Types of Motorcycle Transmission
Not so long ago, the only choice for motorcycle buyers had with regards to vehicle transmission systems was the manual transmission, with the only options being sequential meshed gears. With electronics making their way in as early as in the 90s’, motorcycle transmission systems adapted them to include the dimensions of free riding.
Honda has been at the forefront of new technology and has heavily invested in bringing automatic transmission to everyday motorcycles. Many other major players have their versions of the same, having different acronyms, but ultimately does the same job.
This guide will take you through the various forms of transmissions manufacturers have equipped on their products, and help you with selecting the right style for your adventures on two-wheels.
Spoked Wheels or Cast wheels? Which is the best for your motorcycle?
Back when it all began, wheels were made of wooden rims and wired spokes. It was only in the 20s’ that production of motorcycle wheels with aluminum rims began, and then BMW patented the spoked wheel that cross ran the spokes, allowing the use of tubeless tires. It was only in the ’70s that manufacturers began using Cast Wheels on their high-performing machines.
Even today, both spoked wheels and cast wheels are darn on motorcycles, and are done more so for functionality reasons than for as a fashion element, but is definitely not limited to it. Read on to know the advantages and drawbacks of each of these and to gain inputs while choosing one for your ride.
Motorcycle Braking Systems - Explained
Touted to be the most critical safety feature on a motorcycle, the brake systems are quite obviously the lifesavers. Woking by converting kinetic energy into thermal energy (heat) by friction, the brakes of a motorcycle are some of the most abused mechanical components apart from the tires.
Manufacturers have come a long way from ‘putting a foot out’, to using metal discs and pads, to taking the help of some brilliant electronic wizardry, all to bring a heaving motorcycle and the rider to a halt in the least possible distance and in a safe controlled manner.
This guide elaborates on the various types of braking systems being engineered and equipped on motorcycles and some new technologies for future products.
Maintaining the chain and sprocket of a motorcycle
Power made by the internal combustion engine (or an electric battery unit nowadays) moves your body and soul by sending all that power and torque to the rear wheel of the motorcycle via either a chain drive or a belt drive mechanism.
A belt drive is made of rubber, plastic, and other synthetic substances, and is used on some luxury motorcycles for it requires fewer adjustments and is quieter, cleaner, and runs more smoothly compared to the chain drive.
It doesn’t need any lubrication and is easy to maintain. But it is not the case with chain drives. Here’s our guide to help you with the right care package so that you do not have to end up sitting on the side of a freeway waiting for help that may never arrive.
Motorcycle Tires 101
Rubber meeting the road. This is what makes it all possible for us to twist that throttle and munch miles while the sense of freedom takes us on. Not getting into much of that fluff now, but there will come a point where you will need to get those tires changed onto some fresh ones before it could get a wee bit dangerous or is completely unusable. Most tires last anywhere between 5,000 miles to 15,000 miles. What next?
And that is where we scratched our brains today to bring you answers for questions like "When should we be replacing the tires and with which ones?" Read on, and you could thank us later.
How about a Honda Grom Repsol Fireblade edition?
Honda sort of created a niche for itself with the original Grom in 2014 when it combined big-bike features with scooter-like proportions. Then, Honda dressed up their little Grom in 2017, giving it more aggressive styling and a new LED headlight that was carried over to 2018. Twelve-inch tires, while still small for a motorcycle, are a lot bigger than the Z-series tires and a 30-inch seat sits anyone without hindrances.
But this Blackpool (UK) based dealer has just found a way to make it look like the fasted monkey bike ever by slapping a super cool replica of Marc Marquez’s MotoGP Repsol Fireblade to it, with full fairing and rear panel with seat cowls.
Shanghai Customs have come up with this electric powered eCub 2 bike and kit
Serving 100 million happy customers, the Honda Cub is the first two-wheeler to cross such a mark. Now, the moped is being made at 16 plants spread across 15 countries around the world that serves customers in more than 160 countries. That is some mind-boggling numbers considering the popularity and logistics involved with the Super Cub.
