It’s that time of year again when Kevin and I head down to Leeds, Alabama for the final round of the MotoAmerica series at Barber Motorsports Park. This weekend will have us watching (95) Roger Hayden taking his last laps before he retires from racing.
We’ll also be watching (43) Caroline Olsen to see how she fares in the last of the year. Caroline had a bad spill at NJMP last year but has been she’s working hard this year to get back in the groove. Personally, I’m elated to see her back in action as I feel she truly loves motorcycle racing. I’ve caught a lot of photos of her over the years and she always looks so happy when she’s on her bike in the grid ready to take off.
2018 brings some new/changed classes to the fray which should make for a packed weekend of racing. Though not “new”, the KTM cup has evolved into the Junior Cup with the field of KTM only machines now holding mostly R3’s and Ninja 400’s with just a brace of KTM 390’s in the lineup. The new Twins Cup class is something close to my heart as the field is seeded with a large dose of SV650’s, a bike have owned myself and still feel is one of the best all around bikes of the past two decades.
It’s going to be a lot of action in Alabama this weekend and Kevin and I will bring the highlights to this space as best we can.
ADVRider.com member S21FOLGORE recently posted up a very informative thread on the popular adventure riding discussion board site detailing ways to deal with helmet “Hot Spots”. His post includes very detailed instructions on how to measure one’s head to determine the shape in a more specific way than simply round, oval, intermediate oval, etc.
He also details the issues with hot spots and demonstrates ways to address them. I am fortunate that my head shape fits in the general mold for most motorcycle helmet brands so I personally have not been affected by these issues. For those of you that do find most helmets uncomfortable to wear for more than 45 minutes or so I highly recommend reviewing the thread.
Even if you don’t have issues it is still an interesting read and the illustrations by the author are quite good. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find that your heads shape is different than you thought and you could end up making your current lid that much more comfy.
Reviews have been a little sparse of late but I have reviews coming soon for webBikeWorld.com as well as Motorcycle Words exclusives. Two pairs of gloves are in currently being put through their paces, one pair from Dainese and another from Rev’IT. I understand I might have a carbon fiber adventure helmet coming in for review as well but that’s all I’m going to say until it lands in my hands.
On the technical side I’ve got a new motorcycle specific “dash-cam” set up freshly installed on the Ninja 1000 and I’m looking to get some footage captured in the coming days. During the installation I connected the camera system DVR module to my Eastern Beaver PC-8 fuse panel and realized I needed to post up mu thoughts on this little gem of a device so that will be coming to a screen near you soon.
Finally, I’ve have been riding with a pair of Fox Racing knee guards in place of my venerable Shift Racing Enforcer guards that I have been wearing for years. The guards from Fox are actually designed for mountain biking but offered a combination of features I could quite find in other moto specific products. Keep an eye on this space as well as the Motorcycle Words Facebook feed for new content as it becomes available.
Southern Woods Rider invites you to attend the 21st Anniversary of the Fall Trail Ride at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch October 19th through 21st. At last years event there were over 900 Dirt Bike and ATV riders from around the nation in attendance over the three-day event. To cover all levels of riding skills SWR prepares a small beginners loop near the campground area, a 3 to 5-mile novice loop and a 15 to 20-mile main loop. In addition we have a Friday Night Poker Run and a Saturday night banquet. The banquet is a big hit so we have limit the attendance to 300 meal tickets. During the banquet we give out special awards and acknowledgments to the event volunteers, touch on any important off-road news and giveaway many great door prizes.
SWR continues the strong tradition of the fall ride in the education of participants on safety and trail etiquette while continuing to bring riders of all ages exhilarating riding opportunities. All ATV and Dirt Bike riding responsible individuals and families are welcome to attend.
So yeah, the title doesn’t make much sense but I have to hand it to the boffins at Bosch. They have developed a system that can mitigate lateral loss of traction and prevent a low-side crash from occurring. This report and video from CNet.com lays out the details and a demo of this system and it’s pretty slick (pun intended).
