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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.

Check back daily.

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Energica Motor Company has announced that it has partnered with Italian firm Dell’Orto.  The deal calls for the development and production of a new type of power unit for small (8/11 kW) and medium-sized (up to 30 kW) electric vehicles (EV).  Their goal is to “offer technologically advanced solutions to the major manufacturers operating in the two-wheeled market”.

What Energica and Dell’Orto bring

Energica brings its unique know-how in electric motorization.  Dell’Orto will add its injection system design skills.  In addition, Dell’Orto will provide its production and commercial reach in Europe, China, and India.

It’s unclear how Dell’Orto’s design skills in injection systems are applicable to this partnership.  But what is clear is that Dell’Orto certainly brings significant production capabilities and commercial reach to the deal.  With the growth of electric vehicles and growing emission regulation, it makes sense for Dell’Orto to find ways to keep itself relevant.


Dell’Orto has excellent production and manufacturing reach. Image credit: Dell’Orto

Joint development

Ultimately, the goal of the agreement is to commence joint development of an “innovative system” based on the know-how of both companies.  Once the “innovative system” is brought to production and market, the companies will utilize a 50/50 revenue sharing model.

Both Energica and Dell’Orto play roles in the current FIM Enel MotoE World Cup series.  Perhaps their work in that series is what jump-started the agreement.

Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica Motor Company had this to say about the deal:

Thanks to the know-how acquired and recognized internationally, Energica aims to start the development of this motorization, expanding our offer with a large volumes segment with high potential growth in the world. Our teams are already working on new solutions to meet the new market demands”

Dell’Orto CTO Davide Dell’Orto went on to say:

This challenge well represents the continuous will of Dell’Orto to innovate not only in its core sector of internal combustion engines, but also in the field of urban sustainable mobility that we consider to be one of the fastest growing sectors for the future electric traction.

The end result

Dell’Orto’s statement is likely what’s driving this partnership.  The small and medium EV segment is expected to grow significantly in the upcoming years.  The small and medium-size EV market has experienced significant growth recently.  In the first quarter of 2019, this market grew at a rate of 79%.  So it looks like these two companies want to be first to the EV power systems coming bubble.

Featured photo credit: Energica Motors

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The largest city in western Massachusetts is fed up with people illegally riding dirt bikes on city streets.  So the city of Springfield is taking a controversial approach to solving the problem.

Springfield’s approach was prompted by a recent event.  The Springfield Police were trying to arrest an individual who was allegedly riding a dirt bike on city streets.

According to police, the dirt bike rider allegedly threw a chunk of concrete at the head of an officer.  Also, a patrol car’s window was smashed with a brick.

Acting on direction from Acting Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood, Springfield’s city police started “undercover” operations using dual sport bikes.    The activities have resulted in several arrests.  But as an additional measure, police have seized the offender’s dirt bikes.

Police, dual sport, dirt bike

A seized dirt bike (foreground) and Springfield police’s dual sport bike.

Springfield seizes dirt bikes

Now, the Springfield City Council has petitioned the state legislature to allow police to seek court-ordered forfeiture of the seized dirt bikes at the first offense.  Forfeiture would occur if the person operating the dirt bike were driving dangerously, exceeding noise limits, or storing the vehicle inside a residence.

Presently, the city of Springfield has seized about 40 dirt bikes.  According to Springfield Police Department spokesman Ryan Walsh,

” Right now they are just sitting there in a storage bin, so crushing them would be an option to get rid of them,” said Walsh.  ” If you resell them a lot could end up getting back in the wrong hands again.”

Further, Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos has proposed an ordinance that would set fines ranging from $500 – $2500 for offenses related to operating off-road vehicles unlawfully on city streets.

Is confiscation the answer?

Clearly, operating dirt bikes on city streets in a reckless manner must be addressed.  Dirt bikes weaving in and out of traffic and riding recklessly on city streets shouldn’t be tolerated.  According to reports, three persons have died in dirt bike crashes in Springfield.

But is confiscating and/or destroying someone’s personal property the answer?  Even for a first offense?  Are the proposed fines excessive considering the crime and Massachusett’s current motor vehicle fines?

What do you think?  Tell us in the comments below.

All images credit: WAMC

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For the first time this year, Silk Way Rally, a 5,000-kilometer race across Russia, Mongolia, and China was open to motorcyclists. The bike class attracted all the stars – Sam Sunderland, Kevin and Luciano Benavides, Andrew Short, Adrien van Beveren, Laia Sanz, and many other Dakar heroes and heroines. Sunderland won the Silk Way Rally followed by Andrew Short coming in second and Adrien van Beveren taking third place.

Cross country navigation rally scene is exploding all over the world, with new rallies cropping up in each continent including Africa, South America, Europe, and now, Asia. Silk Way Rally may not be the Dakar, but it’s a serious runner-up in the category of tough, grueling multi-day rallies out there. Treacherous Gobi dunes, Siberian forests, the boundless plains of Mongolia – Silk Way Rally offers diverse and challenging terrain as well as some otherworldly landscapes.

An American may not have yet won a Dakar, but Andrew Short made a big splash during the Silk Way placing second. “Yesterday was amazing but today was even better. I rode with a big heart and a lot of passion. Finished 2nd overall at the @silkwayrally ! Great opportunity for me to lead out the whole stage for the first time since I started Rally. This event was amazing and the whole rally community is something special! Big thank you to the whole team for their hard work and this opportunity”, Short said in his Instagram post yesterday.

Silk Way Rally organizers were offering free entry to female competitors this year, hoping to attract more women riders. It worked – all three Dakar women were competing: Laia Sanz (who placed 13th overall), Dakar malle moto finisher Anastasiya Nifontova, and Dakar finisher Gabriela Novotna all made an attempt in competing for the White Tiger.

Featured Image: Silk Way Rally

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Sam Paschel is the CEO of Zero Motorcycles  Inc. based in Scotts Valley, California.  Zero makes electric motorcycles and powertrains, as well as fleet vehicles for military and police.  Recently Mr. Paschel gave an interview to the New Haven Register a Connecticut newspaper.

e-Bike Industry

During the interview, several topics were discussed.  The motorcycle industry as a whole, the e-motorcycle industry, competition, and sales were discussed.  Paschel believes that Zero’s recent success is driven by improvements in technology, infrastructure investment and the acceptance of electric vehicles.

When queried about how much attention Zero pays to its competition, Paschel had this to say:

We’re a challenger brand with a disruptive product. We look at the competition in an effort to understand the areas where we need to conform to industry practices and standards to connect with consumers, and where we can break from convention to meet consumers’ needs most effectively.


Tax Credits

So are the improvements identified by Paschel enough to keep Zero’s sales growing?  Perhaps, but Zero’s CEO thinks more is necessary.  In fact, Paschel testified before a U.S. House committee to make the case for extending consumer tax credits to two and three-wheel plug-in vehicles.

