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Ride On newsletter - February 2018

By Mario

In this issue we take a ride out of this world, preview Energica's E-bikes for the new MotoE series, have video of the Akrapovi? Tribute to Superbikes from Slovenia, the return of a Vincent Down Under, and we have the next instalment of Ferg's preparations for his world land speed record attempt.

There's been a lot happening in New Zealand motorcycling this month, including the massive Classic Festival at Pukekohe and the first of our Shiny Side Up Bike Fests around the country. Events like these are a great excuse to get out for a ride and make the most of the summer weather. There's been a lot going on in the two-wheeled world, which we're happy to give you a glimpse of. 

A ride that's out of this world

A gif of a 'space motorbike'

A concept of the 'space motorbike'.

Spacewalks or Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs) have been a feature of space exploration since the 1960s. Usually, this involves astronauts being tethered to their ship, using things like a pressure gun or backpack to move around.  But it turns out that Russia has been working on something with a lot more potential for movement since the earliest days of EVA - a space motorcycle. Tech website Motherboard spotted a video posted by Roscosmos, Russia's Space programme, detailing their off-again/on-again quest to produce a ‘motorcycle’ capable of commuting between extraterrestrial destinations. Be interesting to see its times over the 1/4 mile:

Read the article on Motherboard

Electric MotoGP class for 2019

An image of the standard Energica Ego motorbike

The standard Energica Ego

Earlier this month Dorna, the FIM and sponsor Enel announced an all-electric motorcycle racing world championship for next year. To be known as MotoE, the class will use motorcycles made by Italian E-bike manufacturer Energica. Apparently, 11 teams have signed up to compete, racing tuned versions of the company's Ego machine each generating 107kW. Given the four-wheeled world already has Formula E plus single-make series involving Tesla and Jaguar, the announcement is hardly a surprise. It will be interesting to see how much interest the championship attracts, given most two-wheel racing fans adore the noise and smell as much as the visual appeal of racing.

Read more on Energica's website

Talking of noise…

An image still from the Akrapovi? Tribute to Superbikes video

A superbike being ridden around the track as part of the Akrapovi? Tribute to Superbikes video

Okay, so it's self-evidently a self-promoting video. But the master pipe-benders of Slovenia might just have captured something with their recent foray on YouTube. If this footage of seven state-of-the-art superbikes, thrashed around the track and blowing fury out of Akrapovi? titanium and carbon doesn't put a tingle up your spine, don’t bother riding.

Watch the Akrapovi? Tribute to Superbikes

Invercargill's Motorcycle Mecca expands

The already impressive collection at Classic Motorcycle Mecca on Tay Street is going to get even bigger, with a wider selection of bikes. According to a report in Stuff, the aim is to make it unquestionably the biggest and best motorcycle museum the southern hemisphere. Renovations are underway on the building, which will open up more space and allow more exhibits. These are set to include more recent machines, especially from Japan, interactive displays, plus a selection of motocross and speedway bikes. Can't wait! 

Read the report and interviews on Stuff

Record-setting Vincent returns Down Under

Image of John Ehret on his Vincent Black Lightning

John Ehret on his Vincent Black Lightning

Aussie racer Jack Ehret's Vincent Black Lightning recently added a world record to its Australian land speed record, set in 1953. It became the most valuable motorcycle ever sold at auction, with the hammer falling at US$929,000 in Las Vegas this January. Sold to an unnamed Australian businessman, the machine will return home having spent time in France undergoing mechanical restoration. Only 19 Black Lightnings remain in existence (of 33 made) and Ehret's is one of the most storied, having clocked an average 141.5mph over two measured quarter-miles on closed roads at Gunnedah, NSW on January 19th, 1953. No word as yet whether the machine will go on display, but it would be great if it did.

Read about Jack Ehret's record run, compiled by Frank Trento

The numbers game

Image of TVNZ News website on story about motorcycle deaths in January

TVNZ News website featured a story about motorcycle deaths in January

As usual, the mainstream media's reporting about motorcycles has been a bit, shall we say, selective. Earlier this month, TVNZ had a feature on the spike in motorcycle fatalities in January, accounting for 29% of the overall road toll, headlined 'It's gonna kill ya'. On the 30th of January, they’d already reported on the relatively high number of motorcycle fatalities that month after a death the day before. By the by, they also mentioned the annualised toll to end-January was 33. While we'd all like to see that number at zero, across a whole year that is one of the lowest numbers ever recorded,despite the massive increase in motorcycling since 2002. It shows the volatility inherent in statistics when actual numbers are in the dozens. Numbers in the single figures make a significant percentage difference. We might not be able to change the way things get reported but let's do our best to stay safe out there, eh?

Get perspective on motorcycle safety from the ‘Single Point of Truth’ document

KTM bags 17th straight Dakar

Image of Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner standing on his bike

Red Bull KTM’s Matthias Walkner standing on his bike after claiming the Dakar win

As mentioned in January's Ride On, KTM was aiming at its 17th starch Dakar win in the 2018 edition. And they did it, with Red Bull KTM's Matthias Walkner claiming victory, 17 minutes ahead of Honda-mounted Kevin Benavides. It's an incredible record in one of the toughest fields of motorsport in the world.

Next instalment of world record attempt

Image of progress on Ferg’s Triumph Bonneville

Progress continuing on Ferg’s Triumph Bonneville

We've caught up with further progress on Ferg's Triumph Bonneville. It's starting to come together now, with the wheels and tyres on the frame and a huge plan of work in progress on the engine. Visit the News and Reviews section of the Ride Forever website for a detailed update on the engineering needed to attempt a world land speed record.

Read part four of the story 

Make the most of summer

The weather's warm so why not take advantage of it to do some Ride Forever coaching? At just $50 or $20 depending on level, it's incredible value plus you may well qualify for a discount on your motorcycle insurance. The last of our Shiny Side Up events is coming up so, if you’re attending, drop by and talk to us about it. Catch you next time.