Archive for the ‘Suzuki’ Category

Erpelding, Europe’s Keeper of Classic Race Bikes

September 29, 2009

Are you a racebike enthusiast? Happen to be planning a trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany?

erpeldingIf so, you may want to visit former motorcycle and auto dealer and racer Frithjor Erpelding, a man who claims to have the second largest private museum in Europe dedicated to race motorcycles. Located in the Eifel mountain hamlet of Jammelshofen, near the ‘Ring, the museum houses 200-some bikes and a half-dozen of his championship-winning race cars.

Among the units on display: AJS, Aprilia, Ariel, Bimota, BSA, CZ, Egli, Gilera, NSU, Koenig, Moto Parilla, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Matchless, Maico, Triumph, Norton, Greeves, Jawa, Puch, Wanderer, Harris, BSS, Benelli, Laverda, Royal-Enfield, Harley-Davidson, Horex, Honda, Gilera, Kawasaki, Kreidler, Linto, Suzuki, Scott, Seley, Yamaha, Rickman, KTM, Ducati, Montessa, NSU, Vincent, Velocette and Zuendapp, etc.

I asked Erpelding which of the 200 units is his favorite. “The Norton,” he replied without pause. Erpelding has two Norton Manx. “The chairman of Cambridge University recently contacted me, asking if I would sell one of my Manx. I told him ‘No’. He offered Euro 100,000 and I declined. Then he offered Euro 200,000 and I again declined. Finally, I cut to the chase and told him I wouldn’t be selling the bike no matter what the price.”

MuseumBut, Erpelding is willing to sell certain units. He says he recently sold a Vincent to a collector in the United States for Euro 80,000. “He deposited the check in my bank account before even receiving the bike. I called and asked him why he trusted me, and he said, ‘I’ve heard you’re a trustworthy guy’.”

Erpelding is a fella who loves telling his stories. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to leave time to have beer at his Race Museum Bar. He’ll tell you about his run-ins with racer Agostini and Yamaha bosses; his thoughts on Triumph, MZ and KTM; his trips to Goodwood; and his days of racing Honda motorcycles and cars.

Check out Erpelding’s website, which features the full line-up of the museum’s bikes on display.

Scooterists Assemble in Twin Cities for ‘Rattle My Bones’ Rally

August 16, 2009

Hundreds of scooterists from all over the Midwest assembled in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul Aug. 13-16 for the 2009 Rattle My Bones scooter rally.

RattleMyBones2The four-day event started with a meet-and-greet and scavenger hunt on the evening of Aug. 13; had participants assembling Aug. 14 for five ride possibilities, a “historic sites” ride and one ride each for geared scoots, automatic scoots, vintage scoots and for scooterists who have never been on a group ride before; continued Aug. 15 with a 70-mile, large group ride followed by dinner, a gymkhana, bike show and music; and wrapped up Aug. 16 with an organized breakfast, raffle prize giveaway, awards presentation and a final ride.

Sponsors included dealerships Scooterville, Blue Cat Motors and Leo’s South; as well as CF Moto; Scooterworks USA; Binetto/Shad; Aerostich; Bell Helmets; Corazzo; Scorpion EXO and Scoot! Magazine, among others.

As the logo suggests, the Rattle My Bones rally was named after a song by the defunct Twin Cities band The Suburbs.

As the logo suggests, the Rattle My Bones rally was named after a song by the defunct Twin Cities band The Suburbs.

Rider Impressions: The Victory Hammer S

July 15, 2009

In June I picked up a 2009 Victory Hammer S from Polaris headquarters in Medina, Minn. Now, after one month and nearly 1,000 miles, it’s time I return the bike.