Paschel said:

 Zero is just winding down the best year in its history. We’ve seen incredible growth because of the support from our dealers and the years of work we have put into perfecting our motorcycles and our powertrain. The electric motorcycle market is now international and competition is heating up. Several of our key competitors are located in countries in the European Union and around the world with more progressive tax policies for two- and three-wheel electric vehicles.

We can make those vehicles one of the next great homegrown industries. But without that same tax-credit support here at home, where most of our volume historically is located, we run the risk of wasting our head start.


Paschel also noted that was a strong link between tax credits and sales.

 We’ve seen a strong link between the presence or absence of tax credits and the pace of growth both domestically and in international markets. As tax credits become available for electric vehicles, our sales consistently and dramatically outperform years in which those same credits were absent.

Tax credits for automobiles have been available for quite some time now.  in 2017, there was a retroactive tax credit up to $2,500 for e-bikes.  If Sam Paschel has his way, those credits will extend to Zero Motorcycles in the future.

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eBike manufacturers and model offerings are becoming more and more commonplace.  Companies from all over the world seem to be jumping into the eBike arena.  The US already has three fairly well known eBike manufacturers.  Zero, Lightning, and Harley-Davidson have already shown off their eBikes with Zero having already entered significant scale production.  Enter Finnish eBike manufacturer RMK.

A clean sheet of eBike paper?

RMK recently unveiled its new eBike creation.  Called the E2, RMK’s design uses a refreshing, but risky, mostly clean sheet of paper design.  While many of its competitors have seized upon “traditional” eBike designs, RMK has taken a very different approach.


During the MP19 Motorcycle Show, RMK took the wraps off their eBike prototype, the E2.  The E2 is no “ordinary” eBike, it’s very different from the competition.  Deciding to ditch most of the competition’s power train designs, RMK developed an in-wheel motor using a hubless design.  The motor’s stator takes up most of the inner part of the hubless rear rim while a magnet-laden rotor is used on the outer portion of the rim.  It’s a complex design, but one which certainly sets itself apart from the competition.


Another interesting and eye-catching design element is the heavy gauge wiring that connects the motor to the battery.  The bright orange wiring is shown off instead of hidden.  It runs from under the saddle and along the swingarm.  RMK is certainly trying to show off the elements that make the E2 go.  Along with these design elements, the E2 sports an angular and futuristic look.

What are the specs?

But what about range and charging times, some of the key issues that surround eBikes?  RMK has not announced the E2’s battery capacity.  However, RMK’s website says that the battery can be configured for between “200 – 300 km of riding depending on customer preference”.  They also claim that with an onboard charger, the E2 will reach 80% charge in 2-3 hours.  DC fast charging speed is TBD.


RMK says that the E2’s frame architecture offers plenty of room for a large battery.  Unfortunately, they have not elaborated on the actual capacity of its battery.  Weight is claimed to be around 200 kk (440 lbs), so the E2 will not be a lightweight machine.


All in all, the E2 represents a different approach to eBike design.  It will be interesting to see what the final production model looks like and how well it will sell if it reaches production.

Ready for Pre-Order

You can pre-order the E2 online now with a non-refundable €2,000 deposit.  The current anticipated retail price is about $29,000; less than Harley-Davidson’s Livewire.

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Taiwan has become another country in the growing list of countries that require motorcycles to have a form of anti-lock braking systems.  A new rule requires all new motorcycle/scooters manufactured after January 1, 2019 to be equipped with either anti-lock braking (ABS) or combined braking systems (CBS).

The Taiwanese Ministry Of Transportation and Communication (MOTC) expects that the new rule would cut traffic casualties by 30 percent.  The rule would have also required that by January 1, 2021  all motorcycles/scooters with greater than 125cc engines must have the systems regardless of the year of manufacture.


According to MOTC Acting Minister Wang Kwo-tsai, over 60 percent of the 1,680 traffic fatalities reported last year were related to motorcycle/scooter accidents.  He added that the new rule was in line with what he said was a global trend and could help improve road safety.

But in a sudden change of course after pressure from social media groups and the President of Taiwan, the MOTC has changed the rule.  Opponents of the rule said that adding ABS or CBS to existing bikes was estimated to be between NT $1,500 ($49 USD) to NT $8,000 ($260 USD) and placed an undue financial burden on motorcycle/scooter riders.

In response, the MOTC now says the regulations pertaining to new scooter models released after the end of this year will stand, but it has suspended the implementation date for the second phase.  That phase would have required owners to ensure that their motorcycle/scooters were equipped with one of the two braking systems.

The MOTC has said that it will meet with motorcycle manufacturers to discuss ways to reduce the cost of purchasing and installing the systems.  The MOTC has not said when it will implement the second phase of the regulation.

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We’ve all heard of “Barn Finds”.  You know, those cars/bikes that are found stored in some remote barn.  Someone once loved the machines but for one reason or another, it was forgotten.

Well, there’s a new barn find and just went up for auction July 6, fetching a significant £25,000 (~$31,000).


The fully restored AJS Model 37/2. Photo credit: Spicer Auctions

This particular find is a pre-war 1937 AJS Model 37/2.  It’s a 990cc v-twin powered machine and is one of only 15 surviving examples.

Detailed history

The story about the find is particularly interesting.  There’s a detailed history of the bike’s life.  It was first registered in 1937 with a sidecar attached. Then in 1941 Frank Smith of Kirkburton registered it.  Later, in 1953 Peter Hanson of Huddersfield became the registered owner.  Next was Jack Wheeler of Batley a few months later and then Benjamin Rhodes of Scarborough in 1965.  But in 1966, the final registered owner, Edward Reed, again of Scarborough took possession.


A front view of the fully restored AJS Model 37/2. Photo credit: Spicer Auctions.

Found in a barn

Reed used it for a year and parked it in a barn that had an underlying inspection pit.  The bike was lost to the barn’s inspection pit when the flooring collapsed.  It remained covered by broken planks, an old refrigerator, and other garage junk.

In 2018 a company hired to clean up the mess and drop everything off at the dump noticed the bike’s taillight sticking out of the debris.  A digging company extricated the bike from the bowels of the pit.


A view of the AJS Model 37/2 990cc V-twin engine. Photo credit: Spicer Auctions

Easily restored

Amazingly, the bike was in very good condition.  An engineer restored the bike.  The restoration was simple.  Everything was complete and the most significant damage was a single minor dent to the mudguard.

If you want to read more about the bike’s ownership and history there’s in-depth information at the auctioneer’s website.

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Two different Indian outlets are reporting that Royal Enfield is planning/considering bringing a new 250cc to the Indian market.

Similar reports on a 250cc bike

Both Money Control and The Economic Times said that Royal Enfield is looking at the new machine to foster sales growth.  Rumors say that the new bike will make its first public appearance sometime in 2020.  However, both say that Royal Enfield has not confirmed their reports.

Royal Enfield has said that a slowing economy has affected its sales and that brand fatigue is not an issue.  But The Economic Times thinks that the slump is also due to a number of factors.  The cited factors include an increase in pricing of about 8 – 10% over the last two years because of more stringent emission requirements, a spike in insurance costs, and the introduction of mandatory anti-lock braking systems.

