Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Types of motorcycles

There are three major types of motorcycle, street, off-road, and dual purpose. Within these types, there are many different sub-types of motorcycles for many different purposes.


  • Choppers: Highly customised motorcycles based on a cruiser-style frame with long rake (longer front forks) and wild paint jobs. These are created more for show than ridability.
  • Cruisers: A range of small to large motorcycles designed for comfort and looks with a relaxed upright seating position. They are notable for their heavy use of chrome and are often highly customised.
  • Electric motorcycles: Nearly silent, zero-emission electric motor-driven vehicles. Though electric motorcycles are emission free during operation, producing the electricity that charges the batteries in them can be a cause of pollution. Operating range and top speed suffer because of limitations of battery technology. Fuel cells and petroleum-electric hybrids are also under development to extend the range and improve performance of the electric motors.
  • Mini bikes: Very small bikes designed to be simple runaround fun for both children and adults. Generally they have no hand-operated clutch or gearbox to simplify operation. Also known as Mini Motos. Not street-legal in most countries and jurisdictions. May be used for racing by all age levels.
  • Mopeds: Small, light, inexpensive, efficient rides for getting around town. Usually started by pedaling (motorcycle + pedals = moped).
    • Underbones: Small motorcycle which is a crossover between a scooter and a true motorcycle with step-through frame, popular in Southeast Asia. While the fuel tank for most motorcycles are tear-shaped and located at the top and just behind the instrument panel, the fuel tank for an underbone motorcycle is located under the seat.
  • Naked bikes/Standard/Street bikes: Naked bikes have a riding position midway between the forward position of a sports bike and the reclined position of a cruiser. Unlike touring bikes, naked bikes often have little or no fairing (hence the title). Luggage capabilities are often an optional extra. Naked bikes are popular for commuting and other city riding as the upright riding position gives greater visibility in heavy traffic (both for the rider and to other road users) and are more comfortable than the hunched over sport bikes. Note that naked bike and standard are not fully interchangeable terms. Naked refers to the lack of bodywork and standard refers to the upright riding position.
  • Scooters: Motorbikes with a step-through frame and generally smaller wheels than those of a traditional motorcycle. Can be ridden without straddling any part of the bike. Available in sport, commuter, and touring models.
  • Sport bikes: Fast, light, sleek motorcycles designed for maximum performance, for racing or spirited road riding. They are distinguishable by their full fairings and the rider's tipped-forward seating position. They are also called "race replicas" because of their connection to the racing category for production motorcycles known as Superbike racing. The power to weight ratio of the 900 cc+ models typically matches or exceeds one bhp of power for every one kg of mass. (Slang terms for sport bikes include "suicycles" and "crotch rockets".)
    • Racing bikes: Motorcycles designed for circuit or road racing, including mass-production motorcycles modified for motorcycle racing or sport riding.
    • Street customs: Highly customised motorcycles with wild paint jobs also built for show, but constructed from a sport bike frame instead of a cruiser-style frame.
  • Touring motorcycles: Touring bikes are designed for rider and passenger comfort, luggage carrying capacity, and reliability. Cruisers, sport bikes and some dual-sports can also be used as touring bikes with the addition of aftermarket luggage and seats.
    • Sport touring motorcycles: Sport-tourers are factory-built hybrids of a sport bike and a touring motorcycle, for those riders who desire the qualities of both. They are built for comfort, while maintaining a forward-leaning riding position.


  • Motocross bikes: Motorcycles designed for racing over closed circuits, often with jumps, over varied terrain of gravel/mud/sand. Sometimes simply called "dirt bikes" when not being raced, they can also be used for informal off-road recreation, or "mudding."
  • Supermotos: Beginning in the mid-1990s, motocross machines fitted with street wheels and tyres similar to those used on Sport bikes began to appear. These are known as "Supermotards", and riders of these machines compete in specially organised rallies and races.
  • Trials motorcycles: Motorcycles made as light as possible, with no seat (as they are designed to be ridden standing up), in order to provide maximum freedom of body positioning and stunt capability for use in observed trials competition.


  • Dual-sports: Road-legal machines offering a compromise in highway and off-road performance, durability and comfort. Since the requirements are often conflicting, the manufacturer has to choose one or the other, resulting in a great variety of bikes in this category.
  • Enduros: Road-legal versions of a motocross machine, i.e., featuring high ground clearance and copious suspension with minimal creature comforts. Highly unsuitable for long distance road travel. The features that differ from the motocross versions are the silencers, the flywheel weights and the presence of features necessary for highway use.
  • Adventure Touring: Closely related to dual-sports, adventure tourers are motorcycles with lighter weight than just about any other bike considered a tourer, but heavier than any traditional dual-sport. Adventure tourers can handle with aplomb rough dirt paths such as fire roads however, for their weight they are generally not suited for anything more strenuous than that. The advantage is their increased number of luxury features and larger engines which make on-road riding much more enjoyable.


Draxtar P-104 Motorcycle Helmet

this helmet was originally designed for the Chinese military and has been converted and approved for motorcycle use in Europe with an ECE 22-05 seal. It also meets the very tough German TÜV Rheinland standards for motorcycle helmet safety.

As soon as I saw the photos of the P-104, I had to have one. Maybe something like this will become as popular as the silly-looking (and useless) "brain buckets" that many cruiser riders wear? Surely it has to offer better protection, while looking much cooler.

