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Motorcycle Views Newsletter

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Zero Motorcycles Recalls 2013 FX and XU for Water Penetration into the Battery

Zero Motorcycles Inc. (Zero) is recalling certain model year 2013 FX motorcycles manufactured January 28, 2013, through May 21, 2013; and model year 2013 XU motorcycles manufactured January 16, 2013, through May 20, 2013.

A manufacturing defect with the sealant material in the battery may allow water to penetrate the battery and contact the cells. Water penetration into the battery may lead to corrosion of the cells, possibly resulting in a rapid temperature increase and off-gassing of the cells' electrolyte which may cause a burn to the rider.

128 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is Harley-Davidson Finally Selling to a Younger Customer?

Harley-Davidson appears to be at a crossroads, according to an article by James B. Kelleher, Of Reuters. Harley has been trying to push down the average age of its customers but whether it's working depends on who you ask. Here's an excerpt:
"Some background: In a recent interview, a top Harley-Davidson executive told Reuters that in 2012, for the first time in years, the average buyer of the company's bikes was not a baby boomer. For a brand defined by the emergence and, lately, the aging of the post-World War II cohort of consumers, that's a big deal — proof that the 110-year-old company is gaining traction with a new generation of riders. Yet its top global marketing guru, Mark-Hans Richer, continues to insist it's no big deal — even though investors have long wondered how Harley would survive as baby boomers, who embraced its bikes as totems of rebellion in the 1960s and 1970s and drove its growth in the ensuing decades, rode off into the sunset." -- James B. Kelleher, Of Reuters
Read more.

Motorcycle Picture of the Week - Tammy

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These pictures are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Tammy (literally) on her 2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide under Women on Motorcycles. There are no Trikes Only, Men on Motorcycles, or Bikes Only this week. Send your picture in. For details, see Motorcycle Pictures of the Week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Here is a picture taken in 1938 of my father, Walter Kern, with me, his first son. I haven't written much about my dad but he had a very technical life. He started out by leaving home at the age of 17 to drive in a Model T Ford to California from Indiana with a friend. He got homesick and returned to Indiana and then to Illinois. Along the way, he worked for Westinghouse, became an inventor, ran his own automobile repair shop, and ran his own radio repair shop. He worked on special projects for a military contractor in World War 2. He never got beyond the fifth grade in school. But he could do anything technical and was often asked to devise prototypes for military products that none of the engineers could figure out how to do. He was pleased that I decided to study electrical engineering and became the first person in his family to become a graduate engineer. He knew cars. When I took up motorcycling in 1989, he said he didn't know anything about motorcycles. He didn't try to lead me in any particular career direction but supported me quietly. The only opposition I ever got from him was when I wanted to learn to drive a car. I was forced to take a school sponsored driver education course to get my license. I found out on his death bed that he lost his first wife in a crash caused by two escaping criminals who smashed into his car containing him and his pregnant wife. I didn't even know he had been previously married. But, he was a gentle man mostly who provided a stable home environment with my mother and my sister and brother. I guess we all have stories to tell about our dads. I have barely scratched the surface here. But on this Father's Day 2013 on the 105th anniversary of his birth, I heap just a bit of praise on him and hope that in some small measure you will think of your own dad and remember all that he brought to your life. -- Walter Kern

Is Bringing Your Bike in for Repair Similar to Taking Your Pet to the Vet?

This article by Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg of theatlantic.com focuses on the work of Cinema Mercantile, a small group of filmmakers whose mission is to document the work of people who make things. One of their first projects was the Spare Parts Company in Philadelphia, a small motorcycle repair shop. Here's an excerpt from the article:
"In business since the 1970s, the Spare Parts Company in Philadelphia is a destination for owners of vintage bikes. The spot caught the eye of Cinema Mercantile, a crew of filmmakers who crafted this short portrait of the shop and its owner, Roland Sotello. 'When customers bring their bikes in,' Sotello explains, 'it's almost like dealing with a pet. A lot of people don't realize what's wrong with their bikes, so if you really give them a good assessment they sort of feel more comfortable that you ... care what's going on.'" -- Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, theatlantic.com
Be sure to read the complete article and especially view the 4-minute video at the beginning.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Afghanistan Military Forces to Use Motorcycles

Motorcycles have a long history of use in the military. It appears that their special capabilities will be assisting in Afghanistan. Here's an article by Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes that gives a history of military bikes and how they will be used in Afghanistan. Here's an excerpt:
"In the past decade the U.S. has spent $45 billion on armored vehicles designed to protect troops against the roadside bombs which cost the enemy next to nothing to build and emplace. It seems counter-intuitive, but some experts think a safer and more effective way to take on the bad guys might be to ditch the heavy armor in favor of a lighter, faster mode of transport. Many say that in places like Afghanistan, motorcycles would be a cheaper, safer and more effective vehicle for operations than the slow-moving armored personnel carriers preferred by the U.S. military." -- Seth Robson, Stars and Stripes
Read more.

Zero Motorcycles Produces a Military Motorcycle with New Capabilities

Motorcycles of a different breed may be coming back to military uses. Zero Motorcycles is leading the way. Damon Lavrinc of Wired.com has the story. Here's an excerpt:
"Electric motorcycles just went from practical to tactical with the Zero MMX, the first all-electric bike developed specifically for the U.S. Special Operation Forces." -- Damon Lavrinc, Wired.com
Read more.

Monday, June 17, 2013 is Motorcycle Ride to Work Day

Monday, June 17, 2013 is Ride to Work Day. Leave your car at home and take your motorcycle or scooter to work.

I used to do this when I still had a day job in New Jersey. Unfortunately, I didn't see any more bikes on the road than I did on any other day. Your experience may differ. Leave any comments you have regarding your experiences on Ride to Work Day either below or on Facebook.

