motorcycle crash inforgraphic

Why do motorcycles crash?

This infographic highlights the main findings from the 2009 MAIDS (Motorcycle Accident In Depth Study) report which collected data from over 900 motorcycle accidents in 5 different countries. The report is an extensive, highly detailed analysis of the causes of motorcycle accidents and, let’s be honest, you probably don’t want to read it. Fortunately, Reddit user Shooey put the effort into summarising the most important information into this much easier to digest infographic. Click to embiggen…

Why are we crashing?

MV Agusta F3 675

RIP Massimo Tamburini – Ducati 916 designer

Sad news – the legendary Italian motorcycle designer, Massimo Tamburini, has died aged 70 following a battle with lung cancer. Tamburini was responsible for designing the Ducati 916, widely regarded as one of most beautiful motorcycles in history.

He had many other design credits, including the stunning MV August F4. After founding Bimota in the early seventies, Tamburini spent time working with Ducati, Cagiva and MV Augusta throughout a career that spanned nearly fifty years.

During his early career he focused on designing better frames for Japanese engines, an approach he turned into a business when he founded Bimota with three friends. The first bike Tamburini designed for Ducati was the Paso 750, while the final production motorcycle he created was the MV Agusta F3 675, pictured above. 

Describing his approach to motorcycle design, he said “The ideal one would be a 750 with the power of a 1000 and the weight of a 500. You don’t need a huge amount of power on a road bike, but it’s important to have light weight as well.”

His work had a massive influence on the world of sports motorcycles and with the 916 he certainly helped propel Ducati to new levels of success both commercially and in motor-sport. Those of us with a passion for motorcycles have a lot to thank him for.

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2014 Honda CBR650F Preview

The best selling CBR600R used to be considered a great all-rounder, but over recent years has evolved into a more extreme supersports bike as the 600cc class became a dick waving contest between the big four Japanese manufacturers. All well and good, but not everybody wants, or can afford, a cutting edge track-focused bike – a lot of people just need something that they can use for getting to work during the week and the occasional bit of fun at weekends.

This is where the new for 2014 Honda CBR650F comes in. Although it shares the razor sharp looks of it’s sportier sibling, the new bike is designed to be a more affordable alternative better suited to every day use in the real world.

The bike will feature a steel frame, heavier but cheaper and more robust than the aluminium used in balls out sports bikes and the four cylinder engine is tuned to deliver more torque below 4000rpm. In another nod to practicality over performance, the CBR650F has also been designed to offer strong fuel economy while cruising at highway speeds.

Stopping power is provided by twin wavey discs at the front with dual piston callipers, and an ABS option is available.

With peak power in the mid-eighties, this bike isn’t going to win any races, but who cares? It’s not a track tool, it’s supposed to be practical, fun and affordable for the average rider, and we think it’ll sell extremely well.

More information from the Honda CBR650F page.

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Is this the world’s fastest electric motorcycle?

What you’re looking at here is the 2014 Isle of Man TT Zero Challenge contender from Japanese motorsport powerhouse, M-TEC, racing under the name Team Mugen.

The TT Zero is a time trial class run over the TT course specifically for motorcycles that produce zero emissions, which pretty much limits teams to electric bikes. Bet you never thought an electric motorcycle could look so sharp.

The bike, named Shinden San, is uses a motor that is smaller and lighter, yet more powerful than that used in last year’s second-prize winning Team Mugen entry. The space saved has been used to house a larger battery.

The team also picked up second place in its first entry into the class in 2012, and this year is considered a clear favorite to win. Riding for Mugen this year are veteran TT racers, John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey. The event takes place alongside the main TT in May and June.

