Monday, November 30, 2009

New Book: Rebel Motorcycles Ltd

While checking out the cool designs at Kick'N'Start at Moto Legende, I got a chance to meet Laurent Bagnard, creater of Powerglide magazine in France. Powerglide spiced up the Hot Rod and Kustom enthusiast's press here while also covering a cross-over interest: music. Already the author of one awarding winning book, he's recently released his second work 'Rebel Motorcycles Ltd'.

'Rebel Motorcycles Ltd' is a hardcover, 144-page full-colour photography book. It's a selection of what Laurent Bagnard has been lucky enough to witness around the fast moving world of today's modified bikes, from Europe to Japan through the homeland of stylin' wheels: California!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kick'n'Start Apparel from France

Right then, another t-shirt company offering motorcycle inspired designs, just what you need. Ok, it's true there are an enormous number of companies doing tees, so it can get a bit tiring after a while. But when I happened by Kick'n'Start's booth at the Salon Moto Legende I really fell for the simplicity of their designs, plus the fact that they package their tees in 33" vinyl record sleeves! The company is an upstart collaboration between 6 friends, artists and above all motorcycle nuts. They are just getting started and hope to be expanding their line to include more products soon. Check out their website to get a closer look at the designs. It's easy to navigate but be forewarned, it's only in French.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mini Coyote V2...soon for bikers?

Here in France and much of the European Union, radar detectors are not legal. But there is a way to get advance warning of speed traps. Coyote Systems of France is one of many manufacturers who produce GPS based speed camera alert units.

The information about existing speed cameras is delivered by Coyote either from fellow Coyote users or from the speed camera and speed limit information from the databases of our Partners. It is updated as soon as you turn on the device and the communication stays active throughout your trip so you can receive alerts at any time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

FIM to Debut Electric Motorcycle Racing Series

rob_barber Photo: Ron Barber, winner of the pro class 2009 TTXGP: Flickr / SkyFire PDL

Electric motorcycle racing has hit the big time with the announcement that the organizers of MotoGP are launching an electric racing series next year.

There’s no word yet on who’s racing or what rules they’ll have to follow, but the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme has four races on the calendar and says more are coming. It says the e-Power International Series reflects its growing concern about the future of the sport and the need to promote alternative energy. “The FIM, as the governing body of motorcycle sport, must take into account current environmental problems,” FIM president Vito Ippolito said in a statement.

The series will be organized by the FIM’s Road Racing Commission. The first race is slated for April 18 during the Le Mans 24 Hours, with others scheduled for Sept. 12 in France and Nov. 14 in Qatar. The date of the fourth race, during the Albacete 8 Hours in Spain, is to be announced.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2010 Pinup Speedshop Calender

One the more surprising finds I came upon at the Salon Moto Legende was a great calender for 2010 featuring professionally shot vintage bikes and pin-ups. The calender is the work of a British photographer, Robert Schoehuys, who is actually based in Paris. To see shots of other months and for ordering info, head to Pinup Speedshop.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Salon Moto Legende Memories

Went to the Salon Moto Legende this past weekend in the Parc Floral of the Bois de Vincennes. This is the second year the event has taken place here since the closing of the nearby Montlhéry Racing Circuit. While the venue
itself may not be as cool as it's previous location, the event itself does not disappoint. In addition to the usual array of vintage British and Germany iron, surprising Italian creations and occasional American classics, you'll be treated to an amazing selection of vintage French motorcycles of every epoch, from the smallest single-cylinder motor powered bicycles to the largest full-bore bikes topping out at about 750cc's. This year Mark Wilsmore from the Ace Cafe even came down to hang with the local members of the 59 Club. Among the magazines present were Cafe Racer, a French bimonthly that covers, well, cafe racers, street trackers and an assortment of vintage bikes. In their stand, the owner of the magazine, Bertrand, was displaying his gorgeous Triumph street tracker put together by Glory Sales in Los Angeles, Ca. One of the most unusual displays was the center of attention this, a retrospective on the offroad machines used in African rallies such as the Paris-Dakar. If you happen to be planning a trip to Paris in the fall, this is a must do.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holiday Gifts V

