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Ujjwal Dey

Police Aim To Stop Reckless Motorcycle Groups Before They Start Dangerous Stunt Rides

By | General Posts

by Todd Feurer from https://chicago.cbslocal.com/

CHICAGO (CBS) — Responding to growing complaints about packs of reckless motorcycle riders, Chicago police told aldermen they taking a more proactive approach to reining in swarms of bikers who speed down streets and expressways, performing dangerous stunts that put themselves and others at risk.

Stunt rider motorcycle groups have become more popular in recent years, Chicago Police Cmdr. Sean Loughran, who heads the department’s Special Functions Division, said at a City Council Public Safety Committee meeting on the problem.

Office of Emergency Management and Communications executive director Rich Guidice said there were approximately 1,100 calls to 911 last year complaining about dangerous motorcycle groups.

Rather than trying to stop the groups after they’ve started speeding through the city, police said they plan to keep track of the groups on social media, in an effort to stop large stunt rides before they start.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams has previously reported the stunt biker groups, which frequently post social media videos of themselves popping wheelies, speeding down sidewalks, and blowing through red lights and stop signs, sometimes coming within inches of hitting pedestrians crossing the street.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), who called on the Chicago Police Department and OEMC to detail their plans to address the dangerous motorcycle groups, said they often ride in groups of 200 to 300 people, speeding down expressways, Lake Shore Drive, and even side streets, ignoring all traffic laws, and putting other motorists and pedestrians in danger.

Loughran said part of the challenge in cracking down on the groups is that chasing them isn’t worth the risk, because it would only put more lives in danger, and actually give the stunt riders what they want – a chance at making a viral video of a police chase.

“These individuals, the worst bad actors, they’re not stopping. In fact, they want you to chase them,” he said. “Many of the riders actively intend to goad law enforcement, on camera, into chases during these drag races, which only heightens the potential danger.”

Police said they plan to focus on using social media to find out when the groups are planning a ride event, and either putting a stop to dangerous motorcycle rallies before they start, or using helicopters to track the groups until they stop, and then handing out tickets, or making arrests if necessary.

“The key to this is when they’re at the rallying points, and swarming with a task force approach,” Loughran said. “We want to flood that area, and get them off their bikes while they’re revving their bikes.”

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who said the stunt riders are a frequent problem on Lower Wacker Drive, said police should also rely on a new ordinance the City Council passed last summer, increasing the penalties for street racing.

Racing drivers now face fines of $5,000 to $10,000 for each offense.

“Lean on that section of the code. Write those violations, because I’ll tell you, a $5,000 ticket, that gets some attention real quick,” Reilly said.

Loughran said police also can sometimes seize a rider’s motorcycle, if they’re arrested for committing a misdemeanor or felony, or if they don’t have the proper license or registration.

“A lot of the motorcycle riders will intentionally never have license plates affixed on their vehicle, or will bend the plates up, or will remove them when going on these rides,” he said.

Police said riders also often outfit their bikes with illegally modified exhaust systems, or simply remove their mufflers, to create more noise. Those violations carry a $500 fine per day.

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) introduced an ordinance last year that would have required the city to install six noise monitors along Lake Shore Drive to help document the extent of the problem of noisy motorcycle groups.

However, Hopkins said the city already is authorized to install those monitors under a 2017 state law, and he said the mayor’s office has agreed to install them along Lake Shore Drive this year.

The alderman said the data from the noise monitors not only will help police investigating the motorcycle groups, but provide the City Council with data to determine if any laws need to be changed to improve enforcement.

The Cross Country Chase

By | General Posts

Kicking off from the Canadian border and motoring towards the Florida Keys, riders on the Chase lit out on their eight-state odyssey just as the weather witch turned the thermostat down and set to soaking the scenery for exactly half of the group’s 2,368-mile route. If you were betting that crappy weather would dampen the doings, however, you’d be dead wrong. Nothing diminished the heightened anticipation of this inaugural run as enthusiastic riders from 28 states layered on weather gear and set their sights on the warm sun and sandy beaches of Florida.

The exhilaration of the gathering for the group photo along Saint Mary’s River extended to the next day’s gloomy send off from Sault Ste. Marie in the early morning of September 6. Riders headed off into the predawn darkness along Michigan’s rain-soaked roads and, ironically, crossed the fog-enshrouded Mackinac Bridge just as 1,500 antique tractors were crossing the five-mile long Mighty Mac. Coming from the opposite direction, the annual trek of the tractors seemed perfectly timed to accent the Chase crossing. Adding an air of excitement as the motorcyclists passed the tractors, riders simultaneously checked out the tractors while eyeing the steel grate of the bridge into the frigid white-capped waters of Lake Huron below. The unrelenting drizzle kept riders soggy until a welcomed break lasting just long enough to enjoy a nice lunch hosted at the Hagerty Insurance headquarters in Traverse City, Michigan, which was followed closely by the group’s first pop quiz.

