Smart Bikes

It isn’t all outlandish concept bikes and motorcycle riding robots that are the future of motorcycling. BMW, Honda and Yamaha have been cooperating to create a universal vehicle to vehicle communication system for motorcycles to communicate with other vehicles on the road. It is crucial that there is cooperation in this arena as all the vehicles need to communicate in the same language. To that end BMW will be displaying at an upcoming conference  a “connected” R1200RS, Honda a “connected” Africa Twin and Yamaha, a FJ-09  with common systems. Using accurate GPS locating, the system will be able to warn vehicle occupants of unsafe actions of other vehicles including turns and lane crossing.

A Case of Motoroid

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas or if not Christmas the time when motorcycle manufacturers populate their Wishbooks with tantalizing machines that may or may not come to fruition no matter how many hopeful motorcyclists may leave a note for Santa requesting a Motoroid for Christmas – it rolls, it talks, it wags it’s muffler! Its show season that gets this bouncing ball of excitement rolling. Events like Intermot and EICMA and the Tokyo show announce to the world what is up a manufacturer’s sleeve for the coming year. There will be a few models that will roll down the road in 2018 – Honda seems to have what is most likely a newish version of the Gold Wing in the works – along with a few surprises from other companies – will Kawasaki be putting a supercharged engine in something other than the H2 bikes? – but the eye candy is the concepts.

Yamaha has already announced the treats for Tokyo and they include the return of the “Luke I am not your father but I ride like him” MOTOBOT. Apparently he/she is a little faster this year with new  2.0 software  aiming  to motobotically ride around the  track at 200kph and race with Valentino Rossi for a best lap time –  after which they may ride to a coffee shop for a latte …. it would have to a Tim’s drive-through as the MOTOBOT can ride but he can’t walk.

And then there is the Motoroid which appears to be an electric motorcycle prototype that looks fantastic although the grabby nature of the rear seat seems a little alarming. Motoroid’s specialty is recognizing it’s owner and, I quote, “interacting like a living creature”. Whether that means it will wags it’s muffler and bounce excitedly when it sees you and possibly leak a little fluid on the garage floor remains to be seen.

The third Yamaha highlight in the company’s “Future Garage” is a four wheeled tilting vehicle that is also electric but has a range extender. This type of vehicle is one of the grails of the motorsport world. With a tilting chassis you get some of the visceral thrills that define motorcycles but with four wheels you can reach a lot of potential customers that where nervous with only two wheels beneath their seat.

In Ain’t Too Cold to Rock ‘n Roll – Port Dover Friday the 13th

It may have been approaching too cold to rock and roll at the first Friday the 13th of 2017 back in January but not this time around as The  Weather Network forecasts 20 C  with a mix of sun and clouds on this coming Friday the 13th for Canada’s favourite one day motorcycle event. Big crowds are expected to descend on Port Dover as it is the only fair weather 13th this year and people have been waiting to round out the end of the riding season.. The festivities actually begin shortly after noon on the Thursday the 12th as a string of rock and roll  bands entertain on the main stage. There is a tribute theme to this year’s musical offerings including Tragically Hip, Led Zeppelin, CCR and AC/DC tribute bands.

For almost all you need to know about the Port Dover Friday the 13th (of October 2017) visit the website: http://www.pd13.com/pages/1/Home

Style Award – V-Strom 250

We don’t have an announcement that the V-Strom 250 will be coming to Canada but if we had to make a prediction, we would  give a favourable nod that the pint sized ADV machine will eventually hit our shores. The small displacement machine has just won a Design Award in Japan illustrating that a good looking ADV machine can be based on a diminutive motor. What else leads us to believe that the V-Strom 250 will arrive in Canada? (a) Kawasaki has the Versys-X 300 on the market here and we doubt other manufacturers will leave Kawasaki alone in a small displacement category (remember the Kawasaki Ninja 250?), (b) small displacement bikes are the volume leaders, (c) Suzuki would be remiss to not work on engaging more riders with the V-Strom line which is its most successful in the Canadian market and (d) a bike that would likely cost a similar amount as the GSX250R which comes in at $4699 would surely draw a few eyeballs.  Some of the Japanese photos show the bike with saddlebags and a top case – great accessories but packed with gear may just put too much load on the little motor for some riders.

Zero Emissions from Motorrad

BMW has been researching alternative fuel mobility for many years and the company’s willingness to go outside the box is admirable . Marketed under the motorcycle oriented Motorrad name of the BMW Group is the new Motorrad X2City, an electric powered kick scooter. Should you want an unusual option for around town commuting the X2City has a range of up to 35km and a maximum speed of 25km/h. To reach that top speed of 25km/h you will have to do a little kicking first as the electric drive motor will not engage  until a speed of 6km/h has been reached. There is no word as to whether the X2City is coming to Canada but should it arrive it will not be sold alongside R1200GSA bikes  but at bicycles shops and online.

