Marketplace Events Enters Motorcycle Consumer Show Business

Marketplace Events VP & GM, Motorcycle Group, Larry Little

For manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, accessories and apparel, the Progressive Insurance International Motorcycle Shows  (IMS) are where new models and products are unveiled to the press and the motorcycle consumer.  It’s a market that has been dominated by one player, Advanstar Communications.

But that all changed yesterday when  Marketplace Events announced it had hired former long-time publisher of Cycle World magazine, Larry Little, and was expanding into the motorcycle events business with the American International Motorcycle Expo, set to open sometime in the fall of 2013.

Marketplace Events is well positioned to go head to head with Advanstar.  The company produces 21 home shows in major markets across the US and has the infrastructure and experience in running successful consumer trade shows.

Little said AIME will be” timed to align with the annual reveal of new motorcycles…and is intended to create a greater efficiency for the industry to conduct business with retailers, promote new product to the press and consumers, while creating a heightened interest for motorcycling as both sport and as a viable, green transportation alternative.”

Little said his vision for the show is more in line with week long shows like  ICMA in Milan and Intermot in Cologne, Germany where the first two days are set aside for the manufacturers to reveal their new models to the press which fuels the fire for thousands of motorcycle consumers (and dealers) which flood the show floor on the third, fourth and fifth day.

It’s an ambitious goal and to reach it, Marketplace Events must find a way to coalesce the fragmented trade show circuit in the US.  Besides the (mostly) consumer IMS show,  there is the (dealer only) Expos in Cincinnati and Indianapolis produced by Easyriders and Advanstar, and the (consumer) shows like Easyrider Bike shows, Cyclefest in Indiana, Great American Motorcyle Show in Atlanta and the Donnie Smith Bike Show in St. Paul Minnesota.

How Larry Little and Marketplace Events plans to do that is anybody’s guess at this point, but it will be interesting to find out in which major market the inaugural show will be held, and the date it will be held.

Traditionally the New York IMS show is where the major motorcycle manufacturers have released new models to the press and consumers.  This year Victory and Zero debuted new bikes.  To steal the thunder from IMS, Marketplace Events must pick a location and a date that will ensure a larger audience for manufacturers.  Little says he hopes to announce dates and locations by the end of February.

Icon Video Goes Viral In 4 days

This video, produced by Icon Motorsports was uploaded to You Tube Thursday January 12th. By Monday January 16th, it has already been viewed over 4 million times! It’s universal appeal for people who love fast machines is obvious, but this is almost unbelievable.

Weird Friday The 13th Motorcycle News

 Police Ticket Child and Impound Toy Motorcycle

Police in CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico dismissed charges against a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his vehicle registered after he drove his miniature motorcycle into an SUV.

The boy’s mother, Karla Noriega, said police impounded the miniature gasoline-powered motorbike and demanded $183 in fines to release the bike from impound. A city official said the police acted improperly and has released the bike and dropped the charges.

Red Light Cameras Replaced by Cops; Fines Triple.

It used to be that if you ran a red light in Albuquerque New Mexico you’d get a $75 ticket, courtesy of the automated red light cameras installed in 20 dangerous intersections.  Bowing to complaints, the city decided to pull the plug on the cameras and replace them with actual police officers. Now if you run the red light and Mr. Friendly gives you a ticket, your fine is $275.  According to a report on local television station WKOB, the police department has already stopped over 180 people in the first week after the cameras were removed.

Man Buys Used Bike and Dies After Wrecking It Hours Later.

Dana Robert St brought a 2007 Yamaha home on Wednesday the 11th and in a couple of hours he was dead from injures he sustained when he crashed it into his house, according to a report on naplesnews.com.

The 57, North Fort Myers resident  had been practicing on the bike in his backyard and on the roadway in front of his house  St. John wasn’t wearing a helmet, the report said.

