Number of women riders hits all-time high
If you think you're seeing more female riders out there, you're not imagining things. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council's latest Motorcycle Owner Survey, women riders accounted for 14 percent of the total motorcycle riding population in the United States as of last year. Yes, that's still a small minority, but the trend is clearly upwards. In 1998, the percentage was about 8 percent. In 2003, it was 10 percent. "Of the 9.2 million owners, more of them are women than we've ever recorded," said BMW Motorrad USA National Marketing Manager Sarah Schilke. "In fact, the number of female owners more than doubled from 2003 to 2014."
How did the number of women riders double by going from 10 percent to 14 percent? The MIC reports that the total number of riders also grew in that time period, so women riders in the United States went from 600,000 to 1.2 million. The MIC (a trade organization of companies in the motorcycle and motorcycle aftermarket manufacturing and retail sectors) also pointed out some other interesting details about the female motorcyclist demographic in the latest survey.
Younger riders are pushing the needle higher. Just over 17 percent of riders in both the Gen X and Gen Y segments are women, while among Boomers, 9 percent are women. The median age for female riders is 39 (compared to 48 for males). And it seems new female riders might be a bit more prepared for the streets than their male counterparts. The MIC says 60 percent of women riders have taken a motorcycle safety course, compared to 42 percent of men.
And what are women riding? It probably won't surprise anyone that cruisers are the top choice of female riders, at 34 percent. (Sure, cruisers are popular because they appeal to a wide range of riders, but the low seat height is also helpful for many women.) Scooters came in a close second at 33 percent, with sport bikes in third at 10 percent. Some 57 percent of women surveyed indicated that they prefer to buy a new bike over a used one, but that doesn't mean they are averse to wrenching, with 49 percent of the women surveyed indicating they prefer to do their own maintenance or have a friend or relative work on their bikes, rather than paying a mechanic to do it.
For the U.S. motorcycle industry, the growth in women riders is certainly good news. With overall sales of new motorcycles still not much more than half of what they were at their peak in 2007, women represent an opportunity for manufacturers to grow their customer bases. Manufacturers are not only building bikes that are more accessible for new riders or smaller riders, but they're also making sure to include images of women having fun on motorcycles in their marketing materials. Harley-Davidson's focus on women riders includes activities such as its women-only “Garage Parties,” which are events for women who are interested in motorcycling and want some low-pressure orientation in a welcoming setting.
One thing seems to be relatively constant for both male and female riders. Women surveyed indicated that "fun and recreation," "sense of freedom" and "nature/outdoors" are the top three reasons they choose to ride. That sounds like motivation most any rider would understand.
Huntington Beach (Ca.) Bike Night Closed
The long-running and very popular bike nite, first held at "Bravo Burgers" then renamed "Beach Burgers" has closed. The nostalgic 1950's dinner, located at 19102 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach, California, has closed its doors and in doing so eliminated the bike nite.
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Icon Airframe Statistic: The motorcycle helmet for safety evangelists
The numbers you see on each section of this Icon helmet represent the likelihood of that section taking an impact in a crash ... and they tell a very powerful story that's guaranteed to create arguments with other riders.
Motorcyclists are rarely shy when it comes to their opinions, especially when it comes to their opinions on what safety gear other people are wearing. There are two camps. The ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) crew and the "squids," so named because when you wear just a helmet and you’ve got a bunch of unprotected fleshy parts dangling underneath, you look a bit like a sea creature. For many in the ATGATT brigade, it’s not enough just to be wearing safety gear, you’ve got to be wearing the right safety gear. Roll up in an open face helmet, and you’ll sometimes hear sly asides like "you might as well not be wearing a helmet at all." If that’s the sort of thing you find yourself saying a lot, then boy does Icon have the lid for you! Sectioned up like a butcher’s carcass, each section of the helmet Airframe Statistic is boldly marked with a big percentage number that shows exactly how likely each part of the helmet is to take impact in a crash.
The stats appear to come from the well-known and wonderfully-named Hurt Report, and they tell a very convincing story. By far the most common areas of impact are on the chin piece, an area that’s completely unprotected if you’re wearing an open-face helmet. The least common point of impact is the very top of the head, just 0.4 percent of crash victims took a knock here. So if you’re using the Airframe Statistic as some sort of trauma scoreboard, that’s clearly where you want to try to whack your head for maximum points. While it’s a macabre and powerful message, it’s unlikely to change many minds. Most open-face helmet wearers are well and truly aware of the crash statistics, others will put forward arguments that wearing helmets at all is more dangerous than riding with the wind in your hair. At the end of the day, as long as it’s legal to make the choice, people will continue to do so.
