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Automated Driving Systems and SMRO Visits

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RIDING FREE FROM DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

­Automated Driving Systems (AKA Autonomous Vehicles)

Late last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a rulemaking process for developing a “Framework for Automated Driving System (ADS) Safety.” As part of the process public comments were solicited by NHTSA. This week the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) submitted a 6-page formal letter outlining our thoughts on the development, testing and deployment of ADS.

Building on past submissions to both Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the MRF laid out important priorities that NHTSA should consider. Some of the main topics the MRF highlights include the need to account for the unique attributes and characteristics of motorcycles, cyber security concerns, liability provisions, the role of individual states, the need for public transparency, threats to the protected communication spectrum and the challenges of regulations keeping pace with this technology.

While ADS has promising potential, the devil will be in the details. How this technology is developed, tested and deployed will impact all Americans. We at the MRF will continue to fight to ensure motorcyclists are included in these discussions.

To read the full letter from the MRF to NHTSA click here.

SMRO Meetings Around the Country

January and February are traditionally the busy season for state motorcyclist rights organizations (SMRO) annual meetings. This year many of those meetings have been rescheduled, held virtually or have unfortunately been cancelled all together. While we know these are difficult times, the MRF remains committed to working with our state partners and participating in these events when possible.

In January, MRF Vice President Jay Jackson travelled to Bowling Green, Kentucky to attend the Kentucky Motorcycle Association/Kentucky Bikers Association Freedom Fighters Forum. Also, that month MRF lobbyist Rocky Fox traveled to Austin, Texas for Texas Bikers Legislative Weekend. This event was sponsored by the Texas Council of Clubs and Independents, Region 1 Texas Defenders and hosted at the Veterans Collective facility.

Both events included a number of speakers and elected officials discussing issues important to all motorcyclists. Elected officials from Kentucky included, Secretary of State Michael Adams, State Senator Jimmy Higdon, staff from U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s office and via video message Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Slider Gilmore from Iowa even made a presentation in Kentucky! The Texas event included a townhall style question and answer with State Senator Drew Springer. Texas also welcomed leaders in the motorcycle rights movement from California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania to Austin. Thank you again to the riders in Kentucky and Texas for including the MRF in these events and working hard to deliver results for riders in those states.

If your SMRO has hosted an event in 2021 please submit your pictures and details to communications@mrf.org so we can share them with your fellow riders across the country!

Finding The Best Way To Transport A Motorcycle

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All the Options in One Article

I always prefer to have the bike as solidly attached to my vehicle as possible. Truck bed with loading ramp is my first choice for transporting a motorcycle, if I don’t need the bed space.

There are lots of great solutions out there depending upon your expected frequency of use, it just takes a little research (which hopefully I’ve cut down a bit for you).

Click Here to Read this How-to Guide on Bikernet.

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Tragedy Strikes Laconia Motorcycle Week Offices

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Normally we would be reaching out to you with news and information about the upcoming 98th Laconia Motorcycle Week Rally. Sadly, we have other news to share . . .

On Christmas morning, our Motorcycle Week offices suffered a catastrophic fire resulting in a total loss of collectibles and souvenirs spanning the history of Laconia Motorcycle Week’s 97-year legacy. Although no one was injured, our beloved office cat, Ashland, perished in the fire. As of this writing, we’re still waiting for permission to enter the premises so that we may retrieve him and give him a proper burial.

Along with Ashland, most of the items lost can never be replaced, leaving us heavy-hearted, particularly after a year of COVID-related challenges. It’s hard to find the silver lining in an incident such as this, but we are grateful to the Laconia Fire Department and surrounding towns for their assistance and the outpouring of support we have received from our friends, family and loyal rally goers, past and present. We’d also like to thank Paul Cote and Check Twice Signs for setting up a GoFundMe campaign to help us recover from this devastating loss. All funds donated will be used to cover the extensive cost of fire clean-up (currently estimated close to $40K!) and replacing items lost from general operations and historical memorabilia. The Laconia Motorcycle Week Association will have DIRECT and SOLE access to donated funds. No donation is too small. A lot of us doing even a little will add up and help rebuild and restore.

If you’re able to give even a little, thank you! If you have memorabilia to donate, please contact Charlie St. Clair directly. Please copy this link and share it with your riding friends. If you prefer, you can issue a check payable to LMWA and mail it to PO Box 5399 Laconia, NH 03247 and put “Friends of MC Week- Rebuild Fund” in your memo.

The Laconia Motorcycle Week Association is a State of NH nonprofit association with a Board of Directors. The Directors have secured an off-site, heated storage unit for any salvageable items and any memorabilia you can donate.