As a fan of all things with two-wheels, I would’ve enjoyed keeping this head-turner in my garage alongside the SV1000S, Tomos Golden Bullet moped and forthcoming two-stroke Stella scooter. Having a muscle cruiser like the Hammer helped satisfy my different moods – whereas I enjoy long, quick-paced rides on the Suzuki, I equally enjoyed implementing the Victory for shorter, inter-city jaunts. If the SV1S, in triple black livery, is my B2 stealth bomber, the Hammer S, available only in a vibrant blue with white rally stripes, was my attention-grabbing Blue Angels C-130T Hercules “Fat Albert” – heavy, but powerful and impressively agile for its size.
VictoryHammerProfile2
The bike attracted attention and garnered questions wherever I went, whether at the filling station, neighborhood grocery store or local bike night. “Go ahead and park it right out front on the sidewalk,” the owner of my favorite restaurant, Eli’s in Minneapolis, said after grilling me on the bike’s specs and my impression of the ride.VictoryHammerOverdrive

“Nice Hammer!” a guy in a pickup truck shouted to me while we were stopped at a red light. “I just bought one! I love it!”

The Hammer S represented the fourth Victory extended ride the folks at Polaris have granted me. The first bike, the V92TC, was a bit unkempt; the first year Vegas was better, but still not tuned quite right (needed more breathing, found through the parts catalog); and the Vision I rode for a few months last summer was hugely impressive in handling and performance for its size.
VictoryHammerFrontBrake
What’d I like about the Hammer S? I had a list of highlights I quoted to everyone who asked: The 97hp, 113 ft. lbs. of torque offers a healthy dose of acceleration, the bike’s outfitted with a smooth running carbon fiber belt, the sixth gear “overdrive” transmits a fuel-saving engine speed of 2,400 rpm at 70mph, it maneuvers surprisingly well with the big 18-incher up front and 250/40R18 Dunlop rear, and braking was impressive (stainless steel lines, front dual 300mm floating rotors with 4-piston caliper and rear single 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper).VictoryHammerBelt

The list of things I didn’t like is much shorter: To garner the hardtail look, engineers placed the rear shock a bit too far forward, directly under the seat. It’s preload adjustable, but nevertheless transmitted some kidney-jarring bumps when traversing roadway irregularities.
VictoryHammerGauges

Texas Bill Requires Training For “High-Performance” Bike Buyers

April 21, 2009

Legislation being considered in Texas would force those who purchase a “high-performance” motorcycle to take a training course within six months of the purchase.
texas
HB 4531, if voted into law, would force all owners and operators of a high performance motorcycle purchased on or after September 1, 2009 to show proof of course attendance upon the request of law enforcement. Violators would be fined between $500 and $1,000.

According to bill sponsor Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso), a “high-performance motorcycle” is any motorcycle “referred to, called, labeled, or described as a ‘sports bike’, ‘sports motorcycle’, ‘high performance motorcycle’, or other similar term, in any materials given to an original purchaser at the time of purchase from any retail seller or contained in the owners manual or guides from the manufacturer.”

The bill is currently being debated in the House Public Safety committee.

Hot Off The Press At Dealernews.com

January 30, 2009

Honda’s worldwide sales of motorcycles and ATVs for the nine-month period ended Dec. 31, 2008, totaled 8.11 million units, up 16.7 percent from 6.95 million units during the same nine-month period in 2007. In North America – including the U.S., Canada and Mexico – the company wholesaled 248,000 units, down from 303,000 units. Motorcycles accounted for 143,000 units, down from 157,000 units; ATVs accounted for 105,000 units, down from 146,000 units.

Polaris CEO Scott Wine says 2009 will be a challenging year, and the OEM expects sales to decline 15 to 23 percent compared to 2008. “Retail sales trends for each of the industries and geographic markets in which Polaris competes are expected to remain soft for much, if not all, of 2009,” Wine says. “As a result, we will be more conservative with our production and shipment expectations for 2009.”

