ADVrider was launched in 2001 to provide adventure motorcycle riders their own dedicated online community. The site was debuted as an adventure riding forum and has grown to become the most visited website in the world for motorcycle enthusiasts. ADVrider currently has over 350,000 registered members who have submitted 33 million original posts. Read more about the story of how ADVrider came to be from our fearless leader, Baldy.
We have now expanded beyond ADV’s roots to become an industry leading media network for the moto community. In addition to the forum, this new ADVrider site will act as an editorial voice for the community and provide users free information on ride reports, bike & gear reviews, first-person rider stories and a variety of other content. We have some big plans and hope you will join us on this ride.
From the comics, to the small screen, to the big screen, Batman has straddled many different versions of his Batcycle through the years. Sometimes fairly conventional, sometimes mindbogglingly unrealistic, Batman brings out the Batcycle whenever his inner Batrebel needs some “me” time. With a new Batman movie in the works, spy shots have surfaced of what may well be the Caped Crusader’s latest two-wheeled steed, and it is, well, a bit boring.
s this the new Batcycle? Credit: variety.com
If I have my Batman history correct, and I probably don’t, some of the original TV Batcycles were Yamaha 250s, making getting to the crime scene somewhat of a lazy affair. This contrasts considerably with the Batpod from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, which looks more like half of a dune buggy than a motorcycle, a result of the fact that the Batpods wheels are actually the front two wheels off of the Tumbler, Batman’s main vehicle of choice in those films.
The latest version of the Batcycle is quite a bit more conventional than the Batpod, but far more beefy than the Yamaha Catalina 250. RideApart.com has pegged the front end as Harley-Davidson FL Softail, but the exhaust note in the accompanying video may or may not be Milwaukee-bred. And, yes, that is Batman’s stunt double laying it down in the wet at the end.
Seeing as Batman’s latest costume looks rather makeshift and pieced together, could this new Batcycle also be nothing more than a conventional motorcycle with a few Bat-cues tacked on? Or is it just a Batratbike that Bruce Wayne cobbled together from old parts for trips to the latest hipster coffee joint?
Only time, and the release of the movie, will tell. Tune in tomorrow, same Bat time, same Bat channel.
You may have already heard about the Lazareth S3 flying motorcycle. That machine made its first appearance in 2019 making a brief verticle flight with Lazareth CEO Ludovic’s girlfriend aboard.
In 2016, prior to the S3, Lazareth also rolled out the LM 847 a 4 wheeled tilting motorcycle. The LM 847 housed a 470 HP Maserati V-8. So it’s no surprise that Lazareth is now offering another more practical version of the LM847.
The LM 410 is another 4 wheeled motorcycle from the French firm.
LM 410 makeup
The new machine is called the LM 410 and is equipped with a less exotic but more manageable 998cc four-cylinder engine from the Yamaha R1. While Lazareth hasn’t released any horsepower or torque outputs, the engine will not be short on power. Yamaha claims around 200 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than enough to make things interesting, but is that a supercharger on the top of the right side of the engine?
The low slung, 4 wheeled, tilting LM 410.
The machine’s weight has not been published. One can easily imagine that it will be much lighter than the Maserati V-8 powered LM 847. That beast came in at nearly 900 pounds. Still, the LM 410 is likely no lightweight.
Is that a supercharger at the top right of LM 410’s engine?
You may have heard the news recently that the Piano Man, Billy Joel, had his house burglarized recently. And there’s something strange about this particular burglary. Although the burglar broke into Joel’s house, the thief didn’t steal anything. All the burglar did was vandalize Joel’s home office and 12 of his motorcycles.
Why would anyone go through the trouble of breaking into Joel’s house and take nothing? Just to vandalize Joel’s bikes? That seems like a big step doesn’t it?
Perhaps not. Perhaps this was the burglar’s way of getting back at Joel for some perceived slight. To make him pay by the loss of something he loves? Hmm.
What if it were you?
But this crime did get me thinking. What would I do if someone broke into where I store our bikes (in case our barn) and stole our motorcycles? Or, perhaps even worse, vandalize them and leave their dripping mangled corpses for me to find.
How would the vandalization or theft of your bike affect you?
I’m sure I’d be really, really angry. I’d also feel violated that someone actually had the nerve to break into my property. Next, I’d call the cops, but the reality of the situation is that they would likely never bring anyone to justice for the crime.
Next to losing someone I love, next in line would be losing my bike. Really. I don’t know what causes that connection. It’s just a machine and can be replaced fairly easily with insurance proceeds.
What’s the connection?
But wow, my connection to that piece of two-wheeled machinery is far greater than just about anything else. Why is that? What connects us so closely with an inanimate object?
Is it the experience it has provided us? Is it the pure pleasure of riding? Is it because it’s something that has carried you to places you need to go or want to go? What connects us so closely to motorcycles? I think its a combination of things but I can’t put my finger on any one thing.
So what about you? What do you think brings us so close to our bikes? Let us know in the comments below.
You read a lot about new-fangled motorcycle safety technology these days: wheelie control, traction control, leaning ABS, blah blah blah. And that’s not even considering the stuff that’s just around the corner, innovations like real-time crash prediction and onboard radar systems. That’s what makes this just-discovered BMW patent seem so … old-school.
