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Report on Fandango in Texas 2021

By General Posts

A couple of years ago the growing membership of the Cherokee Chapter of the AMCA (Antique Motorcycle Club of America) in central Texas made a monumental decision. The antique motorcycle group wanted to establish a major antique motorcycle event closer to the center of the country.

Greg McFarland, the current president of the chapter came up with the name Fandango and it stuck. Fandango (noun) means, “a foolish or useless act or thing” Tomfoolery. Greg and Steve developed a successful formula for the event, much like the infamous Smoke-Out: Action all the time and something for everyone.

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Ducati Monster 2021 First Ride Review

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by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

Take the edge off.
In 1992, Ducati designer Miguel Galluzzi shoehorned a 900SS engine into an 888 superbike frame. He then bolted on a 750 Supersport fork and the Ducati Monster was born. Galluzzi’s Frankenstein experiment was well-loved though, driving sales at the Bologna brand for years. The parts bin special saved Ducati, in fact, and the Monster has remained in Ducati’s stable ever since.

That hasn’t stopped the Monster from evolving through the years, though. Ducati frequently tweaked the ingredients, but the recipe remained the same: one part air-cooled L-twin, one part trellis frame. However, technology and design move on, and the model has changed with the times. By 2015, all Monster engines switched to liquid-cooling, and the latest iteration finally sheds its trellis frame—and the weight that comes with it.

That prompted traditionalists and ardent Ducatisi to click their tongues, lamenting over Ducati’s heresy. To many fans, the trellis frame was the Monster’s pièce de résistance. The quality that separated the muscular streetfighter from its “soulless” competitors. The trellis frame was the Monster’s greatest strength, but it was also its greatest weakness, imprisoning the naked bike to a bygone era as its counterparts forged ahead.

That’s no longer the case in 2021. Sure, the Monster is still “borrowing” from its counterparts by plucking the 937cc L-twin from the Supersport 950 and wedging it into a Panigale V4-inspried monocoque aluminum frame. Even the model’s 4.3-inch TFT dash sports a Panigale V4-derived interface. Despite those old habits, the question remains: is it still a Monster without the trellis frame? Did it trade in its panache for pastiche? Did it lose its character, its “soul”?

These questions loomed large when Ducati invited us to San Francisco, California, to ride the 2021 Monster. After spending a full day in the saddle of the new bike, it was clear that this is a very different beast.

Engine:
To meet Euro5 emissions standards, Ducati ditched the Monster’s 821cc Testastretta engine in favor of the proven mill found in Ducati’s Hypermotard 950 and Supersport 950. The 11-degree Testastretta configuration carries over, but Ducati bumps the capacity to 937cc for good reasons. That’s 111 good reasons, in the form of horsepower. Ducati couples that with a generous 69 lb-ft helping of torque. More than enough bark and bite for the naysayers.

The powerplant may tout a higher volume than the outgoing unit, but it also shaved off 5.7 pounds in the process. The new clutch drops three pounds alone while the cylinder heads and clutch cover account for two additional pounds of weight loss. The updated gear drum, alternator cover, and pistons and rods pitch in too, saving precious grams.

Ducati’s versatile Testastretta platform isn’t just performance-oriented, however, it’s surprisingly practical as well. New Monster owners can enjoy a whole lot of riding between the 9,000-mile oil services and 18,000-mile valve services. The revised hydraulic clutch also reduces resistance at the lever by 20 percent and the up/down quickshifter nearly eliminates clutch use altogether.

That’s the same Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) Evo 2 found on the $24,095 Multistrada V4 S, and the IMU-dependent system works just as well on this $11,895 naked bike. In fact, the DQS equipped on the Monster produces an even more satisfying exhaust note upon downshifting. Modern emissions regulations have taken the voice box of many a motorcycle, but Ducati’s auto-blipper gives the Monster a formidable growl.

Upshifts were just as visceral, but for an entirely different reason. Though the bike’s fueling was pretty fluttery below 3,500 rpm, the Monster really bared its teeth between 4,000-7,000 rpm. A series of clutchless upshifts only amplified the effect. The power delivery never bordered on frightening, though. Of course, if 111 ponies are too much pep for your step, Ducati’s three ride modes help tame the Monster’s inner animal.

Those looking for an easy-breezy experience can switch to Urban mode, which restricts output to 75 horsepower. For highway blasts, Touring mode maintains peak horsepower but prioritizes smooth acceleration. Predictively, Sport mode is the least restrictive, but that doesn’t make it less manageable than its counterparts. After a short squirt through the hilly San Francisco streets, I kept the engine in Sport mode for the rest of the day. Even in the tight and twisty confines of Route 35, the lively engine response never felt overwhelming. Thanks, primarily, to the new superbike-derived frame.

