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Advisor Uses Motorcycle Trips To Inspire Herself And Clients

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by Karen DeMasters from

Financial advisor Rachel Sloan uses her cross-country trips on her BMW motorcycle—one of them alone—to help her live in the moment. She then tries to transfer that spark to her clients.

Sloan, who spent a decade working on Wall Street, has changed her life more than once to get as much fulfillment out of her circumstances as possible. She wants her clients to plan for the future, but also not miss the joy of the present.

“Sometimes we get sparks in our lives,” Sloan said in a recent interview. “I was talking to a friend on day who said she had wanted to try hot yoga for six years but had not done it. That made me look at my life to see what I wanted to do that I hadn’t done, and it was learn to ride a motorcycle.”

That initial inspiration led Sloan to ride across the United States, from her home in Glens Falls, N.Y., twice, once to the West Coast and once to the Midwest.

“I always wanted a BMW and within a few days of making that decision, I was at the dealer and bought a motorcycle,” Sloan remembers. “I had them deliver the motorcycle to my house because I did not feel comfortable taking it for a test drive. I learned to ride and a whole new world of people and places opened up to me.”

She joined the BMW Riders Association and learned the group was holding a rally in Portland, Ore. “I thought that would be perfect. That was in 2013. A 70-year-old friend joined me,” she said. Sloan and her friend rode across the United States, camping along the way. She took 30 days off from work for the trip and wrote about her experience in a series of stories for her local weekly newspaper and for a blog. “People in town felt like they traveled with me and when I got back, they felt they knew me.”

It was not the first time she had made a drastic change in her life. After graduating from college, she moved to New Mexico from New York and sold life insurance. “But I decided I was really a New York City person and returned to the East Coast.” She spent a decade on Wall Street at Bankers Trust, Morgan Stanley and Chase Manhattan Bank, which is now JPMorgan Chase. Then the slower pace of life in Upstate New York began to pull her and she moved to the area in the early 2000s and worked for Merrill Lynch, But large firms had lost their appeal and in 2009 she started the sole-proprietorship firm, Sloan Advisory Group in Glens Falls, so she could work with individuals.

“While I was working for large firms, friends and acquaintances would ask me questions about their finances and I realized there is a lot of bad advice out there. I thought I could help,” she said. “I love connecting with people and hearing about their lives. Relationships are everything in life. Between riding cross country and through my work I have met some wonderful people who are living joyously.”

Sloan Advisory Group, which has $35 million in AUM and 40 clients, serves young professionals and couples, clients approaching retirement and widows and widowers.

“My clients, many of whom have been with me a long time, are pretty awesome people,” she said.

2020 pandemic left indelible mark on motorcycle world

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by Bud Wilkinson from

It’s stating the obvious to say that 2020 was quite a year. While the number of miles covered on two wheels may not have changed appreciably from previous years for many motorcyclists, the places traveled probably did due to the cancellation of so many motorcycle shows and other events because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In venturing out, the wise and respectful among us always carried face masks, kept group size small and kept physically distant at all times. Others acted irresponsibly and selfishly, placing themselves and everyone they came in contact with at risk.

It was while out gathering a “My Ride” classic car feature for the newspaper back in early fall that I came across a coronavirus skeptic. As I walked up the owner’s driveway, my camera bag slung over my shoulder and a mask covering my mouth and nose, he appeared out of his garage maskless. Coming to within inches of my face, he scowled and declared of COVID-19, “It’s a hoax. It’ll be gone Nov. 4,” a reference to the day after the presidential election.

Stepping back, I responded that I wasn’t there to discuss the pandemic and asked if he would please keep at least six feet away; debating in my head whether I should just turn around, walk back to the truck and drive off. I stayed and did the story.

Here it is just after Christmas, and people are still dying at a considerable rate because of coronavirus. The death toll in the U.S. is now close to 325,000. Some hoax. So many people have succumbed that we’ve become inured to the toll.

COVID-19 certainly took a toll this year on the motorcycle industry, which wasn’t exactly in sterling shape before the pandemic. Here in Connecticut, the Stamford-based “American Iron” magazine suspended publication in July, sparking outrage among readers who failed to get refunds on their subscriptions.

In Falls Village, the popular riding destination Toymakers Cafe pulled the plug in early September, leaving its many regulars bereft and clueless as to what to do and where to ride on Sunday mornings.

The pandemic has impacted the industry in other ways, too.

The promoter of the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows tour announced in late September it was moving outside – scrapping the long-running indoor tour slate in winter in favor of outside venues in warmer weather. Since the last Ride-CT column, the newly branded IMS Outdoors tour has announced its 2021 itinerary, including a visit to Brooklyn over Labor Day weekend.

