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Indian’s heavyweight models aren’t really our cup of tea, though we do get an immature chuckle when we hear them talk about their “Thunder Stroke” engine platform. Childish jokes aside, some interesting news caught our eye about the American brand’s 2019 models.

Included as part of the 2019 Indian Chief, Springfield, and Roadmaster models is a number of new features, the most interesting of which is the inclusion of rear-cylinder deactivation.

We have seen this technology most recently in the World Superbike Championship (and it is no stranger in the land of four wheels), where manufacturers deactivate cylinders mid-corner to improve bike’s response during partial throttle applications.

Indian is using this concept in a different way though – one that will be more applicable to riding on the street.

I got an interesting email today from a startup company with a “revolutionary” new helmet concept. No, it wasn’t that motorcycle helmet startup, but the aftermath of Skully does make anyone wanting to swim in this space drip with a bit of radioactivity.

Instead in this case, Feher Helmets hopes to bring air conditioning to a helmet near you. To do this, Feher takes a relatively simply concept, and applies it in a way that no one else is doing in the market.

The Feher ACH-1 is pretty simple, though I am sure the technology behind it takes a bit more skill and engineering to execute. As you would expect, the cooling unit is a small and efficient heat pump, which turns hot air into cold, and then pushes it into the helmet shell.

Using air channels and mesh fabric (note the lack of air vents on the shell design), the cool air then moves around the rider’s head, where it obviously lowers the head’s surface temperature.

The concept of an auto-clutch is nothing new, and for dirt bike riders, products like those produced by Rekluse are virtually common place. But, on the sport bike side of things, the use and adoption of this technology is still relatively young. We have seen scooters and other small-displacement machines use continuously variable transmission (CVT) technology before, and Honda is currently proudly touting its dual-clutch transmission (DCT) on several of its models, the latest being the new Honda Gold Wing, but what about the rest of the market? Today we see that MV Agusta is the first brand to strike back in this space, debuting its “Smart Clutch System” (SCS) – an automatic clutch designed with sport bikes in mind, making it an option on the marque’s MV Agusta Turismo Veloce Lusso sport-tourer.

If you were reading other moto-news sites this week – first of all, shame on you – then you would have noticed much noise being made about Ford Motor Company applying for a patent on detection technology for when a motorcycle is lane-splitting between cars. What you didn’t notice, along with those other publications, is that this is nothing new from Ford, as the American automobile manufacturer was already granted a patent for this technology over a year ago. Much ado about nothing? Not quite, but the story isn’t remotely close to what was being reported elsewhere. In fact, this news of Ford’s lane-splitting patent strategy is much bigger, and much more important, than what has been in the media thus far.

It has to be the weirdest motorcycle yet, if you can even call it that (some don’t), but it is also luridly intriguing. we are of course talking about the Yamaha NIKEN (read the ride review here, by the way). A mullet of machines, the NIKEN is business in the front, and party in the back, with its dual 15-inch front wheels mated to a grand total of four conventional fork tubes, via an elaborate parallelogram linkage, while the 17-inch rear wheel spins from a more conventional swingarm design. This is because from behind the headstock, things get a bit more familiar, with a chassis that is built mostly from steel tube, and a swingarm that comes from cast aluminum. The motor is a revised version of the three-cylidner engine that is found in the Yamaha MT-09.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZqePriZYg8

You are driving down a road with questionable conditions, and as you round a bend, you see a minefield of gravel the path of your motorcycle. For anyone who has ridden the backroads of America, this scenario should be one that is familiar, and while a certain amount of rider skill can navigate you to safety, if you hit a gravel patch while leaned-over, the physics simply aren’t on the side of the motorcycle. According to the CNET though, the folks at Bosch want to change that, and it seems that Bosch has a novel concept in the works – straight from NASA and the space program. The idea is both simple and complex. It is compressed gas thrusters.

For quite some time now, manufacturers have been focusing on this concept called the “last mile” – the idea that the final mile of a daily commute will have to be undertaken with something other than an automobile.

Driving this concern is the vehicle crackdown in urban centers, with cities like London, Paris, and others already creating congestion zones for their city centers, which all but outlaw the ability for one to commute via car into a downtown area.

Mass transit is surely filling this void, as are taxis, but we have also seen a shift towards two-wheeled solutions. That is where today’s story kicks in, as Ford is looking at its own city center solution, patenting a car concept that has a built-in motorcycle.