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Honda Customers Request Google to Add Android Auto to 2020 Africa Twin

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by Bogdan Popa from

Honda customers who have recently bought the 2020 Africa Twin are now publicly requesting Google to add Android Auto to their motorcycles.

The new model only works with Apple CarPlay, as Honda itself explains. In most of the cases, head units that support Apple’s platform should also be able to run Android Auto, but right now, it’s not known who is to blame for the lack of Google’s application on the 2020 Africa Twin.

Some claim it’s Google the one that should allow Honda to enable Android Auto on their motorcycles, so they’re now requesting the company to make it happen.

“Sadly was just looking at the new Africa twin and saw it only works with apple. Wouldn’t have been a problem if it didn’t include any infotainment system but because it includes one and it is only apple I’m going to have to pass,” someone says on the Google forums.

“It’s not Honda’s fault. Google just didn’t want to put Android Auto on a motorcycle,” somebody else continues.

And while both Honda and Google have remained tight-lipped on support for Android Auto on the 2020 Africa Twin, there’s a chance such an update would arrive rather sooner than later.

More recently, Honda announced that the Gold Wing will be updated with Android Auto support later this summer. The first wave of bikes would get the update in mid-June, Honda said.

The Gold Wing was another Honda model that came with Apple CarPlay exclusively, so Android Auto will some three years after support for Apple’s platform was originally released.

If this is the same approach that Honda wants to use for the 2020 Africa Twin is something that remains to be seen, but for the time being, the only thing customers can do is make themselves heard in an attempt to convince Honda and Google to work together and bring Android Auto to their motorcycles.

1983 BMW R100 GS Black Ops Comes With Dented Tank Because It’s Cool

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by Daniel Patrascu from

When someone asks for a custom build to be made based on either a car or a motorcycle, they usually ask for the finished product to be perfect. For someone living in Florida, perfect does not necessarily mean flawless.

The motorcycle in the gallery above was once a stock BMW R100 GS. The R100 line was born in BMW’s stables back in 1976, and was to become the last of the German motorcycles powered by air-cooled engines. In production until 1996, the range grew to include a wide number of models, from the R100 T to the R100 GS, covering an even wider range of customer needs.

Because production of these models ended quite some time ago, and BMW bikes are not usually held in such high regard to be preserved for decades, most of them are now basically useless machines. But there are some garages out there that make a buck by bringing these beatdown bikes back to life.

One such garage is Paris-based Blitz Motorcycles, which focuses on giving a new purpose to old German motorcycles. Like this R100 GS here.

Made at the request of what we understand is an American customer, the bike underwent a major mechanical overhaul that included an engine rebuild, the replacement of the fuel tank, the addition of new parts and, in the end, the renaming into Black Ops.

Named so because the garage “wanted this bike to look stealth and mean” it kind of does not live up to the name. After all, such a dark apparition on a road somewhere is bound not to pass unnoticed, and the distinctive dents on the Honda CB350 fuel tank, kept because “this is what we liked about this tank,” sure makes it easy to pick out from a crowd.

We are not being told how much the rebuilt of the bike is worth.

Rabble-Rousing Stars of Orange County Choppers/American Chopper Partner With Chart-Topping, Italian-German Band Frei.Wild on New Album, Brotherhood, to be Released in U.S. August 7; Pre-Order Now

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Newly Released, First Single, “Freundschaft Brotherhood” [Friends Brotherhood]

Is Hard-Driving, Rock Anthem for Troubled Times Around the Globe


HAMBURG, Germany —  The  platinum award-winning, chart-topping, Italian, German-speaking rock group Frei.Wild has partnered with the rabble-rousing stars of Orange County Choppers/American Chopper on a joint project for the August 7th release of the band’s 16th album, Brotherhood (available for pre-order now), released by Rookies & Kings, through Soulfood Music Distribution.


The album features vocals in in English by Chopper stars Paul Teutul Sr. and Mikey Teutul (Paul’s youngest son) and Alex Franco, a long-time associate at the famed garage who brings a forceful, slightly raspy baritone to the lyrics and helped with the songwriting; and in German by Frei.Wild band members Philipp Burger (vocals, guitar), Jonas Notdurfter (guitar), Jochen “Zegga” Gargitter (bass) and Christian “Föhre” Forer (drums).


