Archive for April, 2009

H-D Iron 883 First Peek — On the Road to Review

April 20, 2009
Note the grainy, thumb-in-picture, cellphone-quality that makes this pic look like a sneaky spy shot.

Note the grainy, thumb-in-photo, camera-phone quality that makes this look like a sneaky spy pic.

Picked up the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 today over at the H-D fleet center. Man, I love that place and today I had the pleasure of talking with Todd Canavan, one of the Super Tech Gurus who helps run the fleet. Canavan’s explanation and overview of the Iron 883 was amazingly thorough and for this I say Thanks Todd. Good stuff. He even brushed through the magic that is the Harley self-canceling turn signal system that was apparently designed by NASA or space aliens.

Still settling into the bike and its extremely low — it is slammed — riding position. But once the cramp in my thigh went away, I was reminded why I (more…)

Ride ’em if ya got ’em — Ride to Work Day 2009

April 16, 2009

Don’t forget! Also, it’s a few weeks earlier this year so take note of the date.

RTW 2009

And if that bitchin’ ad doesn’t do it for you, don’t forget the tale of Fred’s Roughest Ride (more…)

The L.A. Times Ain’t All Bad — Throttle Jockey’s Back

April 16, 2009

OK, that headline is a gratuitous jab at the one paper I read EVERY DAY. But when your relationship with your local read starts starts to get increasingly abusive, it’s hard to feel the love. But I soldier on, weathering the insults (like this and this) because I physically need the smudge of newsprint on my hands each morning.

And these days I can be proud yet again in the LAT for who should it bring back but Susannewest Carpenter, the paper’s resident Throttle Jockey. If you remember (or care to follow such things) Carpenter’s popular weekly column on motorcycles and motorcycling was discontinued in July 2008 (read here for a brief explanation and the resulting comments from mostly peeved readers).

Carpenter’s been writing stories for the paper’s other sections but returns to the two-wheeled world in the Up To Speed blog, which also features bits and pieces on transportation from Pulitzer-prize winner Dan Neil and some other Times’ staffers. While (more…)

Machineart Produces BMW-based Concept

April 13, 2009

Industrial design and product development firm Machineart Industrial Design has completed the R1200GSM, a design study of the iconic BMWR1200GS, using a process called “direct digital manufacturing” that drastically cut production time.

Machineart, Frenchtown, N.J., provides new product design and development services, focusing on concept development, visual brand identity, parts engineering and prototyping in powersports, computers & equipment, consumer products, medical products, juvenile products, housewares and sports equipment.

Machineart leadership says the primary goal was to develop a look that departs from BMW’s common lines while retaining a sense of muscularity. A secondary goal was to reduce the GS’s visual weight and give it a look of agility and forward movement. The final challenge was to build the prototype in a reasonable period of time utilizing digital manufacturing technology.
Pieter de Waal, vice president, BMW Motorrad USA, recently told Dealernews that most GS riders do not ride off-road but still gravitate to the model because of its versatility, comfortable (more…)

Fischer Seeks Success with American-Made MRX

April 10, 2009

After many years and several false starts, the first Fischer MRX sportbike has left the company’s shipping dock.

“We are looking to establish relationships in several areas, including engineering and product development, marketing, and distribution,” says Daniel Fischer, founder.

Powered by a Hyosung-made 647cc liquid-cooled 90 degree V-twin, the MRX features all-American made aluminum die-cast chassis components; injection molded parts, including the multi-function central cold ram air intake ducts that are assembled in the U.S.; made in the U.S. roto-molded fuel cell; available hand-laid carbon fiber and fiberglass body components developed and fitted in the U.S.; and V-cast multi-function subframes designed and manufactured in the U.S.

Also standard: Ohlins suspension; Brembo front brake master cylinder with Goodridge steel brake lines; genuine American cowhide leather seat; lots of billet, including 7075 aircraft aluminum, adjustable, clip-on handlebars; a dual chamber, undertail, stainless steel exhaust system; Hella high intensity Xenon headlights; a digital rider information center featuring large, analog tachometer and full electronic dashboard with (more…)

2009 Triumph Bonneville SE — Retro Riding

April 10, 2009

Time to clear out the cobwebs around here with a couple (or so) posts from the two-wheeled world. No. 1 because it’s a brand near and dear to my heart is the latest from Triumph‘s retro range of bikes, the 2009 Bonneville SE. (Why is this near and dear? Because I love my THRUXTON.)


