It’s been a really interesting week in motorcycling. Apart from the excitement, thrills and spills of MotoGP, British Superbikes, the Kells and Skerries road races, there is a lot happening. It emerged this week that motorcycle manufacturers are considering halting or severely limiting the development of 125cc bikes. In the UK, these bikes make up 40% of all bikes owned. It seems that the threat from competitors focussed on electric scooters and bikes have dampened the enthusiasm for the beloved 125cc engined bike.
Actual riding, or what is taught to riders, has been debated this week. Issues of how to recognise the difference between skill, competence and expertise have produced some interesting discussions. At its heart is the insistence of motorcycle training organisations relying on a single model for learning advanced riding skills. The ‘we’ve always done it this way’ and ‘major service organisations use this model’, seems to shut down discussions about alternative and/or complementary models of how to make riding safer for everyone. A riding life is both complex and complicated, so shouldn’t we be reflecting on what can be learned in various riding environments, rather than trying to shoehorn the experience into a single learning model. Just a thought.
IAM RoadSmart started a campaign to ensure that motorcycles are part of an integrated transport solution. When commuting, motorcycles are more frugal, manoeuvrable, less damaging and less polluting than other forms of transport. It’s time to promote the motorcycle as part of a sustainable transport solution for the future. In another development, the NMC has met with Trudy Harrison (Minister for Rural Affairs). They gained agreement on the responsible use of Green Lanes for all users, including motorcyclists.
One area of motorcycle development that we have to question is the utility value of technology. As if the view of the open road and the instrument panel on the bike were not enough eye candy, BMW has decided to develop a head-display through connected spectacles. Connecting to the BMW app, the HDU puts navigation, speed and selected gear data in the rider’s line of sight. The problem? The data is also on the dashboard of the bike! Riders need a clear and wide field of view to keep them safe.
There is also an interesting development in winglets. In addition to adding increased downforce when cornering, BMW has found another use for winglets. They have stuck LED lights in them. We will have to wait to judge whether they improve the visibility of a bike to other road users. I have my doubts.
When you are dipping your toe into the brand new world of electric motorcycles, it seems there is some way to go for reliable charging. Taking your new, £24,000+, bike to the local shops might leave you stranded when the charging system doesn’t work. There are too few charging stations at present and one MCN journalist found that life with an electric bike can be both annoying and frustrating. Especially, when even the manufacturer’s helpline can’t help. Yes, they did reboot everything!
Your first motorcycle can become a treasured possession evoking happy memories and perhaps some frustrations too. There is a fascinating video on rebuilding a 1989 Honda CG125. With a lot of hard work and dedication, it was turned into a cafe racer. You can also read about the lost Indian. Lastly, there is the heroic tale of Ana Greschishkina. After completing a record-breaking round the world trip, she returned home to a war-torn country. Find out what she did next? Happy reading.
Helping the Whiteknights Blood Bikes
We are stepping up our partnership with the Whiteknights Blood Bikes. When attending promotional events, the Whiteknights often get people wanting to volunteer to be a Blood Biker. Of course, they always steer them to the SAM Group to complete advanced rider training. The Whiteknights need help from SAM members to explain, encourage and support potential Associates to take up advanced rider training. SAM Members can you help out? We need volunteers to help out at any future events.
Ways to stay in touch with your Club!
It’s really easy to stay in touch with your Club! We provide emails, a website and use social media accounts for you to contact us. All of which is free of any cost to the Club. If you are not getting the Club information circulated, or simply want to tell us something, just let us know at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to ensure that we stay in touch with you. You can also now sign up for Club emails on the SAM website.