I got a chance to sort of test ride the Harley Davidson’s Livewire electric motorcycle. I attended the Chicago International Motorcycle Show back in February. In the Harley Davidson area they had the Livewire mounted in a contraption that let the rear wheel spin freely, but kept everything else in check. Very similar to what Harley Davidson does with their internal combustion power motorcycles at the show.
I have ridden the Zero electric motorcycle several on occasions. So this isn’t my first rodeo with electric motorcycle. Right of the bat the Livewire looks “cool.” The Livewire looks compact and sleek. It’s on the small side. If you have long legs I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be groovy for you. The seat is also on the small side too. The seat is set back a little so you’re leaning forward to reach the low mounted bars.
Under the heading of way cool the grips, front brake lever and control buttons are standard Harley Davidson issue. These provide a great feel or transition from Harley Davidson internal combustion models. The speedometer looks like an IPhone on steroids. Probably a great platform for displaying more data for the rider to see as the Livewire progresses through time. It looks like the Livewire has LED lighting front and rear.
If you never been on an electric motorcycle the first thing you’ll learn is about torque in action. From the very first rotation of electric motor shaft about 95 % of the maximum torque in generated. An internal combustion engine on the other hand needs RPMs to generate torque. That’s why an internal combustion engine on a motorcycle requires transmission.
Once you have turned the throttle on Harley Davidson Livewire all hell breaks loose. The high pitched whine of the electric motor replaces the one-potato two-potato sound. I was surprised how linear the throttle control felt. The guy run the display told me “go ahead and crank the throttle.” So, I did. The motorcycle leaped like a cheetah launching itself after prey on the African plain. The force caused the front forks to compress and backend lift up.
Now remember the Livewire was mounted in a contraption that let the rear wheel spin freely. So the motorcycle was unable accelerate which would have absorb the energy transmitted to the rear wheel. The suspension and the roller that rear wheel sat on absorbed the energy. Either way the Harley Davidson Livewire seam pretty damn powerful.
I’m hopeful the Livewire demo truck will make it to my part of woods this summer. If it does you know my butt will be waiting in line to ride one.
Yep, I’m riding something other than a Harley-Davidson. I don’t know where to start talking about this motorcycle. I don’t usually ride these types of motorcycles. How about this “It’s Fucking fast.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up. So if you don’t read any farther, you definitely know that this motorcycle is no toy. This motorcycle has the capability to test your riding skills within seconds of you ride it, so beware. Oh, one other thing I hope you like the color orange.
Okay, I’m going to throw this out there. KTM what’s up with the ORANGE? Every single KTM motorcycle has some orange in the paint scheme. Did KTM buy a whole bunch of ORANGE paint on sale? Is it part of the manufactures branding? As Jerry Seinfeld might say, “What’s the deal with the ORANGE paint?” Sorry about rant!
This is probably one of the most powerful motorcycles I have ever ridden. I owned a 2010 Yamaha Vmax and I thought that motorcycle was fast. But I’m pretty sure the KTM would beat the Vmax in a foot race. The Vmax might run the table from 0 to 60 MPH, but after that it’s all KTM. The KTM has about 156 HP at the rear wheel and weighs about 240 LBS less. If you do the acceleration math, I’m pretty sure I’m right.
The KTM Super Duke 1290 R has my favorite engine configuration, the V-twin. This engine displaces approximately 1300ccs as the pistons fly up and down. Fuel, air and exhaust move through the two cylinders via 8 valves doing a high-speed dance. The valves are controlled by two chain-driven overhead cams. Engine heat is removed through a liquid cooling system. The rev limiter puts a stop to everything around 10,000 RPM. That’s probably a good thing. This engine has three oil pumps to keep everything lubricated.
The 6-speed gearbox worked like a charm. Although, I never made to the sixth gear during the demo ride. The engine produces tons of torque so there’s no big rush to get through the gearbox. Neutral was easy to find when needed. I wish the gear position lever was a little bit longer. The clutch is hydraulically assisted which translated to a light pull at the lever. The engine has an advanced type of slipper clutch.
