The May issue of Inside Motorcycles started hitting newsstands and subscriber mailboxes this week, just in time to get you all revved up for spring! Included inside is our second annual How-To special section!
Friday, 01 April 2016 15:37
Inside Motorcycles photographer Paolo Pedicelli snapped some fantastic photos of all the hottest action at the Salon Moto de Montréal, aka The Motorcycle Shows - Montreal, held February 26-28. Enjoy!
Monday, 29 February 2016 12:49
Biperformance Development Corporation Introduces the ShiftFX Electronic Shift Transmission for OEM Applications
Following several years of research and development, including the use of materials and technology new to the motorcycle industry, Biperformance Development Corporation (BDC) announces the completion of its state-of-the-art transmission control system for OEM motorcycle applications, the ShiftFX Electronic Shift Transmission (EST). The system builds on existing gearbox design, adding a sleek, simple rider interface to provide push-button semi-automatic or fully automatic shifting.
For decades, the vast majority of automobiles sold in North America have been equipped with automatic transmissions that allow drivers to conveniently operate their vehicles without having to use a clutch or manually shift gears. This feature appeals just as much to many motorcyclists, and especially newer riders that—being used to driving automobiles equipped with automatic transmissions—may be intimidated by having to manually shift gears and as a result be less likely to purchase their first motorcycle. More recently, high-end sports cars have adopted manual transmissions controlled by "paddle" shifters for semi-automatic operation; these systems offer not only the superior performance and control of a manual transmission, but also the convenience and ease of clutchless shifting and even fully automatic operation.
In both respects, the motorcycle industry has fallen behind the automotive industry, with few models that incorporate some form of automatic or semi-automatic transmission; and those systems that are available fall short in terms of the benefits they offer to motorcyclists. ShiftFX EST addresses these issues, with the performance benefits of push-button semi-automatic shifting and, should the rider desire, the convenience of a fully automatic transmission.
In automatic mode, ShiftFX EST provides a much simpler interface that eases a new rider's introduction into motorcycling by eliminating the need to operate the clutch or manually shift the transmission. The automatic mode also offers convenience for all riders by reducing fatigue in heavy traffic, over long distances, or in adventure-type riding.
In semi-automatic mode, the transmission is shifted by electronic controls and the rider need only push a button to initiate an upshift or downshift, in a manner similar to high-end sports cars that are operated using a paddle shifter. In this mode, the ShiftFX EST system combines the high performance and precise control of a manual transmission with the speed and smoothness of electronic control for significant overall performance benefits. Gear changes are precisely sequenced with engine control and occur in less than 50 ms, with the power cut on upshifts limited to as little as 30 ms.
The highlights of the ShiftFX EST are:
- Automatic mode ideal for new riders, with simple rider interface and no stalling.
- Semi-automatic mode offers smooth, precise push-button shifting with average shift time of 50 milliseconds.
- Retains manual clutch lever for emergency braking, aggressive launches or poor traction situations.
- Reduces engine, clutch and transmission wear and abuse.
- Communicates with ECU via CAN bus for rpm matching, engine braking and incorporation into OEM riding modes.
- Programmable for any desired load/speed characteristics.
- Applicable to almost any motorcycle, including electric bikes.
The ShiftFX EST consists of three main components: A state-of-the-art Active Clutch with isolation valve, which retains the standard clutch lever for operation by the rider at any time; a high-speed DC motor and fixed gear reducer that directly rotates the shift drum; and a sophisticated transmission control unit (TCU) that can be programmed to provide practically any desired shifting characteristics in either semi-automatic or automatic mode.
Using a high-tech shape-memory alloy, the BDC Active Clutch is an elegant and unique design that allows electrohydraulic control of the clutch in a unit weighing less than half a kilogram. This technology has seen very limited use in automotive applications, and the BDC Active Clutch is the first commercial motorcycle application for shape-memory alloy. An added benefit of the BDC Active Clutch is that it retains the standard clutch lever that has direct connection to the clutch slave cylinder. The ShiftFX EST relies on an auto-clutch for launching and anti-stall.
Gear Control System
The ShiftFX EST system eliminates the shift lever and ratcheting mechanism in a standard gearbox and replaces it with a patented mechanism consisting of a high-speed DC motor and gear reducer that rotates the shift drum directly. This setup allows the transmission to be shifted from any gear to any gear or to neutral, and with advanced controls mitigates the gear-jam problem commonly associated with motorcycle gearboxes. Wear on the transmission components is reduced, and the standard ratcheting system is eliminated.
Transmission Control Unit
This state-of-the-art, compact control unit is fully programmable to provide almost any shifting characteristic based on speed, load, gear position, throttle position or other parameters. The TCU also protects against engine over-revving, limits shifting into and out of neutral, and limits clutch torque transfer during shifts, reducing wear and tear on the engine components. The unit is also capable of communicating with the motorcycle's ECU via a CAN bus to control engine braking and match engine and road speeds on downshifts. Through the TCU, the ShiftFX EST can be incorporated into a motorcycle's OEM riding modes, providing specific shifting characteristics based on a selected riding mode.