The outer shell of the Draxtar is made from Fiberglass, and it feels very solid. I'm not sure how different the shell is when compared to a "normal" motorcycle helmet, but something about it makes it feel tough. The P-104 comes in Silver, Matte Black and Army Green, and I just had to get the green version.

The inner shell is patterned as closely as possible on the Chinese military version, but is made from EPS (like many "normal" motorcycle helmets) and is structured to meet the applicable motorcycle safety standards.

The helmet comes with two visors: a clear pull-down visor and a dark tinted visor. The visor is very easy to change -- there are two push buttons on the external part of the shell, just above the visor. Push down on the buttons and pull out the visor; push down on the buttons again to insert the new visor.

The visor slides up into the helmet, between the liner and the shell, and it's infinitely adjustable, which is a nice feature. It has enough friction in the mechanism to maintain its position. I have to keep it pushed up just a notch to keep it off my nose, and it stays in place with no problems.

The liner looks much like I'd expect from a military pilot or tank helmet. The size XL fits well, with a slightly tight band around my temples and plenty of room around my ears. Our opinion is that it will fit round, egg or oval shaped heads best

One of the nice features of the P-104 is the design of the internal ear cups. They are attached with three metal snaps and they can be easily removed. The cups fit into the protrusions seen on each side of the helmet. Surely, there's got to be a set of speakers that will fit this helmet, probably available in a military surplus store somewhere. I think it would be very easy to fit this helmet with speakers and a microphone, although I haven't yet tried it.

The P-104 is actually pretty comfortable. It takes some very slight fiddling to get my ears into the ear cups when I put on the helmet, and the helmet feels nice and is well balanced. Although we're not big fans of "quick release" chin strap systems, this one works well and is perfectly suited to the helmet's design.

It's one of those new-fangled ratchet release mechanisms, where a plastic or nylon strap with teeth slides into a ratcheting mechanism. A lever is ratcheted back and forth to tighten up the strap. The strap has a piece of fabric coming from each side that meets in the middle and acts as a cushion, and a small piece of "hook and loop" fastener keeps the fabric in place.

The Draxtar P-104 weighs 1341 grams, or 2 lbs., 15-1/4 oz. Although it's somewhat like comparing apples to oranges, this is a very light helmet when compared to most full-face lids.

On the road, the Draxtar is surprisingly quiet. It's certainly not as quiet as some of the better full-face helmets, but many full-face helmets have unique noise problems, typically heard as a low frequency, "booming" noise generated by buffeting around the neck area.

The Draxtar has a bit of whistling noise, but the ear cups work rather well to isolate the noise, and the low frequency noises caused by buffeting are not apparent, due to the open face design. Venting really isn't an issue because of the open face design of the helmet.

The Draxtar P-104 is manufactured by Pittgens Motorsport in Germany. The quality is first-rate, everything seems very well made, and I have no problem believing that this helmet meets military specifications. And the price is reasonable at £149.00, or roughly $260.00 at current exchange rates.

This is definitely a helmet that will stand out from the crowd. Our unscientific opinion is that it surely must provide more protection than the non-DOT approved "brain bucket" novelty "helmets", and it definitely looks better. The Draxtar P-104 is not a novelty helmet -- it is a very well made, ECE 22-05 and TÜV Rheinland approved motorcycle helmet that looks great on cruisers or adventure touring bikes.


Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Helmet

There was a time not too long ago when the terms "industrial design" and "consumer products" weren't used in the same sentence. Functionality was the watchword, and no one thought much about how style.
There wasn't a deliberate movement against industrial design - it just wasn't really considered as anything that should consume much time or effort, especially for low-end consumer goods.
It has only been within the last couple of decades where design is an integral and even a primary goal of any and all consumer goods. Cameras, watches, portable audio devices and more are sometimes purchased as accessories rather than as tools.
There's an interesting article in the December 2004 Cycle World magazine that illustrates this point. Apparently, Harley Davidson motorcycles weren't "designed" until Brooks Stevens, a famous industrial designer from the '40's, was hired after World War II to add some spice to the front end of the new models. Prior to that, Harley engineers were primarily responsible for design, which had been stagnant at Harley for many years.
Stevens and other designers in the '40's and '50's started the consumer products industrial design movement, which now plays such an important role in everything we buy, right down to the way the buttons look and feel on the most basic electronic devices.
MOMO evolved from this movement, and went on to become one of the best-known industrial design firms in the world. Their radical and unique designs have made them a leader in the movement for many years.

Their first product was the MOMO steering wheel used by the 1964 Formula 1 Championship winning Ferrari team in the mid-'60's. MOMO steering wheels then became the object of desire for any sports car fanatic of that era. Their success with that single product was huge, and made the MOMO name known throughout the world. They have since expanded into every segment of industrial design, and the MOMO "look" (and logo) is almost instantly recognizable, in everything from watches to eyeglasses to...motorcycle helmets.
But is modern industrial design compatible with something as functional as a motorcycle helmet? That's what we wanted to know.

