Sunday, February 23, 2014

Consumer Reports' first motorcycle reliability report finds Japanese brands ahead

Consumer Reports has released its first ever study of motorcycle reliability, and students of its ratings on cars might notice a suspicious similarity - Japanese brands require fewer repairs than the leading American or German brands.

The study analyzed the reliability of 4,680 bikes owned by CR subscribers and found that Yamaha had the best ratings, with just one in ten bikes built between 2009 and 2012 requiring a repair over a four-year period. The makers of the R1 and R6 sport bikes were closely followed by Kawasaki and Honda, while one out of every four of the rumbling bikes from Harley-Davidson experienced an issue. BMW had the worst rating of the brands represented, with one in three bikes having problems.

According to CR, neither Suzuki nor Triumph owners provided enough information for a reliable rating. Based on the responses received, though, Suzuki would have finished with the other Japanese brands and Triumph, being English, would have been one of the less reliable makes.

As for which parts of the bike caused the biggest headaches, CR cites things like lights, instrumentation and switches as causing 21 percent of repairs. Worryingly, brakes were the issue in a fifth of cases, while the electrical and fuel systems were problematic 16 and 15 percent of the time, respectively.

Overall, CR claims 20 percent of the 4,680 bikes surveyed had problems, but 75 percent of the issues cost less than $200 to repair. Touring bikes were the biggest troublemakers, followed by dual-sports, sport tourers, and cruisers. Like Suzuki and Triumph, there wasn't enough data from the performance crowd, although Consumer Reports estimates that bikes like the Honda CBR line and Kawasaki Ninja ZX6-R would be among the most reliable bikes, alongside the cruiser class.

Hop over to the Consumer Reports website for the full breakdown, as well as a useful list of things motorcyclists can do to keep their bikes running properly.

In my opinion reliability goes down when marketing departments dictate when the product line rolls out.  I always say never to buy the first year of a new model or model makeover.  Let somebody else get all the bugs worked out in the first year.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Michael Dunlop to Race BMW in Isle of Man TT in 2014!!

2014 Isle of Man TT
In November, the man who won four solo races at 2013 Isle of Man TT – Michael Dunlop – reported he was not competing at the 2014 IOM TT.
His reasons? Various complications attached to each contract, likely from the manufacturer which Dunlop took the four 2013  TT races on – Honda.
But this all changed Wednesday when the nephew of the late TT legend Joey Dunlop announced he will compete in 2014 with BMW.
The 24-year-old Dunlop, a seven-time TT winner, has signed with BMW Motorrad UK and Hawk Racing, which also operates the Buildbase BMW Motorrad British Superbike team. The outfit will have the the support of BMW Motorrad Motorsport.
With the Northern Irishman at the controls of the BMW S 1000 RR, the team is looking to emulate the “great BMW victory of Georg Meier at the Senior TT exactly 75 years ago.” That year – 1939 – Meier secured BMW’s first and only TT win aboard a boxer-powered 500cc Rs 255 Kompressor. Meire also became the first ever foreign winner of the Senior TT race; his teammate, Jock West, finished second.
The team will field a Superstock BMW in Dunlop Racing livery and a Superbike BMW S 1000 RR in BMW Motorsport livery. Besides the famed Isle of Man TT, Dunlop will also compete in other international road races in 2014.
“I’m really pleased to have signed for such a strong and competitive team. The BMW S 1000 RR certainly has the speed for the TT and, with my experience, the support from BMW Motorrad Motorsport and Hawk Racing, I know we have a race-winning package,” Dunlop says.
“I really thought about sitting out this year, but I have found a team that I am really comfortable with and the support from BMW Motorrad Motorsport will make us a force to be reckoned with this year.”
The BMW / Hawk Racing team will be jointly managed by BMW Motorrad UK and Stuart Hicken, fresh from the Buildbase BMW Motorrad team’s best ever performance in the 2013 British Superbike Championship. Building on their strong relationship and experience with BMW, the team has secured BMW Motorrad Motorsport support for the 2014 road racing program, BMW reports.
“We are extremely pleased to have assembled such an experienced racing team,” says Stuart Hicken, BMW / Hawk Racing Team Principal. “We have been working on it for a while and I genuinely believe that with Michael, the technical expertise from BMW Motorrad Motorsport and the BMW S 1000 RR, we have secured all the elements we need to be at the sharp end, challenging for a great result at the TT.”
“We are so pleased to have secured Michael Dunlop to ride for BMW / Hawk Racing. His record speaks for itself and we are confident that, on a BMW S 1000 RR, he can dominate on the roads this season,” says Lee Nicholls, BMW Motorrad Marketing Manager.
“Creating a team that will focus all its efforts on Michael will present BMW with a realistic chance of replicating our famous victory 75 years ago at the TT.”
In 2013, Dunlop won four solo race-wins (Superbike TT, Supersport TT, Superstock TT, Supersport TT 2), and also the Classic TT Formula 1 win.
Dunlop completed the solo feats aboard Honda machinery for the Honda TT Legends team, which also includes 20-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness, and Dunlop’s own MD Racing outfit. In the Classic TT Formula 1 race, Dunlop piloted a Suzuki XR69 with teammate Conor Cummins.
To keep up to date with the latest news from the team, follow @BMWMotorradTT on Twitter.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chris "Teach" McNeil on Max BMW's New R90S

How to properly pick up a motorcycle


Boxer Racer: The Butler & Smith BMW R75/5 F750

Boxer Racer: The Butler & Smith BMW R75/5 F750

Alan Cathcart rides the BMW R75/5 F750 racer, one of two factory-framed racers, at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala.
January/February 2014
Alan Cathcart on the Butler & Smith BMW R75/5 F750.

Photo By Phil Hawkins

Butler & Smith BMW R75/7 F750
Claimed power: 68hp @ 9,000rpm (rear wheel)
Engine: 745cc air-cooled OHV horizontally opposed twin, 82mm x 70.6mm bore and stroke, 12.75:1 compression ratio
Weight: 348lb (148kg) with oil, no fuel
Road racing history has lots of fascinating footnotes, and one of these is the story of the very last motorcycles carrying the BMW badge to go racing using a factory-built race chassis. This is the story of a bike created in the U.S. with the help of BMW engineers, the first steps on a trail that would lead to BMW’s domination of the early days of Superbike racing in the mid-1970s with the R90S.
BMW’s participation in Superbike racing was part of a process of overhauling the German company’s staid image by competing face-to-face with its Japanese and Italian rivals on the track. After the Adams family purchased BMW’s U.S. importers, New Jersey-based Butler & Smith, in 1971, they were faced with sluggish sales of the R75/5 boxer twin, introduced to the U.S. in 1969 as BMW’s sportiest bike yet. To fix this, company president Dr. Peter Adams instituted a five-year race program aimed at freshening the image of the BMW brand.
Butler & Smith parts manager Udo Gietl (a part-time racer and former NASA engineer), was given the resources to develop a Formula 750 racer based on the R75/5, as the AMA National Championship was to be run for the first time under F750 rules in 1972. With the help of BMW’s American representative Volker Beer, Gietl obtained four factory-built race chassis identical to those used to construct the three works R75/5-based BMW F750 racers that Helmut Dähne, Dave Potter and Hans-Otto Butenuth rode in the April 1972 Imola 200, with Dähne finishing 13th.