Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Gear: LS2 Helmets present the new-for-2019 Challenger FF327

Sino-Spanish manufacturer LS2 Helmets (their head office and R&D centre are located on the outskirts of Barcelona) have a few new products in their lineup for 2019. Amongst them is the Challenger FF327.

This new flagship of LS2's range of touring helmets is aimed at bridging the gap between an aggressive sport-/track-oriented lid and a more subdued "daily rider" helmet. With that in mind it's not surprising to see that the design team based near the Catalan capital city have borrowed a fair few styling cues from their own Arrow C Evo helmet, while adding elements, such as the small spoiler towards the rear of the helmet that, if anything, make it even more aggressive to look at than the sleekly-styled Arrow Evo. This is definitely a lid aimed fair and square at sports roadster riders who want sports style and practicality in the same package.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Indian announce new Chief, Springfield and Roadmaster for 2019

Meanwhile, in Spirit Lake, Iowa... Indian Motorcycle have announced that they are rolling out new technology on the 2019 Chief, Springfield and Roadmaster models, as well as new paint options for the Dark Horse range.

Selectable Rider Modes
On the new 2019 models, riders will be able to choose between three rider modes: Tour, Standard and Sport. Tour mode smooths out the throttle response for a more relaxed cruising experience. Standard mode will provide a crisper throttle response - presumably identical to that of current models. Finally, Sport mode provides a much sharper and more immediate throttle response for more spirited riding, clean getaways from traffic lights and to ensure decisive overtaking. Rider will be able to switch from one mode to another on the fly.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

New Harley-Davidson FXDR power-cruiser and CVO Touring bikes for 2019

It never rains but it pours. While everybody was still buzzing with the news regarding the bikes that Harley-Davidson intend to roll out over the next couple of years, the Motor Company decided to announce more new models, this time for 2019. This way, please.

FXDR 114
First stop is Harley-Davidson's new FXDR 114, a performance-oriented power-cruiser. Using the new Softail chassis, the FXDR 114 uses the 114 ci (1868 cc) Milwaukee Eight engine equipped with four-valve desmo heads, a high-flow forward-facing airbox with a performance-inspired air filter and a two-into-one sports exhaust. Power output is around the 90 HP mark, with 119 lb/ft of torque. Power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a six-speed 'box and belt drive. The engine sits in a Softail frame with an aluminium subframe to keep the weight down. Also in a bid to reduce unsprung weight, the characteristic steel Softail swinging-arm has been replaced with a sportsbike-style aluminium unit, which saves a claimed 4.62 kg. The weight-saving exercise continues with the bodywork, made out of composite materials, and aluminium cast wheels (19" front, 18" lenticular rear).

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Harley-Davidson look to the future

Mention the Harley-Davidson marque in a conversation and most people - whether they're motorcyclists or not - will reply with words such as "archaic", old-fashioned", "slow", "agricultural" etc. The latest news from the Milwaukee-based manufacturer, though, seems to be giving the lie to that.

After having made headlines worldwide recently for having made it onto Donald Trump's "enemies of the people" list, the Motor Company is back in the news, this time to announce its plans for the years to come, in the shape of a whole raft of brand-new bikes. Let's take a closer look.


The Harley-Davidson LiveWire - sparking a great buzz

Of all the un-Harleyesque bikes that the Wisconsin-based marque is introducing over the next couple of years, the LiveWire is the one that will be the most discombobulating to Harley cognoscenti and ignoramuses alike. For one thing there's the riding position, which errs towards the sports roadster end of the spectrum (anybody who's ever ridden a Buell will be on familiar ground). But most importantly - this is an electric motorcycle! That's right: no pushrod V-twin, no "potato-potato", no vibration-per-piston-stroke ratio, no more stopping to "pump gas", as our transatlantic cousins say.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Qwart helmets - High-tech and hand-crafted

France has for a long time had a tradition of manufacturing quality motorcycle gear; companies such as Shark, Furygan, Segura and others are well-respected for their products throughout the world. Continuing in this tradition the French startup company Qwart, based in Saïx in southwest France, creates and manufactures a range of handcrafted designer crash helmets.

The range of Qwart helmets covers two models, the full-face Phoenix helmet and the open-face Hemi helmet. The Phoenix comes in two versions, the "Slick", which does not have a faceshield (Qwart make a bespoke pair of goggles that integrate seamlessly with this helmet); and the "STD" (for "standard"), which is equipped with a faceshield.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Gear News: Fuel "Sergeant" jeans

Following on their recent presentation of the Downtown jacket, Fuel Motorcycles have just brought out their new Sergeant motorcycle jeans.

These smart jeans, which look cool whether you're riding your bike or just hanging with your riding buddies down the pub, are available in two versions, "Waxed" and "Sahara". Just like the Downtown jacket, don't be fooled by their stylish look; they're up to speed on the protection front, too.