I'm going to round out my week long gift giving guide passing along one more company out of jolly old England. This time though, the gifts are a bit more specialized. Classic Bike Gifts focuses on offering the coolest items for enthusiasts of vintage British iron. So, whether your mate is a die hard Triumph, Norton, Vincent (or one of the many other fabulous old marques) nut, this is the place to pick up a unique goodie, that will be remember for decades to come.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Gifts IV

While you may think at this point that you've seen just about everything there is to offer your loved one, don't bet on it. Once again, I bring you another company from the motherland that has put together a unbelievable selection of treats when you need more than just the ordinary. Biker Gifts adds practical gifts, such as security and storage solutions and some highly sought after memorabilia and autographed items to the usual gift fare. They are also an official licensee to the Estate of Mike Hailwood and they support the Joey Dunlop Injured Riders Fund.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holiday Gifts III

Continuing on our gift shopping series, I've found a couple companies out of England that have a huge assortment of treats for obsessive biker nut. First stop is, the self titled A-Z Guide to the Perfect Gift for Bikers. In addition to the usual fare found on typical sites, they offer such unusual items as doorbells, sculptures, puzzles, bedding and beach towels.

Rather than going into detail on all the great products they offer, just go check them out and stop by tomorrow when I let you in on my other great find.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Gifts II

Looking for something a little different from the ordinary gift choices for that special motorhead? Check out Planet Motard, the specialist in personalized gifts for motorcyclists. They offer a wide range of clothing and textiles personalized with an embroidered image of your bike, logo, text etc...

But if that is not quite what you are looking for, you can also browse their wide selection of stickers, decals, key rings, miniatures, clocks, jewelery, anti-slip seat covers and much more. Of particular note is their collection of rare motorcycle products from the 1970's, all for sale at very reasonable prices. In short, they are certain to have something for just about any taste.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Gifts

Well that time is here again, when we are all shopping for the perfect gift for the holidays. So if you are looking for that special something for that special someone, (or you are tired of getting hum drum gifts and want to drop a hint) look no further than Boutique Auto Moto in Paris' 1er arrondissement. They have a huge selection of books, dvds, miniatures and models of all sizes. And every month they publish a new list of their lastest arrivals.

If you are not local enough to drop in to their shop, BAM also has locations in Levallois Perret, Nantes and Le Mans or you can order online.

Friday, November 13, 2009

GAS & Honda to Produce New Clothing Line

Honda Lifestyle Collection, a new line of motorcycle clothing created by Italian designer GAS in collaboration with Honda, has been presented in Milan at EICMA 2009. For the uninitiated, GAS is a leading casual wear designer and long-time partner of HRC’s Honda MotoGP team.

The range gear toward motorcycle fans will offer a wide selection of items for men, women and children. Availability in Europe is scheduled for February 2010. Mario Nicosia, director of after sales for Honda Italy, said, “Honda and GAS are based in Italy, but the importance of the market in Europe convinced us to branch out there. The new Honda Lifestyle Collection is produced with the same production qualities, sporting design and detail of every Honda.”

Claudio Grotto, President of Grotto SpA, added, “GAS has always attached great importance to quality and to the values of its brand. For a long time I have admired the motorcycle world and Honda in particular, so I’m honoured that the company has chosen us to produce this clothing line. The experience and knowledge gathered over 25 years by GAS in the world of casual wear has created a very strong product, similar to Honda.”


Peugeot Hybrid3 Evolution Concept

Peugeot has peeled the top off their Hybrid3 concept which debuted at the 2008 Paris Auto Show to reveal an open-air scooter with three wheels and three separate motors to power them. While previous concepts from have included a minimal roof, the Peugeot's Hybrid3 Evolution just show at the 2009 International Cycle and Motorbike Show (EIMCA) is the first design that mimics the successful formula of the MP3 models already on the market from Piaggio and to a lesser extent Gilera. It represents the automakers latest attempt at bridging the gap between cars and scooters for the benefit of urban motorists and the most likely to make it to production.

Peugeot's three-wheeler has a supercharged 300cc petrol engine that offers 41bhp a the rear wheel, but makes use of additional electric motors on each front wheel, delivering a extra 8bhp.100kph is achieved in under 10sec and the motor, which includes a stop-start function, is as clean as a Toyota Prius emitting just 48g/km of CO2. Best of all, it can run in various modes employing petrol, electric or combined power and allowing for 10km of travel rolling solely on electric power.There’s no mechanical connection between the electric and gas drivetrains, and regenerative braking charges the lithium ion batteries. Estimated consumption is 2l per 100km. The drivetrain of the Hybrid3 was engineered by Peugeot Motorcycles, while Automobiles Peugeot was responsible for the exterior design.