Studious riders stood with clipboards, pondering the 10-question, multiple-choice test that was based partly on motorcycle history and partly on scenery along the miles they had just ridden. This exact scenario would play out every day for the duration of the run and would be a general point of consternation for the group. Many feigned test anxiety, but some discovered that the questions served to heighten the awareness of their surroundings during the ride. Either way, testing was the hot topic that evening as pilots discussed the day and readied their machines for the next lap, which included a ride on the historic S.S. Badger.

Dawn broke as riders rolled onto the last functioning coal-fired steam ferry in the world. In service since 1953, the Badger shuttled riders and machines for 62 miles across Lake Michigan. The ship is a moving bit of nautical antiquity and even has an onboard museum, which served to keep anxious Chase riders entertained during the four-hour voyage before docking in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The group would end their day with dinner and a bike show at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee where rider #72, Larry Luce, barely managed to roll into the parking lot before the tire on his 1938 Velocette KSS went completely flat. Luce spent his time before dinner making repairs as a celebration played out across the museum campus. Between the rolling museum of Cross Country Chase bikes displayed outside and the Harley-Davidson exhibit inside, visitors to the museum were well steeped in historic motorcycles of all marques, though some were already starting to show exhaustion. As Stage 3 was flagged off the next morning, James Malone, #05 and Don Gilmore, #22 would both have left the run.

It would be Stage 4, the longest day of the run with 315 miles, before riders would peel off wet weather gear in exchange for the oppressive heat of the south. As the weather leapt into the triple digits, both man and machine began to wear down and one rider was sent home to recuperate from exposure to the heat as CCC staff nurse, Vicki Sanfelipo, was kept busy tending to the group’s health. By the time riders rolled into Harley-Davidson of Bowling Green, Kentucky, one rider’s saddlebag had caught fire and another’s engine shot flames as he tried to kick start his tired machine. It was easily extinguished and Matt Miller, #46, rode his 1947 H-D U off to prepare for the next day’s adventure. One rider crashed and was sent to the hospital for minor wounds, though Mike Bruso and his wife, #42, would rejoin the CCC at the finish line each night.

Scoring was a combination of mileage and testing totals, offset by certain handicaps afforded for things like age of an entry. The varying range of test scores meant the leader board was subject to change on a daily basis, though rider #99, Todd Cameron, took the lead from day one and held the position to the end. Todd’s rare 1930 BSA Sloper was the oldest British bike entered, but not the smallest. That distinction was shared by two bikes: #90, Paul Warrenfelt’s 1935 Triumph as well as #62, Scott Funk’s BSA, both with 250 cc.

There were three categories for Chase machines and each bike was inspected for compliance. Class I motorcycles had the smallest engines and, if successful in getting all the miles, were the most likely to win the race that offered legendary-status bragging rights along with a $7,500 purse. Class I consisted of motorcycles with a displacement of 500cc or less and were required to maintain 45 mph on a straight flat road. Class II were machines with a displacement of 501cc to 1000 cc that could maintain 50 mph on a straight flat road and Class III machines had a displacement of 1001 cc or more that managed 55 mph on a straight flat road. The list of marques consisted of 44 Harley-Davidsons, 15 Indians, three BSAs, three Triumphs and one each of Velocette, Nimbus, Norton and Zundapp. But by September 12, with three days left in the competition, 10 riders had dropped out. The drop list included only one Brit, Scott Funk’s BSA. Scott respectfully chose to withdraw rather than to abuse the old girl once he heard a suspicious lower end clatter.

A total of three women riders signed on for the Chase and all three, Cris Sommer-Simmons, Andrea Labarbara, and Jody Perewitz, arrived to cross the finish line at Mallory Square in Key West with solid numbers. There were three sidecar teams that also included women, two of which saw the checkered flag in Key West. Entrants included teams of brothers, brothers-in-laws and married couples and became a gathering of riders with heart who shared their passion for the sport of motorcycling in a very personal way. By the time the gaggle of riders had navigated their way across the country, most everyone was a family bound by the collective goal of seeing their friends finish the ride beside them.

Some modifications were allowed on the bikes, typically such things as upgraded headlamp, brakes, and fuel capacity. GPS was not allowed, but the addition of a speedometer/odometer in order to maintain accurate mileage was permitted since the route sheets handed out before each morning’s ride were quite complex. One missed turn would serve to knock a rider out of the scoring if he or she came in late.

