Archive for March, 2009

Motorcycle Operated by Baboons Kills Two

March 31, 2009

And now for something completely different: Tragedy occurred in Liberia on March 25, when two motorcycles, one with two baboons at the steering, collided head-on, killing one operator and a pedestrian, the Liberian Daily Observer reports. The newspaper says the accident in Grand Bassa County worried many, who are becoming increasingly concerned about the frequency of motorcycle tragedies in the county.

Cobra Sells Kid’s Bikes Despite CPSC Ban

March 27, 2009

Bikes Meet Lead Content Requirements
Several Steps Ensure Legally Safe Products

Sean Hilbert may be the only motorcycle executive in the U.S. who is legally selling kid’s dirt bikes and ATVs, in spite of a federal ban on many such products.

Most of the high quality racing machines produced and sold by Cobra Motorcycle Manufacturing Company of Hillsdale, Mich., meet the current requirements spelled out in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), he told me the other day. Only one of Cobra’s models is not offered for sale.

Sean Hilbert

Sean Hilbert

Well, now, that’s very interesting. How can that be, when the rest of the industry has been shut down since Feb. 10, 2009, and all other manufacturers have ordered their dealers to pull these products from the showrooms?

Sale of products designed for kids ages 12 and younger that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead content for any part of the product in the machine have been banned since February by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Yet Cobra keeps selling most of its models.

Hilbert, who is president and CEO, isn’t breaking the law, he says. It’s just that his company is working very hard to produce machines that meet the stiff lead content requirements set by the law that was signed by President Bush last August. How does he do it?

Basically, three ways. First, by presenting certifications from his suppliers that their products don’t exceed the lead limits. Second, by doing a minimal amount of its own testing. And, third, by covering items that contain excess lead levels, thus preventing access to those items. More about these steps later.

What Is Cobra Motorcycle?

Cobra has been producing high quality small displacement racing ATVs and mini bikes since 1993. It has 35 employees and operates out of a 50,000 sq. ft combination office, warehouse and production facility in Hillsdale, Mich., about 100 miles from Detroit.  The building sits on about 10 acres that includes a test track and provides room for expansion of the main facility.

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Aprilia’s dirt-chugging V-twin: the MXV 450

March 26, 2009

Aprilia has introduced the MXV 450, the Italian company’s first-ever motocross bike.

Powered by Aprilia’s spooky little — get this — V-twin, I can only guess how this thing screams over track and trail. The 452cc, fuel-injected beast comes with two ignition settings that you

You might want to strap yourself in.

You might want to strap yourself in.

control by poking the handlebar switch. The “Big Bang” setting throttles things down a bit and gives an easier rideability, control and traction by closing the firing gap. Hit the “Screamer” setting and you can guess what happens — the firing gap changes back to standard and the motor wants to zip up to its 12,500 rpm limit. (So says the company.)

Speaking from some experience, Aprilia knows what it is doing with these V-twin-powered dirtbikes. I had the SXV 5.5 for a while last year (it’s the one dressed up in supermoto clothing) and that damn thing was (more…)

No Logic in CPSC’s Tips Provided to Momlogic

March 25, 2009

The website momlogic.com recently posted a piece about the dangers posed to kids who ride ATVs.

Titled “ATV Death a Wakeup Call to Moms”, the article is largely a chronicle of children’s deaths associated with ATV riding. All the kids mentioned were under the age of 16 except for one.cpsc_kidquad

At the bottom of the piece, momlogic.com provides guidelines for reducing the risks involved with ATVs. The guidelines come from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Of the six guidelines offered, one is to “not allow children to ride or drive adult ATVs. Kids under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as children riding on youth ATVs.”

So lets get this straight: The CPSC, the organization that outlawed youth-sized ATVs via the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, recommends children recreate only on youth-sized ATVs.

Can’t they see the disconnect?

Tragedy for Glen Helen Owner and His Family

March 23, 2009

As news reports start to flesh out more details on the plane crash in Butte, Mont., that killed 14 people it’s now known that Bud Feldkamp and his family have suffered a horrible tragedy. Feldkamp, the owner of Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif., has confirmed with the Associated Press that two of his daughters and their families were lost in the crash. (A couple of stories here and here.) The other victims were also members of a Durham, Calif., family. Good God, there’s no possible way to fathom the horror of that reality.

Just last week Feldkamp took part in Malcolm Smith’s protest against the youth ATV/bike ban by buying an ATV for his grandson Luke. Perhaps it’s because of my recent interaction with him that this is so incredibly jarring to me — beyond the sheer horribleness of such an accident. It’s also just devastating when anyone loses a family member to tragedy. We here at Dealernews offer our most sincere sympathy to the families involved.