Officially it’s just a concept, but since rival Piaggio has already confirmed production of its own plug-in hybrid three-wheeler, it seems inconceivable that the showroom ready-looking Peugeot won’t be available to the public before the end of 2010.

Source: Wired

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Circuit Carole Now...A Complex Management

Circuit Carole, located a stones throw from Charles de Gaulle airport is actually owned by the state, but under the guardianship of the department of Seine-Saint-Denis to allow access for motorcycles under secure conditions. It is the only circuit in France reserved specifically for bikes and is open to the amateur pilots everyday of the year except January 1st, May 1st, July 14th, December 25th and during officially scheduled races and events.  The circuit welcomes all two-wheeled vehicles, whether registered for the road or not, from 49,9 cm³ and up. 

In 1990, the department confided the management of this circuit to the SEMIPFA (Corporation of Mixed Economy of the Countries of France and Aulnoye) that manages public works and social lodging for the collective communities.  Since then, each year the department invests in a program of improvement of the welcome structures and security both for the competitive events as well as amateur use.  In addition to this work on the infrastructure, a program of learning, prevention and information and been put in place.  This was developed and organized in partnership with the FFM (French Federation of Motorcycling), the AFDM (Association of Formation Of The Motorcyclists) and professional riders to offer training for better piloting on the track and the street.  The circuit has also become available for businesses to host or organize events and for general training sessions.  In 1996, a motothèque was inaugurated offering an motorcycle information and documentation center.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Genesis of the Circuit Carole

After the changes brought on by the demonstrations of May 1968, a more 'socialized' France, begins to realize changes little by little. A crack windens between a population of which the eldest, advocating the respect of certain traditional values, are frightened by the liberal aspirations sought by a student youth too "boisterious" for their taste, trampling under foot these values. Motorcycles are one of the responses to a need for more freedom by this youth, not at all reassuring to the "proper-thinking" collective conscious, since their popularity is comparatively recent and demonstrates a growing fad.
The bike offers everything to be associated with the "enemy", being both a lot noisier than traditional vehicles and especially a lot quicker. An odd reaction in a country that built some of the first motorcycles and at one time or another supported approximately 250 manufacturers, albeit the majority producing infinitesimal quantities of small cc machines. In any case, the general appearance of motorcyclists, jacket and boots of black leather, dark pants, Cromwell and Climax helmets strapped on the head, did nothing to reassure the motorists that quickly rejected these new users. Refusing traditional conventions, and trying to develop a new solidarity among motorcycle riders, isolated and demonized by automobile drivers, a number of associations quickly developed.

The new aficionados of speed distanced themselves by gathering around la Bastille and especially at Rungis, where they came to seek comfort amongst themselves on Fridays evenings in the parking lots of the covered markets, on improvised circuits of which the principal characteristic was the total lack of security. In taking advantage of the victims of these wild runs, the racers sought to make an example of the situation in demanding adapted structures and denouncing the lack of proper facilities for this activity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vermtematis 250 to Debut in Milan

The off-road motorcycles of the brand Vertematis, founded by the brothers of the same name have not known extraordinary commercial success, but merit an alternative consideration to the big brands and have now for 10 years. But after a long silence, it's good to know that a bit of a surprise from the brothers awaits us at the EICMA show in Milan next week. Their newest model will be propelled by a water cooled, single-cylindre 250 4-stroke and makes use of double overhead cams, 4 valves and electronic injection. The transmission and motor oil are separated, as on the Honda CRF. The biggest innovation is situated at the cylinder head, which is angled 180° in comparison with those found in "classic" configurations, inclined between 25 and 30° as on the new one 450 YZF. This very compact motor allows for a better centralization of the masses and a lower of the center of gravity in order to optimize nimbleness. The weight of the bike should not surpass 100 kg.