Chassis:
While the engine’s before/after results were truly impressive, Ducati engineers went to greater lengths to reduce the chassis’ mass. Compared to the 821’s trellis front frame, the new monocoque saves 9.9 pounds. The fiberglass-reinforced polymer subframe comes in 4.2 pounds underweight while the swingarm and wheels reduce unsprung weight by 7.2 pounds. Ducati’s diet plan worked wonders for the Monster, converting the heavy brute to a lithe apex predator.

That new, low 414-pound wet weight is noticeable right off the kickstand. Fleet-footed yet planted, the Monster takes advantage of that newfound agility in the turns. Initial tip-in is effortless and side-to-side transitions are predictable and smooth. That sharp-handling quality should redeem the Monster in the eyes of Ducati fans, but focused track riders may discount the sporty naked bike for lacking fully adjustable suspension.

Speaking of, in stock form, the 43mm USD front end and preload-adjustable lean on the stiffer side. At least they did under my 160-pound frame. Heavier riders may benefit more from the spring rate, but the suspension only borders on harsh at the least favorable time—at lean. Northern California’s Skyline Boulevard is a relatively well-maintained mountain road, but a few inconveniently placed potholes unsettled the Monster’s sure-footed stance.

Of course, no suspension operates optimally when leaned over, but the sharp hit doesn’t just stop at the springs. That new, responsive aluminum chassis also relayed those shockwaves up through to the rider. Luckily, the Monster was quick to regain its composure and continued attacking corners. Aside from those rare moments of instability, though, the Monster handled everything the city and the canyons could throw at it.

Unlike the suspension, the braking system’s pedigree was never in question. Brembo M4.32 monoblock calipers bite down on twin 320mm discs up front and a dual-piston binder mates to a 245mm disc out back. A radial master cylinder is the last piece of the puzzle, and it delivers incredible feedback at the lever. Whether navigating downtown traffic or approaching a decreasing radius hairpin, the braking performance was confidence-inspiring.

Of course, losing 40 pounds would help any motorcycle shed speed quickly, but that weight loss also informed the motorcycle’s design and user experience.

Ergonomics:
Ducati went to great lengths to reduce the new Monster’s proportions. Along with losing weight, the bike also lost the visual heaviness of its trellis frame and oversized gas tank. The new dimensions deliver a compact yet comfortable riding position that’s neither too aggressive nor lax.

A 58-inch wheelbase certainly helps with handling but it also relaxes the rider triangle. Ducati pairs that compact cockpit with a handlebar that’s 2.6 inches closer to the rider and footpegs positioned .5 inches lower and 1.5 inches rearward. At 32.3 inches, the standard seat height is easy to flat foot, but those with shorter inseams can also purchase a low seat and a lowering kit that drops the perch to 30.5 inches high.

Before jumping for the accessories catalog, I recommend throwing a leg over the new Monster. Ducati narrowed the seat-to-tank area to maximize stand over comfort, and the strategy worked. However, the narrow stand-over position also introduced my knees to a few Testastretta engine cases. On the left side of the bike, the radiator and water pump plumbing can get in the way and the clutch cover is just as obtrusive on the right. It wasn’t too bothersome throughout the day, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

Aside from those slight discomforts, the new seating position encourages day-long riding. Stretch to the bars is minimal and the narrow cutouts promote clenching the tank with one’s knees. In turn, the ergonomic position alleviated pressure on my wrists and results in a very pleasant riding experience. In the city, however, the stop-and-go traffic definitely introduced wrist fatigue.

Urban riding also revealed that the Monster had the same heat management issues as its predecessors. At speed, the Monster didn’t throw off an irksome amount of warmth, but from light to light, the new naked bike simply radiated heat. Even in Urban mode, the engine reached high temps. If you’re considering a 2021 Monster, you should also consider living near a highway. The Monster is more play than business and excessive urban environs will get it hot under the collar.

The only other tick against the new-fangled Ducati is that L-Twin’s vibration. Of course, that rumble sets the Monster apart from its parallel-twin rivals, but by 7,000 rpm, the high-frequency buzz prompted early upshifts. The vibration is nearly imperceptible at the pegs, marginally more noticeable at the bars, but it’s most present at the seat cowl. With my tailbone pressed against the seat stop, I could tell when the tachometer was approaching that 7,000-rpm threshold just by the vibration.

Electronics:
I can’t wrap up this review without calling attention to the Monster’s impressive electronic suite. With three levels of ABS cornering, eight levels of cornering traction control, four-leveled wheelie control, and launch control, Ducati’s system presents an absurd degree of customization. With that said, I’m the type of person that likes to set it and forget it. Many customers will love the number of doodads on the middleweight roadster, but others will find what they like and stick to it.

