U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may no longer require minimum gas purchase at certain pumps

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is apparently scrapping its requirement that all consumers buy at least four gallons of gasoline from certain gas pumps that dispense the new E15 ethanol-gasoline blend, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The EPA first revealed its minimum-purchase requirement to the AMA in a letter dated Aug. 1, responding to AMA concerns that E15 — a gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume — could be put in motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle gas tanks inadvertently when consumers used blender pumps. A blender pump dispenses different fuel blends through the same hose, and the vast majority of motorcycles and ATVs in use today aren’t designed to operate on E15 fuel.

The EPA had said that the minimum purchase requirement was meant to dilute any residual E15 fuel left in the hose.

On Dec. 17, in response to ongoing AMA concerns, the EPA indicated to the AMA that it would no longer require a minimum purchase of four gallons. Instead, the EPA will now likely require a label on blender pumps that dispense E10 and E15 through the same hose that state the pump is solely for passenger cars and trucks.

In addition, the EPA indicated it will require stations that sell E15 to also have a pump with a dedicated E10 hose for use by motorcycles and other vehicles the EPA hasn’t approved for E15 use.

“With E15 gasoline, our members who make a concerted effort to fuel their motorcycles or ATVs with E10-or-less gasoline may be unknowingly refueling with residual fuel left in the hose,” Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, had said to the EPA before the agency’s Dec. 17 comments.

“Unlike an automobile or SUV that has a large fuel tank, the residual fuel left in a fueling hose could be detrimental to the performance of motorcycle or ATV engines due to the small size of their fuel tanks and the higher concentration of ethanol that would, therefore, be present in the fuel,” Allard had said. “In addition, the use of E15 will lower fuel efficiency and possibly cause premature engine failure. Use of E15 fuel voids many manufacturer warranties. In off-road engines, the effects can even be dangerous for users.”

The AMA has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and ATV engines caused by the inadvertent use of E15 when the new fuel becomes widely available, and has asked that motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study into the effects of E15.

Ethanol is essentially grain alcohol produced from crops such as corn that is mixed with gasoline to produce an ethanol-gasoline blend motor fuel. In October 2010, the EPA approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). Then, in January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-06 light-duty vehicles to the approved list.

No motorcycles or ATVs are currently on the list.

Top 5 Best Selling Motorcycle Gifts

Home5.  Sons of Anarchy T-Shirt.   Chances are you, or someone you know is a fan of the FX drama, Sons of Anarchy.  OK.. we hear you..we  don’t watch “those” fake biker shows either.  But, the truth is, somebody out there is watching…and a whole lot of somebody.  According to Entertainment Weekly, in the second month of last season,  4.6 million viewers tuned in and the showw was up 14 percent from last week and ranking as the fifth season’s best rating since last month’s premiere.  So click the link, buy the shirt and gift it to that hard to buy for biker in your family.

4.  St. Christopher Ride With Me Pendant. $29.00 (on sale was $50)  We’re not superstitious, but we also believe that having a good luck talisman never hurt anyone, wether it’s ride bells or an image of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers.  It’s one of the best “neutral” gifts you can give the motorcycle rider in your family.  It’s the right size and color, and you don’t have to remember which brand they ride.

3. Home DIY Neon Lights:  While we believe the best looking neon lights are the ones installed by the professionals, this do-it-yourself kit for $60 is a great way for the gear head on a budget to light up his or her ride.  Again, this gift is “brand neutral” and will work equally well on Harley-Davidsons Road Kings or Yamaha sport bikes.  Comes with two 5 Inch, Two 6 Inch, and Two 12 Inch Flexible, Waterproof Strips, 1 Year Limited Warranty and Free Lifetime Technical Support

2. Battery Tender I know we’re harping on this “brand” neutral theme, but frankly, it seems the best selling Christmas gifts for bikers are the ones that can be used by all riders.  The Battery Tender is a gift that will be appreciated by gear heads of all types.  Whether he or she owns a motorcycle, boat, RV or ATV, anything that tends to sit idle for long periods of time will fall victim to a dead battery if it isn’t “tended.”   At $34.00, this gift will be appreciated for years to come.

