Author: Matt Coopz

Armotia 2 Wheel Drive Electric Motorcycles Close To Release

Armotia 2 Wheel Drive Electric Motorcycles Close To Release

Small Italian start up company Armotia is very close to releasing its first two motorcycles – the DUE X dirt bike and DUE R supermoto. Both bikes are electric powered and 2-wheel drive. While electric motorcycles are very quickly becoming a reality, 2 wheel drive has not seen the same level of commercial success. Two wheel drive definitely has its benefits, especially on loose surfaces, but the main issue has been getting power from a petrol driven engine to the front wheel. US company Christini Technologies has a mechanical all wheel drive system that delivers power to the front wheel through a series of chains and shafts. The system works well but it is fairly complex and adds 6kg to the weight of the bike. Armotia has solved that problem by mounting an electric motor inside the front hub. And while KTM has patented a similar idea and Yamaha’s PES-2 concept bike also uses it, we are yet to see a production bike from either manufacturer. The rear wheel on Armotia’s bikes is driven by a traditional chain drive. Combined power of the two motors is just 11kW, total torque is 180Nm on the DUE R and 200Nm on the more dirt oriented DUE X. Torque is electronically distributed between the front and rear. The battery capacity is a fairly low 5.1kWh, which is enough for a top speed of 80-90 km/h and around 1 hour 20 minutes of continuous use. Charging time is 2-6 hours. Looking at the specifications, the Armotia machines aren’t going to be high performers and maybe not the most practical electric bikes we’ve seen to date. But the 2-wheel drive system could just be a game changer. Both bikes share much of their componentry and specifications. They use a lightweight steel trellis frame and weigh just 125kg. The front suspension is 41mm USD forks, rear is a fully adjustable Bitubo mono shock and disc brakes with Brembo calipers are on both wheels. Another interesting feature of the DUE X and DUE R is the instrumentation. Rather than a traditional instrument cluster, the bikes use a ruggedized, waterproof Android smartphone as a display and an app on the phone provides all instrumentation functions. Armotia has yet to confirm a release date or pricing for the bikes, but have hinted that test rides could be as early as next month.

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FCAI Calls On Road Users To Work Together To Keep Motorcyclists Safe

FCAI Calls On Road Users To Work Together To Keep Motorcyclists Safe

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has called on all road users to work together to help ensure the safety of motorcyclists. It has been a horror start to the year with motorcycle fatalities already higher than last year. In Victoria alone, 19 motorcyclists have lost their lives. FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said “this is unprecedented on Victoria’s roads and must be addressed.” “It is recognised that motorcyclists are a vulnerable road user group, but this does not need to translate into such a tragic outcome.” Mr Weber says that sharing the road, wearing protective clothing and being trained are some of the key practices that will help keep motorcyclists safe on our roads. He went on to say that all road users need to be responsible on the road, and that includes being aware of your surroundings and checking blind spots for motorcycles when driving light or heavy vehicles. It’s a view backed up by many reputable motorcycle trainers and road safety advocates. Protective clothing and helmets serve an important role in protecting a rider in a crash. Keeping riding skills up through ongoing training, especially those returning to riding after a break, is also very important. So called “returning riders” are one of the highest risk groups on our roads. They have typically come back to riding after a break to focus on the marriage, mortgage and children commitments. But during the break from riding motorcycles will have changed, so have the road and traffic conditions, and the skill level of the rider has normally declined as well. “All road users need to take responsibility and look after the safety of themselves and others on the road”, said Mr Weber. “Motorcyclists, in particular, should understand that as a vulnerable road user they must be extra vigilant – plan your path through traffic and keep yourself well protected.” “We’re asking all road users to watch out for each other and, in particular, watch out for motorcycles. Together, we can make our roads safer.”

