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Robson Riders Motorcycle Club: Members, Warm Your Engines!

By | General Posts

The winter riding season is filled with time-passing activities such as cleaning, polishing, tinkering, adding new farkle, map reading, route planning, and some occasional riding. In late February the weather allows us more limited access to the road, so sometimes we use our time to hone our skills.

Club President Mike Conley conducted a second training on the installation and use of the Sena 30 Bluetooth communication module on Feb. 19. While we have several modes of motorcycle-to-motorcycle communication (CB radio, cell phone, hand signals), the mesh capability of the Sena 30 is best suited for a group of riders going down the road spread over a distance of almost a mile.

Twenty-seven members attended the Quarterly Meeting and Social on Thursday, Feb. 20. The event is getting so popular that we are beginning to outgrow the Board Room at the Grill. Once again, we enjoyed great fellowship and the sumptuous hamburger buffet. We owe a debt of gratitude to our board members, but a big nod goes to Mike Conley for the great presentations at the socials. The information, pictures, and overall good synthesis of the material in an enjoyable format make for a great session.

Itching to get back on the road after a string of cold and wet weather, the club held a lunch ride to Nocona, Texas on Monday, Feb. 24. Cruising north central Texas is wonderful because of the great roads, homey destinations, and great places to eat. Nocona is always popular. The Horton Classic Car Museum is worth the trip by itself. It is quickly becoming the “Classic Car Capital of Texas” with over 120 classic cars in its collection.

The museum is housed in what once was the town’s Ford dealership. Over 120 cars are contained in the collection, which largely focuses on American vintage, classic, and muscle cars. Over 40 Corvettes are part of the collection, featuring nearly every year of production between 1953 and 1978. Different models of Chevrolets, Fords, Pontiacs, Packards, Plymouths, Oldsmobiles, and even a Studebaker are featured in the collection, which is always changing and growing. Riders included Steve Haugen, Steve Wiley, Jim Sico, Martin Munoz, Bill Culhane, L.T. Bryant, Mike Conley and Steve Williams. Despite 30 to 35 mph wind gusts it was a beautiful ride. As many of the restaurants in the area are closed on Mondays, the gang ate Texas style by going to the Dairy Queen in Nocona.

See you on the road!

Beware of cagers and keep the rubber side down.

Harley-Davidson’s 2020 Mid-Year Model Lineup

By | General Posts

by Jason Marker from https://www.rideapart.com

I hate Florida. Hate it. I hate it with the furious passion of a million burning suns. Years ago I swore that I would never step foot in the Sunshine State again, a promise that I’ve kept religiously. Florida: Not Even Once. That said, when Harley-Davidson calls you up and personally invites you to Daytona Beach to ride brand new bikes and you haven’t touched a bike in three months because Michigan winters suck, well, if you’re me you find that even your most rigidly held beliefs are negotiable.

The Friday before Daytona Bike Week dawned cool and cloudy. I’d rolled in from Orlando International the previous evening around 20:00. After a lovely dinner with the Harley team and my colleagues—among whom was legendary MoJo and RA alum Peter Jones—and a good night’s sleep, I was ready to ride some bikes. We convened for breakfast and the tech briefing, and after a fair amount of drinking coffee and dicking around, we piled into the hotel shuttle and off we went to pick up our bikes.

Now, this wasn’t going to be a typical press ride. We weren’t all going to be riding the same bike all day. Not today. No, we were riding three different bikes—the new Softail Standard (which I can’t stop calling the FX Softail), the 30th Anniversary Fat Boy, and the hi-po CVO Road Glide. The plan was for the four of us to trade bikes on and off all day so that we got seat time on each model. Kind of unorthodox, but I was into it. I mean, I hadn’t touched a bike in three months due to winter and moving to a new house, so I was down for anything.

After an impromptu tour of the greater Daytona Beach metropolitan area thanks to our timid, easily confused driver, we arrived at Daytona International Speedway. The bikes were lined up all gassed up and ready inside Harley’s demo fleet paddock. We got a quick overview of the bikes, took a few minutes for the requisite social media stuff, and finally hit the road.

We spent the next few hours really putting the bikes through their paces. Now, Florida isn’t known for its stunning, technically challenging riding roads, but he Harley team did its best to find a route that wasn’t all straight lines and swamplands. They were the kinds of roads Harleys thrive on—primarily straights with a few sweeping turns and the occasional corner just to keep us on our toes. Overall a really nice ride in pretty weather and not once were we menaced by an alligator or accosted by Florida Man.