But this helmet makes a very strong and simple message that could easily sway a new rider toward a full-coverage lid. At the very least, it’ll start conversations at the coffee shop. And as such, I reckon it’s a great little piece of communication.
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How To Read Motorcycle Tires
1) Nominal section width, expressed in metric, inch or alpha.
2) Ratio between tire section height and nominal section width. This ratio is not indicated when section width is expressed in inches (eg. 3.50-18).
3) Code for tire construction (- = Bias, R = Radial, B = Bias Belted).
4) Nominal wheel diameter size in inches.
5) "Motorcycle" in abbreviated form. Differentiates motorcycle tires and wheels from those designed for other vehicles. Not shown on all models.
6) Expresses the tire's maximum load capacity (pounds) at the pressure indicated (psi).
7) Speed symbol. Indicates the tire's speed rating.
8) Tubeless (TL) or tubetype (TT), as applicable.
9) The arrows indicated the direction of rotation of the tire according to the fitting position (front-rear); applicable for directional tires only.
10) Number of plies and material.
11) Abbreviation of "US Department of Transportation." Serves to indicate that the tire conforms to the regulations issued by the US Department of Transportation. Includes the serial # for the tire, and the last 3 or 4 numbers represent the date. Example 3805 means the tire was produced in the 38th week of 2005. - not shown -
12) Tread Wear Indicator, as applicable
13) Brand name and registered trademark.
14) Type of tread pattern and/or product line.
15) Indicates where the tire was produced.
Superstars Who Love Motorcycles
By Josh Condon of MSN Autos
For many, motorcycles are a low cost, fuel-efficient way to get around town. But for a select set of celebrity alpha males, and a couple of not-so-alphas, a high-priced motorcycle makes a serious statement. Be they actors, athletes or musicians, these guys are committed to the leg-swinging, visor-down lifestyle of motorcycling.
Tom Cruise | Ducati 1098
No Hollywood A-lister is more vocal about his love for motorcycles than Tom Cruise. The global film icon often arrives at worldwide premieres astride a superbike of some sort, and is even reported to help plan bike-related set pieces for his movies, such as this stunt from "Knight and Day" with Cameron Diaz. In this picture, Cruise leans into a turn on a 160-horsepower Ducati 1098 sport bike, which can race to 60 mph in less than three seconds.
Brad Pitt | Jesse Rooke Custom
Brad Pitt may be less vocal about his 2-wheeled passion than his "Interview With the Vampire" co-star, but the passion seems comparable. Pitt is often snapped riding around Los Angeles, New Orleans or elsewhere on one of a seemingly large and definitely interesting collection of vintage, custom and customized vintage bikes, such as this one-off bobber designed by California-based Jesse Rooke from a Swift platform.
Tim Allen | Ducati Diavel
Tim Allen's career has always focused on what it means to be a man, especially a man who loves power tools and making fast things go faster. It should come as no surprise that Allen is a visor-down kind of guy — in this case with a Ducati Diavel, a naked 162-horsepower machine meant to combine the comforts of touring with the performance of a sport bike.
Johnny Hallyday | Harley-Davidson Trike
For a man sometimes known as the French Elvis Presley — that would be Parisian-born singer and actor Jean-Philippe Smet, better known as Johnny Hallyday — the commanding and somewhat quirky Harley-Davidson Trike is a fitting ride. With an overall length of 105.8 inches, a wheelbase of 66.6 inches and every creature comfort imaginable on two wheels — not to mention 6.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity that can hold up to 80 pounds — it might actually be the ultimate touring machine.
Hugh Laurie | Triumph Scrambler
Like the doctor he played on the massively popular Fox TV drama "House," Hugh Laurie is a motorcyclist. However, unlike Dr. House's Honda CBR1000RR superbike with its awesome racing-inspired Repsol livery, the real-life Laurie favors a more street-practical Triumph Scrambler. It's a thoroughly modern bike — the 2012 model sports an air-cooled, fuel-injected 865cc parallel-twin engine — with styling details inspired by the iconic English off-road racers of the 1960s.