 

AMA Flat Track Season Wraps

Photo: American Flattrack/Scott Hunter

After all the hype that started the season, the 2017 flat track season became a somewhat one sided affair for the AFT Twins class as the campaign wrapped up at the Perris Speedway in California over the past weekend. Indian Motorcycle riders took the first three spots in the standings as Jared Mees, Bryan Smith and Brad Baker finished 1,2 and 3 for the season. The 4th and 5th spots were occupied by Sammy Halbert on a Yamaha and Jeffrey Carver Jr. on a Harley-Davidson XR750.

In the AFT Singles class rising star Shayna Texter placed third even though she had the most victories this season at 5 but missed points in six events. The season champion was Kolby Carlile followed by Brandon Price. Only 27 points separated the top three riders.

Funky Option Number 2 – 2018 XSR700

In a not surprising move, Yamaha has added a smaller XSR model to the company line-up for 2018. The XSR700, coming in at a MSRP of $9599, utilizes the FZ07 platform to create a heritage sport model similar to but not quiet as striking bike as the original XSR900 which itself was based on the FZ09. The choice may be a difficult one for some riders to make as a mere $1500 separates the two models.

The specs for the new XSR700  are:

Engine
Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valves (4-valves/cylinder), inline twin cylinder
Displacement
689cc
Bore and Stroke
80 x 68.6 mm
Compression Ratio
11.5:1
Maximum Torque
6.9 kg-m (50 ft-lbs.) @ 6,500 rpm
Fuel Delivery
Mikuni 38 mm dual bore throttle body F.I.
Estimated Fuel Consumption±
24.5 kpl / 69.2 mpg (Imp.)
Lubrication
Wet sump
Ignition / Starting
TCI / Electric
Transmission
6-speed
Final Drive
“O”-ring chain
Suspension (Front)
41 mm fork / 130mm (5.1″) wheel travel
Suspension (Rear)
Adjustable link Monocross / 130 mm (5.1″) wheel travel
Brakes (Front)
Dual 282 mm discs / 4-piston calipers
Brakes (Rear)
245 mm disc / single piston caliper
Tires (Front)
120/70ZR17
Tires (Rear)
180/55ZR17
Length
2,075mm (81.7″)
Width
820 mm (32.3″)
Height
1,130 mm (44.5″)
Wheelbase
1,405 mm (55.3″)
Rake / Trail
25° / 90 mm
Ground Clearance
140 mm (5.5″)
Seat Height
835 mm (32.9″)
Fuel Capacity
14 litres (3.1 imp. gallons)
Wet Weight
186 kg (410 lb.)

Isle of Man TT – Book Your Tent!

Metzler has announced that their Metzeler Village of tents will be open again at the 2018 Isle of Man TT.  Should you wish your accommodation arranged early for next year’s race they are now taking reservations.  As thousands upon thousands of motorcycle racing enthusiasts descend upon this small island each year, the $29/night per person to sleep in a tent near the racing action seems like it would be a good deal. The deal in fact gets a little better if you are riding your bike and happen to be running Metzeler tires (or “tyres” if you prefer as we are across the pond). If this is the case you also get free breakfast – not sure if that includes marmalade on toast or blood sausage. Reservations can be made at www.metzelervillage.com

Yamaha Introduces an Eluder

2018 Yamaha Eluder

While the name may not roll off the tongue, the bike itself may leave some speechless as Yamaha introduces a less is more version of the Venture TC in the Eluder. The Venture TC which appeared on the cover of the July 2017 issue of the Canadian Biker came as a much needed addition to the cruiser and touring segments. As other manufacturers have done recently Yamaha saw the advantage of extending the platform into the bagger niche but rather than wait a season or two  has done so almost simultaneously with the dressed bike.  The new bagger strips some chrome, a few options and of course the top case to give the bagger a 40kg weight advantage over the larger TC. All the good stuff connected to the throttle remains including Yamaha’s Chip Control Throttle, cruise control, traction control, unified braking  and power modes for the 1854 cc v-twin . With the weight savings of the new bike, Yamaha has left off the Park Assist electric motor as the Eluder should be a little more maneuverable. The Eluder has an MSRP of $27,099 representing a saving of almost $5,000 over the price of the Venture TC.

Yamaha Eluder

It’s Only $61,200 – 2018 H2R ….. Arrrrrrrrr!

Have you felt that there is something missing from your garage? Something kind of fancy? Something that you can’t ride on the street but could ride up and down the driveway? Something with no room for your significant other should she or he want a tour of said driveway? Good news! What is arguably one of the most exclusive and exotic motorcycle built by any of the major manufacturers is now available for pre-order should you require a 2018 edition for your collection. From September 1 to November 30 Kawasaki will be taking orders for the 2018 H2R- supercharger and all the required goodies. All you need is a $10,000 deposit to get your bike sometime in 2018.

Now they will also take a pre-order for the H2 and H2 Carbon which will set you back $31,000 and $34,600 respectively and do have the benefit of the legality to ride to your local Tim’s for a cup of Joe.

Visit your local Kawasaki dealer or the Kawasaki website should your need for speed be thus. To be fair, your could trailer the H2R to your local racetrack should your driveway lack the required length to get the H2R our of 1st gear.