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Friday, November 21st, 2014

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Idea: Back-Up Electric Motorcycle For Electric Motorcycles?

Posted 02:00:00 PM
Filed under  Ideas Electrical
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Travelling
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The one thing you always hear when talking about electric motorcycles or scooters is range. Range is the biggest issue with electric vehicles, not performance which is usually excellent.

Here is a Kickstarter crowd-funding project (that is already over-subscribed, so no need to send in money) that could be fun to complement your range anxiety; the Impossible Open Impossible link in a new window bike.

Impossible

The Impossible project is the design of an electric motorcycle/scooter/bike that can get folded up totally, taking very little space, and that is light enough to carry with you. In other words, small and light enough to carry on your electric motorcycle in case your battery power runs out and you need to go that extra mile to that very important meeting/concert/doda.

Impossible

Weighing 13 pounds, the Impossible can carry a person of up to 85 kgs (180 pounds - so that rules me out) and can travel at speeds of 12.4 mph for 45 minutes, or at normal road speeds for up to 15.6 miles.

Impossible

Folded, the Impossible is 17 inches high and fits in a backpack. Have a look at the video below to see it in action. The beginning of the video is misleading, since they start by showing another folding bike. Then they show theirs.

Impossible

The Impossible was being sold to Kickstarter pledgers for CAD430 (that level is all gone), but now if you hurry you can get it for CAD460.

Click here to read more about the Impossible electric bike project Open Kickstarter link in a new window.

Here's the video:








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Australia: Islam Jihadists Joining Motorcycle Gangs?

Posted 08:00:00 AM
Filed under  News
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Normandy, France
click to see where Australia is on the map
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I Don't know. Really. This looks far-fetched to me. Something smells in Kingdom of Denmark Australia. According to the police in Australia, radical Islam militants are joining 1% biker gangs, and some of these radicals don't even ride a motorcycle. According to the cops, this represents a danger towards Australia.

1) In Europe, it's the biker gangs who are going to the Middle East to FIGHT the radical Islam (Dutch Bikers -link Open link in a new window- and they were later followed by German gangs). 2) I don't think a 1%er gang like the Mongols would accept anyone who doesn't ride a motorcycle, and 3) I don't think they would harbor any people who are not part of their club.

I could be very wrong, but it looks more like an excuse for the cops to break up biker gangs in Australia. What do you think? Does the cops' explanation make sense, or is it pie-in-the-sky stuff?

Mongols Sydney Islam Radicals
© REUTERS/David Gray

Reuters logo
Members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club ride in formation away from their clubhouse compound located in western Sydney November 9, 2014. Australia is confronting what authorities say is a growing threat from homegrown Islamist radicals and fears a new danger is about to rumble over the horizon - would-be militants hooking up with biker gangs. The gangs have since been transformed by an influx of members of Middle Eastern origin, some of whom do not even ride motorcycles. Biker gangs now have strong family and cultural ties to the very communities police worry are harbouring potential radicals. Picture taken November 9, 2014. To match Feature AUSTRALIA-BIKERS/ REUTERS/David Gray

Mongols Sydney Islam Radicals
© REUTERS/David Gray

Reuters logo
A member of the Mongols Motorcycle Club rides away from their clubhouse compound located in western Sydney November 9, 2014. Australia is confronting what authorities say is a growing threat from homegrown Islamist radicals and fears a new danger is about to rumble over the horizon - would-be militants hooking up with biker gangs. The gangs have since been transformed by an influx of members of Middle Eastern origin, some of whom do not even ride motorcycles. Biker gangs now have strong family and cultural ties to the very communities police worry are harbouring potential radicals. Picture taken November 9, 2014. To match Feature AUSTRALIA-BIKERS/ REUTERS/David Gray


Via: News Yahoo & Reuters




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Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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Brazil: Dafra - A Motorcycle Manufacturer Wanting Global Domination

Posted 06:00:00 PM
Filed under  Entertainment Special-Bikes
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Normandy, France
click to see where Brazil is on the map
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Dafra logo
When we talk about motorcycle manufacturers or brands, usually names like Harley-Davidson, BMW, Ducati, Honda etc will creep into the conversation. More enlightened bikers will talk about enormous companies like Hero MotoCorp or Bajaj, since they dominate their markets (Asia) with sheer numbers that their Western cousins can only dream about. And it's in these markets that you will find the biggest companies that are growing silently into giants.