A high-octane rock album, Brotherhood features the catchy melodies and dominate guitar riffs expected by fans of Frei.WildThe New York Times has described their music as “a punk-inflected variant of “Deutschrock”—adding purely American influences such as country music elements and production-technical refinement.


Frei.Wild translates to “outlaws” in German, so it was only natural to partner with American “outlaws”—long-time personal friends of the band, who they met in 2018  at a dinner held during the Harley in the Snow event in Ridnaun, Italy—on a joint project under the name Bruder 4 Brothers [Brothers 4 Brothers].


While the initial single, “Freundschaft Brotherhood” [Friends Brotherhood], released May 15, was written and recorded long before the current pandemic crisis, it’s a message that is uniquely relevant during the Coronavirus epidemic—Brothers we will always be, to eternity, around the world—as an anthem for what is happening today and the need to all band together.


Hear the single and watch the video:


The second single, “Burn Fire Burn for Me”—featuring an animated video due to inability to film during the current quarantine—will be released July 3. Other songs on the album include:  “Pussy or a Man,” “Do You See My Devil,” “A Man and His Honor,” “Smell the Gasoline,” “You, Me and the Night,” “Steel Horse,” “The True Feeling of Freedom” and “Don’t Get Better Than This.”


Brotherhood is available digitally or in a CD digipak ($14.98 US); and as a 1LP vinyl in gatefold ($24.98 US).


Preorder the Album:


BREAKING: Motorcycle Consumer News shuts down

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Motorcycle Consumer News, one of North America’s last remaining motorcycle print publications, has been shut down as of the start of February.

While the Bonnier-owned publications have been hammered hard the past few years with titles either shut down, moved to online-only publication, or seeing their publication dates reduced, it also hasn’t been easy for anyone else. However, if there were rumblings about Motorcycle Consumer News shutting down, they weren’t very loud. Reports are that the magazine was for sale, had been shopped around, but no buyers were found, so Delaware-based Lumina Media shut it down.

It’s a sad end for a magazine with 50 years of history. Motorcycle Consumer News was originally founded under the name Road Rider in 1969, changing its name to its current title in 1991. At that point, it followed the advertisement-free model of Consumer News, relying solely on reader subscriptions to pay the bills, to avoid being beholden to the industry. While it might not have held the flashy “publication of record” reputation that other titles (particularly Motorcyclist and Cycle World) battled for over the years, it employed highly-respected writers, who were known for their expertise on subjects like road safety, first aid, mechanical maintenance, and just about any other topic that a serious motorcyclist needed to know about. Ken Condon, Flash Gordon, M.D., Dr. Gregory Frazier, Lee Parks, Mike Kneebone and many other respected riders were regular contributors at various points in time.

In recent years, Motorcycle Consumer News was published in print, but also available via PDF subscription for a very reasonable fee.

Now, it’s shut down. The website has a legal notice plastered over the home page, with details as to the company’s legal obligations to subscribers, contributors and suppliers. The mag’s Facebook page simply says “MCN is no more. Thanks for riding with us for the last 50 years! Visit for more info. Keep the shiny side up.

Greek-Made Harley-Davidson Gryps Is Part Motorcycle, Part Myth

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by Daniel Patrascu from

Greece is one of those few places where all of the world’s mythology comes from. The place where the world of Olympus was born and all the Gods of the ancient world died, but also the place from where democracy originated, the region had a major role in shaping today’s civilization.

What Greece lacks is a visible motorcycle movement in the way that there are not that many new motorcycles, custom builds, or motorcycle racers that can trace their roots back to the European country. Yet the bike in the gallery above, although based on an existing model, comes from there.

It is called Gryps, a word that in the ancient Greco-Latin records means griffin; that’s a creature with most of the body of a lion, and with the head and wings of an eagle. For most people of the time, it was a symbol of power.

The lion part in this here motorcycle is the Harley-Davidson Sportster that served as a base. It was transformed into this by the Harley-Davidson Athena dealership, and entered in the King of Kings custom build competition ran by the American company until April this year.

Lower than it used to be, and with the fuel tank sitting at a different angle on the frame, it shows a more aggressive stance, accentuated by the reworked, cold silver body envisioned for it by the Greeks. The entire build was made to resemble the mythical creature: the tank is supposed to be the body, the front fairing the head, while the side fairings are meant to represent both the wings and the legs of the monster.