One Man’s Love Affair with I-94

book cover

A good, but short, collection of motorcycle travel essays

It doesn’t matter if you ride a Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Victory, Gold Wing or BMW, there’s one thing that most agree on.  Riding the interstate is a necessary evil.  We do it when the dictates of time force us to.

But if you believe Rand Rasmussen, spending solitary hours on the super slab can be therapeutic.

He admits to motorcycle heresy when he paraphrases this quote from the bible of motorcycle riding (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)  “Joy may be found as readily in the lanes of a freeway moving forward at speed for uninterrupted hours without towns or stop signs or speed traps, as on curvy back roads.”

Heresy indeed, but I admire his courage in saying what many of us have discovered.  There is a certain “zone” akin to meditation that comes from pinning the throttle at 85 or 90 mph for an hour at a time with little or no traffic to contend with.  It’s not something you can do comfortably on two lane state roads.

I received a copy of the Revised I-94 Reader from Andy Goldfine at Aerostitch as a Christmas present.  I tucked the small book away for the time when I’d need a diversion from the stress of publishing.

After sending the February issue to the printer, and not having enough time for a short ride, I pulled out this book hoping it would help ease my “deadline” nerves that plague magazine editors.    Not expecting very much in the way of entertainment, I was pleasantly surprised and (within a couple of pages) fully engrossed as I shut out the world and rode along with Rasmussen through the Minnesota and North Dakota country side as he recounts his monthly trips along I-94 from Minnesota St. Paul to Fargo North Dakota.

All too soon I reached page 64, and the end, a little bummed there were no more stories.

Rasmussen has a talent to paint even the most mundane of circumstance with language so colorful you can almost smell the air, and feel the frost on your faceshield.  This talent must come from his curious nature and the long hours of introspection on the freeway he spent has years logging thousands of miles upon.

If you like a good diversion, you owe it to yourself to download Revised I-94 Reader from Amazon.com ($3.00) for the Kindle reader. If you don’t own a Kindle or a smartphone, I’m sure you can contact Aerostitch and get a hard copy.

- Scott Cochran, Editor USRiderNews

 


A Look Back at 2011

After selecting actor and former California Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZNEGGER as the Motorcyclist of the Year for 2010, the AMA makes a less controversial decision for 2011, choosing soccer mom and motorcycle activist Nancy Sabater as it’s choice of the person who had the biggest impact on motorcycling in 2011.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, A well respected member of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus was shot in January outside a Tucson Arizona grocery store during a public appearance. At the time the Congresswoman was not given much hope, but has since made an almost miraculous recovery.

NEW YORK based t-shirt company Joe Cool surprised everyone in Daytona when it acquired the trademark for the term, “Daytona Bike Week.” Yosef Amar spent just $100 on the paperwork. Amar claims he should control the name since he’s been making t-shirts for Daytona Bike Week since 1987.

Paris Hilton became a biker chic in 2011. Well, not really, but the hospitality empire heiress did lend her name , and cash to the Barcelona Spain MotoGP team SuperMartxe VIP. Yea, we didn’t get it either.

Seven Las Vegas PD motorcycle officers lost all their swagger but amped up their geekiness when they hopped on electric motorcycles paid for by a $50k grant from the Consumer electronics Association. With a top speed of 50 mph, the electric horsemen won’t be chasing any casino robbers.

And speaking of casino robberies, the Dumbest Biker Award goes to Anthony Michael Carleo. You’ll remember him as the 29 year old who robbed the Bellagio in December 2010 using a sportbike as his getaway ride. Vegas police nabbed Carleo in February and recovered most of the 1.5 million dollar stolen. Other than his inability to keep his mouth shut, Carleo stupidly chose to grab the high denomination chips, rendering his take all but impossible to fence.
And, speaking of silent motorcycles,

Citing safety concerns for pedestrians and cyclists, Congress banned silent vehicles but exempted motorcycles, as if that made any sense. Advocates for the blind welcomed the new law but was just as puzzled by the motorcycle exemption. Congress gave the auto industry 18 months to come up with minimum noise standards for electric cars.

