• Apr 16 2014

    Bend your mind with the Johammer J1


    Electric motorcycles used to raise eyebrows. Now they’re mainstream enough that it’s not out out of the ordinary to see one every month.  Electric car sightings can be a weekly occurrence in big cities.


    Electric vehicle styling, however, has yet to catch up with flexibility afforded by electric powertrains.  Without an engine, radiator, or gas tank, the powertrain demands much less in terms of packaging and air management than does a conventional gasoline-powered motorcycle.

    Enter the Johammer J1. It’s as wacky as we’ve seen, and would go perfectly alongside a Nissan S-Cargo.


    It’s refreshing to see designers reimagine motorcycles once in a while, even if they don’t come up with the most practical things.

  • Apr 10 2014

    Malaysian highways have separated, motorcycle-only lanes.

    Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 3.35.33 PM

    To be filed under “why didn’t we think of this,” the motorcycle-only lanes of many a Malaysian highway.  The reasoning is simple: If motorcycles fare poorly in bike on-car collisions, and that type of injury constitutes a disproportionate number of transportation injuries, why not segregate the two modes of transportation?

    A study on the segregated motorcycle lanes of Malasia reports meaningful improvements in motorcycle safety:

    An early study of a 14 kilometre exclusive motorcycle lane along Federal Highway F02 (Radin Umar et al, 1995) found that installation of the lane had led to a 25% reduction in all motorcycle accidents, rising to 34% when confounding factors were taken into account. A larger subsequent evaluation on the same route found a reduction of 39% in motorcycle accidents (Radin Umar et al, 2000). These are substantial reductions given the high proportion of motorcycle crashes in Malaysia.

    The study goes on to say that the lanes are most easily implement by creating them when the highway itself is first created.  With all the roads that already exist in the United States, we have a hard time believing that we’ll ever see anything like this. That won’t stop us dreaming, however!

  • Apr 08 2014

    Metzeler riders storm the WEC in Catalunya



    It was a banner round for the Metzeler-equipped riders on their factory KTMs.  Christophe Nambotin took first in E1, Antoine Meo came second in E2, and Ivan Cervantes secured first in E3.

    Here are two great clips of the action from Days 1 and 2:

    Metzeler’s answer to these rough events our 6 Days Extreme.  It’s a tough tire, with our “High Resistence Polyester” carcass and “X-ply” constuction, which keeps the tire going in the most extreme conditions.  The knob design, distribution, and compound provides excellent traction in both dry and wet conditions—check out the videos above (and the race results) for proof!

    For more information on the WEC, head over to the facebook pages of EWC and KTM.


  • Mar 24 2014

    Honda unveils their futuristic NM4 Vultus

    2014_NM4_Vultus (4)

    Honda continues to bring us the future of motorcycles, this time with their NM4 Vultus.  In Honda’s own words, the Vultus has an “identity not bound by standard motorcycle design, with strong echoes of futuristic bikes seen in Japanese movies.”  We don’t disagree—the Vultus will be the most futuristic-looking production bike ever.


    In fact, it’s so “futuristic,” that we needn’t dive far into the specs to get an idea what it’s about.  Yes, it’s got the 745 cc parallel twin and DCT dual-clutch transmission from the NC750X.  But the bike itself seems to be less about riding and more about theatre, and being the protagonist of your own movie every time you roll onto the street.

    2014_NM4_Vultus (2)

    This, of course, is no accident, as the Vultus project leader Mr Keita Mikura attests:

    “Honda is a big company. We make every kind of motorcycle. It’s great that sometimes we make a certain machinesimply because we can and because we want to, not because we “should”. The NM4 Vultus exists because of a passion from deep within our company. We wanted to create something special, not just in the two-wheeled world, but truly unique in the whole world – a machine that engages a human soul like no other.  Our intention was to make something that makes every moment feel cinematic, and we want riding it to be an event – guaranteed – every single time.

    2014_NM4_Vultus (3)

    With the success of angular,  future-aggressive scooter designs in Europe, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Vultus was met with open arms by many in the motorcycling community.  It certainly seems the design team met its goals with this one.

