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.
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.
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.
Are you the kind of biker who likes to ride something a little different? How about an underpowered, lo-tech soviet copy of a pre-war BMW military motorcycle? The Ural Sahara is a 750cc flat twin which produces a claimed 40hp, propelling this magnificent beast to a top speed of 62Mph which we imagine it can achieve from a standing start in approximately three or four weeks.
If you like your motorcycles simple and unsophisticated, this four-gear marvel might be for you. Actually, that’s five gears, if you include reverse – you don’t get that on a Ducati!
We’re just surprised this thing doesn’t run on diesel… A steal at just under $14,000:
The title says it all really. In case you’re not a fan of Joss Whedon’s TV show Dollhouse, here’s what you’re missing: the gorgeous Eliza Dushku, wearing some very flimsy clothing and draping herself all over a Ducati 1098 motorcycle.
There are few things in this world more magical than the sight a stunning young hottie sitting astride an insanely powerful superbike, although these occasions are normally treated as a perfect excuse for them to get dressed up in some skintight leather, rather than the wayward Catholic schoolgirl ensemble we see here.
Careful there, Eliza, those cute little stockings don’t look like they’d give you much protection if you flip that bike onto the tarmac!
Any fan of science fiction and awesome motorcycles must by now have seen the pictures floating around the internet of the killer robot motorcycles from the forthcoming film Terminator: Salvation.
We thought that was a great excuse to revisit some of the most iconic motorcycles from science fiction movies and TV shows – admittedly the pickings were slim, but we managed to pull together the following…
Just in case you missed the pics which have circulating on the internet for a while, this is one of the new Terminator motorcycles, and it looks both terrifying and awesome, as any good motorcycle should. Although we’re not quite sure that it would be a particularly comfortable ride…
Christian Bale gets to play with all the best toys. Before going head to head with the Terminator bikes, he got to ride around on the Bat Pod, a kind of two-wheeled escape pod built into the Batmobile in The Dark Knight.
But we should spare a thought for the Batmen of earlier generations, who not only had to wear completely gay costumes, but also had to ride around on this piss poor excuse for a super-hero motorcycle.
Remember when Sylvester Stallone made that huge stinking turdburger of a Judge Dredd adaptation? The Lawmaster motorcycle from that is now part of a sci-fi movie prop exhibition somewhere in London and this is pretty much the only reasonable quality photo of it we can find.
For the sake of completeness, here’s how the comic’s creator imagined the original Lawmaster motorcycle.
Streethawk was supposed to be a motorcycle oriented version of the popular KnightRider TV show – unfortunately the show bombed because they forgot one important element: The Hoff.
Fans of Japanese manga sci-fi should immediately recognise this as Akira’s motorcycle, although to be fair it could just as easily be a road-legal machine from any of the major Japanese bike manufacturers these days.
Here’s a picture of the original comic strip version of the same bike.
Finally, although there were never any motorcycles in any of the Star Trek films or TV shows, we can’t finish this article without showing you this stunning piece of work. Somebody clearly has too much time on their hands, but then so do we…
Did we miss anything? If you can think of any sci-fi motorcycles we forgot, leave us a comment and we’ll add them to the article.
America’s Viper Motorcycle Company has announced that it has signed up a network of dealers to sell its range cruisers. Based in Hopkins, Minnesota, the company produces a range of hand-built custom motorcycles based on its own v-twin engine, including the flagship 152 cubic inch Diamondback.
Company president, Terry Nesbitt, said “The Diamondback is our second generation Super Cruiser that continues to enhance the numerous industry leading features proprietary to Viper Products. The Viper all billet 152 cubic inch short stroke engine is the heart of this motorcycle. Producing 144 ft lbs of torque at the rear wheel and a smooth ride, the Diamondback is in a league of its own.”
The new network includes the following motorcycle dealers: Rick Fairless’ Strokers Dallas in Dallas, Texas, Bikers Custom in El Paso, Texas; Bikers Dream in Alpharetta, Georgia; and Rainbow Cycles in Rogers, Arkansas; Minnesota Viper in Hopkins, Minnesota; Xtreme Customs and Cycles in Simpsonville, South Carolina; Rodney’s Cycle House in Little Rock, Arkansas; Smokey Mountain Ironhorse in Knoxville, Tennessee; Cycle City in Kingsport, Tennessee and Chix Custom Cycles in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Concept motorcycles – we love them. The fevered imaginings of some raving lunatic who spends his entire life locked away in the product development department of a motorcycle factory, and get lets out once a decade to share the fruits of his labours with the rest of the world.
Most of the loopy machines they come up with never even make it past the initial sketches, but just occasionally the manufacturers decide to build a one-off prototype of some ridiculous bike to show the world what kind of awesomeness we could enjoy if it wasn’t for stupid things like practicality, economy and safety forcing them to stick with more conservative designs.
Here are ten examples of our favourite concept bikes, all of them as awesome as they are insane – which is pretty much the essence of what motorbikes are all about, if you ask us.