Regardless of which camp you’re in, the rider aids and engine performance options make the Monster a more malleable platform. On the other hand, flipping through the numerous menus would be easier if Ducati consolidated the split function navigation and enter buttons on the left switchgear. Also, many electronic interfaces automatically navigate back to the previous menu when the rider confirms a selection. With the Monster’s system, the user has to manually backtrack.

Even with those minor gripes, the electronics suite is clear and easy to use. That should broaden the model’s appeal as it approaches three decades on the market. It’s clear that Ducati wants to angle the new Monster toward a younger demographic, and it believes robust safety aids and rider modes help those efforts.

While all the ride modes are tractable for seasoned vets, I’d hesitate to put the Monster in a brand-new rider’s hands. The entry-level naked bike may be the perfect first Ducati, but that doesn’t make it the perfect first bike. This new Monster is well-mannered, but it hasn’t lost its claws. Rider aids should be there as a safety net, not training wheels, but the Monster would be great bike for intermediate riders to grow into over the years.

Conclusion:
So, did the Monster lose its “soul” when it lost its trellis frame? No, it didn’t. At the same time, it isn’t the same Monster. It’s more youthful. Yes, the trellis frame’s absence is felt. Without its signature visual cue, the Monster doesn’t stand out from the crowd as much, but it does stand toe-to-toe with the KTM 890 Duke, Triumph Street Triple, and Yamaha MT-09. No, the Monster didn’t lose its “soul” it just developed a playful spirit.

If you’re someone that likes the “oohs and aahs” that come with a Ducati, the new Monster may not be for you. If you want a motorcycle that’s light on its feet, attacks the corners, and just happens to be red, the new Duc should be your cup of tea. The 2021 Monster will suit a wide swath of riders just like it did 28 years ago. Those customers may be different today than they were in 1993 and the Monster will only continue to evolve (without the trellis frame) for the next three decades.

Update from Progressive Laconia Motorcycle Week

By General Posts

Come Ride in NH – Laconia Motorcycle Week, June 12th-20th, 2021 – New Hampshire – home to America’s Original Riding Rally®

https://laconiamcweek.com/

Progressive Laconia Motorcycle Week® returns to the Lakes Region this June 12-20 for its 98th year. Over a quarter of a million riders are expected to attend this year after a pandemic-induced postponement to last year’s rally. The event is host to a full week of music, vendor exhibits, racing and, of course, riding.

Although Motorcycle Week centers around Weirs Beach, you’ll find riders in every corner of the state, from the seacoast to the White Mountains. That’s because New Hampshire’s scenery, fresh air and accessibility are unmatched. Riders can cruise through the mountains, the state’s famed covered bridges, iconic lakes and along the seacoast, all within a matter of hours. Try that anywhere else!

And unlike other events that draw such large crowds, and with that- traffic, residents and businesses embrace this uniquely New Hampshire tradition. By conservative estimates, the week-long event brings over 100 million dollars to the state’s economy each year. Restaurants, hotels, fuel & liquor sales across the state see a huge boost. It is a catalyst for countless tourism dollars, especially helpful because it occurs during the spring season, before the bustle of summer kicks in.

Whether you’re a Motorcycle Week veteran or a first-time attendee, Laconia Motorcycle Week® invites you to experience the thrill of the world’s oldest motorcycle rally®. Come see history in the making as we count down to 100. Come ride in New Hampshire!

Laconia Motorcycle Week® gives great appreciation to all of our sponsors, especially our Presenting Sponsors: Progressive, AMSOIL and Team Motorcycle, as well as the State of New Hampshire for their large financial support of our rally each year.

For more information about visiting the state of NH, check out visitnh.gov.

Laconia – where rallies were invented! https://laconiamcweek.com/

Using 3D printing to make a 1919 Harley-Davidson rideable

By General Posts

by Janaki Jitchotvisut from https://www.rideapart.com

This 1919 Harley-Davidson Is Now Rideable Thanks To 3D Printing. Vintage problems require modern solutions.

Let’s say you’ve decided to take on a vintage Harley as a project. Maybe you’re passionate about the early days of Harley-Davidson, for example, and you see an opportunity that’s just too good to pass up. The Motor Company has been around for over a century, though. While it has fans all over the world, as you might guess, some parts are easier to find than others.

That’s the problem faced by one Harley enthusiast in the Netherlands. He’d gotten his hands on a 1919 Harley-Davidson, and had been diligently doing hands-on restoration work for the better part of 50 years. Clearly, this guy was almost unbelievably patient. Eventually, though, even he got to a point where he had to think creatively to replace the one part that was holding him back from finally being able to go for a ride: a broken Bakelite distributor cap.

As the story goes, the man had searched high, low, and everywhere in between for a spare. Since there probably aren’t many out there to begin with, finding one on the used market seemed chancy. So, the restorer (who appears to want to remain nameless) reached out to Carl van de Rijzen from Visual First in the Netherlands, which is known for creating 3D scans of existing items.