Overall control of the transmission is through a mode selection switch; here the rider can select either semi-automatic or full-automatic control of the transmission, or put the transmission in neutral. In semi-automatic mode, the transmission is shifted via push buttons near the left handlebar. An optional foot lever can be provided to retain a traditional shifting interface, although the transmission is still shifted electronically through the ShiftFX EST system. The manual clutch lever is retained and can be used to override the BDC system at any time.
In designing and developing the ShiftFX Electronic Shift Transmission, BDC had four specific goals in mind:
Retain manual clutch lever for clutch override
By using an innovative, patented Active Clutch control, ShiftFX EST retains the standard clutch lever of the manual transmission, allowing the rider to operate the clutch at any time, in either mode. This is useful for many situations, such as reduced traction, low-speed manoeuvres, aggressive launches and emergency braking.
Require no changes to existing engine architecture; utilize standard internal gearbox parts
ShiftFX EST takes advantage of the fact that every major motorcycle manufacturer produces engines with a common clutch and gearbox design; by interfacing electromechanical and electrohydraulic controls with this existing design, a system offering semi-automatic and fully automatic shifting can be produced that can be adapted easily to an existing engine's architecture and transmission components.
Minimal drivetrain losses; no hydraulic pumps
ShiftFX EST incorporates electronic control of the shift drum and clutch, requiring minimal electronic power to operate. There are no additional hydraulic pumps or drivetrain losses, and the system's electrical requirements are easily met using a typical motorcycle's charging system.
Lightweight and compact individual components
The complete BDC system adds less than2 kilograms to a typical motorcycle's weight. The three main components of the system each weigh less than 400 grams, and some of the additional weight is offset by the elimination of the motorcycle's shift lever and ratchet mechanism.
Dean Pick, President, Biperformance Development Corporation - "We have developed this technology over several years and feel it's superior to any automatic or semi-automatic transmission system currently available. The system is compact, light weight, and doesn't take power away from the engine. Our demonstrator unit is a production motorcycle with ShiftFX EST added on, and it required no major modifications or engine block machining for the components to be integrated. I'm confident that the system will appeal to new riders that want the convenience of an automatic transmission as well as experienced riders looking for the performance and fun of a semi-automatic system. Now that the system has been fully developed on our demonstrator models and our patents have been granted, we are ready to bring the technology to market in partnership with an OE manufacturer."
For more information about the ShiftFX Electronic Shift Transmission, please visit www.shiftfx.com/ electronic-shift-transmission.
About Biperformance Development Corporation
Biperformance Development Corporation (BDC) designs and manufactures transmission control technology for its aftermarket and OEM customers. Its premier product line, ShiftFX Electronic Shift Transmission, is a state-of-the-art semi-automatic transmission control system for OEM motorcycle applications. For the aftermarket powersports industry, BDC has developed Nextup, a brand of premium transmission control products including quickshifters and air shifters. BDC's transmission control products are designed to improve rider control and focus, while preserving motorcycle response and feedback. For more information, visit www.biperformance.ca.
Thursday, 25 February 2016 15:16
The Rocky Mountain Motards are in their second season at North Star Raceway, the new kart track in Strathmore, Alberta. President Jim states that they are very excited to have Zero Motorcycles as a new sponsor. “The world’s largest seller of full-size electric motorcycles has blessed us with help to reduce our track fees and try to have more people... involved in our exciting sport.”
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 16:41
What’s on your bookshelf?
It's cold and miserable outside. Your bike has been parked for two months already, and many more months will go by before you are riding again. How do you pass the time?
Pick up a good book.
Since you ride, that tells me you are a bit adventurous, which also tells me there is no point in me giving you my views on these or any other books. You’ll go exploring and find the ones you like.
No matter what kind of riding you like to do, there is a book you can find that will hold your interest. If you want tales of adventure from people who have travelled around the world or personal memories or spiritual growth found on the seat of a bike, you will find a book.
There are books by some very famous people and there are books about famous people. Some relative unknowns sell their self-published books at the bike shows over the winter and some books are only available from specific websites.
Support your local author.
There are books to help you develop/improve your riding skills, which can be quite helpful so sit back and reflect on the content as you await that first ride in the spring.
You can read about racers or get to the bottom of the long-distance rider mentality.
There are books filled with photos and there are books you will want to read for the articles.
Plus, don’t forget your favourite magazine.
Just because there is snow outside and you can’t go for a ride, there is no reason to forget about riding.
What’s on your bookshelf? Here’s a selection of what is on mine (see photos above and below).
