Archive for the ‘OHV’ Category

Off-Road Star Blais Still Passionate About Cycles

June 12, 2009

Chris Blais has a passion for motorcycles.

Off-road motorcycle enthusiasts no doubt recognize Blais’ name from the stellar riding career he carved out for himself in the sport of desert racing.

Chris Blais

Chris Blais

Check out his scorecard:
2003 – 2nd overall at the Baja 1000
2005 – 4th overall at the Nevada 1000
2005 – 2nd place at the Terrible’s Town 250
2005 – 2nd place at the Parker 250
2005 – 4th overall at the Baja 500
2005 – 1st overall at the San Felipe 250
2005 – 4th overall at the Tunisia Rally
2005 – 9th overall at the Dakar Rally
2006 – 4th overall at the Dakar Rally
2007 – 3rd overall at the Dakar Rally

Blais, who started his career in 2001 atop a Honda, ultimately turned to riding for KTM and quickly became among the most promising riders in the United States. Then, in August 2007, Blais’ riding career came to an end when he damaged his vertebrae as the result of a motorcycle crash in the desert near Tonapah, Nev., while pre-running the Best in the Desert (BITD) Vegas to Reno race.

What is he doing now? Click here to find out.

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?

Inventor Patents Passenger ‘Safety Grips’

March 9, 2009

An inventor from Portland, Ore., has patented an accessory that he says would help passengers of motorcycles, ATVs and personal watercraft hold on to the operator.

Inventor service company InventHelp publicized the product, but failed to name its inventor client. outmax800refixt1

The “Safety Grips” (not to be confused with the previously released “Buddy Belt”) consist of a nylon, padded belt that is secured via hook-and-loop fasteners. Sewn into the rear of the belt would be a pair of upright handles facing the passenger. In use, the operator would adjust the belt to fit his or her waist, and the passenger grips the handles throughout the duration of the ride.

According to InventHelp, the inventor was inspired to create the Safety Grips after an off-roading trip. “We used this belt while riding quads on sand dunes at the beach, and we got a lot of positive feedback from both passengers and operators,” he said.

Lets hope the inventor was riding the ATV in the prescribed manner – in other words, not riding two-up on a single rider vehicle. Existing two-up ATVs, from BRP and Arctic Cat, come supplied with multi-position passenger grab rails and backrest.

Malcolm Smith is Dealernews’ Dealer of the Year

March 4, 2009

In case you missed it: Malcolm Smith Motorsports was named “Dealer of the Year” by Dealernews magazine’s Top 100 Dealer Program.malcolmsmith_2008jpg-copy

Malcolm is one of the most impressive and best-loved legends in motorcycling. As the raucous applause at the Indiana Roof Ballroom attested to, Mr. Smith and his team were more than deserving of the top prize at the 18th annual Top 100 Awards.

I had the pleasure of joining Malcolm and his family and team members at dinner following the festivities. Much to my delight, we were also joined by Bruce Brown. For those who don’t know, Bruce is a filmmaker perhaps best known for the surf film The Endless Summer (1964) and the motorcycle film On Any Sunday (1971). As Malcolm told me of On Any Sunday, “Bruce put me on the map with that movie.”

Sitting between those two, listening to an evening of stories about Steve McQueen, Hawaii, Dakar and a zany cast of characters, was perhaps the greatest treat I’ve been allowed to have during my time in the industry.

Squashing the KTM Rumor Mill

February 26, 2009

Austrian firm KTM says it is preparing to launch a hardtop X-Bow and “green” off-road four-wheeled vehicle. It’d make sense, but a glimpse at the OEM’s financials don’t show much room for the production of such units.

KTM ended its 2007/2008 business year Aug. 31 with sales of 92,385 motorcycles, up from 90,306 units sold during the 2006/2007 business year. Car sales numbered about 100 units.ktm_xbow_cross1

While recent year-end revenues were €605.7 million (about $776.9 million), up 7 percent from €566.1 million in the prior year, a drop in the U.S. dollar exchange rate to the euro brought earnings down 49.4 percent from the comparable period, to €20.1 million (about $25.8 million).

Then, in November, feeling the pinch of the global economic slowdown, the OEM announced a plan to cut motorcycle production by 10 percent and lay (more…)

The Many Faces of the Lead Content Fiasco

February 25, 2009

The Motorcycle Industry Council is on a forward push to get word out about the child ATV/Motorcycle ban and its devastating impact on the industry. MIC general counsel Paul Vitrano has appeared in just about all press accounts that I’ve read about the unintended consequences of the new lead content regulations.

Now, the MIC has posted a series of videos on YouTube featuring interviews with folks across the powersports spectrum explaining what all this means to their business. With no further ado here are a couple, starting with Scorpion Sport’s Eric Anderson:

And Randy Hawkins, seven time AMA National Enduro Champion:

And Jeff Fredette, AMA Hall of Famer and ISDE legend:

Rhino Suits Beg the Question: Is Product or Driver to Blame?

February 4, 2009

The father of Michael Lane McCloud, passenger on a Yamaha Rhino that flipped over, landed on top of and killed the young man in August of 2008, filed suit in Dallas County on Monday.

Michael McCloud alleges that Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.,yamaharhino Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America, and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., are negligent for failing to exercise reasonable care for the safety of plaintiffs by negligently designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling the vehicle without the necessary safety features.

The lawsuit further alleges Yamaha is negligent for failing to exercise reasonable care for the safety of plaintiffs by negligently designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling the vehicle without the necessary safety features.