Here are the official specifications:
·Machine Name : SHINDEN SAN
·Overall length / width / height (mm) : 2,125 / 680 / 1,130
·Wheelbase (mm) : 1,485
·Ground Clearance (mm) : 130
·Seat Height (mm) : 840
·Total Weight (kg): 240
·Tyre (Front) : 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
·Tyre (Rear) : 200/55ZR17M/C (78W)
·Frame : CFRP twin-spar type
·Motor Type : Oil-cooled, 3-phase, brushless motor
·Maximum Output (kW [ps]) : 100 [134]
·Maximum Torque (N·m [kgf·m]) : 220 [22.4]
·Battery Specification : Laminate-type Lithium-ion
·Battery Output Voltage (V) : 370 or more

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TomTom Rider v5 motor cycle GPS review

The newest version of TomTom’s GPS navigation device for motorcycles offers even more features to appeal to riders, but is it worth the price?

As you’d expect, the device is heavily ruggedized in order to cope with the rigors of daily use on the road, and is also resistant to rain and UV sunlight damage. Another key feature of the TomTom Rider is that the 4.3 inch touch-screen can easily be operated while wearing thick motorcycle gloves. The screen size is significantly increased from the previous model’s 3.5 inches, which makes viewing maps and other on screen information much easier to do with a quick glance, so you take your eyes off the road for less time.

Other than the larger screen, the biggest new feature for version five is the ‘Winding Roads’ option which enables you to find more interesting twisty roads on your route. There’s also integration with the route planning service, Tyre, which enables riders to create and share their favorite itineraries. Lifetime map updates are included in the purchase price.

The TomTom Rider comes supplied with a good quality motorcycle mounting kit from RAM, which has a proven track record in this area.

Power options include a six hour internal battery, which can be charged via a microUSB socket like most cellphones, as well as a wiring kit to connect the device to your motorcycle’s battery.

The TomTom Rider does not have a built in speaker, so if you want to get audio navigation instructions you’ll need to use it with a Bluetooth headset in your helmet. It’s unlikely that this will be a problem for most riders, since you’re not going to be able to hear the instructions from a built-in speaker over the wind and engine noise.

When compared against its main competitor, the Garmin zumo 390lm, the TomTom Rider seems a little bulky and offers marginally fewer features. However, it’s still a pretty good navigation system for motorcycles and, as of the time of writing, it’s available for $330, which is a lot less than the Garmin’s $600 price tag.

The real question is whether the Garmin offers enough benefits over the TomTom to justify an extra $270.

Product Name: TomTom Rider v5
Our Rating: 4/5
Amazon Link: TomTom RIDER Motorcycle GPS Navigator

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Put some awesome on your head: The 8 Best Motorcycle Helmets for 2014

A motorcycle helmet not only keeps you safe but it can make the ride (not to mention your look) all the more awesome! Let’s take a look at what some of the top companies are offering new for this year!  - by Adam Louis.

Icon Airmada

The intimidating shell is home to industry leading intake and exhaust to help you keep a cool head on your hot ride. The moisture-wicking interior makes for a breathable, comfortable and safe space while a breath deflector keeps your line of sight clear as day (or night).

 

shoei_rf1200_motorcycle_helmetShoei RF-1200

This sleek and stylish slice of perfect protection offers superior aerodynamics, wind noise reduction while still allowing the rider to hear “informative sounds,” and a state-of-the-art ventilation system that combines cool conditions and silence. Combine that with a fits-like-a-glove interior, and it’s everything a rider asks from a high-end helmet and more. Shoei Solid RF-1200 Sports Bike Racing Motorcycle Helmet – get latest prices from Amazon

Bell Arrow

Simple, inexpensive and a hit with bikers everywhere, the Bell Arrow may be low in price, but it’s high in quality. Its lightweight shell, no-hassle anti-scratch shield and adjustable ventilation system helps keep the elements out and the comfort in. Starts at about $60. Bell Arrow Turbine Helmet on Amazon

Arai Signet-Q

Arai’s done it again, taking it’s gold standard RX-Q and creating a long-oval shape for a wider range of riders. The Signet-Q is every bit the perfect protection its younger brother is. It offers an advanced all-over ventilation system, peel-away temple pads for extra comfort and customization and spring supports to keep the helmet on and at the perfect amount of pressure. Starts at about $550.