This futuristic motor-unicycle is a concept bike from Bombardier Recreational Vehicles. It’s electrically powered using hydrogen fuel cells, and keeps its balance with gyroscopes like a Segway – although it leans into corners like a conventional motorcycle.
This concept bike was unveiled to the world back in 2003, and still looks pretty awesome today. Although the bike was never put into production in this form, any visitor to Japan will notice a lot of similarly styled super-scooters on the roads, so it clearly had a strong influence on the country’s motorcycle designers.
Another belter from Suzuki. This brutal looking cruiser may have the turning circle of an oil tanker, but who needs to go round corners when you look this awesome?
Indian Speed Racer
This is about as ‘concept’ as concept motorcycles get – its outlandish styling (by designer Dan Bailey, for the Indian Motorcycle company) takes cues from the Alien films, and while it may look amazing, there are few clues as to how the rider actually sits on the bike (where are the footpegs?) never mind control the thing.
This nuts concept bike looks more like a buffalo than a motorcycle, and the vertical handlebars are barking mad, but it does look like a lot of fun to ride. Shame it never got built – the idea came from Finnish design student, Heikki Naulapää, who chose to brand it as an Aprilia (it certainly does look like the kind of thing they might do).
This might look like an insane, drug induced steampunk hallucination, but unlike most of the motorcycles on this page, there’s an outside chance that you could actually own and ride one of these machines. Yup, give the Confederate Motor Company a call, and if you’ve got enough cash they’ll probably build you a road legal Wraith of your own – just don’t expect it to be cheap.
This project by design student Arron Rogers takes a lot of inspiration from the classic British manufacturer’s cafe-racer heritage.
Victory Vision 800
Half motorcycle, half locomotive train, the Victory Vision 800 looks like the kind of bike you could go ram-raiding on.
Another machine that looks like it should have stayed in the concept phase, but is actually a (very expensive) production motorcycle. You can buy one of these bubble-rocket things from Swiss company Peraves.
No. Just no. Stick to making cars, please, Jaguar.
California based Zero Motorcycles has launched America’s first street legal motorcycle to be powered entirely by electricity, the Zero S. The company claims it will begin shipping the new machine to pre-order customers within a month. The Zero S looks similar to any ordinary off-road motorcycle, but instead of a conventional internal combustion engine the machine is powered by the company’s own Z-Force branded power pack and a high-tech electric motor.
Founder of Zero Motorcycles, Neal Saiki said: “Our goal from the beginning was to engineer a high performance electric urban street motorcycle that would change the face of the industry. The Zero S is a revolutionary motorcycle that is designed to tackle any city street, hill or obstacle. The innovation behind the Zero S is what separates it from the competition. The Zero S is a high performance motorcycle that also happens to be fully electric and green. The fact that it’s electric means not having to get gas and reduced maintenance.”
The manufacturers claim maximum power output of 31bhp, and a top speed of 60mph, as well as a maximum range of 60mph between charges, so it’s really only useful for running around town or some off-road fun. A full recharge takes four hours from a standard 110/220v power outlet. With a dry weight of just 225 lbs, the bike should offer plenty of off-the-line acceleration.
In keeping with the manufacturer’s green ethos, most of the Zero S is fully recyclable and the lithium ion battery is entirely non-toxic. The bike is available to order now for $9,950 in the US and it seems likely that it will be exported to Europe in the future.
UK bikers can now get their hands on free crash protectors when they take out a motorcycle insurance policy with leading broker, Carole Nash. The crash protectors (also called crash bungs, or mushrooms) bolt onto the side of the motorcycle frame and can help to reduce serious damage when the bike is dropped onto its side.
Head of marketing at Carole Nash, Rebecca Donohue, said: “In these tough economic times we’ve been looking even harder for ways we can help bikers reduce their costs. We came up with this deal with R&G because it’s a real win-win. Bikers get high quality crash protectors absolutely free which can not only minimise the cost of any accident claim but even prevent the need to claim. That then protects no claims discounts which can be as high as 65 percent. Minimising the cost of claims also minimises future premiums.”
Bikers who buy a fully comprehensive bike insurance policy with Carole Nash will receive free crash protectors, which retail for anywhere between £50 and £176 in from motorcycle accessory suppliers. Made from snap-resistant, high tensile steel bolts, and featuring bobbins with compression sleeves, the R&G crash protectors can significantly reduce the cost of repairing the bikes frame and bodywork.
According to a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, motorcycle thefts in the US fell to 60,763 in 2008, a drop of 2.3 percent over the previous year and 4.8 percent on 2006. The report also highlighted the fact that motorcycle theft is a seasonal crime, with the most thefts taking place in July and August, compared to December, January and February having the lowest number.
California, Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Indiana had the most thefts of the entire nation, with those states suffering almost 40 percent of all thefts. Over 680 different motorcycle makes were listed in the report, but over 80 percent of the total thefts were accounted for by the most well known motorcycle manufacturers: Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Harley Davidson.
Sadly, recoveries of stolen motorcycles are also falling, although if you live in California, Florida, Texas, North Carolina or Maryland, you’ll be glad to know that those states enjoy the highest rate of recovery.
You can get hold of a full copy of the report from www.nicb.org.