1919 Harley-Davidson with 3D Printed Distributor Cap
Van de Rijzen, in turn, frequently collaborates with Edwin Rappard of 4C Creative CAD CAM Consultants to successfully 3D print the components he’s scanned. This was a unique challenge, for sure. They had the broken original distributor cap to scan, but a large chunk had broken off. How can you scan what isn’t there?

Luckily, the broken part was a mirror of what already existed, and not some other unique shape. Between the two technicians, they were able to successfully come up with a suitable 3D printed replica part. Since the original part was made out of Bakelite, crafting a 21st century polymer substitute so close to the bike’s 100th birthday seems kind of poetic.

It’s an incredibly modern solution to an age-old problem, and it will be interesting to continue seeing what motorcycle enthusiasts are able to accomplish using tools like this. For those who want to actually be able to go out and ride their vintage machines, it seems like a pretty great solution.

May Motorcycle Bikernet Weekly News for May 6, 2021

By General Posts

Hey,

What’s the deal today? It’s motorcycle month. The sun is shining in Deadwood. The news is packed, and I’m waiting to close on our Sturgis property so I can unpack.

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, BorntoRide.com and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum.

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Ride Review of BMW R18

By General Posts

by Anthony Conroy from https://www.post-gazette.com

BMW’s R18 First Edition is powerful, simple and sophisticated

Size isn’t everything, the old saying goes, but when you take a ride aboard BMW Motorrad’s R18 First Edition, its size is impossible to ignore.

Put a leg over the seat, settle in and take in those two massive, chromed cylinder covers sitting in front of you, each one its own 901cc power-making factory. It’s like sitting on the neck of a shiny hammerhead shark.

The engine — a twin-cylinder configuration known as a Boxer — has been BMW’s signature since 1923. But the Boxer on the R18 is the largest the German manufacturer has ever produced, with a claimed output of 91 horsepower and 116 pounds-foot of torque.

Other manufacturers will claim to have bigger and better numbers, but the R18 isn’t designed for life on the rowdy edge. It’s a power cruiser, but with the soul of something vintage and simple. A modern throwback, if you will.

In fact, despite the $20,000 price tag, there aren’t many frills. Some adjustability in the rear, none in the front. Heated grips. A reverse gear. BMW’s automatic stability control, which is essentially traction control. And three power modes: Rock, Roll and Rain. For our purposes, those might as well have been called Road Rage, Easy Jaunt and Tip-Toeing Through the Puddles.

In other words, let’s Rock.

The R18 has a keyless ignition and once the starter is pushed, the bike thunders and shudders to life. At stops, there’s quite a bit of vibration, but that’s exactly what you’d expect with two giant metal buckets rotating and internally combusting between your legs. The vibrations don’t exactly fade away once on the go — you’ll see a lot of blurring in the rear view mirrors, but I never felt any numbness in the hands, feet or butt after long rides.

Rock mode taps into the full potential of the beastly Boxer. You’ll feel the torque at 3,000 rpm. Max horsepower comes at 4,750 rpm. The best part is there’s nothing grabby or choppy about its power delivery. A sharp pull on the throttle produces smooth, linear power through six gears. Despite the nearly 800 pounds of motorcycle sitting beneath you, the bike requires minimum inputs at speed. A long wheelbase and a wonderful center of gravity contribute to the bike’s stability. Handlebars that are wide but nicely swept provide excellent leverage and contribute to the bike’s agility.

And it is agile — at speed anyway. It actually feels light going around fast, sweeping turns. And going faster feels right, as your feet are not in front of you, like with most American cruisers. They’re underneath you, which seems more natural during aggressive riding.

At the front wheel, twin four-piston calipers developed in-house by BMW are paired with dual 300mm discs to slow down the big Beemer. When the pace gets really slow — like in a parking lot — the R18’s weight does feel a bit cumbersome, like pushing around a fully-dressed Harley-Davidson without the cabinetry.

Potential buyers also will need to carefully decide how they intend to ride the bike, particularly if long hauls are on the agenda. Those massive cylinders look great, but they make the prospect of having highway pegs impossible. There’s also no back rest or cruise control (at least not on the First Edition), so it’s not the kind of bike you’ll be able to kick back on while eating up highway miles. The tank holds 3.2 gallons of fuel with a 1-gallon reserve, so expect to get around 120 miles per fill-up. For some reason, BMW opted against a fuel gauge. However, a warning light will let you know when you have about 20 miles left to go.

Riders looking for a more travel-friendly R18 right out of the box may want to opt for the Classic model, which comes with a windscreen and baggage, rather than the First Edition. To be honest, there will be no shortage of aftermarket accessories for any model marketed under the R18 badge.

The BMW was flawless in tearing around town and rural backroads, with the seating position and seat itself good for all-day riding. There’s 3½ inches of travel at the rear suspension, but it’s a bit stiff. Best to avoid the bumps. Ergonomically, there wasn’t much to complain about.