Since this was a ride in which I rode three different bikes, I’m going to break up the reviews into three sections—one for each bike. At the end, I’ll sum up my thoughts on all three as a group and give you all my final impressions which, I’m sure, is what you’re all here for anyway. So, without further ado, let’s talk about these sweet new Harleys.

2020 CVO Road Glide

The Road Glide is, hands down, my favorite Harley. It’s my fave despite my general dislike for touring bikes and other big, bulky things that can’t get out of their own way. I love its weird fairing, its close-set dual headlights, and its lines that, while clearly still based on an FL touring frame, seem longer and sleeker to me than their Electraglide siblings.

The monster, hi-po CVO is the Road Glide’s apotheosis. It isn’t just sleek and stylish, it’s also big. From its over-large front wheel to its massive Milwaukee 8 lump to the big sound of the BOOM! sound system, it has all the presence and charisma of Shaquille O’Neil in a $10,000 suit—i.e. a lot.

At the CVO Road Glide’s heart is a 117 cubic inch version of Harley’s stout Milwaukee 8 mill mated to a six-speed transmission. This big stonking engine is the largest installed by Harley in a production bike and comes equipped with an upgraded performance cam and a big old Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather (god I love that name) high-performance intake to let this monster breathe. The exhaust is a handsome two-into-two setup with a satin finish and black tips. We’re talking some big iron here.

Out front is a huge 21-inch cast wheel with a skinny tire, a nod to the current, totally bonkers big wheel custom style (which I absolutely love). The wheel is finished in gloss black with smoked satin accents and looks pretty great in that classic FL front end. Aft is a matching, more traditional 18-inch wheels wrapped, like the front, in classic Harley Dunlop rubber. Braking is provided by four-piston calipers fore and aft, backed up by a slew of electronic rider aids like Harley’s Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS), ABS, traction control, etc.

The CVO’s infotainment package is the top of the line BOOM! Box GTS system. Controlled by a bright, easy to read, 6.5-inch touchscreen, it comes with everything Harley has to offer. There’s the four-speaker—two in the fairing and two in the leading edges of the saddlebag lids—600 watt stereo, integrated navigation, and Apple CarPlay (with Android Auto coming down the pipe soon). It also features the new Harley-Davidson app, its very own cellular relay, and a slew of customization options. To top it all off, Harley throws in a BOOM! Audio 30K Bluetooth helmet comms system—a reskinned Sena 30K—with every purchase.

Looks-wise, the bike comes in a fantastic color that Harley calls Premium Sand Dune. It’s a kind of bone-white color with a satin pearl finish on it. Depending on the light it looks white, beige, or haze gray and it looks deep and rich in the sun. The color is offset by satin black and red accents, including very nice CVO logos on the saddlebags. The classic Road Glide shark-nose fairing is enhanced by “Fang” lowers which look rad and keep more wind off the rider. It’s an extremely good looking bike.

On the road, the CVO Road Glide is stately, king-like. It has gravitas. It also has an acceleration best described as glacial and a hilariously low, 5,500 rpm redline. I was constantly bouncing off the rev limited in first gear under heavy acceleration, which honestly is mostly my fault since I’m used to high-strung, 40-year-old, Japanese triples and inline-fours. That said, once you lug the CVO up to speed it moves. The big M8 117 pushes the bike along at a very respectable clip and provides the rider with short bursts of blinding straight-line speed which belie the bike’s bulk. Much like a gator or, since we’re talking about him, like Shaq.

The engine does its best work in 4th gear, loping along at around 2,200 RPM at 60 miles per hour. there’s a seemingly bottomless well of torque to draw from, too. The engine is rated at 125 foot-pounds and it pulls like a tractor in every gear. It’s honestly kind of impressive.

My biggest complaint about the CVO Road Glide is its size. It’s a handful, especially at low speeds. Despite the bike’s front suspension being specially set up for it, that big 21-inch wheel I like so much does the handling no favors. I found it kind of numb in traffic, and thanks to its sheer bulk, maneuvering the bike through tight spaces was hair-raising, to say the least. The CVO Road Glide is a lot. Almost too much, if you ask me.

