Thursday, October 14, 2010

New 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 and 750 debut Definitely not just a minor makeover—both GSX-Rs have been heavily updated

Most of the pre-release rumors on the new Suzuki GSX-Rs were implying that they have only received minor updates—nothing could be further from the truth. While the exterior may seem only slightly different, the 600 and 750 have been thoroughly revised for ’11. Although all the details are too numerous to mention here (check out the upcoming print issue for in-depth coverage), suffice it to say that Suzuki hasn’t merely spruced up the Gixxers’ with slightly different bodywork and a few small tweaks and called it good.

Both bikes underwent a weight loss program, plus the engines underwent extensive internal redesign aimed at reducing internal frictional losses. If your engine spins freer and easier, and the bike weighs less, you can achieve better performance without having to resort to high-strung engine tuning parameters that result in razor-thin powerbands stuck at sky-high rpm levels. Both bikes are claimed to weigh approximately 20 pounds less than their predecessors; an example of the weight loss program is exemplified by the following list:

Component Weight reduction (both models)

Main frame 1350g (2 lb., 15 oz.)

Front suspension 890g (1 lb., 15.3 oz.)
Rear suspension 90g (3.1 oz.)

Front wheel/Axle 256g (9.0 oz.)
Rear wheel/Axle 340g (11.9 oz.)
Front brakes 413g (14.5 oz.)
Rear brakes 323g (11.4 oz.)

Pistons (engine) 78g (2.7 oz.)
Transmission 185g (6.5 oz.)

ECU 330g (11.6 oz.)
Muffler 1700g (3 lb., 12.0 oz)
Bodywork 3400g (7 lb., 7.9 oz)
Headlights 562g (1 lb., 3.8 oz)

Seat 244g (8.6 oz.)

Footpegs 53g (1.8 oz.)
2011 Suzuki Gsxr750
The new 2011 Suzuki GSX-R750 has received the same upgrades as its little brother...for only $400 more.
All told, Suzuki is claiming a fully fueled weight of 410 pounds for the GSX-R600, and 416 pounds for the GSX-R750. If true, this would make the 600 the lightest four-cylinder middleweight in the market.

The engine’s internal upgrades start with redesigned pistons and rods utilizing the latest 3D CAD/CAM technology employed in MotoGP to replicate precise stress loads in order to reduce component material to the least amount possible. This has resulted in a 14 percent decrease in piston weight and a 12 percent decrease in connecting rod weight compared to last year, a huge reduction when you consider the astronomical piston speeds at 14,000 rpm.

The reduced reciprocating weight and frictional losses in turn have allowed the camshaft profiles to be redone, with less overlap leading to better low- and midrange power while keeping the top end intact. The crankcases have redesigned ventilation holes between the cylinder cavities, with a pentagonal shape providing easier airflow between each cylinder—again, reducing mechanical pumping losses. All of the transmission ratios (with the exception of 5th gear) have been revised for improved acceleration, with a slightly taller first gear providing closer spacing between between most of the gears; overall weight has also been reduced by 6.5 ounces. The complete engine block is now 4 pounds 6 ounces lighter than the previous powerplant. 

Up top, the fuel injection throttle bodies feature new, more compact particulate-type injectors that allow better positioning; thus, the primary injectors are now set at a 35-degree angle (from 41 degrees) to allow them a straighter shot at the intake valves for better atomization and throttle response. Exhaled gases are handled by a 4-into-2-into-1 system using the now-ubiquitous under-engine collector chamber; thinner-walled piping (1.0mm versus 1.2mm thickness) and a titanium muffler help to reduce weight by 3 pounds 12 ounces on the 600, and 2 pounds 6.8 ounces on the 750.

The adjustable Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) returns, but now with only two modes instead of three as before. Only A and B modes can be selected; Suzuki found that owners never used the old C mode (we don’t blame them). The ECU is now located up front by the airbox, reducing wiring volume and complexity.

Suspension up front is now handled by a 41mm Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF). The rear shock is 1mm shorter (but with longer stroke), and the spring seat material changed to aluminum to cut 90 grams of excess weight. Braking is now handled by Brembo radial-mount four-piston calipers biting on larger 280mm discs (up from the 276.8mm units of before), with the rear disc dropping in size from 188mm to 186mm. 

The aluminum frame and swingarm are completely new and have revised rigidity specs, with the swingarm now only made of three pieces instead of five as before. Both are now manufactured using a “Melted Gravity Casting Process” that is claimed to allow more flexibility in shaping and precise manufacturing of curved components. As listed in the weight specs at the beginning, the frame’s overall weight has been cut by 2 pounds 15.8 ounces. 