MOMO has a small line of helmets, including the full-face "Devil", the Komposit carbon-fiber model shown here, and the "Fighter". The MOMO Fighter helmet has recently been in the news as the first helmet to have an optional Bluetooth communication capability, jointly developed with Motorola. This is an interesting concept, because the Bluetooth wireless capability could mean things like hiding a radio, voice communications and safety information somewhere on the motorcycle while providing wireless communication to the rider.
We chose the Komposit for this review simply because it looked cool and it embodies some of the classic MOMO design elements. The first thing that is noticeable about the Komposit is its weight, or lack thereof. At 949 grams (2 lbs., 1-1/2 oz.), this has to be one of the lightest motorcycle helmets available. It's lighter even than the Vega XTS half-helmet (see the wBW review), which weighs in at 974 grams, yet the Komposit is still ECE 22.05 approved.
The panels of carbon fiber on either side of the helmet appear to be of good quality, and they provide the helmet with it's unique look. The shape of the Komposit is sort of a take on the typical half-helmet, but it's not quite as large as an open-face helmet. It's two ear coverings are reminiscent of a 1940's leather fighter pilot helmet with its ear flaps, complete with a nylon webbed chin strap.

Unfortunately, the chin strap uses a quick release, and doesn't have a loop or device to secure the loose end, which is a puzzling design oversight. Although the loose strap end hanging down does give the wearer that wind-in-the-face look of a '40's era barnstormer.
There was a short strip of padding that came in the box that can be wrapped around the strap to provide minimal padding under the chin. It folds over the strap and closes with a section of "hook and loop" fastener. Since the strap cuts right under the Adam's Apple (thyroid cartilage), any padding in this area is helpful.
The Komposit's liner is comfortable enough, and we found that the padding works for riders with or without eyeglasses. There are no cutouts for the ears; just a solid section of padding on either side. The sizing seems just about perfect; a size large fit exactly as expected.
The visor is also a distinctive design element on the Komposit. It's not your typical motorcycle helmet visor; this one is relatively flimsy, although it does the job. But this is where the style of the helmet seems to take precedent over functionality. The visor's edge trim a sort of cheap-looking vinyl that's sewn on.
The visor is attached to either side of the helmet with a faux carbon-fiber connector section that has small rivets added in a rather untidy fashion. And the circular spacers that allow the visor to rotate up and down have a very thin matte metal plating that is already flaking off on our brand new specimen (blue arrow, photo left).
The helmet shell has a vinyl stitched edging around the entire circumference. Depending upon your taste, it either adds to the retro look or it gives it the style of a circa 1950's football helmet.
It's always surprising when an open-face helmet is quieter than a full-face, but the Komposit seems to have less noise than might be expected. The visor does flex a little at speed, which is especially noticeable on an unfaired bike. But it's very comfortable and so light weight that it feels just like wearing no helmet at all.
We have mixed feelings on the "MOMO DESIGN" script across the back of the helmet. A simple "MOMO" would probably suffice. But it probably wouldn't be too hard to cover this area up with reflective stickers or paint if you don't care for the large text.
One thing's for certain: you won't see yourself coming and going when you're wearing the Komposit. I rode a friend's cruiser down to the local hangout, and the crowd absolutely loved it. Everyone wanted to know where they could get one. So maybe MOMO will start a new trend - helmet-wearing cruiser riders!



Performance factors

A tire is a pneumatic system, which supports a vehicle's load. It does this by using a compressed gas (usually air) inside to create tension in the carcass. It is important to realize that a tire carcass has a high-tension strength, but has little or no compression strength. It is the air pressure that creates tension in the carcass and allows the tire to function as a load-carrying device. That's why inflation is so important.

The tire does not support the load-the air pressure does. The manufacturer's ratings for the maximum load and inflation pressure are critical tire design elements. If not observed, the handling and performance of your motorcycle will be greatly affected.

Two points to remember:

  1. A tire must transmit handling (acceleration, braking, cornering) to the road.
  2. A tire also acts as a spring between the rim and the road. This spring characteristic is very important to the vehicle's ride.

Under/Over inflation

Under inflated tires can result in imprecise cornering, reduce ability to support the load (traction), higher running temperatures, irregular tread wear at the edge of the contact patch, fatigue cracking, overstressing and splitting in the sidewall.

Special Note: If splitting happens on the inside of the tire and is hidden from your sight, then it can spread and eventually result in a blister and blow out of the sidewall. This sudden deflation may cause loss of control with serious consequences.

Over inflating tires does not increase load carrying capacity, but will result in a hard ride through the transmitting of shock loads to the suspension, reduces the a tire’s ability to withstand road impacts, and cause accelerated tire wear in the center of the contact patch.

Temperature Effects

Air pressure is affected by temperature. The air under pressure in a tire is no exception. Typically, an inflation pressure can change by 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature change. Higher temperature means increased pressure.

For example, if a tire is inflated to 35 psi on an 80-degree day in July, it could have an inflation pressure of 23 psi on a 20-degree day 6 months later in January. This represents a normal loss of 6 psi over the six months and an additional loss of 6 psi due to the 60-degree temperature change. At 23 psi, this tire is severely under-inflated.

If the rear tire is inflated to 40 psi on a summer morning with a temp of 60 and a high of 90-degrees--tire pressures can reach around 44 psi possibly exceeding the tire’s maximum rating.

Checking Tire Pressure
How does one go about checking tire Pressure? Several factors determine recommended tire pressure: Weight, ambient temperature, road conditions, and comfort (handling) Each factor must be considered when adjusting tire pressure.

Check cold tire pressure frequently with a good quality gauge that holds a reading, and always before extended trips.

Check your pressures daily when you are on a trip and remember that every 1 psi of air lost is approximately equivalent to losing 60 or 70 pounds of load carrying capacity.