Arctic Cat says the OEM is focused on multiple efforts to rescale its business in the current economic climate. Actions include streamlining production operations from three production lines to two; a planned company-wide shutdown; the elimination of approximately 100 positions, or 7 percent of its 1,400 employees; the elimination of the dealer incentive trip; suspending regular quarterly cash dividends; a salary reduction of 5 percent for all officers; selective compensation and benefit adjustments; reduced vacation accrual; a hiring freeze; and lowering operating expenses by 10 to 15 percent through greater efficiencies in lean manufacturing and global low-cost sourcing.

KTM believes the economic environment for the automotive and motorcycle industry in particular could continue to worsen in the United States and Europe, and the company is responding to the scenario by scaling back production by up to 20 percent from last year and continuing to implement ongoing improvements and cost-cutting measures.

Japan’s four major motorcycle manufacturers produced 1.22 million units in 2008, down 26.8 percent from 1.68 million units produced in 2007. Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha together shipped 372,362 units to the United States in 2008, down 18.2 percent from 455,139 units shipped in 2007.

Visit Dealernews.com to read more about these and other powersports-related topics.

Suzuki Recalling 26,000 GSX-R1000

January 27, 2009

Stunters beware – American Suzuki is recalling 26,082 model year 2005-2006 GSX-R1000 motorcycles because of an issue with the motorcycle’s frame.

Suzuki says cracking or breakage of the frame can occur in certain extreme situations where unusually high stress is placed on the frame. The OEM says repeated hard landings from hazardous maneuvers such as extreme or extended wheelies or other stunts may generate sufficient stress to cause this problem.

Suzuki says dealers will inspect the frame for cracks. If no cracks are found, a frame reinforcement brace will be attached to the frame using bolts and epoxy adhesive. Should cracks be found during inspection, the frame will be replaced with a new frame that has the reinforcement brace installed.

The recall campaign began on Jan. 21. Click here for more recent powersports recalls.

2006suzukigsxr1000

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

DAKAR – Riders Return to Argentina

January 15, 2009

Today’s Dakar Stage 12 brought competitors 312 miles from Fiambala to La Rioja, Argentina. The distance included a 157-mile special stage and miles of tough to navigate

Coma navigates the dunes / Chaco

Coma navigates the dunes / Chaco

white sand dunes. You’ll recall from Tuesday’s post that Wednesday’s Stage 11 was cancelled due to fog in the Andes.

In motorcycles, Frenchman Cyril Desprès (KTM) crossed the finish 1min23 ahead of Spain’s Marc Coma (KTM), and 9min47 ahead of Spaniard Gerard Farres Guell (KTM). Coma (KTM) still has an overall lead in the rally, 1hr29min48 ahead of Cyril Desprès.

In the ATV race, Argentine Marcos Patronelli (Can-Am) won his third special stage of this Dakar, 35min56 ahead of Czech rider Josef Machacek (Yamaha), and 36min02 ahead of Frenchman Hubert

Patronelli's 800cc Can-Am

Patronelli's 800cc Can-Am

Deltrieu (Polaris). However, Machacek is still in the lead in the overall standings 1hr54min38 ahead of Patronelli and 7hr06min17 ahead of Poland’s Rafal Sonik (Yamaha).

OVERALL MOTORCYCLE STANDINGS
Coma (ESP)…KTM…47hr51min30
Desprès (FRA)…KTM…+1hr29min48
Fretigne (FRA)…Yamaha…+1hr33min55
Casteu (FRA)…KTM…+2hr16min13
Rodrigues (PRT)…KTM…+2hr24min04
Ullevalseter (NOR)…KTM…+2hr24min07
Viladoms (ESP)…KTM…+2hr27min57
Verhoeven (NLD)…KTM…+2hr45min14
Knuiman (NLD)…KTM…+3hr14min49
Goncalves (PRT)…Honda…+3hr53min16