In order to tighten up the wheelbase and centralize mass, the engine has been rotated upward in the frame by three degrees. This in turn allows the main frame’s length to be shorter front-to-back, reducing wheelbase by 15mm (now listed at 54.5 inches, from 55.1 inches) while retaining the swingarm’s original length. Ergos have been subtly revised, with the bars splayed out wider by one degree, and the fuel tank reshaped for a shorter reach to the bars and easier tuck-in by the rider.

The yen/dollar exchange rate fluctuation has played havoc with the Japanese OEM pricing, and the new GSX-R600’s MSRP of $11,599 (a $1200 bump from last year’s price on the ’09 model—remember, American Suzuki didn’t import any ’10 models) reflects that. Surprisingly, the GSX-R750 is only $400 more at $11,999; one can only imagine that most U.S. buyers will opt for the larger displacement GSX-R for that small of a price difference.

Also introduced for the U.S. market is the new (for the U.S.) GSX1250FA. Already running on European roads for a year now, the GSX1250FA is basically a fully faired version of the Bandit 1250S that debuted back in ’07. The same ultra-torquey 1255cc inline four-cylinder engine returns, along with the frame and suspension. Biggest changes besides the fairing are the GSX-R stacked headlight arrangement, ABS as standard equipment, twin cooling fans to help deal with slow traffic on hot days, and a centerstand. MSRP for the GSX1250FA will be $11,599.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R Images and information from Kawasaki's press material

Power Is Nothing Without Control

Newer. Faster. Lighter. Better. You hear these descriptors all the time in this business.

Problem is, reality rarely lives up to the hype. But Kawasaki’s new-from-the-ground-up 2011 Ninja® ZX™-10R sportbike has no such credibility gap, going several steps beyond newer, faster, lighter and better by offering the most advanced traction-control system in all of production motorcycling.

Yes, in all of production motorcycling.

Not only are we talking about a complete redesign of the ZX-10R’s engine, frame, suspension, bodywork, instrumentation and wheels, but a highly advanced and customizable electronic system that helps riders harness and capitalize on the new ZX-10R’s amazing blend of power and responsive handling. The system is called Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control, or S-KTRC. It represents a whole new dimension in motorcycle performance, and the ZX-10R is the only production sport bike that can take you there.

Motorcyclists have forever been challenged by traction-related issues, whether on dirt, street or track. Riders that can keep a rear tire from spinning excessively or sliding unpredictably are both faster and safer, a tough combination to beat on the racetrack. And when talking about the absolute leading edge of open-class sport bike technology, where production street bikes are actually more capable than full-on race bikes from just a couple years ago, more consistent traction and enhanced confidence is a major plus. The MotoGP-derived S-KTRC system works by crunching numbers from a variety of parameters and sensors – wheel speed and slip, engine rpm, throttle position, acceleration, etc. There’s more data gathering and analysis going on here than on any other Kawasaki in history, and it’s all in the name of helping racers inch closer to the elusive “edge” of maximum traction than ever before. The S-KTRC system relies on complex software buried in the new ZX-10R’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), the only additional hardware is the lightweight speed sensors located on each wheel.
Unlike the KTRC system on Kawasaki’s Concours™ 14 ABS sport tourer, which primarily minimizes wheel slip on slick or broken surfaces as a safety feature, the S-KTRC system is designed to maximize performance by using complex analysis to predict when traction conditions are about to become unfavorable. By quickly, but subtly reducing power just before the amount of slippage exceeds the optimal traction zone, the system – which processes every data point 200 times per second – maintains the optimum level of tire grip to maximize forward motion. The result is significantly better lap times and enhanced rider confidence –exactly what one needs when piloting a machine of this caliber.

The S-KTRC system offers three different modes of operation, which riders can select according to surface conditions, rider preference and skill level: Level 1 for max-grip track use, Level 2 for intermediate use, and Level 3 for slippery conditions. An LCD graph in the newly designed instrument cluster displays how much electronic intervention is occurring in real time and a thumb switch on the left handlebar pod allows simple, on-the-go mode changes.

