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Aprilia Tuono V4 Review

By General Posts

by Geoff Hill from https://www.mirror.co.uk

Big bikes don’t come with big scares any more

Back in the day, powerful bikes were thrilling and terrifying, but this naked Italian beauty has all the thrills and none of the terror thanks to a brain that works faster than the rider’s. Well, Geoff’s, although that’s not saying much.

I started doing bike tests in 1846, before bikes were even invented, so I just sat on a fence making bike noises, then hauled out a quill pen and a sheet of parchment and sent in my review to Velocipede Monthly on a passing donkey.

When bikes finally came along, I remember being simultaneously thrilled and terrified by some superbikes, such as the Kawasaki ZX-10R.

You got the feeling that at any moment it would fling you over the hedge, leaving you draped over a baffled cow called Gertrude, although it did get less frisky when Kawasaki fitted a steering damper to later models.

However, I realised at the launch a while back on the Suzuki Hayabusa that I wasn’t a bit scared.

There are several possible explanations for this. Either I’ve taken on board the advice I read from a psychiatrist recently that fear and excitement are just two sides of the same coin in your brain, so when you feel afraid, pretend it’s excitement.

I tried it on my first time back flying after lockdown, and it worked.

Another alternative is that I have become an astonishingly skilled rider, but since that’s highly unlikely, I suspect the answer is that bikes today such as this one are fitted with so many safety features that you’d need to be a complete idiot to end up draped over Gertrude.

I’m talking about cornering ABS, cornering traction control, anti-wheelie control, launch control, adaptive cruise control and so many other controls that before long we’ll be able to send bikes out on their own, and they can come back and tell us what a great day out they had.

And don’t laugh – BMW has already shown off an R 1200 GS which can tootle around without a rider, and that was back in 2018.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, just about to climb on board the Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory, the Factory bit meaning that it’s got electronically adjustable semi-active suspension, lower bars, better tyres and a more comfortable pillion position than the £15,500 base model.

In spite of the lower bars on the Factory, it’s surprisingly comfortable, even for the taller motorcycling chap, which is a welcome relief from the days when sportsbikes hunched you over like the love child of Quasimodo and Richard III and left you calling by the chiropractor on the way home.

Which left me free to admire the rather useful mirrors and a 5in TFT screen which is much clearer than on the previous Tuono, with bigger, brighter graphics which show you everything you need at a glance, including road riding modes, which can be either Tour, Sport and User, where you can geek out to your heart’s desire. There are also three track modes.

Acceleration, even in Tour mode, is gloriously lusty, accompanied by a visceral howl from the V4, handling is sublimely light and precise, and braking is as brutal but seamless as acceleration.

It’s a bike that’s impossible to unsettle no matter how ham-fisted you are in and out of corners, even on rough surfaces. Remarkable.

I spent a very happy hour getting lost on the rural A and B roads of Armagh, Northern Ireland’s apple country, feeling like I was on a bike I’d owned for years, rather than just picked up an hour ago.

Tweaked fuelling from the old model, and a firm but slick quickshifter to snick up and down the six-speed box just add to the feeling that this is a very well-sorted package indeed – fast but safe, agile but stable, and sporty but comfortable.

Switch to Sport mode, and it’s as if the bike’s been given a large and probably illegal dose of steroids, and yet even with the suspension firmer and the acceleration even more ludicrously breathtaking, it still never feels unsafe or unsettled, with the bike’s brain working faster than yours can to keep the bike stable under all conditions.

Well, my brain, anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll put away my quill pen and roll up the parchment, since I see a donkey approaching, and the editor of Velocipede Monthly is an impatient sort of chap.

Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory
Engine: 1077cc liquid-cooled V4
Power: 173bhp @ 11,350rpm
Torque: 89 lb ft @ 9,000rpm
Colours: Black/red
Price: £18,100

Piaggio Develops Industry-First Safety Sensor With 4D Imaging Radar

By General Posts

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

Piaggio’s robotics subsidiary in Boston announced the first-of-a-kind sensor in the industry, including 4D imaging radar technology. The new sensor is supposed to increase safety in motorcycle and scooter riding.

Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF) is based in Boston and is owned by the Italian motor vehicle manufacturer. It is a robotics company that develops smart mobility solutions and has a few popular machines on the market, such as the “gita” hands-free following robot that can carry 40 lb of gear for up to four hours on a single charge.

With the help of PFF and Vayyar Imaging, a 4D imaging radar company, a new sensor technology has been developed and it will have several applications. The new hardware-software modules will be used in both consumer and business robots, as well as in motorcycles and scooters.

Piaggio claims its sensor technology is the industry’s first-ever 4D imaging radar-based motorcycle safety platform. It plans to use it for its motorcycles’ Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS), enabling a bunch of safety functions such as blind-spot detection, forward collision warning, or lane change assist, thus protecting riders.

According to the Italian manufacturer, the sensor incorporates complex, single-chip 4D imaging radar technology, comes with ultra-wide-field-of-view, and supports a range of more than 328 ft (100 meters). It provides mapping and object detection and control, regardless of the lighting or weather conditions.

PFF designed the sensor specifically for motorcycles and robotics, addressing their specific challenges. It is capable of tracking multiple targets and makes sure there are no dead zones that can lead to collisions of any kind.

Piaggio specifies that the new technology will be implemented in PFF’s robots starting at the end of this year. As far as using the module for its own motorcycles, the company says it will happen a bit later, in 2022.

PRESS RELEASE

Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), the Boston-based robotics company controlled by Piaggio Group (PIA.MI) and a leader in smart following technology, has developed new sensor technology for implementation not only in consumer and business robots but also in scooters and motorcycles.

