The Grand Prix Commission is to tighten the noose on electronics a little further, in an attempt to prevent cheating. The GPC today issued a press release containing the minutes of their meeting held at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.
There, they agreed restrictions on the ECU, agreed to limit riders in all classes to FIM homologated helmets, and increased the penalty for speeding in pit lane.
The two changes to the electronics are aimed at restricting the ability of teams to alter the data on the official ECU.
The FIM is getting into the helmet certification game, creating a new protocol – as part of the FIM Racing Homologation Programme (FRHP) – to test helmets that are worn in FIM-sanctioned motorcycle races.
Previously, the FIM had relied upon domestic testing criteria, such as DOT standards in the United States, ECE standards in Europe, and SG/JIS standards in Japan.
With those standards varying in how they test motorcycle helmets though, the FIM Technical and Circuit Racing Commissions saw a need to create a single unifying helmet crash test protocol that will be used at any event the FIM sanctions, starting in the year 2019.
With RevZilla joining forces with Cycle Gear and Motorcycle USA shutting down this week, it has been a busy month for the business side of the motorcycle industry. Now we have more news to report, as BRG Sports, owner of the Bell Helmets brand, has sold its action sports business to Vista Outdoor.
The move adds some of the BRG Sport brands: Bell Helmets, Giro, Blackburn, and C-Preme, into Vista Outdoor already extensive lineup of impressive outdoor and shooting brands, such as Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak, and Federal Premium.
Every year Arai Helmet comes out with a highly coveted limited edition lid for the Isle of Man TT; and each year has a different design, with the latest crop coming from the studio of Aldo Drudi.
This year’s design comes on the Arai Corsair-X, a helmet we were very impressed with when we tested it at Thunder Hill last year.
As you can see from the photos, Drudi has emblazoned the Corsair-X helmet with the “TT” logo, as well as the island nation’s Triskelion symbol, which is of three running legs. “Ellan Vannin” is of course the native Manx name for the Isle of Man.
Are you ready for another post about helmets, especially one with integrated technology? Sure you are, Sparky – and you will be happy to learn about this collaboration between Bell Helmets and a company called 360fly.
Like the Nikon KeyMission video camera, 360fly’s system captures everything around the rider in 4k video resolution, and then creates a video that can be viewed from an immersive virtual-reality perspective.
Thanks to a built-in GPS, altimeter/barometer, and accelerometer, the 360fly system is capable of overlaying telemetry data into its video, among a variety of other features. What really separates the unit from the rest though is what is in the pipeline from 360fly.
Another release by BMW Motorrad at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the German company says it is working on a motorcycle helmet with an integrated heads-up display (HUD), thus responding to the call for more advanced helmet technology.
BMW already has this technology in its automotive wings, using an optional HUD system that is projected onto the interior of a vehicles windshield.
Now BMW seems to be taking a page from other players in the helmet space, and is looking to bring HUD technology to its motorcycle offerings with the help of California-based company DigiLens.
With major changes to the technical regulations for MotoGP in 2016, it has taken some time for the FIM to produce a new and revised version of the rulebook.
The first provisional version was made available today, the new rules bringing together all of the new rules agreed over the past few years into a single set of regulations.
Most of the new rules have already been written about during the year, but putting them into a single rulebook helped clarify them greatly.
The biggest changes are to the technical regulations. The abolition of the Open class means everyone is back on a single set of rules. Or rather, nearly everyone.
There are still two types of manufacturers: manufacturers subject to the standard rules, and manufacturers who have not yet had sufficient success, and therefore have been granted a number of concessions.
Those concessions are more limited than the Open class, though, and relate now only to testing and to engine development. Everyone will have the same amount of fuel, the same tire allocation, and everyone will use the same electronics, the spec hardware and the unified software.
Though many fans are disappointed that there isn’t just a single set of rules, the concessions which remain are absolutely vital to the long-term health of the series.
With Honda, Yamaha, and since last year, Ducati, all subject to a freeze on engine development and limited testing, Suzuki and Aprilia (and KTM, when they join the series in 2017) stand a chance of cutting the gap to the more successful factories.