The system also incorporates an advanced Power Mode system that allows riders to choose the amount of power – and the character of delivery – available from the engine. Besides the standard Full-power mode are Medium and Low settings. In Medium mode, performance varies according to throttle position and engine rpm; at anything less than 50 percent throttle opening, performance is essentially the same as in Low mode; at more than 50 percent, riders can access additional engine performance. All three S-KTRC settings are available in each of the three Power Mode settings.
And the motorcycle so capably managed by all of this trick electronic wizardry? It’s completely redesigned from 2010 to ’11.

It all starts with the 10R’s all-new inline-four, easily the most advanced engine to ever emerge from a Kawasaki factory. Like last year’s potent ZX-10R engine, the new powerplant is a 16-valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four displacing 998cc via 76 x 55mm bore and stroke dimensions. But that’s where the similarity stops, as the new mill boasts a handful of engineering changes designed to optimize power delivery, center of gravity and actual engine placement within the chassis.

A primary goal of Kawasaki engineers was linear power delivery and engine manageability throughout all elements of a corner: the entry, getting back to neutral throttle at mid-corner, and heady, controllable acceleration at the exit. Peak torque was moved to a higher rpm range, which eliminates the power peaks and valleys that make it difficult for racers and track-day riders to open the throttle with confidence.

Larger intake valves (31mm vs. 30mm), wider– and polished – intake ports, and completely revised exhaust porting all allow better breathing, more controllable power delivery and less engine braking, just the thing to smooth those racetrack corner entries and exits. Higher-lift camshafts built from lighter-yet-stronger chromoly steel (instead of cast iron) and featuring revised overlap further contribute to optimized engine braking and more controllable power delivery. Newly designed lightweight pistons feature shorter skirts and mount to lighter and stronger connecting rods, each of which spin a revised crankshaft made of a harder material and featuring stronger pins and journal fillets. Compression moves to a full 13.0:1.

There’s more, including a totally revamped crankshaft/transmission shaft layout that contributes to a higher center of mass – and improved handling via better mass centralization – by locating the crankshaft approximately 10 degrees higher relative to the output shaft. There’s even a secondary engine balancer assembly this year, which allows a number of vibration-damping parts to be simplified, contributing to weight savings. A smaller and dramatically lighter battery helps drop even more weight, as does a lighter ECU and fuel pump. A race-style cassette transmission allows simple trackside ratio changes and offers a host of improvements for 2011. These include closer spacing for 4th, 5th and 6th gears and the fine-tuning of the primary and final reduction ratios for less squat/lift during acceleration and deceleration, which allows more precise suspension tuning in back. An adjustable back-torque limiting clutch assembly is fitted, which allows worry-free downshifts and an even higher level of corner-entry calmness.

Cramming all that fuel and air into this amazing new engine is a ram air-assisted fuel injection system featuring larger throttle bodies (47 vs. 43mm) and sub-throttle valves, a larger-capacity airbox (9 vs. 8 liters), secondary injectors that improve top-end power characteristics, and a large, redesigned ram-air intake that’s positioned closer to the front of the bike for more efficient airbox filling and increased power.

The final piece of the ZX-10R’s power-production formula is a race-spec exhaust system featuring a titanium header assembly, hydroformed collectors, a large-volume pre-chamber containing two catalyzers and a highly compact silencer. Due to the header’s race-spec design, riders and racers looking for more closed-course performance need only replace the slip-on muffler assembly.

With the engine producing a massive quantity of usable and controllable power, engineers looked to the chassis to help refine handling and overall road/track competency even further. An all-new aluminum twin-spar frame was designed, an all-cast assemblage of just seven pieces that features optimized flex characteristics for ideal rider feedback, cornering performance and lighter weight than last year’s cage. Fewer pieces mean fewer welds, which contributes to a cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing look. Like the frame, the new alloy swingarm is an all-cast assembly, with idealized rigidity matching that of the frame itself.

Chassis geometry was juggled to offer the best possible stability and handling quickness. Rake, at 25 degrees, is a half-degree steeper than on the 2010 machine, while trail has been reduced from 110 to 107mm. This slightly more radical front end geometry, and the quicker, lighter handling it allows, was made possible largely by the new engine’s more controllable power, engine placement and the CG differences it generated, and the frame and swingarm’s newfound flex characteristics.

Highly advanced suspension at both ends helped as well. Up front is a 43mm open-class version of the Big Piston Fork (BPF) found on last year’s comparo-dominating Ninja ZX-6R. Featuring a piston design nearly twice the size of a conventional cartridge fork, the BPF offers smoother action, less stiction, lighter overall weight and enhanced damping performance on the compression and rebound circuits. This added compliance results in more control and feedback for the rider – just what you need when carving through a rippled sweeper at your local track or negotiating a decreasing-radius corner on your favorite backroad.