Founded in 2015 by the Piaggio Group, PFF has previously focused on advancing innovation in smart following technology and smart behavior implementation in robots and machines, but in a strategic decision last year, began developing a custom radar sensor module for use first in Piaggio Group motorcycles and scooters with the intention to provide the technology to other companies in the future.

PFF’s hardware-software modules offer uncompromising safety by providing robust monitoring in all environmental and lighting conditions. PFF awarded a supply contract for the modules’ Radar-on-Chip to Vayyar Imaging, marking the deployment of the industry’s first ever 4D imaging radar-based motorcycle safety platform. The complete sensor package is developed, built and supplied by PFF for mass production in Piaggio Group motorcycles’ Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS).

ARAS applications are on the front line of the battle to prevent collisions and protect motorcycle riders. ARAS technology meets the rigorous technological requirements of traditional driver assist functions, addressing additional motorcycle-specific challenges such as size constraints and seamless vehicle maneuverability at high-tilt angles.

The PFF modules use Vayyar’s mmWave 4D imaging Radar-on-Chip (RoC) sensor, enabling multiple ARAS functions such as Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Lane Change Assist (LCA) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with a single sensor supporting a range of over 100m, and an ultra-wide field-of-view. PFF robots incorporating the radar technology are expected to be released at the end of 2021, with Piaggio Group motorcycle models equipped with the PFF sensor module launching in 2022.

“PFF is creating advanced technology products for robots and motorcycles that detect and measure objects in our surroundings to provide the information we need for mapping, object detection, and control, regardless of lighting, weather and other environmental factors. We have chosen to develop our sensing applications with Vayyar’s 4D imaging radar technology. We are excited to work with such a professional, passionate team, to develop innovative new solutions that provide our customers with a better product experience.” Greg Lynn, CEO at Piaggio Fast Forward.

The Vayyar 4D imaging radar technology being used in both PFF robots and PFF sensing modules developed for the motorcycle industry supports a large Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) array that enables ultra-high resolution point cloud imaging for holistic monitoring of a robot’s and a vehicle’s surroundings. This high-performance sensor incorporates sophisticated single-chip 4D imaging radar technology, featuring an ultra-wide field of view (both in azimuth and elevation) with no dead zones, detecting and tracking multiple targets. Its small form-factor is engineered to address the unique challenges of motorcycle and robotics design.

“We’re very excited to partner with PFF, who are at the forefront of sensor technology, both in terms of harmonization with rider experience on two- and three-wheeled products, as well as application in their innovative robots. Motorcycle riders are among the most vulnerable road users, and this is a big step forward in reducing their risk of collision,” says Ilan Hayat, Director of Business Development at Vayyar Imaging. “Regardless of vehicle type, rider safety should not be compromised, and by partnering with PFF we are thrilled to deliver an automotive standard of safety to motorcycles”, added Hayat

Riding Experiences on Harley-Davidson Sportster S

By General Posts

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

In mid-July, American bike maker Harley-Davidson pulled the wraps off the Sportster S, one of the new Milwaukee models we’ve been waiting for for so long we kind of lost hope of actually seeing it. Yet, here it is, so fresh that it is only now beginning to be properly tested by users, and so promising it’d better not disappoint.

Described by Harley as an “all-new sport custom motorcycle designed to deliver a thrilling riding experience,” the two-wheeler makes use of the most modern technologies brewed recently in Milwaukee, and, for a rather balanced price of $14,999, promises entirely new thrills for its riders.

Massive in design, the bike holds in its frame the Revolution Max 1250 engine, an application of which some people are already enjoying in the Pan America. On this here beast, the V-Twin is officially titled Revolution Max 1250T, and comes with impressive performance figures: 121 horsepower and “tremendous torque at low RPM” as per Harley. That’s fewer hp than the 150 claimed for the Pan America, but more than enough for the lightweight bike: the thing tips the scale, after all, at only 502 pounds (227 kg).

All that power is put to the ground by means of cast-aluminum wheels with a staggered design, 19-inch front and 17-inch rear, linked to the rest of the build by fully adjustable front and rear suspension – SHOWA 43 mm inverted cartridge forks and a SHOWA Piggyback reservoir rear shock.

Stopping power comes from Brembo, forward foot controls are there together with a low handlebar to give the rider an aggressive posture while riding, and thanks to these the entire experience of moving on the back of the Sportster S should be one to remember.

Harley threw into the Sportster mix the entire might of its technological advancements, some of them already deployed on the Pan America. We get things like three pre-programmed, selectable ride modes (Sport, Road and Rain) and two custom modes, a 4.0-inch-diameter TFT screen showing all the instrumentation and infotainment features, and all-LED lighting.

By now, almost three weeks past the unveiling point, there is number of test ride videos with this motorcycle already out there for us all to get a sense of how the thing feels on the actual road. The latest comes from a German custom and Harley-junkie shop that goes by the name Thunderbike.

Knowing the way these guys treat the American wheeled wonders, we tend to trust what they’re saying. And for the Sportster S, the verdict is simple and blunt: fantastic.

The rider sent by the Germans for the test ride spent about 200 km (124 miles) on the back on the motorcycle, and the crew managed to get some incredible images of the thing while on the move, as you can see in the short video below. And, even if we don’t get to see the Sportster S reach its top speed, we’re still treated to some incredible shots – but possibly not enough talk about it.

The new Harley should arrive at dealerships in mid-September, and that’s probably when the real flood of test ride videos will hit us. Kind of a close call, given how fall will move in to put an end to motorcycle riding in most parts of the world, but one never knows with this global warming and all.