    2014_NM4_Vultus (1)

    Full Press Release on the NM4 Vultus:


    Press release date: 21st March, 2014

    New model: A ground-breaking machine inspired by the desire to establish a unique riding experience and an identity not bound by standard motorcycle design, with strong echoes of futuristic bikes seen in Japanese movies. Created by a young design team who remained true to their original concept at every stage through to production, the NM4 Vultus brings radical style to the streets, with function from the future for a new breed of rider.

    1. Introduction

    Honda is founded on innovation. In keeping with this tradition, in recent years, from deep within the company came the desire to create a new machine that would push boundaries, with an identity, riding feeling and experience that could and would place it in a class of its own.

    The visual creative spark was fired by the futuristic bikes seen in the anime and manga* television and film styles. Known collectively as “Japanimation”, in Japan both genres have long been very grown-up entertainment, woven into the fabric of life; now, the philosophy, attitude, fashion and feeling are worldwide and mainstream phenomena.

    Another critical factor in the genesis of this new entity was a desire to create a machine capable of crossing traditional two-wheeled lines and reach out to a wider audience. The creative team of engineers who conceived, designed and put it together are in their 20s and early 30s. They were given a completely free hand. In that respect, the NM4 Vultus represents a leap of faith from Honda, one intended to appeal to and attract a new kind of rider.

    And those that want it will want it now. They may well be aware of the great engine and chassis it’s built on, but what will really captivate them is the way it looks and how it makes them feel. The NM4 Vultus is real, like nothing else, and it is here.

    Mr Keita Mikura, Large Project Leader (LPL) NM4 Vultus:

    “Honda is a big company. We make every kind of motorcycle. It’s great that sometimes we make a certain machinesimply because we can and because we want to, not because we “should”.

    The NM4 Vultus exists because of a passion from deep within our company. We wanted to create something special, not just in the two-wheeled world, but truly unique in the whole world – a machine that engages a human soul like no other.

    Our intention was to make something that makes every moment feel cinematic, and we want riding it to be an event – guaranteed – every single time.”

    *anime – Japanese abbreviation of “animation”.

    manga – 漫画literally: impromptu drawings, sketches.

    2. Model Overview

    The young social media-engaged urbanite lives a digital existence in a fast moving world. And they’re totally engaged by the new. Without question, the NM4 Vultus is just that. It is avant-garde in both the way it looks but also, and perhaps more importantly, in the detail work that has gone into creating a unique riding experience. The reactive dashboard – with colours that change depending on driving mode – and flip-up pillion seat that acts as rider backrest are just two examples.

    Vultus is Latin for appearance, expression – or face. The NM4 Vultus, with its LED lights, future-shock style and stealth bomber silhouette presents a look that will not have been seen in any cityscape this side of an anime movie…

    Underneath the brooding menace is a rock-solid chassis and engine package. Packed with low-friction technology, its 745cc twin-cylinder engine is canted forward, creating space and a low centre of gravity. Delivering strong low and mid-range power and torque for smooth acceleration coupled with excellent fuel economy, it’s also equipped as standard with Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), giving the rider options between automatic twist-and-go D and S mode – plus trigger-operated computer game-style manual MT mode. Intuitive and easy to use, it adds to the futuristic appeal of the NM4 Vultus and is the perfect complement to the engine’s gutsy, usable performance.

    Matching the engine’s strength is a rigid steel frame, 43mm telescopic forks, rear monoshock with Pro-Link, large diameter disc brakes, 18 inch front and 17 inch rear aluminium wheels – with a fat, 200-section rear tyre – for street-bike levels of handling, feedback and stability.

    3. Key Features

    3.1 Styling & Equipment

    It’s wide – 810mm up front, 933mm measured across the mirrors – low, and long; with seat height of 650mm. Drawn from all the overtones and billions of bytes that shaped its creators’ imagination, the manga andanime influences throughout the NM4 Vultus are obvious in every chiseled angle and evocative curve, especially from head on: its broad, angular ‘face’ will never go unnoticed. Behind it, the rider sits enveloped in a cockpit-like surrounding, with the digital instrument panel always in view.

    Lighting is full LED with front indicators and mirrors integrated into the bodywork while the shaped headlight is framed with a blue LED definition line. Everything is blacked-out to the max – with carefully-placed glimpses of burnished stainless steel here and there – and only one paint option will be available: matt black.