Royal Enfield has had a sterling sales history in the last 5 years, but recently sales have fallen into a double-digit decline.  It’s Royal Enfield’s new CEO Vinod Dasari’s job to stop the bleeding.

Responding to sales

Rumors say that his chosen path is to set up an additional 350 sales outlets in less populous locations, consider bringing a new 250cc model to market and also ensure that a “no-frills” Royal Enfield bike is available to prospective buyers.

Such a bike will permit Royal Enfield to cater to both the value and premium segments simultaneously.  If a prospective buyer does not want all the bells and whistles, they can buy a new-frills bike.  For customers that want to customize the bike, there will be a large selection of Royal Enfield accessories.  Such accessories are often high-profit items.

Future plans

When asked about future plans, an unnamed company spokesman said:

“We will continue to focus our efforts on bringing classic, evocative and fun-to-ride motorcycles for our customers. We have persistently worked on keeping our motorcycles accessible, from the perspective of availability, ride experience, as well as ownership experience.

On the role of customisation, we have a range of genuine motorcycle accessories that allow buyers to customise and personalise their motorcycles. We believe it is a core aspect of self-expression for our riders. We will continue to work towards making this experience more seamless for the customer.”

We’ll bring you more as more info becomes available.

Royal Enfield Bullet 350 image for reference only. Photo credit:

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Want to Make The World A Better Place? Ending world poverty may be outside your immediate capability, but you can make a difference, at least in the motorcycle world, by helping the Transport Research Laboratory with its motorcycle helmet research project.

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is a private outfit which offers transportation-related research and consultation to public or private clients. It’s been around since the 1930s, and has been involved with everything from traffic roundabout design to bomb development during World War II.

Its current research project is also based on explosive findings. The TRL has been researching statistics around motorcycle helmets for a while, including a 2012 study that found as many as 30 per cent of riders had helmets that didn’t fit correctly. Follow-up research in 2014 showed 20 per cent of riders saying their helmets had almost come off in a crash. TRL’s research also found many riders bought helmets without being measured for fit, or bought helmets online without trying them on beforehand.

With those stats in mind, TRL is now working on research to improve helmet safety. Along with lab-level work (3D scans of riders’ heads, to see if fit can be improved), TRL is also conducting an online study to determine users’ experiences in helmet fit and crash performance. The questionnaire doesn’t take long to fill out, and doesn’t collect any personal information.

With that in mind, it’s worth taking the time to fill it out, as only a few minutes’ work might contribute to an overall increase in rider safety, and that’s a very good thing. Click here to see the survey.

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You may have already read our article on Wendy Crockett and her amazing 2019 Iron Butt Rally win.  One commenter asked if we could do more in-depth coverage of the win and Wendy herself.  Well, we reached out to Wendy and she has agreed to an interview.

Wendy’s accomplishment is a very significant one.  Iron Butt competition requires multiple skill sets.  You can’t just go out and ride.

One of the major skills is concentration.  You need to be aware of your surroundings at all times and follow the route you planned.  You can’t allow distraction, weather, etc. interfere with your plan.  As the distances increase, after long hours in the saddle, one of the first things to go is your concentration.


Wendy Crockett’s impressive 2019 Iron Butt winning route. Image credit: Wendy Crockett

While it was no surprise that Wendy has the skill to win the Iron Butt Rally, it was her ability to maintain the maximum concentration necessary considering one issue that would certainly hamper mine.

Wendy’s mom is fighting kidney disease.  It’s taking its toll and Wendy is hopeful that a donor can be found in time.  But without one, Wendy’s mom’s chances are limited.

So if you’ve ever considered becoming a kidney donor, here’s your chance!  You can contact Wendy through her Facebook page if you are serious about donation.

We’ll have more about Wendy Crockett and her win in the not too distant future.

Featured image credit: Wendy Crockett

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What if a Honda X-ADV scooter entered a rally that began at the Baltic Sea and traversed Europe southwesterly until reaching the Atlantic ocean in Spain?  And what if that Honda X-ADV scooter won the rally competing against KTM 790s, Husqvarna 701s, KTM 690Es, and BMW F 800 GSs?  Sounds like pure fantasy doesn’t it?

Honda X-ADV scooter wins

But it’s not.  A Honda X-ADV scooter piloted by Italian Renato Zocchi has indeed won the Gibraltar Rally.  Lest you think the Gibraltar Rally is not a “true” rally, you’ll have to think again.


The Gibraltar Rally route. Photo credit: Gibraltar Race.

This year’s rally covered over 7,000 kilometers over 14 stages.  The terrain was a mixture of asphalt and dirt roads, rocky tracks, river crossings, and mud/grass sections.  Riders could choose to stay in tents at the bivouac or stay in a hotel.


If you are wondering whether the X-ADV was a one-off factory creation, it is not.  That’s not to say that that the scooter wasn’t upgraded.  Although the engine and chassis are standard, there were modifications to its suspension.  Ohlins components updated the scooter’s suspension and provided additional ground clearance.  A high-performance exhaust was also added.


Renato Zocchi riding through a water crossing on his Honda X-ADV scooter. Photo credit: Rally Cool! Photography

The scooter also was equipped with the 2019 X-ADV’s more advanced electronics, a DCT gearbox, two-level traction control, and more power. Zocchi says that these changes along with his previous year’s Gibraltar Rally experience helped him win this year.

Does the bike make the difference?

While all those changes to the scooter sound good, I’m not sure that they are the real reason for Renato’s win.  Unlike 4 wheeled vehicles, that can win races with an average operator, motorcycles require a more talented operator to perform at the higher levels.


Renato Zocchi on the track. Photo credit: Rally Cool! Photography

It’s the rider that really makes the difference.  If it were just the machine, those KTMs, Husqvarnas, and BMWs should have left the Honda scooter in the dust.  But as it turns out, a talented rider with a good machine can beat a more powerful and better-equipped machine.  As long as a skilled rider is at the helm.

Congrats to Renato Zocchi!

All photos credit Rally Cool Photography

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The Ducati 916 has got to be one of the most iconic models in the history of sportbikes.  It had bleeding edge design and performance to match.

Designed by world-famous Italian designer Massimo Tamburini, the 916 was a bike that nearly every sportbike fanatic wanted, but few could afford.  It handled well, had lots of power and was light for its displacement and size.  Ducati dominated the World Superbike Series for years using variants of 916.


A teaser photo of the headstock of the new Ducati Panigale V4 25° Anniversario. Photo credit: Ducati.

If you can believe it, it has been 25 years since the 916 first entered production.  To celebrate, Ducati had decided to release a limited edition Panigale V4.  Ducati has named the new machine, the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916.  The new bike has a limited production run of 500 units and will have “original livery and exclusive racing components”.