The well-planned route included a heart-pounding trip over the old Wabash Cannonball Bridge on the Illinois and Indiana borders, cruising the gently rolling hills of Kentucky, a visit to Coker Tires and a train station converted into a hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before they had the honor of sharing dinner with the 98-year-old owner of Harley-Davidson of Macon, Georgia. Grover Sassaman and his family invited the Chase to an elegant spaghetti dinner at the family-owned dealership and riders were delighted when the personable and cheerful Grover offered sage advice and wrenching tips on the gathered bikes. He picked out rider #61, Robert Zeolla’s, 1939 H-D EL as what he considered the most original of the Harleys in the group and posed with the bike for photographer Michael Lichter. Lichter had set up temporary studios all along the route to capture the CCC moments and the Sassamans took advantage of the opportunity to sit for a family portrait.

Riders made a stop in front of the Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S. Buoy before promoters Jason and LeeAnn Sims waved the group in with the checkered flag against the bright blue waters surrounding Key West’s Mallory Square. As a last-minute panic, rider #18, Willie Earhart, had a mechanical moment when his 1948 Harley died at the finish line with the minutes ticking down on the final clock. As the gathered crowd reached an exhilarated frenzy, Jason came close and shouted words of encouragement as Willie kicked for all he was worth in the blazing afternoon sun. Finally, after several tense minutes, the engine sputtered and came to life as the crowd screamed in elation. Everyone cheered as Willie pulled onto the pier and, with great relief, dropped his kickstand next to the rest of the overheated Chase machines. Later that evening as the sun set over fans, friends and family that gathered on the beach to watch as awards were presented, there was a collective sense of pride for a journey well done mixed with an air of melancholy as the group realized the magic of the ride had come to an end. And the obvious question was… will there be another Cross Country Chase? Stay tuned race fans… there’s more news to come!

JOIN THE CROSS COUNTRY CHASE 2020 – https://www.scooterscribes.news/the-cross-country-chase/

Bill’s Bikes

By | General Posts

Four Decades of a Dedicated Rider’s Rides

Here’s some of the bikes I’ve had since the late ‘70s. There were several more, but they were just something to roll over and make a few bucks. I am currently buying a ‘98 1200 Sportster slightly wrecked for $1000. I’ll send pictures of what I am doing to it to make money to build my rigid project.

CLICK HERE TO READ THIS PHOTO FEATURE AT BIKERNET

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Chinese Startup NIU Reveals U.S-Bound Electric Motorcycle, Three-Wheeled Scooter

By | General Posts

by Mircea Panait from https://www.autoevolution.com

Harley-Davidson isn’t trailblazing the industry with the LiveWire electric motorcycle. Two-wheeled vehicles with e-propulsion are huge in China and a few other places around the world, but the Middle Kingdom takes the lion’s share in terms of volume.

More than 30 million units are sold in the People’s Republic each year, and this causes a little bit of chaos in the urban jungle. Major cities such as Beijing and Taiwan have banned e-scooters in 2016 along with segways, but nevertheless, business is good.

So good in fact, a startup called NIU decided to showcase two models at the CES 2020 for the U.S. market. Not to be confused with Chinese automaker NIO, the company plans to roll out the RQi-GT electric motorcycle and TQi-GT covered three-wheeler to places like San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and even Honolulu.

NIU first landed in the United States with a fleet of 1,000 mopeds in Brooklyn as part of a partnership with Revel. The mopeds in question feature 60 and 80 miles or range, respectively, Panasonic batteries, and up to 3,800 watts of get-up-and-go from the e-motor.

Billed as an urban performance motorcycle, the RQi-GT is capable of 160 km/h (100 miles per hour) from 30 kW and two removable batteries with a total capacity of 6.5 kWh. In other words, riders can expect up to 130 kilometers (80 miles) in one go. Thanks to that kind of range, the RQi-GT has the makings of an interesting commuter mobile.

Next up, the TQi-GT is a little more special because it’s the manufacturer’s first self-balancing electric three-wheeler. As if that kind of technological wizardry wasn’t enough, look forward to autonomous driving (or riding?) functionalities such as self parking.

The TQi-GT comes in second in terms of top speed (80 km/h or 50 miles per hour) but it features a similar range as the electric motorcycle. Last, but certainly not least, 5G connectivity translates to real-time vehicle diagnostics, remote start, and over-the-air updates for the two- and three-wheeler.