Competing alongside 14 other builds coming from Harley dealers across the world, the Gryps only managed to place second during the public voting period, barely losing the King of King title to the Mexican Apex Predator.

King of Kings was a built-off competition held by Harley as an extension of the years-old Battle of the Kings. It saw 15 previous winners of the Battle of the Kings competing against one another to be voted the best custom build.

The competition’s rules stated the base motorcycle had to be a Harley, and the custom work no more expensive than €6,000 ($6,500). Of course, the finished product had to be road legal.

Reithofer re-elected chairman of BMW board

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Dr Norbert Reithofer has been re-elected as the Chairman fo the Supervisory Board of BMW AG at a meeting of the board today.

He was earlier re-elected to the Supervisory Board for a mandate period of five years at today’s Annual General Meeting.

Reithofer has been associated with BMW AG for more than three decades. He joined the company in 1987 and was Chairman of the Board of Management between 2006 and 2015. He has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board since 2015.

The Annual General Meeting also newly elected Anke Schäferkordt to the Supervisory Board for a mandate period of five years. The media manager takes over the seat of Prof Renate Köcher, who stepped down early at the end of this year’s Annual General Meeting in agreement with the Supervisory Board.

With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is a leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2019, the BMW Group sold over 2.5 million passenger vehicles and more than 175,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2019 was €7.118 billion on revenues amounting to €104.210 billion. As of 31 December 2019, the BMW Group had a workforce of 126,016 employees.

Naso Nero Is a 1978 BMW R100 RT Disguised as a Honda

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by Daniel Patrascu from

A body that looks old, but at the same time fit, a big tank on top with Honda all over it, and a combination of British Racing Green and black that makes it look apart. The bike in the gallery above is not a Honda, as the letters on its tank say, but in fact a decades old BMW R100 of the RT variation.

BMW started making the R100 line in 1976, and it would become the last line of the air-cooled airheads made by the Germans, with production ending in 1996. The family included a variety of models, starting with the R100 T and ending with the R100 GS. Somewhere in between it’s the RT that entered production in 1978.

Despite the misleading looks, the bike in the gallery above is exactly such a motorcycle, born in the first year of production. Its current shape is owed to a long restoration process conducted by a Paris-based garage going by the name of Blitz Motorcycles.

The group has made a habit to bring back to life bikes that should have been long ago scrapped, at the request of customers. In this case, the work was perhaps more engaging because it “came to us in a very worn out condition: over 120 000 kms mileage and an aesthetic that was proving it had had a very very long life.”

As with most other Blitz restoration projects, this time a full engine rebuild was needed also, to give the motorcycle a new life, as was the fitting of new wiring.

Accompanying the mechanical upgrades is a new look for the motorcycle. The main change is, of course, the addition of a Honda tank, but there are also some other fine touches, like the addition of LED blinkers around the fork tubes, or the vintage Triumph handlebar.

The tank itself has a special paint design on it, mixing British Racing Green on most of its body with a black section at the front. This scheme gave the motorcycle its name, Black Nose, translated into Naso Nero because it is Italy where the motorcycle now roams.

Are Small Towns Addicted to Traffic Fines and Fees? NMA E-Newsletter #592

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Editor’s Note: This article was initially written for the Spring edition of Driving Freedoms magazine. The information here pertained primarily to life before the COVID-19 crisis. Still, we believe traffic fines and fees will be even more of an issue for small towns (and big cities) everywhere due to shortfalls in the budgets that have been decimated by the Coronavirus lockdown.

Significant dollars from different traffic fines and fees sometimes account for more than half of the revenue collected by small towns. Income from speed traps, poor/inadequate signage traps, automated traffic enforcement, and parking patrols all help prop up budgets, which often include the very department that is responsible for catching drivers—the police.

Last September, released a national analysis on the extent small towns fund their budgets through traffic penalties. Researchers compiled data from thousands of annual audits and reports filed to state agencies.

Fines are the punishment for committing the offense, and fees are levied to support operational expenses. While both have increased in recent years, fees have risen the most. Very often, fee revenue has been tacked on to fund areas of government that have little to do with the justice system itself. Now with the COVID-19 crisis, the pressure for small towns to increase fees will only increase due to the pressure to raise funds for the town budget.