The Italian manufacturer will unveil the new Panigale on July 12, 2019, at Pebble Beach, California, at 8:00 PM.  The bike will also be shown at the World Superbike Round to be held at Laguna Seca the same weekend.  In attendance will be former 4 times World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty.

Ducati has also announced that team riders Alvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies will take to the track with a special livery inspired by the graphics of the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916.

More pictures of the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 will be available on July 12th and 13th.

Featured photo credit: Ducati

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I got a call from our editor Paul (@PaulADV) the other day.  He asked whether I would be interested in testing an electric motorcycle.  The new 2020 Zero SR/F to be precise.  That was kind of like asking whether I’d like to win the lottery.  But I duly paused for a moment and said, “Sure”.

I’ve ridden many different kinds of motorcycles over the years, but never an electrically powered one.  Now, I’d be getting my chance for a day.  I was psyched.

Old times

Shortly after I said yes, I received an email from Scott Greenwood.   Scott Greenwood?  I knew that name and it is well known around New England road racing circles and in other parts of the country.  I had previously met Scott when I was racing in the Loudon Road Racing Series (LRRS).  Scott was/is quick; very, very quick.  In fact, he has multiple championships to his name and toured nationally.  Me, I was a mid-pack guy.

So if Scott was involved with Zero, there must be something to it then, eh?  Sure enough, there is something to the Zero SR/F and we’ll get to that.


Well, if I’m going to be out for an early morning ride, I might as well have the World’s Best Breakfast.

The bike arrives

A couple of days later, Scott delivered the bike to my house.  It’s nearly 3 miles up a dirt road on the side of a mountain (how’s that for service)!  We chatted about the LRRS very briefly and then Scott gave me a briefing on the bike.  Briefing complete, he said he’d be back the following day and left me to my own devices with the bike.  No riding with a group, no limitations, just go ride the bike.  Excellent!

Since I had a fairly brief time with the bike, as soon as Scott left, I geared up and went riding.  But before we get to the ride experience, let’s talk about the bike itself briefly.

SR/F Specs

Zero says the SR/F is its highest performing motorcycle.  One of the main features of the bike is Zero’s new ZF14.4 lithium-ion battery that provides the bike’s power.  But the Z-Force 75-10 electric motor is the actual motive force.  Zero says that it has enhanced thermal efficiency and is passively air cooled.  It is connected to a “high efficiency and power dense” 900 Amp, 3 phase AC controller that provides a regenerative electrical charge while decelerating.  For performance figures, Zero claims 110 HP, 140 Lb-ft of torque and a top speed of  124 MPH (~200 KPH).


The bike is also equipped with a suite of electronics which are controlled by a Zero proprietary system called Cypher III.  Cypher III acts as a central hub to integrate the SR/F’s systems.  Zero says it acts in the background to deliver “…precise performance seamlessly for consistent and superior riding experience.”

In a nutshell, Cypher III integrates the SR/F’s systems including the Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control system.  The Bosh system is well known by now and is featured in a host of other brands of motorcycles.  But Zero is the first to incorporate the system into an electric motorcycle.  The system assists the rider in several riding conditions including straight line and cornering ABS, traction control and drag torque control.


The Zero SR/F’s TFT display provides info on the bike’s parameters. Here, the display shows 100% charge.  The predicted range depends on the riding more selected.

The SR/F also features 4 ride modes.  The modes are designed to help you navigate the situations you come across in everyday riding situations.  Street, Sport, Eco and Rain modes help you adjust to changing riding scenarios.

Having 4 riding modes is good, but the SR/F also lets you program up to 10 personal riding modes.  The ability is to set the bike to your own parameters is very nice to have.  Nice.  A TFT dash provides information while riding.

Cypher III also integrates the “smart” features of the machine.  The smart features allow owners to track their bike’s location and receive updates if the bike is being tampered with.  It also enables owners to share riding data, display and track battery management information, manage software updates, etc.


The chassis consists of a steel trellis frame, mated to a proprietary swingarm.  An all Showa adjustable suspension lets you tailor the bike to your preferences.  At the front of the bike, is a 43mm Showa fork which is adjustable for both preload and compression and rebound damping.  An adjustable Showa shock handles the duties at the rear.  For stopping, dual radial mounted J Juan calipers clamping on  240mm rotors help to bring things to a halt.


The SR/F is a nice looking machine.


Standard seat height is 31.0 inches.  Zero has both low and high seat options to suit riders of differing sizes.  As Zero’s street fighter machine, the SR/F’s bars put you in a forward leaning position.  It’s not a racing crouch, but it’s not as upright as a “standard” machine.  The pegs are fairly high but offer more ground clearance.  The seat is quite firm and narrow at the front.  Each of these ergonomic considerations adds to the sporting feel of the SR/F.  The mirrors are placed fairly close together so you may have to drop a shoulder or move a bit to see what’s behind you.

The SR/F is equipped with heated grips and cruise control.  Since the SR/F is electric, I asked Scott about the effect using the grips would have on the bike’s range.  He said he had the same question and was told by Zero engineers that their use would shorten the range “by about a football field”.  Well then, I guess they don’t affect range much.

As for the cruise control, it works as expected although speed wanders a bit during steep up and downhills.  I did have an issue with the button that sets the cruise speed.  It’s located on the right handgrip and it is a pain to set it while riding.   It really should be on the left grip.

Seated and stopped, the bike doesn’t feel like the 485-pound machine it is.  It feels well balanced and easily handled.

Riding the SR/F

OK, so now that we have the background information out of the way, let’s talk about the ride.  I had planned a route that would test the bike’s handling and range.  The route provided stints of uninterrupted smooth flowing twisties as well as some stop and go riding.  Hopefully, it would give me an opportunity to get an idea of the bike’s range under constant operation and stop and go riding.

Jumping on the bike, it was immediately noticeable that the bike sits fairly low to the ground.  Perched on the seat, my 30″ inseam allowed me to be nearly flat-footed.  The bars are somewhat aggressively positioned but are not extremely so.

Turning on the bike is as simple as inserting and turning the key, raising the sidestand and waiting for the “ready” green light on the TFT display.  As soon as it’s illuminated, you are ready to go.

Ready to go

I started the ride in Eco mode.  It provides the “easiest” acceleration of all the ride modes.  But it also provides the most regenerative capability and hence “drag” of all the ride modes.  Riding along in Eco mode should give you the most range.

In the Eco mode, once you reduce the throttle, the regenerative braking can be felt.  It feels like you are dragging the brake a somewhat you reduce the throttle.  It’s not obnoxious, but it is noticeable.  It’s the tradeoff you make for an increased range.


Here, the SR/F’s display shows that it will take about 7 hours to fully recharge the bike from a standard wall outlet.

As I twisted the throttle, the bike smoothly moved forward.  I have to admit, it’s a bit strange to have a motorcycle under you moving forward with nary a sound or vibration.  There’s no clutch lever to feather, it just very smoothly accelerates as you twist the throttle.