This set of drawings, filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (according to Free Patents Online, anyway), is nothing more than a V-shaped assembly that fits behind the front wheel, mounted to the front of the chassis. No complicated electro-wizardry, no airbag, just a chunk of metal (no doubt it’d be carbon-fibre in the special race edition …). The idea according to the patent (read it here, translated from German into English via Google) is to provide a motorized two-wheeler with more stability in a crash. Instead of the wheel pushing to the side, it’s more-or-less held in place as it pushes back. As per Google Translate:
The mount ensures that the front wheel maintains its straight-ahead position in the event of an impact, i.e. it does not twist with respect to the vertical or around the steering axis during the impact. The guide sections prevent lateral deflection and twisting of the front wheel. This ensures »that the distance that can be achieved by the front wheel is maintained in the event of a frontal impact.
Would that keep a rider more safe in a crash? Maybe, maybe not. There’s a lot of high-energy physics at play, and when a two-wheeler comes to an abrupt stop, there are few guarantees as to what happens, especially if there’s another vehicle involved.
Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, utilize an electric motor, battery, and high-tech software to add power to a bicycle rider’s stroke whenever they pedal. Very popular in bicycle-friendly parts of Europe, e-bikes are classed roughly according to top speed, and whether they have a throttle or rely solely on pedaling action to trigger the electric motor assistance. Electric mountain bikes are typically Class 1, which are pedal-assist only and limited to a 20mph assisted top speed. The popularity of electric mountain bikes is steadily rising, and with it, many debates about trail access, safety, and whether these are bicycles or motorcycles.
Some e-bike brands are capitalizing on the blurry line between bicycle and motorcycle by offering their bikes in powersports dealers. Specialized, one of the most popular bicycle brands worldwide, began selling their e-bikes in select powersports dealerships in 2019. Giant Bicycles displayed several e-bikes at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach in 2019, and also sells e-bikes through certain powersports dealers. Yamaha even has their own lineup of e-bikes, typically sold in bicycle shops, but according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, 10% of Yamaha’s e-bike retailers are powersports dealers.
The connection between electric mountain bikes and off-road motorcycles might be obvious to some, but e-bike brands have been careful not to step on the toes of their traditional dealers – the local bicycle shop. Yet the lure of increased sales, and tapping into a new market segment that views a $6000 electric mountain bikes a both a bargain and a great cross-training tool, is too much for some of the brands to resist.
But while the e-bike brands may profit from the increased sales, the powersports dealers need to temper their expectations when it comes to margins and add-ons. Whereas a motorcycle sale can often include a lot of gear, GPS units, extended warranties, and is typically financed, e-bike sales are typically cash, and have far fewer profitable add-ons that go with it out the door. Some extra training in the service department and on the sales floor is also in order for motorcycle dealers looking to sell e-bikes.
How blurry does the line between e-bikes and motorcycles get? Not to be left behind by Yamaha, Harley-Davidson is waiting in the wings with their own line of electric bicycles. If you thought their LiveWire electric motorcycle was a big departure from the storied brand’s traditional portfolio, wait until you see their selection of tasseled Lycra cycling shorts.
Specialized’s Turbo Kenevo electric mountain bike in action.
The great tattle-tale of the moto world, the California Air Resources Board, is telling us Honda’s finally bringing an adventure scooter to the US.
According to Motorcycle.com, Honda has applied to have its ADV150 sold in California, and we can logically infer it’ll be available in the rest of the US as well. Maybe Canada, maybe not, as Canucks still don’t have the new Super Cub or Monkey 125 up there …
The ADV150 is already sold in overseas markets, after being unveiled in Indonesia last July. It’s typical of what Honda’s doing these days, taking a platform that is sellable in both developing and developed markets, and giving it a spin that makes it more interesting (see also: Super Cub, CBR300, Monkey 125). In this case, Honda took the PCX150 scooter and built a more adventurous machine around the engine (it makes roughly 14 hp, 10 lb-ft of torque, in case you wondered). The ADV150 looks like it’s got a bit more ground clearance than the average scooter, and the bodywork is kinda-sorta styled after the much-larger XL-ADV scooter (which is based around the NC750 platform). It weighs just over 290 lb, and comes in either ABS or non-ABS versions overseas. There’s a 14-inch front wheel, and 13-inch rear, 7.4 gallons of storage under the seat, and 2-gallon fuel tank. Of course, it’s got a twist-and-go throttle, with Honda’s V-matic transmission. Front suspension comes from dual telescopic forks, with dual Showa shocks in back.
No doubt pricing would be in the same range as the PCX150, which sells for $3,599 plus tax and fees in the US—don’t be surprised if the ADV150 has a slightly higher MSRP.
Seems it wasn’t that long ago that Triumph unveiled its new Tiger 1200 Alpine Edition and Desert Edition, but as suspected at the time, those are only hold-over models, meant to keep buyers happy while they wait for the next great 1200. It seems that bike is indeed on the way, and development is pretty far along.
This week, UK mag MoreBikes ran photos of what it claims is a new Tiger 1200, out testing on a “secret road route.” It actually appears to be the same place those supposed Tiger 1000 spy shots came from last fall. The spy shot industry is super-sketchy, and for that reason, we won’t run the photos here, but you can check them out at MoreBikes.