The BRIC Open BRIC in a new window countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are countries that have passed the stage of "development" and have become economic powerhouses in their own right. As stated above, world's biggest motorcycle manufacturer, Hero Motocorp, is Indian. China has enormous number of smaller manufacturers, that combined give wet dream markets.

But Brazil has it's own growing company. It's called Dafra Open Dafra in a new window, and they started assembling Japanese low displacement motorcycles. Then they did a deal with another giant Indian manufacturer, TVS Open TVS in a new window, to build their motorcycles for their local market.

This was quickly followed with manufacturing deals for the likes of BMW, Ducati, Sym, KTM and MV Agusta. Dafra is now Brazil's 4th largest motorcycle brand (link Open link in a new window), after the big three Japanese companies (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki). This year, they will most probably become the third largest, overtaking Suzuki.

Dafra Products

Apart from low to mid range displacement motorcycles and scooters (the biggest being a 400 cc), Dafra also make electric bicycles, a growing market.

The way they have been growing, I would not be surprised to see them expanding initially through South and Latin America to find them in North America by the next decade.

So before you buy your Dafra at the local motorcycle shop, remember where you read it first.

Click here to see all their motorcycles Open Dafra in a new window (in Portuguese - Google Translate is your friend)






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Idea: Galea Motorcycle Helmet HUD - Or How Not To Do It

Posted 02:00:00 PM
Filed under  Ideas Helmets
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Normandy, France
click to see where India is on the map
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It looks like that for every good and successful crowd-funding project, there are 100 bad ones. Maybe the idea is not bad, but the execution and package is so badly put together, the owner will never see a single dime pledged.

Here is one of the latter category. The project is called Galea Open Galea link in a new window and the idea, though totally not new, is based on placing a Heads Up Display (HUD) inside your motorcycle's helmet, allowing you to see navigation instructions without lowering your eyes to your GPS fixed on your handlebars. You know... like the very successful Skully project, or even Bike-Hud Open Bike-Hud link in a new window project.

The Galea project is the brainchild of Amar in India who is a student of engineering. So what's wrong with this project?

Galea IndieGoGo Project

It's the package proposed to investors. When you invest money in an upstart idea/project, you take enormous risks that it will never happen. Crowd funding sites like Kickstarter or in this case IndieGoGo, reduce the risk by not taking your money until the funding is complete. Full funding usually means that there is a good chance that it will happen.

Of course if the project designer is not a commercially minded person, i.e. no experience running a project, they will be looking for far too little money to fund a real project. In this case Amar is looking only for US$6,000 to make his HUD (the Skully project was looking for US$250,000 and they got 2.4 million - link Open link link in a new window).

The other major flaw in this project, and it's a recurring flaw in many projects, are the perks. Perks are what you get for giving your money for this project. In other words, you give the project designer money, and in return you should get a good discount on the project/product or something worthy of your money. In Amar's case he offers four perks; for $50 you get a thank you on his Facebook page (with 876 friends), for $100 you get a t-shirt, for $200 a t-shirt and a hoodie and for $500 a t-shirt, hoodie and cap.

A $100 t-shirt?????? Needless to say at the time of writing this article, Amar had received $0. The video as well does not incite you to invest, and believe me, I have invested in quite a lot of these products. Have a look at he video below to get an idea.

Click here to read more about the Galea motorcycle helmet HUD project in IndieGoGo Open Click here to read more about the Galea motorcycle helmet HUD project in IndieGoGo link in a new window



Via: Indiegogo




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When Your Scooter Needs To Go, He Needs To Go

Posted 08:00:00 AM
Filed under  Funny Entertainment Scooters
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Travelling
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Scooters (and motorcycles) have needs, just like us humans. They also need to do their thing, but usually they do it when we're not watching. This scooter just really had to let go of some oil, so he went.

