Category Archives: General News

TomTom announces new GPS for motorcycle riders

TomTom has announced a completely new TomTom RIDER sat-nav, designed to make every motorcycle ride more exciting. For the first time, bikers can choose the level of twists and turns they want to ride to create their own adrenaline-filled adventure. The new product will be available to buy in April 2015.

TOMTOM_RIDER_EU

New features include:

  • Winding Roads: Find the most exciting winding roads and avoid the boring straights.
  • Hilly Roads: Stay at sea level or climb the highest peaks.
  • Round-trip Planning: Simply select where you want to ride and TomTom Rider will find the most exciting route.
  • Portrait View: Simple rotate to portrait view to see more of the bends ahead.
  • PC Route Planning: Pre-plan a touring adventure before leaving home.
  • Route Sharing: Share a route with other bikers before setting off or after you return home.
  • Lifetime TomTom Traffic: Ride with real-time traffic information for the lifetime of the device.
  • Audio Instructions via Bluetooth: Keep your eyes on the road with audio instructions delivered through your headset.
  • Track Support: Upload tracks (GPX format) and your TomTom Rider will show you the way.
  • Hands-free Calling: Call hands-free while you ride.
  • Weather-proof Design: As weather ready as you are.
  • Glove-friendly Screen: Use your TomTom Rider even while wearing gloves.
  • Sunlight Visibility: Make use of different colour options for different times of day.
  • Trip Recording: Record your trip and relive the adventure any time.
  • Trip Statistics: See how far, how fast and for how long you have ridden.
  • Fully Interactive Screen: Pinch, zoom and swipe to interact with the map.

“We believe that every ride is a chance for adventure,” said Corinne Vigreux, co-founder and managing director, TomTom Consumer. “So we have designed TomTom RIDER to give bikers more ways to create and discover exciting routes. From the freedom of cruising the open road, to the thrill of leaning into the tightest curve on the highest peak, with RIDER, bikers can create and ride their own perfect adventure.”

The stylish, yet rugged TomTom RIDER has been completely redesigned for life on the road.

An innovative rotating mount allows bikers to switch to portrait view to see more of the bends ahead. It has a glove-friendly, interactive screen to make it easy to find and explore new places. Bluetooth enabled audio instructions delivered to the headset or helmet, give bikers more freedom to just enjoy the ride.

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.

UK insurer offers free anti-motorcycle-theft solution

UK motorcycle insurance broker, Carole Nash will offer free security marking kits to all customers opening new policies or renewing old ones, following a successful trial of the DNA+ programme in 2011.

From March 2012, all motorcyclists who take out or renew policies will receive a free Carole Nash DNA+ kit containing a liquid-based forensic coding solution together with high impact hologram decals designed to act as a theft deterrent. The DNA+ solution combines DNA and microdot technology that is registered exclusively to the policyholder. The clear liquid is painted onto the bike’s different parts, providing a unique ID which makes it easier for the police to recover stolen bikes and trace the thieves.

Nick Baker, director of products and marketing at Carole Nash, said: “As a motorcycle insurance specialist, we fully understand the emotional and financial cost of theft to bikers. By introducing Carole Nash DNA+ as a standard benefit, we hope to not only add value to all policies but to reduce bike theft. The pilot scheme went extremely well and subsequent research has shown that customers are more than willing to take a few easy steps to protect their pride and joy from potential thieves.”

At present the only identifying marks on the majority of motorcycles are the frame and engine number, allowing thieves to dismantle machines and sell valuable parts. With Carole Nash DNA+, police can use an ultra-violet light to read the coding and trace individual parts back to the owner via an international database. The cost of a year’s subscription to the database is included as long as the motorcycle is insured through Carole Nash.

Over 15,000 Carole Nash bike insurance policyholders have already been given a DNA+ kit as a result of the three-month pilot scheme in 2011. “I found DNA+ very easy to use when I applied it to my scooter, and the instructions were simple to follow. Knowing that the identification marks are there does give me added peace of mind that, if the unthinkable were to happen, the bike would be easily identified by the police and returned to me,” said Gareth Jones from Wales.

The launch of this initiative follows increased worry within the motorcycle community about the cost and other effects of motorcycle theft. In 2011 MCN launched a Mark Our Bikes campaign to encourage insurers to provide free security marking systems. “Security systems like DNA+ create for the first time a way of linking dozens of individual parts to the owner,” explains MCN senior reporter Steve Farrell. “This helps the police identify them as stolen parts and catch the thieves trading in them. The Carole Nash DNA+ scheme is an excellent step in the right direction towards the reduction of motorcycle theft.”