NIU plans to start production of the RQi-GT and TQi-GT for the U.S. sometime in the second half of 2020, and the first deliveries are scheduled a few months after that.

1950s Throwback – The Heated Motorcycle Helmet

By | General Posts

by Florin Tibu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Effervescent and lively as the ‘50s have been, that decade was also littered with some of the funniest contraptions aimed at solving some of the most common issues motorists had. And here’s one of the truly crazy ones, the heated motorcycle helmet.

The video comes from a French outlet and this helmet is presented as the “Thermoscaphe”, so we could assume it is a French invention. Its name is a derivation from the term “bathyscaphe”, a manned submersible vehicle for deep-sea exploration that’s still in use nowadays.

Now, we’re not at all sure that the inventor of the thermoscaphe was serious about it, albeit we reckon that most of the wacky innovators back in the day were convinced that their creations were genius. However, the design of this helmet’s hull is indeed useful, as its all-transparent, 360-degree viewing angle acryllic structure provides excellent sight. And we’re not going into the aerodynamics debate, right?

Obviously not designed for high speed, this helmet doesn’t come with a chin strap, even though it has safety thethers. Presumably it didn’t need a Pinlock lens, as the breathing space between its lower edge and the wearer’s body would ventilate the interior well enough to prevent fogging. And of course, you’ve got additional vents all around…

As for the thermal side of this prototype, we had a really good laugh. The heating element is a primitive one, using an alcohol lamp whose flame heats an air duct. The outside air is pushed through this duct by means of a battery-powered fan, and is supposed to become warmer as it flows through the metal tube. It would be interesting to measure the heat difference, though.

The whole heating device is attached to the left side of the helmet, adding even more weird points to this project. We can only hope that at least the lamp was designed in such a way that alcohol would not easily spill when the helmet is tipped, even though it appears to sit freely, without any visible straps to keep in in place. As if a bike crash and zero shock protection wasn’t enough, having your clothes doused in alcohol and catching on fire seems to be a scenario the creator of this helmet didn’t consider at all.

Helmet air conditioning is still a thing today

Still, the idea of having AC inside a motorcycle helmet was not abandoned altogether. From DYI attempts to actual helmets that are on sale today, many riders thought that being able to avoid extreme temperatures inside their lids was a neat thing. Today, we can find AC add-ons that strap to a helmet and provide a flow of cool air when riding in the summer, such as the BlueSnap from BlueArmor. It is indeed bulky and looks rather unnatural, and most likely is very unnerving when riding at high speed, but you can actually get one.

Or you can go even further and pull the trigger on a makeshift AC unit that you can carry as a backpack. It will cool down air sucked from the outside and push it through a tube inside your helmet. Will it do the trick? Probably yes, but this is hardly a solution, at least from a practical standpoint. Going cyborg certainly doesn’t cut it, especially if you’re using the bike for running errands around the city. Just take a look at what using this type of helmet AC is like and you’ll understand.

Honestly, the best solution we found was the Feher ACH-1 helmet. Dubbed the “Mr. Cool” helmet, this lid comes with an air conditioner perfectly integrated in the back of the helmet, looking pretty cool (pun intended) and unobtrusive. This DOT and ECE-approved lid is also on the lightweight side, as it tips the scales at 1,450 grams or 3.2 pounds, which is still lighter than most casual modular helmets out there.

No idea about craftsmanship and wearing comfort, but if keeping a cool head when riding the bike is crucial for you, the Feher ACH-1 sounds like a good buy at $450, also available in sizes XS through 2XL and in no less than five color options.

We here still use water poured on the liner when riding in very hot weather, sometimes considering a custom scarf made of hi-flow material, worn around the neck, and in whose pouch we can add several ice cubes. Melting ice also wets the undergarments and this helps cool the body, too, albeit being a solution a tad too messy for some.

As for the 1957 heated helmet, is DOES bring to mind the Red Bull Flugtag, an event we just can’t have enough of. Please do have your say on the Thermoscaphe, and who knows how much sillier and funnier ideas might pop up.

 

Jarvish’s Smart Helmet Can Provide a Better Experience for Motorcycle Riders and Set New Trends in the Motorcycle Industry

By | General Posts

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Jarvish and other notable homegrown startups led by Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) are now showcasing their innovative solutions at CES 2020.

Smartphones have been around for more than 10 years. People nowadays tend to find smart mobile devices that suit their needs and are easy to use based on different usage scenarios. Recognizing this trend – as well as the development of 5G technology which will perfect connected vehicles – startup company Jarvish, whose core members mainly consist of former employees from Hon Hai, has spared no efforts to develop top-notch motorcycle gear for connected vehicles. By utilizing its strong technology integration capabilities, Jarvish has brought the world a smart helmet featuring a stylish design and practical functions.