Looking at the future, a Chinese custom house that goes by the name Shanghai Customs is offering their answer to the depleting dinosaur fuel and the increasing environment concerns - the eCub 2. It is a 1000 watt electric scooter that can make a swift 28-mile distance in one full charge. It also comes in a DIY kit to convert an existing Honda Cub to the eCub 2.
The "Fat Sabbath" from Mutt Motorcycles
Born out of a small custom workshop in Birmingham, UK, Mutt Motorcycles entered the production arena with tiny, aggressive looking retro motorcycles underpinned by Chinese and Japanese chassis and motors. Add a host of custom-made components, and the Mutts have managed to cough up quite a decent line-up of some mean looking machines on two-wheels.
For their recent installment, Mutt has come out with the most badass 125cc motorcycle on the planet. Named after the pioneers of heavy metal music, who also come from the same town as Mutt, the “Fat Sabbath” is their brand-new entry into the line of black-themed neo-retro motorcycles that are the blackest of the black (if there is even anything like that).
Dab Designs ’Enhanced Racer’ bolt-on custom kit for the BMW R nineT
For the folks who custom build for a living, BMW’s boxer layout is their holy grail. Nothing else looks as retro and authentic as the two pods pouting out of the frame. Builders turned these spirited machines into a beacon of beauty, simplicity, class, and definition.
A French design house called Dab Designs have had their go on the BMW R NineT, but it isn’t a built like the one you think. There is no cutting, no welding, none of that dirty, oily stuff, but just a bolt-on pre-fabricated kit that can do the customized work for you in just under a couple of hours. It’s called the ER kit.
"Janus" custom bolt-on kit that gives more with less
For someone like me living in an apartment and have no garage of sorts, the itch to customize my ride to my taste always takes the back seat. Calling a stock motorcycle my own is only by force and not with contention. But then again, shelling heaps of cash and the downtime of not having the motorcycle with me while it’s in a garage somewhere on the outskirts of the town is usually why I don’t bother much with it.
Coming to the rescue of such folks are these chaps from Istanbul’s Bunker Custom Cycles that have come up with a bespoke bolt-on custom kit for $1000 that will take up just a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to make your ride look like how you’d imagined it to be. Their first such kit is called the “Janus” that bolts on to the Yamaha MT-03 and MT-25 naked streets.
Yamaha “Turbo Maximus”
After serving 8 years in the Navy, Derek Kimes was scouting for new challenges. But little did he know that a day would come where he would custom build and custom engineer a motorcycle that would go on to win top honors at the Forged Invitational show at the Jekyll Island.
It wasn’t any other motorcycle, but his own 1982 black Yamaha XJ750 Maxim re-engineered to replicate the 1984 XJ750R (0U28) race bike that participated over in Japan in the 1984 Suzuka 8 Hours, both in terms of design and performance. This modern machine gets retrofitted with fuel injection and ...wait for it… a freakin turbo kit.
It’s aptly called the Yamaha “Turbo Maximus” spooling 200 hp.
BMW preps the R 1200 GS Rallye for the GS Trophy
Once every two years, BMW organizes the International GS Trophy where teams from all around the world battle it out in intensive daily stages and numerous special challenges and experience the tour of their lives. This year, the GS Trophy is going to Mongolia from 3 to 10 June 2018, and the teams will ride on 114 units of the BMW R 1200 GS Rallye motorcycles prepped by the folks at BMW.
The R 1200 GS Rallye will get adventure kitted with equipment from the Original BMW Motorrad Accessories catalog allowing the adventure-thirsty riders to take on the challenge without having to worry about the capabilities of the already primed R 1200 GS.
Indian Motorcycles calls for non-pro builders to customize the Scout Bobber
Looking at what customers were making out of their products in the last decade, manufacturers have forayed into satisfying the current wave of enthusiasts wanting custom and classic motorbikes. Factory Customization was born.
Adding itself to this latest trend is our very own darling Indian Motorcycles. Indian teams up with Hot Bike magazine for “The Wrench: Scout Bobber Build Off” contest that will begin March 15th, 2018. They are calling in for participants to submit their creations digitally of which three top designs will be awarded with a new 2018 Scout Bobber to customize along with $10,000 for the build.