Plus, your local library can quite likely get you any/all of these and more.
Read responsibly and enjoy your literary travels.
- By R. Bruce Thomas
What’s on your bookshelf?
Friday, 22 January 2016 11:13
Last week the big fat new DOUBLE ISSUE of Inside Motorcycles started dropping into readers' mailboxes and landing on store shelves. Pick your copy up today to find out about the best new bikes of 2016 and a whole lot more!
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 11:22
Every rider knows they should not leave home without some duct tape. Like The Force in the Star Wars galaxy, duct tape has a light side and a dark side and appears to hold our universe together.
For a number of years now a subset of contemporary motorcycle riders have been putting tires intended for automobiles onto their motorcycles. These riders call themselves Darksiders. They aren’t particularly evil, but they have chosen a different path to follow.
In the last couple of years two of my riding buddies have gone to The Dark Side. Mostly, they feel it costs too much for motorcycle tires and that the tires don’t last as long as they would like. On a 700-plus lb. sport touring motorcycle, I can’t say I disagree. However, tire life is getting better than it was a few years ago. Using the dual-compound tires and making sure I buy the GT versions (for heavier bikes), I have put over 30,000 km on a front tire and more than 22,000 km on a rear. I think this is pretty good distance out of a high-speed, Z-rated M/C tire, but I have paid the shop roughly the same to install two tires on my motorcycle as I have paid for four tires on my Honda Civic. And the car tires have a 130,000 km warranty.
I’m not convinced that going to The Dark Side is something I want to do in order to save some money. What I have done is bought a lift table, tire changer, and static balancer. Now I can change my tires easily whenever I want and even save them to put back on in the future if I haven’t run them right down. The lift table also makes it far easier to change oil and do other work on the bike, so this aging body of mine appreciates it.
But back to the car tires. How do they perform? I’ve ridden street bikes with big, fat tires on and they have been a bitch to get leaned over and to keep them leaned over while riding. Surprisingly, the same can’t be said for car tires on a bike. Both my buddies say the worst is slow speed parking lot-type manoeuvres. There it takes a bit of effort to turn the bike. Anything above that and they say they have no issues. I’m not sure what stance the insurance industry would take on this practice if, say, a rider were to lose control in a corner and crash.
I’ve ridden behind both of my buddies on some seriously twisty roads and they handle corners just fine; both slowly and at speed. It is very interesting to watch the rear tire lift and lean and flex on the contact patch. They have confidence in the tires and expect nearly 50,000 km out of a rear. Kind of tempting for those big epic rides on the interstates.
But just the same, I think I’ll keep my inner Sith Lord in check and stick with the traditional donuts.
Ride responsibly and enjoy your travels.
R. Bruce Thomas
Friday, 27 November 2015 16:27
@indianmotocycle • @RolandSands • Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, today announced it has stepped up as the title sponsor for the upcoming “RSD Super Hooligan” flat track race in Las Vegas. The street-bike based race takes place indoors on a short track at the Orleans Hotel & Casino the evening of November 21, and is presented in partnership with Roland Sands Design and AMA Pro Flat Track in conjunction with the “Superprestigio of the Americas” race. The winner of the Super Hooligan race will receive a new 2016 Indian Scout – making the Super Hooligan race a bit more competitive than the average weekend amateur event.
Hooligan racing is traced back to the 1930s, at a time when legendary Indian Motorcycle dealer Clarence “Pappy” Hoel began organizing regional hill climb and flat track motorcycle races in and around Sturgis, SD. Hoel was a founding members of the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club, and he and the Gypsies are credited with starting the now world famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 1938. Indian Motorcycle’s rich history in racing dates back to its inception with records in every racing category, including land speed, dirt track, transcontinental racing and venues like Daytona and the Isle of Man. In 1911 the Federation of American Motorcyclists published the records for 126 different categories of racing and different distances, and of those 126 racing records, Indian owned all 126.
Hooligan racing is a throwback to a post-war era where riders took virtually any available motorcycle to race in the spirit of seeking adrenaline and enjoying the comradery. Today the flat track Hooligan racing category is rapidly gaining in popularity with riders of all ages and experience levels because it brings the fun back into a less structured environment where any rider can race virtually any motorcycle. “Framers” or custom race chassis machines are not allowed in the class. It’s designed to allow racers to lightly modify an existing street chassis for racing action, a familiar situation for the world famous Indian Scout.
The company also announced it has partnered with Roland Sands Design to build and race five custom Hooligan racers based on the Indian Scout. The custom Hooligan Scouts will race in the RSD Super Hooligan event in Las Vegas, with a world-class team of riders that includes Roland Sands himself, Red Bull/KTM stunt rider Aaron Colton, plus some surprise guest riders. These new custom motorcycles will be revealed to the media on Friday, November 20 during the International Motorcycle Shows press event in Long Beach, CA.