Being less pretentious than the Pan America when it comes to its target customers, the Sportster S, the only bike offered presently by Harley in a family it calls Sport, could become one of the heavy-hitters in its segment in no time. And judging by how good two of them look on the road at the same time, we wouldn’t mind seeing larger packs of such machines roaming the continents at once.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 Adventure Tourer announced

By General Posts

by Sagar Patel from https://www.rushlane.com

With a dry weigh of 187 kg, the Aprilia Tuareg 660 is one of the lightest offerings in its class

The highly competitive middle-weight adventure tourer segment has received a new European entrant in the form of Aprilia Tuareg 660. The Piaggio-owned sportsbike marque has revived its old nameplate with a product which conforms to the original philosophy.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 – Overview
The styling, however, has nothing in common with any of Aprilia’s existing and previous models. The striking front fascia with compartmentalised headlamp cluster and tall windscreen is highly unconventional. With a tall stance, massive fuel tank, comfortable seats and an upward sweeping exhaust canister, the Aprilia Tuareg 660 is a typical adventure tourer which is not afraid to get its tyres dirty.

The Italian motorcycle is equipped with spoke wheels (21 inch front and 18 inch rear), dual-purpose tyres, long-travel (240 mm) upside down front telescopic forks and progressive linkage rear suspension system, twin front discs and a single rear disc. Everything is held together by a trellis frame. The Aprilia Tuareg 660’s hardcore appeal makes it a serious rival to the Yamaha Tenere 700 and BMW F 860 GS.

Engine and equipment
The 660 cc V-twin liquid-cooled engine has been borrowed from the RS660 and Tuono 660. This motor is essentially a twin-cylinder derivative of the iconic RSV4’s unit but on board the adventure tourer, it is tuned to suit the application. Power and torque outputs stand at 80 hp and 70 Nm of torque, and the gearbox is a 6-speed unit.

Aprilia will position its newest offering at the premium end of the segment, and will back it up with a comprehensive suite of APRC electronic gadgetry including traction control, cruise control, engine braking, fuel maps, and so on. The motorcycle will have four riding modes of which two are adjustable, switchable ABS, LED headlamp, and a colour TFT instrument cluster with possible Bluetooth connectivity. The Tuareg 660 weights 187 kg dry and carries an 18-liter fuel tank.

Launch and price
Aprilia has not announced the price of the Tuareg 660 yet but one can expect it to be more expensive than most of its rivals given that it is equipped up to its gills. The Italian brand is expected to launch the motorcycle in international markets towards the end of this year as a 2022 model.

The product will give Aprilia access to the highly lucrative global medium displacement adventure tourer market. The Tuareg has the potential to become the brand’s international best seller in a very short period of time. Could a bigger engined Tuareg be in the pipeline?

Visit Aprilia Official Website at https://www.aprilia.com/en_EN/tuareg-660/

Electric dream: Horwin CR6 reviewed

By General Posts

by Fraser Addecott from https://www.mirror.co.uk

Sales of electric two-wheelers are booming and with manufacturers producing bikes like this one, it’s easy to see why.

It seems difficult to keep up with the number of new electric two-wheelers coming on to the market these days.

The trend was already under way and has only been accelerated by the pandemic, with commuters and others looking for alternatives to public transport.

Figures from the Motorcycle Industry Association show sales of electrics for June up 155% compared to the same month last year.

Sales for the year up until last month are also up 210% compared to the same period in 2020.

That is impressive growth, with the majority of bikes sold falling in the 50cc and 125cc equivalent categories.

Artisan Electric is a British company established in 2016 with a “mission to change the face of electric motorcycles and scooters with industry-leading innovation and product quality”.

The company offers a range of seven electric bikes and scooters – and the one I am testing here is the CR6.

This is a 125cc-equivalent machine, with a pretty cool retro-meets-futuristic look.

The air-cooled electric motor is powered by a 3.96kWh Panasonic lithium-ion battery.

Careful riding will produce a range of around 60 miles.

Haring around flat out – top speed is about 55mph – will cut your range to around 30 miles.

That may not sound much, but the CR6 is aimed at commuters and for jaunts into town, so it’s perfectly adequate.

A full charge from zero takes around four hours, but bear in mind you’ll hardly ever be charging from completely flat, so shorter times are more realistic.

Charging is via a standard three-pin socket and a socket in the side of the bike.

The battery comes with a reassuring three-year warranty.

On board, the ride position is relaxed and comfortable with a long and well-padded cafe-racer type seat.

There’s a round retro/modern, backlit, colour clock with a rather unnecessary rev counter across the top and a LCD panel with speed, charge level etc.

As with all electrics, the acceleration is instantaneous and impressive.

At just 134kg, this bike is light and it feels agile, manageable and nippy – perfect for the urban jungle.

With low-down weight, a decent aluminium chassis and an excellent turning circle, the CR6 handles extremely well.

The non-adjustable USD forks and preload-adjustable rear monoshock do a perfectly reasonable job.

And braking via a front 265mm disc and three-piston caliper and rear 220mm is plenty powerful enough.

The headlight is a nice bright LED and the “tank” is actually a lockable storage compartment, ideal for the charge cable, gloves etc.

It also contains a USB port – handy for charging your phone.

At five grand, the CR6 is obviously a bigger initial outlay than a petrol 125, but running costs work out at just a penny a mile.

Overall then, the Horwin is a solid little city commuter, easy to ride, with good looks and decent performance.

Specs:
Horwin CR6
Motor: Air-cooled electric
Max power: 8bhp
Max torque: 30ft lb
Colours: White; blue; green; black
Price: £4,992

JetPack Aviation Completes First Test for Speeder “Flying Motorcycle” Platform

By General Posts

by Cristian Curmei from https://www.autoevolution.com

If you’ve had any doubt that flying cars and motorcycles would become a reality in your lifetime, take the Speeder from Jetpack Aviation as a welcoming example to break your doubts. Better yet, preorders are open for just 20 pieces.