There’s big suspension news in back, too. Replacing the vertical Uni-Trak® system of the 2010 ZX-10R is a Horizontal Back-Link suspension design that positions the shock and linkage above the swingarm. Benefits include better mass centralization, improved road holding, compliance and stability, smoother action in the mid-stroke (even with firmer settings), better overall feedback and cooler running. The design also frees space previously taken by the linkage assembly below the swingarm, space now used for the exhaust pre-chamber, which allows a shorter muffler and, again, better mass centralization. The fully adjustable shock features a piggyback reservoir and dual-range (low- and high-speed) compression damping.

All-new gravity-cast three-spoke wheels are significantly lighter than the hoops fitted to the 2010 bike. Up front, Tokico radial-mount calipers grasp 310mm petal discs and a 220mm disc is squeezed by a lightweight single-piston caliper in back. The result is powerful, responsive braking plenty of rider feedback.

Finally, Kawasaki engineers wrapped all this new technology in bodywork as advanced and stylish as anything on this side of a MotoGP grid. Shapes are more curved than edged this year, and the contrasting colored and black parts create a sharp, aggressive image. Line-beam headlights enable the fairing to be made shorter, while LED turn signals are integrated into the mirror assemblies and convenient turn-signal couplers allow easy mirror removal for track-day use. The rear fender assembly holding the rear signal stalks and license plate frame is also easily removable for track days. High-visibility LED lamps are also used for the taillight and position marker.

Instrumentation is totally new as well, the unit highlighted by an LED-backlit bar-graph tachometer set above a multi-featured LCD info screen with numerous sections and data panels. A wide range of information is presented, including vehicle speed, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel consumption, Power Mode and S-KTRC level, low fuel, water temperature and much more. For track use, the LCD display can be set to “race” mode which moves the gear display to the center of the screen.
The new ZX-10R’s ergonomics have been fine tuned for optimum comfort and control, with a slightly lower saddle, adjustable footpegs positioned slightly lower and more forward relative to last year, and clip-ons with a bit less downward angle. This is a hard-core sportbike you can actually take on an extended sport ride – and still be reasonably comfortable doing so. And because it’s 22 pounds lighter than last year’s bike, the new ZX-10R will be quicker and more nimble in any environment you choose to ride it in.

The old saying, “power is nothing without control” is certainly apt where open-class sport bikes are concerned. But when you factor in all the engine, chassis and ergonomic control designed into the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R, you begin to realize you’re looking at one very special motorcycle – one that can take you places you’ve never been before.

Newer. Faster. Lighter. And better. Reality really does match the hype.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2011 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Ultra B-b-bling for the alpha tourer, By Jamie Elvidge Photography by Riles & Nelson

Like any alpha wolf worth its fur, Harley-Davidson's "alpha customer" needs to make a little noise to remind everyone of his position within the pack-which is exactly why the Custom Vehicle Operations line exists. Every year, Harley's CVO team selects four models and hooks them up with exclusive accoutrements, snazzy paint and, of course, the CVO-exclusive 110-cubic-inch Screamin' Eagle engine. For 2011 the Ultra Classic Electra Glide, gangsta-fave Street Glide and versatile Softail Convertible return to the CVO stage, with the revered Road Glide Ultra rolling in to replace the Fat Bob.

Aside from the flash factor, the most apparent dimensional difference between the base Road Glide and the CVO version is the use of badass 18-inch Agitator wheels. The 15-inch windshield has been reshaped as well, and brought back 15 degrees.
The CVO Convertible Softail also receives an iPod-integrated audio system, with dual speakers tucked beneath the bike's small windshield. Rider and passenger seats, passenger backrest and lockable leather saddlebags all receive simulated alligator-skin inserts, and new mini-ape hangers add to the Softail's plumage. First-time performance enhancements such as ABS, ETC, cruise control and keyless ignition add tangible value to the Convertible package.
The stereo on the hot-rod Street Glide, with its 100-watt-per-channel amp, is by far the most potent for in-the-wind listening, but the BOOM! (yes) speakers on the Road Glide also offer impressive sound quality. The Softail's two-speaker stereo is less than stellar, but that's not its only downfall. A knee-high-to-a-grasshopper seat height of 24.4-inches and baby apes make the bike feel cramped for a full-size rider, and looks-wise there are much prettier ways to spend nearly $30,000.
Price $35,999
Engine type a-c 45-deg. V-twin
Valve train OHV, 4v
Displacement 1803cc
Bore x stroke 101.6 x 111.3mm
Compression 9.1:1
Fuel system EFI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed horsepower na
Claimed torque 115 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
Frame Steel double cradle
Front suspension 41.3mm Showa fork
Rear suspension Twin Showa shocks with air-adjustable preload
Front brake Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 300mm discs
Rear brake Brembo four-piston caliper, 300mm disc
Front tire 130/80B-18 Dunlop H-D Series
Rear tire 180/55B-18 Dunlop H-D Series
Rake/trail 26.0°/6.7 in.
Seat height 27.5 in.
Wheelbase 63.5 in.
Fuel capacity 6.0 gal.
Claimed dry weight 905 lbs.
Colors Red/black, gray/black, ivory/gold
Available Now
Warranty 24 mo., unlimited mi.