And you can see it's a "he", since he is standing taking a leak....

Taking a Leak







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Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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Review: 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus - The Legacy Motorcycle of Tron and Akira

Posted 06:00:00 PM
Filed under  Product Review
Author: David Morcrette
Location: 
Paris, France
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Since this is a translation directly from French, some of the colloquialism may seem a bit strange at times, for which I apologize. It's not easy to translate. Any mistakes below are mine, and mine alone.
Honda logo
Le Repaire des Motards logo
The 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus test report was originally published in French on the Le Repaire des Motards.com Open lerepairedesmotards link in a new window web site.

Click here to read the original review of the 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus Open Click here to read the original review of the 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus link in a new window (in French)
The Legacy Motorcycle Of Tron and Akira

Does it make sense for a big manufacturer to dare go past the stage of innovation? In any case, Honda Open link in a new window managed yet again by introducing the NM4 Vultus, a vehicle of the future, and dignified successor of the DN-01, but using the frame and mechanical parts of the NC series. Can we talk about making something new with proven parts? The NM4 Vultus is at the opposite of such remarks, with a design not seen anywhere before, to the point where you can not pigeonhole the motorcycle in a specific category. Motorcycle, custom, scooter, rolling concept? A review of a motorcycle that you will doubtfully see in France since they will only welcome 100 .... for whoever manages to get one.


Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

Discovery

Apart from the two wheels and the saddle, the NM4 Vultus looks like a stealth fighter jet ...except maybe when you see the first version of the Tron movie, or even an episode of Batman or even Akira. And it's not only the matte black color of the fairing which would make you think this. You would expect it to land at a recent Comic-Con Open Comic-Con link in a new window event.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

The NM4 Vultus extends lengthwise with its almost 2.40 meters (2380 mm) with a front portion almost seeming to exceed the front wheel up to the taillight overlooking a huge 200 mm sausage. The saddle seems hidden, it is so low, especially compared to the handlebars to which it would look necessary to cling to. The outer fairing is simply enormous and unique on the market, allowing it to offer front side storage spaces, including a lockable one (left). The front really impressed, not just the central lights - even if they are surrounded by LEDs - but indicators and an overall bodybuilder's V-shape. And if the light seems almost small and you could imagine a limited night vision, it is surprisingly effective at night with a beautiful and large beam on the road with simple running headlights. And with full beam on, it's just impressive efficiency by providing real security for night driving.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

Yet under the hood, the Vultus takes up the NC's twin with its 54 horses. But beyond horsepower, it is mainly the torque of 68 Nm, available from 4,750 rpm that challenges and finally feels rather like a machine with a big heart.

Those nostalgic for the DN-01 will only regret the absence of a shaft drive, synonymous for its low maintenance. Here, it is a traditional chain.

In The Saddle

1M60 riders will be able to put their feet down perfectly, thanks to a saddle that rises only 650mm above the ground. The wide saddle is able to welcome imposing backsides, all in comfort, especially since the pillion's saddle can be raised to become a back support for the rider. The legs then extend substantially forward on huge platforms to go hold the brake pedal with a position close to a custom ... although here, the back can remain straight, without getting tired. The arms then significantly split to hang on the high handlebar, the latter coming to the biker like to rainbows in the sky. The head seems to be under the high windshield. The rider then has under the eyes the instrumentation available in the cockpit with a huge fully digital display with speedometer, tachometer, clock, trip part, fuel gauge, gear indicator, outside temperature and other information with LEDs as witnesses: parking brake, engine, turn signals, neutral, ABS ...