What do the photos supposedly reveal? It seems the bike’s had a considerable going-over, with the MoreBikes story listing all the changes and supposed changes seen in the photos. It’s much more than a disinterested re-modeling, which was mostly what the Alpine Edition and Desert Edition were. There’s a new swingarm, new shaft drive, new skid plate, new tank, the engine’s been re-designed, and so on.
Given that this is an Intermot year, you can likely expect this machine to be unveiled at the German show in October, or in the weeks leading up in September. The OEMs seem much more reluctant to spend the big bucks on a show reveal these days, especially Triumph, and given the reach of the Internet, you can’t blame them. Pricing will almost certainly be higher, not just due to the re-design, but also due to updated electronics.
The London metropolitan area has experienced a crime wave of sorts. Scooters and motorcycles are being used to commit crimes. Because of this, the Metropolitan Police are reminding people to secure their bikes.
The Met Police recently released a video to help combat the crimes. The video makes it clear that for the public’s good, owners should “Lock, Chain, Cover” their bikes. Interestingly, the video concentrates on the public’s misfortune as a result of the stolen machine. It doesn’t focus on the owner’s trouble.
The video is in cartoon format and centers on the life of a readily stolen scooter. The following day, the thieves use the scooter in several crimes. Phone grab robberies, smash and grab burglaries, and theft is all part of the day’s activities.
The criminals continue their crimes until police find them after a botched snatching. The Met Police pursue the thieves and use the somewhat controversial tactic of tactical contact to knock the thieves off the scooter.
The closing scene ends with the criminals in handcuffs and the scooter lying on the road. As the screen darkens, the video asks the public to “Help us stop the thieves.” Then, the words lock, chain, and cover appear on the screen. This is to remind bike owners to take extra steps not only to protect their bikes but also to protect the general public.
The video is part of Operation Venice, a crackdown on two-wheel enabled crime and is sponsored by the UK’s Motorcycle Industry Association.
We’ve already shared a couple of bits of news (here, here, here, here) about the ongoing scandal surrounding Norton Motorcycles, as the company has gone into administration (the British way of saying the company can’t pay its bills). Well, this story’s got plenty of legs left yet, with more juicy chatter coming out of the UK, and also more developments at the plant.
First up, the hard news: The local paper is reporting the factory itself has definitely ended production, with 24-hour guards posted, and concrete barriers placed to stop in-out traffic. It’s possible some Norton owners could be trying to get back to the factory to secure machines that were undergoing warranty work, or had been paid deposits on, or whatever. No doubt the whole thing is a mess, for sure, and if allegations are true, it’s been a mess for a long time. Brit mag SuperBike is running a series of articles on the situation, starting with this interview with a former business partner of the CEO.
Is the problem going to be worked out, and can Norton get back in business? According to the financial wizards sorting out the whole situation, “As joint administrators, we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that customers, staff and suppliers are supported through the administration process, as we seek the sale of the business and assets.
“We have had a significant volume of interest and are hopeful that a sale of Norton Motorcycles (UK) Ltd can be secured.”
In other words, they’re trying to sort out who’s owed what, and try to make it right, and people are definitely interested in buying the company. Word on the street is that the luxury cars on the grounds have already been carted off to be sold, which will no doubt help make some ends meet. Already there are names bandied about for possible sales, with one journo at RideApart positing Keanu Reeves would make an ideal buyer for Norton, what with his interest in the brand, in bespoke bikes, and his Commonwealth heritage. It’s a crazy idea, but maybe it’d work?
Would you like to be a motorcycle safety instructor RiderCoach? If so, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (MOHSP) says that Michigan needs more motorcycle safety instructors statewide.
According to MOHSP, nearly 11,000 people enrolled in Michigan motorcycle education classes in 2019. While the need for instructors is statewide the areas of Grand Rapids Community College and Schoolcraft College/Detroit Metro Consortium have the most immediate need.
Instructors a.k.a. “RiderCoaches” can earn between $24 – $35 per hour working for local training sponsors. If you would like to become a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach, you must meet the following requirements:
Be at least 18 years old.
Must have passed a Basic RiderCourse (BRC), the beginning motorcycle class within the last year.
Must have held a motorcycle endorsement for at least one year.
There is a $75 fee to take the RiderCoach Prep Course. But the fee includes all course materials and a minimum of 80 hours in the classroom and on the motorcycle riding range.
RiderCoach training is conducted in association with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). Image credit: MSF
To receive a passing grade for the RiderCoach prep course, participants must attend every scheduled session and pass both a riding skills test and a knowledge test. During the course, participants will learn how to properly evaluate new students and will teach a basic motorcycle safety class under the supervision of an experienced instructor.
There are some interesting rumours circulating about Suzuki, and they paint a slightly conflicted picture.
First up, the semi-annual Hayabusa revival rumours are floating about again. Although the Hayabusa is still an extremely powerful motorcycle, it’s no longer the king of hyperbikes. Kawasaki’s supercharged H2R line has taken that role, and even the latest crop of litre-class superbikes mostly makes around 200 hp, with far less weight than the once-feared ‘Busa.
Word on the street is that Suzuki plans to revamp the Hayabusa, and for at least four years now, we’ve been told it’s coming next season, by supposedly in-the-know insiders.