OVERALL ATV STANDINGS
Machacek (CZE)…Yamaha…63hr12min11
Patronelli (ARG)…Can-Am…+1hr54min38
Sonik (POL)…Yamaha…+7hr06min17
Deltrieu (FRA)…Polaris…+11hr11min12
Brazina (CZE)…Yamaha…+15hr41min57
Avendano (ESP)…Suzuki…+16hr44min18
Carlini (FRA)…Polaris…+24hr37min31
Kraft (FRA)…Polaris…+25hr05min29
Pottier (FRA)…Can-Am…+39hr44min00
Van Gastel (NLD)…Yamaha…+45hr30min31

Dakar – Coma Still Leads Cyclists, ATV Lead Changes

January 11, 2009
marccoma

Marc Coma carves through the dunes on his way to Chile / Barreira

Dakar competitors were back on the trail again Sunday following a rest day on Saturday. Completion of Stage 8 signifies the 15-day rally is now more than half finished.

STAGE 7
On Friday, competitors traveled a 247-mile connection route and a 260-mile special stage from Mendoza, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile.

Chilean Francisco Lopez (KTM) won the stage, 3min57 ahead of Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM) and 5min21 ahead of France’s Cyril Despres (KTM).

In the quad race, Argentine Marcos Patronelli (Can-Am) won the seventh stage, 14min01 ahead of Uruguayan Luis Henderson (Suzuki) and 20min22 in front of Poland’s Rafal Sonik (Yamaha).

STAGE 8
Competitors spent Sunday traveling 222 connection miles and a 183-mile special stage from Valparaiso to La Serena, Chile.

French motorcyclist Cyril Despres (KTM) clinched his second stage win in this edition of the Dakar. He finished the stage 1min49 ahead of Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM) and 2min56 ahead of Chile’s Chaleco López (KTM).

In quads, Czech rider Josef Machacek (Yamaha) clinched his third stage victory, 2min51 ahead of Argentina’s Marcos Patronelli (Can-Am) and 7min00 ahead of the French rider Hubert Deltrieu (Polaris).

MOTORCYCLE OVERALL STANDINGS
Coma (ESP)…KTM…30hr33min15
Fretigne (FRA)…Yamaha…+1hr06min28
Despres (FRA)…KTM…+1hr33min34
Street (USA)…KTM…+1hr39min07
Ullevalseter (NOR)…KTM…+1hr42min24
Viladoms (ESP)…KTM…+1hr55min42
Lopez (CHL)…KTM…+2hr00min38
Rodrigues (PRT)…KTM…+2hr03min57
Casteu (FRA)…KTM…+2hr06min56
Verhoeven (NLD)…KTM…+2hr22min17

ATV OVERALL STANDINGS
Machacek (CZE)…Yamaha…41hr11min25
Patronelli (ARG)…Can-Am…+2hr30min23
Sonik (POL)…Yamaha…+4hr48min30
Avendano (ESP)…Suzuki…+5hr46min31
Pottier (FRA)…Can-Am…+9hr36min36
Brazina (CZE)…Yamaha…+9hr42min47
Deltrieu (FRA)…Polaris…+10hr01min30
Carlini (FRA)…Polaris…+14hr22min11
Pena (ESP)…Yamaha…+15hr19min22
Kraft (FRA)…Polaris…+16hr26min52

Seventy-three motorcyclists and 11 quad riders have withdrawn from the rally after eight stages.
dakarmap

Kawasaki Leaving MotoGP?

January 8, 2009

Kyodo News International and the AFP news service both are reporting that

Anthony West in action in Catalunya / MotoGP.com

Anthony West in action in Catalunya / MotoGP.com

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. is considering withdrawing from MotoGP racing to cut down on expenses amid the global economic slowdown.

While the OEM has yet to formally comment on the matter, a Kawasaki official, speaking on condition of anonymity, reportedly told AFP “The issue is under consideration.”

Kawasaki entered MotoGP in 2002. Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Ducati participated in the series during the 2008 season.

Honda previously announced that it would not participate in the 2009 AMA Superbike series.