Sergeant Waxed Jeans
The Sergeant Waxed jeans are made with premium 12.5 oz denim on the outside, waxed for waterproofing, and an anti-abrasion aramid fibre lining on the inside. They are cut in a traditional five-pocket style, with an extra pocket on the right thigh closed by a waterproof YKK zip. They feature heavy-duty suede strips on the outside of the thighs and on the inner part of the lower leg, with quilted panels on the front. They also have stretch panels at the knees that allow you to move freely on the bike. The Sergeant Waxed jeans are equipped with Level 2 body armour at the hips and knees. The knee protectors can be fitted and removed easily via pockets with an opening on the outside. The jeans' tapered fit makes them easy to fit inside a pair of riding boots.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Bike News: Harley-Davidson to add two new models to the Sportster range (from Press Release)

Harley-Davidson announced yesterday that they will be expanding their already profuse Sportster range with two new models: the Iron 1200 (hmm, I know a fellow blogger in France who'll be happy as a pig in the proverbial! - Ed.) and the Forty-Eight Special. These two new Sporties are the latest in a line of 100 high-impact models that the Motor Company intends to present between now and 2027. The leitmotiv for these two new machines is, according to the company, "High handlebars, cool graphics and garage-built attitude".

Ever since its birth in 1957, the Harley-Davidson Sportster has been endlessly customised and reinterpreted, as much by the Milwaukee-based marque as by thousands of owners worldwide. We've seen the Sporty reinvented  countless times as a bobber, a chopper, a scrambler or a cafe racer. It is with this in mind that Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson's VP for Styling and Design, states "What we've done to create the new Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special is what Sportster owners have been doing with their own bikes for generations".

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Gear News: Harley-Davidson want to dress you up in style

For 2018, Harley-Davidson have brought out not one, but three new clothing ranges aimed not just at owners of Milwaukee's finest product, but at anybody who wants to cut a dash wearing some authentic Americana.

The "Genuine Motorclothes" range covers the Harley-Davidson branded riding gear but also includes casual wear, with a comfortable cut for the menswear range and a more tailored cut for women. The Genuine Motorclothes jackets are manufactured with long-lasting leather and textile fabrics and in various styles, including vintage "distressed" styles.

Genuine Motorclothes

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Gear News: Davida Lightweight Metropolitan Summer Gloves

While most of us in the Northern hemisphere are shivering away wondering how far we are from the corner spring is supposedly hiding behind, British firm Davida have already presented their new-for-2018 Metropolitan lightweight summer gloves.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Tech News: Watchdog System connected disc lock

If there's one thing that motorcyclists fear apart from dropping their bike, it's having their bike stolen. Manufacturers incorporate solutions such as immobilisers or transponders that you carry around with you - usually as a key fob - to their products to make them harder to steal. One can also buy a variety of alarms, disc locks, security chains, padlocks etc. At the end of the day, though, all of these devices are simply deterrents designed to slow bike thieves down; though as the saying goes, "where there's a will, there's a way" and a determined bike thief will steal your pride and joy, however hard you try to make that impossible. One answer to this is to fit your bike with a tracker so that police or private security firms can follow the criminal's trail and recover your bike - and sometimes bikes stolen from other unfortunate motorcyclists.

Back in the Seventies, the French had a popular saying: "On a pas du pétrole, mais on a des idées*". The French startup Watchdog System has definitely had a very clever idea indeed and has developed a high-tech disk lock that is connected to a smartphone app that informs you in real time about things happening to your bike. This is done by means of a complex algorithm that uses machine learning techniques to recognise various situations, such as somebody trying to move your bike, a bike toppling over, or a bike being lifted off the ground. The alert is not only sent to you, but also to all other Watchdog System users in the area, the idea being that if you can't reach your bike, some Good Samaritan can.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Gear News: Fuel Downtown jacket

The main problem about stylish gear aimed at café racer/scrambler/bobber riders is that in order to have The Look you need to compromise on protection. Which is a bit silly, really: you're just as likely to have a moment on your "built, not bought" machine as you are on a high-tech sports roadster (or any other kind of bike, for that matter); and from my own personal experience, road rash is painful. Motorcycle jeans have been around for a few years now, as have casual and more formal footwear options. Motorcycle jackets however, have lagged behind when it comes to combining chic with protection. But with many European countries contemplating legislation making it mandatory to wear proper protective clothing when riding a powered two-wheeler, manufacturers are starting to get the hint.

Helmet? Umm yeah, whatever!

Enter the new Downtown jacket by Barcelona-based Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles. When this handsome garment was brought to my attention by Constance Diaconu of Codi & Co. and Barcelona We Ride fame, my first question was "does it have body armour?" Yes, I admit it: as I get on in years I'm becoming more and more of an ATGATT* bore. When Constance replied that it did have body armour, I decided it was time to take a closer look.