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Friday, May 22nd, 2015

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Octo Rider 1: Pay-As-You-Ride Motorcycle Insurance

Posted 02:00:00 PM
Filed under  New Products
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Normandy, France
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Octo logo
Octo Open Octo in a new window is a company that has been running telemetric solutions for car, fleet management and more importantly, for insurance companies for the last 10 years or so. Started in 2002 in Italy, they have grown over the last 10 years all over Europe, but so far only for the car industry.

But that has changed last month. Octo Rider 1 is a package that has been introduced in Europe, notably Spain, and it is targeted towards motorcycles.

Octo Rider 1 is an electronics package that gets installed on your motorcycle, using its own batteries. It has a range of sensors; movement, GPS, etc and it communicates with its owner. But the owner is not you, the rider. It's the insurance company (or fleet management, but there aren't that many for motorcycles) who receives the telemetric data. So you can not buy this product as an individual.

Octo Rider 1

And that is because the insurance company will have made a deal with you on your motorcycle's insurance. Depending on the insurance company, it could be the more miles you ride, the more you need to pay. Or you only pay when you use it. In other words, if you have a bike sitting in the garage that you don't use that much, you could make a good deal with this. Great for vintage bike owner, or people who have several motorcycles in the garage.

The Octo Rider 1 is also a localization box, i.e., if your motorcycle gets stolen, the box will notify the insurance company where the bike is, and they can send in the cavalry to get your bike back.

So unless you have some privacy concerns, this may be a good solution to reducing your monthly bills.

Via: Octo




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This Is Why Hairdressers Do Not Like Motorcycle Riders

Posted 08:00:00 AM
Filed under  Funny Entertainment
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Travelling
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I'd guess this is really why motorcycle riders are not welcome at hairdressers. It's a bit tough on their scissors...

Biker Haircuts







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Thursday, May 21st, 2015

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Idea: Motorcycle Towed Adventure Trailer

Posted 06:00:00 PM
Filed under  Ideas Travel
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Normandy, France
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This isn't a bad idea if it weren't for the price. At the Kickstarter site, you will see an interesting crowd-funding project called Revolution Trailer by Spin.

The idea behind the product has a lot of merit. If you are one that likes to go adventure riding, camping on the go, you know that there never is enough space on your motorcycle to carry your tent, sleeping bags, cappuccino machine and TV set (that describes my camping efforts...). So a trailer would be a good thing, but if you are truly riding in the wild, following small trails you're not going to be able to take either a sidecar or a big trailer.

Hence the adventure trailer… this is a narrow trailer that gets placed on the rear wheel axle of your motorcycle, and with the adjustable suspension and wheel travel will be able to follow your motorcycle anywhere the bike can go, without hindering you in your efforts to stay on the bike.

Motorcycle Revolution Cargo Trailer

The trailer itself is modular, so you can configure it to your requirements. The designer recommends a max load for motorcycles to around 28 kg. The trailer itself has its own 12V system, used to power rear lights but can also be used to power your coffee machine when you have arrived, since it has its own battery. Nifty for gentleman campers like myself...

The trailer can be towed by off-road or street motorcycles (with or without shaft drive) and by ATVs. You can see in the video below how versatile and easy it is to ride with the trailer. It's quite impressive.

Motorcycle Revolution Cargo Trailer

Now we come to the sticking point: price. If you pledge money you get a "special" price, US$5,000!!! You can pledge less and get souvenirs, but for the trailer, you need to splurge with 5K USD. You would need to do a lot of camping to recover that kind of money.

Click here to see the adventure trailer on the Kickstarter site Open Click here to see the adventure trailer on the Kickstarter site link in a new window (and pledge money)
Click here to read much more about the trailer on the original Spincargo site. Open Click here to read much more about the trailer on the original Spincargo site. link in a new window

Here is the introduction video. It's quite interesting.








