Archive for November, 2008

Motorcycling Bad For Your Plumbing?

November 28, 2008

A study recently published in the International Journal of Impotence Research has physicians in Japan claiming they believe a link exists between motorcycling and erectile dysfunction (ED).

The researchers, from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Kyoto and the Matsushita Memorial Hospital in Osaka, say their study included 234 motorcyclists and 752 healthy controls. They found that 161 (69%) of the 234 motorcyclists were diagnosed with ED, and say the prevalence of ED in the motorcycle group increased by age as: 58, 63, 76 and 93%, for motorcyclists in 20–29, 30–39, 40–49 and 50–59 years, respectively.

The researchers say they found there was a significant difference in the prevalence of ED between the motorcycle group and the control group in all age groups. On stepwise logistic regression analysis, motorcycling was the strongest risk factor for ED. Although the researchers say the rate of ED among motorcyclists “was not so severe,” they indicate “motorcycling may be one of the risk factors for ED.”

Let the “crotch rocket” jokes begin.

Ewan McGregor Auctioning Guzzi

November 28, 2008

Ewan McGregor is auctioning off his Moto Guzzi California Vintage for the charity Unicef. Bidding for the bike started Nov. 27 on eBay UK (

The 2006 model with 900 miles on the odometer features a 1064cc air-cooled V-twin engine producing 55hp. Opening at 99p ($1.50), the price shot to £20,100 ($30,588) after 24 hours and 30 bids.

“It’s the first of its kind in this color and one of my favorite bikes,” McGregor says. He says he picked it up from the Moto Guzzi factory in Mandello del Lario, Italy, and rode it back to London.

Bidding for the bike will end Dec. 7. Unicef raises money for projects helping children around the world. The money raised from this auction will go to the Children’s Emergency Fund. McGregor previously raised money for Unicef through his cycling trips Long Way Around and Long Way Down.

McGregor picking up his 2006 California Vintage from the Moto Guzzi factory.

McGregor picking up his 2006 California Vintage from the Moto Guzzi factory.

Taking a T-day Break

November 27, 2008


Not him.


See you all in a couple days.

Now For Some Dealer News

November 26, 2008


Wilwert’s, Inc., a Harley-Davidson, Buell, KTM and Suzuki dealership in Dubuque, Iowa, is preparing to close its doors due to foreclosure. A sign on the dealership’s showroom window informed customers of the closing.
The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department says the building will be made available for public auction on Jan. 15, 2009. A sale notice says the Dubuque-based American Trust and Savings Bank, the Wilwert’s lender, recently was awarded a judgment of $1.6 million. The 53,000 sq. ft. Dubuque location was opened in April 2003.
Owned by Clay and Janelle Wilwert, the dealership is a family-run business, opened by Clay’s parents in September 1960 as a Harley-Davidson retailer. Since then, the store has relocated five times and added KTM and Suzuki brands.
Wilwert’s, Inc. had 40 employees at one time, but is now down to 16 in an effort to cut costs and remain open.
The Dubuque County Assessor’s Office this year valued the building at $2,011,200 and the parcel’s 6.78 acres of land at $335,800. Records show Wilwert was current on his property taxes, last paying $40,315 on Sept. 6. His next payment of the same amount would be due March 2009.
In 1999, Wilwert’s opened a second location 15 miles away from Dubuque in Galena, Ill. The 6,000 sq. ft. Galena store carries only Harley-Davidson and Buell. The Galena store also will close because Harley-Davidson considers it an extension of the main store and Motor Co. by-laws prohibit branch stores from remaining open if the main dealership is closed.
Wilwert’s is only one of multiple long-time H-D dealerships to close in November. Santa Cruz Harley-Davidson owner Mike James closed his dealership earlier this month, ending Harley-Davidson’s 80-year run in the city.
Citing poor motorcycle sales due to a struggling economy, James shut his dealership and museum Nov. 11. The dealership’s satellite shop in Watsonville closed earlier this year.
“The simple answer is we’re a victim of what’s happened to consumer confidence,” James told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Though other areas of the dealership were doing fine, bike sales at the Santa Cruz dealership had fallen from an average of 50 per month to 15 in October, James said.
In Wisconsin, River Falls Harley-Davidson closed its doors on Nov. 1.

EICMA Filled With Hot Models

November 26, 2008

I attended the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, earlier this month. Lots of eye candy … hot new and upcoming models were everywhere. Check ’em out:

dsc_01151 dsc_0118 dsc_0171 dsc_0190 dsc_0198 dsc_0205 dsc_0206 dsc_0211 dsc_0212 dsc_0226 dsc_0228 dsc_0248 dsc_0269 dsc_0278 dsc_0296 dsc_0298 astyle dellorto derbi dsc_0018 dsc_0026 dsc_0050 dsc_0052 dsc_0059 dsc_01181 dsc_0123 malaguti piaggio npa1 sym

The Kymco Like — “Classic is one scooter …”

November 26, 2008

OK, Kymco’s already got scooters with names like the People and the Xciting so I guess the Like isn’t that far out there. In fact, it’s the kind of name that definitely sticks with you. What’s the Like look like? It’s profile is even more memorable. This is a pretty sleek looking scooter.

Future retro? Sleek? Whadda ya think?

I don’t have much info on the new 125cc scoot unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan, but what I can gather from the Italian blog Motoblog it’s a 4-stroke machine that cruises around on 12 in. wheels. It also appears that a 2-stroke 50cc version is somewhere around the corner. Can anybody translate some Italian for me because here’s how the translation tool in Sherlock reads the info:

Kymco Like 125/50 is new scooter a style retrò, cured from designer
the Italian Zaniboni Maximum; classic is one scooter, but with one
modern and personal, dry and compact line, ricercatissima in finishes
and the details evoked to you.