As I said earlier, I live on a dirt road on the side of a Vermont mountain.  The road surface is often loose with sand and gravel.  Eco mode engaged, the regenerative braking did not hinder control or traction as I headed down the dirt mountain road which has grades of 13 percent.  Even with the smooth Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires, the “regen” was readily handled.

Once onto the pavement, the SR/F felt well mannered and easily handled.  I immediately headed to some of Vermont’s fabulous twisties for a little fun in the corners.  Shortly after, the fact that I was on an electric machine was lost.  The bike handled precisely, going exactly where I pointed it.  The Vermont winter had done a number on our roads and the state had already been out filling in cracks with the tar sealer commonly known as tar snakes.

The “tar snakes” did not affect the SR/F’s handling and only rarely was their effect felt through the front.  The front end felt planted and stable at all but very high speeds.  Speeds well over posted limits had the front feeling a little light but still effective.

The rear also handled less than perfect terrain well and tracked true.  But the rear suspension felt harsh.  You can immediately feel each crack, bump and “tar snake” as you passed over them.  As I said earlier, the SR/F’s seat is quite firm and perhaps it contributed to the harsh feeling ride.

At speed

Part way through the first leg of my ride, I changed from Eco mode to Sport.  The change in the motor’s power output was immediately noticeable.  Acceleration is magnitudes quicker than Eco mode.  The electric motor provides deceptively brisk acceleration.  Twist the throttle and you are immediately propelled forward.

There’s no roaring engine, no increased vibration, no squirming from the rear.  There’s just smooth, quiet, insistent thrust.  It’s exciting and somewhat unnerving at the same time.  After many years of riding internal combustion engines with their visceral appeal, the smooth quiet power of the electric motor is so very different.

Nonetheless, the torque is excellent as is the instantaneous forward momentum.  Passing is accomplished without a sound or drama.  At least for the rider.  For the drivers of the glass-enclosed cages, being passed by a silent two wheeled missile is likely quite dramatic.

Regenerative braking

In Sport mode, the regenerative braking drag is also reduced.  It’s still there, but the feel is greatly reduced.  Almost to the point of not feeling it at all.  Unfortunately, you are also not regenerating as much electricity as you would in Eco mode so the opportunity for increased range is diminished.   There are tradeoffs.

Somewhere in the middle of Eco and Sport modes is the Street mode.  As you can imagine, it provides more performance and less regenerative drag than Eco mode, but more potential range than in Sport mode.  Think of this mode as the mid-point between the two modes.

The J Juan brakes do a good job of slowing things down.  They provide a good linear feel with no fade.  To be fair, I did not push the SR/F for an extended length of time, so I can’t comment on their power if the sporting activities were kept up for a prolonged period of time.  I think the SR/F’s brakes are fine.  It’s a streetfighter and prolonged high braking sessions are not anticipated.

The elephant in the room – range and charging

My route had me riding 4 distinct segments from a 100% state of charge.  The first segment consisted of the trip down the mountain and a quite brisk, flowing (i.e. little braking) 35-mile sprint to the next town using predominantly Eco mode and occasionally Sport mode.  From there, I rode another 8 miles using only the sport mode.

By the time I ended this stint in the saddle, I had traveled 43 miles and used 42% of the available charge.  I thought this range was reasonable given I used quite a bit of sport mode during the ride and there was little opportunity for regen.

Using a phone app, I was quickly able to find a level 2 charging station in the tiny town of Chester, Vermont (populations 3,200).  I hooked up to the charger and 33 minutes later, the charge had recovered to 84%.  The recharge cost for those 43 miles was a whopping 50 cents.  It might have been less, but the minimum charge at that charge station was that 50 cents.


The Zero SR/F plugged in at one of Chester, VT’s Level 2 charging stations.

I then rode an additional 36 miles in sport mode back to my home.  By the time I got there, the charge had fallen to 32% meaning I had used about 50% of the battery charge in less mileage than my previous legs.  Clearly, the Pro mode and my enthusiastic use of the throttle reduced my range significantly.

That said, it’s important to note that the ride modes themselves don’t affect mileage as much as your right wrist.  Twisting the throttle wide open often in ECO mode may give you less range than riding with a light throttle hand in Pro mode.  That’s what makes the range more difficult parameter to manage.

Wall charging

Once home, I plugged the SR/F into a normal 110V outlet and the display told me that it would take 6 hours and 52 minutes to charge to 100% from 32%.  When I got up the following morning, the bike was indeed fully charged.


Plugging the SR/F into a wall outlet is easy.

Since I still had the bike for the morning, I did another stint on the bike.  This time I rode 70 miles using a combination of all modes.  When all was said and done, the bike still showed a 25% state of charge.  Enough to travel another 30 miles or so in ECO mode.

All in all, I thought the range was pretty good considering the way I rode the bike and types of roads ridden.  There was very few stop/start regen opportunities.  Had I done more city like riding, I believe that the range would have been substantially more.

Range anxiety

I must admit however that I still have some range anxiety.  A full day of riding is not all that long and getting a real feel for the bike’s range is difficult.  I told Scott that I’d like to have the bike for a week or so for testing range more thoroughly.  He said that Zero would make a bike available later this summer so I could do just that.


The SR/F has a small “trunk” where you can store the bikes charging cable.


The Zero SR/F retails for  $18,995 and comes with a 2-year warranty on the motorcycle.  The power pack is warranted for 5 years and unlimited mileage.

Summing up

The Zero SR/F is a very easy to ride machine.  It’s also quick and very smooth.  Its electric motor provides deceptively quick acceleration without any drama to the rider.  Accelerating hard provides only the slightest tingle through the right handlebar.  There are no distractions, just ride.

While quiet is a positive trait, some might consider it a negative one.  There is little in the line of drama, just smooth quiet travel.  And some might have an issue with that.  Some might miss the roaring, snarling feel, and sound of ancient plants and dinosaurs being turned into motive force.  I admit, I did miss the roaring and snarling at times.

If I had to provide a comparable experience, I’d say that riding the SR/F is like transitioning from a powered aircraft to a glider.  It’s much quieter than its internal combustion powered counterpart.  The most noise you will hear is the hiss of the tires on the road and the rush of air as you move through it.  Also, as with a glider you have to more carefully plan range.  Once you are committed to landing, there’s no way to go back up.

Would I buy one

If I had only one motorcycle to ride for all the types of riding I do, probably not.  Frankly, I still have range anxiety and my ADV type riding requires me to travel long distances in sometimes remote places.  Having to find a place to plug in would not make my travel as pleasurable or capable, I think.

But, if I had more than one bike, a bike; say for commuting or just hooning around for the day, the answer is…  OH YEAH!

All photos taken by Mike Botan

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The Africa Twin was big news when Honda re-introduced it to the lineup, but it’s old news now, right? That seems to be the attitude of Brivemo Motos, with the introduction of a four-cylinder Honda adventure bike.