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

Note that the color of the the counter and edging of the LEDs change color depending on the stealth mode: light blue in neutral, deep blue in automatic mode, red in sport mode and orange in manual mode. This is because the NM4 Vultus uses the engine and especially the automatic gearbox with switchable dual clutch DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) of the NC750. You therefore find the standard stalks of the NC with on the right the mode selector for normal or sport, and on the left the levers to manually change gear on the handlebar.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

On the color side, there are no fewer than five colors, which combined can result in twenty-five colors in the end. The central stand is almost hidden under the fairing and requires a bit of habit to extend using your heel.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

Contact

Started, you hear the serious sound of the NC. Press the right switch and the first gear gets selected. Twist the right wrist, and everything launches with some slack. A simple feeling related at being almost like inside a cockpit with a windshield that overlooks everything from above or just a proof that the bike weighs 245 kilos? The low saddle, feet fully on the ground and weight positioned low makes it easy to retrieve after any risky maneuver. The first meters are soft and the large handlebar allows wide maneuvers at low speed without difficulty. Then simply accelerate to have the gears change automatically. In fact, despite the actual weight on the scales, we forget completely about it after the first few centimeters of travel.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

In The City

The NM4 Vultus will not disappoint those accustomed to the NC 750, whether or not it's an Integra. The normal mode is pleasurable even if the gears switch rapidly in automatic mode. You therefore ride using the torque and you will find yourself naturally in 5th gear in the city, under the 50 kph and in 6th gear at 60 kph. At this game, your fuel consumption is regularly under the 4 liters per 100 km. Economic and yet not devoid of feelings of the big torque of the twin. The normal automatic mode is even the more pleasant mode of riding for the Vultus which does not encourage the rider to play dragster at the traffic lights. The sport mode is a bit more brutal in town for this model (compared to the Integra for instance) and can not be satisfied with the speed / ratio selected by the gearbox with more jerks than normal mode . In fact, it is better to jump in full manual mode, especially as the first gear accepts to climb up 65 kph! Without going up the revs, you can stay between first and second gear to enjoy a dynamic motorcycle, quick to move up the RPMs, and away from the first impression of a possible docility implied by the standard automatic mode.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

With almost 1 meter of width (933 mm to be exact), you would expect that the Vultus would have a problem splitting lanes. However on a day-to-day basis, splitting lanes is done without thinking about it, even if at times you will pass a car within a hair. And if the look and position makes your feel like a custom, the ground clearance of 130 mm is close to that of a normal motorcycle, we never scraped the bike in roundabouts.

When stopped, you'll not forget the parking brake, located on the left .... mandatory in absence of a selectable first gear.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

Motorways

The Vultus gets onto the motorways voluntarily in automatic mode; cruising at 130 kph with only 4000 rpm. In contrast, in manual mode, you can still be in 3rd gear at 115 kph with the dynamics to envisage securely any overtaking. And that would be it only because, even in automatic mode, it is possible to operate the paddle and to descend one or two gears, forcing the gearbox to downshift. Better yet, propped at 150 kph in top gear in automatic mode, you only have to give a clear twist of the right wrist for the Vultus to come down a gear and return to the fifth gear and thus regain the momentum to overtake.

The Vultus then flies away literally, all with exemplary stability, particular enhanced by the caster angle of 33 °. And its stability is not at fault, including in large curves that are swallowed naturally and effortlessly, including hazardous roadway connections and joints.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

With a rather low position, the windshield protects particularly well in deflecting airflow over the helmet, without generating noise or particular infrasound as is often the case. Even if the windshield is adjustable to three positions (via screws), these three positions will not be achieve big changes, ultimately not affecting much the height level. Something to try depending on the size of the rider.

Brakes

With a single hydraulic disc of 320 mm diameter at the front with 2-piston caliper and single hydraulic disc of 240 mm with 2-piston caliper at the rear, one might think that the brakes are a little "just" to stop the 245 kilos fully fueled bike. In fact, the rear brake alone is almost enough to stop the vehicle, at least in the city and so serene, even if the ABS goes quickly into action on a heavy rear braking. The front brake provides excellent feel and the power needed by itself; and with a weight instead focused on the rear, it is more difficult to plunge the bike forward. Therefore, the "combined" brakes are enough to stop the machine, especially as the Vultus has no incentive to reach the top portion of the speed counter.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

Duo

The pillion discovers a new world thanks to a high position which allows you to look over the head of the rider. On the comfort side, the pillion seat is more a jump seat ... more useful raised to use as the rider's backrest than to consider a long weekend lover's getaway, especially since the comfort is to there for the driver, the pillion will feel the defects in the road with a suspension felt as hard. And without passenger grab-handle, acceleration must be reduced in order to avoid losing the same pillion during acceleration. Advantage, it strengthens the physical contact, forcing the pillion to cling to the rider. So reserved for lovers ...

