• Sep 28 2012

    172 mph: The Confederate X132 set a speed record


    At this year’s Bonneville SpeedWeek, a Confederate X132 Hellcat Combat set a new speed record in the A-PF 3000 class, which is a class for “special construction chassis (unfaired), push-rod motor, fuel, & up to 3,000cc in cylinder displacement.” Basically, that means it used its simple, colossal (132 c.i.!) engine to overcome its questionable aerodynamics.



    James Hoegh rode his own X132 during the attempt—all the way up to 172.11. That’s colossal speed for a naked bike. The Hellcat Combat is a good deal more potent than a bog-standard Hellcat. It’s got a higher compression ratio thanks to shorter cylinders, special rocker arms, and CNC ported heads. Those tweaks allowed James to beat Wink Ellis’ year-old class record of 168.912 mph.


    In honor of the attempt and record, Confederate plans to produce “a limited number” of Combats in early 2013. The regular Hellcat—which has been around in various forms since 1994—costs $54,450, and the Combat will probably be a bit more expensive.


    Find more at Tornell


  • Sep 25 2012

    Why is filtering illegal in America?


    Without the ability to filter, a motorcycle is a very slow way to get around a city—on par with a car.  In all states save California, filtering—even slow, careful filtering past stopped cars—is illegal.  That’s in stark contrast to the rest of the world, where filtering is rarely illegal. It’s a pity that filtering is illegal in America, in part because filtering motorbikes make much better use of street space than cars do. Cars have huge footprints relative to the number of passengers they carry and it’s difficult for a driver to tell where his car ends, which makes the effective footprint larger still.  Since they’re nimble and small, motorcycles don’t cause traffic jams until there is a much higher density of them on the road


    Yesterday MCN published an article about how to filter more safely.  Imagine reading something like that in an American magazine!  Their tips are full of ideas to reduce danger, and the idea of a magazine promoting safe filtering is incredibly refreshing.  We’re big fans of the idea of responsible filtering to speed journey times and cut down on traffic.  It’s a pity it’s illegal here in America.


    Here are our favorite tips.  Find the rest at MCN.


    • Take care. Filtering presents its own hazards, not least because some drivers wrongly believe that it is illegal and may react in a hostile way when they see a bike or scooter wending its way through a line of traffic. However the Highway Code acknowledges that motorcyclists can and do filter in traffic and advises that this should be carried out safely and slowly.


    • The speed differential shouldn’t be more than 10–15mph above that of the slower moving traffic in order to give you sufficient time to react to any hazards. The further away you keep from slower moving vehicles, the greater that speed differential can be.


    • Make maximum use of peripheral vision – this is the most effective way of detecting small traffic movements that could affect you. Look well ahead to plan your intended route through the traffic and use your peripheral vision to monitor traffic either side of you.


    • Avoid target fixation, this is when your vision fixates on one particular thing such as a vehicle in the foreground, as any escape route then becomes effectively invisible to you.


    • Observe, scan, identify, predict, prioritise and act as necessary. With your distance vision, identify ‘landing points’ of safety in much the same way that you would if you were crossing a fast flowing stream by the use of stepping stones.


    • If there are any gaps in a line of traffic you should anticipate that a driver may dive across without warning. If a driver sees a fleeting opportunity to move into a faster lane don’t assume they will be checking their mirror or indicating before they manoeuvre.


    • One of the most dangerous areas is filtering between the kerb and/or stationary traffic when traffic stops for any period. It is not uncommon for passengers to open their doors to jump out or even to try and see what’s causing the holdup. Remember, passengers cannot make use of the door mirrors as they are angled for the driver and few if any will ask the driver if it’s clear to open the door.


    • Look well ahead and plan your route. Do you have an escape route and have you left sufficient distance to give you time to react to any hazards?


    • When passing high-sided vehicles, will you be able to react if a pedestrian steps out from that vehicle in front?


    • Don’t ‘rev’ aggressively to badger car drivers to let you pass – it winds them up and makes them less likely to help the next rider through.


    • There is a civil court case which describes filtering as “an activity fraught with danger”. That sets the atmosphere in which you are operating – accept that and ride appropriately.


  • Sep 24 2012

    Metzeler’s Roadtec Z8 Interact wins MCN tire of the year!


    Metzeler UK, Burton on Trent, UK, 21 September 2012 - The Metzeler Roadtec Z8 Interact continues to impress, this time winning MCN’s ‘Tire of the Year Award.’ This award adds to a long list of accolades for this phenomenal, industry-leading tire.