Getting into mid-town Manhattan for the indoor show every December at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was a sufficient chore. The prediction here is that Brooklyn will be a bridge too far for many riders who regularly attended the indoor show. The specific site in the borough hasn’t been announced.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has prompted Harley-Davidson to delay the unveiling of its 2021 model-year motorcycles until mid-January, and then do the reveal in an online event.

Having gotten a new CEO earlier this year in Jochen Zeitz and faced with plummeting sales, Harley-Davidson is engaged in a sizable shakeup. The number of models that the company offers is being significantly reduced and the dealership lineup is being culled.

During 2020, Hudson Valley Harley-Davidson in Nanuet, N.Y., Southampton Harley-Davidson in Southampton, Mass., Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Essex Junction, Vt., and Heritage Harley-Davidson in Concord, N.H., were among the brand’s stores in the Northeast that closed.

Consolidation continued, too, with Chad Clark and Bryan Castor buying Gengras Harley-Davidson in East Hartford and renaming it Hartford Harley-Davidson. They already owned Old School Harley-Davidson in Ellington, Conn., Spitzie’s Harley-Davidson of Albany in New York, and Sheldon’s Harley-Davidson in Auburn, Mass.

Watching Harley-Davidson’s maneuvering and speculating on its future fortunes has become something of a sport in recent years, and that will continue in 2021. While it’s hard to predict just how 2021 will play out, there already are a couple of signs representing optimism.

A new dealership selling KTM models, Colonial Power and Sport, is opening in New Milford. Another dealer in our area is planning to add more brands to its showroom next month, but can’t make an announcement until the incoming brands receive confirmation of the store’s credit line from the bank.

With vaccines for COVID-19 now being rolled out, maybe 2021 will be an improvement over the year now ending. Maybe by late summer we’ll be able to attend motorcycle shows again, be able to gather with more friends, and be able to roam wherever without quarantine or testing requirements.

Memphis Motorcycle Club giving more than ever in spite of pandemic

By General Posts

by Peter Fleischer from

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.

Excelsior-Henderson Resurrection

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by Ben Purvis from

Indian firm Bajaj may be bringing back the classic American marque.

For a brief moment in the late 1990s the name Excelsior-Henderson was one of the hottest stories in motorcycling – a brand that was resurrected as a high-tech rival to Harley-Davidson after decades in the grave. Even if you don’t remember the furor over Excelsior in 1997, you already know how the story ends. The fact that those Excelsiors remain vanishingly rare more than two decades later reveals that the plan didn’t quite come together as envisioned. Just two years after unveiling the first bike since 1931 to wear that storied badge, Excelsior-Henderson 2.0 ended up closing its doors as well. But now it seems that the brand might be set to rise from the grave once more, this time courtesy of Indian manufacturing giant Bajaj.

Bajaj might not be a name that registers on your radar like Honda or Harley-Davidson, but it’s a behemoth of a company with a 75-year history of its own and a string of subsidiaries. It’s India’s second-largest bike company, after Hero, with the production capacity to manufacture 6,330,000 vehicles per year, most of them motorcycles. On top of that, Bajaj owns 48% of KTM, building KTMs and Husqvarnas in its plants in India, and it has a deal with Triumph to jointly develop and manufacture a new range of small to mid-sized machines in the near future. In short, Bajaj is one of the biggest players in the worldwide motorcycle market, and now it’s planning to relaunch the classic Excelsior-Henderson marque.

The news has yet to be officially announced, but Bajaj has already applied for trademark rights in various countries to use the Excelsior-Henderson name and logo on motorcycles, parts and clothing. It’s understood to have bought the brand name from Daniel Hanlon, who was one of the chief drivers behind the 1990s revival of the American brand that came so close to success. Bajaj’s interest in Excelsior is likely to stem from the fact that rival Indian manufacturers have been on a spending spree recently, snapping up famous motorcycle companies or the rights to their names. TVS, for instance, bought the remains of Norton earlier this year, and Mahindra owns the BSA brand and intends to bring it back into production in the near future. Meanwhile, Hero – the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles by volume – has recently struck a deal to develop and manufacture bikes wearing the Harley-Davidson brand name in its home market.

All of this is likely to be a response to the rapid growth of Royal Enfield, which has been Indian-owned for decades but has seen remarkable sales increases in recent years, leaving other Indian brands, which traditionally focus on smaller bikes, looking for a way to compete in the classic space.