Progress does continue for the 98th rally (albeit remotely) and updates on the schedule of events and the 2021 Rally News magazine will be out shortly.

THANK YOU for all your support!!!

GoFundMe Campaign

10 Massively Collectible Motorcycles to Watch

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Check out these Beauties and the Price Tags

Just like cars, motorcycles are treasured collectibles. Despite their desirability, however, they trade hands on average at far lower values than cars. The car auction record, too, is nearly 50 times that of the motorcycle auction record. Generally, the lower end of the bike market is full of nostalgia-driven purchases; the top is littered with historical significance and racing pedigree.

Based on digital views of our newly-released Hagerty Motorcycle Price Guide, here are the 10 bikes in which Hagerty is seeing the most interest, arranged by price from low to high.

Click Here to read this Photo Feature on Bikernet.

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Memphis Motorcycle Club giving more than ever in spite of pandemic

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by Peter Fleischer from https://wreg.com

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There are numerous groups and organizations spreading holiday cheer and helping those less fortunate this time of year, but the hosts of today’s “helping the homeless” event may surprise you.

The Memphis Motorcycle Club says they make charity and giving back a priority every year, but with the COVID pandemic presenting new challenges in caring for the homeless, they scaled up this Christmas.

“This is the first time all together as a whole that we’ve ever united as one, to pull off an event of this magnitude,” Durrell Mackey, the Chairman of the Memphis Motorcycle Club, said.

The club handed out food, gift bags and hygiene products. But they also gave away vouchers for a week’s stay at the Memphis Union Mission. In the middle of winter, with below freezing temperatures, that kind of gift can end up saving a life.

“I always think about the less fortunate. The people that don’t have families to go home to, or a warm meal, or a place to stay. So, today we’re here to make a difference,” Mackey said.

And they did make a difference, making this year’s Christmas a little merrier for dozens of people who were grateful for the helping hand.

“I’m just blessed to be able to receive some type of donation to help me get into a room,” Teresa said.

“If I hadn’t came out here, I probably wouldn’t have nothing. I thank God for being here, for them helping me out,” Libby said.

If you’re interested in helping the memphis union mission, click here.

Meet the Ducati master re-creating Isle of Man-winning motorcycle

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by Ellie Honeybone from https://www.abc.net.au

You may be forgiven for assuming the world’s leading manufacturer of Ducati bevel drive engine parts would live in a bustling city, perhaps in Italy or the United States, somewhere central and close to consumers.

But in fact, this talented engineer and self-described “petrol head” lives in a tiny historic town, deep in the forests of south-west WA.

Even though shipping his handmade engine parts around the world from Nannup is a logistical nightmare, Brook Henry wouldn’t have it any other way.

A family business

Mr Henry grew up surrounded by Ducatis.

His older brothers imported and distributed the high-performance motorcycle brand in New Zealand from the late 1960s through to the 1980s.

“I spent pretty well all my time at the workshop, fixing, racing and working on Ducati bevel drive twins and singles,” Mr Henry said.

“I also did an apprenticeship outside that business as a toolmaker, but I never liked doing toolmaking and I always wanted to go back to motorcycles.”

That love of motorcycles grew and continued for the next 40 years with Mr Henry now a household name and ‘master’ in the Ducati world.

He has travelled extensively, inspected designs inside Ducati’s Bologna factory and even appeared on bike lover Jay Leno’s US television show.

After settling down first in Perth and then further south in Nannup, Mr Henry developed a business building, designing and shipping bevel drive parts, engines and complete motorcycles across the world.

Pandemic revives restoration projects

There are only so many original bevel drive Ducatis in existence, making Brook Henry’s business incredibly niche.

These bikes were built during the 1970s and 80s and made famous after legendary British champion Mike Hailwood won the Isle of Man race in 1978.

When the world went into COVID-19 lockdown during early 2020, many owners of bevel drive bikes decided it was the right time to blow off the cobwebs and reignite their restoration projects.

“I’ve never been so busy because guys who bought bevel drives put them in the back of a shed and chucked a rag over them,” Mr Henry said.

“The wives got sick of their husbands being in the kitchen and told them to go out and find something to do in the shed.

“So they went out and pulled the cover off the old Ducati bevel drive and started looking around to where they could get the parts to start putting it back together.

“Our customer base worldwide has been huge with COVID because anyone who’s got a bevel drive has gone and started working on it.”

The next chapter

In addition to supplying global customers with all the parts they need for their pandemic restorations, Mr Henry has another project in the works.

Through what he calls a “crazy set of circumstances”, he purchased the drawings for the original engine used in the late Mike Hailwood’s Isle of Man race winning bike, of which only a handful were ever made.

