Tag Archives: Motorbike news

Ban on GPS speed camera alerts

Germany is banning fixed speed camera alerts provided on most GPS units and many mobile phone apps in a worrying trend that could be replicated in other countries.

In most Australian states, fixed speed cameras are sign posted, but safety nannies are always looking for new ways to clamp down on speeding and could start pushing for this German ban.

However, this ban will not just catch habitual speedsters, but also affect those who inadvertently drift over the speed limit.

Safety alerts

And instead of motorists watching the traffic and relying on alerts to tell them of a fixed speed camera, it will lead to them monitoring their speedos and looking at the side off the road for cameras.

We are not sure how Germany expects to enforce their €75 (about $A125) fine as it would require police to pull over motorists to check their satnav devices and phone apps.

In some jurisdictions, that would require a search warrant.

Garmin and TomTom satnav companies have emailed their registered users to advise them of the law change in Germany.

autobahns autobahn

It seems strange in a country that has some roads with unlimited speeds and many autobahns with very high posted speeds.

However, if you have ever ridden in the country you will know that the speed limits are enforced and local motorists comply.

On one occasion, I saw an overhead electric sign suddenly flash a warning of a coming storm and reduced the 130km/h speed limit to 80km/h. Immediately the traffic around me slammed on the brakes and settled at 80km/h.

Germany uses a lot of fixed speed cameras in tunnels and around the entries and exits of villages and have already banned the use of speed camera and radar detection systems as in Australia (except Western Australia).

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Aldi confirms annual motorcycle gear sale

Aldi Australia has confirmed its annual motorcycle gear sale will return, but has not yet named a date nor confirmed whether the pandemic will delay the sale.

The sale is usually held on one of the first Saturday’s in August, but was pushed back to the end of the month in 2019.

An Aldi Australia spokesperson says their motorcycle Special Buy theme “continues to return every year as a result of its popularity and following from motorcycle enthusiasts, who are after quality gear for great prices”.

“Like with all our products, we continue to improve our range by making necessary changes,” they say.

They would not confirm a date nor say whether the pandemic would cause a delay.

We will publish the sale date and list of products and prices as soon as it is available.

Sticky situation

Aldi helmets Ray SchrieverRay with the sticky helmet

It follows a recent claim by Sydney rider Ray Schriever that the silver paint on Aldi helmets he bought in 2015 had crazed and become sticky, despite limited use.

“The helmet was sticky all over. I took it to the sink and gave it a wash but the sticky mess just congealed or balled up,” he says.Aldi helmets Ray Schriever

The Aldi Australia spokesperson says:

Before 2016, a different type of paint was used on the motorcycle helmets and after listening to our customers feedback we learnt that the helmet would sometimes become sticky if stored in damp conditions for a long period of time. As a result we worked with our business partner to improve the paint and the new formula was introduced in 2016. The safety of the helmet has never been impacted, the sticky surface was an aesthetic fault only. It does not damage the shell, the EPS liner or the structure of the helmet. Our helmets come with a 12-month warranty.

We do not suggest this paint issue would also affect helmet integrity in the event of a crash.

However, we do note that most helmet manufacturers recommend you replace your helmet after five years of regular use, anyway.

In Ray’s case, the helmets had not had regular use.

Aldi claims all its rider gear meets proper safety standards.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Piaggio plans first reverse leaning trike

Piaggio has filed a patent for the world’s first reverse leaning three-wheeler with the two wheels at the back rather than the front.

Traditional three-wheelers or trikes have the wheels at the back, but they don’t lean.

In 2006, the Italian company introduced the MP3 scooter which was the world’s first leaning three-wheeler.

It had the wheels at the front and their revolutionary configuration has since been followed by Yamaha with its TriCity scooter and Niken motorcycle.

Yamaha Niken neowing leaningNiken (Image: Yamaha)

AKO also plans a similar electric-powered leaning trike and other companies such as Honda and Kawasaki have filed for similar patents.