Well, it hasn’t happened yet. The updated bike is supposedly going to have a semi-auto gearbox, and there are occasionally rumours about a supercharger. Truth? Fiction? Hard to say, but we certainly haven’t seen any spy shots, just an endless stream of patent applications, which really don’t guarantee anything.
On to the next rumour! This week, the hot gossip said Suzuki is planning to end production of the big-bore Burgman 650 scooter, revising the Burgman 400 and rebadging it into a new line. Fact or fiction?
This one is most likely a fairly accurate guess. The Burgman 650 isn’t selling well in some markets, and has been discontinued in others. It’s getting to be an older design, and even though there are few other machines in this bracket, there’s also not a whole lot of people in need of a 650-class maxi-scooter. With BMW now in this market as well, no doubt it’s getting tough to scrap it out for sales. And with the 400 version, it’s a single-cylinder and no doubt would need some tuning changes to meet future emissions regs.
That is, after all, the way the world is going, and Suzuki seems to recognize that—slowly, gasoline-powered motorcycles are being pushed out. Despite the constant demand for new technology and more performance, the reality of market finances make it hard to justify, when you can just crank out an exponentially larger number of small-capacity bikes and sell them like mad in emerging markets. Suzuki’s execs are reportedly wanting to do just that, basically getting out of the big-bike business altogether, which would certainly explain an awful lot about the company’s moves in recent years.
The $328M transaction which does not include vehicle inventory is being financed by Bank of America. In the deal, Fox also agreed to an additional $13M of contingent, performance-based retention incentives for key SCA management over the next two years.
SCA Performance is part of Fox’s acquisition deal. Image credit: SCA Performance
SCA is a leading OEM authorized specialty vehicle manufacturer. Their Trussville Alabama headquarters specializes in light-duty trucks and SUVs. The purchase includes SCA’s three brands, SCA Performance, Rocky Ridge Trucks and Rocky Mountain Truckworks.
Rocky Mountain Truckworks is included in Fox’s $328M deal. Image credit: Rocky Mountain Truckworks
Acquisition is complementary
The acquisition is complementary to its Tuscany business and will expand its North American geographic manufacturing footprint and broaden its product offerings in a growing segment of the powersports industry. Fox says he combination of Tuscany and SCA as part of FOX’s branded portfolio provides it with a leading market position. Additionally, the acquisition creates an opportunity to add FOX products, including lift kits and suspension components, to SCA’s vehicles.
Rocky Ridge Trucks is the final piece of the Fox acquisition puzzle. Image credit: Rocky Ridge Trucks
Fox’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Dennison had this to say about the acquisition:
“We are excited to announce the acquisition of SCA, and believe it presents a substantial opportunity for FOX to further expand its performance-defining aftermarket solutions and continue to drive growth in our Powered Vehicles Group. We look forward to further accelerating our already significant presence in the growing specialty vehicle manufacturing market. We welcome the experienced SCA leadership team and believe they will play an integral part in our Company’s growth going forward.”
SCA’s CEO chimed in as well saying:
“The entire SCA management team is thrilled to join FOX. We have tremendous admiration and respect for the FOX brand, leadership, and culture of providing customers with performance-defining products. As part of FOX we expect to build upon the success of both companies to further expand our market position and product offerings.”
In a nutshell, Fox sees the following strategic and financial benefits:
Bolsters FOX’s Leadership Position in an Attractive Market
Significant Growth Potential:
Compelling Financial Benefits:
Experienced Leadership Team with Strong Track Record:
Reflects FOX’s Commitment to Strategic Investments:
It’s clear that Fox intends to grab as much market share it can and this acquisition is just another indicator of Fox’s intent.
As riders, we have excellent network connectivity choices. We can update loved ones, navigate precisely, and avoid challenges with deteriorating weather and road conditions.
Where will the next decade take us? Time to dream big riders. The sky is literally the limit. First, we’ll review where we are today, then let’s look at the technology on the horizon and finally we can speculate wildly!
A partial map of the internet from 2005 shows just how interconnected we are with the number of devices and paths between them expanding constantly.
Today, our mobile phones provide unprecedented ride intelligence. In urban centers, they remove language barriers and help locate needed services.
Programs for navigation provide simple, near-global route mapping. These packages each have strengths and weaknesses so keeping multiple navigation apps loaded and ready to go is wise.
Wide area terrestrial telecom coverage for adventure riders improves every day but there are many times when we lack LTE coverage. Packages such as maps.me and Google Maps provide offline modes where prior downloaded maps and the inherent GPS capabilities of the device keep us located and navigating. Waze is inherently online and is worth having for use in traffic given its real-time updates, slick user interface and for me, visual integration with Spotify.
Here’s a quick overview of maps.me. I used this navigation app across the steppes in Mongolia and it consistently guided me to my destination even when several similar looking tracks would fan out toward the horizon. The video is for hiking trails but the same applies to obscure tracks in all corners of the globe.
Google Maps is a global standard. Check out Zac’s recent article on Google Maps Updated Look. Oddly, when I rode in Morocco Google Maps simply didn’t work, not even in offline mode. Luckily Waze did work which was a pleasant surprise. Once I had the package on my phone, I enjoyed its slick presentation and real-time updates. Check it out:
I gloss over the fact that throughout Asia, Europe and my travels in North Africa buying a SIM card at every border is a given. Month-long deals are available for the equivalent of 10-20USD. In Morocco, I pulled into the first gas station off the ferry and lined up for my cheap virtual tether to the world.