Monday, October 11, 2010

2011 Harley-Davidson XR1200X - The X-Factor by Aaron Frank Photography by Tom Riles, Brian J. Nelson

Uprated Suspension And Brakes Improve The Sportiest Sportster

2011 Harley Davidson Xr1200x Left Side View
They say: "Sportster performance honed to its finest edge."
We say: "It'd perform even better after you honed an inch off the footpegs."
It's fair to say that Harley-Davidson racing development peaked in 1970 with the release of the iconic, instantly successful XR750. That platform, which continues to dominate dirt-track racing to this day, has made the XR prefix synonymous with Harley performance. 

That's why The Motor Company's hottest streetbike is branded the XR1200, and isn't an XL1200 variation like its more conventional, baby-cruiser brethren. Now Harley-Davidson has deployed an additional X to create the XR1200X, upgraded with fully adjustable Showa suspension and higher-spec brakes. This is by far the sportiest Sportster yet.
Price $11,799
Engine type a-c 45-deg. V-twin
Valve train OHV, 4v
Displacement 1200cc
Bore x stroke 88.9 x 96.8mm
Compression 10.0:1
Fuel system EFI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Transmission 5-speed
Claimed horsepower 91.0 bhp @ 7000 rpm
Claimed torque 74 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
Frame Tubular-steel double-cradle
Front suspension 43mm Showa inverted fork with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension Dual Showa shocks with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brake Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 292mm discs
Rear brake Nissin one-piston caliper, 260mm disc
Front tire 120/70ZR-18 Dunlop Qualifier D209
Rear tire 180/55ZR-17 Dunlop Qualifier D209
Rake/trail 29.0°/5.2 in.
Seat height 29.2 in.
Wheelbase 60.0 in.
Fuel capacity 3.5 gal.
Claimed dry weight 551 lbs.
Color Black Denim and White Hot Denim
Available Now
Warranty 24 mo., unlimited mi.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Heathers Draggin' on the Dragon! - Girl rider!

This Tail of The Dragon in NC.  The curves are crazy as hell.  It takes heart to ride this tail as they call it and this is a female doing the damn thing.  The women are really getting it in on these sportbikes.  Too bad it was just clips, can you image if it was actually footage as they were riding in the tail?  Well enjoy Heather she's doing it real big. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top Motocross Psychology Tips For Entering The Zone: Take It From The Pro's by Dr. Patrick J. Cohn

For those that love to race we have not forgotten about you at Biker-Space.  Here is an article on how to handle and prepare for a motocross race.  Enjoy!

On the start line, you were so confident that day, you believed no one could race with you. On the track, racing felt effortless and smooth. You were in the flow on every jump, bump, and turn. Your rhythm was perfect in the whoops. Every section of the track was executed just as you saw in your mind. Your mind was so immersed into racing each section--one at a time--that you were oblivious to other racers. Today you were not checking to see who was behind you. 
Your motorcycle responded with ease to every thought—it felt like an extension of you. The feeling of being in complete control of yourself and your emotions was awesome. It was so fun to race the track just as you have envisioned in your mind. Only after the moto did you realize that you raced the moto of your life and found an elusive state of peak performance called “the zone".
Nothing is more exciting for athletes than performing in the zone. The zone is a peak performance state in which the mental, physical, and strategic parts of racing come together at once. When racing in the zone and going fast with ease, motocross is fun, immensely satisfying, and feels second nature. To get into a zone state, you must be focused on the task, very self-confident, race with trust and composure, and be decisive with your race plan. In this article, I will discuss the mindset of racers when in the peak performance zone.