Heavier loads-dual riding and/or luggage

For high-speed, fully loaded or dual-riding touring motorcycle applications, inflate front tires to maximum recommended by vehicle manufacturer for OEM fitment and rear tires to maximum load inflation pressure on sidewall. Notice that that front tire is inflated to the motorcycle manufacturer recommendation, not the sidewall. This is the optimal pressure for best braking performance under the load conditions tested by the manufacturer.

Another rule-of-thumb is to increase both front and rear tire pressure by 2 psi for every 100 lb. (up to maximum motorcycle load capacity stated in the owner’s manual.) All increases to tire pressures are usually within 4 psi of motorcycle manufacturer recommendation for an unladen motorcycle but never exceed maximum pressure stated on tire.

Making life simple

Check the tire pressure in the morning before a ride. If the ambient temperature is between 50 to 60 degrees; set the psi to motorcycle manufacturers specs for OEM tires. Any variance in conditions usually takes care of its self after that with the exception of extreme load changes and adjustments for rain, snow, dirt, or grass.

What if my tires are not OEM?

Call the Tire manufacturer and say the following:

Hi my name is [that would be you]. I recently bought your [Model] tires for my [make, model, year] and was wondering what the recommended inflation is with an ambient temperature of 50-degrees Fahrenheit and [ x pounds—that’s your weight] of load.

After he/she recovers from the shock of your remarkable intelligence, you will have your baseline for making adjustments to tire pressure.

Thanks to Dunlap and Metzeler for providing technical data.


A Purchasing Guide for Leather Motorcycle Apparel

Since the dawn of the age of motorcycling, it was apparent that something was needed to protect the exposed human body from the elements. The natural solution was leather. The leather motorcycle jacket, a style made popular by such movie icons as James Dean and “the Fonz”, not only serves as a fashion statement, but is an essential piece of equipment to any serious biker for keeping warm, dry, and in one piece. A good “riding grade” leather jacket combined with motorcycle chaps or leather pants, will act as a second skin between you and the road, and can quite literally “save your hide”. With all this in mind, let’s explore the things to consider when purchasing motorcycle leathers.

The most common material for motorcycle leather is cowhide, chosen for its strength and durability. Buffalo hide, another high quality leather, is made not from the U.S. buffalo, but the water buffalo most commonly found in India and Pakistan. Many leather products come from this part of the world, and the Pakistanis are world renown for their expertise in the manufacturing of leather garments. Whichever type of hide you choose, you must understand the tanning process, and how it adds or detracts from the quality of the leather.

Leather was of course once the skin of an animal, and therefore must go through a tanning process to strengthen it, and to keep it from decomposing. Tanning makes the skin stable and rot proof without sacrificing its structure and strength. The tanning process involves several stages, including the removal of the hair and the outer layer of skin, as well as the fatty part of the flesh. The hide is then stabilized by one of several methods using animal oils, alum, chrome salts or vegetable tanning. How it is actually finished determines the quality, or riding grade, for our purposes.

Types of Leather

To fully understand the types of leather available, one must first know the term “grain”. The grain is simply the epidermis, or outer layer of the animal’s skin. While imperfections such as cuts, scars, and scratches will exist, the grain in its natural state has the best fiber strength, and therefore the best durability. The grain also has natural breathability, resulting in greater comfort to the wearer.

Finished Split Leather
The middle or lower section of a hide that has been split into two or more thicknesses. A polymer coating is applied and embossed to mimic grain leather. Finished splits should only be used in low stress applications because they basically have no grain. If the polymer coating is left out it is often used to make suede. Not considered to be riding grade, but can look good nevertheless.

Top Grain Leather
Top grain leather has been sanded to remove scars and imperfections, then sprayed or pasted for a uniform look. The smooth side is where the hair and the natural grain used to be. Top grain is not the same quality as full grain or naked leather, but thicknesses of 1.2-3mm make this type of leather a very strong and durable riding grade material.

Full-Grain and Naked Leather
Full-Grain leather is made from the finest hides, and has not been sanded to remove imperfections. Only the hair has been removed. In the case of Naked Leather, where nothing other than the dye is added; this very soft leather requires no breaking in period. Hides are typically 2mm thick, and must be hand picked for uniformity. The natural full-grain naked leather will wear better than other leather, and will actually improve over the years. This type of leather is the ultimate riding grade; the most sought after, and consequently, the most expensive.

Now that we know what type of leather we want, we must understand the fact that leather is hot, and understand the options that we have for the climate we live in. For winter biking, a jacket with side laces and a belt will allow you to adjust the jacket to fit snugly against the upper body. Of course, being able to fully zip up only adds to your protection from the wind. You can also wear a leather vest underneath your motorcycle jacket for extra warmth. For hot summer days, a leather jacket with air vents allows the air to circulate underneath the jacket and around your body. For an all year round jacket, consider one with a zip or snap out insulated lining.

Leather is not meant to get wet, as that tends to deplete the natural oils, and it is advisable to wear a rain suit over your leathers in inclement weather. However if they do get wet, allow them to dry naturally away from extreme heat. If the leather seems to be losing its luster, it can be oiled to improve its appearance. This supplements the natural oils in the leather itself, which can be washed out through repeated exposure to water. Frequent oiling of leather with mink oil or other commercially available products will keep your leathers supple and improve their lifespan dramatically.

Now that you have found the perfect biker jacket, take care of it, and it will reward you with years of wear. The typical lifetime of a heavy textile jacket will be from 3 to 6 years at the most. A well maintained top quality leather motorcycle jacket will easily give you 10 years and more of riding pleasure!