This engine bangs out 152 HP @ 9250 RPM at the rear wheel. The torque produced 93 lb-ft @ 8300 RPM. That’s a lot torque for a 1300 cc engine. For a comparison, the Indian 111 Power Stroke engine produces a torque of 101 lb-ft @ 2700 RPM. The Indian engine has 28% displacement lead over the KTM’s engine. KTM has reduced piston weight to improve power gain during acceleration. I was on this motorcycle for 45 minutes and I didn’t feel any excessive heat from the engine.
The oil cooler is mounted on the right side of the engine. Kind of a cool idea, connected directly to the front cylinder lower half. No hose, brackets or a radiator mounted to the frame front down tubes. If you weren’t paying attention, you’d miss it. It’s out of the way from coming in contact with your leg or foot.
The engine is controlled by a ride-by-wire throttle system. This motorcycle is loaded with electronic control systems. This motorcycle come equipped MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control.) There are three modes of operation. Yep, you’ve got to make a choice on the mode. Your choices are street, sport and rain. Each mode controls the amount of HP delivered to the rear wheel. Also, if that wasn’t enough, it also senses your lean angle. Yep, your lean angle! This added feature will help keep you from sliding across pavement just behind your motorcycle. If you’re old school you can turn off the MTC and put an end to this “electronic trickery.”
I’m not a big fan sport or naked motorcycles. They seem way too cramped to me. The KTM has a lot room and I didn’t feel cramped. I guess I could use the word “spacious” to describe the experience while I was sitting in the seat. I remember thinking to myself while riding this motorcycle, “Man if I put some beach bars and floorboards on this baby, I’d be all good then.” Good thing I’m not designing motorcycles for KTM.
The speedometer / information center is easy to read while riding the motorcycle. In the center is a very cool analog tachometer. To left of the tachometer is text screen. The text screen provides you with lot of data. This would include riding mode, ABS setting, engine temperature and few other things. The displayed information on the text screen and the settings for the “electronic trickery” is controlled by four buttons. The four triangle buttons are located on in front of the left handgrip. Very easy to reach with your thumb. To the right of tachometer is a digital speedometer. One thing you’ll notice right away with the speedometer is how quickly the values change.
Brembo calipers are installed all the way around. The front caliper has four pistons and the rear caliper has two. The front disk brakes 320 mm and the rear disk brake is 240 mm. The ABS system is the latest design from Bosch. The ABS can be set to either street or supermoto mode. I’m going to take “knowledge leap” about riding this motorcycle in supermoto mode. I’m guessing it will let you lose traction on the rear wheel through a sliding turn. If you’re one of those people who likes to say “I don’t need no stinking ABS,” you’re in luck, because you turn the ABS completely off.
The Super Duke R weighed in at about 445 pounds with all the fluids. The seat height is damn close to 33 inches. Not for the inseam challenged. The wheel base is around 58 inches. This is one of the reasons why this motorcycle felt very stable. The fuel tank holds 4.8 gallons. This should give you about a 200 mile range before running out of fuel. Front and rear tires are 17 inch.
This motorcycle is equipped with a single swing-arm to keep the weight down. The rear wheel is driven by a chain. Yep, there’s another method to cause the rear wheel to rotate besides a shaft or a carbon fiber belt. The rims are casted. The rims are manufactured using a low-pressure die casting process to reduce unsprung weight. There’s a lot of technology incorporated in this motorcycle.
The suspension is fully adjustable. The front forks are inverted with pretty much standard protocol for these types of motorcycles. The rebound and compression damping on the front forks can be set separately and independently from each other. Same goes for the rear shock, plus you get two speed settings for the compression damping. All of this information is above my pay grade. I’m just looking for a soft ride which is what I got during the demo ride.
Another thing I sometimes dislike about these types of motorcycles is the fact that I can’t use the mirrors. Generally you can’t see behind you, but you do get a good look at your shoulders. But everything was groovy, I could see behind me. Probably a really good thing because you will be able to see the police cars chasing you… although it will probably be from a distance. Oh, yeah, that day will come too, don’t kid yourself. What do they say “absolute power corrupts?”
