If ever the famous and notorious Red Baron would have had a motorcycle, this one would have been it. It's a custom made chopper, using a real aircraft engine, in this case a Radial Aircraft Engine.
You should have a look at the video below, and TURN UP THE VOLUME. This is one engine you'll want to hear purr away. Amazing. I'd say the motorcycle has an enormous torque, but also that it's very heavy. The little propeller is just a gag.
The video is part of an article from the German motorcycle magazine Motorrad, and the builder and chopper are in Germany (the chopper's name is Red Baron). But even if they talk a bit in German, and some of the text is in German, it doesn't remove any of the fun. Have a look.
Posted 02:00:00 PM
Filed under FranceSafety Author: Mike Werner | Location: Travelling
Here's an interesting site developed by the Prevention Routiere et Assureurs Prevention, an organization for the prevention of accidents funded by insurance companies. The site, called MotoPrev (as in Motorcycle Prevention) is like a video game without the controls. It shows you how and when motorcycle accidents happen. It allows you to identify areas where you may be in danger.
There are 7 main areas, and each area loads a video (using high quality animated graphics) which you can view from either the motorcycle's point of view, satellite/above/God view or the car's view. There's at the end also an explanation, but it's in French (as is the whole site).
Even if you don't read French, it's still interesting to see.
The 7 main areas are:
Loss of Control
Each scenario has a different motorcycle. The graphics are nicely done, the motorcycle's point of view is like if you're actually riding a motorcycle. As explanations go, it's a great way of showing (new) riders what to watch out for.
Posted 08:00:00 AM
Filed under FranceHonda Author: Mike Werner | Location: Travelling
Honda France may have shot themselves in their feet. 25% of all Gold Wing motorcycle sales are to taxi companies, since many (bikers and clients) consider the luxury and comfortable tourer the best and only way to ride through a busy city.
But taxis ride many kilometers every day, more miles per bike than "civilians". And that's where the problem lies. Honda France have stated that the Gold Wing was never designed to swallow so many kilometers every day, especially the clutch. Riding in an urban environment means shifting gears continuously, and that means actioning the clutch.
So Honda France have stated that they although they will honor the normal warrantee on the Gold Wing if used by a taxi company, that defects that are related to overuse, especially the clutch, will not be honored or repaired under a warrantee program.
This of course does not sit well with the French motorcycle taxi companies. Collectively they buy between 200 and 300 Honda Gold Wings per year, and the only alternative, the BMW K1600GTL is not as much in demand as is the Gold Wing (although that is slowly changing). They also point out that the other workhorse for taxi companies, the Suzuki Burgman scooter, is used as much as the Gold Wing, but there Suzuki has a different attitude; they just reenforce the maintenance of the clutch system during regular inspections. And that falls under the updated warrantee program.
A much better attitude to adopt for such a large customer base.
Posted 12:00:00 PM
Filed under Events Author: Mike Werner | Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
As luck (or skill) will have it, I was in The Netherlands this weekend in the great city of Utrecht, and while walking the canal streets of this old and beautiful city with my SWMBO, I stumbled upon this.
Today is the National Holiday of Turkey, celebrating the Commemoration of the founder of Turkey, Ataturk. To celebrate this national event, Turkish motorcycle riders living in The Netherlands gathered today to mark this special occasion.
Speeches, gathering, talking between friends, and of course the mandatory ride-out.
Hundreds of motorcycles had gathered on a central square in Utrecht, and most bikers were dressed in a black T-shirt.
Many, if not most of the motorcycles had at least one Turkish flag flying on their bike. A very colorful sight.
While we were walking away, many more bikers were streaming in towards this event. It looked like it was going to be a nice family & friends gathering on a beautiful and sunny day.
Of course I saw none of my Dutch colleagues, who were probably all still fast asleep after a weekend of partying. But for that one day of sunshine, I can't fault anyone on it.
Nice to see people living abroad still so nationalistic. Everything was done in respect and fun.