What McCloud’s attorney, Rob Ammons of Houston-based Ammons Law Firm, failed to disclose in his Internet-posted press release was 1) how old the driver was, 2) in what manner the Rhino was being operated, and 3) whether the existing passenger restraints were being used.

One thing is for certain: Lawsuits pertaining to the Rhino side-by-side are mounting against Yamaha, and the OEM’s legal department is going to have to conduct a massive effort to defend the company from fault in a society where the call for litigation evidently trumps personal responsibility.

Court Nixes Lawsuit Opposed to ATVs in MN Forest

January 28, 2009

Common sense prevailed in Minnesota this week when a court decision rejected the Sierra Club’s challenge to the 2004 Revised Superior National Forest Plan.

The lawsuit included challenges to the analysis of potential impacts to the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, as well as the accuracy of the road and trail inventory used by the Forest Service. The decision, penned by U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz, ruled in favor of the Forest Service and concluded that the agency had not acted arbitrarily or capriciously in adopting the broad prescriptions of the Revised Forest Plan.

The All Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota (ATVAM), along with the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), both recreation advocacy groups, intervened in the case on the side of the Forest Service.

The Superior Forest released a formal Travel Management Plan in December 2008, which designates areas, roads and trails for vehicle travel. Under agency regulations, that decision is subject to administrative appeal by those participating in the decision making process, including the Sierra Club, ATVAM, BRC and many others.

“We are certainly pleased by this outcome,” said Phill Morud of ATVAM. “Recreation is an increasingly dominant use of our National Forests and we feel this suit was an effort to delay and divert agency energy from active recreation management.”

“Thousands of visitors have a stake in effective management of the Superior, and with the dismissal of this suit hopefully we can all focus our attention on management of specific roads, trails, and areas of the Forest,” said Brian Hawthorne, BRC Public Lands Policy Director.

Want to help preserve our natural resources FOR the public instead of FROM the public? Click here to find out how you can assist.

Lambo ATV on Display in Tokyo

January 28, 2009

Check out this queer Lambo-look ATV on display at the Tokyo Auto Salon. The fellas over at Carzi say it’s produced by tuning house LB Performance and being shown to help advertise the company’s forthcoming aftermarket parts for the VW-owned Italian supercar manufacturer. I find the puke green color an appropriate choice.

LB Performance plans to begin selling this monstrosity in April for $20,000. Interested? Email the company at info@lbperformance.jp
carzi_lamboatv

Dakar Winners – KTM’s Coma, Yamaha’s Machacek

January 17, 2009

Spanish rider Marc Coma (KTM) has won this 31st Dakar Rally, the first one to be held in

Marc Coma

Marc Coma

Argentina and Chile, with an overall time of 52hr14min33. Coma finished the rally 1hr25min38 ahead of French defending champion Cyril Despres (KTM), and 1hr38min56 ahead of France’s David Frétigné (Yamaha).

Riding a KTM 690 Rallye, Coma, 33, won the first stage and kept the overall lead through every one of the following 14 stages.

In the ATV race, Czech rider Josef Machacek (Yamaha) won the very first general standings for the quad category in history of the Dakar, 2hr34min00 ahead of Argentina’s Marcos Patronelli (Can-Am), and 7hr42min34 ahead of Polish rider Rafal Sonik (Yamaha).

Josef Machacek

Josef Machacek

The 52-year-old Machacek rode his self-built Raptor to four stage wins for the overall honors.

Stage One of Dakar 2009 began in Buenos Aires on Jan. 3. Teams and riders from 49 countries then traveled 5,903 miles over the legendary Argentina Pampas, into Patagonia, across the Andes mountains, and across hundreds of miles of desert and sand dunes to the completion of Stage 14 back in the Argentinean capital on Jan. 17.

OEMs participating in the motorcycle division included KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Gas-Gas, BMW, Kawasaki, Sherco, Beta, Husqvarna, Suzuki and China’s Jincheng.

KTM puts a lot of effort, and funding, into the Dakar competition. More than 55 percent of the 235 motorcycle competitors that started rode atop KTM.

About 30 quads started the rally. Brands competing in the ATV division included Yamaha, Suzuki, Polaris, BRP’s Can-Am and KTM.

MOTORCYCLE FINAL STANDINGS
Coma (ESP)…KTM…52hr14min33
Despres (FRA)…KTM…+1hr25min38
Frétigné (FRA)…Yamaha…+1hr38min56
Casteu (FRA)…KTM…+2hr17min54
Rodrigues (PRT)…KTM…+2hr22min11
Ullevalseter (NRT)…KTM…+2hr25min02
Viladoms (ESP)…KTM…+2hr28min29
Verhoeven (NLD)…KTM…+2hr50min39
Knuiman (NLD)…KTM…+3hr22min41
Goncalves (PRT)…KTM…+4hr12min42

ATV FINAL STANDINGS
Machacek (CZE)…Yamaha…68hr22min06
Patronelli (ARG)…Can-Am…+2hr34min00
Sonik (POL)…Yamaha…+7hr42min34
Deltrieu (FRA)…Polaris…+11hr13min31
Brazina (CZE)…Yamaha…+15hr59min51
Avendano (ESP)…Suzuki…+16hr44min15
Carlini (FRA)…Polaris…+25hr10min45
Kraft (FRA)…Polaris…+26hr12min39
Pottier (FRA)…Can-Am+…40hr20min38
Pena (ESP)…Yamaha…+46hr46min05

Coma and Despres show their final positions in the 2009 Dakar Rally / Chaco

Coma and Despres show their final positions in the 2009 Dakar Rally / Chaco