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Usually The Other Way Around - Cars Now Careful Around Motorcycles

Posted 02:00:00 PM
Filed under  News Entertainment
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Normandy, France
click to see where USA is on the map
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It's usually the other way around - motorcyclists are hit by flying debris coming from cars and trucks. Riding around on your motorcycle, minding your own business, when some part of a clunker brakes off and flies into your face. Enough to make a truly bad hair day.

Motorcycle Sprocket Hits Car

But in this case, it went the other way. On the 101 Highway in Redwood City in California, a motorcycle sprocketMotorcycle Sprocket left its motorcycle unexpectedly and went right through a car's windshield, embedding itself in the car's roof. Apparently it missed the car driver by inches.

Enough to keep a healthy distance behind motorcycles from now on.

My question is.... what model Harley-Davidson was it? Big Grin Smiley

Via: NBC Bay Area




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Do Not Look Back Now, Motorcycle Riding Alien About To Eat Us

Posted 08:00:00 AM
Filed under  Funny Entertainment
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Normandy, France
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Scary dude on a motorcycle is following us. Will he jump on us and eat us?

Do Not Look Back Now







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Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

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LED Lights Without Wires On Your Motorcycle

Posted 06:00:00 PM
Filed under  Entertainment Gadgets
Author: Mike Werner
Location: 
Travelling
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Sometimes having extra lights so that you can be seen properly, especially at night, can be a good idea. But most motorcycles have never enough lights, and bikers often put on extra ones. Long distance, short ones, running daylight lights or just plain old decorative LED lights.

But whatever kind of light you install, it always requires wiring the lights to your electrical system. At just plugging them into any part of the electrical system is not a good idea, since you don't want the lights to be burning when the engine is off.

Wind Powered LED Lights

Here's an interesting solution coming to you from China (where else?). This product is a bar of LED lights (8 LED per bar) that are supplied electricity by the turning of a small fan. And the fan turns when your motorcycle is in motion. In other words, the LED lights go on when you move, because it's wind powered. And when the motorcycle is stopped, so are the lights (unless there's a hurricane blowing).

Wind Powered LED Lights

So no wiring involved. Just stick the LED light bar anywhere on your motorcycle (or car, bicycle, boat or truck) and when you move, the lights go on. Interesting.

Wind Powered LED Lights

Cost: around US$7-8 for two.

I did find a few on Amazon.

Click here to buy the Wind Powered LED Lights on Amazon USA
Click here to buy in on Amazon UK






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Review: 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT - False Globetrotter, Real Streetbike

Posted 02:00:00 PM
Filed under  Product Review Suzuki
Author: Loic Depailler
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.

Click here to read the original review, and see bigger photos of the 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT Open Click here to read the original review of the 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT link in a new window
Suzuki logo
Le Repaire des Motards logo
The 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT 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 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT Open Click here to read the original review of the 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT link in a new window (in French)
False Globetrotter, Real Streetbike

The youngest of you will not remember this, but there was a time, not so long ago (beginning of this century), Suzuki was not far from being the king of the motorcycle world. It was the heyday when this site is launched (1999 - ed: the original site of this review, see the via below), where it(s) model(s) were sold in spades. There was also the inevitable GSX-R 1000, already queen of endurance and champion of the quality-price-power ratio, the SV and its playful twins (we are getting to it) and the trails roadster V-Strom. After the smack of the 1000 version in 2002, the V-Strom 650 -unveiled in 2004- was another instant hit for Suzuki, immediately hoisted up worldwide sales of mid-size trails (650 to 800 cc). The catch is that the competition was not very rough around the segment and the growing popularity of this type of motorcycle also corresponds to a slow erosion of Suzuki's market share. Logical, because the offer has continued to grow: Kawasaki Versys 650 in 2006, Honda Transalp in 2007, Triumph Tiger 800 in 2009, Honda NCX in 2012 ... It was also in 2012 that Suzuki reacts and revisits the DL 650 after eight long years. And the pace is accelerating today. Whoever thought to be quiet until 2020 may revise their schedule as Suzuki has decided to support its small V-Strom XT variant with a more accented adventurer. Why? The official answer is that the demand for "off-road" style motorcycles is constantly increasing and that the XT logically responds to this request.


Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

Discovery

Let's start right away with what changes. The most obvious difference is the abandonment of the spoke rims in favor of the laced models. Made of aluminum, they are suitable for tubeless tires since the spokes are anchored on a double vertical web rather than on the rim itself, thus preserving the seal. The dimensions are identical to the standard V-Strom with 110 / 80-19" front and 150 / 70-17", just like the original tires, Bridgestone Trailwing.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

The XT is also differentiated by the presence of a skid plate, hand guards and a two-tone saddle. Oh, I forgot! Miss XT is also entitled to a little facetiousness with the stylistic grafting of a duckbill under the double optics, not to ape (like everyone else) the BMW R 1200 GS, but in the tradition of the Suzuki DR, ancient trails in the model range of the 80's-90's.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

And that's it? Almost, since Suzuki also offers a plethora of accessories to give even more the look of an adventurer to its XT, especially with "square" luggage, carter-casings ...

For the rest, there are the characteristics of the "normal" V-Strom with its aluminum frame and its small 645 cc twin delivering 60 Nm of torque at 6400 rpm and 69 horsepower at 8800 rpm. On the suspensions side, we are entitled to 150 mm deflections. Curiously, the weight is unchanged with 215 kg fully fueled despite the rims deemed lighter.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

In The Saddle

Not surprisingly, the seat height (835 mm) has not changed and placing the feet on the ground for shorter riders proves complicated. With 1.70 m, we are left balanced on the tips unless you opt for the "light swaying" to have at least one foot flat at a red light ... Under the eyes of the rider sits a full dashboard: engaged gear, two daily trips and their respective average consumption indicators, fuel gauge, water temperature gauge ... Especially, the information can be scrolled on the dashboard using a trigger on the left stalk. Ultra practical and almost unexpected on a Suzuki in this segment!

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

On the finish side, it varies from the good to the less good, depending on where one looks. The rims are sublime and a good quality paint. The black aluminum frame and engine foundries also flatter the retina, but the quality of some plastics (the black ones) remains inadequate, as well as the appearance of the side stand or some bodywork adjustments.

Still, the XT is more opulent than the "basic" V-Strom. Ergonomics, the brake lever has a knob adjustment, contrary to the clutch. At the front, the windshield is adjustable to three positions by means of a small mechanical session. For journalists this is not practical, but it is true that a normal owner does not change its settings every four mornings ...

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

In The City

Not surprisingly, we find on the XT the same qualities that have made the "good horse" reputation of the original model, at home anywhere. Apart for a saddle too high for those smaller than 1.70 m, all is well on board. The clutch-not adjustable- is neither too hard nor too soft, easily dosed and the gearbox knows how to be forgotten. As for the twin, it is remarkably supple in use. In the last gear, it is almost possible to go down to idle speed (35 kph) and the gears - on intermediaries - pickups are vigorous as early as 3000 rpm. The cycle part is in keeping putting it in a progressive angle (thank you big handlebars) and a good balance in the maneuvers at very low speed. The hydraulics lack a little finesse on speed bumps, but that flaw is compensated by large suspension travel. More subjectively, the spoked rims also appear to bring a little extra comfort on large compressions but we will come back to that a bit later. Finally, the general narrowness should make it a valuable ally in town. For fans of lane splitting, however, the picture is more mixed, because if the large handlebar passes over the mirrors of a traditional car, sometimes it reaches the height of those oiled family cattle trucks and SUV ...