Would I like to own one of these motorcycles? Yes, hell yes. Would I be able retain my privilege to drive in the state of Illinois if I owned this motorcycle? Nope, I would end up riding the bus for about 5 to 10 years. If you have self-control, this may be the motorcycle for you. Go to your nearest KTM dealer and check it
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Moto Guzzi is bringing several new models to the marketplace for 2015. I guess if Moto Guzzi wants to be a world player like they were back in the day, they’ve got to pick up the pace. I own a 2014 California 1400 Touring and I believe it’s a very competitive product. I’m not just saying that because I own one. If it was a piece of crap, I’d let you know without hesitation. I’m the guy who has never been employee of the month, if you get my drift.
I’m going to be upfront here. I was little leery about buying a Moto Guzzi. I kept hearing the same thing over and over again. If you’re not a motorcycle mechanic, a Moto Guzzi motorcycle will make you one. I’m not a motorcycle mechanic, nor do I have time to wrench a motorcycle. I’m the dude who buys warranties and knows the names of people who run the service departments at the motorcycle shops. That’s how I roll!
The 2015 California 1400 Touring S.E. is a variation of their California 1400 Touring platform. This motorcycle is all decked out with a two-tone paint job. This is going to sound odd, but I was never a fan of two-tone paint jobs. But for some reason, as I get older, two-tone paint jobs are starting to appeal to me. I actually use the word “cool” when I see a two-tone paint job now.
The Touring SE comes with a built-in passenger backrest and grab handles around the back of the seat. States in the USA are passing laws requiring “grab rails” around the passenger seat for safety. I hope there’s a rack accessory to attach to passenger backrest. Moto Guzzi is definitely looking to capture some of the bagger buy frenzy.
The 2015 Moto Guzzi Eldorado is a variation of their California 1400 custom platform. Moto Guzzi is going for the nostalgic look with this motorcycle. This motorcycle is equipped with chrome spoke rims and whitewall tires. The whitewall tires really highlight the chrome spoke rims. I hate cleaning white wall tires, but they do enhance the look of any motorcycle.
The handlebars are high and rolled back. Give the rider an upright riding position. The rear taillight is round and protrudes from the rear fender. The turn signals are installed at the bottom of the rear fender. This setup provides a purposeful and cool non-techno look. The rear shocks are also throwbacks from the old days. The springs on the shocks are covered just like they were in the Fifties.
This motorcycle has pin striping graphics on the on the fenders and tank. Also, there’s some cool graphics on both side covers. The cylinder heads are blacked-out instead of polished aluminum. The speedometer housing is all chromed up and centered between the handlebar base
The 2015 Moto Guzzi Audace is going for the drag bike look and is using the California 1400 custom platform. The floor boards have been replaced with foot pegs. You can’t have floor boards on a drag bike! Also, no passenger seat on this baby either. I have no idea why the passenger pegs are still there. Starting to get the picture here?
The front forks are brand new and different from the other two models. The oil cooler is wrapper in some type of housing to give the motorcycle a “badass look.” The handlebars are pull-back Tee bars. There doesn’t seem to be any chrome on this motorcycle. Okay, cool, I guess. The exhaust system has been modified to provide a more aggressive look.
Moto Guzzi has also added a scrambler version of one of their models. The scrambler stuff seems to be the rage nowadays. I don’t get this whole scrambler business, but I guess the “Youths” like it.
I guess I’ll start off with this statement. This is a great motorcycle, not perfect, but great. Essentially this is an entry-level motorcycle for the Indian brand. This motorcycle is a very important component for the survival of the Indian brand motorcycle. This is what I would consider as a gateway vehicle. But if you look at it closely, the bits and pieces are by no means “entry-level.” I really think Indian/Polaris will make an impact with this product.
The 2015 Indian Scout will definitely end up slowing down the assembly lines for Yamaha’s Bolt and Harley Davison’s Sportster motorcycles. Indian is also incorporating the same boots on the ground strategy that Harley-Davidson has been using for years. I’m referring to the demo trucks showing up to the dealers’ locations in providing individuals the opportunity to ride their products.
I’m still somewhat confused that Honda and Kawasaki still think they’re in the retail business. I also think Honda and Kawasaki better be careful. One day they’ll be sold on Amazon and lost in the flood of books, food processors, video games and so forth.
I guess if you haven’t figured it out yet I am somewhat enamored with this motorcycle. There are a few cheap bits here and there, but the total package is really unbelievable. Just sitting on the motorcycle creates a sense of emotional need. Putting your butt in the solo retro leather seat will generate a smile on a rider’s face. It’s just not a seat, it’s kind of a one-person leather couch.