The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe
Take a moment and look around you. You would be surprised to learn that 70% of the stuff in your room or office comes all the way from the People’s Republic of China, a country having over a billion people and thousands of years of invention and innovation. Although people vouch for their poor quality of products, let me remind you that Apple makes all of theirs’ right there.
Amongst such giants lies a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts who have vowed to create machines that exuberate caliber on par with the best custom builders in the business. One such is the Beijing’s Mandrill Garage and Café that has been a hotspot for motorcycle enthusiast for well over six years.
Run by a chap called Luo Hao, Mandrill has been custom building motorcycle that expresses highest level of visual elation and euphoria, and his latest creation is the “Dark Fighter”, aptly named to give an anti-retro take on the dark nemesis of the BMW R nineT.
Carberry Motorcycles has been the new kid on the block for the custom scene in the country. The company that was the brainchild of an Australian chap, Paul Carberry, started ‘Dream Engines and Modifications (DEM)’ which started production in 2016 at Bhilai, Chattisgarh. These guys have something special for all of your Royal Enfield lovers out there apart from their first production bike.
A custom made ‘vibration reduction plate’ designed to support and stabilize the right-hand side of the crankshaft. The plate fits in all Royal Enfield machines having a UCE construction. This plate will reduce vibrations usually found on all Enfields at speeds of 35 – 55 mph. It is available for just ₹ 3,000 ($ 45) and is easy to install.
Check out how to install the product in the video below:
The "Alley Rat" becomes the finalist of the Harley-Davidson Battle of the Kings
After nearly three months of building and a month of online voting, the Harley-Davidson Battle of the Kings (BOK) has finally culminated with picking the UK&Ireland winner out of the five finalists that were shortlisted earlier this month.
The Alley Rat, built by Syc Kustoms, the custom side of Sycamore Harley-Davidson of the UK got the best credits by the judges at the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show. The Alley Rat will now go head to head with the finalists from other regions at a Grand Final to take place at Milan’s EICMA exhibition in November 2018 where the “Custom King” will be crowned.
Harley-Davidson launches two factory-custom Sportsters with a little more oomph
That is exactly what the new models are all about. The Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special. These machines pay regards to the throw-back styling trends developed all over by the custom-bike scene with the solid foundation of the Sportster platform and the punchy performance of the Evolution 1200 V-Twin engine.
As part of their new strategy to add 100 new models in the coming decade, Harley-Davidson has already introduced 10 new ones this year: nine new Softails and the Street Rod. Now, the Bar and Shield brand has added two more models in their Sportster lineup, their first after the Roadster was launched back in 2016.
Following the footsteps of what Triumph did with theBonneville Bobber, BMW with its R nineT range, Indian with the Scout Bobber and Ducati with their Scrambler series, Harley is trying to rake up its falling sales with these factory-customs.
Finally someone made a Royal Enfield Bobber
Royal Enfield, has been the spoilt choice for many custom bikers and builders around the globe. They are mental, and they are a gold find for its simplistic construction and the liberty for customization. You can chop it up and put them together, and they will carry a whole new charm.
With the soul of ’go anywhere, do anything’ taking up a new meaning every time it goes under the axe, folks from KR Customs in Chennai (the same place Enfields are made these days) have couped up a retro bobber out of the bullet maker’s best-selling model, the Classic 500.
The finalists of the Battle of the Kings 2018 have been chosen
It might not be the best of times for the Milwaukee brand these recent years. It has recently come under the hammer from Green activists opposing the waiving of pollution fines, and before that, slow growth and lack of customer demands forced the company to decide on closing its factory in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2019.
Luckily, Harley has a few tricks in its arsenal to keep the excitement ticking amongst its enthusiasts. And after nearly three months of building and a month of online voting, the Harley-Davidson Battle of the Kings (BOK) has finally culminated with five finalists from the UK dealer builds (The BOK is conducted for the European dealers only).