Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Race Replica Scoots We’re Not Getting

September 27, 2009

File this under cool stuff we’re not getting in the U.S.: Three 50cc scooters wrapped in race livery that are sure to be a hit with sportbike enthusiasts looking for alternative surface street transportation.

Inspired by Valentino Rossi and the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP racing team, the Aerox Team Yamaha Race Replica (top), powered by a liquid-cooled two-stroke 50cc engine, is wrapped in the new-for-2009 paint and graphics to match the racing livery of the YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.

The Gilera Runner Marco Simoncelli Replica (middle) is powered by a 50cc liquid-cooled two-stroke engine delivering 5.4hp and features livery similar to that of the 250cc MotoGP World Champion’s factory racebike.

The Malaguti Phantom F12R Ducati Corse Superbike (bottom), available in 50cc liquid or air-cooled two-stroke versions, is the latest in a line of scoots made available via a licensing agreement between Ducati and Malaguti. Also available: the Phantom F12R Bayliss Limited Edition and the Phantom F12R Ducati Team version.

I saw all three of these units during a recent trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany. The bikes depicted in the photos were for sale at motorcycle dealerships adjacent to the world-famous racetrack.
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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.

Aprilia Fastest Bike at Pikes Peak … Again

July 30, 2009

The formal results are in: Piloting a 2009 Aprilia SXV550, Davey Durelle was the fastest motorcycle up the hill at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on July 19.PikesPeak_logo

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, first held in 1916, features a course that climbs 12.42 miles, has 156 turns and starts at 9,390 ft. climbing to over 14,000 ft. Durelle completed the treacherous run in an astounding 11:48.649 minutes. It was his 13th personal victory at the event and the second year in a row he took the title of fastest motorcycle on the mountain.

Durelle finished a split second ahead of Gary Trachy aboard a 2008 KTM SMX. Both raced in the 750cc class.

PikesPeak1Durelle grabbed the hole shot and lead for the first two miles before Trachy made a pass for the lead. Trachy stretched his lead to five seconds before Durelle used the power of the SXV to close the gap in the wide open dirt section and re-passed him for the lead less then a mile from the summit. Durelle and Trachy battled side by side to the top finishing a mere .094 seconds apart – one of the closest finishes in the history of the event.

Davey Durelle is sponsored by Aprilia USA, Dunlop Tire, Arai, Spider Grips, Scotts Performance, Victory Circle Graphixs and Erico Motorsports (a Dealernews Top 100 dealer).

The fastest ATV on the mountain was a 2008 Honda 450 piloted by Michael Coburn with a time of 12:18.858 minutes.

My House Wine: CorsaVino

June 30, 2009

A couple of months ago I reported on CorsaVino – a wine brand of limited availability launched by Arun Sharma, the general manager of MotoCorsa in Portland.

t4Well, today I received my shipment of Sharma’s 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Mostro Rosso, limited to a production of 98 cases and retailing for $314 by the case or $29 by the bottle; and 2005 Syrah, limited to a production of 217 cases and retailing for $292 by the case or $27 by the bottle.

Mmmm, now to deal with the most difficult decision. After all, being a wine enthusiast is a bit like being a collector of motorcycles: Do you drink/ride the product or do you not drink/ride the product?

Victory Lays Down the Hammer … S

June 15, 2009

I picked up a 2009 Victory Hammer S from Polaris HQ today, June 15. I’ve noticed this particular bike is about Victory performance, and that my sportbike has tire envy.

2009 Victory Hammer S

2009 Victory Hammer S

After rolling 200 miles during the first few hours after pick-up, I do have a few qualms about riding position (see future posts). Of course, I’m traditionally more of a sportbike rider, so anything I ride foot-first seems a bit odd.

Still, this is the best of the four Victory I’ve ridden for an extended period of time. It accelerates impressively (for (more…)

Pre-Owned Products Prove Popular

May 23, 2009

Anyone who frequents franchise powersports dealerships has likely noticed an expansion in the pre-owned inventory on display, but another recent retail trend is the increasing number of businesses popping up all over the country that specialize only in pre-owned motorcycles.

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Dealing in pre-owned bikes is an especially compelling business venture at the moment, as the sour economy has dried up consumer credit opportunities for customers who have the desire to ride but are having a tough time obtaining credit on higher priced new models retailed by franchise dealerships. This bodes especially true in the sportbike marketplace, as many buyers of sportbikes tend to be younger, and thus representative of the main demographic suffering from the credit crisis.

Here in Minneapolis, there’s a new pre-owned shop called Simply Sport Bikes (SLXi). The endeavor, run by fellas named Brian Cox and Matt Johnson, grew out of a pre-owned luxury automobile business Cox has with his father.

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Pics by momentumphoto.net

I recently stopped at SLXi to take a look at the operation. Cox, a long-time cycle enthusiast, told me he felt adding sportbikes as a sister venture to the luxury auto business could be an equally profitable and exciting opportunity. So, he hooked up with friend and long-time cycle technician Johnson and opened shop.

Johnson served as a franchise dealer tech and is the former of Full Power Cycle in Hopkins, Minn., a service-only operation.

Advertising the business is done two ways: through sponsorship of the Minnesota Sportbike Riders online forum (MNSBR.com) and, more recently, via 30-second ads run on local television. For SLXi, while the TV ads have managed to attract a larger audience, the MNSBR.com forum – a direct link to local sportbike enthusiasts – has proved to be a particular boon. For example, two weeks ago, the two entities teamed up to sponsor a group ride that resulted in an estimated 400 riders meeting at the store. Imagine the sales opportunities inherent in 400 sportbike “customers” in one location at one time.
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SLXi currently has 109 bikes in stock and markets itself as among the largest sportbike-only retailers in the Midwest. Cox says obtaining stock isn’t an issue as advances in motorcycle development allow bikes to run longer with fewer problems, sportbike enthusiasts tend to buy and sell their rides much more often than other cyclists, and a decade of growth in motorcycle sales has brought more bikes into the pre-owned marketplace.