Here’s what we know. Recently, JetPack Aviation (JPA) successfully completed the first test flight on a full-scale P1.0 hovercraft. Why is this a big deal? Well, simply put, the P1.0 is the base construction for the company’s future product, the Speeder, which will be set up on the now-in-construction P1.5 platform.

For over ten years, JPA has been focused on creating micro-VTOLs aimed at human and AI-operated flight. Based in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles, California, this team is currently at the forefront of bringing the world the first fully operable personal VTOL, or as some folks call it, “a flying motorcycle.”

Now, the test was a tethered flight, but, during operations, you can see that the tether is mostly there in case of engine failure. Even the swaying that occurs at one point is all desired. Since that video shows just the frame of the Speeder, I’ve also introduced a video that shows where JPA wants to take the Speeder.

What this successful test means for this company is a whole lot. Mainly, it means that there something to show investors. With this trial, JPA is now at sparkling like a diamond in a coal mine with what seems to be a whole lot of clarity. So much in that the company has officially opened up preorders on the first 20 Speeders. However, they’ve probably all been sold by now, even though they’re running for a $380,000 (€322,713 at current exchange rates) base price for just the recreational version. Yes, there’s more than one version, three in total, and each for a designed purpose.

If you have any doubts about this company’s ability to get things off the ground (get it? “off the ground”), then take the army’s interest in this sort of tech as a clear example of what JPA has in mind. This team even has a version of the Speeder that’s aimed at supporting troops and first responders. But before I get into that, let me outline what a Speeder will be able to do.

First, the Recreational Speeder will come in with an empty weight of just 231 lbs (105 kg) and offers a max thrust of 705 lbs (320 kg). This is enough to blast the Speeder up to speed of 150 mph (241 kph). Imagine going to your local grocery store on one of these; probably won’t happen for a year or so. Not until we have landing pads instead of parking lots. However, a ride to the local store is all you’ll be able to do as an endurance time of 22 minutes max is all you get. Yeah, but those are going to be some amazing 22 minutes.

Versions two and three include the Military Speeder and Cargo Speeder. Now, this version of the Speeder is much stronger. Here, 1,200 lbs (544 kg) of thrust are available, and the 22-minute flight time has been extended to 30 minutes. Up until this point in my life I never wanted to join the army. If I can fly one of these, sign me up!

This same Speeder is to be used by first responders as well, just painted a bit different and slightly different utilities. This version, as well as the one used by military, will include a carrying cases that can be mounted to an existing Speeder and carry supplies needed for first aid, even be set up as a first-response station. The military will be stocking theirs cases with weapons and equipment used in missions. For Speeders that employ a cargo case, autonomous flight will be used.

One feature that set the Speeder apart from other similar vehicles is the thrust system. Instead of using rotors to fly, this VTOL will be powered by four compact turbojet engines that operate on kerosene, Jet A fuel, and diesel. Why? These sorts of engines offer pinpoint accuracy when operable. Just look at the size of the landing pad this team is using for the test.

Ok. So, I’m going to do my absolute best to try and get a test ride on one of these Speeders. And when I do, you’ll be sure to catch a video of it too. However, until that day arrives, JetPack Aviation will be giving it all it’s got to make these puppies happen. With this successful completed test, they kind of already are.

New Harley-Davidson® Sportster® S Model Delivers Unrelenting Performance

By General Posts

Next Generation Sportster Motorcycle Combines Unbridled Power with Contemporary Technology. Uses H-D’s awesome 121 hp Revolution Max engine seen in Pan America model.

MILWAUKEE — The Harley-Davidson® (NYSE:HOG) Sportster® S model is an all-new sport custom motorcycle designed to deliver a thrilling riding experience and ushers in a new era of Sportster performance. A 121-horsepower Revolution® Max 1250T V-Twin engine puts the Sportster S rider in command of unrelenting, on-demand torque. A taut, lightweight chassis and premium suspension deliver responsive, intuitive handling. From stop light to stop light, and corner to corner, the Sportster® S model offers riders extraordinary power and performance and creates a new standard for the most enduring Harley-Davidson model.

An addition to the 2021 Harley-Davidson motorcycle line, the Sportster S will reach Harley-Davidson dealers this fall with a base MSRP of $14,999.

“The Sportster S is the next all-new motorcycle built on the Revolution Max platform and sets a new performance standard for the Sportster line,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson. “This is a next generation Sportster defined by power, performance, technology and style. And it’s part of our commitment to introduce motorcycles that align with our strategy to increase desirability and to drive the legacy of Harley-Davidson.”

Styling Communicates Power
In profile, the Sportster S model appears crouched and powerful. The fuel tank and tail section frame the engine as the predominate centerpiece of the motorcycle. The massive front tire recalls the fenderless front end of a classic bobber, while the tail section, high-mount exhaust and slim solo seat draw inspiration from the Harley-Davidson XR750 flat tracker. The thick inverted forks and wide-profile tires suggest high-performance sport bike.

“Every visual design element of the Sportster S model is an expression of the motorcycle’s raw power,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson vice president of styling and design. “This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.”

The powertrain is highlighted with a Chocolate Satin finish on the lightweight magnesium engine covers. Textures, colors, finishes and details were selected to give the Sportster S model the look of a custom show bike that just happens to be parked in the owner’s garage.