When sensors indicate the motorcycle is starting to slide laterally, the system fires off a blast of highly compressed gas. The thrust from the blast counteracts the slide and allows the rider to move past the debris causing the traction loss and remain upright. You can see this demonstrated in the video below. (Keep watching the video until the very end and you’ll see the bike make the pass without the rig to hold it up)
It’s an interesting idea and seeing it work even in this “setup” demonstration definitely proves the concept has potential. Of course one has to consider the cost in both dollars and weight in order to get motorcyclists to buy into it. I think the same thing was said about ABS when it was first brought to motorcycles by BMW.
One downside that the CNet article mentions is that it is likely a one-time use countermeasure that is depleted after the single use and must be recharged or resupplied with compressed gas. Maybe a replaceable cylinder could be purchased or could be recharged at a dealership for a nominal fee? That may be putting the cart before the horse but I don’t think it is something that should hold back this concept.
In December 2017, I reviewed a hand/glove mounted helmet visor cleaning system from Visorcat. The Visorcat is a unique solution that allows one to clear road grime and other debris from their field of view. This system includes a sponge, squeegee, and cleaning fluid all wrapped up in a neat little package.
At the time of the review the Visorcat was not available via dealers in the United States. That situation has now changed as Visorcat just reached out to me and let me know that Aerostitch is now a dealer for their product. At this time the system can be purchased at this link but so far it only includes the whole system. There isn’t a link yet for refills of fluid and the sponges but I will be looking into when these are expected to be available.
Dubbed “The Classic”, this helmet bag doesn’t look or function like your typical lid carry-all. Most helmet bags I’ve seen are pretty simple affairs made from nylon, polyester, or a similar textile. The Classic is made from full grain leather (there is a waxed cotton version too) and uses quality hardware like YKK brass (or gunmetal) zippers as well as heavy duty D-rings. The interior is lined with black twill cotton and an optional hounds-tooth pattern will be available for a bit of extra style on the inside.
The materials aren’t the only thing that set this helmet carrier from the rest. Neo and Sons make use of the empty space within the helmet for additional storage. I often carry my gloves in my helmet when I carry them around but this carrying bag has an integrated storage pocket that protrudes into the open helmet space from underneath.
The Twins class will allow for a lot of modification to the machines allowed to compete in the class which comprises 600cc to 800cc displacement two cylinder engines. Plus this segment offers a lot of inexpensive and versatile places to start including Yamaha’s MT-07, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650, and Suzuki’s SV650 (replacing the SFV650 for 2018).
Modifications can be applied not only to suspension and engine components but competitors will be allowed to modify ECU programming. This will be a boon to tuners looking to get the most out of these middleweight machines. These lenient rules are going to likely make for a very interesting and diverse field of machines on the grids for 2018.
During Sunday morning’s warm up for the 600cc machines we had another bike on fire incident, this time involving Michael Gilbert (55). Gilbert had a low-side get off that of course wasn’t great for him, but not anything that likely would have prevented him from taking the track later in the day. However shortly after the bike was moved a fuel tank leak resulted in the motorcycle catching on fire.
This was the third motorcycle to catch on fire during this weekend races here at Barber during the final round of MotoAmerica’s season. David Anthony and Josh Hayes also ended up with their own machines in flames the previous day. Needless to say it has been a rather dramatic weekend so far.
Michael appeared uninjured when I spoke with him a but later on after the crash but I know this was a big disappointment for him. It was for me too as I’ve been following his progress this year and was hoping to see him on the podium in person this weekend instead of reading about it later. With any luck I’ll get to see Michael on the podium next year as he told me he will be coming back. Looking forward to seeing you there again soon, Michael.
The sad aftermath of Gilbert’s (55) bike after catching fire.
We’re off to a cloudy start this morning here at Barber for the final round of MotoAmerica road racing this weekend. Kevin and I are here to get some photos and capture some interviews (and watch some motorcycles go roundy roundy). This is always a fun weekend for us as we get to be right in the thick of motorsport and get the view from behind the scenes behind our favorite sport.
Here Kevin contemplates the object in front of him. Yes, it is a motorcycle Kevin! Good job 🙂
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