Brivemo makes its bread by selling and restoring Hondas in Switzerland, but apparently the shop monkeys have gotten bored with the usual oil changes, valve adjustments and so on. Instead, they decided to build an adventure bike based around Honda’s CB1000R neo-retro bike. The machine was unveiled at last month’s Wheels & Waves motorcycle/surf culture festival in France, as part of Honda’s celebration of its four-cylinder engine heritage.

The bike’s frame appears to be mostly unchanged, and we’d doubt they did any work to engine internals. The most obvious difference is the long-travel suspension; the front end uses a set of revised CRF450R forks, and the rear shock is supposedly also off a CRF450R (all originally built by Showa).

Aside from that, there’s a beefy new single-disc front brake with four-pot caliper, rally-style footpegs, bash plate, enduro-style handlebar with handguards, and an offroad headlight. The 4-1 exhaust feeds into a carbon-fibre muffler. The radiator is protected by a metal guard, and there’s also a set of crash bars protecting the engine. The stock street tires were swapped for Continental TKC80s.


It looks cool, but this is mostly a styling exercise, as those rims and that seat won’t work off-road. Photo: Honda

It mostly looks good, but there are some obvious hindrances that will hamper this machine in the dirt. Those cast rims will be mangled easily if they start banging off rocks, and the bike’s seat does not appear to be conducive to aggressive offroading.

Despite those drawbacks, this machine does look fun. Honda’s teased four-cylinder adventure bikes in its recent past, with some examples popping up at EICMA, although it’s never appeared to be a serious idea. Maybe someone will take note of this machine and see some potential? Considering it comes with traction control and other electro-trickery (no ABS!), and an engine that should make more than 140 hp (depending on tuning), this bike could definitely be fun, if it saw some further development.

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This weekend featured the first world level electric motorcycle racing series, MotoE.  Billed as the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, MotoE racing is being featured at MotoGP events as a “lower” category series.

First Moto E event

The first event was held at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany.  Finnish rider Niki Tuuli took the first ever win in the series.  The red flag shortened race had Tuuli finishing first, English ex-MotoGP racer Bradley Smith finishing second with French ex-MotoGP racer Mike Di Meglio rounding out the podium.

The MotoGP series does not publish attendance figures for individual races so it’s hard to know how many people came to watch the MotoE racing.

But can MotoE racing survive in the internal combustion engined (ICE) realm of thundering exhaust notes and high revving, ear-splitting engine whine?

Varying MotoE opinions

According to Motorsport Magazine, the MotoGP paddock opinion of MotoE is split three ways.  Some people hate it, others love it and the remaining people really don’t care about it.

The first two groups, hate it and love it, seem to be separated by a generational gap.  People who have been around the paddock for many years generally hate it while those younger people who grew up with electronics and energy drinks love it.


MotoE racers at the first MotoE round at the Sachsenring. Photo credit: Roadracing World

Generational split

For example, Carlo Pernat one of MotoGP’s old guard hates it.

“They may be the future, but they’re not my future.”

But asking Mugen Isle of Man TT winner Michael Rutter what he thinks about MotoE resulted in him saying, “It’s going to happen whether you like it or not, so you may as well embrace it.

Moto E issues

So if MotoE is here to stay, what could some of the issues be?  Cleary the loss of the sound and thunder of internal combustion engines is one but what else?

  1. While the automobile industry is spending billions of dollars to develop electric vehicles, that’s not the case with the motorcycle industry.  For the most part, major manufacturers are waiting on the sidelines until battery technology improves.
  2. Dorna created the MotoE series.  But the lack of motorcycle manufacturer investment in electric motorcycles forced Dorna’s hand.  Dorna had to make the series a low cost, one make production series.  Unfortunately, at this time, there really isn’t enough manufacturer, sponsor and TV cash to promote a series of another kind.

Can MotoE survive

So with the handicaps of almost no ICE sensory excitement, no major motorcycle manufacturers developing electric motorcycles, and a single make, low funding racing series, the question becomes, can the series survive.  Right now the series is a bit of an oddity, but once the “newness” wears off, will people come to see MotoE racing and will it last long enough for the major motorcycle manufacturers to join the party?

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below.

Featured picture photo credit: Ajo Motorsport

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If you know anything about Italian motorcycles, you probably have heard the name Bimota.  In its heyday, Bimota produced exquisite and limited quantity pieces of motorcycle art.

The name Bimota is a combination of three people’s names.  Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri and Massimo Tamburini.  Tamburini is probably the most well-known name of the bunch and appropriately so.  Tamburini designed the iconic Ducati 916 and the MV Agusta F4.  Two absolute bleeding edge designs that also performed very well.

Bimota was a very small company without the huge funds available to the Japanese big 4.  So they concentrated on building high-quality motorcycles around existing engines.


The Bimota SB8R was a racebike for the street. Photo credit: Motoexotica

One of those motorcycles was the Bimota SB8R.  Bimota produced only 150 SB8Rs in total.  The bike had a carbon fiber and aluminum handcrafted frame.  Crammed into that frame was a 135 HP Suzuki in-line 4 engine which was a horsepower monster of the time.  Carbon fiber spread liberally over much of the bike kept its weight lower than that of the Suzuki variant of the time.

The SB8R was a racebike for the street and had racebike qualities.  It had all the components to give it racebike credentials.

And now, a 2000 SB8R has become available for sale.  Motoexoctica has one for sale with a negotiable price of $17,900.  That’s a lot of money, but for a rare collectible, that price could just be a bargain.

If you had the free cash, would this bike be housed in your garage?

Feature photo credit: Motoexotica

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Ducati has been busy finding ways to use its supremely powerful V-4 engine.  Recently, they announced that the V-4 would be used in the new Streetfighter prototype.  Now, according to German outlet Mottorrad, Ducati has decided to produce a V-4 Multistrada.  They go so far to say that one has already been sighted testing around the plant in Bologna.

No photo evidence of V-4 Multistrada

Unfortunately, there’s no photo evidence of the supposed beast.  So these types of reports should be taken with a huge dose of salt.  But what is interesting is that Motorrad seems to have several details that may be evidence of the bike’s existence.


Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro for reference only. Photo credit: Ducati

Motorrad says that in 2020, Ducati will supplement the Multistrada series with a V-4 model.  It would produce about 190 HP and will include an “innovative safety package”.

Ducati has named the safety package ARAS.  It reportedly includes both front and rear radar sensors that can sense other vehicles close by as well as a blind spot sensor.

Will not replace V-Twin engine

Motorrad also says that Ducati will not replace the V-twin version but will be added to expand the model range.  They also compare prices of the different versions of the current Multistrada and say that the V-4 engined bike will cost at least €20,000 (~$22,500).  That makes sense since the existing Multistrada 1260 starts at $18,695 and a V-4 engine would cost an additional premium.


Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro for reference only. Photo credit: Ducati

While Motorrad does have some specifics, you can probably place this one closer to speculation than fact.  But a V-4 powered Multistrada would be excellent competition for other heavy adventure bikes.  Bikes such as the KTM 1290 Super Adventure and the BMW R1250GS are likely targets.