Another one that didn’t make sense to us was the revelation that Paul Teutul Sr. has been taking steroids. Seriously? You mean old guys have to take synthetic drugs to build muscles like 20 year olds? It seems Sr. was found in the little black book of customers belonging to dentist James M. D’Amico who pled guilty to writing scripts for steroids and human growth hormone. The Feds say Sr bought over $50,000 worth of steroid prescriptions from D’Amico and Robert G. Carlson, a Sarasota, Fla., physician who pleaded guilty in Albany to insurance fraud in a related case.  Sr to appear on 2012 Celeb Apprentice

The Little Sturgis Rally in Sturgis Kentucky threw up the white flag and surrendered in it’s legal battle with the Sturgis South Dakota Chamber of Commerce. The two were at odds over the Kentucky rally’s use of the word “Sturgis.” Citing a drop in attendance and revenue, and a $60,000 operational loss for 2010, The Sturgis Chamber voted to cancel the annual July event. Over it’s existence, the Little Sturgis Rally raised in excess of $2 million dollars for local charities. A few months later a new group of local investors and business owners formed a committee and launched the Kentucky Bikefest at the Union County Fairgrounds on the traditional July week normally reserved for the Little Sturgis Bike Rally. The members of the two groups are not affiliated.  Sturgis Rally Trademarked: Should You Care?

Speaking of electric bikes, just 23 days deep in 2011, Chip Yates showed that electric bikes can compete against gasoline powered motorcycles for short races. Yates took second in the superstock expert class hitting a top speed of 158 mph at the AutoClub Speedway.

Sparks were flying between Jesse James and Kat Von D in January when they announced they were considering taking the next step in their relationship. You’ll remember Kat as the tattoo inkster who was the “other woman” in Jesse’s life while he was married to Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock. Turns out that there was more to this fairy tail (sic) than was told at the time. In November, Kat Von D revealed on her Facebook page that Jesse had been cheating on her with nineteen different women! Wow, we really didn’t see that one coming.

Just when we thought we could count on the world getting back to normal, the New York chapter of the Hells Angels gets all pissy and  “clubs” the wooden bench outside it’s 3rd Street MC headquarters. It seems a few pesky NY tourists thought the bench was open to anyone who needed to rest their arse. Since they hadn’t formally requested to be a “hang around” the HA took swift and decisive action by installing a auto theft “club” device to prevent anyone without a key or a pair of snippers (to cut the wire ties holding it on) from using the bench. Some observers say the tourists were, in reality, undercover cops sent in to see if the HA would open a can of whoop ass on the bench bums, thereby giving NY’s finest another reason throw a SWAT party at the clubhouse. So, who’s laughing now Serpico?

Things got a little testy in Virginia Beach Virginia when Republican Chris Stolle authored a bill in the State House that would ban

This is how you deal with tourists who sit on your bench, you club ‘em.

children under 8 years of age from riding as a passenger on a motorcycle. Motorcycle rights groups cried foul, saying that more children are killed in bicycle wrecks than motorcycle accidents. Stolle, (whose name does not rhyme with the well known vodka) said he just trying to head off an epidemic before it happened. Actually, he didn’t say that, but it sounds so much more intelligent than what he actually said. Give us a break we’re trying to help the guy out here.

New Jersey residents were finally given the ability to legally purchase a motorcycle on Sunday when one of the last vestiges of the State’s Blue Laws was revised. The day after the ban was lifted, all three Japanese manufacturers posted “Screw Riding, Let’s Shop” on their Facebook Pages. (OK…we made that last part up, but that would’ve been cool if they had.)