In case you’re not familiar with Excelsior-Henderson, it started life as a merger of two bike companies (as the name suggests) back in the pioneering days of the early 20th century. Both were high-end brands with a reputation for quality, with Excelsior building 61 cubic inch V-twins from as early as 1910 and later developing the famous 45 cubic inch Super X in 1925. Henderson, meanwhile, started life in 1911 and focussed on inline four-cylinder machines. Both companies were bought by bicycle firm Schwinn – Excelsior in 1912 and Henderson in 1917 – and merged into Excelsior-Henderson, although their products remained separate. In 1931, Schwinn closed Excelsior-Henderson, refocusing on pedal-powered bikes in the face of the Great Depression.

That might have been the end of the story if it wasn’t for Daniel Hanlon’s Minnesota-based Hanlon Manufacturing Company. He saw a gap in the market for a high-spec V-twin cruiser in the 1990s and embarked on the development of what would become the Excelsior-Henderson Super X of 1998. Featuring a 1386cc (85 cu in) DOHC, four-valve V-twin with fuel injection, based on a design from British engineering firm Weslake (famous for the V12 powering Dan Gurney’s Eagle F1 cars in the 1960s, and later the Gurney-Weslake engines for Ford’s GT40s), the Super X also used unusual front suspension with massive, exposed springs. A 140-strong dealer network was established and around 1950 of the $18,500 Super X machines found buyers before Excelsior-Henderson filed for Chapter 11 in late 1999.

Although production never restarted, the Excelsior-Henderson company has remained in existence since then. An attempt was made to sell the brand and rights to its use and patents at a Mecum auction in 2018, but no buyer was found. Now it seems Bajaj has bought at least some of those rights. No doubt there will be an official announcement to confirm more details of the arrangement, but it seems that a new Excelsior-Henderson could be on the way within the next few years.

Merry XMas Bikernet Weekly News for Christmas Eve 2020

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The Bikernet Weekly News is sponsored in part by companies who also dig Freedom including: Cycle Source Magazine, the MRF, Las Vegas Bikefest, Iron Trader News, ChopperTown, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Most recently Quick Throttle Magazine came on board.

Merry Christmas to all and a wonderful free-spirit new year for everyone.

Let’s party, ride free, build cool shit and go to Bonneville and the drags.

Ride fast and free forever,


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New Auction World Records Set at Successful Bonhams Motorcycles Winter Sale

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The Winter Sale
including The National Motorcycle Museum Reserve Collection – Bicester Heritage

11 – 12 Dec 2020

Bicester, Bicester Heritage
Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection,1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS100
Registration no. VD 6582 Frame no. M1/1661 Engine no. BS/X 1001


1936 Brough Superior 982C SS100 from the National Motorcycle Museum Reserve Collection, SOLD for £276,000

Two world auction records for a Sunbeam and Norton F1 motorcycle were set over the weekend at the successful Bonhams Motorcycles Winter Sale at Bicester Heritage, which realised more than £3 million and had an impressive sell-through rate of 92 per cent.

A 1928 Sunbeam 493cc TT Model 90 Racing Motorcycle, which had raced at Pendine Sands, powered through its top estimate of £24,000 selling for £41,400, while a 21,188-mile 1990 Norton F1, the roadster inspired by the sporting partnership with John Player Special, made £40,250, both setting new world auction records.

However, the name dominating the sale was Brough Superior, with no fewer than five examples featuring in the sale’s top ten, led by a highly original 1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS100, bearing the earliest engine number in a production model, which sold for £276,000.

All three machines were offered direct from the National Motorcycle Museum’s Reserve Collection, an exclusive selection of 52 British motorcycles – and motorcycle-related cars – presented on the first day of the two-day sale.

A brace of 1937 Brough Superiors offered from The Connoisseur Collection – comprising blue-chip examples from the estate of a late motorcycle enthusiast – also featured in the sale’s top ten, a 982cc SS80 and a 1,096cc 11-50hp which both exceeded their top pre-sale estimates selling for £73,600 and £71,300 respectively.

The Connoisseur Collection also offered an example of one of the most desirable pre-war American motorcycles, a 1924 Henderson De Luxe Four, which made £48,300, again rising above its pre-sale estimate, despite requiring re-commissioning.

Another 1937 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp, a project motorcycle offered for restoration rounded out the sale on a high note, trouncing its pre-sale estimate, selling for £57,500.

Modern Marvels

More modern metal also fared well at the Bicester auction, with three MV Agusta motorcycles achieving a combined total of more than £186,000, including a 1973 500cc Grand Prix Replica Racing Motorcycle which made £82,800, comfortably within its estimate, and a 1978 832cc Monza which pipped its top estimate, selling for £48,300.

