Motorcycle News - 2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard Review
In my 24 years of road testing motorcycles, I can count on one hand (with fingers left over) the number of bikes I’ve tested that I genuinely disliked, and in the case of the 2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard, the list has grown by one. Take an otherwise solid motorcycle, give it an abysmal riding position, and it is possible to create a machine that sucks all the joy out of riding, which is saying something since the Softail platform, updated in 2018, is typically quite amenable.
The sad truth is that there is a lot to like about the Softail Standard, starting with the Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine. From the first time I rode the new Softail line in 2017, I was impressed with the smoothness provided by the two counterbalancers mounted on either side of the crankshaft, which is absolutely necessary for an engine that is solid-mounted to the frame. Although Harley is selling Milwaukee-Eights with significantly larger displacement than the 107 cu. in. here, the Standard’s power output is ample for a cruiser in this price range and would easily leave behind any similar model with the erstwhile Twin Cam engine of just three model years ago.
With a bore and stroke of 3.9 in. x 4.4 in. (100mm x 111.1mm) breathing through a four-valve head, the Standard’s 107 has spot-on fueling with immediate response to throttle inputs that are just this side of abrupt, meaning it feels like some other ride-by-wire bikes in sport mode. Shifting is a seamless affair, as it is with all Milwaukee-Eights. I like this engine a lot.
The same can be said of the Standard’s brakes. Although the lever still requires a stout pull, the power and feel are what you need to haul a claimed 655 lb. plus an American-sized rider down from speed. If you’ve ridden one of the new Softails, you know what the suspension is like. The fork provides decent bump absorption. The rear suspension, with its single directly activated shock hidden behind the engine, works well on smooth to moderately rough pavement. However, hit any larger bumps, and the limited rear-wheel travel becomes painfully obvious. The 26.8-inch seat height does the Standard no favors here.
If I am fond of the new Softails, why do I dislike the Standard so much? There are three corners to the rider triangle, and making a mistake with any single one can be mostly addressed by the other two. Unfortunately, in this case, all three corners are positioned such that, for a person of my size (5 feet 11 inches tall with a 32-inch inseam), they are well outside of the optimal positions.
Let’s start with the seat. At 26.8 inches, the seat is extremely low, even for a cruiser. I’ve already mentioned the suspension compromises that are forced by that seat height, but it sets the tone for the rider triangle, too. The somewhat forward pegs are quite high (as necessitated by ground clearance requirements), folding my legs in such a way that my knees are higher than my hips. This has the effect of rolling my pelvis rearward and is a huge reason why the harsh suspension is so painful on the Standard. Since I can’t use my legs to absorb bumps, they are transmitted directly up my curved lower back. A different seat or peg position, which allowed my spine to be straight, would make the riding position significantly more comfortable.
The rider’s upper body is in an equally compromised position, thanks to the mini-apes on the Standard. The mini-apes place the grips just below my shoulders, which has the effect of leaning my torso slightly rearward. Now, this is fine when trolling around the boulevard at 45 mph, but if you try to accelerate hard or head out onto the highway, the only two options are to engage your entire core to lean forward with bent elbows or lean back with straight arms, letting your skeletal system do the work. Although it’s a great workout, clenching your abs gets old in about 15 minutes, and leaning back on your arms limits throttle control. Neither position allows you any relief from large bumps, making them a teeth-gritting affair.
In an effort to see if I was being overly harsh on the Standard, I asked Associate Editor, Ryan Adams, to ride it with me for a couple of hours. Since he is 5-foot, 8-inches tall and has a 30-inch inseam, his slightly different perspective would help to see if I was just too tall for the bike. His notes were:
”When ‘Ol Brasscanyons told me the position on the Softail Standard could ruin a good ride, I kind of brushed it off. He’s freakishly tall and long-legged, like moto-journo slender man of sorts. My more compact younger, supple frame would have nary an issue. I was sure of it! It wasn’t until Evans asked me to photo model for his review that I learned just how uncomfortable he could make me. All I could say to myself after hopping on the Softail Standard was WTF… over and over. It was as if the H-D engineers looked at the rider triangle and tweaked it in all of the wrong directions. The bike is otherwise good in nearly every other way, but whew, that riding position is the stuff of nightmares.”
Simply put, the Softail Standard’s rider triangle is a perfect storm of bad ergonomics.
Harley is marketing the Standard two ways: First, as the least expensive entry into the Softail line, and second, as a blank slate for customizers. With regards to riders who want the cheapest entry into the Softail family, you should try riding one before you lay down your greenbacks – or at least have an extended sit on one in the dealership to see if your body type will mesh with it. Perhaps riders in the neighborhood of 5 feet, 6 inches and below will find it comfortable. Customizers probably don’t read MO, and they are free to ignore my criticisms of the Softail Standard. After all, they’re going to nip and tuck the bike, anyway. However, as it stands, I can’t recommend the Softail Standard to anyone in my and Ryan’s size range.
