California just moved closer to codifying lane-splitting in its vehicle code, as California Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51) just passed the California State Senate Transportation Committee, with a 11-0 vote.
This means that AB 51 now will go before the State Senate Appropriations Committee, before it can be presented to the Senate floor.
For those who don’t recall AB 51, the bill aims to codify lane-splitting into the California Vehicle Code, and the bill expressly permits state actors, like the California Highway Patrol (CHP), in developing and teaching educational guidelines for safe lane-splitting.
After seeing the region devastated by earthquakes, the Honda factory in the Kumamoto Prefecture is slowly coming back online. The Kumamoto factory (seen above, before the earthquake) has been offline since April 14th, though resumed minor operations on May 6th.
Honda says it has finally completed removal of debris from its most affected facilities; and as of June 6th, the company has partly resumed production of its main motorcycle models.
This is of particular note for American motorcyclists, as it means that Honda can once again being producing the Honda Africa Twin adventure-tourer, which was mid-production for the US market at the time of the earthquakes.
The adorable pocket-sized motorcycle that won our hearts in 2013, the Honda Grom, is getting an update for the 2017 model year, and it’s headed to American soil as well.
As such, the 2017 Honda Grom sees the “monkey bike” getting a visual refresh (now available with more neon) and restyled fairings. Other changes include an LED headlight, flip-key, sportier handlebars, underslung exhaust, revised tail section, and higher passenger seat.
Available in August 2016, and priced at $3,199 MSRP, this modest model refresh should help the Grom compete with Team Green’s latest entry, the Kawasaki Z125 Pro.
The news is official now, the radical looking Yamaha MT-10 will be coming to the USA as the Yamaha FZ-10 street bike. Originally debuting at the 2015 EICMA show in Milan, the streetfighter model takes the current generation Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, and turns it into a 160hp asphalt-eating street machine.
Since it has race track DNA, the Yamaha FZ-10 tips the scales at paltry 463 lbs, when fully fueled and ready to ride. The FZ-10 comes with a four-level traction control system, different throttle modes, and cruise control – because sometimes you want to be a law-abidding citizen.
Priced at $12,999 MSRP and available in “Armor Grey” or “Matte Raven Black” color schemes, American motorcyclists can expect to see the 2017 Yamaha FZ-10 at their location Yamaha dealership later this month.
Riding a motorcycle in California is pure bliss. Motorcyclists benefit from the state’s perpetual sunshine, its gold-kissed coasts, and of course lane-splitting for two-wheelers. Lane-splitting in California, from a legal stand-point, is sort of awkward though.
There is no law that grants motorcyclists the privilege of lane-splitting, but that doesn’t really matter when it comes to the California Vehicle Code (CVC), since there is also no provision that prohibits it.
I wouldn’t say lane-splitting in California is legal only by a technicality, but the Golden State would benefit from some more formalized words on the practice, beyond the CVC’s default that all motorists should operate their vehicles in a “safe and prudent” manner.
That might change this year though, as Assembly Bill 51 (last year’s attempt to codify reasonable lane-splitting rules) is getting an update. This is both good and bad news.
Donington Park has become the personal playground of 2013 World Superbike champion Tom Sykes.
The Yorkshire rider has now claimed an incredible eight wins in a row at his home circuit, and after Sunday’s races Sykes explained how much it meant and also what it means going forward.
In this debrief, Tom Syke’s crew chief, Marcel Duinker, offers his insight into whether Sykes has an advantage at Donington Park due to his riding style.
Also of note this weekend was the addition of new riders to the WorldSBK grid, as for the majority of last year PJ Jacobsen was the sole American riding in the WorldSBK paddock, but last weekend the numbers swelled to three, with Cameron Beaubier joining the Superbike Circus.
The MotoAmerica champion aquitted himself well and we will assess what it means for MotoAmerica, having him race against some of the world’s finest.
When opportunity comes knocking, it is a fool who does not open the door. That is especially true when the opportunity is as unique as the chance to race at a World Championship level event.
Given the chance to shine on the world stage, you have to take that shot. So when Cameron Beaubier was asked to replace the injured Sylvain Guintoli inside the Pata Yamaha team for the Donington round of World Superbikes, I cannot imagine that he hesitated for very long before jumping at the chance.
As commendable as Beaubier’s choice is, it comes with some considerable risk. Not just to the reputation of Beaubier himself, but also to the standing of American motorcycle racing in the world.
As arguably the best motorcycle racer in MotoAmerica, the US domestic championship, his performance will be weighed on a silver scale, and used as a yardstick for the standard of racing in the US. The hopes and dreams of many a young American racer may lie fallow if Beaubier falls short.
Is it fair that the weight of responsibility should fall so heavily on Beaubier’s shoulders? Absolutely not. Yet fair or not, that is what will happen.
The reasons for this lie in the historical strength of US racing, and the important role it has had in the history of both the MotoGP and World Superbike championships.
When Yamaha debuted the MT-10 at EICMA last year, it was a polarizing machine and we weren’t quite sure what to make of it. An homage to the Dank Wheelies generation, the MT-10 is not your father’s FZ1.
We thought the borders to the United States had been fortified against the Yamaha MT-10, but recent filings with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) show that the now-called Yamaha FZ-10 will be a 2017 model in the USA.
American race fans will see a familiar face during next weekend’s World Superbike races at Donington Park, as its has just been announced that MotoAmerica’s Cameron Beaubier will be ridng with the Pata Yamaha factory team.
Cameron Beaubier will be filling in for the injured Sylvain Guintoli, who fractured his ankle during the Superpole session at the Imola round – an injury that is taking longer to heal than expected.
While it’s bad news for the Guintoli, the move is a boon for Beaubier, as the weekend will likely serve as a public audition for the young American in the World Superbike paddock.