Another 1970s superbike that found favour in the Bonhams saleroom was a 1976 Honda CB750 K6, with a believed 3.6 ‘push’ kilometres reading, which cruised past its pre-sale top estimate of £4,000 to achieve £9,800.

There was also success for the motorcycle memorabilia sale which offered two special collections from the families of two late motorcycling greats: Barry Sheene MBE and Percy Tait.

Highlights from the Sheene Collection included a leather team holdall, featuring the motifs 7, Sheene and Suzuki, which sold for £3,187, ten times its pre-sale estimate, while a stainless-steel Gabriel chronograph wristwatch awarded at the 1976 ‘France de Chimay’ race made £7,650, again more than ten times its estimate, while a set of Percy Tait’s race-worn one-piece leathers raced away for £5,737.

Ben Walker, International Department Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycles,”We are more than pleased with the sale which has been the subject of much interest from collectors around the world and competitive bidding.

We were also honoured to have been entrusted with the premium collection from the National Motorcycle Museum, one of the most prestigious names in the motorcycling world, and well as the collections from the families of two of motorcycling’s national treasures, Barry Sheene and Percy Tait.”

The Winter Sale was a fitting end to another successful year for the Bonhams motorcycle department, with the two UK sales realising a combined total of more than £6.7 million in 2020.

The Motorcycle department is already looking ahead to next year and is currently consigning collectors’ motorcycles and collections to The Spring Sale on 24 and 25 April, when Bonhams returns to the Stafford Showground for The International Classic MotorCycle Show.

Remember That Time Toyota Sold Motorcycles?

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by Janaki Jitchotvisut from

The real friends were the workhorse bikes we met along the way.

When you think about Japan’s Big Four motorcycle OEMs, what do you think of? Bikes, first and foremost—but what else? Honda and Suzuki both make automobiles, and branches of Yamaha make everything from musical instruments to medical equipment.

Even though Suzuki no longer sells its cars in the U.S., various models including the Jimny are incredibly popular in many other countries. Kawasaki makes heavy equipment and marine craft—and hey, planet Earth does have an awful lot of water we humans could be traveling through if we chose.

One thing that’s talked about far less is that time Toyota sold motorcycles in its showrooms. Although that period came and went long before some of us were born, production lasted from 1949 through 1960. There was a wide range of bikes, too—going from simple setups that were more like bicycles with small-displacement engines attached, to more high-end models that we’d think of in 2020 as proper motorcycles. Incidentally, Toyo Motors machines were not made by Toyota, exactly, but they were made for Toyota—a story we’ll get to in a moment.

The History of Toyo Motors

Toyo Motors (which, incidentally, has nothing to do with Toyo Tires) was founded in what is now the city of Kariya, located in Aichi prefecture, Japan. Founder Kazuo Kawamata was extremely interested in combustion engines, and had been studying and teaching himself about them from his 20s onward. After helping to develop the Roland, which was Japan’s first-ever front-wheel-drive car, Kawamata found himself in touch with none other than Kiichiro Toyoda—whom you may know better as the founder of Toyota.

After exchanging some letters, Kawamata scored a part-time job at the Toyota Motor Research Laboratory in 1942. Now, he was the kind of guy who just couldn’t stop thinking about and working on engineering problems. Keeping himself busy, Kawamata also developed the early Bismotor engine for bicycles. Further development and funding of this project directly led to Kawamata’s independent production of improved bicycle engines. Not long after that, Kawamata founded Toyo Motors in 1949, which was immediately positioned as a subsidiary of Toyota.

As you’re probably aware from the history of Honda’s Super Cub, regular folks in Japan were looking for reliable, efficient transportation in post-war Japan. The Super Cub was ideal because it didn’t blink at sketchy road surfaces, and it was also relatively simple to understand and repair yourself. A similar situation led to the rise of Vespa in Italy and throughout Europe during the same time period.

Some years prior to Soichiro Honda launching the Super Cub on an unsuspecting world, that same cultural mentality led Toyo Motors to introduce bikes to a transport-hungry Japanese public. For a time, things looked very positive for this company that seemingly beat everyone standing in 2020 to the punch. By 1952, annual production was over 10,000 bikes a year—which was definitely no small feat. As you’ve probably guessed by now, though, the picture didn’t stay so rosy for very long.

Unfortunately, endless quality control complaints dogged Toyo Motors throughout the company’s short life. You see, unlike the Big Four today, Toyo Motors made the fateful decision to outsource just about all of its manufacturing. It then assembled the finished bikes from those outsourced components in its Kariya factory. As a result, reliability was extremely poor. Although Toyo engineers and employees alike pushed to reconsider the idea of making those components in-house, the story goes that Kawamata wasn’t interested. It’s unclear how much of this is an exaggeration, but piles of defective parts allegedly began to build up inside the factory.