The Georgia State Patrol again proved the scientific validity of the Milgram experiment by blindly following the authority of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its blatant disregard for the US Constitution when it set up motorcycle only” checkpoints on interstate weigh stations during Bike Week. The GSP received a taxpayer funded $70,000 grant for the project. Oh, what does that have to do with the Milgram experiment? Click the link.  It’s pretty interesting stuff.  Pimping the Georgia State Patrol

About a month later over 300 motorcyclists showed up to support ABATE of Georgia’s protest ride on the State Capitol, the largest gathering in several years.  See the photos

In 2010, HD management said it would have to cut $54 million in waste in its Wisconsin facilities or it would move somewhere else. Later that year HD agreed to stay put and everyone involved breathed a sigh of relief. Which is why no one was surprised when the company received more concessions from its two unions at the Kansas City MO plant when those labor contracts came up for renegotiation in 2011.

Big Dog Motorcycles, having gone through drastic cuts, downsizing and round after round of layoff, was finally put to sleep by the company’s bankers. Its demise was denied by the remaining management even as the company’s founder Sheldon Coleman confirmed the news to Rick Fairless. But, in a strange twist of corporate card shuffling, Coleman announced the formation of BDM Performance Products to provide parts and accessories for existing Big Dog motorcycles. But, would not honor existing warranties. A short time later, S&S Cycles announced it would honor the warranty on all BD models with it’s engines installed. The company’s PR stock soared after the announcement.

We hate stereotypes as much as the next guy, but you gotta wonder what James “Bubba” Stewart was thinking when he and a friend scored some red/blue emergency lights and thought it would be a gas to go out and (posing as undercover cops) pull over unsuspecting motorists. We’re pretty sure he wasn’t thinking any of the motorists would turn out to be off duty Florida Highway Patrol officers, but guess what? Yes he did and yes they were. There is no truth to the rumor that Stewart uttered, “Watch this shit” right before he turned the blue lights on the off duty cops.

All jokes aside, former Wisconsin lawmaker Dave Zien, who earned the moniker as Million Mile Dave for having racked up that number of motorcycle miles in his lifetime, was almost killed in March when an SUV overturned on the interstate in front of him. Zien was severely injured and doctors were forced to amputate part of his left leg. Although wheelchair bound, Zien recovered enough to attend a June session of the Wisconsin State Legislature where he made news after a confrontation with a “Solidarity Singer” in the rotunda.

Score one for loud bikers. A Federal judge ordered the New Hampshire Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles to pay $8,807 in legal fees to the attorney representing the local Harley-Davidson dealer. NHCALM failed in its attempt to force the town of North Hampton NH to enforce an overly restrictive noise ordinance. Seacoast HD successfully petitioned the court for a restraining order preventing the ordinance from being enforced.

And speaking of Harley-Davidson (forgive the clumsy segue) Wisconsin becomes the first state in the union to provide free advertising to the Bar and Shield. Lawmakers approved an orange/ black and grey HD branded Share The Road state license plate for cars, light trucks and motor homes. You just can’t buy that kind of advertising folks, and it didn’t cost the Motor Company a dime. Brilliant!

Arguably the biggest news of the year came out of Minnesota when Polaris bought the intellectual property rights to the struggling Indian marquee for an undisclosed amount of money. Stellican Limited and Novator Partners LLP had invested huge sums in the iconic brand hoping to duplicate the success it had with Chris Craft boats. Soon after purchasing Indian in 2006, Stelican spent millions on a new plant in North Carolina. Unfortunately for the investors, the economy blew a gasket and the high end luxury lifestyle purchaser evaporated. After taking control, Polaris immediately moved production to Minnesota. Indian released a couple of new year / same design models but has said very little about its future plans.

Sarah Palin appeared on the motorcycle press radar in May when she attended the 23rd annual Rolling Thunder Demonstration Ride in Washington D.C. Palin told reporters that she was there to support the troops but we’re not sure how riding on the back of another woman’s motorcycle helps….uh..wait….scratch that… forget the reason…it’s ok…really. Palin used the opportunity to kick off her short

Why is it ok for two chicks to ride together but if two guys do it, they’re branded as bona fide members of the Village People?

lived One Nation bus tour in advance of her short lived bid for the Republican nomination for President which she never actually committed to. Now, about that ride..