Star Wars, Batman and X-Men Motorcycle Leathers

These awesome super-hero motorcycle leathers are made by Toronto based UD Replicas, who are famous for creating these kinds of Hollywood style costumes for motorcycle riders.

If you feel like riding around looking like Batman or a Storm Trooper from Star Wars, and you’ve got a few thousand dollars to spare, you get in touch with the company through its website. We’re not sure if these would make you look awesome, or just really, really geeky – but we’re down with it either way.

Of course, what we really want to see is a Catwoman motorcycle outfit, possibly modelled by Emma Watson… Please? Pretty please?

 

Batman Motorcycle Leathers
Star Wars Stormtrooper
Darth Vader
Iron Man
Wolverine from X-Men

Great motorcycle quotes

There’s something about riding bikes that sings to the soul, so it’s no surprise that lots of famous people of given us some great motorcycle quotes that try to sum up their feelings about these awesome machines. We’ve collected some of our favourite motorcycle quotes below, and if you know of any more please share them with us in the comments:

“You live more in five minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime.” – Burt Munro, from the movie, The World’s Fastest Indian

“Driving a motorcycle is like flying. All your senses are alive. When I ride through Beverly Hills in the early morning, and all the sprinklers have turned off, the scents that wash over me are just heavenly. Being House is like flying, too. You’re free of the gravity of what people think. ” – Hugh Laurie, actor.

“I really love to ride my motorcycle. When I want to just get away and be by myself and clear my head, that’s what I do.” – Kyle Chandler, actor.

“Riding a motorcycle on today’s highways, you have to ride in a very defensive manner. You have to be a good rider and you have to have both hands and both feet on the controls at all times.” – Evel Knievel, stuntman.

“You see, I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle, actually.” – Henry Winkler, actor.

“Endless motorbike talk can and does bore me.” – Barry Sheene, racer.

“Riding a race bike is an art – a thing that you do because you feel something inside.” – Valentino Rossi, racer.

"I try to have a different relationship with the bike. I don't give it a name, but I always speak with it. I don't know if the other riders do the same. This is not only a piece of metal - there is a soul." - Valentino Rossi

More motorcycle quotes

 

“But I was very, very lucky, and it was a wake up call as far as motorbikes are concerned. I never flirted with death on the bike, but now I’m totally convinced they’re death machines.” – Liam Neeson, actor.

“Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.” Hunter S Thompson, writer.

“A motorcycle functions entirely in accordance with the laws of reason, and a study of the art of motorcycle maintenance is really a miniature study of the art of rationality itself.” – Robert M. Pirsig, writer.

“Roadracing motorcycles makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty.” – Peter S. Egan, journalist.

The Women of Motorcyling

Wherever there’s a fellow hurtling along on two wheels, there’s a woman doing the same, and Women’s Motorcycle Month is just a small part of what makes the motorcycle a big part of women’s achievements in motorsports. Across the years since the first motorbike was invented, women have become more and more involved in the maintaining, riding, designing, manufacture, insurance, repair and racing of these mean machines. So how are some of the most important figureheads in the female side to motorcycles?

First up is Bessie Stringfield, the African-American rider who completed eight solo cross country-tours on two wheels (on a bike, not during a crazy car stunt), and all in the 1930s, which helped to break down barriers between both races and genders. Not only that, but she was a dispatch rider in the US Army, which further cemented her reputation as one of the most important riders since the vehicle was invented.

However, she wasn’t the first. In 1910 the Van Buren sisters made theirselves known as two of the earliest women riders ever, breaking all the gender stereotypes and riding all the way from New York to California in 1916, a truly amazing feat and the first of its kind for female riders. Of course, this then paved the way for women like Stringfield.

We of course can’t forget the First Lady of Motorcycling, either – Dot Robinson. The founder of Motor Maids, a women’s motorcycles ownership club, she played a pivotal role in creating a female side to riding culture, and alongside fellow motorcyclist Linda Dugeau, brought the club to the point of being issued a proper charter by the American Motorcycle Association in 1941. She competed in endurance runs and helped prove that women had a place on two wheels whether they raced or worked for the RAC or AAA, opening the doors for many more female competitors.