A Sad End

All it seemed to take to finish off Toyo Motors was at least one other scrappy local OEM to come along, learn from Toyo’s mistakes, and do the whole “reliable two-wheeled Japanese transport” thing properly. In 1958, Honda introduced its Super Cub—and any remaining patience for temperamental, unreliable workhorse motorbikes tanked shortly afterward.

To be fair, Toyo Motors was just one of over 100 Japanese motorcycle manufacturers that came and went over the years. Various circumstances led to their demise, too. In 1959, the Isewan Typhoon—better known as Super Typhoon Vera outside of Japan—swept through the island nation. In all, it killed over 5,000 people, and rendered nearly 1.6 million people homeless. This storm was considered the third deadliest natural disaster in Japan throughout the entire 20th century.

We’ll never know how many burgeoning motorcycle company stories also got swept away in the debris. Motorcycle development had been booming in Japan, as it was elsewhere in the world. However, most other countries didn’t also have a massive natural disaster come along and wallop most of their residents.


2021 Yamaha R3 Makes Global Debut

By General Posts

by Satya Singh from

Ahead of its launch next year, 2021 Yamaha R3 has been unveiled for Japanese market

The company has put a price tag of JPY 687,500 on the updated motorcycle. Yamaha aims to sell at least 3700 units of updated R3 in Japan on an annual basis.

What’s new in updated Yamaha R3?

Changes are fairly limited on 2021 Yamaha R3. It appears that one of the company’s key objectives is to provide more personalization options to customers. Towards that end, updated Yamaha R3 gets a new Cyan colour option.

This looks quite exciting and goes well with other colour shades used on the motorcycle. This new colour option also seems a bit radical, as it’s not something that one would usually see on a motorcycle. For folks who want to flaunt their rides, this peppy new colour can be a lot of fun on the streets.

Shades of cyan can be seen on the headlight cowl, front fender, fairing and fuel tank. It creates an interesting contrast with the blacked-out parts of the motorcycle. The bike’s trendy profile is further enhanced with the multi-coloured graphics and red alloy wheels. Overall, the motorcycle looks striking in its new colour and is an absolute head turner.

The earlier Matte Black shade has also been updated slightly on 2021 Yamaha R3. The third colour option of Deep Purple Blue Metallic has been retained, just as it was earlier.

2021 Yamaha R3 engine

Updated Yamaha R3 will be using the same engine as earlier. It is powered by a 320 cc, liquid cooled, parallel-twin DOHC motor that is capable of delivering max power of 42 ps at 10,750 rpm and max torque of 29 Nm at 9,000 rpm. This is mated to a 6-speed gearbox. Most other cycle parts will also be the same as the current model.

Earlier, Yamaha had unveiled 2021 R3 in US market. There too, the changes were minor and included a new Electric Teal colour option. In US, the updated bike will go on sale for USD 5,299 (Rs 3.89 lakhs). Yamaha R3 has top speed of around 110 mph (~ 180 km/h) and it can reach 0-62 mph (0-100 kmph) in 5.5 seconds. Fuel efficiency is estimated to be around 56 miles per gallon (~ 24 kmpl).

Restrictive Bikernet Weekly News for December 17, 2020

By General Posts

Let’s See How it All Plays Out

I’m packing shit and checking my list for the run to Deadwood. Next year will wake up the world to many issues. I joke about following the right path. Hopefully, we can all find a comfortable, clear and honest one.

But I will always believe freedom works.


The Bikernet Weekly News is sponsored in part by companies who also dig Freedom including: Cycle Source Magazine, the MRF, Las Vegas Bikefest, Iron Trader News, ChopperTown, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Most recently Quick Throttle Magazine came on board.

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What If Six Iconic Car Brands Built Motorcycles

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Here’s what would happen if Tesla, Bentley, Bugatti & 3 more car brands made bikes

Unbeknownst to some, certain car brands started life by making motorcycles. Take Honda, for instance, or BMW. But what if iconic car brands made motorcycles?

Budget Direct Motorcycle Insurance took six automakers consisting of two Brits, a quirky Japanese, two electrified Americans, and a French record-holder and went to work. The team specifically chose brands that you wouldn’t normally associate with two wheels, and here’s what they came up with:

1. Aston Martin Café Racer
2. Bentley Touring Bike
3. Bugatti Superbike
4. Mitsubishi Scooter
5. Rivian Dirt Bike
6. Tesla Sports Bike

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