To be fair, high-po, limited edition, $40K touring bikes aren’t exactly my cup of tea. If such a machine is your cup of tea, though, I think you’ll dig the CVO Road Glide. The combination of power, comfort, and looks is a potent one. It’s an excellent addition to Harley’s CVO collection. If you have the means, I highly recommend you pick one up.

2020 Softail Standard

Slid into the Softail lineup as a basic, blank-slate model perfect for customization, the Softail Standard is an extremely good looking bike. Offered only in black with a subtle throwback logo on the tank in dark gray, it’s a stripped-down, no-nonsense, short-ranged cruiser.

As befits a base model bike, all the fat has been trimmed off the Softail Standard. Harley pared away the bits, bobs, and superfluous systems. What’s left behind is simply a motorcycle—nothing more, nothing less—and probably the purest Harley experience currently available in the MoCo’s lineup. From its laced wheels and mini-apes to the basic 107ci Milwaukee 8 and mid-controls to the solo saddle, short rear fender, and simple two-into-two shotgun exhaust, the Softail Standard is just a good, solid bike.

The Softail Standard’s biggest selling point, according to Harley, is that the bike is a blank canvas for customization. To that end, Harley launched four complete custom bolt-on packages that new Softail Standard owners can have bolted on at their dealership. First, there’s the “Day Tripper” package that adds passenger accommodations, forward controls, and a small swingarm bag. Second, a “Coastal Custom” package that adds a quarter fairing, two-up seat, and new bars, risers, and footpegs. There’s a “Touring Custom” package that adds small saddlebags, a more comfortable two-up seat, a windshield, and assorted accouterment to improve comfort and turn the bike into a respectable touring machine. Finally, there’s the “Performance Custom” package that upgrades the engine with a Screamin’ Eagle Stage II kit and a host of intake, exhaust, and tuning upgrades.

I gotta admit, I really like this modular custom package idea. Harley touts them as a starting point, a way for new owners to see various ways in which their new bikes can be customized. They’re a pretty good deal, too, and run between around $1,100 (Day Tripper) to $1,700 (Touring Custom) Yankee Dollars. It’s a nice way to bundle popular accessories for riders who want a touch of customization but don’t want to go hog wild with it, as it were.

Now the bad(ish) news. Out of the three bikes we rode during the press ride, the Softail Standard was my least favorite. Sure, it looks phenomenal as you walk up to it and I really like its clean lines, but as soon as you throw a leg over it you discover something disconcerting in a Harley—it’s small.

Thanks to the weird ergos—mid controls, low-slung solo saddle, mini-ape handlebars—the Softail Standard feels cramped and tiny, especially if you’re a, uh, rider of size like I am. At 6’1 and 240 pounds with a 34-inch inseam, I was incredibly uncomfortable while riding this thing. The whole time I was aboard I was sitting right on my tailbone and had to keep shifting my weight around to relieve the pain in my lower back. I also could never find a good place for my feet on those pegs, especially since there’s no heel rest anywhere to be found.

Combine that with a vague-feeling shifter, weird spacing between the rear brake pedal and the footpeg (it’s both too close and too far away, if you get my drift), and a wicked crosswind during our ride and I never felt like I was in complete control of the bike. I mean, I was, but every time I was in the saddle I kept worrying that I might not be able to handle a road emergency if one came up. That kind of thing doesn’t really inspire rider confidence.

To be absolutely clear, I’m not saying that the Softail Standard is a bad bike. Far from it, in fact. Like I said earlier, I really dig its lines, its attitude, and those modular customization packages. Thing is, at its heart the Softail Standard is a short-range bike, built to bounce between stops close to home, not eat up the miles on the superslab. I’m sure it’s great at that, but I was on this thing for an hour at a time and, no sir, I didn’t like it.

My problems with the bike aren’t primarily due to how it’s built, they’re due to how I’m built. Someone smaller and/or lighter probably won’t have the same I did while in the saddle. If you are built like I am, well, caveat emptor big man. You might want to spring for some forward controls and more sensible handlebars (and a more comfortable saddle) if you’re looking to pick one of these up.