The 2020 Harley-Davidson Softail Standard is available now for an MSRP of $13,599. The optional ABS adds $795. The Standard is also available in four customization packages: The Performance Custom Package ($1,300) adds Heavy Breather Performance Air Cleaner, Milwaukee-Eight Stage II Torque Kit, Street Cannon Mufflers, and Pro Street Tuner. The Coastal Custom Package ($1,600) consists of Vivid Black Softail Quarter Fairing, 80GRIT Rider Footpegs with Wear Peg, Moto Handlebar (which could possibly mitigate some of the riding position issues), Tall Handlebar Riser, 1 in. Gauge Clamp, Clutch Cable and Brakeline, Bevel Two-Up Seat, and Passenger Footpegs. Day Tripper Custom Package ($1,050) features Passenger Pillion, One-Piece Tall Rigid Mount Sissy Bar, Backrest Pad, Passenger Footpegs and Mount, Single-Sided Swingarm Bag, and Standard Forward Controls (which, again, might improve rider comfort). Touring Custom Package ($1,700) rounds out the factory custom packages with H-D Detachables Saddlebags, Standard Height HoldFast Sissy Bar Upright, Compact Passenger Backrest Pad – Smooth Black Vinyl, Holdfast Docking Hardware, Sundowner Seat, Passenger Footpegs, and Wind Splitter Quick-Release Compact 14 in. Windshield.
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March 31, 2020 at 04:08PM
Motorcycle News - 6 Things You Need To Know About The 2020 KTM 890 Duke R
By all accounts, the KTM 790 Duke is a great little motorcycle. Light, nimble, and with a healthy amount of middleweight power, when MO was given a 790 Duke to test, it was so much fun our own Evans Brasfield bought the damn press bike. He then proceeded to turn the bike into his version of what a 790 Duke R should be (you can read about his exploits elsewhere on this site). Little did he know KTM was doing the same halfway across the globe in Austria.
The results couldn’t be more different. While Evans raided the KTM Power Parts catalog to tastefully upgrade his 790, KTM basically threw the script out the window and adopted the wholly American ethos of there being no replacement for displacement. What it came up with is this, the 890 Duke R.
KTM’s “Super Scalpel” (as opposed to just “The Scalpel” for the 790) is “KTM’s expression of the most extreme naked bike in the midweight segment” with the biggest difference being the bigger engine. But there’s more to the 890 Duke R than just the engine, so let’s take a deeper dive into all the changes. Here, then, are Six Things You Need To Know About The 2020 KTM 890 Duke R.
Sure there may be more to this bike than the engine, but the 890 Twin is pretty important and has gone through significant changes. Based on the 799cc parallel-Twin from the 790, bore has gone up from 88 mm to 90.7 mm, stroke has lengthened from 65.7 mm to 68.8 mm, and compression ratio increases from 12.7:1 to 13.5:1. Both intake and exhaust valves increase in size one millimeter (36 mm to 37 mm on the intake side, 29 mm to 30 mm on the exhaust), camshafts have a more aggressive profile with more lift and longer duration.
Moving deeper into the engine, there are new connecting rods and new forged box pistons with three rings and shorter pins. Surprisingly, the pistons are lighter than before despite the bigger size and carry a higher rev limit compared to the 790. Because of these higher revs, a new balance shaft helps keep vibrations under control.
Speaking of keeping things under control, the crankshaft now has 20% more rotational mass (read, is heavier). While in some circles heavier is a negative thing, this isn’t necessarily the case with crankshafts as more rotational weight means the engine isn’t as abrupt or jumpy, giving the rider more control especially at part or neutral throttle.
Ride-by-wire throttle remains on the 890 Duke R, as do the 46 mm throttle bodies. But the real interesting thing here is the collaboration with Dell’Orto to utilize sensors in each cylinder to analyze manifold pressure and adjust the air/fuel ratio for each cylinder independently. According to KTM, the new engine pumps out 121 hp and 73 lb-ft (99 nm) of torque.
On the transmission side, lighter springs and shorter lever travel means faster, easier shifting. Software within the optional Quickshifter+ has been tweaked also, resulting in smoother shifting up or down, without the clutch.
Next Generation Electronics
The 790 Duke already had an impressive electronics suite, but of course, KTM saw fit to upgrade the 890 R. A new 6D lean angle sensor (otherwise known as an IMU) helps aid in the Cornering ABS and Cornering MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control), the latter benefitting from the 6D’s ability to better understand the bike’s position in a drift situation. Cornering MTC also benefits from new programming and two independent sensors, a wheelslip controller and pitch angle controller, for better acceleration and more precise wheelie control. And for those who don’t like electronics limiting their drive or wheelies, all this can be turned off.
Rain, Street, and Sport are the standard ride modes, with an optional Track setting also available. Track setting lets the rider customize their traction control, wheelie, and throttle control settings. Motor Slip Regulation (MSR) is another optional feature that acts as an electronic slipper clutch, ideal for low-grip situations.