“We’ve actually been talked into making 12 exact replicas of Hailwood’s bike,” he said.

“We decided that we would make a limited run of them and the number we decided on was 12, because that was his racing number.”

While there will only be a dozen of these Hailwood recreations made, the engine — dubbed the ‘Ritorno’ — is available on its own with the approval of the Ducati factory.

“The business is expanding at 100 miles an hour because people worldwide want that engine and want parts for it,” Mr Henry said.

“So we’re gathering speed at a frightening rate at the moment, but I’m so passionate about it and I love what I do.”

Government funding leads to expansion

Mr Henry has big plans for expansion after receiving a $113,000 Regional Economic Development grant from the WA Government.

The investment will be used to employ more staff and purchase state of the art manufacturing equipment to build Mr Henry’s own version of the iconic bevel drive engine.

“I like to keep the outside of the engine looking the same where I can,” he said.

“And now I’ve got the opportunity to basically build my own internals and to improve on the existing engine.”

Despite being extremely busy these days, Mr Henry still enjoys the occasional ride through the scenic forest roads near his home.

“They say that motorcycles are built to transport people, but Ducatis are built to transport the soul,” he said.

“The only thing is, you do not have any control over emus and wildlife, kangaroos running out of the bush, all that sort of thing.

“So I really don’t want to hurt myself, because I’ve got too much to do — and it’s a damn shame I’m 66 and not 36.”

Motorcycle Ohio Announces Funding for Motorcycle Rider Training

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COLUMBUS – Motorcycle Ohio, within the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles, is pleased to announce funding assistance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations, such as career centers and institutions of higher learning, that are interested in offering certified motorcycle rider training.

Motorcycle Ohio establishes motorcycle safety and education programs to provide affordable motorcycle rider training courses in order to reduce fatalities and injuries on Ohio’s roadways through rider education, public information campaigns, and licensing improvement.

Funding assistance is available to applicants who are interested in offering Basic Rider Skills for beginners, Basic Rider Skills for the returning rider, and Basic Rider Skills – 2 for experienced riders.

Applicants must meet specific parameters and other necessary requirements to be eligible for an award. For more information, visit the Motorcycle Ohio website or email. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2020.

Video: TMC Dumont is a 300hp motorcycle fitted with a Rolls-Royce aircraft engine

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by Jahla Seppanen from https://www.themanual.com

When you’re a retired Formula One driver, what else can you do in your free time except build mind-bending concept motorcycles? In the case of Tarso Marques of Brazil, that’s exactly what he’s doing with the insane TMC Dumont motorcycle.

Yes, it’s still a concept so, no, you can’t drive it yet. In fact, you might be wondering how it even works because the construction shouldn’t make sense in real life.

This hub-less bike swaps a traditional car engine for a 1960s Rolls-Royce aircraft engine, creating an absolutely sick design with a body aesthetic that is futuristic, svelt, and should definitely be in the next 007 movie.

Anatomically, the aircraft engine is positioned where a standard motorcycle engine and fuel tank would be, but takes up an enormous amount of space. Basically, as much as a full frame, radiator —the works. The massive 36-inch wheels are essentially spoke-less and completely open in the center, so with the 300-horsepower engine, we’re hoping the brake disk and caliper have something to hold on to … because we can’t see it.

Based on the low-riding profile of the seat and engine, it’s questionable how the bike could sit above the ground, but it does. At least, the concept does. Just pray for a road without speed bumps.

Some motorcycle enthusiasts have questioned the safety and turning abilities that would result from having the back “wheel” so close to the rider — hello, wedgie or mega backside tire burn — and have called the bike “impractical.” That being said, TMC Dumont drove away with the “Best of Show” award at the 2018 Daytona Bike Week.

This isn’t the first time a motorcycle fanatic has strapped an airplane engine to their hog. Back in 2013, the Red Baron bike featured the 150-horsepower, nine-cylinder Rotec Radial engine used in WWI-era planes. However, in terms of pure looks, we’ve never seen anything like TMC Dumont. The motorcycle has been compared to everything from a piece of art to a Tron bike — ultra-sleek, and record-breaking.

Previewing the other passion projects Marques is developing with his brand Tarso Marques Concepts makes us mildly jealous, somewhat shook, and overall excited to finally get back out on a bike.

 

Ride Vision raises $7 million for AI that alerts motorcycle riders to collision threats

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by Kyle Wiggers from https://venturebeat.com

Ride Vision, a startup developing “collision aversion” technology for motorcycles, today emerged from stealth with a $7 million round led by investment platform OurCrowd. Ride Vision also unveiled an AI-driven safety alert system called Ride Vision 1 that will go on sale in several European countries in early 2021. A spokesperson said the fresh capital will be used for marketing, distribution, and R&D as the company looks to expand its 20-person team.