Scorpion EXO-500

Scorpion is on the rise with the EXO-500. This top-notch helmet creates a sleek profile and features a retractable sun visor, perfectly engineered polycarbonate shell and element-fighting KwickWIck 2 liner (for warm or cool weather). Starts at about $210. Scorpion Bio-Metal EXO-500 on Amazon.

speed and strength ss700Speed and Strength SS700

The Speed and Strength SS700 boasts the perfect price tag for beginning riders while offering high-end quality. The aerodynamic, tough outer shell hosts a fully removable moisture-wicking liner, excellent air flow and a fog resistant, wide visor for optimum field of vision. Starts at about $90. Speed & Strength SS700 on Amazon

AGV K3AGV K3

AGV proves just because a helmet’s low in price doesn’t mean quality is sacrificed. This tough, lightweight has become a reliable industry standard. High on comfort and low on noise, this helmet features a high-resistant thermoplastic resin shell, standard Street 8 clear face shield, a micrometric adjustable chin strap and much more! Starts at about $170. AGV K3 Icon Helmet on Amazon.

LS2 FF386

Not only will you feel awesome pulling on this high-tech helmet, but you’ll be ready for the long haul! The flip-up chin bar allows for open-face riding when you want to feel the wind and a closed helmet when the going gets tough. Its wind-cutting design reduces rider fatigue and keeps you cool (or warm) behind a wide, sratch-resistant eyeport and precision-fit inner padding. Starts at about $170.

What helmet revs you up? Discuss in the comments below!

(Header photo credit: Richard Stowey)

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How to prepare your motorcycle for a long journey

If you are planning your first motorcycle trip, your might be prepared but it is important that your bike is also ready for the journey. Regardless of whether you are going abroad or just wanting to see another part of the country you need to ensure your bike is in good shape.

You might be up to date with your bike maintenance already, but just incase it is important to make sure that you have had a recent service. For a long trip it would be wise to ensure that you have had an oil change. This will ensure that your engine is running smoothly, remember a happy bike means a happy trip. Next, check that your brakes are up to the task if you are taking a major trip it would pay to bleed those brakes ahead any expedition.

If you have been using the bike for daily commute check those tires ahead of any trip. Take a good look not just the pressures but the tread depth. If they are looking pretty worn and approaching the tread depth it would pay to change them. Remember that when tires start to get the minimum tread they wear faster, a lot faster. Most touring tires give a great mileage without sacrificing performance.

Of course check cables, lights and everything else. It is often a good idea to wash your machine, not just so it looks good for the trip but it is the best time to spot any obvious faults or damage to the machine.

If you are taking your bike overseas you need documentation. Take original copies of your documents, especially the registration papers. It would also be wise to check for any regulations that would apply. If you are going to be driving on the opposite side of the road then you are going to need headlight deflectors for your machine. This is a legal requirement as without these you will be dazzling incoming traffic.

Finally, check everything and then take your machine on a test ride with the luggage that you are going to be carrying. This is to get used to the machine with extra load (this will certainly change the handling a little), and check your luggage. Make sure those panniers aren’t damaged.

Once you are happy, you and your bike are ready for a trip of a lifetime!

Photo Credit: Tomasz Kustrzynski

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Ducati Monster 1200S – Review Roundup

“Cleverly updated Italian icon that blends traditional Monster style and V-twin character with much improved performance, comfort and refinement.”
Rating: 4/5
Daily Telegraph - March 2014

 “…the air-cooled engine has been switched to a large, liquid-cooled 1198-cc twin derived from the same powerplant found in Ducati’s Diavel and Multistrada. Output eclipses the outgoing 1100 EVO model by a wheelie-popping 35 hp (or 45 hp with the S model). “
Popular Mechanics - February 2014

” It is the strongest, probably the best, and arguably the most beautiful ‘roadster’ in a long line of Ducati nakeds and most Monsteristi will once again fall for this newest iteration.”
Asphalt & Rubber - February 2014