Let’s start with the engine. It’s a liquid cooled 60° V-twin that is nicely packaged in the frame. The engine is actually one of the stress members in the frame system. I really like the frame design and how it goes around the radiator. The engine looks very industrial to me, almost reminds me of one of KTM’s engines. It does have some chrome parts, polished parts and blacked out parts. The engine is also well branded so there’s no confusion who manufactures the motorcycle. The chrome bits are well-positioned to bring your eyes at the right longitude and latitude to view the engine.
The plumbing is minimal on the engine so not to interrupt the flow of the design. The valves bounce around using a double overhead cam system. Four valves per cylinder are instrumental in moving air through the engine keeping it aspirated. The cams are driven by a chain. No pushrods clicking away or belts flopping around inside the engine.
The displacement of the engine is 69 cubic inches or 1133 cc. The engine has a very throaty sound being generated out of the exhaust pipes. The exhaust system is completely chromed front to back and really looks nice on the motorcycle. From the brochure, the engine produces about 100 HP at 8100 RPMs. The peak torque is around 72 foot-pounds at 5900 RPMs. The transmission is a six-speed and never missed a beat. Nor did I have any problems finding neutral.
The front forks have approximately 4.7 inches of travel with no adjustment capability. The two rear shocks appear to have a preload adjustment with approximately 3 inches of travel. I did have one bone jarring incident that was transferred from the road to me. I definitely don’t think the suspension to system is designed for someone weighing over 200 pounds. Don’t plan on doing any two-up long distance riding on this motorcycle.
Each wheel is equipped with a 298 mm rotor. The front caliper has two pistons and the rear caliper is one piston. I would’ve liked to seen two pistons also in the rear caliper. I’m going to guess that a lot of beginning riders will choose this motorcycle for its coolness, weight and seat height. I think those noob riders would best be served with more de- acceleration capability. And let’s not forget the addition of an ABS system in the future.
The rims are casted. But still have a pretty cool design. Chromed spokes and rims would have been nice. But I’m sure Indian needs to meet a certain price point. The front and rear tires are both 16 inches. Each tire has the Indian logo on it. Taking a page from Harley-Davidson’s play book?
The second thing you’ll notice after looking at the engine is the seat. The seat is aesthetically pleasing and a very effective butt holder. I rode the Indian Scout twice and spent approximately 50 minutes in the seat. I could’ve easily gone hours sitting on that seat. The one downside is there is no seat for your significant other. That might make it a tough sell to get it in your garage.
I was a little bit surprised that Indian didn’t incorporate some type of seat for a passenger. Because I can think of several other very cool motorcycles that went the way of the dinosaur with the same strategy. But I’m sure the marketing and the research department at Indian/Polaris spent hours upon hours determining not to incorporate a passenger seat in their selling strategy.
Okay what was the Indian scout like to ride.
One thing I can say right off the bat is this motorcycle had a sport bike feel to it. The engine was quick to rev up and provided plenty of power for any shenanigans that you deem necessary. The engine produces max horsepower at approximately 8000 RPM which is pretty high for a cruiser motorcycle. During my ride I decided to wind it out in second gear. At the higher end of the rpm range I felt considerable vibration from the handlebars. Don’t fret, this rpm range was way beyond what you would normally run in second gear.
I felt very confident pushing this motorcycle hard into the turns it seemed like a very stable platform. I didn’t feel any flexing in the front forks or behaviors emulating from the back of the motorcycle. The handlebars provide plenty of leverage to control the motorcycle. This is an extremely comfortable motorcycle. I foresee people taking this motorcycle on some long trips.
The only obstacle would be the size of the gas tank. The gas tank is approximately 3.3 gallons giving the motorcycle limited range. I definitely wouldn’t attempt riding for an extended period of time unless the rear shocks were changed.
Would I buy this motorcycle? No, I’m used to bigger motorcycles with more amenities. I see this motorcycle as a gateway product to get customers on Indian’s larger motorcycles. Also incorporating this motorcycle into the line is a good strategy to develop brand loyalty. This might be a good fit for someone who is thinking transition from the sport bike into cruiser. Like I mentioned earlier, the engine generates a sport bike feeling to the riding experience.