Jarvish’s smart helmet comes with a built-in 2K HD action camera, a sensor that detects whether the helmet is being worn, OGS surrounding HD sound system, smart voice control system, wireless charging module, and HUD (Head-Up Display) that allows you to browse information while riding. “Unlike other mobile devices, smart helmets need to provide not only high performance and advanced technology but also security. Therefore, we have studied security regulations in different countries and set our eyes on markets with high-security requirements,” said Jeremy Lu, founder of Jarvish. To meet the security requirements, the materials, the placement of the microphone, camera, HUD, battery, and Bluetooth module, as well as the wiring of the helmet must be thoroughly planned. For example, since the battery is placed near the rider’s head, the lithium battery commonly used in commercial products must be replaced with the explosion-proof ceramic battery intended for military use. The ceramic battery can run for up to five hours. Also, the HUD consumes power constantly; therefore, the battery size and the thickness and weight of the EPS insulation panel must be designed properly. These details all demonstrate Jarvish’s ability to integrate technologies from different industries.

When the helmet is connected to the network via a smartphone, the rider can use leading brands’ voice assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa to make phone calls, activate navigation services, listen to music, or broadcast a live video on Facebook without using their hands. The rider can also customize voice commands via Alexa Skills Kit if needed.

Jeremy Lu added that they would try to provide support for all mainstream voice assistants in the helmet. That being said, there are less than 30 voice commands used when riding a motorcycle. Therefore, Jarvish has developed its own voice assistant specially designed for riding scenarios. The company has also worked with the world’s largest mapping software company. By using its own app, Jarvish’ smart helmet can be updated with all kinds of voice information including riding speed, speed camera warnings, weather forecasts, nearby gas stations, nearby Gogoro charging stations, and navigation data.

To protect the rider’s safety, Jarvish’ helmet is not only IPX6 water-resistant but also compliant with CNS, DOT, and ECE standards. When the sensor attached to the helmet detects a crash while it is being worn, Jarvish’s voice assistant will ask the rider if he/she needs an ambulance. The rider can also cancel emergency aid via voice commands.

“Once Jarvish’s smart helmets are widely adopted, the big data they collect can also be used to improve traffic conditions and construct smart cities,” said Jeremy Lu confidently.

AI-Driven Electric Motorcycle Shows Self-Driving Tech Is About More Than Autonomous Driving

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by John Koetsier from https://www.forbes.com/

Damon Motorcycles unveiled its new electric motorcycle today at CES in Las Vegas, calling it “the world’s smartest, safest and most powerful electric motorcycle.”

My first thought: it can’t be both the most powerful and the safest.

Then I kept reading.

And I started believing it might be possible.

First off: the power. The Damon Hypersport has “over 200” horsepower, which is a lot for a motorcycle. But even more impressively, it delivers 200nm of torque at zero RPMs … the classic electric vehicle advantage. (Although how RPM means something in an electric motor is a mystery to me.) Thanks to that power, the bike has a top speed of 200 miles/hour.

Which, by the way, doesn’t sound very safe.

But the safety features are impressive.

As you’d expect in a motorcycle, they’re not about crumple zones or air bags.

Instead, they’re about intelligence. Specifically, predictive intelligence: what’s around me, where is it going and what do I need to avoid? The Hypersport will track the speed, direction and acceleration of up to 64 moving objects around the bike, Damon says.

Damon calls it the “CoPilot 360º advanced warning system.” CoPilot 360 uses cameras, radar and “other sensors” to know what’s around and alert riders to threats, the company says.

“We spent the last three years developing an AI-powered, fully connected, e-motorcycle platform that incorporates CoPilot, our proprietary 360º warning system … Damon motorcycles will be the safest, most advanced electric motorcycles on the market.”
– Jay Giraud, co-founder and CEO, Damon Motorcycles

That’s not just about what’s ahead of you. The system “looks around corners,” although I’m sure it’s not bending any laws of physics, and keeps an “eye” on the rear to see what might be coming from behind.

And, it will learn your driving habits and adjust accordingly, using onboard artificial intelligence.

“We prioritized data-driven thinking at the epicenter of the company, employing radical innovations in sensor fusion, robotics and AI,” Dom Kwong, the co-founder and CTO of Damon Motorcycles, said in a statement. “This level of deep learning and connectivity are unprecedented, ensuring each rider a smarter, safer and connected ride; not only for individuals but for entire communities, with the goal to reduce incidents worldwide.”