“You can have a good bike and have all the talent in the world, but if you don't believe in yourself and know that you can win, you will have a hard time at the races.” – Ricky Carmichael

Confidence is the first mental tool to entering the zone. You cannot race your best without a high level of self-confidence. You know the confident type—the James Stewarts of the Motocross world who have a total conviction and belief in their ability. Most racer’s confidence comes from success and winning, but how will you get onto the podium if you do not first believe you can win? Too many racers doubt their ability to race up front right at the wrong time. I teach racers to take responsibility for their confidence by fueling their confidence and teaching them how to battle those malicious doubts that pop into a racer’s mind at the wrong time.

“I try to visualize the entire race beforehand. As the actual races get closer at hand, I start to focus more specifically on the start.” – Rick Johnson

The second mental tool to getting into the zone is your ability focus the mind in the present moment, the so-called here and now. Most racers can concentrate, but may not focus on the right areas. Racing the track one section at a time and not getting ahead of yourself is the foundation of a zone focus. You can’t make yourself get in the zone, but you can train your mind to focus on the right areas so you are dialed in when the gate drops. In addition, coping with distractions are part of racing. The racer who learns how to ignore the distractions and focus on the task will beat most racers who get distracted.

The third mental tool to entering the zone is a racer’s ability to get into a “flow” on race day. Ricky Carmichael has a great work ethic and trains hard, but to win he must be able to rely on his training and get into a rhythm on race day. Some racers ruin their rhythm by trying too hard or forcing it on race day. The ability to perform effortlessly and trust your instincts is the foundation for getting into a zone state. My motocross students call this feeling as being “in the flow,” “in a rhythm,” “just reacting,” or “automatic.” You must be able to trust your practice and ability on race day do you can “just do it” and react to the track.

“Don’t try to blast your way around the track. Find a nice pace and stay with it. Relax. When you are nervous, your arms tend to pump up.” – Jeremy McGrath

In pressure situations or in national events, the tendency is to tighten up, try too hard, and not trust you ability. Focusing too much on clutch release or body position for example upsets the natural rhythm and flow of riding because you are consciously forcing it and not letting it happen. This bogs down timing and throws off your natural rhythm. The purpose of practice is to make it feel reflexive when you perform on the track. When you race, let your instincts, built on a ton of practice, take over.

The fourth mental tool is composure. When performing in the zone, racers feel very much in control of themselves and thus their performance. Sports require a balanced emotional level. The key is to be excited to race but not over excited, intense but not too intense, ready to race, but not overanxious to race, and feel challenged but not anxious. Feeling pumped and excited can help you race better, but fear and anxiety ruin your mindset. I help my students find the balance between feeling excited and being over excited.

“Only race because you love it. Race because you can express yourself. Race because it's the most fun thing you can do!” – Rick Johnson

Lastly, you have to have fun with your racing to get into the zone. How could racing not be fun you ask? One way is if you put too much pressure on yourself to win or get on the podium. Another way is if you feel expectations from others such as your parents or manufacturers to win. These can cause fear, trying too hard, doubt, and tension, all mental breakdowns that will prevent you from entering the zone. Approach each moto like a fun game because you love the feeling of hitting that jump just right or hauling around a corner and you will be more likely to find your flow on race day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why Do Bikers Dress The Way They Do? By Tyler Powers

Most motorcycle riders wear leather – lots of leather. Boots, chaps, vests, gloves, chain wallets, and leather jackets. The reason behind all this leather is not for looks, and it's not to appear threatening. It's all about protection!

There is protection from weather provided by leather. Riding in cool weather gets very cold when you are moving at 55 miles per hour. Even the gentle Florida winter requires protection from winter weather. In fact, I would never know that was Becki getting ready to ride the Toy Run if I didn't recognize the motorcycle! Weather isn't the only issue, however.

True bikers dress to protect themselves in a fall rather than dressing just for the ride. Accidents do happen. You may have to drop a bike to avoid being hit by a car. You may experience a front blow out and lose control. It is possible that even the most experienced rider can drop a bike. I've had to CHOOSE to drop a bike to avoid being run over by a car. The bike and I both survived. I didn't even get road rash since I was wearing leather! I also chose where to drop the bike so it wasn't damaged except for a paint ding.

Bikers learn from experience, both theirs and others. When you see someone who chose to ride in shorts and tee-shirt come in covered with road rash, you know that riding that way is not wise. They dressed for the summer ride and failed to dress for the fall which happened.

