Monday, July 28, 2014

So You Want To Build Custom Bikes?

I really enjoyed So You Want To Build Custom Bikes? by Wesley Reyneke.  In this piece found at BikeExif,  Reyneke interviews seven of the best bike builders in the world, include Per Nielsen, Greg Hageman, and Richard Pollack of Mule Motorcycles.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Husqvarna adds TE 125, FC 350, two dual sports to 2015 lineup

MURIETTA, Calif. - Husqvarna in late June broadened its lineup from 10 motorcycles to 14 as it introduced two new dual-sport bikes and an expanded lineup of enduros and motocross models.

New to the North American market are the FC 350 four-stroke MX bike, the TE 125 off-road two stroke, and two street-legal dual-sport models, the FE 350 S and FE 501 S.

Husky rejoins AMA Supercross and Pro Motocross racing with an "elite spec" of motocross bikes featuring a subframe made from carbon-fiber-reinforced polyamide, an advanced injection-molded material selected for its lighter weight and enhanced strength, the OEM noted. 
"The four new models and the advancements made to our motocross line are going to make a very big statement for the brand: Husqvarna is headed back to the top," said Steve Lawler, brand manager, in the announcement.
The FE 350 S and FE 501 S are street-legal options for the FE 350 and 501. The 350 S has a DOHC four-stroke engine with a heavier crankshaft than the off-road version to improve traction. The 501 S (see photo, below left) is powered by a SOHC four-stroke engine with titanium intake valves and DLC (diamond-like carbon)-coated rocker arms, and is also tuned for improved traction and maximum durability with a three-layer head gasket.
Both dual-sports have the same suspension components as the rest of the FE family -- the 4CS WP fork and link-mounted DCC (dual compression control) WP shock -- but are optimized for the specific demands of dual-sport riding, the OEM noted.
TE 125
Husqvarna's two-stroke lineup gettings a little bigger with the new TC 125 (see top photo), which carries many of the features from the larger TE machines, including the 4CS WP fork and linked rear suspension featuring the DCC WP rear shock. CNC-machined triple clamps ensure optimum clamping surface and precision control of the front end while enabling four different handlebar positions, the OEM announced.
The eighth-liter mill features a high-performance cylinder and power valve. The Vertex piston is designed to deliver healthy bottom-end torque and top-end performance. And in keeping with its simple and lightweight nature, the TE 125 uses a kick start.
The bike's Magura hydraulic clutch offers smooth, consistent actuation of the six-speed gearbox, and Boyesen reed valves ensure crisp throttle response and maximum durability, the OEM added.
FC 350
Husky's new middleweight four-stroke (see image, right) combines the lightweight agility of a 250 and the hard-hitting power of a 450. The FC 350, which is based on the 250 platform, is powered by a DOHC engine with lightweight titanium valves and DLC-coated finger followers. A CP-Carrillo-forged box-type piston combines maximum performance and reliability with minimum weight, and cranks out 54 hp.
The FC 350 carries the same 2015 upgrades to the 250, including the CSS clutch and one-piece machined steel clutch basket. The 350 shares suspension components and key features such as electric start, Brembo brakes and hydraulic clutch. Unlike the 250 and 450, however, the 350 will carry Husqvarna's fiberglass-reinforced polyamide composite rear subframe.

From a press release. Press images courtesy Husqvarna

AMA Reports Lone complaint forces CHP to remove lane-splitting guidelines from website

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- A single complaint from a Sacramento man has forced the California Highway Patrol and other state government agencies to remove information from their websites that was intended to help motorcyclists safely execute the allowed lane-splitting maneuver. 

Kenneth Mandler, a longtime state employee who now conducts training sessions on how to get a state job, petitioned the California Office of Administrative Law in 2013, claiming the CHP created an "underground regulation" by formulating and distributing guidelines for safe lane splitting. 

Lane splitting, also called lane filtering, is the practice of riding a motorcycle or scooter between lanes of stopped or slowly moving traffic. The practice has been permitted in California for decades and no statute prohibits it. No other state allows the maneuver. 

The CHP posted its guidelines with the intention of helping motorcyclists and motorists understand safe practices and to discourage unsafe lane splitting. 

"Some have interpreted the recently published Motorcycle Lane Splitting Guidelines as rules, laws or regulations that could or would be enforced by the department," according to a CHP statement. "The guidelines were never intended for this purpose and were prepared simply as common sense traffic safety tips and to raise public awareness."

The Office of Administrative Law sided with Mandler, noting that CHP Commissioner J. A. Farrow certified that his department would not "issue, use, enforce, or attempt to enforce the public education information." The OAL determined that posting the guidelines on the website was "issuing" them. 

"By forcing the California Highway Patrol to remove its guidelines, Mr. Mandler and the Office of Administrative Law are denying the public vital safety information," said Nick Haris, AMA western states representative and a member of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program Advisory Committee, which helped write the guidelines. 

"Lane splitting is still allowed, and motorcyclists are still using this long-recognized riding technique to relieve traffic congestion and improve safety," Haris said. "But now, neither riders nor motorists have a place to turn for authoritative guidelines on the practice." 

The AMA supports the continued use of safe lane splitting in California and the implementation of lane-splitting laws in other states, coupled with extensive rider and driver education programs. 

The AMA position statement reads, in part: "Reducing a motorcyclist's exposure to vehicles that are frequently accelerating and decelerating on congested roadways can be one way to reduce front- and rear-end collisions for those most vulnerable in traffic." 

Denny Kobza, of the Bay Area Riders' Forum and a member of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program Advisory Committee, said he was extremely disappointed that the CHP was forced to take down the guidelines. 

"It is very disturbing that one person can affect three years of hard work," Kobza said. "We put a lot of hard work into those guidelines, because lane splitting is a safer way to go than waiting for a motorist to make a mistake." 

Kobza said he has full faith in the California Highway Patrol's continued advocacy for motorcycle safety, and he hopes the guidelines can be reposted to state government websites soon. 

The complete AMA lane splitting position statement is available here:

The deleted CHP guidelines can still be downloaded here:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Love is like a gravel strewn left hander.