Rushmore Photo and Gifts opened up a can of stinky poo when it openly challenged the validity of the trademark term Sturgis that was granted to the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce and acquired by the private group Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. The two groups sent out conflicting press releases in the month leading up to the August rally. RPG claims the Chamber knowingly committed fraud by claiming “exclusive” use of the word Sturgis for 5 years prior to the application.

A cardboard replica of a Harley-Davidson Road King was crowned the fastest boat on the water at the annual Glen Ellyn Illinois Cardboard Boat Regatta. It was a slow news day so we had to post something.

Motorcycle notables Don Emde and daredevil Robert Craig Evel Knievel was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Other inductees include 85 year old Gloria Tramontin Struck, a still active and still riding member of the Motor Maids.

In August President Obama signed H.B. 2715 that exempts OHV’s from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. This act effectively banned selling dirt bikes or ATV’s to children under 12 because certain parts contain too much lead. The Act was designed for toys that children might have their mouths on, or otherwise ingest. Even though the absurdity of the law garnered widespread bipartisan support for it’s repeal, Congress took 3 years to get this bill to the President’s desk.

Notable deaths in 2011 were former AMA Grand National Chairman Gary Nixon, 70 and the President of MV Agusta Motor SpA Claudio Castiglioni, at age 64.

And speaking of dying, we’re wondering if that’s what two members of the Mongols MC had in mind when they crashed a party at Hells Angels Clubhouse in Sturgis SD during the annual summer rally. The two clubs have been “at war” for years so it didn’t take someone with the skill of Nostrodamous to predict how that was going to turn out. Both Mongols were stabbed in the fight, and two members of the Hells Angels were arrested for simple assault. (* Ed note: I wonder if the Mongols were just looking for the public bench like the one at the NY clubhouse.)

Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford likes to ride his Harley-Davidson on stage for the final song of the set, cranking the throttle while whipping the crowd into a heavy metal frenzy. Time For A Trike For Halford? Unfortunately for Halford, in the heat of the moment, he forgot to put the kickstand down and dropped the bike like a newbie at bike night. The aging rocker was helped up by his crew members and the bike was stood back up and Halford defiantly gave the finger to the gods of gravity, all to the screaming approval of his fans. You gotta love Rock and Roll.  YouTube Video 

A 21 year old college student at Utah State University was riding his motorcycle on campus when he was struck by and pinned under a BMW. Brandon Wright’s motorcycle caught fire and would have burned him alive were it not for the heroic efforts of a half dozen bystanders who lifted the car and pulled Wright to safety. Watch the Dramatic Video 

Well, that’s about all we remember from 2011.  If you know something we missed, tell us in the comment section below and you can show the world how you’re smarter than we are!

A New “Endurance” Rally Debuts in Columbus Ohio

Columbus OH:  Endurance runs, or rallies have always been the stuff of Hollywood legends.  We still remember Adrienne Barbeau outstanding acting in Cannonball Run, and that unforgettable outfit.  Although it’s doubtful Barbeau will show up for this one, the AMA has sanctioned a new long distance motorcycle rally scheduled for June this year.  For $1,000 you can compete for a part of the $500,000 purse in the American Motorcycle Rally, a 7000 mile endurance run that begins and ends in Columbus.  Organizers plan to use GPS tracking devices on the bikes and the riders to hopefully avoid the controversy that has plagued other events of this type. For more info, visit American Motorcycle Rally


John Lehman, Founder Lehman Trikes, passes away

John Lehman

Lehman Trikes, Inc. (LTI) Spearfish, South Dakota – It is with great sadness that Lehman Trikes announces the untimely loss of John K. Lehman, Founder and Director.  John passed away on Thursday, January 5, in Arizona. The suspected cause of death was a heart failure brought on by an embolism. John was 60 years old. He is survived by his wife Linda, one son – Quinten, one daughter – Leann, three surviving sisters – Gladys, Linda, Carol, and three grandchildren.