Here's an official press release about this event from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

Motorcycle Picture of the Week - 1976 Honda CB750

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These pictures are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Edward Hoblin's 1976 Honda CB750 under Bikes Only. There are no Trikes Only, Men on Motorcycles, or Women on Motorcycles this week. Send your picture in. For details, see Motorcycle Pictures of the Week.

Monday, June 10, 2013

BMW Recalls Dealer Installed Accessory Luggage Racks for 2013 BMW C650 GT Maxi-Scooters for Loose Bolts

BMW of North America, LLC (BMWA) is recalling dealer installed accessory luggage racks (part number 8 527 038) that can be equipped to 2013 BMW C650 GT Maxi-Scooters. During riding, the attachment bolts of the luggage rack could loosen.

If the attachment bolts loosen, the luggage rack could separate from the scooter and become a road hazard for drivers of other vehicles, increasing the risk of a crash.

195 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Triumph Recalls 2012-2013 Trophy and Trophy SE for Fuel Tank Leak

Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, (Triumph) is recalling certain model year 2012-2013 Trophy and Trophy SE motorcycles manufactured September 2012 through March 2013. The two layers used in the construction of the fuel tank may have failed to adhere, which may result in a fuel leak.

If the fuel tank leaks, the unexpected fuel loss may lead to an engine stall while riding, increasing the risk of a crash. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may also result in a fire.

513 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

New App Detects Motorcycle Crash and Notifies Your Friends

Now this is interesting. You can get an app for your iOS device (Android version soon) that allows your friends to be notified when you have a motorcycle accident. Here's an excerpt from marketwatch.com:
"CRASHLIGHT(R), a revolutionary built-in safety crash detection technology automatically detects a motorcycle accident and notifies the riders pre-set contacts of their geographical location via SMS text message, phone call and email. The rider never needs to ride alone. Now friends and family can have peace of mind knowing they will be connected when things go wrong." -- marketwatch.com

Read more.

Also, take a look at the product at this website.

Sign me up!

Lit Motors Creates a Unique New Motorcycle

I just saw an article by Marco della Cava in usatoday.com that shows how Daniel Kim came up with a revolutionary motorcycle design that is starting to take off. It's different: electric, enclosed, and won't fall over. Here's an excerpt:
"Daniel Kim may well become the Steve Jobs of personal transportation. Not that he'll ever tell you that. The soft-spoken 33-year-old founder of Lit Motors is far too polite for such braggadocio. But the fact of the matter is, Kim – who, like Jobs, dropped out of Oregon's Reed College – is barreling down an iconoclastic highway whose destination is a revolution in the way humans move about." -- Marco della Cava, usatoday.com
Read more.

Comparing Motorcycles and Small-Business Owners

Here's a short article by Ty Kiisel, for DeseretNews.com. He is both a rider and a businessman who compares riding and running a small business. Here's an excerpt:
"My friends point out that the time I spend on my motorcycle is inherently much more dangerous than the time they spend in their cars. I agree. That being said, I am by no means a risk junkie. And, I don't expect those who don't enjoy the pastime will ever understand why I enjoy it so much. I do think the attitude my friends and I take to the road when we ride could be meaningful to a small-business owner and how he or she thinks about risk." -- Ty Kiisel, for DeseretNews.com

Read more.

For my own take on risk, read my article, An Element of Risk - In Life and On Motorcycles.

Motorcycle Safety in the Spring

Here a story and two videos from valleynewslive.com that will help you think about motorcycle safety this spring. Check it out.

Also take a look at my article, 10 Ways to Be Safe on a Motorcycle.

In addition, look at my 25 Motorcycle How-To articles to learn techniques to become a better rider and keep you even safer. Read more.

Motorcycle Picture of the Week - 1958 Harley-Davidson Sportster

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These pictures are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Rob Roth's 1958 Harley-Davidson Sportster under Bikes Only. There are no Trikes Only, Men on Motorcycles, or Women on Motorcycles this week. Send your picture in. For details, see Motorcycle Pictures of the Week.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Triumph Recalls 2012 Speed Triple and Daytona 675 for Lack of a Throttle Cable Guide

Triumph Motorcycles (Triumph) is recalling certain model year 2012 Speed Triple motorcycles manufactured from June 2012 through November 2012; and model year 2012 Daytona 675 motorcycles manufactured July 2012 through October 2012. The motorcycles may have been assembled without a guide for the throttle cables.

Without the guide, the cables may move freely and become trapped in the steering stop, impeding the steering operation and affecting the driver's ability to control the motorcycle, increasing the risk of a crash.

652 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

CBS News Reports on a Study that Compares Regular Helmets and Novelty Helmets

I just saw a CBS television news report about a scientific study comparing regular helmets and novelty helmets and thought you might be interested. Also, I found out that Charlie Rose is a rider.

Take a look at the story and a video of the telecast.

Study Says Motorcycle Crash Medical Claims Went Up 20% After States Stopped Requiring Helmet Usage

Many motorcycle riders don't like to wear helmets. Many states don't require such usage anymore. Some now see increases occurring in medical claims resulting from motorcycle accidents where riders aren't wearing helmets. A story in huffingtonpost.com by Joan Lowy says these increases may be 20%. Here's an excerpt:
"The average medical claim from a motorcycle crash rose by more than one-fifth last year in Michigan after the state stopped requiring all riders to wear helmets, according to an insurance industry study. Across the nation, motorcyclists opposed to mandatory helmet use have been chipping away at state helmet laws for years while crash deaths have been on the rise." -- Joan Lowy, Huffingtonpost.com
Read the complete article.