If the motor is inspired by the best technology coming out of Japan, the chassis can be compared what is being found on KTMs current crop of bikes. The frame consists of chromoly double beam and the rear suspension is similar to the PDS used by KTM. Rear suspension is directly connected between frame and swingarm without links. A couple of unique details include a shock absorber much longer than the norm and a kickstarter placed on the left side and more forward. Lastly, styling is by Fabrizio Ricupito of Ricupito Design.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bande Dessinée

The French and the Belgians have a long tradition in comics and comic books, where they are known as BDs, an abbreviation of bande dessinée in French. La bande dessinée is derived from the original description of the artform as "drawn strips". It is not insignificant that the French term contains no indication of subject matter, unlike the American terms "comics" and "funnies", which imply an art form not to be taken seriously. Indeed, the distinction of comics as the "ninth art" is prevalent in Francophone scholarship on the form (le neuvième art), as is the concept of comics criticism and scholarship itself.

The "ninth art" designation stems from Claude Baylie's extension of Ricciotto Canudo's seven arts manifesto (television was viewed as the eighth art) from 1964. Relative to the respective size of their countries, the innumerable authors in the region publish huge numbers of comic books. In North America, the more serious Franco-Belgian comics are often seen as equivalent to graphic novels. But whether they are long or short, bound or in magazine format, in Francophone Europe there is no need for a more sophisticated term, as the art's name does not itself imply something frivolous.

While this all might seem so serious, BD's are actually a lot of fun. And if you'd like to get a sample of this art, while staying true to your motorcycle passion, check out the Librarie Moto du Motard at Accessoires Moto Online. They have a huge selection of BD's, plus traditional books, techinical manuals, dvd's and video games. French reading skills are required of course, to fully appreciate the story lines.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Worlds 1st Production Electric Superbike

The SEMA Show 2009 has witnessed the launch of the world’s first production electric superbike, which is touted to be a laptop on wheels. Developed by British company Mavizen, the TTX02 superbike, based on the Isle of Man TTXGP winning chassis, will be available as a limited edition beginning in April 2010.

Apart from being the world’s first zero-emissions superbike, the machine is also the world’s first motorcycle that sports integrated IP connectivity. It is also equipped with a USB-based system bus that allows a number of peripherals to be connected to extend the capabilities of this mean machine.

The stylish chassis, based on a KTM RC8 street bike, is kitted out with a lithium-ion battery and two electric motors, each delivering 22.5 kilowatts of continuous power (about 30 horsepower) and 36 kilowatts peak (48.2 horsepower) as standard. Mavizen is also offering two other swapable power configurations depending on the intended usage. The motorcycle was designed primarily for racing and is FIM homologated but it also comes stamped with a VIN for registration in your local jurisdiction. Just 50 bikes will be built by the company and you can expect a price tag of around $40,000 with a typical circuit configuration.

Mavizen is also evaluating a possible motocross electric motorcycle currently labeled the TTX03.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

New City: Consumer Exhibition of Urban Mobility

Mark your calendars now for the 8 & 9 of May 2010 when the Stade de France will host the first consumer exhibition of urban mobility, rumored to offer heavy motorbike representation. In fact, scooters and small displacements motorcycles, in addition to city cars and new modes of low impact transportation, make up the majority of vehicle sales in France. Baptized ‘New City’, this event should allow many industry players (manufacturers, distributors, insurers, etc..) of this booming sector to come together to present to the public the full range of urban vehicles, as well as allowing visitors to test and purchase at the event. In short, an all-in-one expo, dedicated to multiple ways of getting around town, especially on two-wheeler.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Italian Cafe Racer parts

The new hot trend these days, no matter where you are located, seems to be transforming vintage British and Japanese iron into modern day emulations of the cafe racers that ruled the byways of London in the 1960's. A great source for some unique and beautiful parts to transform your own machine is Motocicli Veloci out of Milan, Italy. They have just about everything you might need to make your ride look the part. Originally established as the firm Tronconi & Novelli in 1935, Motocicli Veloci has a historical tradition in the Milanese motorcycling sector.

Initially they were one of the major official Moto Guzzi dealers, especially for trikes. These days they distribute high quality parts and accessories for the best teams and riders of classic racing bikes. Each part is produced according to the original pattern with the aid of the most modern technologies. Great consideration is given to selection of materials, dimensions and functional details. Moreover the firm's great flexibility in production allows them to satify any customers request, ranging from a single piece to a entire series.