To connect riders and power the bike’s AI and other advanced features, it includes 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Of course, there are two big questions:

One: will riders actually be safer with warnings about oncoming objects, or will they prioritize what they see on the screen versus watching the road? Will a flood of alerts distract them or make them safer?

And secondly: with software, the devil’s in the details. Few transportation companies that aren’t named Tesla do it well. Will this startup be able to ship these advanced technologies in a usable, friendly and safe way?

Damon says yes, citing the foundation of their software:

“By building it on BlackBerry’s best-in-class technology that is safety certified, Damon motorcycles will be the safest, most advanced electric motorcycles on the market,” says CEO Giraud.

That’s BlackBerry QNX, which is built by the former mobile giant, now re-focused on software solutions.

Ultimately, we’ll know when the bike ships.

The Hypersport is available for pre-order now on the Damon website. Pricing begins at $24,995 before any applicable EV tax credits.

And the range? 200 miles on the highway, 300 miles in the city, according to the company.

Damon’s Electric Motorcycle Will Have 200-Mile Range, 200mph Speed, Safety Suite

By | General Posts

by Bill Roberson from https://www.forbes.com

2019 was a big year for the nascent electric motorcycle niche, and it looks like 2020 is going to start with another shock to the system with Vancouver B.C.-based Damon Motorcycles announcing some eye-opening performance numbers and cutting-edge safety tech for their upcoming machine, called the Hypersport. A prototype Hypersport and specifications were revealed Tuesday morning at the 2020 CES electronics expo in Las Vegas.

Damon claims the Hypersport will be be capable of some fairly hyper numbers, including 200 horsepower, a 200 mile-an-hour top speed, and 200 miles of highway range, as well as 300 miles of range in urban riding. Additionally, the Hypersport will be bristling with technology heretofore unseen on most any motorcycle, including on-the-fly adjustable ergonomics and a car-like rider safety system.

Damon had previously sent out emails ahead of the CES reveal teasing the fact that “200” was their “magic number,” so while it might have been easy to deduce those figures, they still stand out against the specs of competing bikes, which often struggle to achieve half of those performance figures.

A run of 25 premium high-spec bikes with a price of $40,000 will be the focus of an initial Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, while a more mass-market Hypersport will come in at $24,995. The crowdfunding campaign will complement additional financial backing from Round 13 Capital, Techstars, Fontinalis, Extreme Venture Partners and Pallasite Ventures.

Ahead of CES, Damon CEO Jay Jiraud told Forbes.com the Hypersport will feature their exclusive on-the-fly adjustable ergonomics package, called Shift, and an extensive rider awareness/safety system they call CoPilot. The Shift ergo system will be able to change things like seat height, handlebar height and footpeg location, changing the riding position from a tucked-in sport posture to a more standard-style sit-up arrangement for more comfortable city riding. The bike itself has the form of a sleek sports machine. And while a specific torque figure was not released, Jiraud told Forbes.com the Hypersport will make a “s**tload of torque.” Some of the features can be seen in this video from Damon:

Forbes.com was the first publication to take Damon’s two test bikes for rides this past summer, including the shape-shifting Hypersport prototype and another test machine outfitted with an array of cameras, sensors and electronics designed to give riders a digital heads up on what’s happening around them via a sensor package not unlike what many cars now feature.

Jiraud explained that his vision is to give Hypersport riders more comfort, range and utility from the bike, while also introducing pre-collision safety features that, as of now, have been largely missing from motorcycles while they have gotten ever more sophisticated in cars.

However, the CoPilot system will differ from the automotive systems in that it won’t have the ability to take over operation of the motorcycle; it only gives warning cues about possible dangers around the rider. The reason for the non-intervention is that a motorcycle is an inherently unstable platform, unlike a car, and unexpectedly taking control of the bike away from the rider in any way could result in a crash. Instead, the CoPilot system uses video screens, a rear-facing camera, multiple radar units and position sensors, small LED lights and handlebar vibrations to let the rider know what is happening around the motorcycle. Again, CoPilot does not activate the brakes or affect steering, although Jiraud did not rule out those features in some iteration much farther down the line as A.I. systems, vehicle interconnectivity and other technologies improve.

During a test ride of the system several months ago, I found the tech to be innovative and effective. While it does add some input to the rider while in operation, I found that even after a few miles, it became second nature to see, feel and understand the warning system’s cues.

Likewise, riding the sleek electric bike with the adjustable ergos was also interesting. While some modern bikes allow owners to tailor things like seat height, handlebar rise and footpeg placement, those adjustments typically have to be made with tools while the bike is stopped, and once made, riders are essentially stuck with them until they can be changed again with tools.