SLXi customers in need of financing are turned on to local banks and credit unions.

Like most sport bike dealers, SLXi does not offer a test drive on motorcycles. However they do offer a test drive “after the fact” – if you want to purchase a bike, you can fill out the documents for purchasing and pay for the vehicle. Once you’ve finalized the documents you can take the bike on a 10-15 minute test drive to ensure that you are comfortable with the machine. If there is anything you don’t like, you can bring the bike back and get a full refund, provided the bike is in the same condition as when it left.

Another SLXi benefit: The store offers “while-u-wait” service on things like accessory Installation, brake services, carb cleaning, chain/sprocket service, fork seal service, inspections, oil change, and tire mounting and balancing. “It’s kind of like the Jiffy Lube business model,” Cox says. “The customer brings the bike in and Matt takes care of it for them so they can be on the road again as quickly as possible.”

Parts, garments and accessories are procured from distributors Tucker Rocky and Western Power Sports.

I recently wrote a lengthy article about another successful pre-owned-only retailer, All Pro Motorsports in Wisconsin. Check out All Pro’s story HERE.

AGV Protects Jordan’s Skull

May 19, 2009

Michael Jordan showed up at last weekend’s fifth round of the AMA Superbike series at Infineon Raceway to support his team, as is usual for the motorcycle fan.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Jordan, after watching qualifications on Friday, jumped on a bike (a Ducati Multistrada) and went for a ride in the beautiful countryside of Sonoma protected with an AGV helmet.

The helmet on Jordan’s bean was one of the many helmets from the National Guard Jordan Suzuki Racing Experience: the 2-Up program sponsored by Dainese and AGV.

The 2-Up program, during which all riders participating are protected head-to-toe with Dainese leathers, gloves, boots and AGV helmets, provides an exclusive on-track experience for members of the media and other selected guests at each round of the AMA National Guard Pro Racing Superbike Series.

Learn more about Dainese and AGV here.

Brammo Tests TTXGP Racer

May 12, 2009

Brammo, a privately held start-up manufacturer of electric vehicles, plans to take part in the upcoming TTXGP – a time trial competition open only to two-wheelers powered by clean emissions technologies – with a bike named the Enertia.

Scheduled for June 12, following the traditional Isle of Man TT, the TTXGP (Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix) is to be held on the legendary Isle of Man Mountain Course, a 37.733-mile circuit with over 200 corner.

The TTXGP was concocted by British entrepreneur Azhar Hussain. Hussain says the event offers an opportunity for leading global innovators in racing and clean emission technologies to compete and prove to the world that being green does not mean being slow. The planned TTXGP will showcase a diverse range of vehicles capable of reaching race speeds. Teams are likely to be backed by international corporations, universities and high tech institutions, but all eager to prove their credentials in clean emission transportation.

“TTXGP is about competitive innovation – pushing the frontier and making the next leap,” Hussain says. Certainly a look, and listen, of Brammo’s test sessions suggest these bikes could indeed represent the future of motorcycling.

Brammo, founded in Ashland, Ore., in 2002, has said it plans to begin sales of the $11,995 Enertia at five Best Buy stores on the West Coast.

Georgia Police Discover $100K Motorcycle Chop Shop

April 29, 2009

Last week a LoJack-equipped 2006 Suzuki GSXR-750 motorcycle was discovered stolen from the owner’s apartment complex parking lot in Georgia. The owner immediately reported the theft and police activated the covert LoJack System. Within three hours, Henry County Police Department officers picked up the LoJack signal and tracked the bike to a house in a rural area. The officer called a detective with a search warrant to the site and inside discovered not only the stolen bike, but other stolen motorcycles – all part of a chop shop operation.

After a lengthy investigation, 18 motorcycles, some from as far away as Alabama, were recovered along with the LoJack-equipped bike. The criminals were stripping the bikes and selling the parts on popular online sites like eBay. Total value of bikes in this theft ring is more than $100,000. Three suspects were arrested and more arrests are expected as part of this major theft ring.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Trenton Dean Mallard, 24, allegedly served as the ringleader and is in custody at Henry County Jail. Mallard was charged with 19 counts of theft by receiving and one count of operating a chop shop.

LoJack says it has achieve a 90 percent recovery success rate over the past 20-plus years, recovering more than $5 billion in stolen assets worldwide.

“These recoveries are great examples of how our proven system continues to benefit society by helping police not only find and recover stolen assets, but moreover break up organized crime rings and arrest the thieves behind these criminal acts,” says Ronald V. Waters, LoJack’s president and CEO. “These recoveries once again demonstrate that LoJack has the right technology and processes in place to effectively recover a wide range of stolen assets. Additionally, our direct integration with police puts recovery exactly where it belongs – in the hands of professionals who can swiftly track down stolen assets and arrest the perpetrators behind the crime.”

Clarkson: A powersports fanatic

April 22, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson, one-third of the presenting team for the top-rated BBC television show Top Gear, was spotted this week atop a Yamaha Waverunner VX110 while on vacation in Barbados.
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As the pictures attest to, the 49-year-old appeared to have enjoyed piloting the 110hp four-stroke PWC as much as driving a 510hp Lamborghini Gallardo.

Last September, photographers spotted the presenter, who often derides motorcyclists, astride a Piaggio scooter near his home in Oxfordshire. Click here to read what Clarkson had to say about his buzz around town on the scoot.