Posted 06:00:00 PM
Filed under Web Author: Mike Werner | Location: Travelling
I'm on the road, somewhere dusting the road, clocking up speeding fines and not enjoying the bad weather we've got in Europe. But to keep you amused, here are several motorcycle related articles that have appeared during the last week that you may have missed.
We told you some 2 weeks ago about a French initiative to use crowd-sourcing to highlight road infrastructure problems (link). The initiative was not bad, but quite limited since it requires to you to remember where the danger spots where during a ride and then fill them in on the web later. However a much better method has been launched in Belgium for its surrounding countries (so, not limited to one country) using smartphones. The approach is quite interesting, innovative and biker safe. Maybe you can lobby the developer to release the app for the rest of the world since everyone can benefit from this app.
The app is called Moto Smarty and currently works on iPhones with an Android version in test (they are looking for testers). It's the way they allow you to share your experience in bad or dangerous roads that makes this application so interesting.
Basically Moto Smarty records all hazards; potholes, manholes, fissures, slippery surfaces, bumps, dangerous curves, etc... they even warn you of speed bumps. The danger points are pointed out by other motorcycle riders (even car drivers) traveling those same roads and encountering the problem areas.
But here's where it gets interesting. What you do before setting off on your motorcycle ride, is that you turn on your smartphone, load the Moto Smarty application, press the "RIDE" button, and turn off the screen (put it in standby mode). Place the phone in any pocket you can reach easily. You will need either a wired earphone or a Bluetooth headset (like Cardo, Sena and others) plugged into the phone.
While riding, when you see a danger point, all you need to do is tap your phone twice. You don't need to get your phone, open the app, press buttons, etc.... nope, all you do is tap the phone twice. The tapping of your phone records the exact position, and further more, it allows you to dictate a voice memo so that you will remember the problem area later on.
So you see a hazard, tap the phone twice, talk and say what you've seen, in which direction, and that's it. Nifty and very safe for the biker. The biker keeps their eyes on the road. Later when you've arrived or are taking a pause, you can enter more details about the problem area.
To get notified of any issues up ahead, when you approached the hazard area, your smartphone will vibrate and even talk to you when there's a danger coming up. So you'll get notified that you are riding into a danger spot. Again, you don't need to take your eyes of the road, your phone is still stored away in your pocket.
All the danger spots can also be checked in advance, not only using your smartphone, but also on the web. If you are planning a trip, you might want to check and see if the roads you are planning to take are dangerous. It's especially good to do if you've got novices riding with you.
For each danger/hazard point, fellow motorcycle riders (and other vehicles) can confirm (or deny) its existence. When you ride through an area with a danger point, you can confirm that it exists, or that the problem has been cleared. Remember that often problems are temporary, so the danger can have been cleared since the last time someone was riding through the area.
Have a look at the video below that describes all this in pictures:
You can download the free iPhone app (Android version on its way) at:
Posted 08:00:00 AM
Filed under Harley-Davidson Author: Mike Werner | Location: Travelling
No matter where you are in the world, like-minded motorcycle owners will turn up at some annual event. The biggest is Harley-Davidson's Sturgis, and this Chinese event falls way behind in terms of participants.
But in a country where a Harley-Davidson's import tax is as much as the motorcycle itself, it's only the rich that can afford it. And not many of them participate in these "rowdy" events... BTW is that the Village People in photo #10?
A man wearing a skeleton mask prepares to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle during the annual Harley Davidson National Rally in Qian Dao Lake, in Zhejiang Province May 11, 2013. Around 1,000 Harley Davidson enthusiasts from all over China met to celebrate the 5th Harley Davidson National Rally in China, as part of the company's 110-year anniversary. Major Chinese cities ban motorcycles from circulating on highways and major avenues. Meanwhile, Harley Davidson motorbikes are considered by Chinese tax authorities to be luxury items, so they are taxed at extremely high rates-- sometimes the taxes alone is equivalent to the bike's U.S. price tag. Traffic and transportation authorities have also weighed in, putting Harleys in the same category as electric bikes, horses and bicycles, meaning that they cannot be on highways and major avenues. Picture taken May 11, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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