Mar 27, 2011

All the News that Didn't Fit

This month, I probably crossed a line. We had some real and some fake news reports (it's for the April issue, after all) and one or two didn't get picked up by my editor. However, I remain completely tasteless and until Google starts editing blogs, whatever Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly didn't want will end up here:

Indians Take Indian
Two diverse groups combined their resources to buy the Indian Motorcycle Brand. After tiring of waiting for the current owner of the fabled motorcycle company name to produce something that resembles a ride-able motorcycle, the Cherokee and Comanche Nations saddled up and raided the idle North Carolina facilities, catching the company's management in what one observer called "a mindless, pointless, endless executive planning meeting" and taking control of the facilities in a bloodless coup.

After the events at the Indian plant, Harley Davidson management is on the lookout for anyone wearing bowling shoes as there were rumors that AMF and Brunswick were looking at a copycat attack on what is left of the Harley Davidson Milwaukee facilities. Ex-Buell employees have hinted that they would be willing to join with the bowlers in the takeover.

Zero Helicopters?
Neal Saiki, the founder of Zero Motorcycles has left his own company to compete in the Igor I. Sikorski Human Powered Helicopter Competition. The former Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo aeronautical engineering student, founded Zero Motorcycles Inc. in a Scotts Valley, CA garage in 2006. The company now has 60 employees and a broad line of electric motorcycles. Saiki said, “Founding Zero was exciting, fun and a lot of hard work.  At this point, I think it is well established. I’m extremely proud of the team we’ve assembled to carry Zero into the future. I can now move on to pursuing the dream of building a human powered flying machine."

For Your Dirt Biking Pleasure
Finding a dirt bike is usually hit or miss, but makes the search a little easier, regardless of where you live. With search categories for "Mini, Motocross, Trail, Enduro, and Dual Sport," the website allows you to narrow your search to a region, state, or city.

More Motorcycle Airbag Technology
A French firm, the Bering Company, has released a jacket/air-bag intended to moderate motorcyclist injuries. This helium-inflated riding jacket puffs up like an oversized life jacket to minimize the torso's exposure to the forces of velocity and impact. As described in the company's press release, there is a "crash module, attached to the fork of the bike" that uses accelerometers to detect sudden deceleration. If a crash is detected, a microcomputer sends a signal to the jacket to release 21 liters of helium and inflate the jacket.

State Motorcycle Legislation
Georgia, Kansas, and Illinois state Houses are looking at Minnesota-similar bills permitting motorcyclists to escape motorcycle-hostile signals. Maryland and Rhode Island are looking at bills that will require state-owned parking facilities to provide motorcycle parking. The Tennessee, Oregon, Missouri, and New York Houses are considering bills that would modify the states' helmet laws.

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed the "Scooter Law Proposal, HB 11" by a 60-0 vote. The bill defines "motor scooters" as bikes with automatic transmissions, motors between 50cc and 150cc, and that are capable of exceeding 30mph. Under-50cc and under-30mph two-wheelers remain classified as mopeds. Scooters under 3.73 kilowatts are also "mopeds." Two-wheeled vehicles powered by 3.73 and 8.95 kilowatt electric motors are classified as "motor scooters." Everything above 150cc or 8.95kW are "motorcycles." The key term of this legislation state allows any licensed driver over age 18 to legally operate a motor scooter with no additional testing or endorsement required.

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