Here are some of the results before COVID-19 detailing how important this revenue source is to a small town’s bottom line:

  • Fines and fees account for more than 10 percent of general fund revenues in nearly 600 jurisdictions.
  • In 284 of those small governments, the percentage is at least 20 percent.
  • More than 720 towns reported that annual revenues exceed $100 for every adult resident. (The numbers would be even higher if the analysis didn’t exclude communities reporting less than $100,000 in fines.)
  • Rural areas with high poverty have the highest traffic-revenue rates as do communities with minimal tax bases and independent municipal courts.
  • Out-of-state drivers are often targeted.

Most of the states that stood out in the research were from the South: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, with one exception—New York. Fifty-two Georgia localities collected penalties from drivers accounting for more than one-fifth of general annual revenue, while Louisiana had 49 local governments that met that dubious standard.

By contrast, states in the Northeast with high property taxes had no localities exceeding the 10 percent threshold.

President of Louisiana’s Public Affairs Research Council Robert Scott said recently that smaller tax bases contribute to the problem, but ingrained habits are the real culprit, “If I had to point to one reason why this happens, it’s because culturally you have (local) agencies who’ve grown dependent on these type of revenue sources. They don’t want to let it go.” Lisa Foster, co-director of the Fines and Fees Justice Center, concurred, “There’s a culture that’s built up over time of tolerance and normalization of this idea that courts are there for revenue generation.”

New York is home to nearly 1,300 town and village courts, which keep most of their revenue from fines and fees. Judges have an incentive to earn back the money spent on courts since the town or village financially supports them. Fund for Modern Courts chair Amelia Starr recently said in an interview, “Almost any state that has courts that generate money for their locality in small towns is vulnerable to exactly these kinds of pressures.”

Actions taken by state lawmakers can also help compound the issue. In states with the most fine-reliant jurisdictions, local governments incurred deeper state funding cuts over the past decade. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, states that implemented caps on local property taxes starting in the late 1970s have many small towns with sharply increased fines and fees.

Of course, one of the biggest concerns with this devotion to fines is the tacit implementation of traffic ticket quotas. Many times, officers feel pressure either by the department or city managers to write more tickets to increase revenue.

Policing for profit should never be tolerated; it is not conducive to forming a bond of trust between law enforcement and the community. As one of our national issues, the NMA will continue to advocate against traffic ticket quotas and unfair traffic fines and fees.

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Harley-Davidson’s new CEO has refocused the company on its core mission. See what that means for the iconic motorcycle maker.

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  • In early 2020, with the company under stress from Wall Street and with a demographic challenge looming as it struggled to attract new riders, Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich stepped down, replaced on an acting basis by board member Jochen Zeitz, who eventually was named CEO.
  • Zeitz swiftly moved to replace Harley’s growth strategy with a retrenchment around core products.
  • Harley has been here before, and Zeitz’s strategy — “Rewire,” as he calls it — could work, but it isn’t without risk.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich had an impossible job — and now no longer does, replaced earlier this year by Jochen Zeitz, onetime CEO of Puma and longtime Harley board member.

He wasted no time first as interim CEO, when on a first-quarter earnings conference call with analysts, he abruptly reversed course on Levatich’s “More Roads” transformation plan.

“We’ve continued to move forward with the highest potential elements of More Roads, but our strategy must be reassessed,” Zeitz said.

“As a result of my observations and assessment, I’ve concluded that we need to take significant actions and rewire the company now in terms of priorities, execution, operating model and strategy to drive sustained profit and long term growth. We’re calling it The Rewire and it is our playbook for the next few months, leading to a new five-year strategic plan which we’ll share when visibility to the future returns.”

Soon after, the Harley board made Zeitz’s appointment permanent.

Here’s what Harley’s new direction means for the American icon:

Harley-Davidson has been building motorcycles in the USA for 117 years. In many ways, it’s the definitive American company, with a product that combines both its own values and America’s.

Former CEO Matt Levatich hoped to ensure that heritage for another 100 years, so he undertook a transformational plan that would increase ridership, expand to new markets, and attack new opportunities.

There’s more at Business insider at YahooNews. So much for doom and gloom. Harley will be back as the country comes back stronger than ever before. Hell, drive-in movies are back, cruise nights and girls on roller-skates delivering food. This is too cool.–Bandit