One complaint, if you can call it that, is that the R18 has a very quiet transmission. When going from neutral to first gear, there was hardly ever a sound or a shimmy — no knock, ping or usual KERTHUNK! that I’m used to hearing (and feeling). Without that, quite frankly, I sometimes found myself doing double-takes for the neutral light to make sure I was in gear before speeding away.

In other words, leave it to the Germans to make something so mechanically perfect that it’s worth complaining about.

Aesthetically, it’s hard to miss those giant cylinders, but there are other visual items that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

If chrome is your thing, there’s no shortage of it, especially on those those wonderful looking fishtail mufflers. They don’t make a lot of sound, but they are beautiful to look at and give the R18 a distinctive look. Also chromed is the front of the engine housing. Overall, the housing eliminates clutter and gives the bike a polished, clean look, but it does make everything else — apart from the cylinder heads — a bit of a mystery.

Thankfully, for those who need to see something mechanical to soothe our inner motorhead, BMW’s engineers gave us an exposed bevel-geared driveshaft. Seeing it in action while actually riding is a bit of a task, but we’ll take mechanical porn however we can get it.

Overall, this Beemer is an excellent motorcycle. The price tag may be a bit on the high side, but the R18 is for owners wanting two things: a cruiser with impressive performance and one that distinguishes itself from American cruisers and Japanese knock-offs. The R18 First Edition definitely accomplishes both goals.

Damon Motorcycles new members

By General Posts

A big welcome to Doug & Michael!

At Damon, we continue to expand and grow our team to deliver not just a ride, but an enhanced experience for the next-generation of motorcyclists.

Thus, we are proud to welcome CMO & VP Brand Doug Penman and Head of Design Michael Uhlarik to Damon’s executive team.

Doug Penman, CMO & VP, Brand – “I look forward to creating the most exhilarating, unexpected, and fierce mobility brand the motorcycle industry has ever seen.”

Michael Uhlarik, Head of Design – “I’m excited to design the Damon motorcycles of the future… and to cement the company’s legacy as the leading innovator in two-wheel safety, technology, and performance.”

An international award-winning motorcycle designer and product planner, Uhlarik created the market-leading Yamaha TZR-50 and the award-winning Yamaha MT-03. He has also contributed to designs for the R6, FJR1300, & M1 MotoGP bike, collaborated on motorcycles such as the Aprilia Dorsoduro, SportCity, & Atlantic, and authored the Derbi Rambla.

Penman is an entrepreneur and creative with broad-ranging venture capital, marketing strategy, and brand expertise. He has launched and accelerated the momentum for Intel, Microsoft, Volvo, Toyota Scion, Peugeot, SanDisk, QuantumScape, Dell, Coca-Cola, UBTech, and Philips.

As pioneers in their respective fields, Doug and Michael are tightly aligned on both purpose and creative vision to fuse the functions of product design and brand & marketing.

Their work will ultimately give you a more charged, inspired, and personal riding experience.

Celebrate with us.
2021 Green GOOD DESIGN Award
We’re honoured to win an accolade from the oldest and most established awards program for the most innovative and visionary new product design worldwide. ⁠

2021 Fast Company World Changing Idea Award
We’ve been recognized with an “Honorable Mention” in the Transportation category for this prestigious award.

21 New Damon Family Members
We’ve welcomed 21 new individuals from all around the world in the past month. And we’re still hiring!

You can join Damon, too.
Become a Damon Brand Ambassador
Love talking about us and sharing our bikes on social media? Do it officially as a Damon Brand Ambassador.

We’re building relationships with passionate, creative influencers and content creators, who share our vision in making motorcycling better, safer, and smarter! Could this be you?

Join the Team
We’re in search of top-tier talent for all departments from Engineering to Marketing. Help us change the world.

View our current openings and apply for your next challenge.

Authorities remind people about safety and motorcycle awareness

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State Authorities in California, Maryland and Wisconsin announce recommendations for safety and awareness on Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

DMV reiterates safe riding practices in respect to Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
by The Bakersfield Californian from https://www.bakersfield.com

The California Highway Patrol is emphasizing safe riding and driving practices in May as part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

In a news release, the CHP said that more than 500 people were killed in motorcycle-involved crashes in California in 2020 and more than 11,500 people were injured. There are more than 1.4 million licensed riders in the state, the CHP said.

With those numbers in mind, the agency strongly encourages all riders to enroll in the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. The CMSP has 98 training sites throughout the state and trains approximately 55,000 motorcyclists each year. For more information or to find a training site near you, visit californiamotorcyclist.com or motorcyclesafetyca.com.

The CHP added that motorcyclists can help protect themselves by wearing proper safety gear including a U.S. Department of Transportation-compliant helmet, following the speed limit, riding defensively, and always riding sober. Drivers should always look at their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and always keep a safe distance.