AKO leaning electric itrikeAKO leaning electric trike

Advantages

I’ve ridden several leaning three-wheelers and found them much more stable at high speeds than a conventional trike.

The double front tyre contact patch also makes them much safer on entering a corner where low friction from gravel or oil could cause a low-side crash.

Tricity scooterTricity

This configuration provides much greater rider confidence pushing into corners.

However, we wonder if this conventional trike layout with two wheels at the back but also leaning might actually decrease front tyre friction and therefore rider confidence.

Piaggio design

The Piaggio design actually only allows the front end to lean while the rear axle remains parallel to the ground via a car-like Constant Velocity joint.

It would certainly improved traction under power coming out of a corner.

The patent drawing seems to suggest a scooter with the engine in the rear like a Porsche 911.

And like the German Porker, it might be a hoot to ride — or drift — with its pendulum-like handling.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Jack Miller to ride for factory Ducati team

Aussie MotoGP rider Jack Miller, 25, has signed with the official Ducati Team for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship.

The agreement for next season includes an option to extend the contract for 2022.

Miller won the German IDM 125ccc championship in 2011 and was runner-up in the 2014 Moto3 championship.

The Townsville racer made his MotoGP debut in 2015 at the age of 20 and joined Ducati in 2018 with the Pramac Racing Team, the factory-supported team of the Bologna manufacturer.

He has one MotoGP win to his name and finished last season eighth overall in the standings last year, taking five podiums.

Miller follows former MotoGP champ and fellow Australian Casey Stoner who last gave Ducati a taste of championship victory in 2007.

Dream come trueJack Miller helmet motoGP biushfire appeal

Dream come true for Miller

“I always had dreams of becoming a fully-fledged factory rider,” he says.

“Fair to say I didn’t think it would happen with me sitting at home in Townsville having not raced for six months, but 2020 has been a strange old year.

“But it’s done, and having my 2021 plans sorted out so early is so exciting with what I’ll be doing, and in many ways a dream come true for me.

“When I got to MotoGP in 2015, this is what I was always chasing, so to have it actually happening is a bit surreal. But it’s the reality, and it feels bloody good.”

Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali says that since Jack arrived in the Pramac Racing Team, he has “grown steadily, proving himself one of the fastest and most talented riders in the championship”.

“So we are happy that he has agreed to ride the official Desmosedici GP bike of the Ducati Team next year,” he says.

“We are convinced that Jack has all the right skills to fight continuously for the positions that matter, in every race, starting already this season with the Desmosedici GP20 of the Pramac Racing Team, and taking a further step forward next year thanks to the support of the Ducati Team.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Mentorship program for Spyder women

Forget about Spiderman, watch out for Spyder women as the roadster company introduces a mentorship program to get more women riding.

Although there are slightly more women in the world than men, they represent only 10-20% of riders, depending on country.

For the motorcycle industry to thrive, they need to reach out to this under-represented group.

Mentorship program

That is exactly what the Can-Am Women’s Mentorship Program is doing.

Company spokeswoman Amelie Forcier tells us the inclusivity and education program is designed and led by women to inspire more women to overcome the barriers that prevent them from riding.

“Our mentors are an incredible group of inspiring women with diverse backgrounds and levels of riding experience,” she says.

“The Women’s Mentorship Program is for female riders around the world. We have had members from Australia and New Zealand join our Facebook group.”

In the US, women can also go through their Can-Am Rider Education Program for as little as $US50 (more details on the promo here).

Ryker attracts

Meanwhile, the entry level three-wheeled Can-Am Ryker is proving a “hit” with women, says Can-Am On-Road Australian PR Brian Manning.

While women riders are about 10-12% of the Australian riding population, 25% of Ryker owners are women.

The Ryker comes in three versions: a LAMS 600cc version for $A14,899 (standard colour); a 900cc version at $A17,299 (standard colour); and a 900cc off-road Rally Edition at $A18,999 (ride away prices).Can-Am Ryker

Brian says Australia’s Learner-Approved Motorcycle Scheme has provided the company with an opportunity for new riders, especially women, to own a Ryker.

“That is why 60% of sales are the 600cc model,” he says.

Females love the ease of use and the customisation.”

Training focus

Brian says they have had a focus on rider training in North America and have plans to extend to other countries.

So far more than 20,000 people have gone through Can-Am Rider Education at 193 riding schools in North America.

Brian says about half are female.

“We are implementing a training program in NZ similar to what has been done in North America,” he says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Delivery riders flouting road rules

Some motorcycle, scooter and bicycle delivery riders are flouting traffic and parking rules, endangering pedestrians and other road users, says Motorcycle Council of NSW vice-chairman Jason Antony.

He says it has worsened under the current pandemic lockdown, as more and more people use online services to order meals.

Delivery rider scrutiny

“The food delivery industry — part of the burgeoning gig economy — is in dire need of regulatory oversight as well as scrutiny from road safety authorities,” Jason says.

“As a significant number of these workers are from overseas, it would not surprise me if they do not hold an Australian licence.

“Many such riders therefore tend to be unfamiliar with, or have little regard for, Australia’s traffic system and road rules — often endangering other road users, including pedestrians, for very little gain.

“For years, I have observed them on barely roadworthy motorbikes and scooters, choosing to behave in an increasingly dangerous manner as they stare at their mobiles, focussing on text and video conversations instead of their surroundings.

“Even L-platers can be frequently seen lane filtering, lane splitting, kerb filtering, failing to give way, chucking U-turns into the path of oncoming traffic, running red lights, almost striking pedestrians who are crossing legally … the list goes on.”

Under lane filtering rules, only those who hold a full Australian motorcycle licence are permitted to lane filter, not overseas licence holders.

We asked Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne councils if they had an issue with scooter delivery riders and whether they were over-represented in traffic and parking fines. However, they said they didn’t keep records relating to delivery riders. They also didn’t have any specific operations to keep a check on them.

Kymco Agility Carry delivery scooter

Jason says the perceived lack of targeted action by the relevant authorities to hold errant delivery riders to account is perplexing.

“Over the past few years, I have observed an increase in the number of delivery riders taking more risks, breaking more road rules and creating close calls — yet we have not seen a campaign targeting them,” he says.

“The message needs to be spelled out and enforced with no wiggle room: inconsiderate, reckless and dangerous riding that puts others at needless risk will not be tolerated.”

CyclistsBicycle Delivery

Jason says it’s not just motorcycle and scooter delivery riders at fault.

He says many push-bike delivery riders are also illegally riding on footpaths, including many on power-assisted electric bikes despite the roads being relatively empty during the lockdown.

“They power through narrow footpaths at ridiculous speeds, speed past shop entrances and intersections, bang the bell when approaching pedestrians and frighten them out of their way — others silently scrape past those on foot with very little room to spare.”

In some states, it is illegal to ride a bicycle on pedestrian footpaths, but there are some exceptions for children.

Licensing and training

Jason says all delivery riders should be made to undertake road rules training and a defensive riding course.

“It could provide the impetus for food delivery riders to understand the responsibilities that come with operating a vehicle on the roads safely, sensibly and considerately,” he says.

“At the end of the day, it is about their safety as well — not merely the general public’s.”

He also points out that people with overseas driver/rider licences must obtain a relevant local licence after a certain period, usually three months.

Jason says this should be rigidly enforced.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Driver guilty of hit-run scooter crash

A 55-year-old Toyota Hi-Lux driver who hit and injured a woman, 34, riding a Vespa scooter last August before driving off has been found guilty in a Sydney court today.

Paul Andrew Brown faced a hearing in Burwood Local Court today (27 May 2020) on charges of failing to stop and render aid, negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, and not exchanging particulars.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Wellbank and Spring streets, in Concord, about 7.45pm on 14 August 2019.

Police told the court the driver of the utility failed to stop to render assistance to the rider and continued to drive north on Spring Street.

The scooter rider, a 34-year-old woman, suffered serious injuries and was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Crash Investigation Unit officers found the ute parked in North Strathfield about 2.30pm the next day.

After a short foot pursuit, police arrested Brown and took him to Burwood Police Station were he was charged.

Guilty

Brown has been in and out of court since and was today found guilty. He will front court again on 15 July 2020 for sentencing.

The incident follows a worrying spate of hit-and-run crashes leaving riders injured and dead.

In NSW, the requirement for those involved in a crash to remain at the scene until police arrive was dropped in 2014, even if a tow truck is required.

However, the motorists must report the incident to police and remain at the scene if anyone is injured.

If they don’t, police can charge a motorist with failing to stop at the scene of an accident which is considered a serious offence.

Depending on whether someone is injured or killed in the crash, the motorist responsible could face serious charges with up to 10 years in jail.

Police say motorists leaving an accident scene where someone is injured decrease a victim’s chance of survival.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Free ferry fares to Tassie after pandemic?

Tasmania wants to encourage domestic tourism with free or discounted fares for all vehicles including motorcycles on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry when the state reopens its borders after the pandemic closure.

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania CEO Luke Martin has called in the Federal Government to temporarily extend the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme that covers the gap between the true cost of taking a vehicle on the ferry and the ticket price.

That would make fares attractively cheap or even free.

Ferry proposalFree ferry fares to Tassie Tasmania

The proposal has been supported by Premier Peter Gutwein and the Motorcycle Riders Association (MRA) in Victoria who asks riders to email the Premier to show their support.

Luke says tourists spend an average of $2400 in the local economy.

Motorcycle tourists should be among the most desirable for local businesses, spending more than other motorists.

For example, Tourism Queensland estimates motorcycle tourists spend up to $160 a day in local communities on food, drink, accommodation, fuel and necessities, while caravaners are more self-contained and only spend about $40 a day.

A Spirit of Tasmania spokesperson says the current motorbike fare starts at $69 each way in the low tourist season.

It can rise to $99 in the high season or $109 for a flexi fare. Sidecars and trailers can lift the price to as much as $139 each way.

A discount or free fare would encourage more riders. Not that riders need much encouragement to head to Tassie. Charley Boorman rates it one of his favourite riding destinations.

Safe travels

The Tasmanian Government loves to welcome visiting motorcyclists, but also promotes important road safety messages about roads and riding conditions in Tasmania.

They have produced a Tasmanian Motorcycle Travel Guide video which is given to all motorcyclists when they board the Spirit of Tasmania.

It is one of many motorcycle-oriented tourism videos they have released.

In 2015, they produced a video featuring multi-Australian Superbike Champion Malcolm Campbell and interstate motorcycle club member Lester Knowles riding around the state and pointing out the features and dangers.

Each year the video is updated.

Road safety billboards and posters are also displayed on popular riding routes.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Piaggio wins Chinese copycat case

Last year Italian motorcycle and scooter company Piaggio lost a landmark case against a Chinese company over a copycat scooter, but now it has won a similar case.

The first case against Zhejiang Zhongneng began in 2014 over a copy of their Vespa LX scooter which has been around since the end of World War II. 

But it wasn’t China that made the decision.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled that the designs were significantly different and Zhejiang had not stolen any intellectual property.

Click here to read the ruling

Piaggio loses Chinese copycat casePiaggio left and Chinese copy right

Second copycat case

This time the EUIPO has ruled against Chinese scooter companies Motolux and Dayi Motor for their copycat design of the Vespa Primavera, registered in 2013.

The ruling says the EUIPO was “unable to elicit a general impression different from the registered design” of the Primavera. 