Riding alone, I love it. I like riding with friends and small groups but it can be a hassle. Different personalities, riding styles etc. Some folks like to rush between stops, or take too long. A simple 2 hour ride can turn into 4 hrs with strategy sessions. Or they're rushing so fast, you don't have time to savor and enjoy the ride.

Riding alone you can ride your own ride. Pace yourself in the way that suits you. Here are few of my tips though. The following list are the basics I take with me whenever I take a trip, whether it's just a short half-day/day, weekend or over several days.

  1. Make sure you know where you going. Go over your route with a good map and make sure you keep it with you.
  2. Be sure that someone has a copy of your route and approximate arrival times.
  3. Have designated check-in times.
  4. Cell phone is a must. It is the most significant tool you can have.
  5. But even if you're not mechanically inclined, keep some basic tools with you. I carry one of those multi-headed screwdrivers. A couple of different size wrenches and Allen wrenches. Flashlight and fresh batteries, road flares and pocket knife. I figure, well hell, if I don't know what to do with them, someone who might stop to help will and I will at least have the tools they need.
  6. Small first aid kit.
  7. Bottle of water, fruit bars or trail mix.
  8. Extra change of clothes, sweater, t-shirt, socks and rain gear.

Last and strictly optional and depending on your comfort zone, conscience and training. I also travel with a gun, 9mm Glock. I'm a daughter of a veteran Marine and a Texas born & bred mom. My pops started taking us to the gun range by the time I was about 10. He wanted make sure his little girls knew how to take care of themselves when he wasn't around.

I'm pretty comfortable riding at night but I try to limit it. It helps cut down opportunities for unexpected encounters with Bambi's, other wild critters and drunk drivers. I plan most of my trips to leave early in the morning to give myself plenty of daylight driving time.

This is about it. I'll post another time some of my solo travel adventures. I would also like to hear from other riders who ride solo frequently and what they do.

Some other tips :

  • Carry a calling card with you
  • Carry some quarters for a pay phone
  • Always advise someone of your trip plans and arrange a regular check-in schedule.


Group Riding Hand Signal 1

If the images does'nt move,click the images

Start Engine
With your right or left arm extended,move your index finger in a circular motion.

Left Turn

Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow fully extended

Right Turn

Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow bent 90 degrees vertically

Hazard Left
Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and point
towards the hazard

Hazard Right A
Extend your right arm at 45 degree angle and point towards the hazard

Hazard Right B
Extend your left arm upward at a 45 degree angle with your elbow bent to 90 degrees and point towards the hazard over your helmet.

Speed Up
Raise your left arm up and down with your index finger ectended upward.This indicates the leader wants to speed up.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Group Riding Hand Signal 2

Slow down
Extend your left arm at 45 degree angle wuth the palm of your hand up and down

Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle with the palm of your hand
facing rearward.

Single File
Position your left hand over your helmet with your fingers extended upward.This indicates the leader wants the group in a single formation.Usually this is done for safety reason.

Side by Side Formation or Staggered
Extend your left arm upward at a 45 degree angle with your index and pinkie finger extended.This indicate that it is safe to return to staggered formation

Tighten Up
Raise your left arm and repeatedly move up and down in a pulling motion.This indicates the leader wants the group to close ranks.

Ticked Off
Extend your left arm straight out with your elbow bent 90 degrees.
Carefully extend your middle finger to clearly demonstrate your
dissatisfaction with other guy.NOTE : It is recommended
you do this when you are alone


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Helmets..How safe is it?

1. Helmets are shown to have no statistically significant effect on the probability of a
fatality given that a motorcycle accident has occurred. This means that based on standard
statistical tests we cannot reject the claim that helmets do not affect the probability that a
rider will survive a motorcycle accident.
2. The major determinants of fatality are the rider's crash speed (kinetic energy) and
blood alcohol level.
3. For the average rider involved in the average accident, it is found that the probability
of death increases from 2.1% to 11.3% when the rider's blood alcohol level increases
from 0.0 to 0.1 (from sober to legally intoxicated in most states).
4. In the same vein, an increase in the crash speed from 40 to 60 mph increases the
probability of death from 7.1% to 36.3%
5. It is found that helmets have a statistically significant effect in reducing head injury
severity. We can reject the hypothesis that helmets have no effect on head injuries in
favor of the claim that they reduce head injuries.

6. It is shown that past a critical impact velocity to the helmet (approximately 13 mph),
helmet use has a statistically significant effect which increases the severity of neck
injuries. Thus we reject the claim that, helmets have no effect on neck injuries in favor of
the claim that, past a critical impact speed, they exacerbate neck injuries.
7. As a result of (5) and (6), we establish that a tradeoff between head and neck
injuries confronts a potential helmet user. Past a critical impact speed to the helmet
(13 mph), which is likely to occur in real life accident situations helmet use reduces
the severity of head injuries at the expense of increasing the severity of neck
So helmets are proven in this report, to significantly reduce head iunjuries. It also reports that above 13mph the helmet "exacerbates" neck injuries. That does not mean helmets cause neck injuries, but they can exacerbate neck injuries. That in itself is not substantial arguement against wearing helmets, but also is not substantial arguement to fight mandatory helmet laws.
Keep in mind the 13 mph speed has little to do with the cycle speed at the time of the accident. That speed is the actual speed of the rider's body in motion when the helmet worn struck something. A rider could fall off a bike at 45 mph, and slide some distance (scrubbing off speed, literally) before striking an object at a speed close to the 13 mph mentioned in the report.