 “The engine has linear power delivery, low vibration levels and a feeling of refinement. Engine surge and excessive drivetrain lash are evident only if you hunt for it, by, say, keeping it under 2,500 rpm in top gear. “
Cycle World - February 2014

“Driving out of corners, it nearly doesn’t matter how high a gear you’re in. A gentle throttle hand draws the power like water from a deep well. The wide bars make it easy to stand up quickly as the road unravels. Then you nail it and the power builds and builds and keeps building.”
Visor Down – February 2014

“There’s loads of mid-range and low-down grunt, and it sounds fantastic for a standard bike. The handling on the S model is excellent, just as happy on road or track, and light and easy to ride.”
Rating: 4/5
Motorcycle News - February 2014

“It doesn’t look dramatically different at first glance, but the 2014 Ducati Monster 1200 S gains a slew of modifications that make this naked bike’s personality much closer to its menacing moniker than ever before, while still maintaining an air of civility.”
About.com Motorcycles - February 2014

“Ducati has improved every aspect of its naked bike, making it faster, more comfortable and better handling. I expect the existing and new Monstertisti will fall head over heels for the 2014 Monster 1200S in short order.”
Motorcycle USA - February 2014

Yamaha - Masters of Torque

Yamaha creates “Masters of Torque” anime mini-series to promote MT-07 & MT-09

If there’s an award for unusual motorcycle marketing campaigns, we think Yamaha must have it in the bag this year with the launch of this anime-style web series promoting its MT-07 and MT-09 naked streetbikes.

Masters of Torque will run for four episodes (each around 10 minutes long), telling the story of three young motorcycle riders in a futuristic Tokyo. The show is produced in Japanese, unsurprisingly, but features English subtitles.

According to Yamaha’s press materials, the series is designed to break away from conventional Japanese motorcycle marketing, which tends to focus on US/European locations, by instead celebrating Japan’s own style, culture and geography.

For more information, you can visit the show’s web page here:  http://global.yamaha-motor.com/showroom/mt/ 

And here’s the first episode, titled “Idle Roughness”…

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Review: Garmin zumo 390LM motorcycle GPS

Manufacturers of specialised motorcycle GPS navigation systems are having to find new ways to compete with smartphones which offer built in navigation features. The Garmin zumo 390LM is the newest offering designed specifically for motorcyclists, with the kind of specialised features that smartphones can’t compete with.

First up, the 390LM comes in a rugged, rubber casing that not only protects it from daily battering out on the road, but also keeps the unit from being damaged by water, fuel and UV sunlight. The 4.3 inch touch-screen is easy to use while wearing a pair of riding gloves.

The device is supplied with both motorcycle and car mounting options, and features all the expected connectivity options, including Bluetooth, MicroSD port, USB connector, and headset socket.

The LM designation shows that you get free Lifetime Maps with the zumo 390LM instead of having to pay for new versions whenever they’re updated. There are a few brand new features for this model. Curvy Roads mode will help you find a more route that has more interesting, twisty Tarmac – perfect for riders who want to work on scrubbing off their tire’s chicken-strips.

The unit’s Bluetooth feature means it’s now easy to connect your smartphone to it, so with a headset you can easily answer calls while you’re riding. For many riders being unreachable is part of the joy of being out on the road, but long distance riders might well appreciate the ability to take calls without having to stop.

When used with a pair of optional tire pressure sensors (currently priced at $69.99 each) which fit onto your valve stems, the zumo 390LM will also monitor the pressures and provide you with a visual alert if they drop below a preset level. The system can monitor up to four wheels, so you could set up your car as well as your motorcycle if you intend to use the device with both vehicles.

Currently selling for $699, the zumo 390LM is certainly more costly than using a smartphone to navigate, but if you do a lot of long distance riding, particularly on unknown roads, it will certainly make life a lot easier.

Product Name: Garmin zumo 390 LM
Our Rating: 4/5
Amazon Page: Garmin Zumo 390LM 4.3-Inch Motorcycle GPS Navigator