Jul 30, 2009

All the News that Didn't Fit

Race a Factory BuellFor only $39,995, you can buy a race-only 1125RR Buell racer, if you are a licensed professional racer who will be willing to compete in the AMA Pro Racing American Superbike class. The Helicon-powered, v-twin comes with a collection of race-ready parts if you are up for the price tag and the competition.

Boston Silences MotorcyclesThe Boston City Council fast-tracked Docket 0658 (An ordinance regulating the noise levels of motorcycles) in a reaction to community complaints of “excessive motorcycle exhaust sound.” The new ordinance requires OEM or US EPA certified exhaust systems on all street legal motorcycles built after December 31, 1982. Violations will result in a $300 fine.

California Won’t Test MotorcyclesThe sponsor, Senator Fran Pavley, of a California bill that would require emissions testing and exhaust system limits for all 2000-and-newer motorcycles has pulled the bill, thanks to the political clout of thousands of “concerned motorcyclists.”

The Killacycle Strikes AgainCummins Power Generation Inc. is sponsoring the world record, 7.89 second quarter-mile electric motorcycle Killacycle racing team. The Killacycle team uses a Cummins Onan Hybrid Quiet Diesel (HQD) generator system to charge the bike at events. The generator has been modified to operate on B20 Biodiesel.

Motorcycle Death at the Tour de FranceA 61-year-old woman was struck and killed by a police motorcycle at the Tour de France as she was crossing a street about 24 miles into the 123 mile 14th stage of the event. The smotorcycle, ridden by a member of the French Republican Guard, slid into the crowd and struck two other spectators, neither was seriously injured.

Motorcycles and Cambodia Don’t MixMotorcycles are the 2nd leading cause of death in Cambodia, right after AIDS. This statistic is somewhat speculative, although during the last 5 years traffic fatalities have doubled in Cambodia and motorcycles are the overwhelming majority of motorized vehicles in that country.

Motorcycle Exhibits CancelingThe 2009 Paris Mondial show was cancelled after major exhibitors let the show organizers know they wouldn’t be attending. Now, Honda and Yamaha have backed out of the Milan, Italy EICMA show. Last year, 1022 motorcycle-related companies participated in the EICMA show. If the two biggest motorcycle companies in the world aren’t going to be there, will the show still go on? The world economic depression took a while to affect motorcycling, but it’s getting to us now.

Zero Emissions Isle of ManThe first one-lap (37 miles) TTXGP, sponsored by Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, was won by Ron Barber riding for Team Agni with an average speed of 87mph (44mph slower than this year’s gas-powered Isle of Man winner) and a top speed of 97.8mph. The Agni X01 was a two-month woodshed project designed by Cedric Lynch and Arvind Rabadia. The Agni was built around the chassis of a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R600 packed with 63 lithium-polymer batteries, for a max capacity of 16 kilowatt-hours (the BTU equivalent of about half a gallon of gasoline). Lynch designed and built the Agni’s two high-efficiency motors.

The all electric motorcycle race winner was built from off-the-shelf parts, as opposed to some of the more well-financed entries. For example, San Francisco’s well-financed Mission Motors hyped their “fastest production electric motorcycle in the world [with] a top speed of 150 mph.” Their Mission One finished 4th with a 74mph average speed and a top speed of 88.3 mph.

Auction-ManiaThe multi-mirrored Lambretta scooter from the Who’s 1979 movie, Quadrophenia, sold for £36,000 ($51,000) at auction. Steve McQueen’s 1929 Scott Super Squirrel was bid up to $276,000 at the New York Antiquorum summer auction. Who says the economy is going bust?

Recent Area Motorcycle CrashesOn July 2, 5 motorcycle tourists were injured in a crash on I90 near Stoughton. 25 members of a Wisconsin motorcycling group (ARM, Association for Recovering Motorcyclists) were westbound and “traveling in excess of the speed limit and they were following way too closely” when traffic ahead of them slowed. Five of the motorcyclists were hospitalized, one was evacuated by Med-Flight. Several of the group ended up “going into the ditch” in their attempt to avoid crashing into the slowed vehicles ahead. According to authorities, “None of the cyclists had helmets on.”

On July 17, Mike Brown, a 66-year-old retired Long Lake fire chief, and four friends were ten minutes into their annual cross-country road trip, when Gary Arens, 51, attempted to pass a pickup and hit Brown head-on. Seconds after the crash, Brown was also struck by a car. Both riders died on site at the crash. The motorcycles struck so hard that one caught fire. Authorities said Arens’ relatives believed that he was probably “aggressively” commuting to work. Arens was reported to have been cited for drunken driving three times since 1999.

Mike Brown was a serious motorcycle enthusiast and an active motorcycle safety advocate. "He was a very cautious driver and he made people he rode with...talked them into wearing their helmets and making sure that everybody rode in a safe manner," said Long Lake fire chief James Van Eyll. The riders were in a well-spaced “staggered formation” at the time of the crash, according to the police report.

On July 19, Brian Elfving, 39, lost control of his Harley and crashed into the side of a Solway, MN house. Elfving was not wearing a helmet and died at the scene of the crash.

While highway fatalities have been dropping for other motor vehicles, motorcycle deaths are rising at an alarming rate (72, last year). These two crashes should make us all think seriously about how we ride and the risks we’re taking on the road.


  1. Mike Brown was a great guy. He will be missed.

  2. Paul Compton8/11/09, 3:23 AM

    I've know Cedric Lynch for some years and the sucess of the AGNI 'works' team at the IOM was well deserved. Although they intended to use 63 Kokam Lithium cells (3.7v/70Ah in three parallel strings), lack of space meant that only 42 were actually fitted making the result even more impressive.


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