Amplified Performance
The 1250cc Revolution Max 1250T engine is the mechanical heart of the Sportster S model. This new version of the latest Harley-Davidson liquid-cooled V-Twin engine is tuned to make tremendous torque at low RPM, with a torque curve that stays flat through the powerband – engine performance designed to deliver strong acceleration from a start with robust power through the mid-range. To minimize overall motorcycle weight the engine is integrated into the vehicle as the central member of the chassis. The use of lightweight materials helps achieve a desirable power-to-weight ratio. Ready to ride with the 3.1-gallon fuel tank topped off, the Sportster S model weighs just 502 pounds. A high-mount 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust is designed to produce a pleasing low-frequency tone. (See separate Sportster S Technology release for full details)

Technology Enhances the Ride
The Sportster S model is equipped with a host of technologies designed to the enhance the riding experience. Three pre-programmed, selectable Ride Modes (Sport, Road and Rain) electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle, and the level of technology intervention. Two Custom modes may be used by the rider to create a set of performance characteristics to meet personal preference or for special situations. Cornering Rider Safety Enhancements by Harley-Davidson®, a collection of technologies intended to enhance rider confidence during unexpected situations or adverse road conditions, are designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking, in a straight line or while in a turn.

A round, 4.0-inch-diameter TFT screen displays all instrumentation and supports infotainment generated by the rider’s Bluetooth®-equipped mobile device and helmet headset, including music, incoming and out-going calls, and navigation supplied by the Harley-Davidson® App. All-LED lighting includes a Daymaker® Signature LED headlamp designed to produce a homogenous spread of light, eliminating distracting “hot spots.” The headlamp has a distinctive oval or capsule shape that adds style to the front end and will identify the Sportster® S model to other riders and motorists.

Optimized Chassis
The powertrain is a stressed member of the chassis, eliminating the traditional frame, a design that significantly reduces motorcycle weight and results in a very stiff chassis that contributes to precise handling. A welded tubular steel trellis swingarm features a braced design and stamped X-member to further stiffen the chassis, while its shape adds distinctive style to the motorcycle.

The Sportster® S model is equipped with fully adjustable, premium front and rear suspension – SHOWA® 43mm inverted cartridge forks and a SHOWA® Piggyback reservoir rear shock. Rear suspension features hydraulic pre-load adjustment using a convenient knob located on the left side of the motorcycle. Lightweight cast aluminum wheels with a staggered, five-spoke design are shod with wide Dunlop®/Harley-Davidson® Series GT503 tires. Premium Brembo braking components produce outstanding braking feel and performance. The single front brake features a new Brembo radial monoblock four-piston caliper and a 320mm diameter disc. The rear brake is a two-piston Brembo caliper and a 260mm diameter disc.

Forward foot controls and a low handlebar put the Sportster S rider in an aggressive posture on the bike. Unladen seat height is 29.6 inches, low enough for most riders to get feet down at a stop. Brake and clutch hand levers are adjustable for reach, to best match rider hand size or preference. The Sportster S model is pre-wired for accessory heated hand grips for added comfort in cool weather, and is equipped with two dedicated power points for heated riding gear (heated hand grips and heated riding gear/apparel each sold separately), plus a USB-C port for charging a phone or other device. An external ambient temperature sensor and a low-temp warning on the display screen alert the rider to changing conditions. Cruise control and a proximity-based security system are standard equipment. The steel fuel tank holds 3.1 gallons.

Paint Colors: Vivid Black; Stone Washed White Pearl; Midnight Crimson

Accessories
Sportster S model accessories available at launch through Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories include these key items:

Mid-Control Conversion Kit
Relocates the left and right rider foot pegs and foot controls from the Original Equipment forward position to a mid-position on the bike. This may place the rider in a more athletic position and may also provide an improved fit for riders who cannot comfortably reach the forward controls.
Passenger Accommodations
A Pillion Kit, Passenger Footpeg Kit and Passenger Backrest Kit (each sold separately) may be installed. The pillion and backrest feature upholstery styled to match the rider seat.
Sundowner Solo Seat
This seat offers an enhanced bucket design and spherical-void foam construction for improved long-haul comfort and shaping for more-aggressive riding. Seam sealed stitch lines prevent water from soaking into the foam and leaving the rider with a damp bum. Details in the top seat cover enhance overall style.
Compact Detachable Windshield
Black mounting hardware and support brackets, and the dark tint of the windshield, are a style match for the motorcycle. The windshield mounts to the forks with quick-release clamps, and can be installed or removed quickly and easily.
Sportster® S Tailbag
This tailbag is designed specifically to fit and look great on the Sportster® S model, and gives the rider a convenient luggage option for ride essentials. It is recommended that the Tailbag be installed over the accessory pillion (purchased separately). Luggage capacity is 5 pounds. The main compartment volume is expandable from 8.2 liters to 11.5 liters.

Learn more about the Harley-Davidson Sportster S model at www.harley-davidson.com.

Self-Driving Vehicles – Available Soon? Part 2

By General Posts

From https://www.motorists.org By Gary Witzenburg, Automotive Senior Writer and Contributing Editor, President of the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year, and NMA Member.

Editor’s Note: HOUR Detroit Magazine has graciously permitted the NMA to publish this piece, which initially appeared in a slightly different version on its pages. Please Click Here to Read Part 1.

Missions and Issues

“Automated vehicles’ potential to save lives and reduce injuries is rooted in one critical and tragic fact: 94 percent of serious crashes are due to human error,” contends the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Automated vehicles have the potential to remove human error from the crash equation, which will help protect drivers and passengers as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.”

Another mission will be to provide much-needed mobility for the aged and disabled, though ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are already serving many Americans. “Roads filled with automated vehicles could also cooperate to smooth traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion,” NHTSA continues. “With automated vehicles, the time and money spent commuting could be put to better use. In many places across the country, employment or independent living rests on the ability to drive. Automated vehicles could extend that kind of freedom to millions more.”