This new incarnation of the Bonnie gets a few tweaks and upgrades that really go far to alter the look of this classic machine. What you might notice first is that Triumph has ixnayed the classic spoked wheels in favor of some (more…)

Dealernews Visits BMW, Husqvarna

April 10, 2009

What are BMW and Husqvarna’s plans for their U.S. dealer network and product, production, pricing, financing and promotions?

I found out on Wednesday during a trip to New Jersey for a talk with Pieter de Waal, vice president, BMW Motorrad USA, and Mark Brady, president, Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC.

Husqvarna Motorcycles was purchased by the BMW Group in October 2007. Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC is a subsidiary of BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North, Central and South America, which is located in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Pieter de Waal, VP, BMW Motorrad USA

Pieter de Waal, VP, BMW Motorrad USA

de Waal joined BMW Motorrad USA on April 1, 2008, replacing Arturo Pineiro, who took the position of president of BMW, Central and South America. de Waal has been with BMW Group since 1994. He previously headed worldwide Sales and Marketing for BMW Motorrad in Munich. Prior to that he worked for BMW Group in Great Britain and South Africa as general manager of BMW Motorrad and technical director of BMW Motorsport.

Mark Brady, former CEO of Triumph Motorcycles America, in July 2008 became president of Husqvarna Motorcycles North America, LLC. He has spent the past nine months reestablishing the Husqvarna brand in the North American off-road market.

Stay tuned to for my forthcoming report.

Helmet Laws – The Never Ending Story

April 3, 2009

We’re smack dab in the middle of a new legislative season, and lawmakers across the country continue to debate the pros and cons of helmet laws.
In Arkansas, a bill that would’ve required riders to wear helmets or otherwise show proof of $10,000 worth of health-insurance coverage last month stalled for the second time in the Senate Transportation Committee.

In Illinois, legislation requiring helmets for motorcyclists recently failed by a vote of 14-42 in the Senate.

In Maryland, lawmakers continue to debate a proposal that would make helmets no longer required for drivers 21 and older who have been riding for two years or passed a motorcycle safety course.

In Tennessee, a bill repealing the helmet law died for a lack of a second in a (more…)

Strokers Smokers — Dallas Dealer Takes a Drag

April 2, 2009

OK, there have likely been stranger dealership promos, but as for today, this one from Rick Fairless Strokers Dallas nearly caused me to cough up a lung.

strokerssmokersWhile smoking in restaurants has been outlawed in Dallas since 2003, it’s been a hacker’s delight inside of bars. Now, that’s all coming to an end. As of April 10, the city goes smoke-free inside of bars.

To celebrate the end of an era Rick and the Strokers crew are holding the “Smoke ‘Em if You’ve Got ‘Em” event on April 9. While not a smoker himself, Fairless says he wants to invite people in to smoke ’em, one after another, until they close. “We’re going to send it out in style,” Fairless says, adding that he doesn’t think the ban will affect Strokers much given so much of it is outdoors.

Check that flyer: That’s Rick’s mom back when she was in her late 30s (he thinks).

KTM 450 Beats Citroën C4 WRC in Hillclimb

April 2, 2009

British TV show Fifth Gear first showed that a Ducati 999 was a tick quicker than a Lamborghini Gallardo around a track, and now ten time world motocross champion Stefan Everts, riding a KTM 450, beat five-time rally champion Sébastien Loeb and his Citroën C4 WRC car up the Geraardsbergen Wall in Belgium.

OK, so Everts was only one tenth of a second ahead – traversing a slippery cobblestone-laden street to reach the top of the hill in 49:07 seconds compared to 49:17 for Loeb.

Still, what started as an innocent competition (a gentleman’s bet, if you will) between two top athletes turned into an exceptional duel. It was Everts who challenged Loeb a few weeks ago. Then the marketing wizkids at Red Bull turned it into an event, the Red Bull Motorclash.

The loser of the duel had to do some labor: clean the vehicle of his opponent. Loeb put up no resistance at all to carrying out his assignment and showed no sign of disappointment afterwards: “I thought this duel was a tremendous idea and I have no problems with Stefan winning it,” he said. “The difference is so small, it could have gone either way.”

Vehicles are not usually allowed on the Wall, but with the permission and co-operation of the town of Geraardsbergen and the police, everything ran seamlessly and safely.

Check out the video HERE