Bonneville Triumph Record
On August 8th, 2016 the Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner became the world’s fastest Triumph by hitting 274 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Piloted (you don’t really “ride” a streamliner) by TT racing legend Guy Martin, the streamliner broke the previous official record for a Triumph of 245 mph as well as the unofficial record for a Triumph at 264mph, both set by Bob Leppan, in the Gyronaut X-1.
The Triumph Infor Rocket has a carbon Kevlar monocoque construction with two turbocharged Triumph Rocket III engines and is fueled by methanol. The motors produce a combined 1,000 bhp (!!!) at 9,000 rpm. It’s 25.5 feet long, 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall and is competing in the Division C (streamlined motorcycle) category.
Triumph has returned to the salt with their eyes on the overall motorcycle land speed record held by Rocky Robinson since 2010 with the Top Oil-Ack Attack streamliner at 376 mph.
When asked about becoming the fastest ever Triumph record holder Martin commented: “It’s good and we are moving in the right direction, but it is just one step on the way to what me and the team are here to do.”
Triumph has a long history with Bonneville. Their Bonneville model name was conceived following Johnny Allen’s land-speed record runs at the Salt Flats in September 1956, when he reached the record-breaking speed of 193 mph. The first T120 Bonneville model was unveiled at the Earls Court Bike Show and went on sale in 1959.
The Bonneville Motorcycle Speed trials officially runs August 28th through September 1st. You can follow the progress of the Triumph world land speed record attempt at www.triumphmotorcycles.com.
CA Lane Splitting
The California senate has passed a bill that finally makes lane splitting legal in the state. They have sent the bill on to the governor for signature in to law. The practice of lane splitting, riding between lanes of traffic, has been common practice by motorcyclists in California for years. While not specifically called out as a legal practice in law, it wasn’t banned either. The California Highway Patrol has not actively tried to stop the practice and so it lived in an odd gray area.
The bill, which passed the senate 69-0, makes it legal for motorcycles to lane split with the following restrictions. They are limited to traveling no more the 15 mph faster than the flow of traffic and are limited to no more than 50 mph while lane splitting.
An ambitious new trail is being planned by the DNR. Called the Border-to-Border Off-Road Vehicle Trail (B2B), the route will link existing state and national forest roads with minimum-maintenance and township roads to form 400 miles of new off-road-vehicle trails between the shores of Lake Superior and the North Dakota border. The trail would be open to any vehicle with an off-road vehicle sticker. The state Department of Natural Resources has joined with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and the Minnesota Four Wheel Drive Association on the project.
The project is in the early planning phases and no official timelines for opening have been set as of yet. More information is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/ohv/plans/border_to_border_trail.html.
2017 Model Announcements
The next model year buzz is in full swing with several manufacturers announcing part or all of their 2017 line already.
KTM seems to lead the charge with their 2017 models already in production and several models on showroom floors already. The big news for KTM this year was their revised two-stroke models. Despite the prognostications of the death of two stroke bikes KTM has introduced an all-new counter-balanced motor for 2017. Early reports claim it is ridiculously smooth and powerful.
Yamaha has revealed a couple new machines including the SCR950. Based the Bolt platform, the SCR is a mix of retro, cruiser, with a little sport throw in for fun. They also introduced the FZ-10, a self-described “Hyper-Naked”. It’s essentially a retuned R1 motor in a more everyday friendly chassis.
BMW has a couple revised machines and has introduced the hipster retro R nine T Scrambler. It’s sort of a modern classic scrambler using the air/oil cooler R12 motor, conventional front forks, and artful dual exhaust. Open faced helmet and flannel shirt not included.
Most manufacturers will have their full 2017 line announced in the coming month. Stay tuned.