Saturday, December 23, 2006
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from The Superbike Blog
This is just a quick post to wish all my readers a happy holiday season and best wishes for a prosperous new year. Peace on earth and good will towards men. We'll see you in 2007.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
My take on the powder keg that is the MSF lawsuits
Several of you have been asking me questions about what's happening within the MSF lately, specifically regarding the lawsuits recently filed by them against some of their sponsorships. I'm going to fill you in to the best of my knowledge, and for the first time, publicly voice my criticisms of the MSF in this matter. Why, you ask? Because it's a matter of principle. I don't feel right expressing my otherwise strong opinions on everything else in the American motorcycle culture, while at the same time going tight-lipped with regard to these potentially volatile MSF issues. Understand that I am probably risking my instructor certification by doing so.
In a nutshell, all this legal posturing may be a precursor to what many believe is a covert plan by the MSF to eliminate state-run programs and sell private franchises, which would be very, very lucrative. Under current 501 non-profit rules, all the MSF has to do is take their profits and give them back to their sister entity, the MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council), which in turn perpetually funds the MSF. Basically, it's a way to establish total control while remaining classified as a seemingly benevolent NPO.
In the meantime, the MSF course curriculum (which they've always shared openly with training providers) is suddenly being snatched away from those who refuse to play the MSF's game. The result is the lawsuits MSF is currently filing against those who teach the curriculum without so-called "permission". Winning these suits potentially puts the MSF in a position to take over as sole owners of the courses. The problem is that much of the curriculum is not copyrightable. After all, how can one claim intellectual property rights on braking or swerving a motorcycle, simply because they've placed it in a certain context? This comon-sense concept isn't phasing the MSF, however, as they begin entrenching anyone who attempts to go it alone in deep, expensive, legal quicksand.
"There are indications that California might already be a trial balloon for franchises. According to an anonymous source with intimate associations to the MSF, Kevin Krasner, the MSF State Program Coordinator, has prepared a list of alternate sites for every current training site in operation. Krasner allegedly told the source that [MSF/MIC Big Wheel] Tim Buche ordered him to do so before the MSF took over the state. With additional sites already lined up the MSF could then take over any territory with less than two weeks interruption in training." - Motorcycle Consumer News
If the MSF simply wanted to go private-sector/for-profit, then more power to them. But that's seemingly not their goal. Many assert that they're trying to underhandedly eliminate their potential competition along the way, and in doing so, they lose my support.
For more reading on this subject, click here.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I love being able to ride all year 'round
Friday, December 01, 2006
The straight dope on frame sliders
Here are some tips and mythbusting on the subject of frame sliders -- those little plastic, aluminum, or carbon fiber bobbins you sometimes see protruding out of a sportbike's side fairings.
1. Most are not intended to protect bodywork
Despite popular belief and even the marketing efforts of some parts distributors, the main function of frame sliders is to protect the motorcycle's frame in the event of a crash, not its bodywork. Thus the name, frame sliders. This reasoning is based in the fact that it takes very little frame damage to total a sportbike. With their space-age alloy frames, which many times cannot be heated or beaten during the repair process, the only viable option in some cases is simply to replace the entire piece. The inherent costs associated with frame replacement usually result in the bike being totaled by the insurance adjuster.
2. Frame sliders that bolt into small bodywork fasteners usually fail in a crash
I found this out the hard way, when I lowsided my ZX6R last year. As I picked myself up and walked toward the Red Sled, I began to notice that the frame protector had broken off at the bolt. My sweet, crimson mistress lay pitifully on her side, her lower right fairing cheesed beyond repair.
Any frame slider set you buy should have heavy-duty bolts (i.e., titanium) that replace load-bearing bolts such as those found at a motor mount. Otherwise, you're pretty much wasting your money in my opinion. A small-diameter bodywork bolt usually won't support the bike's weight and the other dynamic forces placed upon it, save for perhaps just a simple fall from a standstill.
3. Don't bother with fancy materials -- plastic works just fine
Why spend the extra money for milled amluminum or carbon fiber when the bobbin itself is a disposable object whose job is to destroy itself in a crash? Many AMA, WSB, and MotoGP teams use simple plastic bobbins, and I tend to agree with that practice. Anything else is little more than excessive bling. Here's why: