Triumph winds down Hinckley production

Triumph Motorcycle will move more of its production from Hinckley in the UK to Thailand in a bid to target rapidly growing Asian markets.

In 2002, Triumph opened its first factory in Thailand where it now has three facilities making about 80% of last year’s total of 60,131 bikes.

There are also factories in Brazil and India supplying for the local markets.

And last month Triumph announced an agreement with Baja to build a range of 200-750cc motorcycles in India.

Proposed Triumph 250Proposed Triumph 250

Hinckley factory

Their factory in Hinckley, Leicestershire, mainly makes engine components and will become a research and development centre.

It will continue to build their new Triumph Factory Custom (TFC) motorcycles with production wound down from about 6500 a year to about 4500.

Triumph Thruxton and Rocket 3 TFC ace diamondTriumph Thruxton and Rocket 3 TFC

They will lay off about 50 workers on the assembly line, paint shop and weld shop.

However, they will add about 20 design engineer jobs in their upgraded R&D facility.

Thai advantages

Apart from the cost advantages of making bikes in Thailand, most major component suppliers are nearby, including an Ohlins factory.

Australia also has a free trade agreement with Thailand, which keeps a lid on prices.

Triumph boss Nick Bloor says the move is part of “Triumph’s next wave of strategic growth”.

“We want to maximise the growth opportunity for the brand globally, particularly in the Asian markets,” he says.

“This is why we are increasing our design resources here in the UK, and focusing our mass-production capabilities in Thailand.

“There will still be manufacturing capability in the UK but the role of our facility in Hinckley will be reconfigured to enable us to create a more flexible and high-value capability.”

Leicestershire automotive jobs have taken a big hit in recent weeks with Norton Motorcycles closing down and going into administration amid allegations of fraud, misappropriated government funding and unpaid taxes.


Suzuki slow to plug into electric revolution

Suzuki has been slow to plug into the electric motorcycle revolution, but looks like finally joining the other Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, at least in the Asian market.

The big four Japanese manufacturers have all been slow in announcing their intentions with electric motorcycles and scooters.

However, in April 2019, electric vehicle website Electrek claimed Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki has signed an agreement to work on standardising electric motorcycle batteries and charging infrastructure.

No doubt it’s hoped to avoid the Beta/VHS situation where new video recording technology went two different ways.

Standardised batteries and charging infrastructure would mean plugs on bikes and sockets on charging points would suit all electric motorcycle models.

Perhaps a standardised battery size, shape and output would also lead to a battery swap solution which would be quicker than waiting for a bike to recharge.

Slow revolution

By comparison with their major counterparts, the usually innovative Japanese motorcycle companies have been slow to join the electric vehicle revolution.

Yamaha released the PES1 (Passion Electric Street) road bike and PED1 (Passion Electric Dirt) off-roader for limited sale, mainly in Europe.

Yamaha PES1 electric motorcycles product standardiseYamaha PES1 electric motorcycle

Kawasaki has filed a patent for a water-cooled electric.

Honda has a hybrid scooter and an electric self-balancing prototype.

Honda reveals electric self-balancing concept Honda Riding Assist-e self-driving standardiseHonda electric Assist-e self-balancing bike

Meanwhile, Suzuki has been the slow coach with no patents, no announcements, nothing!

Until now.

Autocar India reports that Suzuki Motorcycle India MD Koichiro Hirao says they are working on an EV platform for India.

There is no word on what that EV platform will be; motorcycle, scooter, mobility scooter!

Nor is there any word about whether they would be available outside the country.

India is becoming a major player in the EV market with a host of companies from start-ups to major manufacturers now making them.

This comes in the wake of tough new emissions regulations in the overcrowded and polluted country.

Learn electric terms

Living with petrol-powered motorcycles all our lives, we now find we will have to learn a lot of new terms in the coming electric revolution.

We certainly don’t profess to know much about electrical terms.

But here is a very non-technical, idiot’s guide to the main terms. (Electricians may find this quite amusing!)

Volts: This is a measure between two points in an electrical circuit, sort of like the water pressure in pipes. The mains plug in your house has 240V (230V in UK, 110V in USA) and your motorcycle battery has 12V.

Amps: Together with the voltage, it determines the flow rate of the current. High amps with a low voltage means a lot of current flowing slowly, like a fat, lazy river. Low amps with a high voltage means a faster flow of less current, sort of like when you squeeze the end of a hose and the water spurts out.

Watts: It you multiply the volts by the amps you get the watts, which is the output power of the electric motor. You should already be familiar with kilowatts which are 1000 watts. One kilowatt is 1.34% of one horsepower or one horsepower is 0.75% of a kilowatt.

Sporty Harley-Davidson electric LiveWire parade silicon standardiseHarley’s LiveWire electric motor

Kilowatt hours: This is the capacity of the battery. Think of how many litres you can fit in your fuel tank. A one watt-hour battery will power a 1W electric motor for one hour. The new Lightning Strike Carbon Edition has a 20kWh battery which means it can produce 1kW of power for 20 hours.

That’s just a start.

There are a lot of other factors involved and other terms for battery energy-density (watt-hours per kilogram), charging terms (AC, DC and fast chargers) and a variety of range calculations that take into regenerative charging.

Click here to read more about the complexities of range.