2020 Fat Boy 30th Anniversary Edition

Thirty years ago, Willie G. Davidson stood in front of a jet black tractor-trailer with a new bike and changed motorcycling. That bike, the questionably named Fat Boy, was a burly, low-slung brute with a huge FL front end, fat tires, solid disc wheels, and about fifteen miles of Harley-Davidson attitude. Since then, the Fat Boy has been the go-to ride for legions of Harlista bar pirates, killer cyborgs from the future, and my dad. Now, after three decades at the top of the heap, Harley has released a limited edition 30th Anniversary Fat Boy.

I’ve had a soft spot for the Fat Boy ever since it came out, mostly due to Terminator 2 and the fact that my dad rolls a ’96 model that’s seen so many paint jobs, engine upgrades, and mods that it’s essentially the Bike of Theseus at this point. There’s just something about it, an undeniable presence that is, much like the Softail Standard, quintessentially Harley.

Look, I’m not going to lie to you all here. There’s not a lot of blue sky between the 30th Anniversary Edition and a run of the mill 2020 Fat Boy 114. There’s the paint job, which is, admittedly, phenomenal. It’s Harley’s vivid black color offset with copper-colored accents and a slightly redesigned OG Fat Boy logo on the tank. The paint, combined with the blacked-out M8, handlebars, and other brightwork, lend an air of menace to the already looming Fat Boy. It’s just a paint job, though. Aside from the limited run, though—just 2,500 units—that’s it. That’s everything special about the 30th Anniversary edition.

Honestly, I was hoping for something more. Performance upgrades, maybe, or some one-off grips and floorboards to really set the 30th apart from its mass-market stablemates. That said, just because I felt that the 30th Anniversary Edition wasn’t quite special enough doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it. On the contrary, I loved it. It was my favorite of the three bikes I rode during the press ride. It’s comfortable, confident, surprisingly nimble, and respectably fast thanks to the big boy 114 engine. All that is, of course, chalked up to the huge overhaul the Softail line got in 2018, but still. The Fat Boy rules, and the 30th Anniversary Edition is like the cherry on top of an already delicious, and powerful, sundae.

Sorry about the length of this one, friends. After riding three different bikes over the course of just a few hours, I had a jumble of thoughts and impressions to work out, so thanks for sticking around this long. So, my final thoughts? At the end of the day, after thrashing each bike up and down Florida’s Atlantic coast, I felt a little like Goldilocks in the Three Bears’ house. Despite my love for it, the CVO Road Glide was too much—much too much—for me. The Softail Standard was too little, and its fantastic lines didn’t make up for the cramped confines and sore lower back. The 30th Anniversary Fat Boy, though, was just right. It had everything I could have wanted in a single, good looking package.

All three bikes are fantastic Harleys, though. They do exactly what they’re meant to and I reckon the MoCo’s marketing team will land solid hits with each bike’s target demo. I’m clearly not in any of those three target markets, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t. If you’re a CVO buyer, a new rider looking to get into Harleys, or a long-term Fat Boy stan, these bikes are just what you’re looking for.

25 Amazing Women Who Changed Motorcycle Travel Forever

By | General Posts

Celebrating adventurous bold women on two-wheels

Women travelling on motorcycles were, for a very long time not treated seriously – even today, it happens to be that females are not treated equally to their male companions or other motorcyclists which happen to be males. To celebrate Women’s History Month we would like to introduce you to 25 amazing characters which paved the way for modern, more equal opportunities to discover the world on two wheels as a female.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE ON BIKERNET

Harley-Davidson Finally Adds Android Auto As Standard On 2021 Motorcycles

By | General Posts

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

It’s been long in the making, but what did you expect from a motorcycle manufacturer as traditional as Harley-Davidson? Android Auto will finally roll out to Touring motorcycles as a software update for the Boom! Box GTS infotainment system, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

For the 2021 model year, the Trike, CVO, and Touring families with the Boom! Box GTS will feature Android Auto as standard. Google Maps, the Google Assistant, voice commands, and many more apps should make life behind the bars a little more comfortable and pleasant as well.

Owners of the Boom! Box GTS can update the infotainment system with Android Auto by USB. If you were wondering, the system is available as an accessory for 2014-and-later motorcycles from the Trike, CVO, and Touring families with previous the Boom! Box 6.5GT infotainment.

Designed to look similar to a tablet, the GTS features a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass for scratch resistance. Apple CarPlay is also supported, but iOS devices need to be complemented by a Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories headset. The GTS projects a number of phone functions onto the screen, including music streams from Spotify.