For the real cheapskates out there (of which I am one) every MacDonald’s on earth has free Wifi and once you are recognized at one you are known to all. When I passed through the Baltics I waited until Germany to buy a SIM card. It’s great to have choices!
For solo riders, who travel beyond LTE coverage, today’s options for “always-on” connectivity are satellite-based. Let’s face it, this is a safety and peace of mind issue for ourselves and loved ones at home. These devices range from affordable simple transmit location plus a pair of status messages (I’m safe, or, Send Help) to expensive voice and low data rate satellite hotspots and phones.
At entry-level, there are good choices. For example, SPOT from Globalstar comes in under 150USD equipment cost with annual subscription packages around the same 150USD mark. Here’s an overview of SPOT (do a local search for SPOT service provider monthly rates in your area). I carried this device and when I’d use it to transmit the occasional “I’m OK” message it was quick and intuitive. The video is a bit goofy but it does give a nice overview of the device.
Move up the cost/functionality curve and check out the Iridium GO which provides a satellite-based hotspot for your mobile phone. The Iridium GO device will cost around 700USD with monthly plans starting at 25USD with many choices in how you expect to connect and use bandwidth.
Here is the Iridium coverage map. It is very Global and is getting a lot of attention in the offshore sailing community.
Iridium Global Connectivity. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iridium_Coverage_Animation.gif
When will the cost/performance curve for satellite connectivity cross over into the mainstream personal telecommunications making the goal of truly global connectivity affordable to adventure riders?
First a review of the technology. In his article, Starlink is a Big Deal, Jeffrey Paul gives a great summary of satellite communications today and how we got here. There are some exciting changes coming from satellite technology. At the turn of the century funding cuts at NASA pushed space exploration into the private sector.
Elon Musk and SpaceX will sling your Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite a few hundred miles into space for a fraction of what it cost a decade ago. Soon, SpaceX Starlink and others: OneWeb, Amazon Blue Origin, and Telesat Canada, will have powerful constellations of LEO satellites orbiting just a few hundred miles above the earth.
These new LEO constellations won’t be the dreary weather sensors and spy eyes of the past, rather some are positioning powerful IP routers in space. LEO constellations minimize delay due to a shorter round trip as compared to geosynchronous satellites which orbit at 27,000 miles above us. These LEO routers will also have deep buffers for data and digital signal processor (DSP) based echo cancellers for voice. Current and previous generations of communications satellites were referred to as “bent pipe”, meaning no onboard processing but these next-generation birds are giving companies like cisco a new market segment.
Back on earth, if adventure riders are to be afforded cheap, ubiquitous, high bandwidth global connectivity it will first have to work for cars. Connected cars would provide the volume to drive costs down. A few years ago, Toyota, working with Redmond Washington based Kymeta said the Satellite connected car would be out this decade. Here’s a news clip from 2017 covering the technology.
Toyotas’ stance on the Satellite connected car has softened recently as regulatory realities, technology challenges, and rapidly expanding xG LTE coverage create strong headwinds for innovators like Kymeta.
As we saw earlier, satellite phones exist today. Iridium devices connect wherever you are on earth. That global connectivity relies entirely on Iridium’s existing constellation of LEO satellites.
But Iridium is still relatively expensive and low bandwidth compared to LTE.
The enabler for increased bandwidth in satellite communication is the ability of higher frequency radio waves to transport greater amounts of data (assuming compression techniques offer similar improvements across the frequency range). Companies like Iridium use relatively low-frequency RF in the 1-2 GHz range. Radio waves in this range may be received and transmitted using a simple, omnidirectional (stick) antenna at individual user endpoints.
For higher frequencies and the ability to provide more bandwidth (all other things being equal) companies like Kymeta want to use frequencies anywhere from 10GHz to 40GHz and beyond. Traditionally, at these higher frequencies, devices had to capture the radio waves and focus the energy using a reflective parabolic satellite dish. These alloy apertures have served as the workhorse of the SATCOM industry for many decades. When you place a parabolic dish on a moving vehicle (land, sea or air) then the gimbal mechanism used to stabilize and point the antenna is bulky and expensive. The image below is actually for communicating “on the pause”. Only then can the antenna deploy, acquire and track the satellite.
Next-generation satellite antennas will capture and form beams of radio waves using flat panels that sense and create (receive and transmit) energy at varying angles. This beamforming and steering alleviates the need for parabolic reflectors and mechanical gimbals and allows designers to integrate antennas into flat, upward-facing surfaces. Mobile phone technology uses these techniques but over relatively short distances today. A great overview of electronic beamforming used in flat panels is given in this short video:
The underlying technology for flat panel antennas is evolving quickly. We talked about Kymeta who uses LCD technology (same as in flat-screen TVs and monitors – a great volume driver). Other companies like Anokiwave in southern California are developing silicon for antenna developers to create arrays for various markets. This boutique silicon is much like what companies such as Intel do for smartphone and computer equipment vendors.