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

On The Motorways

This Suzuki XT is doing very well with the punishment of motorway journeys. In sixth gear, the engine purrs at 5,000 rpm at 110 kph and climbs to 5,900 rpm to 130 kph, a speed at which the twin vibrates a little, if at all, according to the revs. The combo large fuel tank, windshield and hand guards ensures the job at legal speeds, leaving exposed only the top of the helmet and the lower legs. For tall riders, the optional windshield with a deflector is recommended. No more effective in the absolute, it offers the great advantage of eradicating almost all aerodynamic turbulence and significantly reduces the ringing in the helmet.

As for the saddle comfort it is in the standard, nor pullman nor wooden stick. Remains unknown if the square panniers could threaten the stability at high speeds. The standard profiled models, tested in parallel on a V-Strom 650 classic, do not result in a slight flutter at widely outlawed speeds.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

On Secondary Roads

The route prepared by our opener Jean-Pierre Goy (you know, the "motorcycle" stuntman of James Bond) made us take some of the most beautiful roads with twisties between Ain and Savoy with a loop around the lake of Bourget for dessert.

Good player, the 650 XT bends to all types of uses without complaining. Linger admiring the scenery, it is perfect. The soft, fine tuned suspensions put up with all kinds of asphalt while we surf on the fat torque naturally from a higher gear towards 5,500 revs.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

If the desire or need to up the tempo arises, the V-Strom XT is also present. Neither precise as a Kawasaki Versys nor as straightforward and as a block as a Triumph Tiger, the little Suzuki will likely keep pace with the aforementioned machines during a "colonial quarter hour", but it is frankly not its vocation. Always healthy, it pumps slightly on its suspension when you start to push its limits and the lack of bite and brakes feedback are not conducive to grasping the right lever when arriving at the Too Late panel ... Too bad, because the front end accepts this kind of constraint without stiffening or raising the machine once you are on an angle. Neither does the twin not like being abused. Beyond 6,000 rpm, it has a slight slump in which power and torque seem capped. All comes back in order around 7000 rpm and you can then extract the last horsepower until the red zone, helped by a gearbox able to string the gears on the fly without using the clutch. But the twin has undeniably lost the playful side at high speeds of the previous generation. Despite its age, the original Bridgestone Trailwing tires, when properly heated, fulfills a sporting rhythm. In short, the ideal for the XT is to run at 70% of its potential area in which it will deliver the best efficacy-pleasure. The passionate ones will prefer her big sister's 1000 cc engine, altogether more playful on the engine side with a formidable braking efficiency.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

Off Road (A Bit)

Our convoy, always led by our opener / stuntman, was treated to a special off-road route based on low rolling dirt roads, small dirt roads with alternating mud and stone as well as some pseudo-trial parts. Having tried a 650 XT with the new Bridgestone A40, otherwise outperforming the ancient Trailwing fitted as standard, a mid-size trail is as comfortable in these conditions as a giraffe on an ice rink: nonexistent traction, general blur on soft ground, feeling of crossing the skis at every tight turn ... But there is a trick. Jean-Pierre Goy, him again, knows a little off-road as he runs a riding school dedicated to this kind of provocations. So to play in the paths, the man simply deflated our tires to 1.5 bar. The result is astonishing for a motorcycle of this size with a real feedback to the handlebars and "natural" feel off-road without causing the bike from becoming a sea serpent once back on the road. Well, deflating the tires has not turned the small Suz' in a 450 Enduro and the standing on the footrests riding position could interfere with the big guys rooted to the handlebars, a hair too low. But the 650 XT comes out with honors and proves that despite its road vocation and therefore a big size, getaways off the beaten track are possible, even for a neophyte.