Currently available in 36 countries, Android Auto’s assistant is limited to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The Google Assistant has one purpose, and that is to keep your hands on the bars and eyes on the road while using voice commands to check the weather, make a call, or change the radio station.

Celebrating five years in March 2020, Android Auto rolled out in May 2015 with the Hyundai Sonata. The South Korean manufacturer offered the system free of charge as opposed to the BMW-Apple CarPlay subscription service that was eventually dropped over far-reaching criticism.

On a related note, Harley-Davidson has lost 5.2 percent of sales in the United States in 2019 as opposed to 2018. Despite a boom in the ASEAN region, worldwide sales declined 4.6 percent and Harley-Davidson still hasn’t announced any sort of plan to turn things around for the better.

Cleanfuel is the official fuel of RidePH Café event

By | General Posts

from https://business.inquirer.net

Leading Independent fuel company Cleanfuel has partnered with motorcycle journalist Jay Taruc on his RidePH Cafe event, which brings together art and motorcycle culture all into one event.

Now in its second year, the event showcases artistic culture of motorcycle scene with live musical performances, art exhibits, free-flowing artisanal coffee, and of course, a display of classic motorcycles, that features premiere builders of the ‘café racer’ bikes and the other elements surrounding its culture.

An avid motorcycle enthusiast himself, Cleanfuel’s president Atty. Bong Suntay, will be supporting the RidePH Cafe by displaying a rare breed of Ducati sports classic—the limited edition 2002 Ducati MH900e and the Honda Monkey 50th Anniversary Edition.

The fully restored MH900e is a retro sport motorcycle, which is called Evoluzione, was designed by Pierre Terblanche, and is powered by a 904cc V-Twin engine which is mated to a six-gear transmission. Meanwhile, the iconic Monkey 50th edition is equipped with fuel-injected, air-cooled, 49cc single-cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed gearbox.

“Joining Jay’s event RidePH Cafe brings us back to the good old days of motorcycles and its culture. The camaraderie of every rider is so important to bringing them altogether in an event that is full of history and heritage,” said Atty. Bong Suntay.

“We’re glad to be part and to be the official fuel partner of this event. Here, we will see modern and classic motorbikes, art display exhibits, vintage clothing, and gentlemen’s grooming taking in one place. We wanted to be part of their lifestyle—whether in their four-wheeled and two-wheeled journey,” shares Suntay.

“As we take Moto Culture deeper and to the next level, we also understand the need of every riders to have a fuel that would sustain them in their long journey. Our fuel provides bigger savings and long mileage in a long run,“ concludes Suntay.

When RidePH Café was conceptualized last year by the people behind the RidePH TV show, the goal was to offer something different and unusual from the row of motorcycle events being held every year.

On this year’s RidePH Café, the floor will be divided into 3 sections for the main displays: The ‘Vespa Jam’ where owners of both classic and modern classic Vespa scooters will compete. On the other side of the venue, the ‘Rockers Gallery’ will showcase the best modern and classic motorbikes and will be competing with each other as well.

The main attraction and probably the most ambitious among the displays this year is a full gallery set-up right in the middle of the RidePH Café event.

“I’ve always been into art since I started collecting two decades ago. Most of the artists that I collect eventually became my friends and coincidentally, are also into motorcycles. This year I think it’s high time to focus on the ‘artist’ side of these riders. I’m talking about the painters, photographers, custom motorcycle builders, and everyone who are, in one way or the other, influenced by the culture,” explained Jay Taruc.

“The pieces of art that we have seen in the past few years deserve to be exhibited in a gallery we thought to ourselves, so, we are building an art space right in the middle of the event floor, showcasing them properly so that fellow riders will be able to appreciate them,” he added.

2007 Harley-Davidson Custom Bike Is a Throwback to the Bobbers of Old

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

There are few things the name Harley-Davidson cannot be associated with in the world of motorcycles. From road-going bikes to custom builds, the name is present all across the board in the industry, and it has been so for a great number of years now.

There’s good reason for that, as there are few types of motorcycles today that don’t have a trace of Harley in them. Back in the 1920s, for instance, J-series Harleys gave birth to what today are known as bobbers. Seen by most as the less bling cousins of the choppers that have flooded the streets in times closer to our own, bobbers have been seen across the ages as signature builds of shops around the world.