There are more than 700 million motorcycles on the road globally, according to estimates. And motorcycles currently account for 28% of all fatal road accidents, resulting in the death of roughly 378,000 people a year. That number could tick upward soon, as motorcycle sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic.

The company’s Ride Vision 1 package will feature cameras and LEDs designed to alert riders to dangerous situations. Two small wide-angle cameras mounted on the rear and front of motorcycles or scooters transmit footage to an onboard processing unit running an algorithm that detects and notifies riders of collision threats in real time via mirror-mounted LEDs. A mobile app delivers customizable alerts (including at night); records up to two-hour continuous-loop videos; and keeps note of stats like speed, lean angle, distance, location, and time.

Ride Vision says it can detect forward collision, blind spot, and distance keeping threats from cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and scooters. New alerts for rear collision, forward-left, and forward-right collision threats are scheduled to arrive post-launch.

“Ride Vision has built a unique dataset particular to two-wheelers that’s used to train models taking into account different bikes, level of biking experience, locality, different environmental conditions, and synthetic use cases,” a spokesperson told VentureBeat via email. “Ride Vision has the ability to improve upon the skill set of riders should the riders elect to share their ride data [and] an option of impacting insurance due to ongoing risk estimations. This data can be used to lower riders’ insurance rates and open up new business models, such as ‘usage-based insurance’ to train various models.”

Ride Vision 1 hardwires directly into a vehicle’s battery and claims to draw less charge than a standard cellphone. The system’s two water-resistant video cameras begin recording the moment the motorcycle is turned on and transmit footage to the app over Wi-Fi. Ride summary cumulative reports are broken down by weeks, months, and years and include total distance, total alerts, and max speed data. They can be exported for personal use or things like insurance reduction.

Ride Vision walls new software, alerts, and other updates behind a subscription fee, but it offers a free plan with periodic security updates, bug fixes, and other small enhancements. Features on the premium roadmap include emergency contacts, enhanced video with automatic ride state overlays, and “more extensive” metrics.

Ride Vision says it’s working with motorcycle manufacturers as well as with resellers and insurers. Currently, the company has resellers across the EU but is looking to expand further into the EU and North America.

This latest funding round brings the Herzliya, Israel-based company’s total raised to $10 million. YL Ventures, Mobilion, and Metagal also participated in the round.

Porsche vs Harley-Davidson Drag Race Video

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by Vlad Mitrache from https://www.autoevolution.com

Up until very recently, the thought of a drag race between a Porsche (any model) and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle (any hog) was one of the most preposterous ones that anyone could come up with.

On the one hand, you have a German automotive brand with a strong history and deep roots in motorsport. Sure, it’s guilty of also building SUVs – with some even powered by diesel – but you’d be pushing it to call any of its models “slow”.

On the other hand, you have an American motorcycle specialist with an equally strong history and plenty of racing connections throughout its history, though less so in the more recent years. Indeed, these days Harley-Davidson is better known for its range of cruisers and choppers, the type of machines that don’t necessarily value speed.

However, when things go electric, speed always has a knack for making its way into the center of it. That’s probably because making electric vehicles go quick is surprisingly easy – there is no complicated transmission, no engine with a million moving parts – just an electric motor and tons of instant torque.

There’s also the fact that you can’t get too much range out of a 15.5 kWh battery pack – and you can’t fit a larger one on a bike – so if reaching faraway places is out of the picture, you still have to offer the buyer something. And that something is speed.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire can reach 60 mph (97 km/h) from a standstill in roughly three seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 114 mph (183 km/h). Its motor produces 105 hp and 86 lb-ft (117 Nm) of torque to battle the 549 lbs (250 kg) that the rig weighs.

The Porsche Taycan Turbo, its competitor for the day, has obviously got very different figures, but the one that matters the most in this case is actually identical. Like the LiveWire, the Turbo will reach 60 mph from a complete stop in three seconds. Does that mean we have an even race on our hands?

Well, motorcycles very rarely manage to keep up with their four-wheeled counterparts during these drag races, and it’s usually in the second part of the competition where they make up ground as finding traction stops being a problem. With the Taycan Turbo being the grippy monster that it is, it’s hard to imagine the LiveWire stands any chance.

As the driver of the Taycan says (opinions about how likable or not he is in the comments below, please. I want to know if it’s just me), the most important thing to take away from this race isn’t so much the winner, but the performance potential of electric drivetrains for both cars and motorcycles.