• Sep 30 2011

    Interview with the handlebar-dragging Rudi Bauer


    In August, Metzeler rider Rudi Bauer wowed the motorcycle world with the now-famous shot of him dragging his handlebars.  It wasn’t his only accomplishment of the year either—he came second place in the S1 Class of the Austrian State championship.  This week, we caught up with Rudi over email to learn more about him, how he did it, and what he thinks of the Racetec SMs that he used to lean the bike as far as it would go.


    What is it like to drag handlebars?  Have you been dreaming about this stunt for a long time?  Is it faster through the corner or just for fun?


    Rudi Bauer: It’s a good feeling to touch the handlebar, I have timed it and it’s not faster, it’s just for fun.



    Did you have to prepare the tires in a special way for this shot?  What do you think of Metzeler, and which tires were you using.


    Rudi: The tires were just standard Metzeler Racetec SM‘s with the K1 composition and grooves which I cut myself.  They have good grip and a very long life.  I think very highly of them.



    How old were you when you started riding competitively?


    Rudi: I started with supermoto in 2005, when I was twenty-three years old.



    Do you also ride motorcycles on the street?


    Rudi: No, I do not drive on the road, that’s too dangerous, so I drive only off-road!



    How do you conquer fear when you’re riding?


    Rudi: I have no fear!



    Do you prefer riding 2-strokes or 4-strokes?


    Rudi: I prefer 4-strokes for supermoto.



    What do you do when you’re off the motorbike?


    Rudi: I work as a stone layer.



    Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Rudi, and good luck in next year’s championship!


    Pictures from


  • Sep 29 2011

    Redbull Lingotto: Vespas and Lambrettas storm Fiat’s rooftop test track


    On September 25th, Redbull held and event where owners of classic Vespa and Lambretta scooters were offered the chance to ride on Fiat’s famous Lingotto rooftop test track. Jalopnik readers may be familiar with the track—it was completed in 1923, and was the largest automobile factory in Europe. By far the most distinctive feature of the five-story building was its rooftop test track. It was more than a half-mile long and every Fiat went around it a few times before leaving the factory in order to make sure it had been assembled properly.


    It was this famous site where a massive group of classic scooter owners gathered on the 25th to compete for the chance to race around the roof-top track.



    There were four events. The first was a style contest searching for the best costume; it was judged by Italian Big Brother winner Grande Fratello and other B-list celebrities. Then it was on to test number two. Competitors had to disassemble and reassemble their front wheels as quickly as possible, and received bonus points for speed. The field was further narrowed down by a race to the rooftop; competitors were told to spend exactly 90 seconds on the way up. They lost points if they were too fast or too slow.



    If riders scored well in the first three events, they were invited to ride on the rooftop. The object of the final contest was to complete two laps in identical times—it seems the easiest way to accomplish this would be to ride at full throttle! The overall victor was Giacomo Tiberti.


    Pictures and info from from Hell for Leather and


    More pictures at sip-scootershop’s flickr page


  • Sep 28 2011

    Dream Weekend: American Supercamp


    No matter what you ride, bike-handling skills are the foundation on which safe-riding is built. There are books like Proficient Motorcycling, which help develop situational awareness and road-reading skills, but when it all goes wrong, only good bike-control can save you.


    That’s why American Supercamp isn’t just for aspiring motocrossers; it can help anyone who rides a motorcycle. It’s a 2-day camp that helps riders learn the feeling of how a motorcycle behaves on the limit, and how to bring it back under control.


    Campers ride Yamaha 125s on oval dirt tracks and some twistier courses. The emphasis is on bike control. The website mentions that the late Will Davis—a veteran Supercamp instructor and a lifetime dirt tracker—“once admitted that he learned more during one of our ‘mud drills’ than he had in all his years of dirt tracking.”



    The drills were designed by greats like Colin Edwards and Eric Bostrom, and Nicky Hayden has been a guest instructor. Check out the video—it looks like the guys at American Supercamp take fun seriously.


    American Supercamp


  • Sep 27 2011

    Is it Possible to Have More Fun Than on a Supermoto?


    To us, the most enjoyable street riding involves devouring twisty, unfamiliar country roads in the middle of the night on a capable motorcycle.


    There are, of course, a few caveats. The bike needs to have a very powerful headlamp with an even beam pattern. It should have enough power to keep things interesting, but not be so fast that it’s impossible—or very dangerous—to use full-throttle. The suspension should be firm, but not over-damped, and we want powerful, progressive brakes. Oh, and let’s throw in a brand-new, crystal clear faceshield to watch it all through.



    We spent Sunday night exploring deserted backroads in Eastern Pennslyvania on a Yamaha TW200. It’s a great bike—reliable, economical, and you can ride it really hard without putting yourself or others into too much danger. However, about halfway though our ride we started getting confident and wishing for something with a bit more pizzazz—something like, say, a KTM 525 EXC that’s been converted to a supermoto.


    Before our ride, we had seen the following video. The guy is having a ball in a parking lot. The rider is good, but the bike looks eminently controllable—get it out of shape and it will still respond favorably to corrective inputs. Let’s go back to our original definition of enjoyable street riding, and toss out the bit about not being super fast. We want one of these!



  • Sep 23 2011

    Stunters Take Over St. Louis Highways


    Last week, hundreds and hundreds of sportbike riders took part in the annual “Ride of the Century” in and around St. Louis, Missouri. The ride was put on by the St. Louis-based Streetfighters and has been for years, despite the grandiose name.



    The pictures, though, make it seem like it was the Ride of the Century. Big wheelies, burnouts, and stoppies on bikes with cages fill nearly every photograph of the ride. One picture features a rider standing up on his seat, facing backwards, and using a camera.


    Great pictures then, but that rides like this do nothing positive for motorcycling’s image. Stunts are illegal to perform on public roads, even if they aren’t necessarily that dangerous. The crowd mentality puts cops on edge and can spook car drivers who are swallowed up by the riders. Everyone in this ride was a willing participant and there looks to be little chance of other road users getting hurt, but we think that stunt-riding is best saved for deserted areas or tracks.



    On the other hand, we like seeing so many motorcycles on the road at once. We’d choose not to participate, because having so many new riding partners would put us on edge, but it does look like they had a good time.




    Pictures from db photos on facebook