Damon’s Shift system works more like your car’s interior. Using a bar-mounted controller, the seat can rise and fall, the bars can move up and down and the footpegs will lift or lower. While the test bike had only two positions for the ergos, Jiraud said future versions would be more adjustable for a true custom fit. Best of all, the Shift system is adjustable while riding.

BlackBerry On Board

Damon CEO Jay Giraud has made some key moves to bring his vision of an electric bike with all the elements of the two test bikes rolled into one battery-powered package. A key development in the quest to get the data-hungry CoPilot system up to par performance-wise was a partnership with BlackBerry and implementation of the BlackBerry QNX suite to power and talk to the numerous sensors, radars and other tech involved in CoPilot. There will also be 4G cellular connectivity.

Once famous for their cellphones, BlackBerry has largely transitioned to a company that makes control systems that work behind the curtain in numerous data systems, with a focus on cars and medical equipment. The QNX system has been installed in over 150 million vehicles and is used by almost all top automakers worldwide, so it’s quite a coup for Damon to have them dip into the electric motorcycle world at this early stage.

Alta Influence

Clearly, this is not Jay Jiraud’s first tech rodeo. While the Damon team was spooling up the Hypersport, Jiraud also added a key player in Derek Dorresteyn, from now-defunct but long-time electric motorcycle maker Alta Motors. Dorresteyn signed on as COO at Damon, which will need his expertise to tease out the promised performance figures for the Hypersport models. Even though both are legacy technologies, batteries and electric motors are two parts of a rapidly developing tech frontier that is seeing huge investments by both corporate and even state-sponsored players.

Jiraud told Forbes.com that Dorresteyn was in the midst of working on a “completely new” electric superbike powertrain system at Alta when the company closed up shop, and he brings a wealth of expertise to Damon. Among the bike’s tech features Jiraud talked about with Forbes ahead of CES was a 700-plus volt, liquid-cooled 20kWh battery pack for the Hypersport, which would be quite large for a motorcycle, but Jiraud says the Hypersports’ architecture can handle the battery pack and that the battery will not be the typical rectangular lump found in many current electric bikes. For comparison, the largest battery available on the class-leading Zero SR-F is just over 16kWh (the standard battery is 14.4kWh), with the bike tipping the scales at a tick over 500 pounds. Meanwhile, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire uses a 15.5kWh pack. Jiraud says he is planning on keeping the weight of the Hypersport under 500 pounds through design and weight-saving measures.

A Challenging Future

The transition of the motorcycle industry from gas to electric has lagged (with some exceptions) behind that of cars due to the challenges of design as well as the space and weight-sensitive platform a motorcycle presents, but battery and motor advances in the bike industry can also represent opportunities to the EV industry as a whole. With the addition of Dorresteyn from Alta, Blackberry’s QNX handling the tech and a clutch of investors, Damon may be in position to lead in terms of range, safety and power once the Hypersport arrives. But things can change fast in the EV world, so stay tuned.

The Damon Hypersport prototype bike can be seen at BlackBerry’s booth at CES 2020. Deliveries are slated for 2021.

 

Why A Car Tire On A Motorcycle Is A Bad Idea

By | General Posts

by Justin Hughes from https://www.rideapart.com/

They call it the “dark side” for a reason.

A while back, Kate discussed the perils and pitfalls of using a car tire on the back of your motorcycle, a practice known as “the dark side.” A video just came across a Facebook group I’m on demonstrating, clear as day (the daylight you actually see under the tread), why this isn’t good.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road:

What it comes down to is simple. Bikes lean. Cars don’t. OK, yes, cars do lean a little due to weight transfer and suspension loading and unloading. I autocrossed for years—I get it. In the car world, though, we fight against this lean as much as we can with stiffer springs and sway bars. We’ll even dial some negative camber into the alignment so that when the car goes around a corner at full tilt, the tire is straight up and down for maximum grip. A car tire has its maximum grip when its full tread width is in contact with the road.

Motorcycles, on the other hand, need to lean in order to turn at any speed faster than walking. It’s the fundamental way that bikes work. Motorcycle tires are made to lean. Their profile is round, not square like a car tire. In most cases, you’re either going to drag hard parts while leaning hard or chicken out before you lean hard enough to get onto the tire’s sidewall.

Here, though, we have a perfect view of a car tire on the back of a Honda Valkyrie. On the surface this may seem like a good idea for such a big, heavy bike, especially if it does a lot of highway travel where it doesn’t lean much. Here, though, it’s on the Tail of the Dragon, a stretch of US 129 on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee with 318 curves in just 11 miles. It’s a twisty paradise for motorcyclists and sports car drivers, but the worst-case scenario for a car tire on a motorcycle.