1. HomeGo Pro Hero Camera  The best selling, best loved gift of any motorcyclist is the Go Pro Hero camera.  Pair this with the optional wi-fi backpack / remote  combo and you will never miss another “gotcha moment.”  We know riders who mount this camera on their handlebars and shoot video as they ride for use in the unfortunate event some idiot pulls out in front of them and they need evidence to show the road conditions, their speed and the fact that the driver should have easily seen them coming.  Other carry it to Sturgis, and Daytona for “video” reference of their adventures.

 


Apple Buys Lightning Trademark From Harley-Davidson

Back in September 2012, Apple debuted it’s new “Lightning” dock connector port for the iPad and iPhone.  The company said the new port would be used extensively in future devices.   All well and good, except, surprise surprise, Apple didn’t own the European trademark for the term “Lightning.”

Oops!  Well, not to worry, Apple is a pretty big company and has more money than God, so they can do whatever they want right?

Sure, except the company that owned the trademark term “Lightning” was the same company that has it’s logo tattooed on more bad-ass bodies than any other company.

Yep, that company.  Harley-Davidson.

Patently Apple is reporting that Apple recently purchased the European trademark, originally claimed by the infamous motorcycle company in 2005.

“The EU Patent & Trademark Office officially published two Apple trademark applications for ‘Lightning’ under numbers 011399821/862,” according to Patently Apple. The site also notes this negotiation seems to be a “partial transfer,” allowing Harley-Davidson to “use certain aspects of the trademark” after the transfer is complete.

Here’s how we fantasize the conversation unfolded.

Apple:  Hey Harley-Davidson, you guys own the Lightning trademark in Europe, we’d like to buy it.  How about we send you $250 and ten new iPads?  To sweeten the pot, we’ll throw in the 4G versions.

Harley-Davidson:  hmm….how bout you kick in some credits in the Itunes Store…?

Apple:  Why you greedy sons of b#$ches…!!

 

Ed Church, He Got It Back

Everyone has a story about the one that got away.  A high school sweetheart, a job, a house, a trophy buck, something.  But Ed Church’s story is different.  His is about a motorcycle.  His first motorcycle.

Church said the bike was a big influence on him as a sophomore in high school.  “the whole right of passage as a young man was trying to start one” said Church.

“It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw,” said Church, who rode the bike for 13 years and sold it when his daughter was born.

Church said when he started looking around for a bike from the same year as his first bike he had no idea he’d stumble upon the bike…his bike and just when he found it, it almost slipped through his fingers again.

Watch the video to hear the story in his words.

 

PRODUCERS OF AMERICAN CHOPPER SEEKING BIKE RESTORATION & SALES COMPANY FOR NEW TELEVISION SERIES

Looking  to spotlight one company that restores and flips motorcycles for a national cable network 

LOS ANGELES, September 18, 2012 – Pilgrim Studios, the producers of American Chopper (TLC), Dirty Jobs (Discovery Channel), and Fast N’ Loud (Discovery), is seeking to cast a company of fun, outgoing and even outrageous individuals who buy motorcycles, restore them to their previous glory and sell them. Does your company restore or rebuild old motorcycles? If you and your staff are top-­‐notch bike builders/restorers, have big personalities and can turn forgotten, derelict or vintage motorcycles into full-­‐throttle masterpieces, then you could have your own show on a major cable network! Maybe you hunt for old bikes in your area, spruce them up and sell them for a big profit. Maybe you’re a custom bike builder who doesn’t usually restore bikes, but you’ve got the facility and know-­‐how to do it. As long as you have what it takes, and your team has memorable, outgoing personalities, your company could be featured on its own TV show. If this sounds like you, please email producers at CycleFlippers@gmail.com with your name, the company name, location, phone number, email address, recent photos of you and your team, company website and a brief explanation of why you should be flipping bikes on your own TV show. Producers are looking to meet great builders in early October, 2012. So contact us TODAY! * For more information on Pilgrim Studios and the  producers, please visit www.pilgrimstudios.com

How Will Self Driving Cars Affect Our Motorcycle Use

Will motorcycles be banned from public highways in our near future?