John was one of the most recognized, admired and respected individuals in the motorcycling industry, and is generally considered the Father of the Modern Trike.  In 2009 John was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame.

His death comes less than a week after signing a letter of intent to sell the company he founded to an investment group.  The company had been recently said it was seeking financial alternatives due to the challenging economic situation.

In 1984, John’s passion for motorcycling and his love of family led him to create the first modern trike so his wife, Linda, could carry one of their children.  John’s creation had more to do with family togetherness than a business venture.  The vehicle garnered so much interest everywhere they traveled that Lehman Industries was born, and John Lehman would go on to become one of the most recognized names in motorcycling.

In 1993, Larry Strilchuk, a long time friend, joined John and Lehman Trikes, Inc. was formed.  “Today is crushingly sad,” stated Larry, “John Lehman was my lifelong friend and amazing partner.  Through good and bad times, John’s gracious nature, love of family and friends, and positive outlook always touched everyone who came in contact with him.  He was dearly loved and will be sorely missed.”

Known for his caring and charitable nature, John along with Larry started a program called the “Good Turn Trike” which eventually became an annual event providing people with a passion for motorcycling, who face some of life’s greatest challenges, a trike – for free.  John’s big heart helped raise money for terminally ill children, “Make A Wish Foundation”, “Kids n’ Chrome”, and many other worthwhile charities.  He remained active in the company until his passing.


Paul Sr. to appear on Celebrity Apprentice

Washington Times Gives Him Little Chance of Finishing

If you believe the Harley-Davidson motorcycle forums and Cyril Huze blog, the motorcycle community is weary of the whole concept of “celebrity” motorcycle builders.

Obviously we’re in the minority.  The rest of the country still has an infatuation with the larger than life persona of Orange County Chopper founder Paul Teutul Sr.

So much so that Donald Trump has cast the short tempered, wrench throwing, biceps bulging builder in the new season of Celebrity Apprentice.

The 62 year old Teutul joins 17 other well known, not so well known and used to be famous celebrities for the new season which premiers February 12th on NBC.  To make it easier, we categorized them into three tiers, front runners, middle packers, and snowball chance in hell of winning.  While the Washington Times puts the odds at 20-1 of Sr. actually winning, we placed him in the middle packers.  He’s got enough celebrity and business connections through his “theme bike” builds that he might be able to raise the dough it takes to win, but it’s going to be tough and his reputation is that he “does not play well with others.”   Make your pick in the poll at the end of the story.

Front Runners

Dee Snider, 56, rock star. 
The only other “biker” in the bunch, Snider and Teutul might form a “secret” alliance
Michael Andretti, 49, race car driver. 
Son of an Indy Car Legend, and highly competitive.  He won’t like losing to a “biker”
Arsenio Hall, 55, talk show host/comedian.
President Bill Clinton once appeared on his show playing the saxophone.  For that he deserves some respect. 
Penn Jillette, (of Penn and Teller)  56, magician. 
He’s the one who does all the talking in that well known Vegas act.  Magicians are crafty and he could pull the wool over the Don’s eyes, making it appear that his screw ups belong to someone else…
Victoria Gotti, 48, mob boss daughter
We’re not saying anything negative or positive about a mob boss daughter.  We’re dumb, but not suicidal.
 