That explains the leather jackets and chaps. But why the chain wallets? Motorcycles vibrate somewhat. You climb on and off them. This places stress on the back pocket where a wallet would be carried. Over time, the wallet can drop out unnoticed and not only is money lost, but ID, proof of insurance, credit cards lots of valuable things that take time and trouble to replace. With the chain wallet, this cannot happen. You also do not expose yourself to having a pick-pocket hit you during a crowded motorcycle event!

The leather gloves – often fingerless for summer wear -- make holding handlebars for hours more comfortable. There isn't a cruise control on a motorcycle, although some people rig them up. The throttle is in your hand and you have it turned to the speed you want to go for the entire ride. That wears on the palm and tires the hand. The gloves provide comfort. Mesh and leather are normally used for summer riding, full leather for winter rides. Also, the hands are provided protection from the road in case of a skid, fall, or drop. Road rash on the palms HURTS!

Goggles or eye protection is often the law, but it also makes sense. Think what happens if a bug hits you in the eye at 55 mph! Of course, the goggles or eye protection needs to look cool, but that just because no one wants to wear funny looking glasses. Helmet visors provide the protection in states where helmets are required. A benefit of visors, if you use a full-face visor, bugs don't get in your mouth either! ICK!

Speaking of bugs: leather protects the rider from insect impacts as well. Do you realize how hard a bug is when it hits your body at high speed?? It's painful!! And no one would want that angry insect to sting if it were capable.

Boots are a necessity. If you "almost" drop a bike, often that sturdy boot placed on the ground prevents the potential drop becoming a real accident. Think how your foot would look if you had to steady yourself and your bike wearing thin bottom sneakers? If you ruin a pair of boots because you saved yourself from a fall, it's an investment that paid off! Boots also provide protection from hot exhaust pipes and support the ankles better for mounting and dismounting your ride.

Where helmets are not required, leather skull caps are popular. Sometimes called a "do-rag", these leather bandana-like objects are shaped for the head and tie in the back. This hold hear in place but also provides some protection should you scrape your head during a fall. Of course, if you HIT your head during a fall, only a helmet will provide protection. However, we should let those who ride decide, but most states feel otherwise!

There is a reason for every thing the biker wears. Sure, it looks cool in their opinion, and there is some really beautiful riding gear available. But it's not all about looks. What you wear when you ride can save your life or at least your skin!

Monday, October 4, 2010


The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA) announces that Senate Bill 2344, dubbed Ryan’s Bill, an “Act relative to assuring that motorcyclists between the ages of 16 and 18 are provided with adequate education relative to the proper safety and operation of a motorcycle.” has been signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick.

Recognizing the additional burden formal training may require, MMA Legislative Director Rick Gleason states, “A weekend of formal training sets the stage for a lifetime of motorcycling enjoyment and the skills acquired through training can help a rider avoid a crash.”

This new law does not make training mandatory, and only affects those under 18 who wish to earn their motorcycle license.  MMA Chairman Dave Condon further clarifies that passage of Ryan’s Bill does not require a junior operator take a motorcycle training course.  "A motorcycle permit in this state is good for two years. Therefore, a junior motorcycle operator can still ride on his\her permit beyond their 18th birthday, and take the road test offered by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.” Condon further stated, "The MMA was very careful in not taking anyone's choice away or interfering with a parent’s right to decide what is best for their child." Condon also pointed out that current state regulations require 40+ hours of formal training before a Junior Operator may obtain a license to operate an automobile.

Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) officials analyzed ten years of information from the Massachusetts RMV and found that just over 63% of those involved in fatal motorcycle accidents have never received any formal motorcycle rider training and 22.5% of motorcycle fatalities were from riders under the age of 21.

The MMA supported the legislation in honor of 16 year old Ryan Orcutt of Brockton who died in a motorcycle accident.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Motorcycle Stunt Girls- Graceful Perfection

The girls are doing it real big in motorcycle stunts.  WOW!!!  Much respect to these ladies.  And they look good.  They are gorgeous.  Team Rebella proves that stunting isn't just a game for the guys...

...One group of female riders has carved out its own niche within the freestyle genre, and has since made a lot of guys go gaga for more than their stunts...

...So how did Team Rebella, a group of three young ladies, think they were going to make any sort of impact whatsoever and infiltrate this male-dominated, somewhat reclusive stunt clique? Lipstick and eyeliner doesn't mix with wheelies and burnouts after all...