But major hurdles lie ahead.

To be as safe as envisioned, AVs will need to see, understand, analyze, and react to everything around them through a complex system of sensors, radar, LiDAR (radar-like, using laser light), and visual and thermal cameras.

All that will add a lot of cost.

And how effective will those systems be in darkness and nasty weather? When dirt covers their lenses? When snow blankets lane markers and road edges?

“Inclement weather is a challenge,” says GM engineer Jason Fischer, “We are working with suppliers on advanced cleaning systems that will help us solve those problems.” Ford’s John Rich says, “All varieties of weather are being tested, and there will be a learning curve with capability expansion over time.”

Will AVs be programmed to protect their occupants at the expense of others? Which way will they dodge if they can’t stop to avoid a sudden pedestrian hit when the alternative may be an oncoming vehicle, a tree, a lake, or a cliff? “We have to make these vehicles better than humans,” Rich says, “constantly alert with better reflexes and better ability to avoid an accident. They may never be perfect, but if they are considerably better than humans, we almost have a moral imperative to put them on the road because we will be saving lives.”

And when someone inevitably is hurt or killed despite everyone’s best intentions and preventions, who will be liable? The vehicle’s owner? Its manufacturer? The software programmer? The town or city where the incident occurs? All of the above?

“Initially, the lawyers will sue everyone involved,” says Carla Bailo, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor. “As these cases are settled and precedent established, it will become more clear. The automakers and others must have the utmost confidence in the safety of these systems.”

And will AVs be rolling roadblocks obeying all (often too slow) posted speed limits while everyone else swarms around them at 5-10 mph faster? Will they hold up traffic waiting for openings at non-stoplight intersections while streams of human-driven vehicles take advantage of their excessive caution?

“The vehicles are programmed to obey the law,” Rich points out. “We won’t be able to speed or do a lot of things you see human drivers doing today.”

Partial Autonomy

So that scenario of Level 5 “Full Automation” for privately owned vehicles looks to be a long way off…if ever. “Level 4 is essentially here now,” CAR’s Bailo points out. “Level 5 is later pending many other non-technical parameters such as regulation, public policy, legal and insurance.”

And no current AV is intended for private ownership.

“They will be able to move goods and people in a controlled environment,” Rich says, “but you will not be able to go out and buy one. They are difficult to manage and will require professional service to run.”

The good news is that Level 2 “Partial Automation” is available today.

Many new vehicles, even at very affordable prices, offer Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which adjusts speed to maintain a set gap behind the vehicle ahead, and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), which keeps your vehicle in its lane; and that combo allows hands-off cruising for a few seconds where road edges and lane markers are clearly visible to their cameras.

Some systems work better than others; you must pay full attention and be ready to take control at any time. The system will tell you when to take the wheel, and it will shut off if you don’t. One of the best we’ve tried is Cadillac’s Super Cruise, available on some models now and expanding to more, which will soon add an auto-lane-change feature. GM says its ultimate Super Cruise vision is hands-off driving capability 95 percent of the time on “enabled” (precisely GPS mapped) roads.

What we envision in the not-too-distant future is a potentially worrisome mix of driverless AVs sharing the roads with a large majority of human-driven cars and trucks. The AVs will be capable of communicating vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) with each other and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) to avoid conflicts. Still, they will have to monitor everything around them continually and make assumptions (as alert drivers do) about other vehicles’ expected behavior.

Will you trust a vehicle with no driver (or controls) to shuttle you around, or will you prefer a human-driven Uber, Lyft, or taxi? Or to continue piloting those trips behind your own wheel? If you are not yet AV ready, you may be when your own capabilities someday diminish.

What the Analysts Say

“The development of autonomous vehicles continues to move forward steadily, though several automakers slowed their development in early 2020 and some commercialization targets were delayed. While there remains tremendous promise for the technology to ease congestion and contribute to reducing accidents, getting to the point where they are a fixture in the automotive landscape remains on the horizon. However, in 2021 and 2022, we expect to see deployments increase in limited situations. Waymo, GM, and Ford are among those most aggressive in this space in the US, along with the Aptiv-Hyundai joint venture Motional.”  – Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst, Automotive, IHS Markit

“Autonomous technology continues its march from test phase to widely-embraced, mainstream functionality. But the variety of circumstances facing a computer-controlled vehicle have proven far more difficult to address, delaying the 2020 arrival of self-driving cars that many were predicting as recently as 2018. Major obstacles include changing weather conditions and the impact they have on sensors, a standardized, functional communication network between cars (V2V) and infrastructure (V2X), and ensuring security against computer hackers. These hurdles will eventually be overcome, but we’re likely looking at 2025 or later before the average citizen can leverage autonomous vehicle technology on a wide scale. Look for the limited test zones in cities like Austin, Phoenix, and Miami to slowly spread across more metro areas as well as controlled environments, such as college and corporate campuses.” – Karl Brauer, executive analyst, iSeeCars

“The industry’s thinking about autonomous vehicles has evolved and focused on commercial fleets [and] delivery vehicles. AVs in the commercial vehicle space are like a laboratory experiment that will allow the opportunity to make sure the technology works and the gathering of data to glean insights about patterns of behavior of the users. The commercial vehicle business is lucrative. Automakers know how many orders they have and thus how many they need to produce versus the individual retail business that is unpredictable. – Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, AutoTrader

“Automakers have very ambitious plans to incorporate autonomous driving features into their vehicles. Most of this is a technology push rather than a consumer pull. Our data show that less than 10 percent of vehicle buyers want a fully autonomous vehicle. About 30 percent would consider some level of autonomy. Today’s ADAS [Advanced Driver Assistance Systems] are the first step that many drivers are experiencing on the road to autonomy. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centering systems sometimes lets people drive for a short time, hands-free.