So flat panel technology exists today that can go on the roof of a car and connect that vehicle via satellite to the internet at impressive data rates (multi Mb/s). It is expensive and not all the assets are up in space to give global LTE like service. When will the surface offered by a motorcycle helmet or gas tank be sufficient to form a beam to send and receive data to these soon to be application hungry LEO constellations? My thinking is we are at least a decade away but I suspect there are ADV inmates closer to this technology than me. It would be great to hear your thoughts! Remember, dream big, it’s free.
Finally, designers at Apple, staying true to form, will go it alone on this quest for global access. According to the February 2020 issue of Satellite Mobility World, the Apple approach would offer ubiquitous coverage, albeit at reduced rates, without the need for antenna hardware outside of today’s smartphone package. Is this the winning combination for adventure riders? I for one am quite happy to hear that Apple continues to innovate.
Indian is apparently on the attack and has thrown down the motorcycle gauntlet to is “chief” rival, Harley-Davidson. “May the best V-twin win” is the new rally cry from America’s first motorcycle company.
Indian believes that its all-new Indian Challenger is more than a match for Harley-Davidson’s Road Glide® category leader. In fact, they think the Challenger bagger is a superior alternative to Harley-Davidson’s category-leading machine.
Now, Indian is announcing the “Challenger Challenge.” The challenge is a campaign that invites motorcyclists to test ride the Challenger and the Road Glide® Special back to back in what Indian says is the ultimate head to head competition.
The Challenger Challenge will begin at Daytona Bike Week on Friday, March 6. Indian will also bring the Challenger Challenge product demo tour to Indian Motorcycle dealers around the country. The demo tour will also visit select motorcycle rallies and events, including the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.
In addition to the demo tour, select Indian dealers will have a Road Glide® available to ensure that a customer that visits their dealership can take advantage of the Challenger Challenge. A list of dealers that will have a Road Glide® available for back-to-back testing is not yet available.
To highlight the Challenger Challenge, Indian is starting a digital media campaign. The campaign will have episodic video series that pits the Indian Challenger against the Harley-Davidson Road Glide®. Each episode is a series of tests that showcase power, torque, braking, and handling.
Earlier this month, a California woman (Navy veteran and mother of eight) was killed in a hit-and-run crash, when her motorcycle was struck by a car. Now, her husband’s gone to the work of finding a suspect for police, doing the footwork himself.
The sad story began when 48-year-old Brenda Jean Richardson was killed while riding her motorcycle in the town of Corona, says NBC News. Following the crash, police said they were looking for a white sedan, but did not announce they’d found any suspects. So the next day, Richardson’s husband Rod went on the lookout himself.
Rod, a former police officer himself, started searching near the crash site, and found a white Lexus four-door sedan, with what appeared to be crash damage, in a nearby gated community. He called the authorities, and they took things from there. Now, police have arrested 85-year-old Toshiro Isa for felony hit and run and vehicular manslaughter, according to Twitter. Isa is now out, on $75,000 bail.
According to police, they showed Rod Richardson a photo of the vehicle they were searching for, shortly before he located the car they were trying to find. The PD said “Teamwork with our community is essential in our operations, and this case is no exception“—none of the usual boilerplate about citizens not taking the law into their own hands, blah blah blah. And to Richardson’s credit, it seems he was content to leave the police to do their policing, once he’d done what he could.
Richardson was a mother of eight children, and had served in the VA for many years after her Navy service.
A group of European police officers is traveling to South America on their bikes. Moto for Peace is a non-profit organization founded in 2000 by Italian police officers. It aims to spread the knowledge of varied world cultures so people can live in peace and harmony.
The Moto For Peace police officers travel the world to offer and provide support.
The group’s charter is to travel the world to promote the values of solidarity, friendship, and cultural exchange. They also contribute to educational, healthcare, and sanitation projects while traveling on their machines.
With that objective in mind, the organization participates in setting up development projects throughout the world. They believe that by making society aware of some world issues, they can collect the funds necessary for the development of social programs. Since its inception, Moto for Peace has grown to include active police officers from Spain, Germany, and other European countries.
Moto For Peace’s route for 2020.
Previous efforts saw the officers donating motorcycles to doctors in rural Nepal, raising money for water purification in Ethiopia, providing medical aid in different African countries, and participating in the construction of an orphanage in Bolivia.
For this journey, a team of 16 Italian, German and Spanish police departed for Chile on January 29th. This trek will take the officers to Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru.
The places where Moto For Peace has been are shown in pink.
With a route of over 8,700 miles, the police are visiting communities where there is poverty, lack of resources, and social instability. Since their arrival in Chile, Moto For Peace has already visited homes for the elderly as well as orphans in three different cities.
Norton Motorcycle’s CEO Stuart Garner did not appear at a recent hearing on Norton’s pension scheme. Members of the fund fear that their retirement savings are lost.
Mr. Garner did not appear in front of a pensions ombudsman to answer claims brought by members of a pension fund that Garner and associates had created. Worryingly, 30 members of the public allege that Mr. Garner did not release the pension funds when they became due.
Investigations by the UK media outlets The Guardian and ITV say that 228 people allegedly have been duped by Garner and his associates to invest up to £14M ($18.25M). The UK media outlets said that the money came from “ordinary working people”. Their funds were allegedly invested via Garner’s retirement schemes into Norton shares.