Tested in parallel with a basic V-Strom, the adventurer has proven significantly more comfortable in this exercise, although helped by its Excel rims. Lighter and more flexible, they greatly facilitate the work of the suspensions over a succession of bumps and provide surplus comfort on the very large bumps. The guardians of the anti-asphalt temple will object that it lacks a disconnectable ABS, but for occasional trips, such artifice is not really mandatory.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

Comfort

The front not being adjustable, so you simply allow the stern to follow the bow. Initially, (solo without baggage) the agreement is perfect, giving the V-Strom an adventurer sauce with excellent balance whatever the quality of the asphalt. The hydraulics and the choice of the springs show a typical comfort orientation. The other good news is that the shock of the XT has a handy scroll wheel for adjusting the preload housed on the right side at the junction between frame and subframe. So just play with the dial until we find the original balance.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

Add to this a soft saddle and cut to provide a wide range of movement and you get a good roadster. Like the standard V-Strom ...

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

Brakes

The V-Strom 650 XT is entitled to a double disc 310 mm in diameter and calipers double stacked-piston at the front and a single 260 mm disc coupled with a single-piston caliper in the rear. In use, the power is there, but the system lacks teeth in the cold and even "lukewarm". Paradoxically, the phenomenon is much less sensitive at a very fast pace, the pads pretend gaining a bite as and when they become hot. The ABS is calibrated at the front, with a late entry into action and a low return in the lever. This is much less good at the rear, with fast tripping as soon as you are requesting too much of the right pedal.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

Fuel Consumption

The official announced fuel consumption is 3.9 L / 100 km in the combined riding. In reality it is much more while remaining reasonable. In muscular riding, it is possible to occasionally rise to 6.5 liters on average, but at the end of our day and a half of testing, all our 650s displayed in their dashboard a fuel consumption of between 5.2 and 5.5 liters. Combined with the 20-liter tank, a total autonomy of around 350 km is obtained.

Practical and Accessories

At the release of the latest V-Strom 650, we noted that the novelty was an evolution of the older generation. But that sometimes is good. If you lift the saddle of the XT for example, you will find a space "like in the old days" capable of hosting a gaggle of useful trinkets like a real U-lock, a rain combination and a second pair of summer gloves. By forcing a little, we must even be able to add the future compulsory yellow vest (ed: France is making it mandatory to have a yellow vest on the bike, not when riding, in case of a breakdown) ... Well, the access is blocked by a reinforcement bar surmounted by the closing mechanism, but we are well above the standard genre.

More troublesome for a roadster, you have to go dig into the catalog of options to have a sidestand (€268). In this catalog you will also find all you need to travel the road, eat kilometers, swallow asphalt, in short, travel with a large T: panniers, top case, engine guards, heated grips ... the fact that Suzuki offers a gaggle of accessories is a great thing, but transforming a 650 XT into an adventurer GT has not only advantages. Many of our test machines were almost in full option mode: lateral engine guards, luggage plus its additional supports ... And the extra weight, even empty and without pillion results in significant performance reduction. This remark is also applicable to all mid-size market trails. So if your intention is to regularly trim the road with duo and bag and baggage, better make your choice on a (random) V-Strom 1000.

Review 2015 Suzuki V Strom 650 XT

Conclusion

As announced, the XT version is not fundamentally different from a classic V-Strom. Healthy, sober and comfortable, it will bend gracefully to all types of use: home-work trips, Sunday stroll, going on vacation and even a hint of off-road. In summary, a kind of Swiss army knife with Teriyaki sauce redesigned to stick as close to the current expectations of the customer segment. And to get their hands on a XT, you have to add €600 against the standard model, an addition that rises to €8,599. It's almost a gift when we know how much costs a pair of tubeless Excel rims at retail ... Faced with its competitors, however, the XT suffered the brunt of the new Suzuki pricing policy, former world champion quality price ratio: Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS is displayed at €7,699 and the Honda NCX 750 to €7,999, as is the XT 660 Z Tenere from Yamaha. Remains the case of the Triumph Tiger 800, much more expensive (from €10,190 to €12,490), but offering benefits and performance at a whole new level ...

Strong PointsWeak Points
  • Getting started
  • Versatility
  • Engine availability
  • General comfort
  • Missing biting braking
  • ABS too present
  • Some finishing details
  • Saddle height


Via: Le Repaire Des Motards




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