...It turns out that makeup, teddy bears and nail polish are the farthest things from the minds of Jessica Maine, Brandy Valdez and Alicia Speck. It was fate that gave them their collective good looks alongside natural riding ability, but the blend has gained them widespread popularity...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How To Handle A Fall (Assuming It's Inevitable) By: James R. Davis

Of all the Tips I have posted here, this one is clearly the least credible in the sense that I have no experience in the matter, nor can I imagine a way to practice that makes any sense to me (nor would I want to.)

Still, I will post the thoughts in the hope that the reader will not take them as advice, but purely my opinions on the matter. Further, I suspect that in real life one does not have time to do anything deliberate until after the first impact, and then there may be no decisions possible. On the other hand, since I have personally witnessed a deliberate and life-saving maneuver by a woman who had just suffered a highside accident, I know that at least some people retain enough presence of mind in an accident that the following couple of ideas just might help.
  • The objective should always be NOT to fall - even if the bike is going down. That is why I teach my friends how to dismount their bikes (at slow speeds) if it is dumping, or to stay with it until after first impact at higher speeds, if possible.
  • DO NOT TRY TO BREAK YOUR FALL WITH YOUR HANDS!!! In other words, try to impact with as much of your body at the same time as possible.
  • If you are doing a lowside the bike is ahead of you and you want it to stay that way. Since the coefficient of friction between you and the ground/asphalt is higher than of a metal motorcycle, you want to get as much of your body on the ground at the same time as you can to slow you as quickly as possible so the bike will slide away from you. In other words, arms over head, feet first, butt down. Stay LOOSE (relaxed, in as large a configuration as possible.) LET GO OF THE MOTORCYCLE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!
  • If you are doing a highside you will be in front of the bike when you hit the ground. You want to move as fast as possible - in the same direction you were going and for as long as you can - in order to try to avoid getting crushed. In other words, you want to 'tuck' and roll as soon as you can after you hit the ground. Stay TIGHT (in as small a configuration as possible.)
Before you try to get up after taking a spill you must be sure that you have come to a stop first! Wait a couple of seconds until you are sure.

I don't think most people will have time to do anything deliberate at all by way of falling. But perhaps I'm wrong and the above thoughts can in some way be of assistance.
Following the posting of this Tip I received many e-mail messages which argued that a person simply does not have time to do anything that could affect the outcome of a fall. I responded with the following:


My comments had very little to do with how you hit the ground following a 'get off' as I don't think there is sufficient time to do anything very deliberate until after the first impact, and then there may be no decisions possible. Rather, I was trying to suggest that as you are coming to rest (assuming you can function at all) then you should try to END UP either loose (as much body contact as possible with the ground) or tight (as little body contact as possible with the ground - tuck and roll posture) depending on if you went down on the low side or the highside.

Despite the fact that I don't think most people would have either the time nor the presence of mind to do much 'thinking' during a 'get off', some do. I have personally seen, for example, a woman in her late fifties do a 50 MPH highside and when she landed, because (I believe - she can't remember) she was so afraid that the bike would land on top of her, began a rapid rolling maneuver that saved her life (the motorcycle stopped 1 foot short of where she did.) I have personally witnessed this same woman (honest) respond to a huge wind gust that knocked her bike over just as we were coming to a stop at a pullout on the top of a mountain and she was thrown over her bike, this time at about 5 MPH.

During this latter 'highside' she actually did a summersault before hitting the ground - a clearly deliberate move on her part (we all watched as she tucked her head down and 'kicked' away from her bike which allowed her to land on her curved back and then she 'unwound' and stopped her roll by spreading her legs. (She had gotten away from the bike that was following her, but wanted to stop rather than keep going.) Good thing, because had she gone another five feet she would have had a SEVENTY FOOT fall off the mountain. (There was no fence or guard rail that would have stopped it.) Incidentally, Elaine saw both of these 'highsides' , too.

Anyway, I mention these events because they left a very strong impression on me that some people DO have the presence of mind to determine how to END a fall, despite how fast things are happening to them. I'm not at all sure I'm one of those people, but at least I have thought about it and know that if I'm in front of my motorcycle I want to keep moving until I can't move any more - and I want as small an exposed profile as possible, just in case that bike catches up with me.

As to the lowside concept of trying to end up on your back, arms over your head, feet first - this was originally told to me by a motorcycle 'stunt man' in LA a couple of decades ago about how he tries to stop after a dismount. (Not that any of us are into that sort of thing, of course. )