    The obvious question every NM4 Vultus rider will face is “what film was THAT in?”. Its looks are that bold. And as a machine that comes straight from the rapidly beating heart of Japanese manga culture, it was always going to be different. Having absorbed its striking presence, the thought that’s gone into the design becomes more apparent.

    Storage spaces abound, concealed in the front bodywork. The lockable left compartment opens with the ignition key and features 1-litre of storage space plus a 12V DC adaptor to recharge what matters while on the move. The right compartment has 3-litres of storage and opens with a push of a recessed, triangulated button. Optional rear panniers integrate fluidly adding even more convenient carrying capacity.

    And in one of those “how come this hasn’t been done before…?” moments, the rear pillion seat flips upright when not in use, locking to provide the rider with a secure backrest and almost fighter pilot riding position. Its angle can be adjusted through 3 positions and it slides back/forward 25mm through four settings, to fine-tune cockpit comfort.

    The digital dash changes mood depending on the drive mode selected, with subtle colour changes from Neutral (white) through D (blue) to S (pink), ultimately to MT (red). Alternatively, the rider can choose one colour from five other tonal ranges of colour – 25 individual colours altogether – they want to live with on a day-to-day basis

    3.2 Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)

    In keeping with its avant-garde appeal, the NM4 Vultus is equipped as standard with Honda’s unique DCT, specially tuned for a smooth acceleration feeling.

    DCT delivers consistent, seamless gear changes, and very quickly becomes second nature in use. It uses two clutches: one for start-up and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears: the other for 2nd, 4th and 6th, with the mainshaft for each clutch located inside the other for compact packaging. Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit. When a gear change occurs, the system pre-selects the target gear using the clutch not currently in use. The first clutch is then electronically disengaged as, simultaneously, the second clutch engages.

    The result is a consistent, fast and seamless gear change. Furthermore, as the twin clutches transfer drive from one gear to the next with minimal interruption of the drive to the rear wheel, any gear change shock and pitching of the machine is minimised, making the change feel direct as well as smooth.

    With extra benefits such as durability (as the gears cannot be damaged by missing a gear) impossibility of stalling, low stress urban riding and reduced rider fatigue, DCT’s acceptance and popularity is fast expanding.

    Three modes of operation are available. MT mode gives full manual control, allowing the rider to shift with the handlebar trigger control buttons. Automatic D mode is ideal for city and highway riding, and achieves optimum fuel efficiency. Automatic S mode is sportier and the ECU lets the engine rev a little higher before shifting up, giving greater performance. It also shifts down sooner when decelerating for extra engine braking.

    In either D or S mode, DCT offers immediate manual intervention if required – the rider simply selects the required gear using the up and down shift triggers on the left handlebar. At an appropriate time DCT seamlessly reverts back to automatic mode, depending on throttle angle, vehicle speed and gear position.

    Furthermore, in D mode, the DCT system detects variations in rider input typical to certain environments, from busy urban streets to mountain switchbacks, and adapts its gear change schedule accordingly to create an extra level of riding compatibility. “Kickdown” gear changes are natural and intuitive.

    3.3 Engine

    The compact 745cc liquid-cooled, SOHC 8-valve parallel twin-cylinder engine driving the NM4 Vultus is a usable, fuel-efficient and clean powerplant. The fundamental design ensures a punchy low-to-mid range performance: relatively long-stroke architecture and specially shaped combustion chambers combine with the high-inertial mass crankshaft to produce large amounts of effortless torque from very low down in the rev range. Peak power of 40.3kW arrives at 6,250rpm, with a meaty 68Nm of torque at just 4,750rpm.

    Bore is set at 77mm with 80mm stroke, plus compression ratio of 10.7:1. The engine features twin balance shafts, the effect of which counteracts vibration from high rpm inertia. So it manages to feel refined, yet retain the characterful ‘throb’ delivered by its 270° firing order. Where possible, components are made to do more than one job: the camshaft drives the water pump, while one of the balancer shafts drives the oil pump.

    There’s a single 36mm throttle body and PGM-FI fuel injection system supplies the optimum amount of fuel/air mixture thanks to an oxygen sensor in the exhaust. Fuel consumption of  28,4km/l (WMTC mode) is particularly impressive, enabling a 300km plus range from the 11.6 litre fuel tank.

