Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

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…)

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…)

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

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…)

Study: Updated Roads Would Help Protect Cyclists

February 25, 2009

A study recently completed in Germany indicates that the estimated 313 million motorcycle and scooter

The city government in Elk River, MN calls this a pothole.

The city government in Elk River, MN calls this a pothole.

riders around the world would be made safer if governments improved the design and condition of roadways.

Following an analysis of fatal accidents on Germanys road network, Professor Juergen Follmann of the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt came to the conclusion that motorcycle safety often is linked to the conditions of the road infrastructure.

I can vouch for that. Here in Minnesota, where roads heave and crack under severe temperatures, motorcycling early in the springtime carries a great amount of risk. If you’re not dodging six-inch-deep potholes or crumbling expansion joints, you’re plowing through tar or slipping on rubberized sealants. Not exactly what you want to be doing while traversing a cloverleaf.

Then there’s the issue of highway barriers, or crash barriers. I have a friend who, while traversing a

Affixing a similar sized steel strip to the bottom of this barrier may reduce injuries and death.

Affixing a similar sized steel strip to the bottom of this barrier may reduce injuries and death.

double apex curve, lost the rear end and slid into the barrier, wedging both he and the bike between the corrugated steel barrier and the roadway. In an instance such as that, both the corrugated steel barrier and the posts supporting the barrier cause greater harm than good to a downed motorcyclist. The solution: affixing two corrugated barriers, one on top of the other.

There has been much written about the relationship between roadway infrastructure and motorcyclist safety. Here are a few of the many links worth perusing about the subject:
European Agenda for Motorcycle Safety

Austrialia Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Consumer Reports Tests Two-Wheelers

February 5, 2009

As scooter and small-displacement motorcycle sales spiked last summer, the crew over at Consumer Reports took a look at the number of new and returning riders climbing back on two-wheels and figured it was time to start testing scooters and motorcycles for the first time since 1981.

Dealernews talked with OEMs to learn what they think of the out-of-the-industry coverage. Click here to read the responses.

Want to see a video about how Consumer Reports tested six scooters and two motorcycles for the magazine’s March issue? Click here.

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.

‘Clean’ Cycles Prepping for Isle of Man TTXGP

January 28, 2009

History will be made on June 12 when the Isle of Man hosts the TTXGP – a time trial competition open only to two-wheelers powered by clean emissions technologies.
ttxgp_logo1
Concocted by British entrepreneur Azhar Hussain, the TTXGP (Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix) is scheduled to be held on the legendary Isle of Man Mountain Course, a 37.733-mile circuit with over 200 corners, following the traditional Isle of Man TT.

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. Racing teams are likely to be backed by international corporations, universities and high tech institutions, 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.

Not only an event for well-funded corporations, the TTXGP also will offer an “Open” class race for innovative cottage teams who are interested in experimenting with alternative energy sources. These teams will be required to (more…)

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

Dealernews Rides the Vectrix VX-1E & VX-2

January 24, 2009

Electric two-wheeler specialist Vectrix Corp. last week unveiled its VX-1E and entry-level VX-2 scooters, two units that join the flagship VX-1 in the company’s line-up. I rode the two new models this week during a visit to the company’s headquarters facility in Rhode Island.

Vectrix’s VX-1 was introduced in 2007. The 2009 VX-1 will have refreshing new graphics in four colors:

2009 VX-1

2009 VX-1

white/burgundy red, white/metallic silver, white/sapphire blue and white/acid green. The unit weighs in at 515 pounds, has a 60-inch wheelbase and 30-inch seat height, and is outfitted with premium parts like Pirelli tires, a Marzocchi fork, Sachs rear shock and Pro Grip grips.

The only highway-legal electric scooter, the bike has a top speed of 62 mph, acceleration from 0-50 mph in 6.8 seconds, and an average range of 30-55 miles on a single charge. The aluminum-frame unit also features regenerative braking, which uses the energy absorbed by braking to recharge the batteries.

The newly introduced VX-1E uses the same platform and drive train as the original VX-1, yet features a

2009 VX-1E

2009 VX-1E

lower price point and slightly less acceleration and top speed. The difference in price and output comes as a result of its lead-acid batteries versus the VX-1’s nickel metal hydride batteries. Both models plug into a standard 110V/220V outlet, but only the VX-1 also offers regenerative braking.

The VX-1 models are full-size scooters, and feature handling and ergonomics similar to many of the other maxi-scoots I’ve piloted. Since they’re electric, they’re not the fastest scoots, but power lost on the top end is made up in off-the-line acceleration.

I’m 5’10” with a 32-inch inseam and sitting on the stock seat had me balanced on the balls of my feet at a standstill. However, using the lower and narrower accessory seat allowed me to plant both feet firmly on the ground. As for storage space, there’s not much on either unit – due to the eight-foot electrical cord stowed under the seat – but there is room for one full-faced helmet and a top case is available as an accessory.

The VX-2 was designed to be the electric equivalent of a 50cc internal combustion engine bike. It has a

2009 VX-2

2009 VX-2

weight of 429 pounds, a wheelbase of 54.5 inches and seat height of 29.9 inches. It features a 40-50 mile range, 30 mph top speed, and a 48V/20A battery charger that plugs into a standard 110V/220V outlet.

Sourced from China, the VX-2 is similar to the E-Max electric scoot yet carries styling to make it an undeniable part of the Vectrix family. The ergonomics and output are similar to gas-powered four-stroke 50cc units – convenient for putt-putting along surface streets or first-time riders but lacking any real excitement for experienced operators. A “boost’ button that draws more power for increased output to aid hill-climbing ability is a welcome feature, although overuse of it will drain the unit’s battery in a jiffy.

Vectrix’s plans for 2009 also include a new line of accessories for its VX-1 and VX-1E, among them: the previously mentioned lower, narrower seat and top case, a sport windshield about 7 inches lower than standard for riders who like the feel of wind in their face, and a winter windshield nearly 9 inches wider than standard.

The VX-1E is expected to arrive at dealerships in April with an MSRP of $8,495. The VX-2 is to be shipped in June with an MSRP of $5,195.

The 3-wheeled prototype uses an "H" shaped front suspension initially designed by the former Italjet.

The 3-wheeled prototype uses an "H" shaped front suspension initially designed by the former Italjet.

The Superbike prototype was unveiled in 2006 at the EICMA show in Milan.

The Superbike prototype was unveiled in 2006 at the EICMA show in Milan.

Visit Vectrix USA for more information.