When we talk about Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy, the pandemic needs to be factored in. Car sharing, which was a cornerstone of some autonomous plans, looks more problematic now. How does a driver know the vehicle is clean and sanitary? – George Peterson, president, AutoPacific

“Autonomous cars that can drive anywhere and that you can buy at a dealership will not be available this decade. Maybe next decade. Tesla claims otherwise with its Full Self Driving, but it’s up to them to prove it since it’s been delayed multiple times. That said, 2020 is really the year of autonomous vehicles. They’re on the streets and running now. The technology is available, and it works. It’s expensive, but the cost is coming down fast. For now, AVs are relegated to geofenced areas that have been 3D mapped, but those fence posts keep moving. Waymo is covering a 50-square mile area in Phoenix that will soon expand to 100-square miles. For now, AVs make the most sense for fleets. They can run their vehicles almost continuously and amortize the cost of the AV equipment more easily.” – John McElroy, host, AutolineTV

“The best chance is in geo-fenced areas, not on public roads. The infrastructure is nowhere near ready for AVs, which are never going to be 100% safe. There is not enough computer code on the planet to cover all situations.” – Richard Truett, technology and engineering reporter, Automotive News

Self-Driving Vehicles – Available Soon? Part 1

By General Posts

From https://www.motorists.org By Gary Witzenburg, Automotive Senior Writer and Contributing Editor, President of the North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year, and NMA Member.

Editor’s Note: HOUR Detroit Magazine has graciously permitted the NMA to publish this piece, which initially appeared in a slightly different version on its pages. Part 2 will be presented in next week’s newsletter.

Ready for your family outing, to the mall, then dinner. You call your car. It backs out of the garage and waits in your drive. You pile in and sit wherever you want since no one will drive. You face front, your spouse and kids swing their seats around to face each other.

You’ve told the car where to go, so it chooses the quickest route, obeying all stops and speed limits, keenly aware of what is happening around it. Someone steps off the curb ahead, and it slows, ready to stop if necessary. It warily eyes an errant dog cavorting to one side. You’re catching up on emails, your spouse is texting, the kids are enjoying video games. It lets you out at the mall, then zips off to park.

Shopping done, you call it to pick you up. Then it’s off to your favorite restaurant. After dinner, you catch a quick nap on your way home.

That is the scenario most envision when they think of self-driving vehicles. But how far off is that scenario? Assuming that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be wonderful for ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and deliveries (which will put a lot of drivers out of work) and that folks will happily embrace them for personal use whenever they become available and affordable, automakers and others have been investing billions of dollars in developing them.

But not everyone wants to give up driving. Some of us still enjoy it and will as long as we are capable.

Detroit Hard at Work
Automakers and others worldwide are testing and developing AVs on closed tracks and public roads while governments at all levels scramble to define rules and regulations for safe AV operation. Two Michigan facilities — the American Center for Mobility next to Willow Run airport in Ypsilanti Township and the 32-acre mock city called Mcity on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus — are dedicated to AV testing and development.

General Motors’ Cruise LLC subsidiary has been testing Chevrolet Bolt EV-based Cruise AVs in San Francisco and elsewhere while developing a fully autonomous (no driver, no controls) Origin A.V. with Honda for urban passenger and delivery service. Unveiled this January 2020, the self-driving, six-passenger Origin has production approval, and development prototypes are being tested at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds.

“We feel that Cruise has all the building blocks in place to lead in self-driving vehicles,” says GM President Mark Reuss, “and the first ones will be built right here at Factory Zero, our Detroit-Hamtramck assembly facility. In October, Cruise received a permit from the California DMV to remove human backup drivers from its self-driving cars. That means Cruise can send its cars out onto the streets of San Francisco without anyone at the wheel.”

Cruise should have Bolt-based driverless AVs running around San Francisco by the time you read this. “This is our moonshot,” says Cruise CEO Dan Amman. “The chaotic, gritty streets of San Francisco are our launchpad, and it’s where over two million miles of city testing will truly hit the road for the first time: an electric car, driving by itself, navigating one of the most difficult driving cities in the world.” In addition, Walmart plans to start testing automated deliveries using Cruise AVs in Scottsdale, AZ, early this year.

GM’s bold commitment to no-driver AVs, focusing first on city transportation, is one major element of its ambitious vision of a world with “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.”

“We operate AVs in very clearly defined geofenced areas within the city that we have mapped,” chief engineer of the Cruise Origin Jason Fischer. “We will not go into areas that we haven’t mapped.” And while current Cruise AVs retain their steering wheel and pedals so a driver can take control if needed, the Cruise Origin does not. “There will be no ability to take control of the vehicle,” Fischer says. “The autonomous driving system will always be in control.”

Ford, partnered with technology developer Argo AI, has tested AVs (with safety drivers) on Michigan Ave. around Michigan Central Station. The automaker has established AV terminals, command centers, and high-resolution mapping for ride-hailing and deliveries in Austin, TX, Miami, FL, and Washington, DC, beginning in 2022. The company is also testing AVs in Pittsburgh and Palo Alto, CA. The Ford/Argo AI program will “assess the need for a safety driver and make a decision based on several factors, including the regulatory environment, safety performance data and an appropriate level of community acceptance” before operating without one.

“We are very focused on level 4 [see graphic above],” says Ford Autonomous Vehicles and director John Rich, “removing the driver from the equation and operating within a geonet.” A geonet, he explains, is different from a geofence, within which AVs should be able to self-drive anywhere. “We will initially choose not to drive some places within that area, but our geonet will expand as we move forward.”