Over the last two years Google has been quietly, (and some say illegally) testing a fleet of autonomous vehicles that navigate the highway without any direct input from human drivers.   Sebastian Thrun, director of Google’s autonomous vehicle research program, wrote that the project had achieved 200,000 miles of driving without an accident while cars were under computer control.

This week the State of Nevada finalized a few modifications to its rules of the road that will allow robotic driven vehicles to be driven legally on its highways.

Several automakers are deploying sensor based safety systems that help prevent accidents.  Some simply alert the driver, and others go so far as to correct drivers actions, or inaction.  Adaptive cruise control and emergency braking help prevent collisions.  Blind-spot detection, adaptive headlights and night-vision assistance systems are also offered in a number of 2012 models.  However, what Google is doing makes these advances seem as rudimentary as the improvement from bias ply to radial tires.

Ask any motorcyclist who has a few miles under his or her belt, and they’ll tell you they’ve had someone turn left in front of them which either caused them to wreck or resulted in panic braking.  Once this technology becomes mandatory, and most vehicles on the highway are auto driven, accidents involving human error will plummet, making it safer to ride a motorcycle.

One of Google's auto-pilot vehicles

But, as the saying goes, there’s the rub.  Human error accounts for almost all the 33,000 deaths and 1.2 million injuries that now occur each year on the nation’s roads.    The financial impact is staggering.

In 2008, AAA did a study and estimated traffic accidents cost Americans an estimated $164.2 billion dollars annually.  Those costs are borne by each of us in the form of auto and health insurance premiums,  emergency and police services, property damage, lost productivity and quality of life.

Vehicles that drive themselves will be able to avoid 99% of all accidents,  eliminating those costs, saving us all money, reducing stress, and giving us back hundreds of hours that is now unproductive time spent behind the wheel.

But, hold on a minute.  If cars, trucks and buses are all on auto-pilot, that leaves only a small minority of road users, namely the motorcycle community with the free will and distracted driving capabilities to throw a monkey wrench into the system.

That leaves only one conclusion.  Just as Henry Ford did to the horse-drawn carriage with the Model T, Google’s auto-pilot technology signals the (beginning of the) end of the motorcycle as a transportation vehicle on our nation’s highway.

With a financial incentive in the billions of dollars, the insurance lobby of the future will ultimately pressure the federal government to enact laws that restrict where “self-directed” vehicles are allowed.  (more after the poll)

Sven A. Beiker,  executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University told National Public Radio, on NPR’s Morning Edition, there are “significant issues” to overcome before anyone can accurately predict a future when we will see completely autonomous vehicles.   Right now the computers and cameras cannot recognize a police officer, or highway construction worker who is directing traffic to proceed in a way that is illogical or counter intuitive to the best route input into the computer’s guidance system. Then there is the vulnerability of the guidance systems, global positioning satellites, to jamming by hackers and cyber terrorists.

Google watchers and those with inside knowledge of the technology believe auto-pilot vehicles will first be deployed as delivery vehicles, taxis, and buses.  How quickly the technology transitions from utility vehicles to personal vehicles is anybody’s guess at this point, but the sad truth is that once a tipping point is reached, say 75% of vehicles are running on auto-drive, the push to rid the highways of “dangerous self driving vehicles” will begin in earnest.   In the NPR report, the author even alludes to a “future ban” on human operated vehicles.

When that happens, so will your ability to pick a destination on a map, load up the motorcycle and head out across this great country with your only worries being rain, bugs and that distracted driver who turns left in front of you.