The CHP promotes motorcycle safety with the Get Educated and Ride Safe program, funded by a $750,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All eight CHP field divisions will hold outreach events to promote motorcycle safety throughout 2021 under the GEARS grant.

“Motorcyclists who are responsible, informed, and properly equipped can help reduce rider deaths and injuries,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “Motorists are also key to reducing crashes by being aware of the dangers and challenges of motorcycle riding. Taking the time to look twice for motorcyclists can save a life.”

May Is Motorcycle Safety Month Maryland State Police Urge Extra Caution
from Maryland Government

(PIKESVILLE, MD) – The Maryland State Police are urging drivers to keep safety in mind during “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month” being observed in May.

As the weather gets warmer, more motorcycles are on the roads, and more traffic crashes are reported between vehicles and motorcycles. About 15% of all fatal crashes in Maryland involve motorcycles according to the Maryland Department of Transportation. On average, more than 60 motorcyclists die in traffic crashes on Maryland roads every year, and an additional 1,700 people, both riders and passengers, are injured in Maryland traffic crashes, according to statistics provided by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

If you are driving a car;

  • Share the road. Allow motorcycles the full width of the lane at all times.
  • Use care when driving near a group of motorcyclists.
  • Check mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles, especially before changing lanes, merging, and at intersections. The motorcycle’s size makes it difficult to judge their speed and distance.
  • Always signal if changing lanes so others know your intentions.

If you are operating a motorcycle;

  • Always wear a helmet and protective gear.
  • Carry your license with you and obey all traffic laws.
  • Stay in the middle of the traffic lane for better visibility.
  • Obey speed limits. Speeding is a factor in about 30% of motorcycle crashes according to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Everyone on the roads should use extra caution during inclement weather, and never drive while impaired or distracted. Try to anticipate the moves of other vehicles on the road. Recognizing Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month will keep everyone safer on Maryland roads.

State Patrol reminds motorists to look twice, share the road with motorcycles
by Racine County Eye from https://racinecountyeye.com

Motorcycle fatalities increased 40% in 2020 over the previous five years’ average. May is national “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month” and the Wisconsin State Patrol is asking motorcyclists and all other motorists to share the road, be alert and safe. 2020 preliminary data for Wisconsin shows there were 2,095 motorcycle crashes, 1,788 motorcyclists injured, and 112 motorcycle fatalities.

As warm weather returns, more motorcyclists will be on Wisconsin roads. “Drivers must be in the habit of looking for motorcyclists,” Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Jason Zeeh said, “and motorcyclists should watch for other vehicles and get properly trained and licensed. Together we can save lives.”

Motorcycle crashes often occur when a car or truck driver changes lanes, turns left or pulls out in front of a motorcycle. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see, especially in your blind spot. Failure to yield the right of way to another vehicle (state law 346.18) can result in a $175 citation, but penalties are much more severe if the violation results in someone getting injured or killed.

Motorcyclists can do their part by getting properly licensed, wearing visible and protective equipment, and carefully scanning ahead for potential hazards such as gravel, debris or wildlife in the roadway.

Motorcyclists have two options to get the required Class M license: pass a motorcycle driving skills test after making an appointment at a Division of Motor Vehicles service center or successfully complete a WisDOT-approved rider education course. Motorcyclists who successfully complete an approved safety course earn a skills test waiver used to obtain their Class M license.

“Whether a person is brand new to motorcycling or a returning rider, a safety course is a wise investment,” Captain Zeeh said. “Safety along our roadways requires all drivers to share the road, watch their speed, eliminate distractions and be alert.”

Free Safety Course Included with Motorcycle Purchases

By General Posts

by Annie Lindgren from https://northfortynews.com

Fort Collins Motorsports (FCMS), in partnership with Indian® Motorcycle of Fort Collins (IMOFC), has announced it will offer a free safety course to riders (valued at $250) with the purchase of any new make or model motorcycle from its dealership.

“Safe riding should always be a priority, and we’re excited to have an opportunity to tap into our IMRG network so that we can offer this course for free to customers,” said Jeff Sroufe, general manager of Fort Collins Motorsports. “With May being Motorcycle Safety Month, we want to ensure all of our fellow riders are equipped with knowledge of important skills to help them ‘live to ride and ride to live’ while on the open roads.”

With two dates to choose from, on May 8 and August 14, 2021, the safety course event will take place on-site at the IMOFC dealership (1800 SE Frontage Rd., Fort Collins, Colorado 80525). During the four-hour safety course, expert training will be provided by a local police officer and certified motorcycle instructor, who also acts as VP and safety director of the Northern Colorado Indian® Motorcycle Riders Group (NOCO IMRG).

