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Maintenance & Modifications

A Short History of Motorcycle Antilock Brakes

Photo: Raniel Diaz CCMotorcycling purists rolled their eyes. Racers thought wasting almost 25 pounds on it was silly. The year was 1988. It was the end of an era in motocross and Eddie Lawson stole the Grand Prix Championship title from Wayne Gardner. The Cold War was about to end and BMW released the very first motorcycle equipped with antilock brakes. Not on MY bike Back then, the idea of strapping 25 pounds of dead weight to a bike in the name of "safety" was anathema to motorcycling ... Read more

Deciding Between Motorcycle Repair & Replacement

If your bike is not eligible for a motorcycle repair, you are entitled to the cost of a replacement motorcycle, including accessories. Often, there is a dispute because the motorcycle has more financing owed that it has value. Another source of dispute is that, after using the motorcycle, it has a depreciated value. Insurance companies are often difficult to deal with, because they don’t understand the intricacies and many models of motorcycles. They value them based on insurance databa... Read more

Covering The Brake vs Not Covering The Brake

For many years I have been a fan of covering the front brake.  Other riders rarely or never cover the brake.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the terminology, we are talking about whether or not to keep two (or three) fingers on the brake lever at all times, even when working the throttle. Numerous investigators and motorcycle journalists have done various experiments to determine whether one choice is better or safer than the other.  No one has come up with an answer that seems d... Read more

Muth Signal Mirrors

Inattentive drivers seem like the greatest avoidable threat to motorcycle riders, but no one seems to have a real solution. I have always liked the Muth rear view mirrors that incorporate a turn signal into the mirror, so that the mirror itself contains red turn arrows.  Particularly at night, these are very visible, and unusual enough to demand attention. Finally, these mirrors are available for motorcycle use.  Unfortunately, only the BMW LT and Honda Goldwing gets them for now. The... Read more

Lift at speed, Fairings, and Control

James Davis did a terrific post on the Motorcycle Safety web site about how lift from airflow reduces the weight on the front wheel.  If you find this topic interesting, you should definitely read his post. The summary of it is that the faster you go, the more lift, just like an airplane wing.  Being forward over the tank as opposed to upright increases this effect. Because the effect is more pronounced over the front end of the motorcycle, eventually you lose steering control. For th... Read more

Should All Street Motorcycles Offer ABS Brakes?

I know that there are riders who claim that they can stop better without ABS brakes, but I think that even most of these would admit that on the street they are rarely prepared to make that quality of stop in an emergency situation. For the rest of us,there is no question that ABS brakes are a safer alternative.  They allow evasive steering while stopping, and they work to stop better on gravel and low traction surfaces than we are likely to do on our own.  In an emergency, this is a life s... Read more

Harley to Get ABS Brake Systems

Just got back from 3,000 or so miles from the Bay Area to Spearfish South Dakota, then back to the West Coast.  Great ride.  Saw lots of bikes, terrific roads, met lots of folks. It is always an eye opener to see what people are riding when the touring season starts.  By far the greatest number of bikes were the Harley Glides. An Electra Glide or Road King makes a comfortable long distance machine, perfect for looking at scenery, and capable of carrying a lot in the bags.  The big fair... Read more

Michelin Tire Recall

There has been a Michelin tire recall for their new Power Pilot 2CT tire.  The initial recall is limited to Made in France models.  Michelin claims that they have no reports of accidents, and that failure modes are limited to abnormal speed conditions. This is a version of the new and highly touted tire with different tread compounds in the center and on the sides.  The idea is that the tire is softer where necessary for cornering, and harder for longer mileage in the center. Not surpri... Read more

New Battery Design Announced

Discovery Channel's featured motorcycle designer Matt Hotch has a video you can find through TekBattery that demonstrates a Lithium Ion design which appears to be a major improvement in motorcycle batteries. Similar to the technology in your cell phone, the batteries are said to be free of memory problems, and pack a big punch for the size. Also similar to your cell phone battery, they cost a lot more than similar sized but less powerful traditional batteries. Of course, size is a major ad... Read more