Because there are so many Harley-based bobbers out there, it’s nearly impossible to say which is the best. Yet from time to time one really stands out, and it is worth a closer look.

Waiting on the list of vehicles that will sell at the end of the month at an auction in Salt Lake City is exactly such a build, simply titled 2007 Harley-Davidson bobber.

Built in the same city where the auction is set to take place, the motorcycle was designed in such a way as to bring back memories of the bobbers build back in the 1960s and 1970s: there is no front fender, the rear one is significantly shorter, and there are literally no other body part elements standing in the way of the exposed V-twin or the black frame.

Offsetting the metal look of the engine and exhaust and the blue tone of the limited bodywork is hand-crafted, brown leatherwork spread throughout.

The ones selling the bike say the entire build cost over $20,000 back when it was made, but there’s no estimate as to how much it is expected to fetch during the auction.

BMW R 18 Motorcycle with Monster Big Boxer Engine to Be Unveiled on April 3

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

It’s been a long time in the making, but BMW Motorrad’s newest entry to the cruiser segment, a bike aptly called the R 18, is just around the corner. On Friday, April 3, the Germans will pull the wraps off what is to become one of the most potent motorcycles in its segment.

And this bike owes it all to a new engine BMW likes to call the Big Boxer. First shown on a bike called the Concept R 18 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in May 2019, the engine moved over to two custom builds, before getting the official thumbs up at the end of 2019.

The two-cylinder powerplant has a capacity of 1,802 cc, which should make it the highest-capacity engine ever used on a production motorcycle. According to the specs revealed by the Bavarians, the engine has a power output of 91 hp and 158 Nm of torque, and that should also make it the most powerful boxer ever built by BMW.

It’s the R 18 that will see the first application of the Big Boxer, and on the bike it will be linked to a single-disc dry clutch that sends torque to the 6-speed transmission. Although the power ratings have already been announced, the performance specs are still unknown.

“All of us at BMW Motorrad are very much looking forward to the absolute highlight of the year for us – the world premiere of the BMW R 18,” said in a statement Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad.

“BMW Motorrad achieved record sales for the ninth year in succession in 2019. With the R 18 and the associated entry into the cruiser segment, we are consistently pursuing our growth strategy with the clear goal of becoming the number one in the premium segment worldwide.”

More details and official photos of the bike will become available at the unveiling.

2020 Zero Motorcycles Zero S review: A naked electric bike

By | General Posts

by Bruce Brown from https://www.digitaltrends.com

Pros
A mature e-motorcycle design
Excellent driving per charge range
No gears, no clutch, no shifting
Powerful brakes and suspension
Inexpensive to fuel and maintain

Cons
Forward-leaning rider posture
Rider and passenger pegs high
Expensive for an entry-level bike

MSRP $10,995.00

Zero Motorcycles‘ 2020 Zero S is the most highly-evolved version of a vehicle with the longest production history in a product class that most people don’t know exists. Most people would be surprised to learn electric motorcycles are on the street today. They’re even more surprised to hear the first arrived over 12 years ago.

Founded in 2006 by a former NASA engineer, Zero Motorcycles’ first production model was the 2009 Zero S, making 2020 its 12th model year. Depending on the buyer’s choice of installed power pack, the Zero S price varies from $10,995 to $18,390. The most powerful (and expensive) Zero S has a 223-mile maximum city driving range.

Design and performance

I asked Zero Motorcycles to suggest which model in its nine-model 2020 lineup would be the best choice for an e-bicycle rider who wanted to pick the Zero as their first motorcycle. After discussing the lighter, taller, more off-road-bike-looking Zero FXS, I decided on the Zero S with the lowest power battery pack. I tested the base 7.2 kWh Zero S, priced at $10,995, which the company describes as “ideal for the first time rider looking for an entry-level street motorcycle.”

The 2020 Zero S base model ticks the boxes for e-motos. Acceleration is immediate with the S’s full torque on tap from a standing stop. Other than tire noise and a slight whirring sound from the carbon fiber drive belt, the bike is quiet. There’s no clutch and no shifting because there’s only one gear. So, as with most electric motorcycles, you don’t need to know how to use a manual transmission to ride it.

To ride the Zero, just turn the key and wait a few seconds for the indicators on the display panel to settle down. Zero includes two throttle intercepts to protect riders from unintentional acceleration from a standing stop. A motor stop switch on the right-hand grip cuts out power to the motor, and the bike won’t move if the kickstand is down.