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

Practical

The Vultus has in the front two storage spaces, of which the left one is locked by key, and there is even a 12V outlet to recharge your mobile phone. The storage space on the right allows only to store a disc lock or a well folded rain trouser, but nothing else. There is no storage space under the saddle, neither the rider's or the pillion's.

It is possible to take advantage of the two fabrics rings of the pillion seat to stow a bag, the rear pillion seat raised or not. However, watch the pretty shiny body that may lose its luster with friction.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

We like the parking brake on the left, compared with the DN01 where it is on the right: more practical when you are on a slope and the right hand is already busy with the front brakes.

Fuel Consumption

The average consumption is similar to that of a NC with an average consumption of 4.2 liters per hundred. It is to be said that in the city, with the automatic transmission in normal mode, you often do nothing but in the fifth or the sixth gear on expressways (70 kph). Consumption then rises to 5 liters per hundred on the motorway ... even in manual mode. If the first five sticks of the fuel gauge fall at the end of 50 km, the remainder fall almost every 25 km, making the reserve light go on after 200 kilometers. And with an 11 liter tank, and it allows an overall range of 250 kilometers.

Review 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus

Conclusion

It's fun! As much as the NC is not really fun, riding a Vultus provides an undeniable pleasure, both linked to having the feeling of riding a kid's toy, lingered not necessarily of the fact of being transported into another world. It does not have the power of a motorcycle or a good roadster, it does not have the benefits of a scooter's storage, but it's pretty darn good every day, not only to look good on the Champs-Elysee but simply to get around town, going suburban or on the roads, with superior comfort over all existing NC models. There are more than one hundred planned for France. So, sure, you are not likely to find one near you. Only the price of €11,599 (almost the same price as the DN01) but with ABS as standard, can make you think twice.

Strong PointsWeak Points
  • Look (general and details)
  • Comfort
  • Storage
  • Price


Via: Le Repaire Des Motards




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Europe: Insurance Claims Entering 21st Century

Posted 02:00:00 PM
Filed under  Travel Gadgets
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Normandy, France
click to see where Europe is on the map
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It's about bloody time mind you. The French vehicle insurance claim form is 50 years old and is finally entering the technology age. The form that needs to be filled in after an accident (with another vehicle and by yourself), signed and sent to your insurance agent hasn't changed much over the last few decades. You need to have one in your car or motorcycle, and not forget a pen, make a drawing and then you need to write in all the data in legible writing.

French Vehicle Accident Form
50 year old form

It's not easy to carry one with you on your motorcycle, so you hope if you have an accident, that the other party has one. But that will all change starting next month. And it should not only change in France but in several European countries like Spain, Italy and The Netherlands (The Netherlands has already had it for 2 years, but only 5% of drivers use it). That is because there is a smartphone version coming to an iPhone or Android mobile phone near you.

e Constat France

In France it's called e-Constat and it's hosted by Euresa, an European insurance grouping. The app can be populated beforehand with your personal and vehicles data, so in the case of an accident, you don't need to enter it all. The objective is to send you on your merry way within 6 minutes.

e Constat France

The app allows you to sketch/draw the accident environment, and includes some icons and widgets to make things faster and easier to read.

e Constat France

You can use buttons and checkboxes to specify the physical circumstances of the accident, like "coming out from a parking", or "on a roundabout".

e Constat France

You can even make photos of the accident, and everything gets formatted into the "old" form format. This way, using the app is not mandatory, the old form can still be used, since all the app does is fill it in automatically (and probably more readable).

e Constat France

Finally you sign the app on the screen, and hopefully the other driver/rider does the same and you press send. The data gets sent automatically to the insurance company.

e Constat France

Finally you get an automatic SMS/Text message with a file number and a message that things are being processed.

According to the insurance companies, this will cut down in processing time and hopefully they will be able to send you a cheque more rapidly.

So welcome to the 21st century.

Via: Le Parisien




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