Despite Garner’s absence from the hearing, the pensions ombudsman heard evidence from two victims. They claim that Garner had failed for years to return their retirement funds when requested. The UK’s Pension Schemes Act requires trustees to transfer pensions within six months of an application. Mr. Garner is a trustee of the funds in question.
Failed to return funds
One witness, Sally Holmes said that her ill father had applied to withdraw from his pension in August 2017. To date, Garner allegedly has not returned the funds. And, Holme’s father has now died.
The alleged delay continued despite an ombudsman directing Garner in May 2019 to transfer the man’s pension fund “within 21 days”. That ruling described Garner’s behavior as “inexcusable.”
The Guardian also alleges that many of the affected pension holders were financially vulnerable at the time they transferred their pension money to Garner’s pension funds. Those people were allegedly told that they would receive a tax-free lump sum for agreeing to the transfer. But the lump-sum distributions were in reality, not tax-free and left victims with substantial tax bills.
Convicted of fraud
Several participants in the Norton pension fiasco have been convicted of fraud. Simon Colfer was convicted of fraud in 2018 for the way he sold the pension scheme. Two directors of the company managing the Norton pension scheme, Andrew Meeson, and Peter Bradley were convicted in separate tax fraud cases. They reclaimed £5M ($6.5M) in tax rebates from fictitious pension contributions and were convicted in 2013.
According to court documents, about £4m of the £5m was then paid out by Meeson and Bradley to friends, family, and associates, including a £990,000 loan that Garner he used to originally buy the Norton brand in 2008.
According to the Guardian, Garner has said that he did not know he was dealing with fraudsters, considers himself a victim, and denies any wrongdoing.
Whatever the truth is, it’s a sad state of affairs for the Norton brand and the people that rely on the company.
Note: The word “scheme” is used in the UK like the word “plan” is in the USA. The use of the word “scheme” does not in itself indicate any criminal wrongdoing.
Some details of Harley-Davidson’s new 2020 Softail Standard are out. But it’s not the MoCo that released them. The known details come courtesy of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). According to Motorcycle.com, a recent CARB executive order certifies a 1746cc Harley-Davidson Softail Standard and its Stage 1 upgrade.
This machine is the second “Standard” model released in recent years. It follows the Electra Glide Standard which was announced about a year ago.
Motorcycle.com says that the Harley-Davidson Softail Standard may be a stripped-down, base model with a base model’s price point. They believe that the it may come in with pricing close to Harley’s Street Bob model.
The last Harley-Davidson FXST Softail Standard appeared in Harley’s 2007 model line. At the time, it came with Harley’s 1584cc Twin Cam 96B engine. The new version will use a Milwaukee 8 107ci engine like the non-“S” model Softails like the Street Bob and the Softail Slim.
Motorcycle.com says the new FXST will receive the modern Softail chassis. Should Harley decide to retain the previous wheel setup, you can expect a spoked 21-inch front wheel.
Since this information has yet to be released officially by Harley-Davidson, we’ll have to wait for additional details and pricing. That information could be released near or during Daytona Bike week in March.
The Motorcycle Cannonball is running again this year, but it’s headed in a different direction, literally. Instead of the usual east coast-to-west coast run, this year’s Cannonball is going north-south.
The Cannonball is one of the most interesting events on the North American moto-scene, at least if you like vintage bikes. The rules are pretty basic: You take a pre-1930 motorcycle, and run it along a set course with a few dozen other riders. You can’t modify the bike, unless it’s to improve the safety. You can add better brakes, but you’ve got to use the original engine design, and it’s got to be able to hold 45 mph.
Obviously, the Cannonball ends up being just as much a display of mechanical ingenuity as it is an endurance ride.
This year, the Cannonball runs from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, starting in Michigan at Sault Sainte Marie and running down to South Padre Island, in Texas. When all’s said and done, riders will do between 3,000 and 3,500 miles, as long as their bikes hold together. The start date is September 10, and it ends September 27.
Most of the machines listed for this year’s event are old Harley-Davidsons or Indians, but there’s a considerable number of other unique machines as well, brands like Pope, Excelsior, Henderson, Norton and others.
ADV inmate rtwdoug is back at it this year; he’s a fixture at the Cannonball, and will be riding his 1921 Harley-Davidson JD for this year’s event, if the site’s got it right.
A Yamaha Motor Company press release is announcing that Yamaha has won its seventh successive “iF Design Award.” The iF Design Award is a worldwide design competition evaluating many different facets of design.
Two Yamaha machines won an award. Receiving the awards are the Ténéré 700 motorcycle and the YNF-01 (Yamaha Next Field) 4 wheeled low-speed mobility vehicle.
This article will touch on the Yamaha Ténéré 700. The Ténéré 700 is the company’s newest adventure tourer. It harkens back to the tradition of the original Ténérés. Those earlier Ténérés met with much success in the Dakar Rally in the 1980s and 1990s.
Yamaha’s latest Ténéré 700 is powered by a 689cc water-cooled inline twin-cylinder engine running a 270º crankshaft. According to Yamaha, the new Ténéré 700 provides a high degree of freedom in riding posture. It also offers durability, ease of maintenance, and high adaptability under load. As a result, the new Ténéré balances off-road, adventure, and touring performance to a high level.
Yamaha says the Ténéré design concept of “Exciting Adventure Ténéré” results in a high-positioned face that incorporates a three-piece shield on a distinctive headlight and tank, creating a design that expresses a spirit of adventure.