The Zero remains silent when it’s on and ready to move. If you’re only familiar with vehicles that have gas or diesel engines, the lack of noise may lead you to think it’s not on. Oh, but it is. It definitely is.

I was cautious with the throttle at first. Electric motors can deliver full torque from a standing stop, so it’s a good idea to approach with caution. However, I’m happy to report you can ride comfortably at slow speeds on the Zero S. The throttle isn’t overly sensitive, with excellent “feel” and granularity.

The Zero S’s regenerative braking slightly recharges the battery when you roll off the throttle. If you’re familiar with engine braking in a car with a manual transmission, regenerative braking feels roughly the same, just quieter.

If you need to stop quickly, the Zero S’ brakes have more stopping power than you may ever need. I found the learning curve for modulating the potent brake system steeper than getting used to the throttle. The Zero S has Bosch ABS disc brakes, with dual 320mm calipers in front, and a single 240mm caliper in the rear.

This nearly-naked sportbike has no fairing and little bodywork covering the functional components. The rider geometry (the relative positions of the handlebar, seat, and rider footpegs) requires a moderately forward-leaning posture. Forward-leaning is excellent for going fast and carving turns and canyons. Entry-level riders with previous experience on a more upright bike will need to adjust, but not as dramatically as with more aggressive bikes.

Speed and range

Motorcycle companies are typically cautious with quoting acceleration numbers. I didn’t time my runs, but I have heard from others Zero riders that 60 mph comes in under 4 seconds. My butt says that’s about right and, speaking as someone who’s not a veteran rider, it was exhilarating.

My test bike, with the basic 7.2 kWh power pack, has a 98 miles per hour (mph) maximum top speed with a sustained top speed of 80 mph. The rated driving ranges for the Zero S with the base power pack are 89 miles in city driving, 45 miles at 70 mph on the highway, and 60 miles combined.

If you are willing to pay for more range, the Zero SR, which is essentially the same bike, has a 14.4 kWh battery pack. The SR starts at $15,495 and boosts the range to 179 miles for city driving, 90 miles on the highway, or 120 miles combined. For the maximum possible driving distance with Zero S models, you can also add the 3.3 kWh Power Tank for $2,895. The Zero SR with the Power Tank is rated for a maximum of 223 miles in the city, 112 miles on the highway, or 150 miles combined.

Note that larger power packs don’t just drive up the price. They weigh more. The 7.2 kWh Zero S weighs 313 pounds. The Zero SR with the 14.4 kWh power pack weighs 408 pounds, and if you add the 3.3 kWh Power Tank for a total of 18 kWh, the weight climbs to 452 pounds.

Your choice will balance cost, range, and weight. You can’t switch power packs or add the Power Tank later, so it’s essential to buy the right power combination from the start.

Charging the battery

The Zero S has a 1.3 kW integrated battery charger and a thick power cable that plugs into a standard 110/220 power plug. Charging the Zero S requires 4.7 hours for a 95% charge, or 5.2 hours to charge 100%. With a $600 optional quick charger, it takes 3.1 hours for a 100% charge, or 2.6 hours for 95%.

A third option is to buy an optional Charge Tank ($2,495). With the Charge Tank, you can plug into a standard Level 2 charge station for a 95% charge in one hour, or 100% in 1.5 hours. Note that you can’t order a Zero S or SR with both the Power Tank and Charge Tank options.

Riding modes and app

The Zero S has two preset performance profiles, Eco and Sport. The profiles control maximum speed, torque, and regeneration levels.

As set by the factory, Eco mode cuts the top speed to 70 mph, limits the torque, and dials up the regen-style engine braking effect. Sport mode unlocks the top speed of 98 miles per hour, full torque, and little or no regenerative braking. You can customize both profiles with Zero’s mobile app.

I rode the Zero S most of the time in Eco mode through suburban neighborhoods, in small towns, and on country roads and highways. The Zero S is well-balanced, so riding slowly is easy. I quickly became used to its smooth throttle operation to roll on speed as desired. The dialed-up regeneration setting in Eco mode meant I rarely needed to use the brakes until I came to a full stop.

It’s quiet. Too quiet?

Electric motorcycles’ are silent, and that can be a mixed blessing. Motorcyclists are used to noise alerting pedestrians and other drivers, but you don’t get that with an electric powertrain. It’s a good idea to locate the horn button on the left grip, so you can alert anyone who needs it.