    A high-absorption catalyser is located close to the engine – as a result the catalyst reaches operating temperature quickly after a cold start, further reducing emissions.

    3.4 Chassis

    The rugged steel diamond frame at the NM4 Vultus’s core delivers the high levels of rigidity required for agile, responsive handling in a variety of conditions from busy urban to open road. Rake is set at 33° with trail of 110mm, wheelbase of 1,645mm and front/rear weight balance of 49/51. Kerb weight is 245kg.

    43mm telescopic forks feature 125mm stroke. The rear monoshock has 100mm  travel and operates through Pro-Link for a soft initial stroke that deals with low-speed bumps. A lightweight aluminium swingarm improves suspension reaction and control.

    The front 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper offer plenty of easy to modulate stopping power, matched by the rear 240mm wavy disc and single-piston caliper. Two-channel ABS helps greatly reduce the chance of wheel lock-ups on slippery or wet road surfaces.

    Unique 10-spoke cast aluminium front and rear wheels – sizes 18 x 3.50-inch and 17 x 6.25 inch – and finished in black and wear 120/70 ZR18 and 200/50 ZR17 tyres.

    4. Accessories

    Accessories available for NM4 Vultus will include high screen, heated grips, panniers and alarm.

    5. Technical Specifications

    Type Liquid-cooled 4-stroke   8-valve, SOHC parallel 2-cylinder
    Displacement 745cc
    Bore ´   Stroke 77mm x 80mm
    Compression Ratio 10.7 : 1
    Max. Power Output 40.3kW @ 6,250rpm (95/1/EC)
    Max. Torque 68Nm @ 4,750rpm (95/1/EC)
    Oil Capacity 3.9   litres
    Carburation PGM-FI electronic fuel   injection
    Fuel Tank Capacity 11.6 litres
    Fuel Consumption 28.4km/l (WMTC mode-Tested   in D-Mode)
    Starter Electric
    Battery Capacity 12V/11.2AH
    ACG Output 450W/5000rpm
    Clutch Type Wet   multiplate hydraulic 2-clutch
    Transmission Type 6-speed Dual Clutch   Transmission
    Final Drive Chain
    Type Diamond; steel pipe
    Dimensions (L´W´H) 2380mm   x 933mm x 1170mm
    Wheelbase 1645mm
    Caster Angle 33°
    Trail 110mm
    Seat Height 650mm
    Ground Clearance 130mm
    Kerb Weight 245kg
    Type Front 43mm telescopic fork, 125mm stroke
    Type Rear Monoshock damper,   Pro-Link swingarm, 100mm travel
    Type Front Multi-spoke cast   aluminium
    Type Rear Multi-spoke cast   aluminium
    Rim Size Front 18M/C x MT3.50
    Rim Size Rear 17M/C x MT6.25
    Tyre   front 120/70   ZR18
    Tyre   rear 200/50   ZR17
    ABS System Type 2   channel ABS
    Type Front 320mm single wavy hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper and sintered metal pads
    Type Rear 240mm single wavy hydraulic disc with single-piston caliper and resin mold pads
    Instruments Digital speedometer, digital bar-type tachometer,   clock, bar-type fuel meter, two trip meters, gear position indicator, outside air temperature gauge and coolant temperature warning light.


    Security System HISS
    Headlight LED
    Taillight LED

  • Mar 21 2014

    BMW’s R NineT is a throwback on Roadtec Z8 Interacts


    The first reviews of BMW’s fantastic retro-style R NineT are coming in. BMW has poached the 1170 cc, 110 bhp horizontally opposed twin from the old R1200GS, and put it in a fantastic retro frame. To make sure the bike can cash the dynamic checks its looks write, BMW has made the wise decision to equip each R NineT with a fresh set of our new Roadtec Z8 Interacts.

    Here are our favorite videos:

    For the Roadtec Z8 Interact, Metzeler engineers had to work on the compounds to reach a high chemical grip on the shoulder of the rear tire, while still maintaining a central area more focused on mileage and stability. With this configuration, the Interact structure proves advantageous, and gives a progressive transition between two extremely different compounds.

    The result of their work is truly revolutionary, achieved by combining the latest generation of silicon compounds with a high performance synthetic polymer and various types of resin and plasticiser agents.