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Yep, that white stuff is on the ground again. It happens every year about this time. Depression sets in immediately. I am separated from My Mechanical Friends who are in motorcycle purgatory for the next 4 to 5 months. One of MMFs in our garage and the other three are in storage facilities. Yep, that’s right I refer to my motorcycles as “My Mechanical Friends.” I like to use the acronym “MMF” on a regular basis.
So I ask myself these life questions every year at this time. Why does the earth have to be tilted? Why can’t it be straight up and down? Why can’t the sun step up the fusion process in the winter months? Why can’t it snow in Arizona for a couple of years? Where in the hell is my Scooby Doo lunchbox from second grade? Why did I waste so much time watching the “Lost” television series?
I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t I live somewhere where it’s warmer? Ah, to live in California, Texas, Arizona, Florida or Arkansas. I could ride 10 to 12 months out of the year. Coolcycledude even got the wife’s okay, she said “go ahead and move.” Good thing coolcycledude is fluent in woman / wife speak. “Go ahead and move” really means “I dare you.”
Well, either way the snow, cold and ice will be here to stay in the state of ILL for a while. Damn! I’m not very happy about that either. Angry might be a better term. I could read a few books. Maybe, I could spend some time learning how to use damn cable remote. Of course there’s always solving some of the world’s problems. But that’s not going to happen! Nope,no,no way. I need to release my pain. So the only thing left to do is KILL KILL KILL!!!! Let carnage begin!
That’s right my winter nights will be spent killing, playing the guitar, eating and going to the gym. Yep, pretty much in that exact order. It couldn’t be a better time for destroying my newly digitized enemies with the release of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. Time to blow some shit up! Boom Boom Baby Boom!
I’ll be sending my virtual enemies to that great digital void one after another. Their memory locations are overwritten as I slaughter them one by one. Their existence will only last milliseconds as I scatter their pixelated parts in every direction on the LED screen.
I’m a Video Game Psychopath. I sure sound dangerous. That’s because I am. Very very dangerous! In the digital realm I have no empathy or remorse for my actions or my digital victims. I’m a biological killing machine in the land of ones and zeros. I don’t care about leader boards or rankings. The only thing that matters to me is to eliminate my rendered enemies by any means available.
I love the sound of rounds leaving the barrel of my virtual AK-47 in my headphones. The flash on the screen from when I detonate the C4 attached to my enemies tanks sending them back to the hard drive in pieces. As I progress through the games levels the console’s BIOS system starts expand the available memory to create a digital burial ground for my enemies.
Those video game developers spend thousands of hours writing software routines to give my enemies artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, yep that’s going to work against me. Wrong! Those AI subroutines only delay my enemies’ trip back to the RAM. Let them write all they want.
I have an evil CPU installed on my motherboard. The evil CPU has its own instruction set. These instructions include “head-shot bitch”,”kill streak” and “triple kill.” The software programmers just can’t create the “Video Game Psychopath” subroutine. Maybe, when Sony introduces the PS25 they might have a chance.
I know what you’re thinking. Coolcycledude you need help and there’s too much violence in the world already, why are you playing those damn video games. And my answer is “because the only place where I like to see violence is the digital realm.” Ride your motorcycle if you can and be safe!
This is going be a continuing series about how my 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King performs and my experience of owning it. I’m not going to bullshit you about anything about this motorcycle. I don’t work for Harley Davidson. I’m just another motorcycle consumer like you. If something sucks you’re going know about it. I’ll deal with facts, figures and my opinion.
Why did I purchase a 2014 Harley Davidson Road King?
There’s a lot of other manufacturers that produce a similar type motorcycle. Why didn’t I pick one of those? I know, without a doubt, that this motorcycle is going to be expensive to operate compared to similar products from other manufacturers. I went into this relationship knowing that up front. Also, Harley-Davidsons are not the cheapest motorcycles to purchase either.
Whether people want to admit it or not, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle brand is an icon in the motorcycle world. The brand represents the true essence of motorcycling. All of the other major manufacturers have tried to copy or produce duplicates to compete in that market segment. In my opinion some of the manufacturers have built a better mousetrap. But, they just don’t have the same “motorcycle life force” as a Harley-Davidson does.