Ford/Argo AI’s fourth-generation self-driving vehicles are Escape Hybrids equipped with the latest advanced sensing and computing technology. “We have upgraded our sensing suite with even more advanced LiDAR, higher resolution cameras, and more capable radar sensors,” says Ford Autonomous Vehicles chief engineer John Davis. “Combined, this helps improve detection of fixed and moving objects on all sides…providing a blind-spot curtain, detecting things like a passing car or bicyclist in a nearby bike lane.” A larger high-voltage battery supports these vehicles’ heavy electrical loads. A sophisticated sensor-cleaning system with forced-air chambers and high-pressure spray nozzles keeps its sensors and camera lenses clean.

Stellantis is partnered with self-driving technology company Waymo. Launched in 2009 as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, Waymo has developed a Level 4 Waymo Driver system that powers Waymo One, a ride-hailing service, and Waymo Via for trucking and deliveries. It claims 20 million-plus miles of autonomous driving on public roads in 25 US cities and 15 billion miles of simulation testing and is now offering AV rides to the public in Phoenix.

“Our now four-year partnership with Waymo continues to break new ground,” says Stellantis CEO Mike Manley. “By incorporating the Waymo Driver, the world’s leading self-driving technology, into our Pacifica minivans, we became the only partnership actually deploying fully autonomous technology in the real world, on public roads.” Stellantis is also working exclusively with Waymo on light commercial vehicles such as Ram ProMaster vans for deliveries and plans to expand it across its product line.

“Stellantis was our first OEM partner, and we’ve come a long way together,” says Waymo CEO John Krafcik. “Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans were the first vehicles in our Waymo One fleet and, guided by the Waymo Driver, have now safely and reliably driven more fully autonomous miles than any other vehicle on the planet. Together, we’ll introduce the Waymo Driver throughout the Stellantis brand portfolio, opening up new frontiers for ride-hailing, commercial delivery, and personal use vehicles around the world.”

Meanwhile, a very ambitious “connected corridor” linking downtown Detroit to Ann Arbor (and Metro Airport) along some 40 miles of Michigan Ave. (US 12) and Washtenaw Ave. (M-17) is in the planning stages.

“At the outset, the vision calls for one dedicated interior lane for both the east and west side of Michigan Ave,” writes editor R.J. King in the Nov./Dec. issue of DBusiness magazine. “Those two lanes will need barriers at first, to separate autonomous from general traffic including pedestrians. Several crosswalks will be needed, traffic lights must be coordinated, and all manner of hardware and software is required to connect GPS satellites, cellular arrays, Wi-Fi systems, sensors, and underground fiber cables.” An alternative plan suggests using a new lane along I-94 instead of Michigan Ave.

According to King, this project’s vision began with Ford executive chairman Bill Ford. It will be managed by Cavnue, a subsidiary of New-York-based Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, working with Michigan’s Department of Transportation, Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, Economic Development Corp., and Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, along with state and local partners, stakeholders and communities.

“The project will be designed to evolve to meet transportation goals,” he writes, “but in the beginning, the dedicated lanes will accommodate linked buses and shared mobility vehicles such as vans and shuttles and expand to other connected and autonomous vehicles like freight and personal vehicles.” Phase one completion is targeted for the second half of 2022.

Click Here to Read part 2 of Autonomous (Self-Driving) Vehicles –Available Soon (Yes and No). Gary explains the critical missions and asks the experts how soon we will see AVs on the road.

Harley-Davidson’s new stand-alone electric motorcycle – LiveWire One

By General Posts

President and CEO Jochen Zeitz with the original LiveWire

by Rich Kirchen from https://www.bizjournals.com

With Harley-Davidson Inc. chairman, president and CEO Jochen Zeitz repeating that the company’s electric LiveWire is “an extraordinary product,” details are emerging on a new model that will be called the LiveWire One.

Motorcycle.com reported the name of the first LiveWire-branded electric motorcycle since Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson announced establishing LiveWire as a stand-alone entity. The website said it deciphered the information from a Harley-Davidson filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The new LiveWire One will be revealed in July and will be considered a 2021 model, motorcycle.com said.

The Harley-Davidson filing shows the LiveWire One will claim a peak output of 101 brake horsepower (bhp), which is more than the 70 bhp existing LiveWire model, motorcycle.com said.

A Harley-Davidson spokesman did not immediately respond Thursday to a Milwaukee Business Journal request for comment.

Harley-Davidson delivered the original LiveWire to dealers in fall 2019. The company announced in May that LiveWire will get an official launch in July as a brand in its own right with its own laboratory and showrooms.

Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) initially planned to debut the new LiveWire at the International Motorcycle Show in Irvine, California. However, motorcycle.com reported that the show won’t be held there and Harley is looking to arrange an alternate date and site.

Zeitz, appearing on CNBC Wednesday, discussed the LiveWire strategy but not the specifics of the next phase. He said electrified motorcycles are the future for the industry.

“It might take longer in certain segments such as the traditional Harley-Davidson segment, simply because the technology is not there in terms of range and longevity of a ride that our touring customer wants,” Zeitz said.

The LiveWire product that Harley-Davidson launched in 2019 under the Harley-Davidson brand “was really a product that was more focused and geared towards the urban consumer,” Zeitz said.

“So I felt there was a huge opportunity as we are bridging into electric long term to use the LiveWire — which is the best product out there, the best electric product — but focusing more on an urban customer to actually segment that out and stand it up as its own brand.’’

Harley-Davidson announced in March hiring Ryan Morrissey as chief electric vehicle officer to lead the new electric-vehicle unit. Morrissey previously worked at consulting giant Bain & Company.