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Erik Buell Racing Resumes Production Under New Name

Erik Buell Racing Resumes Production Under New Name

The long fight back is under way for what was Erik Buell Racing. Now under the control of a new owner and with a new name, EBR Motorcycles resumed production this week at its Wisconsin factory. Two models are being produced – the 1190RX and 1190SX – and EBR Motorcycles says the first bikes will roll off the production line on the 17th March. A relaunch party is scheduled for the day after. On the same day machinery, equipment, tools and race equipment that is now deemed unnecessary for the current level of production will be put up for sale. The sale will continue for approximately 30 – 45 days, and more information about those assets is available at www.LiquidAP.com. The future of EBR has been unclear since it was purchased in January by Liquid Asset Partners, but now seems a little more promising. Bill Melvin Jr, CEO of Liquid Asset Partners, says that “Now the clouds have cleared, EBR is able to shift into gear knowing that it has financial stability, a profitable multi-year plan, and a 5-10 year vision.” “We feel there is still room for new partnerships or investment, but it is not critical. EBR is on solid ground and moving forward.” Mr Melvin is also part of the new management team, taking on the role of Chief Financial Officer. Liquid Asset Partners has appointed former automotive industry engineer Steve Smith to the role of Chief Executive Officer, and Erik Buell remains in a senior role as Chief Technical Officer. The company has retained about a dozen employees from around 130 it had when it ceased operations 11 months ago. EBR Motorcycles is expected to release more information soon about the company’s plans for pricing and warranties.

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KTM Launches Much Anticipated 1290 Super Duke GT

KTM Launches Much Anticipated 1290 Super Duke GT

KTM’s new 1290 Super Duke GT was only launched in Spain last weekend, but already it’s winning praise from the world’s motorcycle writers. The GT is based on the 1290 Super Duke R and is officially billed as KTM’s sports tourer, but don’t for a second think it’s dulled down and boring. KTM has kept the performance and excitement of the 1290 Super Duke R, and just made it into a bike that’s comfortable to ride for longer distances. For the most part, the dimensions and many of the specifications of the GT are the same as it’s Super Duke R sibling. It uses the same 75° V-Twin 1,301cc LC8 engine that we’ve also seen in the RC8R racer and the 1290 Super Adventure. The engine performance figures are unchanged from the R which means the GT has 127kW and 144Nm to play with. The difference between the two engines is that maximum torque is generated a little lower in the rev range on the GT, and peak power kicks in a little higher. The braking package is the same as the R with Brembo calipers front and rear. The GT has WP’s semi-active suspension with three damping profiles (Comfort, Street and Sport) that fine tunes damping values in real time. To make the bike more comfortable, KTM has changed the design of the fuel tank to give the rider more leg room. The bars are wide and adjustable over 22 mm and four positions, there are three positions for the brake and shift levers and the hand levers are infinitely adjustable to help fine tune the riding position. The seat has been changed and is far more comfortable, especially for a passenger, and there is a much improved grab handle for the pillion as well. And a nice touch is that the GT has an adjustable screen to deflect wind and rain from the rider. The subframe has been strengthened to take the weight of a passenger and luggage, and there are integrated mounting points for genuine KTM panniers. All of these updates have made the GT 16kg heavier, and it weighs in at 228kg fully fuelled and ready to ride. As well as multiple engine modes, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT uses the Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control system with lean-angle sensitive cornering ABS and traction control. There’s also heated grips, cruise control, a quick shifter for up-changes and tyre pressure sensors. The KTM Super Duke GT is due in Australian dealerships in May, priced at $26,995 plus on road costs.

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2016 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Now Available In Selected Dealerships

2016 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Now Available In Selected Dealerships

Kawasaki’s supercharged Ninja H2 has received a couple of updates for 2016 and is now available through selected dealers. The 2016 model has an upgraded clutch, revised ECU settings and a new colour scheme. When it was launched last year the Ninja H2 already had a slipper clutch to help prevent the rear wheel from locking up during aggressive downshifts. Kawasaki has now upgraded the clutch to what it calls an “assist and slipper clutch”. The clutch assembly is 1kg lighter and Kawasaki is claiming it requires 40% less effort to operate. The engine settings have been tweaked, in particular the rain mode which now gives a more natural power delivery. Kawasaki has added a CAN coupler that allows aftermarket data loggers to be used with the H2. The new colour scheme is called “Mirror Coated Spark Black”, and at first glance doesn’t appear all that different to last year’s model. The biggest distinguishing feature is that the frame is now grey rather than the green, and a closer look reveals a glitter effect in the paint. Kawasaki has also added $1,000 to the price, taking it to $34,000 plus on-road costs. Sales of the H2 have been steady but not spectacular, and the company revealed last year that both the standard model and the track specification H2R will remain in limited production for at least 2016. In Australia, the Ninja H2 is only available through H2 authorised dealers.

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