.”

The 43-year-old tenor had a life-long love of two-wheeled vehicles and, in particular, Ducati models. On his website, Licitra said, “My passion for Ducati began already as a child. Along with some friends I played the game of recognizing the sounds of the motorcycles passing by. The Ducati bikes were unmistakable. The sound was full and unique as only a two-cylinder Ducati can produce. I ride motorcycles ever since I am 14 years old and from that time on it has always been my wish to have my own Ducati. I remember the feeling when I turned the throttle for the first time – the wind in my face which increased at faster speed and the sound of the heavily vibrating engine. I am a motorcycle fan . . .” His voice will be missed.

Ike’s Law Petition

On August 3, Dwight “Ike” Woodard was riding his Triumph Speed Triple on US Highway 129 when he was killed by a tractor-trailer that “failed to maintain its lane” and wandered into the opposing lane. Highway 129, also known as “The Dragon,” has been the site of many fatal motorcycle crashes, several of which have involved commercial trucks that have been unable to negotiate the road’s tight turns. This is a world famous road favored by thousands of motorcyclists. There is a petition to restrict commercial vehicles from this road and you can join that movement here:

Stolen Cop’s Bike

Channel 5 reported that Robert Allbee had been arrested for stealing a St. Paul police sergeant’s personal motorcycle. According to the report, Albee rode the motorcycle out of the city police parking lot after using “a special set of pliers” to start the bike and had planned to sell the $20,000 bike for meth.

Beta Testing

Beta, the Italian “the oldest family-owned motorcycle manufacturer in the world” best known (in the US) for making competitive observed trials bikes, has expanded into street-legal, single-cylinder, dual-sport models from 350 to 520cc, AMA motocross series participation, AMA National Enduro and EnduroCross competition, Indoor Enduros (IEWC), cross country (including the GNCC series), along with the company’s traditional participation in the AMA Racing/NATC Observed National Trials Championship series. With signed riders Cody Webb, Craig Smith, Chris Bach, and the rest of the Beta racing team, the company is hoping to make inroads into the US market. Editor Pearman is already rooting around for a review specimen.


Donahue Harley-Davidson Changing Hands

Brett Donahue announced that family-owned Sauk Rapids Donahue Harley-Davidson has new ownership and will be named “Viking Land Harley-Davidson.” Donahue’s announcement included, “I am very excited to tell you that the buyer [Dan Walton] we have found is an awesome family. They are good folks with great experience in business and customer relations. After several conversations with them, I fully believe and trust that they will continue, and even improve the customer service that our employees offer. They bring new perspective and passion for the business and I am very excited for them. I know that you will enjoy doing business with them in the future.” The new store’s grand opening will be October 1.

Hyundai Motorcycle? is displaying some pretty weird Hyundai conceptual motorcycle designs. YouTube has some pretty weird prototypes on display under the Hyundai logo. Hyundai won the right to use their brand on motorcycle products. Does this mean the Korean manufacturer is about to step into the two-wheeled industry? Korean designer Min Seong Kim is convinced that the company should be building leading-edge two-wheeled vehicles. We’ll see.

Harley Still Overheating

Harley Davidson is still feeling the legal heat from a class action lawsuit filed by four Sacramento-area riders who claim their bikes dangerously overheat. One rider claimed his pants were set on fire while riding. One of the four, Matt Weyuker, said, “The first day I rode it, I was on it about 20 minutes. I was shocked at how hot the inside of my leg was getting.” The lawsuit claims that the company has known about this design flaw since 1999 and has done nothing about it for marketing reasons.

On a semi-unrelated topic, Harley-Davidson filed a patent on a water-cooled cylinder head design in June of this year.

NTSA September Motorcycle Recalls

Ducati 2011 Diavel: The side stand pivot area is weak and can break allowing the motorcycle to fall over on the driver.

Ducati 2011 Diavel: Chain guard brass inserts for the license plate holder retaining screws on the rear swing-arm to loose allowing the holder to fall into the rear wheel.

Indian 2009-2011: 1) If the headlight switch is slowly moved from one position to another (high beam to low beam or low beam to high beam), both beams may be on momentarily and the body control module senses an overload and will turn off the headlights. 2) The side stand may not fold rearward and upward and can contact the ground causing loss of control.

Kawasaki 2011 Ninja ZX-10R/ZX-10R ABS: Wiring harness is pinched between the rear subframe and the rear fender or rear subframe and seat cover bolt causing a short that will shut down the engine.

Yamaha 2006-2009 FJR1300: Poor connection for the ground joint of the wire harness could causes intermittent ignition and engine stall.

Yamaha 2011 FJR1300: Binding brake light switch prevents the brake light from activating.




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