Without concessions, the smaller factories wouldn’t stand a chance of catching the others, especially not a factory with almost limitless resources like Honda. Indeed, without the concessions granted to Ducati, there is a very good chance the Italian factory would have left MotoGP in 2014, after three long years without results.
The previous era, when the factories all competed under a single set of rules, ended up with just 17 bikes on the grid, and manufacturers showing more interest in leaving MotoGP than in joining. That situation has been completely reversed.
A more intriguing change has been the introduction of clear rules on the safety equipment to be used by riders. Back protectors and chest protectors are now compulsory, and minimum standards have been imposed for helmets, leathers, boots and gloves.
Rider safety equipment will now be much more closely regulated and monitored.
Jorge Lorenzo’s helmet issues through the 2015 season have finally caused him to switch brands. The Spaniard today announced he has signed a contract for the next three seasons with the French helmet maker Shark.
Shark have a long history in MotoGP and World Superbikes, having supplied many top riders such as Olivier Jacque, Carl Fogarty, Randy De Puniet, and Troy Corser.
They currently support Aleix Espargaro, Johann Zarco, the Lowes twins Alex and Sam, Tom Sykes, Sylvain Guintoli, Scott Redding and Miguel Oliveira, among others. As such, Shark is an established name in motorcycle racing and a known quantity.
Most Asphalt & Rubber readers are aware of Skully, the San Francisco startup that is making a helmet with an integrated heads-up-display (HUD), and many A&R readers are also aware that Skully is now officially late in delivering its maiden product to the masses.
Finally acknowledging the tardiness to its 2,000 or so early-adopting customers, Skully has released a video (after the jump) explaining its activities, and that the company is on-track for its new delivery date, before the end of the year – or as they say in marketing speak: just in time for Christmas.
Of course we knew back in late-2013, when Skully first announced its helmet, that there was no way the company was going to hit its delivery promise for 2014, though now the company seems in good stead for its new 2015 promise, with an actual office in SF, a deal with Flextronics to make the augmented reality portion of the helmet, and manufacturing tooled-up.
One visor to rule them all, that’s the dream of many motorcyclists that enjoy tinted visors during the day, but want an easy “clear” option for night-time riding.
Until recently, if you wanted to protect your eyes from the sun, most helmet systems required you to have two shields: one clear – for night-time riding, and one tinted – for daytime use.
Not always a convenient or practical solution, we have seen riders resort to wearing sunglasses behind clear visors; or worse, wearing tinted visors at night.
Thankfully, some solutions have emerged from the motorcycle helmet industry, namely transitional visors (as seen from Bell Helmets), which change tint based on the ambient light.
Another technology is electrochromatics, which tints the glass or plastic by applying an electrical current (actually, the electricity makes the cells clear in most use-cases). Helmet startup Skully features this technology on its now vaporware AR-1 helmet design.
Add respected helmet manufacturer AGV to the mix now, as the Italian company debuted its LCD-based AGVisor system in Switzerland last week, though with little fanfare.
I ride bikes for a living, in case you didn’t know this already. I ride more miles on two wheels in a year, than the average American does in their automobile (I put more four-wheel miles down a year than the average American does as well, if that gives you any idea how much of Asphalt & Rubber is written while on the road). With all this riding, I’ve become increasingly concerned over my hearing, as I’d like still to have it when I’m older. Thus for my own personal benefit, I’ve been trying out the different kinds of ear protection that are available to motorcyclists, as well as a variety of helmets from manufacturers (articles surely to ensue).
So when the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America published a study titled “Aeroacoustic Sources of Motorcycle Helmet Noise” in which the various frequencies and decibel levels of helmet-generated noise were measured and tested, I became very interested in the study’s findings. Bear in mind I’m a staunch believer in helmet laws and riding with a full-face helmet (my apologies to the Libertarians in the group), so when the study suggested that my two main concerns regarding my head may be at odds with each other, it piqued my interest.