I encourage you to watch the video, but even the thumbnail says it all. When the bike is leaned over, that car tire is on its edge, with only about one-third of the tread contacting the road. This is the exact situation that autocrossers strive to avoid. Even worse, the harder you turn, the more you lean, and the less tread contacts the road precisely when you need grip the most. In particularly hard turns, the car tire rolls up onto the sidewall, which is never intended to contact the road. I’ve had road debris puncture tires on my cars without much difficulty. You don’t want to vastly increase the chance of this happening by placing the sidewalls directly on the road.

If the only riding you do is long stretches of highway with no turning at all, I suppose a car tire could work. They do last much longer than motorcycle tires, though if you’re leaning hard through the turns the edges of the tread will wear extremely quickly. Ask this former autocrosser how I know. Personally, I find the turns to be the most fun and challenging part of riding. If I’m going to attack the twisties, I want a back tire that’s designed for the job, and that won’t give up its grip right when I need it most.

 

Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo Podiums in Monster Energy Supercross 450SX Debut

By | General Posts

Foothill Ranch, Calif. (January 5, 2020) – Monster Energy® Kawasaki came into the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship season opener in Anaheim, California feeling stronger than ever with the dynamic rider duo of Eli Tomac and Adam Cianciarulo. Cianciarulo making his Monster Energy Supercross 450SX debut picked up right where he left off at the Monster Energy Cup, showing great speed aboard his KX™450 all day long. The rookie was able to capture the fastest qualifying, a second place finish and a spot on the podium.

While a true rookie in the 450SX class, Cianciarulo made the rest of the competition aware that he was a true player in this title chase. Cianciarulo started the day off perfect by setting the fastest times in all three practice sessions and finished second in his heat race. In the Main Event, Cianciarulo made quick moves to put his KX450 into second place and began to hunt down the leader. After a mistake from the leader, Cianciarulo was able to capitalize and begin building a lead over the field, however, a minor mistake cost Cianciarulo the win in his debut race, he continued to push, finishing in second place.

It is no secret that the No. 3 machine of Eli Tomac is a title contender and podium contender every time he lines up to race his KX450. Tomac showed this early in the day, qualifying in second place position heading into the night show. However, in both the heat race and main event a mid-pack start would ultimately hamper his results. Tomac finished the evening in seventh place overall.

After months of build-up to the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium, neither the racing nor the fans were disappointed. 45,050 fans packed the stadium to watch the greatest racers in the world compete on the biggest stage in supercross.

“I fell in love with Supercross watching Anaheim 1back in 1999. Ever since then I’ve been dreaming about what I got to experience tonight. Everything from opening ceremonies to getting my first 450 podium. I was bummed we couldn’t capture the win, but regardless I am stoked on this result. It is a long season, I still have a lot to learn and build on from here, but I am already fired up to go racing next weekend in St. Louis.”
– Adam Cianciarulo

“Man, the first race of the season is always an interesting one. The whole day is just chaotic. I started feeling a bit of a flow by the end of the last qualifying session today, but in both the heat race and main event tonight I got decent starts but got shuffled back in the first turn and the way the track broke down tonight it became very one-lined and difficult to make passes. The competition this year is deeper than ever, so we will regroup this week and come out swinging in St. Louis next weekend.”
– Eli Tomac

The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team of Austin Forkner and Cameron McAdoo came out charging at the season opener of the 2020 supercross series. Both having something to prove, Forkner was prepared to return to racing and his winning ways after his season was cut short by an injury last year, while McAdoo was ready for his Kawasaki debut aboard his KX™250 motorcycle.

After qualifying sixth on the day, Forkner charged through the field in the first heat race of the night moving into second position. Following an aggressive pass from one of his contenders, Forkner fell back to fourth but quickly made up time and made his own pass into third where he would finish.

The No. 29 of McAdoo kicked off the day qualifying with the fifth fastest lap time before entering his heat race. In 250SX Heat 2, McAdoo quickly made his way into third, where he went on to cross the finish line.

As the gate dropped on the 250SX Main Event, it was Forkner who grabbed the first holeshot of the season, while teammate McAdoo found himself mid-pack and having his work cut out for him. Forkner continued to charge, leading 11 laps before making a mistake through a rhythm lane causing him to collide head-on into a Tuff Block. The Missouri native finished third on track, but the officials penalized him two positions for how he reentered the track. McAdoo was able to pass three other contenders before reaching the checkered flag in sixth.