2018 Vespa Primavera 50 4T moped mopedsVespa Primavera

It’s a strategically important case, given the current trade wars with both the USA and Australia and political rhetoric over China.

The Communist Party of China has imposed hefty tariffs and threatened other measures on some Australian exports after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origin of the coronavirus outbreak.

Other Chinese copycats

There are many other cases where the Chinese have quite blatantly ripped off the designs of other models.

Check out some of our articles on this topic at the end of this article.

As an example, how about this BMW G 310 GS knockoff from Chinese company Everest.

Everest Kaiyue 400X knockoffEverest Kaiyue 400X

The Vietnamese are also in on the knockoff act with “Ducati” Monsters made by Quang Phuong Motor.

Trademark action

We are surprised that companies such as BMW and Ducati have not filed intellectual copyright breaches.

Honda and Yamaha have tried to fight Chinese manufacturers in the courts over breach of copyright.

However, it is a long process as there are hundreds of knockoff manufacturers.

Italian company Lambretta has also taken “strict” action against several companies for “free riding on the repute of Lambretta”.

They claim the global market is flooded with replicas of their classic scooters from China, India and Thailand.

The Chinese seem immune to international trade laws that bind other countries and their latest blatant ripoff is an electric Honda Goldwing.

We all know the Chinese make cheap copies of well-known brands and many of us probably have a Gucci belt made of plastic in a sweatshop in China.

However, they have also made a lot of copies of bigger and more expensive products such as cars.

Some of the cars these manufacturers have copied include the Range Rover Evoque, Smart ForTwo, Hummer, Porsche Cayman, Audi A6, Jeep Cherokee, BMW X1, Rolls-Royce Phantom and MINI Cooper.

Land Wind knockoff of the land Rover EvoqueLand Wind knockoff of the land Rover Evoque

Some car manufacturers tried to stop them copying their cars, but failed in an obstructive and partisan legal system, so they formed alliances with Chinese companies to make their products for the local market.

Like the car makers, Honda has formed an allegiance with one of the knockoff companies in China to make their bikes for the local market.

The pandemic has caused a severe setback to globalised manufacturers because of the al-pervasive Chinese element in their supply chain.

We wonder how many manufacturers will now source components from other countries other than China.

Japan is even given tax breaks to companies that remove Chinese components from their supply chain.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Jazzy Protector to save rider’s groin

Have you ever hit a big bump that hammers your groin on to the fuel tank, sending tears streaming down your face?

Old Triumph motorcycles used to have a luggage rack on the tank (pictured above) that many called “the castrater” for obvious reasons!

Thankfully modern bikes don’t have such dangerous tank attachments, but they can still cause pain for riders if they hit a bump and land on the tank.

Now a Brooklyn inventor has come up with the “Jazzy Protector” which he says will save the family jewels.

“I ride a motorcycle and thought there could be a better way to protect the groin area when hitting potholes or riding on rough roads,” he tells Pittsburgh company InventHelp which protects the intellectual property of inventors.

“My design could help to prevent unwanted discomfort and injuries,” the unnamed inventor says.

The invention is patent pending and there are few details provided by InventHelp.

We asked them to put us in touch with the inventor to find out more but they have so far failed to reply.

Protecting your groin

All they say is that the invention “provides an effective way to protect a motorcyclist’s groin if he or she slides forward unexpectedly”.

“In doing so, it prevents the rider from contacting the motorcycle’s gas tank,” InventHelp says.

“As a result, it enhances comfort and it provides added protection and peace of mind.

“The invention features a durable design that is easy to apply and use so it is ideal for motorcycle owners. Additionally, it is producible in design variations.”

That doesn’t really tell us anything.

We still don’t know if it is something that you stick down your trousers like a cricket “box” or hockey “cup”, or whether it is something you attach to the motorcycle tank or seat.

The original design was submitted to the Manhattan sales office of InventHelp and is available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com