A big ol' box of assorted automotive blade fuses


Saturday was a tale of one man, one Triumph Scrambler, one multi-tester, and one hidden in-line 7.5a blade fuse. Luckily, after hours of where curiosity turned to frustration and then anguish, the moral of our story is that blade fuses are cheap.

Quick-connect dongles for battery charging systems are fused, I knew but didn't think of that. Sometimes those fuses get tucked behind things and you don't realize they are there. Should that coincide with you deciding your battery must be charged... always check the battery first.

Luckily, big boxes of assorted fuses are cheap and easy to have on hand. They do not give you lost time back, however.

120 Pieces - EPAuto Assorted Car Truck Standard Blade Fuse Set (5 / 7.5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 AMP) via Amazon Read the rest

Lane splitting now legal in California


While not previously against the law, lane splitting was left up to officer discretion. Now it is state law that the lane splitting is legal. Officers will use their judgement to determine what is safe behavior and what is not.

Via the LA Times:

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) that defines the practice and authorizes the California Highway Patrol to establish rules for motorcyclists on how to do it safely.

Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), a retired state highway patrol sergeant who co-wrote the bill, called the new law a "groundbreaking step."

"This is a huge win for roadway safety,” Lackey said in a statement. "We are now giving riders and motorists clear guidance on when it is safe."

Lane splitting, in which a motorcyclist passes other vehicles by riding between them along the lane line, has long been a controversial issue.

Technically, it has not been legal or illegal, falling in a gray area where it was treated as acceptable by law enforcement agencies. But when the CHP published guidelines on the practice in 2015, a citizen complained that the agency should not be allowed to create public policy. In came AB 51.

Quirk's original bill proposed that lane splitting could occur legally only when a motorcycle was moving no more than 15 mph faster than the traffic around it, and it prohibited the practice at speeds above 50 mph.

Several motorcyclists' groups objected to that, saying the limit was too low. Other groups and individuals, who believe that lane splitting is dangerous regardless of speed, objected to the proposal entirely.

Read the rest

Airbus designed and 3D printed a motorbike inspired by a skeleton


Aerospace corporation Airbus's Light Rider concept motorbike looks a bit like something HR Giger would draw (although his, of course, would be much cooler). In reality, the 3D-printed frame was inspired by skeletal structures that enable its bare-metal frame to weigh just 13 pounds but support a 220 pound rider. From the BBC News:

To design the bike's frame and swingarm rear section, (Airbus's) APWorks team collaborated with Altair Engineering, a US-based consulting company whose structural-design software works through the principle of "morphogenesis" — which in biology refers to process of environmental forces defining a natural organism's form and structure. Morphorgenetic software is written to create forms that achieve maximum strength with minimal mass, and Altair's system has contributed to the designs of such boundary-pushing machines as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Volvo Ocean 70 racing yacht, and the jet-powered Bloodhound SSC, which next year will attempt to break the land speed record...

The 3D-printing process employed to produce the Light Rider's frame is a marvel unto itself. The system uses a laser to melt powdered aluminium alloy in thousands of layers, each only 60 microns thick — about the width of a human hair. Airbus Group Innovations, the company’s research arm, developed the frame's aircraft-grade alloy, called Scalmalloy, which it claims matches the specific strength of titanium. The fabrication process — and the strength of the material — allows the morphogenetic software to specify finer and thinner structures than traditional tooling or moulding methods of manufacturing can produce. In fact, notes Gruenewald, the Light Rider’s frame even features hollow branches that hide cables and other components.

Read the rest

Why motorcyclists do things

BMW R90s

Autotrader.ca offers some insight into some odd, observed behaviors of motorcyclists. I've been riding for so long, most of this seems just commonsense to me.

Here are a few:

Why don’t motorcycle riders ride in the centre of their lane?

The centre of most lanes on most roads is a no-man’s land for bikers. It’s where the oil, fuel and coolant from all the cars, trucks and buses drops and congeals. It’s slippery, and dangerous. The wheel tracks offer much more grip.

Why don’t motorcycle riders stop directly behind me?

You’ve probably noticed that bikers often stop just to the outside of your rear quarter panel at traffic lights. It might look like they’re about to filter (we’ll get to filtering later) but they don’t move. Why? The motorcyclist has set up an escape path for themselves. Bikers are rear-ended far more often than car drivers: this allows us to watch our mirrors and get out of the way.

Why do motorcycle riders rev their engine at stop lights?

Boredom. Mostly. Or because they like the noise it makes. Or to get attention. But mostly boredom. Or as I found out during my test of the 2016 Harley-Davidson Roadster – to stop my teeth rattling with the engine vibration at idle.