Do not Ride Side by Side

Maybe it's because we all watched CHiPs on tv back in the 70's. Or maybe because humans tend to want to be social beasts. But riding cycles side-by-side in one lane is not a good idea. CHips was just a tv show, and most scenes where done on a trailer with the bikes riding on top. Also, the REAL motorcops are highly trained professional riders.

Years ago I used to ride side-by-side with friends. It seemed we were always trying to talk to each other (not a good idea), and I was usually on the inside line, constantly watching the side of the lane and road edge to watch for problems, cracks, uneven road sections, etc. It wasn't as comfortable as when I was on the road by myself because I was constantly worrying about the other bike.
There are many reasons NOT to ride side-by-side;
1) Two cycles in one lane are wider than one car or truck. It "may" be good for visibility, but it leaves little room for error on either riders part. Why limit your options?
2) You have to depend on your riding buddies capabiilties, attitude, skills, judgement, experience level to maintain a safe gap and control. We have enough to be concerned with our own riding. Why mix in another factor that will impact your riding?
3) If something happens, say a car pulling out turning right into your lane, your options are limited. What if you have to suddenly move over, and you riding buddy wasn't paying attention? He/she has just compromised your options and put you into a further tight spot. As a riding buddy, I would never want to be responsible for my riding partner's possible injury.
4) You might be a great rider, tons of experience, capabilities above average, attention levels above normal, excellant visual processing, but is your riding buddy everything equal and more? Has he/she experienced all you have and possess the same skills?
5) You each react differently to stressfull conditions. You may be handle an emergency condition easliy because of your training and preparedness. Is your riding buddy exactly your equal?
6) What if your buddy suffers a serious brain fart and is suddenly into your lane section or bike?
7) Think of the MSF training where we stressed maintian a safety cushion all around you, or about utilizing your lane position to communicate or increase visibility. Riding close together violates that logic.
8) One of the benefits of group riding is you have extra eyes on the road, you can get info from other rider;s reactions. You can also learn from their riding style, and line through curves, etc. But, you really can't view this or have an opportunity to see what their doing if you are right next to them.
9) If you are constantly concerned about the other bike, then you have lost part of your riding focus. Someday you'll miss something critital that will affect both of you.
10) Riding in a staggered pattern gives the leading rider more room, and the option of indicating hazards to the following riders.
10) Cycle riding is one endeavour that allows us to be totally selfish, our riding is for us alone. Why give up part of the pleasure of YOUR ride, by worrying about the person next to you? And if you aren't worried about them next to you, you should be, because something WILL happen eventually.
So, don't ride side-by-side, especially on any road anywhere near any city. I think the only place I might consider a brief side-by-side is in South Dakota on I-90, or maybe out in the middle of Nowhere Nebraska or Nevada. But, where do you see most side-by-side riders? On in-city interstates, or local backroads in the country, even on city streets (the absolute WORST place for it). If a cycle I don't know pulls up next to me I back off. If a meet a new rider and we decide to ride together I tell him/her I ride a staggered pattern. I have done thousands of miles in group rides with the BMW touring club I'm in. I have learned a lot from my fellow riders and enjoyed RIDING MY RIDE along with a group. Enjoy your ride!


The Crittical Skills You have to Master

Motorcycling is great once you learn it. But it can be frightening, dangerous if you don't know it. I'd say maybe, 5% of the public have the intuitive skills that allow them to ride well from day one. that leaves 95% of us who don't know squat about motorcycles, riding, surviving unless we learn it. That's why I have always felt there are what I call CRITICAL skills all riders must master to survive. So what are they?

1) Cornering: this covers everything from sightlines, apex choice, lane position, traction control, visual control, counter-steering and more. Ever hear a rider say "the bike just wouldn't turn?". Over 40% of cycle accidents are single bike accidents running off the road so this is definitely a critical skill.
2) Braking: this includes bike stability, stopping in a curve, traction control (again) visual control (again), braking setup before a curve, HIGH EFFORT BRAKING, proper use of one or both brakes depending on the circumstance and knowing when to use which technique, and more. Many of us have heard "had to lay er' down" which is usually a knee-jerk reaction to a panic/pucker factor mistake. That makes it a critical skill.
3) Bike stability: this involves traction control (AGAIN), balance, understanding of motorcycle dynamics and physics (what experienced riders call "feel"). Because it is a key element of "keeping the rubber side down" it is a critical skill.
5) Swerving: Swerving and the ability to QUICKLY and ACCURATELY move a motorcycle exactly where you want it is a skill that develops with training and seat time. It involves bike stability (always), traction control (again with the TC!), visual control (more yet!?), ACTIVE counter-steering and knowing how the bike reacts. A wrong move here could actually drive you right into the hazard!! Sounds like a critical skill to me.
4) Vision: Huh? Vision? We all got it, haven't seen too many blind riders. This is a critical skill? It is because ACTIVE, AGGRESSIVE VISUAL CONTROL can impact your riding almost more than any other factor. ALL of the pro riders have phenomenal visual capabilities, we make do with ours but you have to learn how to use it right.
5) Traction control: Anyone notice I mentioned traction control a few times? Well, throttle and clutch control here are critical to maintain bike stability. We've all seen a rider dump/pop the clutch, and crank in way to much throttle and seen the ugly results. Almost all motorcycles have FAR more power per pound of weight than most cars, unless you drive a Ferrari F40. Gotta learn how to manage it.
6) Attitude: This is a big one, because it detemines how we approach riding, how we understand our skills, abilities and especially our limitations. It's what keeps our ego in check while riding. To the experienced riders this is what's going on between the ears that tells us when we should or should NOT ride. It makes us realize who is most responsible for what happens to us (ourselves in other words). It affects our JUDGEMENT, which can defintiely have a critical impact on our riding.
7) Street/survival skills: HUGE! 50%+ of all accidents are the car turning left in front of us. Trained skills here help us avoid this altogether, which is far better than reacting to it. No one just "knows" this, but develops it or learns it from those of us who know. This is the experienced rider's intuition, that triggers something in the brain to be ready, change lanes, change speed, signal, downshift, brake, whatever to avoid a threatening situation. A mistake in a car may injure you. A mistake on a bike is MUCH more likely to kill you. This is one of the top level critical skills.
Every one of these are not intuitive to riding, and must be learned, practiced and mastered to survive.
I welcome any comments or additions to further develop this list. To all the new riders out ZX9R as your first bike? Those who think they are "experienced riders", do you have all of these mastered? If not, get trained. Open up your mind, relax your ego, admit you have a lot to learn. We all do.