Ewan McGregor | Moto Guzzi 750 Ambassador
Of course, no list of Hollywood's motorcycle enthusiasts would be complete without the famous star of "Trainspotting," "Big Fish" and "Star Wars," who has also made two small-budget motorcycling documentaries, "Long Way Round" and "Long Way Down." While BMW bikes were favored in those TV series, here we see Ewan McGregor straddling a pre-restoration Moto Guzzi 750 Ambassador, before it was brought back to new by Cycle Garden of Long Beach, Calif.
Adam Levine | Harley-Davidson Dark Customs Fat Bob
For a pop singer with a famously bright falsetto, Adam Levine of Maroon 5 seems to favor a weighty, low-slung and decidedly dark motorcycle; in this case, the $15,349 Harley-Davidson Dark Customs Fat Bob. The "Moves Like Jagger" and "She Will Be Loved" singer is seen here piloting a blacked-out Harley-Davidson bobber that boasts an air-cooled fuel-injected twin-cam 103-cubic-inch engine producing 100 lb-ft of torque.
Dax Shepard | Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic
Dax Shepard is a fan of anything with an engine and wheels. Not only did he write, co-direct and star in the upcoming car-centric flick "Hit and Run" (with real-life fiancée Kristen Bell), the man has been known to race his Ducati and Suzuki sport bikes at Buttonwillow Raceway in Southern California. In this picture, Shepard is going with a more leisurely choice: the massive, 98.6-inch-long Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic touring bike.
George Clooney | Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
Yet another Harley on the list, this time the Road King Classic piloted by the current king of cool, George Clooney. The star of "The Descendants," "The Ides of March" and the "Ocean's" franchise has been seen riding this shiny cruiser around Hollywood for years. However, the bike disappears into the background with the stunning Stacy Keibler riding on the back. This is what a massive long-hauler like the Road King Classic was built for. Damn you, Clooney.
Usher | Ducati 848 Evo
If you believe Usher's music videos, the man practically lives at the clubs — and his transportation of choice is a matte-black Ducati 848 Evo superbike. Usher is often seen riding around on the nearly $14,000 beast -- mind you, that's just for the base model, no upgrades or customization included — and the hyper-coordinated singing and dancing machine probably has the moves to handle the superbike. Usher protégé Justin Bieber, who just bought a matching bike in white, we're not so sure about.
David Beckham | Confederate F131 Hellcat
It can't just be all Ducatis and Harleys on this list, right? Not if legendary fashion model, spokesman and sometime soccer player David Beckham has anything to say about it. Becks, aka Mr. Posh Spice, never met a high-priced petrol-powered vehicle he didn't like. The Confederate F131 Hellcat, which was priced at around $88,000, is surely one of his most impressive machines, with its ultra-aggressive design, 149 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of twist.
Keanu Reeves | 1972 Norton Commando Roadster 750
Keanu Reeves, best known as Neo from the "Matrix" trilogy, also breaks with convention, though with a throwback Norton Commando Roadster. The around-town café racer has about 51 horsepower at its command, but it is a heartbreakingly beautiful British bike. Perhaps not what we think Neo would ride — maybe a matte-black Kawasaki ZX-14R? — but definitely the right choice for the onetime bassist from Dogstar.
OK, one more Ducati. Tying Harley-Davidson as the most represented motorcycle brand on this list is Orlando Bloom's Ducati Multistrada. At $16,995 for a base 2012 model — or about the price of a top-of-the-line Ford Fiesta — we're sure the star of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, major motorcycle fiend and Miranda Kerr paramour appreciates the versatility.
13 Things More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle:
By Wes Siler
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed on American roads in 2012. Pretty dangerous, huh? Not when you compare our mode of transportation to other everyday risks like.
1.) Alcohol: 25,692 people were killed in the U.S. by alcohol poisoning in 2010
2.) Smoking: 440,000 people in the U.S. are killed each year due to tobacco-related illnesses
3.) The Flu: 48,614 Americans were killed by the flu during the 2003-04 season
4.) Texting: NHTSA estimates that 24 percent of crashes involved drivers talking or texting on cell phones. That’s 7,247 deaths caused by phone use in 2010 alone.
5.) Falling Down: 25,000 people die each year due to simple falls
6.) Poison: 39,000 people are killed each year due to household poisons and prescription medication. Please don't call the doctor!
