Category Archives: Two Wheels

Motorcycles, both bikes and trikes.

Loud Electric Bikes Save Lives

Some say loud pipes save lives, but electric motorcycles don’t have any pipes. AdvRider tells us, don’t worry, Yamaha is working on that.

Yamaha’s Alive AD (an acronym for “acoustic design”) is supposed to bring more noise to your electric ride, enough that people accustomed to listening for gas burners won’t have any trouble hearing you on your formerly silent electric bike. But your Yamaha won’t suddenly start sounding like a Harley. Yamaha wants to create a unique “soundscape” for electric vehicles so equipped. I would say that Yamaha is the best manufacturer to do this, considering that they also make musical instruments and are highly experienced when it comes to creating sounds. So while an electric Yamaha may not sound like a Harley, it will still sound like something exciting — a TIE Fighter, perhaps.

I find this reference particular amusing because the article’s author and real-life friend of mine, Kate Murphy, once told me my Honda PC800 sounded like a TIE Fighter as it roared down the front straightaway of Palmer Motorsports Park. I guess PC800s are so cool that now Yamaha wants a piece of that pie, or something.

But seriously, the silence of electric vehicles is a real safety concern. Electric competitors at Pike’s Peak and Mt. Washington are required to run sirens to warn people of their approach, they’re so quiet even at race speed. Trust me — I was there when Climb to the Clouds last ran in 2017, and the electric car’s sirens were all I could hear until they started crunching the dirt at Cragway just feet away from where I was standing.

When it comes to the street, of course people should open their eyes and actually watch for motorcycles, cars, tractor-trailers, Antonov An-225s, etc. Unfortunately, they don’t. So while I’m not a believer in “loud pipes save lives,” I do believe that SOME sound is necessary for safety reasons. It also sounds cool, as long as it’s not blowing out your eardrums in the process.

Pike’s Peak Drops Motorcycle Category

It’s official. Motorcycles will no longer be included in the Pike’s Peak International Hillclimb, according to an announcement on their website.

“After two years of research, deliberation, thoughtful consideration and advice from colleagues in the motorsports industry, the Board of the Directors of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has made the decision to discontinue motorcycle competition as part of the annual Race to the Clouds.”

This isn’t really surprising. The tragic death of Carlin Dunne at the 2019 event brought a suspension of the motorcycle categories. This isn’t even the first time motorcycles have been banned from Pike’s Peak, the previous time being from 1920 to 1954. Bikes have only gotten faster since then, and the fully paved road increases speeds even more. There is no margin for error.

As sad as this is for motorcycle fans, it’s probably the right call.

2021 Progressive IMS Outdoors Cancels New York City Event

The ‘Rona continues to ruin everything. IMS Outdoors has announced the cancellation of their 2021 event in Brooklyn, New York.

“As a result of the state of New York’s recent decision to enforce proof of vaccination and rapid testing for public events of scale, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the New York event,” said IMS Outdoors in an Instagram post. “This is a choice that we firmly believe is in the best interest of our attendee and exhibit communities for both their safety and event experience.” IMS Outdoors will refund all tickets for the NYC event within 7-10 days.

“We remain confident that the other Progressive IMS Outdoors events on the 2021 schedule, each with less restrictive health and safety mandates, will continue as planned, including the Pennsylvania event happening September 10-12 at the Carlisle Fairgrounds.” IMS Outdoors encourages anyone who was planning to attend the NYC event to go to Pennsylvania instead.

While the COVID-19 safety concern is legitimate, I think that in addition to the delta variant running rampant, the real issue here is suddenly being required to implement the new safety protocols so close to the event. It’s a huge amount of extra work that no one had planned on. Additionally, no one wants to be the bouncer who has to throw an angry biker out of the show for not complying with these requirements. Just look at Sturgis to see how many bikers think little of COVID-19 safety precautions.

I take the pandemic seriously, but I don’t blame IMS Outdoors for canceling the NYC show at all. This isn’t about not wanting to comply. It’s about being put into an impossible situation at the last minute with no time to prepare properly.

These Guys Built an Electric Honda CB750 for $4,000

When you think of electric bikes, you probably think of Zero, LiveWire, and so on. You certainly don’t think of the Honda CB750, the bike that established the superbike category when it first came out in 1969. Yet RideApart brings us these guys, who took an old dismantled CB750 and turned it into a custom electric cafe racer on a shoestring budget.

I think converting old gas-burners to electric is going to become more and more common, particularly as electric vehicles slowly replace gas ones. It’s a great way to keep older bikes (and cars) on the road. Also, by modifying an existing bike, you already have a VIN to register, making it easy to keep them street legal. And, as the Inja shows, it’s not as difficult as you may think to learn how electric bikes work, making them easy to build and maintain.