The Ténéré 700 joins other Yamaha iF Design Award Winners. In the past, Yamaha’s Motoroid Concept, MT-10 SP, TMAX530 DX, XMAV300, XSR900, YZF-R1, MT-07, and MT09 all chalked up iF Design Awards.
Sweden-based Cake’s already made headlines for its oddball Kalk electric motorcycle, but its latest release is perhaps even more strange.
The new Cake Osa is sort of a sport utility motorcycle, but not in the way a GS or Africa Twin is; it’s not a big bike aimed at circling the world, it’s a small bike that’s aimed at doing lots of stuff.
The Osa is sort of an electric minibike, in that it’s small … but it’s still got decent power, as Cake says it can top 100 km/h in its highest-spec version, the Osa+. There’s a lower-spec Osa Lite that tops out at around 50 km/h for those riders without the need, the need for speed. And you can choose between two batteries; one’s rated at 1.5 kWh, the other at 2.6 kWh.
And then, there’s the “modular” design of the Osa. Cake says the machine is “an electric and modular utility motorcycle with off-road capabilities. The working bench & the power station on wheels.” And elsewhere on the site, “Thanks to the powerful battery with multiple outlets, its about a power station on wheels, taking you to wherever to execute, independently of the grid.
The carpenter or gardener can charge their power tools anywhere.
The rock guitarist or dj may hold a concert or a forest rave, bringing their gear in the middle of nowhere.
Last mile or the pizza delivery may execute clean last mile deliveries in cities around the world.”
The idea is, you can use the frame to attach workstands or racks, and the battery can be used to power other equipment with the help of an adapter. All very clever and modern-thinking, but alas, the price tag that comes with it is a tad steep—pricing for the Osa+ starts at $8,500 US. Find more information at Cake’s website.
Living in the mountains of Vermont, winter is the time for skiing, skating and snowshoeing. The motorcycles sit in barns, garages, and sheds waiting for warmer weather. But the winter is so long. It doesn’t take much time for riders to wish for warmer weather.
So here I sit jealous of other places where riders are happily riding their machines in the sun and warmth. And, with that warm weather, the factory demo trucks of the major motorcycle manufacturers take to the road.
Kawasaki will soon start moving its demo truck around the southern USA. The Kawasaki Good Times Demo Team (KGTDT) will be unloading several models from Kawasaki’s product lines for demo/test rides. So what models can you expect the KGTDT demo truck to let you ride? Here’s the current list:
Versys 1000 SE LT +
The Kawasaki Versys 650 will be the most “ADVish” of the bikes on the tour.
That’s not a bad selection of bikes for demo. But I can’t help but notice that the apex predators of the Kawasaki lineup are missing. The Ninja 1000 ABS, the liter+ ZX’s and the Ninja H2s are all missing from its demo truck. Sigh. I get why Team Green might not want to put some of its most expensive (and likely most “crashable”) bikes on the truck. But I wish that these models would make an appearance.
Still, I’m happy to see that some of us get the chance to do a little demo/test riding on the factory’s nickel. At present, the schedule is limited to just a few southern states (often at AMA Supercross rounds), but as temperatures warm around the US, you can anticipate that the KGTDT will make the rounds elsewhere.
We recently told you about the management shakeup at Polaris. Notably, Michael Dougherty naming to the role of the President of motorcycles while retaining his role as President of International. And now, Indian’s CEO Scott Wine says the shakeup and the launch of the Indian Challenger are the main reasons for Polaris’ excellent Q4 results.
According to Wine:
“We ended the year with positive fourth quarter retail momentum in both Off-Road Vehicles and Motorcycles, supporting strong full year, broad-based sales growth of 12 percent.”
“Our recent leadership changes were made to spur both tactical and strategic growth, and the 37 percent increase in Indian Motorcycle sales in the fourth quarter, driven largely by the Indian Challenger, demonstrates what is possible as Mike Dougherty takes over that important segment.”
“In 2019, we delivered strong operational performance across Polaris, especially productivity and delivery, and we expect further gains to create value for customers and shareholders in the year ahead. Our commitment to being a customer-centric highly profitable growth company is unwavering, and I am extremely confident in this Polaris team to deliver on that promise.”
Challenger sales boost financials
Pretty much everything motorcycle related was up. Polaris reported income of $98.9 million for the quarter and results in earnings of $1.58 per share. This is up from $91.4 million, or $1.47 per share the year before. Polaris’ profits are also up and ahead of Wall Street’s average estimates of $1.79.
Sales came in at $1.73 billion, up 7% from the prior but at the low end of Wall Street estimates. The company’s sales growth was led by the Indian Motorcycle division. It saw revenue increase by 37% to $116 million. Most of Indian’s gain comes from its new Challenger, a heavyweight touring model.
Indian’s continuing increased sales stand in stark contrast to its primary competitor, Harley-Davidson (Harley). Harley also recently released its Q4 results, indicating consistently declining sales.
Harley is in the midst of a new business plan to increase its sales. According to Harley’s CEO, Matt Levatich, 2020 is “…the pivotal year in the transformation of Harley-Davidson”.
With Polaris seemingly growing, let’s hope that the MoCo can turn around its business as well.