Read the rest

Cooking hotdogs on an air-cooled motorcycle

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 11.02.58 AM

The guys at Been there Done That drove around Portland, Maine with some hotdogs wired to the jugs of an Ural motorcycle. Unsurprisingly, the amazing airhead engine is too efficient at dissipating heat, and the hot dogs don't get very cooked.

The story behind IMZ-Ural Motorcycles is also pretty cool, both the Soviet-ization of a BMW R71, and the handwork to keep the factory open and making bikes. If you want a bike with a sidecar, they make some cool ones.

(Thanks Kent K. Barnes!) Read the rest

Free 'The Airhead' e-zine issue dedicated to the iconic BMW R90S

BMW R90s

Of course there is an entire issue of The Airhead, a BMW Airhead enthusiast e-zine, completely dedicated to the most beautiful motorcycle of all time, the R90S.

The term "Airhead" is used to describe the beloved 1970s models of BMWs air-cooled twin cylinder motorcycle, and their loopy owners. There is some great history in the e-zine, and I really enjoy the rider/owner stories. The R90S is a standout in looks, and performance, but comes with the same quirks as the well known line of motorcycle. Quirks seem to be what it is all about.

The guys at The Airhead e-zine had this to say about the issue, and their publication:

This Sample Issue is not representative of the normal content of The Airhead in that it is dedicated to just one bike - the iconic R90S. It is offered here as a thankyou to the members of two R90S forums who helped in many different ways to put this particular issue together.

It will, I hope, give everyone a taste for The Airhead. If you feel that you share our love of all Classic and Vintage BMW's and want to keep these fantastic machines alive and on the roads then we'd love you to join us. We're not a club, we don't do politics, we don't do bullshit and we don't backbite. We just love our bikes!

Free Sample Issue of The Airhead Read the rest

Candle that smells like a motorcycle engine


Flying Tiger Motorcycles offers this curious "Two Stroke Smoke Candle" that is made from two-stroke oil and "high-octane fragrance" to give your home that singular bike bouquet. It's $20 and comes in a metal can. Read the rest

Man loses lawsuit claiming BMW motorcycle gave him an extended erection


Not known for making the most exciting motorcycles, BMW has triumphed over a lawsuit claiming one of their bikes left a man with a 2 day long erection. This via the Marin Independent Journal:

Wolf claimed he suffered an acute case of priapism -- a painfully prolonged erection -- after riding his 1993 BMW motorcycle for two hours. He claimed the vibrations in the "ridge-like" motorcycle seat caused the condition that lasted several days, so he sued BMW North America and the seat manufacturer, Corbin-Pacific Inc.

The lawsuit claimed product liability, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Wolf said he was forced to seek treatment at Marin General Hospital and then with other specialists.

On Tuesday -- in a 14-page decision laced with medical language about Doppler ultrasounds, tumescence and aspiration of the corposa cavernosa -- a three-judge 1st District Court of Appeal panel affirmed a San Francisco Superior Court decision to dismiss the case.

The judges found that Wolf's appeal "fails to comply with the rules of appellate procedure" by failing to cite the relevant cases or statutes, and it "contains no intelligible argument." The panel ordered Wolf to pay the defendants' costs on appeal, a sum likely to be many tens of thousands of dollars.

A two hour ride on my motorcycle generally only leaves my hands hurting, however I do not have a Corbin seat.

Note: the motorcycle pictured above is a mid-70s BMW R90S and not the 1993 hard-on inducing model described in the lawsuit. Read the rest

Triumph's 2016 Thruxton R


It took 40 years for someone to make a motorcycle that looks nearly as pretty as BMW's R90s. Enter Triumph's 2016 Thruxton R!

What do I find most exciting about these new Triumph models? I like the dual disc brakes up front. That sexy fairing and sleek seat are deliciously re-envisioned '70s styling, but Triumph excels at making motorcycles that are fun to ride! You'll want the extra stopping power, as they also make bikes that are heavy, and usually come stock with terrible suspensions. My reliable bike is a 2013 Scrambler, I've "had to" modify it quite a bit.

If the new entries in Triumph's modern classic line are anything like the old, there will be a wealth of aftermarket parts and mods available for these as well. Sadly, I believe this generation of the Bonnieville sees the end of air/oil cooling and introduces liquid to the equation. Perhaps you should let someone else can buy the first years model.