 

 

 

Barber Motorsports Park Hooligans – Jason DiSalvo, Ernie Vigil, Nick Apex

We’re not crazy about the first 1:46 of this video, mostly because the makeup is cheesier than a high school one act play, but you can’t take anything away from these guys when the rubber meets the road.  Let’s just hope Vigil and Apex some coaching before any real movie gigs come along.  But, who are we to hate on ‘em..we’re sitting at a computer, wishing we were somewhere else!

Another Solution For a Non Problem

A group of unemployed engineers at NASA have just discovered a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

With flair and creativity, the engineers put considerable effort into designing a futurist transportation device that effectively protects motorcycle police officers from the inherent risks of riding an exposed motorized two-wheel mode of transportation in city traffic, and they were able to include a passenger compartment so officers could ride two up, or it could double as a canine unit.

They added a third wheel and wrapped a steel cage around it all.  Brilliant!  (you can recognize sarcasm can’t you?)

The only problem with this invention is it solves a problem that doesn’t exist, and motorcycle police officers will hate it. If you don’t believe me, watch the video below where the news show cuts the officer off when he says, “Will my officers ride it…? ”  but you can pretty much tell he doesn’t think much of it.  Tell us what you think in the poll at the end of this story

In fact, we’d be willing to be most of the motorcycle riding public will think it’s butt ugly; even for a trike, which is what this frankencycle really is.

I hate to be too hard on the NASA engineers. They are unemployed, after all, and just trying to help but they missed the mark on this one.

 

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.

AMA Announces It’s Choice For 2011 Motorcyclist of the Year

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)  has designated AMA member and motorcycle activist Nancy Sabater as its Motorcyclist of the Year.   Awarded annually, the AMA Motorcyclist of the Year designation recognizes the person or persons who the AMA believes had the most profound impact on the world of motorcycling in the previous 12 months.

Sabater, a motorcyclist from Charlotte Hall, Md., earned the distinction for her grassroots advocacy in 2011 to save youth motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from a misguided federal law that would have banned their sale on Jan. 1, 2012. The victory over the “lead law” was sealed when President Obama signed legislation overturning the ban on Aug. 12, 2011, ending a three-year battle to save youth riding for future generations.

“A number of partners had a hand in our victory over this misguided law — the motorcycle industry, race promoters, parts distributors and others,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “But it’s Nancy and those like her — the individual enthusiasts — who truly put the rubber to the road, gave our cause a face in the crowd and brought this victory home. They were the most influential motorcyclists of 2011, and AMA member and grassroots activist Nancy Sabater is the AMA Motorcyclist of the Year for her stellar work on behalf of families and kids.”

The issue arose in 2009 shortly after Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008. The law followed reports that inexpensive imported children’s toys were testing high for lead content, which presents serious exposure risks for children.

However, the CPSIA was written with such sweeping language that it banned the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under that contained more than a trace amount of lead. This ensnared kids’ dirtbikes and ATVs because trace levels of lead can be found in parts such as brake calipers and battery terminals. It did not matter that those parts were extremely unlikely to end up in kids’ mouths.  (more after the poll)

 Fixing the lead law hinged on the support of thousands of individual motorcyclists, such as Sabater, who was involved in numerous efforts to generate support to repeal the law. For Sabater, these included two initiatives that preceded the fix itself: the AMA Family Capitol Hill Climb on May 26, 2011 — which brought families together on Capitol Hill to lobby their lawmakers — and a number of videos Sabater produced of well-known racers and motocross industry personalities speaking out against the lead law.

“This victory is something that demonstrates the fruits of our labors,” Sabater said. “Something really happened here. We effected change. We showed these kids that if you want something hard enough and you work hard enough, that you can get results. Who knows what battles we’ll fight next, in D.C., for the AMA, for the rights of motorcyclists? This was a victory on many levels.”

The full story of the lead law victory and Sabater’s involvement is detailed in the January 2012 issue of American Motorcyclist.