I’m a big fan of motorcycles that have a nostalgic look to them. I must be getting old! At this point in my life I don’t need 150 HP at the rear wheel. I really prefer motorcycles that have less plastic on them. It seems like the current motorcycles produced have all been plasticized. I like to see the tubular steel frame instead of a formed casted aluminum one. I like the look of metal fuel tank with attached emblems on the sides.
I like the look of white wall tires and chrome rims with chrome spokes. I’m really not a big fan of these fancy digital displays currently being used on new motorcycles. I know there’s a way to cut costs and to provide the rider with more information. But to me they seem cold and lifeless. Essentially no different than the $10 Timex watch that you can buy. But the speedometer on the 2014 Harley Davidson speaks to me. Not through physical communication but in a metaphorical way.
I don’t like wrenching my motorcycles. So I purchased the seven-year warranty. No other manufacturer offers a seven-year warranty. The downside of purchasing the extended warranty is you must adhere to the prescribed maintenance recommended by Harley-Davidson. The prescribed maintenance periods are every 5000 miles until the motorcycle dies or until the warranty runs out.
I like the fact that there are Harley-Davidson dealers located all through the United States. In the event that my motorcycle does have a problem during its usage on the road, there are approximately 700 Harley-Davidson dealerships within the United States. There were almost 900 Harley-Davidson dealerships in 2007 but the economic downturn wiped 200 of them off of the face of the earth. I believe that some of these dealerships will come back due to the improved economic climate.
I’m a really big fan of the product. The air/oil cooled V-twin engine is one of my favorites. I prefer motorcycles with V-twin engines as opposed to parallels, opposed or in lines. Like everyone else who prefers a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, I like the rumble from the engine. Also, I don’t have a problem with the vibration that the engine produces. I know that’s just the nature of the beast and an experience that I prefer.
Next blog I’ll talk about the purchasing process and the costs.
I know there’s a big debate on whether ABS makes a motorcycle any safer to operate. I know I could operate my motorcycle without ABS safely. I understand the concept if the tires aren’t rolling during braking, I’m relying on a small patch of rubber to stop me. I hear a lot of people say “you really don’t need that extra crap on your motorcycle.” I’m sure the manufacturers don’t like the idea of adding an extra cost to their motorcycles. So the debate rages on yay or nay.
I’m going to go with yes for a whole other reason. There are a lot of people on motorcycles now who didn’t go through the same motorcycle apprenticeship that I did. What do I mean by motorcycle apprenticeship? Let’s run down memory lane here. The first motorcycle derivative I rode was a Briggs & Stratton power mini-bike, somewhere around 3 ½ horse power. It had a friction clutch, rear drum brake, no suspension and no gears. I rode that baby for about four years destroying the backyard.
Next on the docket was Honda Mini Trail 50 with a three speed gearbox. I drove that sucker like I stole it for the next two years. Then things got a little serious! I got a Honda XR 75 and drove it around in the dirt against others like a madman. Driving like a madman paid off. I then drove a Honda Elsinore 125 cc against my colleagues in the dirt. I finally hit the big time when my parents equipped me with a Honda Elsinore 250 cc. By the time I got my official Illinois motorcycle driver’s license I had approximately 8 years of experience on motorized two wheel vehicles.
Okay, back on track! What really scares me are people going through a 20 hour motorcycle safety class and getting an official Illinois motorcycle driver’s license. Fifteen of the 20 hours are the actual time spent operating a motorcycle to meet the licensing requirement. So a motorcycle noob drives a motorcycle around in a parking lot for 15 hours and is ready for the big time? I know what you’re thinking, people learn faster nowadays than they used to. They’ve got Google, iPads, online learning and so forth.
Riding a motorcycle safely is all about decision-making. Decision-making is all about recalling relevant events contained in memory to solve problems. I’m a firm believer that 15 hours of driving around in a parking lot leaves a person on the low-end of the effective decision-making spectrum.
The EU has done some studies showing that ABS reduces motorcycle fatalities. They’re suggesting that motorcycles 125cc and above with ABS could save approximately 5,000 lives. These 5,000 lives would be saved between 2014 and 2020 per the study. The EU is currently working on legislation to mandate ABS on motorcycles 125cc and above. I think it’s time for the manufacturers to look at the studies and realize that equipping their motorcycles with ABS will produce a lot more potential live customers.