Harley Davidson to Offer Free Motorcycle Training to Military Personnel in 2016

Today, in the U.S., it is Veterans’ Day. It is therefore a good today for Harley Davidson to announce that it will be offering free motorcycle training to current and former members of the U.S. Military throughout 2016.

Earlier this year (May through September), Harley Davidson ran “Mission Open Road”, during which 6.500 military people took part in free training at Harley Davidson dealerships. Following the success of that programme, they have decided to extend the offer for the entire year of 2016.

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Yamaha Resonator Concept

Among the other concept vehicles showing this week at the Tokyo Motor Show is this little gem. It’s the Yamaha Resonator 125 concept. It is Yamaha’s vehicle aimed at capturing the attention of “young people who have not yet discovered the joys of motorcycling.”

The single-cylinder, 125cc fuel-injected engine is conventional. Less conventional, however, is the styling, which includes wood panelling on the sides of the tank, and brass detailing. A decidedly modern instrument cluster belies the otherwise retro—even caf feel of the machine. Some people may not know that Yamaha was originally (and still is) a musical instrument manufacturer. Their famous logo is, after all, three tuning forks. Yamaha say that the wood inlay is the same as used on their guitars, and the brass engraving produced by the same techniques they use on their brass and woodwind instruments.

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Motobot Calls Out Valentino Rossi

One of the more interesting things to come from the Tokyo Motor Show this week goes by the name of “MotoBot”. MotoBot is an autonomous robot being developed by Yamaha, that rides motorcycles.

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Thank You for Riding a Motorcycle

Us motorcyclists know only too well the benefits to riding a motorcycle. These benefits extend to other people and the environment as well as ourselves. Rarely, however, is this acknowledged by others—least of all a politician! It is for this reason that I was so happy to see this video from Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm saying a simple “thank you” to motorbike riders.

Senator Leyonhjelm (New South Wales), who rides a BMW S1000RR, gave this speech to the Australian parliament recently, and we applaud his speaking out for the many benefits (for all) of our two-wheeled transport choice.

Zero Motorcycles Expand Range of Electric Motorcycles for 2016

Electric motorcycles. Love ‘em or no? While I can get as excited as the next guy (or gal) about being projected along the road by a series of explosions, internal combustion isn’t the reason I ride. Heck, you could even relieve my left foot of gear shifting duties, and I’d be just as happy. So I follow the exciting developments of any alternative methods of propulsion in the motorcycle world. One doesn’t talk about electric motorcycles for very long before the name “Zero” comes up. Zero is the California-based company that has been working on bringing electric motorcycles to the mainstream for ten—yes, ten—years now.

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Dianese to Introduce Airbag Jackets

I’m sure I’m not the only who has been told this by a cosseted cager: “Man, you need some airbags on that thing!” Some have even tried. The thing is, of course, that in the unfortunate event of a “get off” we most often… well… get off! It is of little use watching an airbag inflate in your peripheral vision while you’re tumbling down the road as you and your bike part ways.

Now, however, Dianese have come up with what they believe is the perfect answer. Airbags in your jacket!

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Motorcycle Cornering - Positioning for Safety - Part One

If you’ve been following along with my blog posts, you will have seen Positioning – Part One, Positioning – Part Two and Positioning – Part Three. These posts were mainly discussing positioning your motorcycle for maximum view and visibility while riding in a straight line. I purposely did not cover positioning on corners because it is a subject which deservers a post of its own. In fact, it deserves three! This is part one of that series on motorcycle cornering. Remember, to be informed as new posts are made, you can subscribe here!

What I’m about to relate here truly was a “Eureka!” moment for me when I first started my advanced motorcycle training back in the 90′s. I could not believe that I had been riding all those years — completely unaware of how much view and visibility was “there for the taking” — yet I was not taking it. It transformed my riding, and made it a much more relaxing occupation because, suddenly, I was seeing hazards — and potential hazards — literally seconds before I had been seeing them previously. It was as if I had been given a crystal ball to see into the future, and I was very excited!

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Passing/Overtaking on a Motorcycle

Overtaking and passing. These are both terms meaning the same thing — depending on your local lexicon, but they both refer to the act of getting past a vehicle that is going slower than you intend to ride yourself.

For consistency, I will use the term “passing” in this chapter.

Passing is arguably one of the most dangerous things we do while riding, yet, executed with care and planning, it is not something to be feared or unnecessarily avoided. Indeed, sometimes we find that the safest place to be is in front of some hazards.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at how we can make passing the safest activity we can.

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Scanning and Hazard Fixation

I’d like now to talk about a very important skill that the safe rider practises continually — Vigilant Scanning.

On the other side of the coin is a phenomenon that strangely seems to affect those of us on two wheels more than it does drivers of “regular” vehicles – Hazard Fixation.


Less experienced, or less vigilant riders may approach the scene below with the kind of concentration shown here:

They are largely concentrating on what appears to be the immediate hazard, and not really taking in the whole environment. This may be due to sheer lack of experience on the road (a few close-calls is sometimes a very effective, but harsh, teacher). Or it may be because, as a less experienced rider, too much of their concentration is being taken up with controlling the machine.

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Positioning - Part Three

This is the third part of a series of posts on positioning. I would encourage you to read Positioning – Part One and Positioning – Part Two before coming back to this post.

I will wrap up this series of three posts on positioning with a couple of places you don’t want to occupy in the road. But! We will not have finished with the subject of positioning! Later in the blog, I will cover the large subject of positioning when it comes to cornering on a motorcycle. This is a large, but tremendously useful subject which deserves its own set of posts.

So, let’s wrap this series up with those places we don’t wish to be when on the road:

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