Designed for every level of motorcycle rider experience, the course will cover key safety topics in a real-world style setting. Safety topics include threshold braking, obstacle avoidance, slow speed precision, and more. Each course has been organized into a three-part format, starting with an educational ‘Listen & Learn’ segment, followed by a live demonstration to ‘Watch & Learn,’ and ending with a supervised ‘Ride & Learn’ practice session.

Upon making a qualifying motorcycle purchase, riders will receive access to register for the course through an exclusive direct link. FCMS is also offering the educational (Listen & Learn) segment as a complimentary video download for those pending or without a purchase to ‘Ride Fear Free’ at www.indianmotorcycleoffortcollins.com/ridefreeRSVP.

DISCLAIMER: A completed liability waiver and valid Motorcycle Endorsement will be required for course admittance. The ‘Road Survival Training’ course is supplementary to other training courses and is not MSF Approved (completion of the ‘Road Survival Training’ course does not earn a Motorcycle Endorsement). Participants will need to come prepared with individual helmets and safety gear to use during the ‘Ride & Learn’ portion of the course.

Learn more about Indian® Motorcycle of Fort Collins at www.indianmotorcycleoffortcollins.com. To learn more about Fort Collins Motorsports, visit www.fortcollinsmotorsports.com.

Harley-Davidson Pan America Riding Review

By General Posts

by Basem Wasef from https://www.rideapart.com

Running trails and getting dirty with Pan America.

Harley-Davidson has been about as relevant in the big bore adventure segment as a skateboard at the Dakar. Having loafed on the ADV genre for decades, The Motor Company is finally taking a swing at the segment with the 2021 Pan America, a purpose-built adventure bike to battle stalwarts like the BMW R 1250 GS/GS Adventure, KTM 1290 Super Adventure, and Triumph Tiger 1200.

The Pan Am boasts familiar H-D visual elements wrapped around some impressively future-forward technology. This new tech is benchmarked against a field that’s seen numerous iterations and refinements over the years. First (and perhaps foremost) in this image-conscious category, the clean-sheet Pan America strikes a look that stands apart from its rugged competitors. Harley says its styling aligned with the brand’s design language. There’s also a prevailing visual sentiment that departs from the familiar with an unapologetically brutalist look: blocky shapes, menacing headlamps with a secondary strip of lean angle-sensitive adaptive drew headlamp inspo from the Fat Bob and fairing cues from Road Glide, keeping the bike’s LEDs positioned above, and an imposing chunkiness that disregards any attempt at being pretty.

Of course, the highest-stake component isn’t its looks, but rather the all-new Revolution Max powerplant. The liquid-cooled, 1,252cc, 60-degree V-twin shares the same bore and stroke as the late, great V-Rod, but has next to nothing in common with any existing Harley engine apart from its dimensions. Equipped with dual overhead cams, variable valve timing, and a lofty 13.1:1 compression ratio, the fully counterbalanced engine requires premium fuel but returns a stout 150 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 94 lb-ft at 6,750 rpm. That’s more horsepower but less twist than BMW’s R 1250 GS’ 136 hp/105 lb-ft, but well below the hot-rodded KTM’s 160 hp/103 lb-ft. The engine connects to a six-speed gearbox which, at time of launch, is not available with a quickshifter.

The standard Pan America ($17,319) packs fully adjustable front and rear suspension, while the Pan America Special ($19,999) adds semi-active front and rear suspension, an adventure-friendly skid plate, handguards, adaptive headlamps, a steering damper, tire pressure monitors, and a center stand. A slew of other electronic features like drag torque slip control also come standard. Our two-day ride in Mojave, California, was set up exclusively with Specials outfitted with the optional spoked tubeless wheels ($1,650) and adaptive ride height; the latter a $1,000-dollar, high-tech system that uses speed and gyro-fed algorithms to subtly drop the suspension 1-2 inches as the rider coasts to a stop for easy reach.

Aware that saddle height is a crucial issue among adventure bike shoppers, Harley offers a wide variety of solutions aside from the adaptive ride height system. So, what’s the seat height on the Harley Pan America? Well, depends on a few factors: the standard model paired with an optional low seat brings the minimum saddle altitude to 30.1 inches, though the seat’s position can be raised an inch. The Special can dip as low as 31.1 inches, or sit up to 33.1 inches high with an optional tall seat in its highest position.

Saddle up on the Pan Am, and you’re met with a 6.8-inch TFT touchscreen, a slew of hand control switches, and an adjustable windscreen. The TFT displays a large virtual tachometer with a discreet rev indicator that surrounds customizable fields which use a surprisingly small font. Hold down the display button, and the screen reverses its black-on-white scheme for a slightly more contrasty layout. Bluetooth connectivity can be routed through the Harley-Davidson app, a la LiveWire. Though the rider triangle is comfortable for most (one 6’ 6” rider in our group required a bit of adjustment before getting comfortable), there’s an awkwardness to some of the controls: the start button/kill switch is curiously positioned atop the right grip, the turn signal switch requires a bit of a reach and deactivates if it’s tapped a second time, and the kickstand can feel too low to the ground with the auto-lowering suspension until the bike is completely rested on its side.