Blogged Too Soon — Malcolm’s Protest Sale

March 23, 2009

Last week I blogged about USA Today picking up the Malcolm Smith Kids Love 2 Ride protest sale, saying that it was odd that none of the local media has been actively covering the issue — that it took a national newspaper to pick up the story.

Well, turns out I blogged too soon. Turns out that the Temecula Valley News and the Press Enterprise both ran stories covering the protest sale and the youth ATV/bike ban. I’m glad to see the general press picking up on this issue given the huge impact motorcycling has on Southern California’s culture and economy.

The more play this story gets the better. I know we’re covering the heck out of it over at Dealernews.com.

BMW Rider Pfeiffer Stunts KYMCO Super 9

March 23, 2009

Multi-time World Stunt Champion Chris Pfeiffer recently performed atop a KYMCO scooter during an exhibition in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Pfeiffer is under contract with the BMW Group, so his performance on a KYMCO, at the request of a German KYMCO dealer, had to be approved by the German OEM.

Pfeiffer chose the KYMCO Super 9 LC for the 10-minute show, which included wheelies, stoppies and a host of other high level stunts.

Taiwan’s KYMCO (Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd.) produces the engine for BMW’s G 450 X enduro – which Pfeiffer traditionally stunts along with an F 800 R.
bmw_kymco1

Malcolm’s Protest Sale Gets Nationwide Attention

March 19, 2009

Interesting to note that it was USA Today that picked up Malcolm Smith’s protest sale of youth (12 and under) ATVs and dirtbikes. I’ve yet to see much (if any) coverage in the LA Times. Not sure about the Press Enterprise, Smith’s local paper, but I couldn’t find anything via Google.

I don’t know why this wouldn’t get more play in the local press given motorcycling — in all forms — is a huge part of the Southern Californiapicture-11 culture and economy. I know one place  you’ll get just about ALL THE COVERAGE you can stomach in regards to the lead content regulation effect on the powersports industry. That’s over here at Dealernews.com.

Here’s  the first paragraph of the story and a clicky to the full USA Today piece.

LOS ANGELES — Angry with a nationwide ban on sales of youth motorcycles and ATVs over lead concerns, one of the biggest dealers in Southern California plans to sell the child-size vehicles today despite potential criminal penalties.

Dealer Is Mad As Hell About Kid’s ATV Ban

March 16, 2009

*****EDITOR’S NOTE: Malcolm Smith has changed the time of his protest to 4 p.m. rather than 6 a.m. to accommodate those who want to attend. From his website kidslove2ride.wordpress.com “Due to numerous requests from Malcolm’s supporters far and wide, we have changed the timing of the event.”

So He’s Going To Sell Kid’s Machines on March 19

Remember that classic old movie from 1976, Network? If you do, you’ll remember the famous line from Howard Blake’s network anchor character, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

That’s the way Malcolm Smith feels about the current ban prohibiting the sale of kid’s ATVs, motorcycles, and related parts, garments and accessories. That’s why he plans to take some drastic action.

Malcolm is putting his money where his mouth is. Literally. He’s challenging the ban by selling

Malcolm Smith

Malcolm Smith

kid’s machines out of his dazzling powersports dealership in Riverside, Calif., on Thursday. (The sale begins at 6 am PST, March 19, 2009.)

The move could cost him big bucks, a lot more than he’ll get selling a few little dirt bikes. Fines can run as much as $100,000 per violation, up to $15 million, and there are criminal penalties involved, as well. For you non-lawyers, that means, worst case, that Malcolm could end up in jail, if authorities decide to get really nasty.

When I talked with Malcolm today, I asked him what would happen if the authorities come in Thursday and tell him to stop selling. The cagey veteran, avoided a direct answer, but I could almost see him smiling over the phone: “It’ll make a good show,” he said softly.”

He told me that he’s not certain what he’ll do after Thursday. “It depends on what other dealers do,” he says. “I don’t want to be the only one that is completely out of business.”

For those of you who have not been following the ban, here’s the deal: The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), passed last year, put strict limits on the amount of lead contained in products made for youths aged 12 and younger. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was charged with implementing the law.

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Ducati Working on Adventure Tourer?

March 16, 2009

It appears Ducati may be preparing to add an adventure tourer to its model line.

News outlets and blogs around the world have been reporting on the possibility, but Australian Ducati importer Warren Lee seems to have confirmed the rumors when he recently told the Courier Mail newspaper that the bike would be revealed as a 2010 model.

“Our adventure bike will be a lightweight sporty model with a swingarm similar to the 1098, a tall screen, and it will be the lightest with the best performance in its class,” Lee told the Courier Mail.

The Dutch website Motor.NL managed to obtain some spy shots of the bike apparently undergoing testing on the street. There are no knobbies mounted but, judging by the photos, the bike looks to be powered by Ducati’s liquid-cooled 1099cc V-twin – the same lump powering the OEM’s new Streetfighter.

ducati_motornlducati_motornl_2