Like is born from one deepened study of the history of the scooter of
years fifty and sixty; the new Kymco is a comfortable vehicle and
adapted to every requirement: the wheels from 12 inches render it
perfect for the city traffic, but also ideal for gite outside the door
in the weekend.

Like is introduced in the versions 125cc and 50cc, both movements from
powerful single cylinder 4 times 2 valves, with cooling to air; in
future, version 50cc with motor to 2 times will be also available one.
The refraining system is to double disc (monodisc for the 50cc) and
the equipments are to the top of the category, with complete
instrumentation, beacons you halogenated and wide space portacasco.

A Tour of KTM HQ in Austria

November 26, 2008

I’ve been lucky enough to be allowed a tour of KTM’s production facility in Austria. I was shown around the company’s HQ facilities in Mattighofen and engine plant in nearby Munderfing, met with chief designer Gerald Kiska at his studio near Salzburg, and had the chance to ride the 990 Super Duke and 950 Supermoto R through the surrounding Alpine mountain range. Here’s what I learned, saw and experienced:

KTM currently employs about 1,600 workers in Austria. The company’s HQ in Mattighofen includes business offices, R&D, production, quality management and a motorsports department. The company also operates an engine factory a few miles down the road, in Munderfing. Worldwide, KTM currently employs about 1,960 workers, up from 1,778 workers in the previous business year.

RESEARCH CENTER ktm_rd11ktm_rd21
KTM’s on-premises R&D division, an area teaming with engineers and artists, works in concert with the OEM’s nearby design firm, Kiska Design. Gerald Kiska’s studio has been designing KTM product since 1991. The company works not only on vehicles, but also on ancillary product like PG&A, brochures and advertising.

ENGINE PRODUCTION engineparts2engineassembly1engines2
The bike-building process begins at the Munderfing engine factory, which has doubled its capacity in recent years. Produced entirely in-house in a step-by-step procedure, each engine is hand-built and hand-inspected piece by piece before it’s fired up for testing of function, power output, torque and emissions. The engines are then loaded onto trucks and transported to the Mattighofen production facility.

KTM production is “just in time”. There are 23,000 parts needed to produce the model line. Parts not built in-house (like Brembo brakes, WP suspension parts and Excel rims) are delivered as needed, which minimizes warehousing costs and optimizes logistics. Approximately 800 shipments are received every month.


All “function-defining” parts – such as the engine, frame, swing arm, exhaust system and chassis components – are developed and manufactured in-house. The pre-assembled components then come together at four assembly lines capable of producing up to 450 motorcycles a day. KTM ended its business year Aug. 31 with sales of 92,385 units, up from 90,306 units sold during the previous business year.

POST ASSEMBLY finalinspectionshippingshipping2

After assembly, every new KTM undergoes a complete functional check-up on the test stand before being prepared for worldwide shipment. Approximately 92,400 motorcycles left the KTM factory in 2008.

ktmmanagementThe management board of KTM Power Sports AG includes, from left to right, Stefan Pierer, CEO, responsible for company strategy, product strategy, racing and quality management; Patrick Pruegger, responsible for finance, legal matters, insurance and personnel; Werner Wilhelm, responsible for development, purchasing and production of the automotive division; Harald Ploeckinger, responsible for development, purchasing and motorcycle production; and Hubert Trunkenpolz, responsible for marketing, advertising and sales.



See the 950 Supermoto R shown above? No kidding, I was guided in my excursion by a gentleman who rode it like this:

Motorcycling in Life

November 25, 2008

You gotta love sites like the new Life magazine photo archive. Yet one more way to wile away the time.

Here are a couple pics that caught my eye.

That's the LAPD motor cop force tearing it up at the Coliseum.

That's LAPD's motor cop force tearing it up at the Coliseum.

Has motorcycle fashion changed much?

Has motorcycle fashion changed much?

This is apparently at a protest over a state law that banned motorcycles from the freeways. Like that could happen today... Or could it?

This is apparently at a protest over a state law that banned motorcycles from the freeways. Like that could happen today... Or could it?

The Jason Britton Story

November 25, 2008

There’s a very cool video over at the Icon site on the back story of Jason Britton and his No Limits team. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting him and talking to him and think the dude has done an amazing thing with his little niche of the m.c. biz. For sheer transparency’s sake, he is an editor at our sister publication, 2 Wheel Tuner but that’s not why I’m giving him props.jbbikeshow

I just dig smart guys like this, who can take their god-given talents and transform them into a full-blown phenomenon. And the dude can ride a motorcycle like it’s an extension of his soul.

Ducati’s ‘Special Invitation’

November 24, 2008

Still interested in purchasing a Desmosedici RR? Ducati North America today posted on its website a “special invitation” for folks who missed out on the first offering of the bike to make their reservations for one of “a few units” that are newly available. But, by the time you read this, they may be gone. Doh!
Desmosedici RR
The initial batch of the $72,500 limited production bike sold out quickly, leaving many interested individuals closed out of the ordering process. However, Ducati North America says it has been fortunate to have “secured limited inventory to deliver in the coming months” to individuals who were closed out of the initial ordering process.

If you’re one of the lucky few that still have that kind of cash to spend on a bike, visit to see whether you can get your hands on one of the 1,500 bikes that were produced.