We’ll provide updates if more viable information comes available.

Featured photo: Ducati

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The aftermath of June’s horrific multiple-fatality motorcycle crash in New Hampshire has seen hundreds of drivers’ licenses suspended in neighboring Massachusetts.

By now, most of North America (not just motorcyclists) has heard about the June 21 incident that saw seven motorcyclists killed in Randolph, New Hampshire. The riders were members of a veterans’ motorcycle club. A Massachusetts man, 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, has been charged with  seven counts of negligent homicide, and has pleaded not guilty. Zhukovskyy was allegedly hauling a car hauler for a commercial trucking company when the incident occurred.

Shortly after the crash, when Zhukovskyy was identified as the driver, investigators, media and individuals started digging into his past. USA Today reported Zhukovskyy has arrest records in six states, including drug charges and traffic violations. That raised the question: How was Zhukovskyy still allowed to drive a commercial vehicle? That’s what an investigation by Massachusett’s Department of Transportation is trying to find out.

Officials from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles have said Zhukovskyy’s commercial driving licence should have been revoked after impaired driving charges were filed in Connecticut as recently as May 11. Why didn’t that happen? The investigation revealed state employees had not followed through on mail from other jurisdictions, informing them of traffic violations. USA Today says one registry facility had thousands of notices piled up in mail bins, going back as far as 15 months. Massachusetts’ Registry of Motor Vehicles had changed its computer systems for handling out-of-state traffic incidents in March, 2018, and that’s when the problems began.

Now, officials are on the warpath, and have suspended more than 900 drivers’ licenses after examining records sent from other jurisdictions, with more to come, most likely. The Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles, Erin Deveney, has resigned, and the state has announced the new position of deputy registrar for safety.

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For the first time, a woman has won the Iron Butt Rally. This year’s winner, Wendy Crockett of Rapid City, South Dakota, rode her 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300 with over 200,000 miles on it to victory. To win, Wendy traveled 12,998.9 miles in 11 days and accrued 154,086 points.

Wendy has competed in the Iron Butt Rally 5 times. She is a very experienced motorcyclist. She’s not just a rider, she lives a full motorcycle oriented life.


Wendy Crocket and her 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300. Photo credit: Wendy Crockett – Facebook.

At one point she owned and operated Cyclesmiths in Kernville, CA. Now, she lives in Rapid City, SD and is a mechanic for Sturgis Motorsports.

With all that experience on tap, Wendy was able to beat 101 other motorcycles.  Interestingly, 7 of those motorcycles had a passenger on board.

Beginning in 1984, the rally is an eleven-day endurance event covering 11,000+ miles. To win, riders accumulate points by making checkpoints to a different daily destination.


Wendy relaxing on a trail after her Iron Butt win. Photo credit: Wendy Crockett – Facebook.

Having a strategy is an important part of the Iron Butt. Checkpoints have varying point values and it’s up to the rider to determine the best checkpoints in accordance with their strategy. Ultimately, a rider must cover at least 1,000 miles a day and choose a route that will help them to accrue the most points possible.

Congratulations to Wendy on completing and winning the 2019 Iron Butt Rally.

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Women Riders World Relay, a global movement to showcase the growing numbers of female riders around the world, has reached Pakistan and India. The relay began in the UK on the 27th of February this year, and since then, 1,288 women riders have carried the WRWR baton across 41 countries covering over 31,469km. The relay baton has just crossed Pakistan and is now carried across India by local women riders.

Hayley Bell, the founder of the Women Riders World Relay movement, says the project has grown beyond all expectations.

Women Riders World Relay Reaches Pakistan and India ADV Rider

Image: WRWR

“What’s truly incredible is that we keep breaking down barriers, and it’s continuing to grow. I think the biggest achievement is reaching Pakistan and continuing the journey – for a moment, due to the complicated Pakistan customs system, we thought we might lose the baton. It has a GPS tracker on it so we can monitor the progress, and the Pakistani officials were not happy about it. Guliasfhan Tariq, our ambassador in Pakistan, has gone beyond everything to sort it all out. So really just seeing the continued travels, seeing women getting together and supporting each other is the best reward,” Bell explained. “We’ve had some continued logistical issues, customs agents have EVEN threatened to destroy the baton… There are always safety questions, all sorts of issues. We’re working with ambassadors in each country to make it all as safe as possible”.

Women Riders World Relay Reaches Pakistan and India ADV Rider

Pakistani rider Guliafshan Tariq. Image: WRWR

According to Bell, the WRWR community now unites over 18,000 female riders around the world, and the movement keeps gaining traction. “My time is now spent focusing on the round-the-world relay ride, getting sponsorships, and building our presence online so we can make an even bigger impact”, she added.

Women Riders World Relay Reaches Pakistan and India ADV Rider

Indian riders joining the relay. Image: WRWR

Featured image: Women Riders World Relay

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Curtiss Motorcycles has unveiled the latest iteration of its Zeus model electric motorcycle.  The newest design is quite different than the Zeus model revealed only a few months ago.  This version comes with a very different look and makeup.

Completely New

Curtiss claims that this Zeus harkens back to Glenn H. Curtiss’s land speed record holding V8 engined machine.  Based on this Curtiss provided photo, the resemblance is there.


But ultimately, the current Zeus is an entirely different machine. The latest machine features what they call its V-8 battery design. Placed in a narrowing V design, the battery pack does strike a resemblance to a “V” internal combustion engine.

According to Curtiss Designer Jordan Comille:

With the battery cells packaged inside eight cylindrical towers configured in a flaring radial ‘V’ pattern, we’re not only able to tap into Glenn’s [Curtiss] iconic V8 form language, but we’re also able to achieve maximum battery cooling efficiency. In this case, there exists no compromise between form and function.”

Lots of Power

Regardless of how the batteries are configured, Curtiss has developed a potent electric motorcycle. Curtiss says the eight battery cylinders have a capacity of 16.8 kWh of power. It’s true, this represents the largest battery capacity of any current electric motorcycle. Curtiss also claims that the Zeus’ electric motor provides 217 HP.

By way of comparison, Zero’s newest SR/F electric streetfighter motorcycle holds a battery pack with a 14.4 kWh power rating. Zero says the SR/F produces about 110 HP – nearly half of what Curtiss claims for its Zeus.

The previous Zeus model used a dual motor arrangement with the motors coming from Zero. But now, the Zeus uses a proprietary Yasa P400R series motor.

While the power of the Zeus is indeed impressive, Curtis does not provide any information about the bike’s range. That is a bit of a worry for many, but may not be so important to the type of riders Curtiss is courting: those wanting a rolling piece of motorcycle art.

If you want a new Zeus, it’s going to cost you. Curtiss is right up front about the fact that the Zeus will be a premium motorcycle. If the bike makes it to production, the powerful electric motorcycle will set you back $75,000.

Featured image: Curtiss

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Even though we’re barely halfway into the 2019 riding season, BMW is already announcing the updates for its 2020 lineup. For now, the changes to the adventure bikes are modest, although some other machines get more significant changes.