The Kapchai Chronicles

Kapchai is become a subculture in Malaysian Culture,as i stated in earlier blog..kapcai term came from the term CUB and started when honda cub came to malaysian market..a decade and decade after that..a lot of choices to motorcycles CUB beside Honda Cub 70cc..

as far as i know ,only south east asia is the region where the user CUB or Kapchai is mostly populated.In the Malaysia alone,majority of bikers are using kapchai,compare to big bike which is some of it considered as expensive bike,furthermore the maintenance is higher compare to kapchai.

The kapchai subculture then bring the Cub Prix which is racing for Cub,in Malaysia the cub prix organised by Sports Minister along with Petronas (a house hold name for multinational petroleum Company).There is also Cub Prix for asian(south east asian cup)


Friday, September 14, 2007

History of Choppers

Upon returning from World War II, soldiers seemed dissatisfied with the motorcycles that were being built by Harley-Davidson and Indian. The bikes they had rode in Europe were lighter, sleeker, and were much more fun to ride.

These vets started to hang out with other ex-soldiers to relive some of the camaraderie they had felt in the service. These groups of buddies realized that their motorcycles needed changes that Harley was not providing.

These new "bikers" (another new term at the time) started their "chopping" by removing or shortening (bobbing) the fenders on their bikes. This made the bikes look cool and uncluttered. They originally called the new chopped bikes "Bobbers". The bikes kept evolving through the 60's and in the 70's and they started to call them "Choppers". In 1969 the movie "Easy Rider" was released which brought the Chopper into the public eye. That movie set into motion the wave of cool Choppers and Chopper builders that we see today. People wanted a Chopper and nobody was building them so they had to go build them themselves.

Just what is a Chopper? The Chopper is created by removing or "chopping" off unnecessary parts from the bike. Who needs a windshield, front fenders, big headlights, clumsy blinkers, crash bars, big seats, etc? Chop them off and make the bike sleeker and lighter. Bikers started raking the front end so the tire was further from the bike, it gave the bike a cool look, which goes a long way with a biker. Handlebars were raised high and called ape hangers. The front tire was made thinner and the rear tire was made fatter. Some bikers even removed the battery and used a magneto to reduce weight. The gas tank, headlight, and blinkers were all made smaller. Anything deemed to be unnecessary was removed. This made for a bike style that was unique and tailored to each rider since each rider decided just what needed to be done to his bike to create the Chopper he desired.

As individual backyard mechanics started to get noticed, more talented designers started building Choppers and their work became highly sought after. An individual now no longer needed to actually do the Chopper work, just express what he wanted to a Chopper designer and the designer would do the rest. Arlen Ness was one of the first and most recognized such designers.

In the 1990's, the Chopper movement was revitalized. Although Harley Davidson is best known in the biker world, there are many other brands that people use to build Choppers. To many chopper riders, it's the end product that matters, not the name brand, but there will always be a segment of bikers that only want Harley.

Choppers started because riders were dissatisfied with what Harley-Davidson was producing. Rather than abandon H-D, riders streamlined the H-D bikes by removing excess equipment and then modifying the engines, rake, and suspension. The result was a personalized bike much like the bike in Easy Rider.

The steady evolution of the motorcycle continues. New factory bikes are more and more technically sophisticated with plenty of accessories, yet the Chopper continues to thrive as riders seek that minimalist simplicity that only the Chopper can supply. Are Choppers here to stay? Absolutely! No machine looks as good and none are more fun to ride.



Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hubless Chopper

i still confused each time looking at this type of chopper..hubless chopper,as far as i know ther is only one chopper builder in malaysia that built this hubless chopper.. atan of locklaq Custom Choppers


Jaguh Motorcycles: Jaguh Model Gurl

This picture taken from 2006 international Motorshow in PWTC..

the sexy cute girl is sitting on colourful Modenas Jaguh..

err ..simply i cannot say the colourful bikes as customised Jaguh..where is other Jaguh Customiser..hehehe

why modenas put that so colourful bike there,they should call Batu Pahat Hawk or Shah Alam County Chopper to show their modified jaguh there,,


awek rempit with Mat rempit

Awek rempit...pergh..what really they want to show??

follow their boyfriend when rempitting ?? (hehe there is no such word in english) hehe)


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Jaguh Motorcycle : Custom Radical Jaguh

this is more radical of custom Jaguh

this Jaguh Trike belong To member of Batu Pahat HAWK..Batu pahat is county of Johor State,the south state of West Malaysia.