7.) Second-Hand Smoke: 49,000 people in the U.S. die each year due to inhaling second-hand smoke
8.) Getting Shot: People with guns kill 31,940 in the U.S. each year. The vast majority of which are suicides
9.) Healthcare: As many as 98,000 Americans are killed each year by, “preventable medical errors in hospitals.”
10.) Having Sex: 20,000 Americans are killed each year by sexually transmitted infections
11.) Getting High: 17,000 Americans die each year due to drug abuse
12.) Being Fat: 400,000 Americans die each year due to, “Poor diet and physical inactivity.”
13.) Your Bathroom: Nearly 9,000 Americans were killed by their bathrooms in 1999
Higher octane fuel can rob your machine of horsepower and performance
Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money. Premium (91) gasoline costs 15 to 20 cents per gallon more than regular (87). That can add up to $100 or more a year in extra costs. Studies indicate that altogether, drivers may be spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year for higher octane gas than they need. It may seem like buying higher octane “premium” gasoline is like giving your car a treat, or boosting its performance. But take note: the recommended gasoline for most cars and many motorcycles is regular (87) octane. In fact, in most cases, using a higher octane fuel than your owner's manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit. It won't make your engine perform better, go faster, get better mileage, or run cleaner. Your best bet: listen to your manufacture owner's manual.
If the manufacture calls for 87 octane and you instead burn 91, you are reducing your power out-put and more than likely even cutting your mileage. Why? The difference between 87 octane fuel and 91 is not the fuel quality, it's the burn rate. Higher compression motors require 91 octane for its slower burn. Lower compression motors perform better with faster burning fuel such as 87 octane. Assuming the manufacture recommends 87, the faster fuel burn rate of this gasoline will increase your power via quicker and more complete engine firing. As a result, you will use less throttle and also gain more power, improving performance and reducing the amount of fuel consumed. The only time you might need to switch to a higher octane level is if your engine knocks when you use the recommended fuel. This happens to a small percentage of vehicles. Read your owners manual for the recommended fuel octane, it could make a big difference in performance.
The 10 Worst Handling Motorcycles of All Time
There are a lot of factors that affect the handling of a motorcycle. In addition to design faults by the manufacturer, poor maintenance can turn a reasonable handling bike into a white knuckle ride! And a bad set of tires can transform any bike into a crash without a date!
Compiling a list of ten bad handling bikes is easy, but putting them in order is impossible. It would also be doing the manufacturer a disservice as the riders weight/size can make a big difference--especially to a small bike. Nonetheless, the following bikes stand head and shoulders above their contemporaries as evil handling, not for the faint of heart, rides.
1.) Kawasaki 750 Triple 1V and H2
2.) Kawasaki 500 H1
3.) Honda C50, 70, 90, 110
4.) Honda CX 500
5.) Moto Guzzi
6.) Ariel Arrow
7.) Suzuki GT380/550/750
8.) Husqvarna 250 MX, 1970
10.) Harley Davidson Sportster, 1981
The Most-Stolen Motorcycles
Forbes Magazine - October 2012
Keep an especially close watch on your motorcycle if you own a Honda and live in California, as you’re statistically more likely than anyone else in the nation to have it stolen—especially during the summer months—according to data compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) in Des Plaines, Ill. The good news is that while motorcycle sales rose slightly last year, thefts actually dropped by about six percent, totaling 46,667 reported stolen. Still, that amounts to one bike pilfered in the U.S. every 11 minutes. As one might imagine, motorcycle thieves were most active in the summer months, with the most bikes stolen during July (5,544) and August (5.397); the fewest were stolen during February (2,147) and December (2.475), when they’re typically garaged for the winter in roughly half the nation.
The top five motorcycle brands reported stolen, which together amounted for 75.6 percent of all bike thefts during 2011 were:
The states reporting the most motorcycle thefts were mostly in warm-weather climates and accounted for 39.3 percent of all units stolen:
North Carolina (2,466)
Concurrently, the states reporting the fewest stolen motorcycles were in areas having much harsher and longer winters, including Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota, the latter with just 21 bikes pilfered during 2011. As with auto insurance, all 50 states mandate minimum liability coverage for motorcycles, though theft (comprehensive) insurance is optional. Often overlooked, those who’ve personalized their rides will additionally want to carry accessory insurance that covers the cost of non-standard parts like aftermarket audio systems, fairings, luggage racks and the like, which can be substantial. “When people customize their bikes, they often don’t adjust their coverage accordingly,” says Progressive Insurance motorcycle product manager Dan Kamionkowski.