The G310 GS loses the Racing Red finish next year, but Strato Blue Metallic is now available. The R1250 GS and R1250 GS Adventure can now be ordered with black or gold cross-spoked wheels. As for the F750 GS, F850 GS and F850 GS Adventure models, there’s no paint changes, but some markets will see a 15 per cent drop in pricing for optional equipment (Dynamic ESA, riding modes, etc.).

In the press release, there’s no mention of the S1000 XR. Interesting! For a while, it’s been expected that the S1000 XR would get BMW’s updated Shiftcam engine, in a torquey state of tune. At this point, that looks very likely. The S1000 R will also likely see similar updates.

As for other models, it’s mostly paint changes all-round, with some finishes discontinued, others added. The BMW S1000 RR gets a new carbon fiber package available (fenders, fairing panels, chain guard, sprocket cover).

Along with the cosmetic changes, the K1600 B, the K1600 GT and K1600 GTL will now come with reverse gear. The K1600 Grand America gets that reverse gear, and also a new audio platform.

Of all the updates, the most significant probably go to the R nineT lineup, all of which see ASC (Automatic Stability Control) as standard equipment for 2020.

Along with the S1000 XR and S1000 R models mentioned above, BMW also did not mention the F800 R in its press release; it’s highly likely we’ll see that machine updated with the new 850-series engine for 2020.

Featured image: BMW

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Want safety visibility lighting on your helmet? Instead of waiting around for vapourware smart helmet startups that never actually make a real product, you can now buy a DIY upgrade kit from LightMode.

But first, who’s LightMode? Based on the company’s website, LightMode appears to be a small start-up based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, specializing in add-on helmet safety features. According to the site,

LightMode Kits optimize motorcycle helmet visibility by fixing them with electroluminescent materials without compromising the structural integrity of the helmet. There’s hardly any additional weight to your helmet, they’re super easy to install, the lights turn on with the push of a button, and it improves rider safety. LightMode helmets are also unique and downright badass – the internet agrees.

The idea is that the additional lighting will improve motorcyclist visibility, although we’d expect Blade Runner cosplayers will make a healthy secondary market.

LightMode sells four basic helmet light kits, which all come with USB-rechargeable batteries and controllers that attach to your helmet. There’s the Neutron S design, which is intended to have peel-and-stick function. You can order lights in different colors, and the Neutron S lighting system is also available in different shapes.

Then, LightMode also sells the Electron S system, which is intended to be configured into simple custom-shaped lights. The Grid S lighting system is designed to be worked into more intricate custom shapes. These can both be ordered in multiple colors as well.

Pricing is $129 US for the Neutron S, $149 for the Electron S, and $169 for the Grid S. Dual-light Neutron S systems cost $229, with free shipping in North America. For more details, see the video below, or visit the LightMode website.

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North America still hasn’t gotten its hands on the Yamaha Tenere 700, but while you wait, check out this alternate scramblerization of Yamaha’s 700 platform, produced as part of Yamaha’s Yard Built program.

Yard Built is a Yamaha program that sees the Japanese manufacturer team up with custom motorcycle builders to create stylistic remixes of current motorcycles. There’s often an emphasis on the streetfighter or cafe racer genres. This particular machine is a tricked-out scrambler that’s intended to recall the glory days of off-road rally racing.

Deus Ex used a Yamaha XSR700 for the base. The XSR is already a retro-tastic machine, supposedly bringing the classic styling of Yamaha’s XS line to the MT-07.

There are varied opinions as to how well the re-design actually worked.

However, while the XSR700 might look a bit like a scrap heap, depending on your aesthetic sensibilities, most will probably agree this machine, dubbed the Swank Rally 700, is much more cohesive visually. It actually looks like a retro big-bore dual sport, the sort of machine one might use to assault the dunes of Mauritania.


Okay, maybe not the dunes of Mauritania, but this machine did make an appearance at the Swank Rally. Photo: Yamaha

It’s not just a paint job with old-school plastics, though. Deus Ex also put a Yamaha Super Tenere 1200 front end on the machine, as well as a 19-inch front wheel. The press release said the builders had “off-road entertainment and action in mind.” If that was the case, then maybe a 21-inch front wheel might have been more appropriate, but the new 19-incher will surely be better than the 17-inch stock XSR wheel. The stock cast wheels were sent off to the junk heap, swapped out for Kineo tubeless spoked wheels with Metzeler Karoo tires.

The builders gave the machine softer front springs, as the XSR doesn’t weigh as much as the Super Ten. The rear shock was swapped out for an Ohlins unit (no mention of any changes to the swingarm to alter steering geometry, though).


Handmade seat! Handmade gas tank! Handmade skid plate! But those plastics are vintage bits from Acerbis. Photo: Yamaha

Deus Ex also put a handmade seat on the bike, with “hand-beaten aluminum tank,” and “hand crafted aluminum skid plate.” But by they time they got to the fenders and handguards, they must have worn their hands out, because those pieces are all Acerbis units. The exhaust is a custom 2-1 SC unit.

How well does the machine actually work? Yamaha says it entered the bike into the Swank Rally and showed it off at the Wheels and Waves festival afterwards. In other words, it’s at least decent enough to survive a rally in good enough shape to be exhibited at a custom show.

Featured image: The Swank Rally 700. Photo: Yamaha

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Looking to add visibility to your motorcycle? Rizoma can help with its new Vision Sequential Turn Signals.

As the name implies, the Italian-manufactured Vision Sequential Turn Signals take traditional turn indicators a step further by not only flashing, but flashing a series of five LED bulbs in the direction of turn, grabbing more attention and also leaving no doubt which direction the bike is turning. You can see the system in action in the video below:

This sort of capability would have been much more difficult back when motorcycles always came with incandescent turn signals, as they tended to be more bulky and consume more power, and also were more fragile. LEDs enable more trick light design, and these new turn signals are a good example of that. The LEDs also allow a more streamlined shape than the round or square turn signals of previous-generation motorcycles. The signals’ dimensions are 60 mm length, 16 mm wide, and 14.5 mm high. If you need more length, you can also purchase optional 32 mm turn signal stem extensions. Mounting adapter plates are also available, if your bike requires them.

The new Rizoma indicators come with a clear projector lens (the LEDs emit coloured light), with anodized billet aluminum body. They’re available with black or silver finish. A waterproof seal keeps rain out of the interior of the turn signal. The indicators come with the needed resistors (necessary to convert most bikes from incandescent signals to properly-functioning LEDs). They come with old-school bullet connectors for easy installation, but Rizoma also has a “no splice” cable adapter that allows a plug-n-play setup.

At roughly $84 US apiece (not per pair!) the Rizoma indicators are expensive, although it’s all relative: OEM replacement turn signals can also cost you a pretty penny. The Rizoma’s price does put them at the highest end of the aftermarket, though. But, remember the Vision turn signals are also road-legal, which is not the case with many of the mini signals available for cheap on eBay.

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