Custom Jaguh motorcycle/ Jaguh Chopper

One of Modenas Product is Modenas jaguh,the motorcycle is only one of easyrider type of it family beside the cub and scooters.All over Malaysia there's a lot of Jaguh Bikers Club,part of them also have been customised by their owner.

this bike owner nickname is Pako from SACC (Shah Alam County Chopper) Shah alam is state capital of Selangor.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Underbones or Underbone Motorcycles are a class of small motorcycles (also known as mopeds in some countries) that are halfway between true scooters and motorcycles. Underbones are popular in East Asian and South East Asian countries for their low cost, reliability and fuel efficiency. They are referred to as kapchai in Malaysia.


Underbones are usually built around a singular tube frame (the "underbone") that supports the whole

Most underbones are still using carburetors for the fuel system, with the exception of Honda Wave 125i which uses fuel injection. While most motorcycles have their fuel tanks positioned at the top front part, the fuel tanks in underbones are located below the seats. All modern underbones use capacitor discharge ignition for the ignition system. Underbones usually carry engines of about 50 cc to 125 cc with the largest displacement being 150 cc for bikes such as the Suzuki Raider 150. Most modern underbone models are capable of reaching highway speeds (at least 110-120 km/h) and allowed to be used on expressways in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. However, underbones are not allowed to be used on Indonesian tollways and Philippine tollways.

Underbone accessories

Most underbone motorcycles sold in Southeast Asia comes with standard steel basket, allowing riders to carry goods. For more storage capacity, riders can also purchase optional removable storage compartment (also known as the top box), which comes with free installation of the bracket to the frame to attach the storage compartment. Some underbone models such as Honda Wave and Modenas X-cite comes with additional storage compartment under the seat (motorcycle trunk) for more storage capacity.

Underbones developed from early moped models introduced in the early 1950's, many of which were simply bicycles with motors attached. One of the first underbone like motorcycles was the Honda Cub and it was arguably the success of the Cub that brought about the modern underbone. However, it was later plastic bodied, tube frame mopeds like the Honda Wave that set the modern standards from which most, if not all underbones are drawn from today.

The origin of the word "kapchai"

The word "kapcai" or "kapchai" is originally a slang derived from Malaysian Cantonese and Hokkien, its origin is from the word Honda Cub. In Cantonese "Cai" means "little" or "Son". Therefore,"Kapcai" literally means a "Small Cub". Honda is a popular brand in Malaysia and as a result of this, all underbone motorbikes were called "kapchai".

Underbone Culture

In South East Asia, underbones are very popular. There exists a healthy market for aftermarket and tuner parts. Many enthusiasts modify their underbones either for show, such as installing small sound systems, neon lights and custom paint jobs or for racing, like increasing the engine power and fine tuning the suspension. Illegal underbone drag racing has become popular in countries like the Philippines, this poses a problem as underbones offer little protection in the event of a crash. The most popular underbone for these purposes is the Honda xrm although similar models from Kawasaki and Yamaha are also frequently used. Street racing culture among teenage underbone riders in Malaysia has now become serious, especially in large urban areas such as in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru. The street racers who are known as Mat Rempit always ride in dangerous manner and they are famous with their Superman stunt and also their cilok antics where they weave in-between the moving traffic at high speed. The Malaysian Police and Road Transport Department frequently launch operations to curb street racing.

Underbone manufacturers

Basically, the market for underbone motorcycles are mostly dominated by Japanese manufacturers. However, Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers also produce their underbone models, but most models are copied directly from the existing models by Japanese manufacturers, which is considered as copyright violation issue. Some of the mostly copied models include Honda Wave series and Yamaha Lagenda series. MZ Motorrad of Germany is currently the only non-Asian underbone manufacturer; however, their underbone models are not produced in Germany but rather in Malaysia.

The major underbone manufacturers are as follows:-

  • Japanese: Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki
  • Malaysian: Momos Motor, Naza Bikers,Modenas
  • German: MZ Motorrad


Cub..,kapchai and Motorcycle..whats the link?

Ever think of why in Malaysia the underbone bikes are call kapchai or in other word cub.As the real meaning of cub is The young of certain carnivorous animals, such as the bear, wolf, or lion. A youth, especially one who is inexperienced, awkward, or ill-mannered.

Its all start with Honda Cub,The Honda Cub debuted in 1958, 10 years after the establishment of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. The name 'Cub' was said to be the acronym of Cheap Urban Biketransportation in busy cities. The name also likely refers to the earlier Piper Cub, an affordable and extremely popular light aircraft from the 1930s possessing many of the same mechanical qualities of the Honda bike (note that improved versions of the Piper Cub were also called Super Cubs, with spacing in between the words).
because the development of this model was aimed to provide a kind of cheap urban
The word "kapcai" or "kapchai" is originally a slang derived from Malaysian Cantonese and Hokkien, its origin is from the word Honda Cub. In Cantonese "Cai" means "little" or "Son". Therefore,"Kapcai" literally means a "Small Cub". Honda is a popular brand in Malaysia and as a result of this, all underbone motorbikes were called "kapchai".


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