Middle of the Packers

Paul Teutul Sr., 62, (“American Chopper”). 
His biggest weakness is his “I’m right and you’re an idiot” mentality, but it’s going to be fun watching the sparks fly when he gets pissed at another contestant.  Let’s hope he stays around long enough to be entertaining.
Cheryl Tiegs, 64, supermodel. 
Ok, she’s 64, and still hot as hell…but she got zero chance against Teutul’s asshole attitude in a verbal smack down. Still she’s the most formidable eye candy in the group.
Clay Aiken, 32, American Idol runner-up. 
Aiken came in second to Ruben Studdard…boy was he screwed on that one…and we predict history will probably repeat itself.
George Takei, 74, actor
Hipster trekkies will be pulling for their old friend Sulu, who was always there for Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock.  If there ever was a team player, Takei is the real deal.
Lou Ferrigno, 59, Incredible Hulk
He’ll probably get knocked out of the pile early, but we bet he can stand toe to toe with anyone on the show and hold his own.  
Tia Carrere, 44, actress, model, and singer
Not quite the pushover as the others, but it’s hard to imagine her pulling together enough resources to actually win.  

SNOWBALL CHANCE IN HELL

Adam Carolla, 47, comedian
Who is this guy?  Oh, wait, he’s on Comedy Central…I think.  More cannon fodder. 
Debbie Gibson, 41, pop singer. 
Only in her dreams…. Sorry, that was just too easy a pun not to pen.  
Dayana Mendoza, 25, former Miss Universe. 
Cannon fodder….sexy, but cannon fodder. 
Teresa Giudice, 39, “Real Housewives of New Jersey”
Toast…..done…no chance…unless…..
Aubrey O’Day, 27, singer
If looks were currency, this flaming redhead would have money to spare, but she’s another one of those “Who the devil is that” celebrities.
Patricia Velasquez, 40, model
Same as O’Day but without the red hair and 20 something drop dead looks.
Lisa Lampenelli, 50, comedian. 
We don’t know why she was selected…maybe as cannon fodder?

The Future is Here, (sort of) and We (don’t) Like It

Cartoons in the 1960′s and 70′s promised us flying cars and dutiful robotic (if somewhat smartass) servants. At least that’s how I remember the Jetsons.  By now half of us would be living deep in the oceans, (remember the cartoon Sea Lab) and all my friends thought it would be cool to hang with  Fat Albert in the ghetto.

Fast forward to the 21st century and it’s obvious the ghetto wasn’t all that cool, Sea Lab lasted about 13 weeks and we’re still decades away from affordable consumer “flying” cars.

Which is why I’m a little bummed over this new “electric motorcycle” from Lit Motors.

Right now the C-1, built in San Francisco is a just a “prototype.”  But the company is taking $250 deposits on the god ugly machine that it says will retail sometime in 2013-2014 around $24K and if demand is strong enough, the price will drop to around $16K.

Different versions of the C-1 will be available for different markets. The model aimed at First World countries will have an 8-10 kilowatt-hour battery pack, while a model intended for developing nations will be rated at about 4-6 kWh. The vehicle will incorporate electric hub motors in both wheels, at least one of those motors being a high-performance Remy HVH unit. The top speed should be at least 120 mph (193 km/h), with driving range for the higher-end model expected to sit at around 150 to 220 miles (241 to 354 km) per charge, depending on the exact size of the battery.

One way this motorcycle imposter can reach those speeds with such high mileage estimates is by utilizing something called KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology. This thing stays upright with self-balancing Thrustcycle SRT,  and (for lack of a better description) recycles kinetic power that would otherwise be lost in the braking process to assist in powering the flywheels. Along with providing stability, those wheels will also deliver power back to the drivetrain when the vehicle is accelerating, giving the battery pack a break. ( more after the poll) 

How the self balancing mechanism would work is shown in this video. Part of me wants to be excited about this technology, and another part (a much larger part) is screaming, “don’t take my wobbly, easy to fall over, dangerous as hell but more fun than sex, motorcycle away from me. Call me skeptical, but if this succeeds, the day will come when the insurance industry and the medical industry (read lobby) will figure out a way to make motorcycles (as exist today) illegal to operate on the road.  (more photos after the video)