Attention female readers, if you can spare €500 ($683 USD), and can manage to pay your way to Spain’s Almeria circuit, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), together with its Women’s Commission (CFM), wants to provide you training for road racing motorcycles.
In partnership with BMW Motorrad and Bike Promotion, there will be a series of training camps will run from February 17th through the 19th — with 3 total days of instruction, training, track sessions and workshops. Hotel accommodations, meals, tires, fuel, etc included. Participants will ride BMW’s S 1000 RR during the event.
There is an easy and quick way to lighten your bike, lower its center of gravity, and marginally improve its dynamic performance for $200 or less: the starter battery.
Lead-acid, absorbed gas mat, and gel batteries have been around for years now, and while they provide cheap, reliable, and robust performance, they are obtrusively heavy and large.
In terms of packaging and placement, most bikes have them mounted high and away from the center of gravity; basically, it’s like carrying around a brick at arm’s length all day.
Luckily, the market for starter batteries has been moving in the direction of new battery technologies with the latest iterations utilizing lithium iron phosphate chemistries.
These batteries are not plagued with the same issues that lithium ion batteries faced (read: exploding when cycled improperly), and are more environmentally friendly and theoretically last longer than the equivalent lead-acid or AGM battery.
We had two companies send us their most popular models for testing and we came away impressed with the weight savings, performance, and overall value that they had to offer.
The “BMW rider” is almost its own class of rider in the United States. You know the type: usually white, male, greying or white hair, maybe a pair of glasses and a sweet $1,000 Schuberth flip-up helmet to top it off. Ah, and don’t forget the well-worn-in Roadcrafter in blue with fluorescent yellow accents. As for the bike, it has got to the venerable GS.
Of course we are speaking generalities here, but as it turns out, that stereotypical demographic is also BMW’s most lucrative. The latest sales statistics from BMW Motorrad USA show the BMW R1200GS to be the company’s best selling motorbike in the states with over 2,000 sold.
With BMW Motorrad USA selling 14,100 motorcycles in total for 2013), the R1200GS has thus unseated the S1000RR as the best selling BMW motorcycle in the USA.
Last week we reported that 2013 was BMW’s best sales year ever, and now here comes the Bavarian Motorrad division’s biggest rival, KTM, with a sales report that ups the ante by 8,644 bikes.
For 2013, KTM’s worldwide sales reached 123,859 bikes (BMW’s record was 115,215). This is a 15.6% increase over the previous year, with an expected 17.0% increase in revenue as well.
The Riverside Art Museum is hosting “The Women’s Motorcycle Exhibition,” an exhibit featuring the photography of Lanakila MacNaughton until March 16th. The Portland-based photographer is also motorcyclist and wanted to capture a female-centric perspective on the colorful and wild side of motorcycling that is either underrepresented or misrepresented in this male-dominant culture.
Lanakila’s portraits show women embodying roles that are typically reserved for male motorcyclists, including images where a male takes on the role of pillion passenger in an obvious gender reversal. Another interesting set of images depicts a desert road scene where two barely dressed ladies (save for the stickers on their breasts) ride missionary (a la Kanye’s “Bound 2” music video).
We were excited by the potential for this exhibit to further the conversation around reimagining the role of women in motorcycling. Although the number of women riders in the U.S. is increasing, in marketing and in product development women are still considered a niche demographic.
There is not much space in the culture for women to stand on their own without being coddled or catered to by patronizing marketing gimmicks or feeling ogled by every dude on the road. Simply developing bikes with lower seat heights and apparel with pink and purple flower schemes is not going far enough to really opening the doors of the industry guys’ club.
Just days after issuing a North American recall for 50,000+ of their motorcycles, BMW Motorrad issued a press release to talk about its successful sales sales volumes. For 2013, BMW achieved its third all-time sales high of 115,215 vehicles, an 8.3% increase over the previous year. Of that total, 14,100 were sold in the United States.
Erik Buell Racing has its sights set on the other side of the Atlantic. To expand brand awareness and distribution on the continent, they have opened up an office in Alkmaar, Netherlands. The move is also aimed at promoting their participation in the 2014 FIM World Superbike Championship with riders, Geoff May and Aaron Yates.
With Hero MotoCorp holding a near 50% stake in EBR, it also seems like a move for Hero to expand its marketing and distribution of it’s own products to the European market.
With Hero intending to bring its bikes to the North American market in 2014, an expansion in the European market, if successful, could solidify its brand recognition in the Western world, especially amongst younger riders or commuters looking for a cheaper pair of wheels to get around.
Bay Area start-up Lit Motors specializes in creative vehicle concepts. Their most recent project, the Kubo, takes the urban-utility concept in a direction that emphasizes low center of gravity luggage carry, ease of portage, and accommodative ergonomics.
The folks at Lit call it a “pickup truck on two wheels” and by setting the rider further back on the chassis, nearly over the rear wheel, the Kubo creates a centrally located void in the chassis that serves as the cargo holding bay.
The idea is that with additional accessories such as straps, tie-downs, netting and bungee cords, people will be able to easily and effectively transport more of their stuff around town, without upsetting the balance or rideability of the machine.
On November 21st, they launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Kubo, aimed at raising an ambitious $300,000 in just 30 days. As many of you problem know, Kickstarter is an online fundraising platform designed allow individual consumers the chance to invest money in people and ideas that they believe in. If the goal is not met, then the team behind the idea or project gets nothing.
With the Kubo, as the weeks progressed, it became clear that the campaign was not going to meet its goals. By December 21st, Lit had only managed to raise $57k with 166 backers.
The recent failure of Lit Motors to meet their Kickstarter goal, raises big questions about how effective Kickstarter can be for small businesses creating big products.
MIT Professor Dava Newman wants to build better astronaut suits. The modern spacesuit, while highly protective and functional, presents unique problems with regards to the pressures exerted on the human body.
Prof. Newman’s research, with the help of the Dainese Technology Center and with the backing of NASA, aims to highlight specific problem areas for redesign the body and suit interface.
With the resources available at D-Tec in Italy, MIT engineer Allison Anderosn along with Dainese engineers have created a suit undergarment that utilizes sensors to detect pressure points (impact and abrasion).
The results of the study will be made available to other space agencies, with the Russian space agency being among the first to benefit.
After going pro in 2006 at the age of 16, Josh Herrin impressed many by racking up wins in the AMA Supersport and AMA Daytona Sportbike series – with 2013 seeing Josh win the AMA Pro Superbike Championship, America’s crown jewel of road racing.
Most recently, he has joined the Caterham Moto2 team, making him the first American athlete to make the jump from AMA to Moto2. I recently got to sit down with Josh Herrin to talk about his life and his racing career. The transcript from our conversation follows.
Arizona-based Local Motors is a design and engineering company that fosters and utilizes community-sourced designs and ideas to pursue relevant real world solutions to transportation problems.
By leveraging a community of “co-creators” from around the world, the company is able to bring concepts to life through prototyping and fabrication in their micro-factories, and is best known for its Rally Fighter off-road coupé.
The team’s latest endeavor is the Local Motors Cruiser, an attempt at incorporating the vintage board track aesthetics into a motorized bicycle format. Designed by Romanian designer Ianis Vasilatos the Cruiser comes in two powertrains.
The electric brushless system that gets you about 20 miles of range with the option of adding a second battery to get an additional 20 miles (your mileage my vary, of course); top speed is limited to 27mph. Meanwhile, the gas-powered version uses a 50cc Honda motor and a 0.6 gallon tank to achieve a limited top speed of 34 mph and a theoretical range of 70 miles.