The upside of running silent is there’s less chance you’re going to disturb your neighbors with the Zero S, and certainly not with the noise. On one of my first rides checking out the bike’s operation, a neighbor used to seeing me on e-bikes came over to check out the Zero S.

“That’s an actual motorcycle?” he asked. I was able to answer without raising my voice over the Zero S’ motor because, of course, it was silent. On a regular motorcycle, I wouldn’t have even heard him unless I stopped and turned off the engine.

Our Take

I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Zero S, and was particularly impressed by its balanced, quiet ride. Seasoned sports bike riders would likely switch right over to Sport mode and fly with it. The power, brakes, and handling are certainly there.

Ease of operation makes the Zero S accessible for beginning riders. My only hesitation is that new riders will need to get used to the forward-leaning riding position.

Is there a better alternative?

In a few years, there will be many more choices for people shopping for electric motorcycles, but Zero already has a 12-year lead. No other company has Zero’s experience and range of current electric models.

The Harley-Davidson Livewire makes fans of most who ride it, and Harley has been showing other concept electric bikes, but the Livewire’s $30,000 price tag limits its appeal. The Lightning Motorcycles LS-218 is the fastest production motorcycle, but starts at $38.888. Both bikes target experienced riders with money to spend.

Several companies make much smaller e-motorcycles, like the Ubco 2×2 and the Cake Kalk OR. They’re more affordable, but often focused on off-road or multi-surface riding, with a lower top speed and less range.

How long will it last?

Zero Motorcycles include a two-year general warranty and a five-year warranty on the power pack. Zero is an established company with dealers throughout the United States, so parts and service shouldn’t be concerns.

Should you buy one?

Yes. If you want an electric motorcycle for recreational riding or commuting, the Zero S is a great choice.

Riding a Harley-Davidson Can Help Fight PTSD, Veteran Group Ride Planned

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com/

In the first month of of 2019, Harley-Davidson released the results of a research that showed just how beneficial riding a motorcycle can be for the mental well-being of humans. As it seems, motorcycling is even good to treat more serious conditions.

Back in 2015, Harley started supporting the efforts of an organization called Wounded Warrior Project. The group provides services and programs for war veterans post-9/11, and among these programs there is an idea called Rolling Project Odyssey.

This Odyssey is centered around bringing together soldiers and help them heal their mental scars through adventure-based learning. And that includes riding Harleys in groups, just as a Harley should be ridden. This type activity has been found to be beneficial in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), among other things.

The Harley research we mentioned earlier, conducted by scientists at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, showed that riding a motorcycle for 20 minutes can increase the heart rate by 11 percent, reaching a level similar to that achieved while performing a light exercise.

That in turn increases alertness, and helps decrease hormonal stress biomarkers by 28 percent. The study’s findings were based on data taken from 50 experienced motorcyclists that were made to ride their own bikes on a 22-minute route.

“Rolling Project Odyssey was a life-changing experience for me,” said in a statement Jonathan Goolsby, an Army and Rolling Project Odyssey veteran.

“The experience has taught me many things that I have been able to implement into my daily life, like finding my center and keeping my cool when things start to get tough.”

This year’s Rolling Project Odyssey kicks off at the beginning of next week starting in Jacksonville, Florida, and going through Daytona, where the Bike Week marks the start of the riding season on the American continent.

Daytona Bike Week 79th Anniversary!

By | General Posts

March 6-15, 2020

Daytona Bike Week, the world’s largest motorcycle event, is celebrating 79 years in 2020!

It’s an event you won’t want to miss. This year’s 10-day event proves it’s high-octane with street festivals, concerts, motorcycle races, bike shows, rallies, manufacturer showcases and more. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world enjoy spring riding in Daytona Beach along historic Main Street to Midtown, Scenic A1A Highway and through the best of old Florida, the Ormond Beach Scenic Loop. The celebration continues at Daytona International Speedway, Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona, and the U.S. 1 corridors in Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach.

Looking for a place to stay? Book your hotel now.

Get even more excited and watch this video! OfficialBikeWeek.com for event information including parking.

Watch video: Enjoy 10 days of high-octane street festivals, concerts, motorcycle races, bike shows, rallies, manufacturer showcases, and more.