More photos and details from Xtremebikes.es:

Look at the new Triumph Thruxtons, and you see thoroughly updated modern classics, machines that embrace the appearance and aesthetics of café racers that were new a half-century ago. But if you look hard enough, you can also see something else: The new Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, John Bloor’s Triumph, embracing the heritage of the defunct Triumph Engineering Company, the original Triumph, in a way that it has never done before.

Read the rest

Sons of Anarchy FCC complaints: ”The most sadistic program on TV," also #butts


"I hate to think that people are watching this and we walk among them." Read the rest

Cycleworld celebrates the iconic BMW R90s

BMW R90s

Peter Egan has written a wonderful tribute to my favorite motorcycle of all time, the legendary BMW R90s.

The R90s was a hail mary play by BMW. Having realized that their stoic, stolid, black-mit-white motorcycles were boring the shit out of everyone who rode them, BMW decided to build a super bike. What the world got was sheer poetry, the R90s is one of the most beautiful mechanical devices of all time.

Under that lovely styling, mechanical details (overseen by engineer Hans-Gunther von der Marwitz) included twin front discs, aluminum-alloy wheels, Dell’Orto pumper carbs, and a five-speed transmission. The boxer twin was punched out to 898cc and rated at 75 bhp at 7,200 rpm. Cycle World’s 1974 testbike did the quarter-mile in 13.05 seconds at 103 mph and recorded a top speed of 123 mph. Cycle magazine reported that its testbike actually pulled away from a 900cc Z1 Kawasaki in highway roll-on contests at any speed, in any gear.

Well then. I ran right down to our local BMW/Norton/Suzuki dealership (where I was about to order a new Norton Commando) to look at the bike and quickly realized that BMW had finally produced a motorcycle I wanted. I looked at the R90S from every angle and immediately decided it was a classic for the ages.

The 1976 Daytona Orange example above is mine, she has a heart of gold. After waiting decades to own one, I found her, largely restored and slightly modified, with the help of Angus at Northeast Sportscar. Read the rest

303 Aerospace Protectant really preserves plastic and vinyl

I like classic motorcycles and cars. I live by the sea. 303 Aerospace Protectant keeps plastic and rubbery bits looking fresh and new.

I don't know what the hell is in this stuff. I don't know why it is different than Armor-All, but the results are unmistakeable. 303 Aerospace really works.

I spray a rag and apply the milky looking liquid to the surface that needs it. It seems adding a little sea air and some sun to the rubber grommets, caps and fastener covers on my old BMW airhead will cause things to disintegrate before my eyes. A light coating of 303 Aerospace every few months has stopped that completely.

I've seen old vinyl seats come back to life. 303 amazingly even restores some of the lost flexibility in that old Corinthian leather, cracking and peeling significantly slowed to stopped. I've used 303 to keep my plastic kayaks looking new for years, and the fiberglass top on my Volkswagen Westfalia camper. Most amazingly, 303 really does a wonderful job on the horrible plastic covered cardboard dash in that same VW. The bus doesn't look new, but the dash does.

I'd read a lot of complaints from people about Armor-All over hydrating surfaces and cracking them worse. I suspect that might be due to over application, but I find 303 gives me a better, longer lasting finish anyways.

303 (30313-CSR) Aerospace Protectant Trigger Sprayer, 32 Fl. oz. Read the rest

Watch this motorbike engine disintegrate a millimeter at a time

Says Sploid, “This is so much cooler than seeing something poof and disappear away because we get to watch it slowly disintegrate into nothing.

Now I carry an in-line spark plug tester

Sparkplug spark

I was too harried, when my classic BMW motorcycle died on the side of a busy highway, 150 miles from home, to visually test both the plugs. This simple tester would have saved me from my own laziness.

Read the rest

Driver runs into motorcyclist who scolded him about using phone

In March, motorcyclist Samuel Ayres stopped at a red light and noticed a driver using a phone. He told the driver, "Put down your fucking phone. You're in your car." The driver apparently did not appreciate the advice so he followed Ayres, sideswiped him and knocked him off his motorcycle, and drove away. Ayers is soliciting donations to pay for the resulting bills. Read the rest

Motorcycle lane splitting deemed safe

"This practice of passing other vehicles traveling in the same direction by sharing their lane is called lane-splitting, and a new report by UC Berkeley transportation researchers finds that no matter what some angry drivers might think, it does not necessarily pose a greater risk for injury." Read the rest

How stoned is this motorcycle journalist?

I am baffled as to why CycleWorld published this video. With what I know of motorcycles and marijuana, this gentleman should a) not be on that bike and b) look at the other camera.

Read the rest

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