That’s just a few, and there are countless more in today’s society, breaking records and taking the motorcyclist’s passion for everything riding into the twenty-first century. We salute you!

A profile of Honda motorcycles

More bikers ride Honda motorcycles than any other make in the world, simply because the company manufactures more bikes than any other. With machines ranging from the 60 million selling Cub 50cc moped to the world conquering Fireblade superbike, Honda has a reputation for building motorcycles with rock-solid reliability and class-leading performance.

The company was founded by Japanese engineer, Sōichirō Honda, in 1948 and since then has grown into a massive multinational with revenues of $120 billion in 2009. In the early days, Honda was primarily interested in working on cars, but his plans were sidelined by gas shortages in the second world war, which gave him the idea of attaching a small engine onto his bicycle in order to create a more efficient vehicle.

Honda’s first mass-produced vehicle was the Cub moped, which would go onto become the longest running and most successful motorcycle in history – propelling the company to the enviable position of world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer by 1964. It would not be long before Honda led the way for the rest of the Japanese motorcycle industry to utterly demolish the long established industry leaders in Britain and America.

Right from the very beginning, Honda used motorsport as a means to achieve commercial success. In 1959 the company entered 5 motorcycles in the Isle of Mann TT race, using this as an opportunity to refine the design of the bikes and to raise the company’s international profile. Honda did not win a TT race until 1961, but this marked the beginning of decades of dominance in motorcycle sport for the company.

Some notable Honda motorcycles include the following models:

GoldWing – one of the most recognisable touring motorcycles on the market, the GoldWing was introduced in 1975 and is still in production, recently becoming the world’s first motorcycle to feature a built in airbag. The GoldWing is available with a variety of engine sizes ranging from 1,000cc to 1,800cc.

Fireblade – in 1992 Honda introduced a new generation of light but powerful supersports motorcycles. Not wanting consumers to focus on the engine size, which was smaller than 1000cc competitors, Honda marketed the new bike as the Fireblade, rather than the CBR-900. The Fireblade was arguably the machine which defined what we think of as modern sports motorcycles.

A Honda motorcycle that changed everything - the 1992 Fireblade
A Honda motorcycle that changed everything - the 1992 Fireblade

CBR600 – a consistently reliable high-performance mid-range sports bike which has been in production since 1987. Throughout numerous updates and redesigns, the CBR600 has remained a firm favourite with riders across the world, serving as a reliable workhorse whilst being sporty enough to provide high-powered thrills.

Harley Davidson raises millions for Muscular Dystrophy research

Riders of Harley Davidson motorcycles have good reason to feel proud of the Milwaukee based manufacturer today. The company has announced that, along with its customers and dealers, it has raised $4.5 million for the fight against Muscular Dystrophy in 2009 alone – bringing the total raised for this cause since 1980 to over $73 million.
Fundraising activities organised by Harley Davidson riders, dealers and employees include pledge rides, motorcycle raffles, dinners, and commemorative pin sales. Harley Davidson is one of the leading corporate sponsors of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

For more information visit www.mdarides.org.

Confederate P120 Fighter Combat motorcycle is insanely awesome

OK, it looks a little like a Meccano motorcycle, but once you get over that the latest machine from the Confederate Motor Company is a serious head-turner. You want to get noticed? Get one of these. Of course, you probably can’t afford one, unless you happen to own a couple of oil fields. I can’t be bothered to look up the pricing, if it’s even available yet, but you can rest assured that this motorcycle will cost more money than most of us average Joes will earn in a decade.

Let’s be honest, if you’re buying one of these bikes, you probably don’t care much about the performance and handling characteristics, this thing is pretty much an ornament. But in case you’re interested, the engine is a 2 litre radial twin which delivers 160hp to the rear wheel. Weighing in at a shade over 200kg, this puts the power to weight ratio in the same league as most high end superbikes, so this thing is certainly going to shift. Whether it handles like a superbike, or if anybody who owns one of these motorcycles is ever going to risk riding it on the ragged edge is a totally different question.

The P120 Fighter Combat if the Terminator rode a motorcycle, he would ride one of these. Er... wait a minute...
The P120 Fighter Combat if the Terminator rode a motorcycle, he would ride one of these. Er... wait a minute...

Did I mention they’re only going to make 120 of them? In case you’re thinking of remortgaging your house and selling your kids to raise the cash for one of these (and I certainly wouldn’t blame you for that) you can get more information and the Confederate Motor Company website.