“The Scout is a great machine upon which to base a custom bike with modern rider friendly performance. The engine and chassis are rock solid and don’t need a lot of work, so DIY customizers can focus on the aesthetic modifications,” said Roland Sands. “It has been a blast designing and building these custom Indian Scout Hooligan bikes and after a quick test run at the local flat track I feel we have a competitive bike that will rip on the track.”
“It is an honor for Indian Motorcycle to sponsor the Super Hooligan event in partnership with Roland Sands Design and the folks at the Superprestigio of the Americas,” said Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles at Polaris Industries. “Given the incredible racing heritage of the Indian Scout in our DNA, it’s really exciting to have five amazing Roland Sands custom Indian Scouts racing. It’s going to be a great event.”
For more information on the Superprestigio of the Americas visit http://www.superprestigio.com/. Fans can enjoy live streaming of the event on www.fanschoice.tv.
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 12:52
Inside Motorcycles veteran columnist Warren Thaxter to be Honoured by the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame this weekend
Inside Motorcycles is proud to share the news that Warren Thaxter, who has been a member of the IM team since the very first issue in 1998, is being inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 7. All of us at IM would like to congratulate Warren on a tremendous and well-deserved achievement!
Courtesy of the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame:
The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the first member of the class of 2015. Warren Thaxter will be honoured at the Tenth Annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion, which takes place on November 7, 2015 at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel, 801 Dixon Road in Toronto, Ontario.
Very few men have had such a profound effect in growing the sport of off road motorcycling in Canada as Warren Thaxter. His influence runs deep touching almost every type of off road, trail and adventure riding currently happening in Ontario. Warren was constantly introducing ideas and concepts that were way ahead of their time and are only now being recognized as best practice.
His biggest contribution to the sport is as a builder. After 33 years in the automotive industry, Warren retired to become completely immersed in the motorcycle world. He envisioned a future of organized, paid trail rides in Ontario starting in 1987 with OCMC’s Algonquin 2-Day.
As the concept of organized trail riding caught on, Warren saw the need for a provincial organization to represent off road riders’ rights and along with several others, founded the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders (OFTR) in 1992. The OFTR Trail Ride Series was established and the OFTR continues to ensure off-road riders have access to some of the best riding areas in the world.
Warren was also was a founder of Offroad Ontario, a competition organization and he hosts a yearly cross country race in that series. He has been a regular columnist for Inside Motorcycles magazine since its inception. His writing has influenced countless Canadians who were either involved in the sport or riders who were considering it.
He has also served on the boards of the CMA, MCC, CMHOF and numerous clubs.
Tickets for the Tenth Annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion are now available at here.
The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion is the annual signature event of this non-profit association with charitable status. It is governed by an independent board of volunteer directors located from coast to coast and is sponsored in part by the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC). Founded by Bar and Hedy Hodgson in 1999, the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame preserves and promotes Canadian motorcycle history for the benefit of the motorcycling community and the public. Since the first induction banquet in Toronto in 2006, over 100 distinguished motorcyclists and organizations have been inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
For information about past inductees, historic motorcycle collections, membership, event sponsorship, and tax-deductible donations, please browse our website at www.canmoto.ca
Thursday, 05 November 2015 13:08
BMW Motorrad Canada sponsors 10th Annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion
Toronto ON – October 2nd, 2015 – The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame is proud to announce BMW Motorrad Canada as a sponsor for the 10th Annual Induction Banquet and Reunion which takes place November 7th, 2015 at the Sheraton Airport Conference Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
“BMW Motorrad Canada is a very proud sponsor of the CMHF. It is important to recognize our Canadian motorcycle heritage as it has a long history of milestones and successes,” said director Norm Wells of BMW Canada. “We congratulate all the 2015 inductees and look forward to many more years of partnership with the CMHF and the outstanding team that makes it happen every year.
“The board of the Hall of Fame is extremely pleased to welcome back BMW Motorrad Canada to this event,” said Mike Harwood, Chair of the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame. “We have deeply appreciated their support over the past ten years.”
Tickets for our 10th anniversary event are available, with a complete schedule of the activities taking place on November 7th at http://canmoto.ca/banquet-and-reunion/
11 legends and champions will be honoured at the Tenth Annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion.
Founded by Bar and Hedy Hodgson in 1999, the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame preserves and promotes Canadian motorcycle history for the benefit of the motorcycling community and public. Sponsored in part by the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC), the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame is a non-profit association with charitable status. It is governed by an independent board of volunteer directors representing every region of the country. Since the first induction banquet in Toronto in 2006, over 100 distinguished motorcyclists and organizations have been inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
For information about past inductees, historic motorcycle collections, event sponsorship, silent auction and tax-deductible donations, visit www.canmoto.ca.
Friday, 30 October 2015 09:56