The Revolution Max powerplant fires up with the requisite Harley thrum, whose timbre is accentuated by an available Screamin’ Eagle titanium exhaust that shaves off 6.5 lbs of mass. Rather than the familiar potato potato tune of its Milwaukee 8 cousins, the Revolution Max’s sound is a bit steadier and more refined, offering a bass note that’s present but not obnoxiously loud. Tipping the scales at 534 lbs (or 559 lbs in Special trim), the Pan America feels substantial as it’s lifted off its side stand. Twist the throttle, though, and it gets up and goes nicely enough off the line, with the smooth spinning V-twin getting into its groove once it passes around 2,500 rpm or so.

While the Harley mill doesn’t have the lumpy, low-end thrust of BMW’s 1250 boxer, it does have a healthy midrange and an even stronger pull towards max revs. The high-end oomph is surprising, especially from the brand known for loping, low-revving air-cooled engines. The clutch lever is light and the six-speed shifter clicks through gears with crisp accuracy, though the engine’s eagerness makes us wish a quickshift option was available for more seamless acceleration.

Ride modes include Road, Sport, and Rain, as well as Offroad and Offroad+. The latter setting is the least restrictive. Independently customizable modes also enable throttle mapping, engine braking, ABS, traction control, and suspension damping settings to be individually calibrated. This offers a fairly deep array of variables to mess with and allows riders to tailor the bike’s behavior to their riding style. Cruise on pavement, and the Pan Am feels surefooted, smooth, and easy to ride quickly and confidently.

Throttle response is less syrupy in Sport mode, and Road’s more refined manners make it easier to ride smoothly. Our miles of highway riding, while relatively sedate in pace, revealed good wind protection (at least for my 5’ 11” frame) and minimal fatigue from the usual Harley culprits like rattly grips or ear-splitting exhaust. Bumps are soaked up well, even with the spoked wheels which displace 14 pounds more unsprung mass than their cast aluminum counterparts. The linked, lean angle-sensitive brakes operate with good lever feel, and there’s enough power in the four-piston front stoppers to enact serious deceleration. The single-piston rear is strong enough to be applied individually when desired, or for sliding the tail off road at will.

Ride modes can be switched on the fly, though Offroad+ requires the bike to be at a standstill, as it frees up most of the electronic nannies and enables the Pan America to move around more freely in the dirt. During a few brief stints off-road, my Pan Am responded about as well as you could hope a 559 lb motorcycle to. Equipped with Michelin Scorcher tires during the first day of primarily on-road riding and Michelin Anakee Wilds on the second, more off-road-oriented day, the Harley felt equally ready for both styles of riding.

In fact, according to H-D brass, the bike was developed over the course of 1 million test miles split equally between tarmac and trail. Some of the suspension’s off-road development miles were actually accumulated on the LiveWire mules ridden by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman in the 2020 documentary Long Way Up. That said, I didn’t spend the entirety of the second day testing the Pan America off road because, well, an unplanned dismount upended my plans.

My memories of the proceedings are hazy—concussions have a way of wiping away direct recollections around the time of impact—but I later learned that our ride leader and several other riders also laid down the Pan Am on some of the sandier trails, which I’ll admit made me feel about 5 percent less awful about my mishap. I was fortunate to be decked out in gear that helped me avert far more serious injuries: An Arai XD4 helmet, an Alpinestars armored Revenant jacket, a Dainese D-Air vest which deployed an airbag that likely saved me from a cracked rib cage or worse, and armored Alpinestars boots.

At the end of the day, the Harley-Davidson Pan America acquits itself remarkably well in a field of motorcycles that have enjoyed years of evolution and continual refinement. Sure, there are niggly bits here and there— the windshield adjustment mechanism can get testy, the kickstand positioning is less than ideal, the onscreen graphics can be hard to read, and some of the switchgear requires an awkward reach—but the underpinnings are stout and clearly well-developed. From the refinement of the drivetrain to the variability of the suspension, and even the availability of appropriately ADV-focused accessories and Rev’It-developed riding gear, the Pan America is very well sorted.

Harley’s new Pan America offers an auspiciously American adventure bike alternative that doesn’t feel like a compromise of any sort. Distinctive, well-executed, and perhaps most importantly soulful, it nods at the brand’s flat track roots while finally elevating them beyond the heavyweight cruiser realm and well into the 21st century. While there’s no telling how long the adventure bike trend will remain white-hot, Harley-Davidson’s development of the Pan America into a well-rounded on and off-road bike speaks volumes to what we hope is a bright future for the brand.