    The Z8 was recently nominated Best Touring Tire by the German Motorrad Magazine, won Best Wet Weather tire in a comprehensive MCN shoot-out and won ‘Best Tire in the wet’ in a test by Motorrad Test Center.



    MCN’s Wet Weather test concluded as follows:  ‘Wet roads just got a lot less scary- a test of five sports touring tires shows the new Metzelers have lifted the bar with phenomenal grip in the wet’, MCN awarded the tires ‘Best in test’ and showed a two second a lap improvement over the next best performer.



    Motorcycle News Editor Andy Calton explained the rationale behind the award:


    “MCN experts thought long and hard over what products should be considered for this prestigious award. Staffers who ride bikes huge distances day in and day out, in all sort of conditions, came to a unanimous decision on the products of the year.


    Many things are taken into account when deciding which products should receive the annual MCN accolade. Things such as innovation, relevance to the market, price and simply just how well the product performed.


    The Metzeler Roadtec Z8’s score highly in all of these discussions. A tire that really does perform well on a vast variety of bikes, in many different situations cannot be ignored. And at about £200 a pair, the Metzeler’s attracted a lot of attention. In all of MCN’s tests and riding experiences the Metzeler’s performed superbly well and lasted a long time.


    Hard to fault and relevant to the broad interests of the motorcycling market. So an easy choice in the end!”


    Senior Road Tester Michael Neeves added, “It won the sports touring wet weather tire test and was 3 seconds a lap faster than its nearest rival round a wet test track. It’s head and shoulders above other tires in this most important genre and goes on many different models of bikes.”


    Unlike the awards for Best Motorcycle in each type of market segment, the Best Tire category offers just one overall winner, making the Z8’s accolade even more impressive.


    Metzeler Product and Marketing Manager Jim Worland says the following:


    “An MCN award is probably the most prestigious motorcycle industry accolade and to win with a product in the ultra-competitive Sport Touring segment is testament to the quality of the Metzeler brand. The Roadtec Z8 Interact has been on the market for a couple of years, but being a company that is constantly innovating, our compound chemists have developed an amazing product that is clearly the number one on wet roads as proven by independent comparison tests conducted by MCN and the German Motorrad Test Center. A tire perfectly suited to the UK’s changeable climate.”


    The Metzeler Interact range of tires covers all major sectors of the diverse motorcycle scene, from the Sport Touring Roadtec Z8 Interact to the Racetec K3 Interact – a racetrack tyre also suitable for the road, with the ultimate Supersport all-rounder Sportec M5 Interact offering fantastic grip for everyday riding in all conditions.


    For more information see the Metzeler website and remember our new Facebook site.


  • Sep 22 2012

    We ride the Honda Shadow Phantom


    This week, we’re stepping astride a middleweight metric cruiser, Honda’s 745 cc V-Twin Shadow Phantom.  As the name implies, it’s a sinister version of the Shadow, with pretty much everything blacked out except the two big, chrome pipes.  The pipes aren’t just chrome covers over nasty steel tubing either.  They’re solid steel drenched in chrome.


    The tank and bobbed fenders are satin black, and the only clocks are a speedo and digital readout in the center of the tank.  From the bars to the rear fenders, it’s stripped down and simple.  The drivetrain is a different story.  The engine’s a 3-valve, and has sophisticated fuel-injection that can deliver more power torque, and  economy than a carb ever could.   An all-but maintenance-free shaft-drive gets poer to the back wheel.



    It’s a way to get into the badass cruiser game for around $8k, and it should be a very economical bike to own.  We can’t wait to put a few more miles on it outside of NYC!


  • Sep 20 2012

    Meet KTM’s new mega adventure bikes


    The big news this week is the leaked KTM’s 1190 Adventure series, which will replace the current 990 Adventure next year. The looks are a departure from the iconic, inside-out look of the twin-tank 990, and are more inline with Yamaha’s Super Tenere and other adventure bikes.


    This should be a super fast bike—it makes 148 bhp, weighs a portly 518 lbs (wet), and is loaded with gizmos. That engine is based on the RC8’s twin-spark, liquid-cooled LC8 v-twin. This bike is going to be bananas.


    The power is funneled through traction control, drive-by-wire, and switchable throttle maps. ABS and a slipper clutch help haul the whole thing up for the corners.



    The Adventure R has a one-piece seat, trimmer windscreen, and screaming orange crash bars. It likely has the same engine and electronics as the regular Adventure.


    This will no doubt be a very fast motorcycle, but it’s a pity that it weighs more than fifty pounds more than the outgoing adventure. Sure, the power and gizmos might wow testers who’ll rate it higher than a slower GS1200, but we fear that backcountry riding will expose the excess weight.


    From Hell for Leather



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