Two riders die in Sunday accidents

Two riders have died in separate accidents on the Central Coast of NSW and in far west Queensland yesterday (23 February 2020).

NSW Police say a 59-year-old rider from Mardi died in a crash with a Mitsubishi SUV on the Great North Road, Bucketty, 40km north-west of Somersby, about 4.30pm.

Officers from Hunter Valley Police District were told he was riding north and the Mitsubishi SUV was travelling south and the crash occurred in the southbound lane.

“The SUV left the road, crashing down a ravine trapping the driver, while the motorcyclist was thrown down the same ravine,” police say.

Paramedics were winched by helicopter down the ravine to the injured motorcyclist.

Sadly, he died a short time after being brought up to the roadway.

Our sincere condolences to the rider’s family and friends.

A 44-year-old woman, from Paxton, was released from the wreckage of her SUV and escaped with relatively minor injuries.

She was taken to Wyong Hospital for mandatory testing.

The scene was also attended by NSW Ambulance paramedics, Rescue helicopter crew, RFS and VRA volunteers.Crash accidents

Police will prepare a report for the Coroner.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Information is confidential. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Longreach crash

A 19-year-old rider has died in a crash at the intersection of Falcon and Duck streets, Longreach about 3am yesterday.

Police say their initial investigations “suggest the male rider lost control of his motorcycle”.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via 24hrs per day.

Quote this reference number: QP2000379024.

Our sincere condolences to the rider’s family and friends.


Marc Marquez: “I’m struggling more here”

“It’s true that in this circuit I’m struggling even more than I did in Malaysia. Malaysia was a different riding style, here with the long corners, the long right corners, I’m struggling a little bit more. I was able to ride more or less but we tried not to stress in the first day. Still, we must work a lot because at this circuit, like every year, all our weak points are here in Qatar. At the moment we are far from the front guys.”

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Zarco “riding better every time” on board the Ducati

Zarco missed the Valencia and Jerez Tests and the end of 2019 having only signed for Ducati in December. The Frenchman had an enjoyable first taste of Desmosedici at the Sepang Test where he finished P17 overall, just 0.602 from compatriot Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as he improved his lap time each day. On Saturday in Qatar, Zarco placed P12 ahead of fellow Ducati riders Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and teammate Tito Rabat, setting a best time of 1:55.308. On Day 2, Zarco got his time down to a 1:54.565 to end the day P6 on the times, ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

P1 for Quartararo as Yamaha, Suzuki continue to look strong

Over at Honda, reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) suffered a crash at Turn 9. Thankfully he was unhurt but at the end of Day 1, the number 93 admitted he’s suffering more here with his shoulder than he was at the Sepang Test. Honda, in general, seem to be struggling slightly in Qatar, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) also crashed, Turn 2 the corner with the British rider heading to the medical centre afterwards. This ultimately ended Crutchlow’s day, the number 35 suffering significant swelling to his forearm which caused him to be unable to move his fingers immediately after the crash. He and the team decided it was best to not ride again on Sunday, hopefully Crutchlow will be on track on Monday for the final day of testing.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

16:30 in Qatar: Petrucci tops the Day 2 timesheets

It’s another sunny in the Qatari desert as the riders start to get down to proper business after a quiet start to the session. All 22 riders have ventured out for at least four laps – Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completing the least – as conditions start to descend to the time they’ll be on track at the Qatar GP. So far, there’s nothing new in terms of parts to report upon as teams and riders begin to fine-tune setup and electronics, as well as continuing to confirm if the new parts are more beneficial than the older ones. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Day 1 pacesetter Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) crashed unhurt during the opening hours. 

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Aprilia confirm Lorenzo Savadori as MotoGP™ test rider

Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing MotoGP™ Test rider)I am truly very happy to continue racing for Aprilia Racing. The role of MotoGP tester lets me get close to this category, which is the maximum expression of world motorcycle racing. I am honoured and pleased to be part of this project. I wish to thank all of Aprilia Racing and everyone who made this opportunity possible. Now I can’t wait to get started! The Italian championship will also be at a very high level this season. Along with Nuova M2 Racing, we’ll be working very hard and passionately to hold the new RSV4 Factory 1100 high.”

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Battle ready: Suzuki secure 1-2 on opening day in Qatar

Otherwise at Ducati, the main goal was to work on Michelin’s new tyre, something that both Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and teammate Danilo Petrucci struggled with at the Sepang Test. Right at the end of the opening day, Petrucci leapfrogged to P4 to sit just 0.172 off top spot. Pramac Racing’s Francesco Bagnaia was P9 after getting another 56 laps under his belt on the GP20, with Dovizioso, Johann Zarco (Reale Avinita Racing) – another solid outing for the Frenchman – and Miller all within a second of the Suzukis. Both Dovizioso and Miller crashed unscathed, with the Italian sounding positive after Day 1, saying the feeling is better than in Malaysia. 

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Midday: Dovizioso currently P1 as Qatar Test begins

The opening couple of hours was relatively quiet at the Losail International Circuit, with the teams deciding to wait until later in the afternoon to start doing their work. Now we’ve reached 16:30 local time in Doha, every rider bar Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) has done at least six laps. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) crashed after running into the gravel at Turn 7, with the Spaniard also running a new front air intake during the opening stages. 

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here