With more power comes the need to harness it, and the 790 Duke’s steel chassis only needed small tweaks to accommodate. Ride height goes up 15 mm, which also raises the swingarm angle for better anti-squat behavior, ultimately providing better drive and stability out of corners. Of course, higher ride height means higher seat height (32.8 in vs. 32.5 in).
While entirely decent, most, including KTM, would agree the 790’s biggest weak spot was its suspension. For the 890, WP is providing its higher-spec Apex suspension with fully-adjustable fork and shock, the latter also getting high- and low-speed compression damping adjustability. The Apex fork splits compression and rebound damping between the two fork legs and comes equipped with what KTM calls “linear springs,” which sounds like progressive rate springs to us. Time will tell, but hardcore track riders will likely want to upgrade to straight-rate springs instead. KTM/WP even leave an Easter egg for Duke R riders: a list of suggested settings stored under the seat. (For those who followed Evans’ upgrades to his 790, this level of Apex suspension slots between the 790’s non-adjustable suspension and the WP Apex Pro suspension that Evans installed.)
All The Brakes
Evans has gone through quite a bit of effort to upgrade the brakes on his 790, which is too bad because all he had to do was wait for the 890. The R gets Brembo components over J.Juan, including 320mm floating discs compared to the 300 mm on the 790. Aluminum carriers shave off almost a full pound – per disc!
Calipers get upgraded to Brembo Stylema units that optimize airflow into the caliper itself to help cool the pads and use less fluid. This combined with the Brembo MCS (Multi Click System) master cylinder, which provides an adjustable lever ratio, means you can have progressive feel at the lever or a nearly instantaneous reaction. When it’s all added up, the new brake system alone shaves 2.6 lbs of unsprung weight compared to the 790.
Typically, the point of naked bikes is not to place the rider in a super-aggro sportbike position, with handlebars placed high and footpegs low. KTM has thrown that recipe out the window. The 890 Duke R, like all KTMs, embodies the Ready-To-Race ethos. New, flatter tapered bars are lower, further forward, and adjustable in four positions on the triple clamp. They can be further rotated three more positions from there. Footpegs, too, are new, higher and more rearward, though the pegs themselves are larger for more surface area.
If all of the above didn’t get you excited about the 890 Duke R already, then maybe this will. KTM’s asking price is $11,699 USD – just a thousand bucks more than the 790. Having spent considerable time with the 790, we thought it was a good value at the time. Now, with the 890’s increased performance, we have no reason to believe it won’t be an even better value. Of course, all we have left to do now is ride it to see if our suspicions are correct. Once all this Coronavirus stuff is over and we can get a bike in our hands, we intend to find out. Who knows; if it goes well you might see Evans’ 790 go up for sale. Ha!
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March 31, 2020 at 03:25PM
Motorcycle News - Harley-Davidson Files Cafe Racer and Flat Tracker Designs with Revolution Max Engine
Harley-Davidson has filed designs with the European Union Intellectual Property Office for two more models using the liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine powering the Pan America and Bronx. The two new designs, one a cafe racer and the other a flat track-inspired model, further add to the modular concept promised with the new engine platform.
Both designs clearly feature the DOHC Revolution Max V-Twin engine, though it’s unclear what the engine displacements will be. The Pan America adventure bike uses a 1250cc version of the engine and the Bronx streetfighter runs with a 975cc version. Harley-Davidson has previously said it plans to produce four different displacements, ranging from 500cc to 1250cc.
Flat Tracker Design
The flat track-inspired model looks like a natural rival to the Indian FTR1200. Like the Indian, it sports a tubular swingarm, and the high-mounted twin exhaust further reflects its flat tracker influences. In un-Harley-Davidson fashion, the design has fairly neutral foot position, with the pegs mounted behind the swingarm pivot.
The designs show dual front disc brakes, though the dashed lines don’t provide a good look at the calipers. The front suspension appears to be an inverted fork, and from our measurements, appears to have a rake angle of around 23°. We can’t get a good look at the rear monoshock, though we can spot a linkage setup. Like the FTR, the Harley design uses rear tire-hugging license plate bracket attached to the swingarm by a tubular mount, though the angles and diameters of the tubing don’t look as elegant as on the Indian.
Other details we can make out include a small front fender, single seating and a single circular instrument nacelle.
Cafe Racer Design
The second design sports a cafe-style headlight fairing with a short windscreen. The exhaust follows a more traditional routing to a single silencer. The handlebars are relatively low (barely higher than the top of the fuel tank) and the foot pegs are higher and slightly further back than on the flat-tracker model.
This design shares the other’s dual disc brakes and inverted fork, but the rear has a more traditional swingarm suspended by dual shocks. Unlike the flat track design, the cafe racer has passenger pegs for two-up riding.
We’re still waiting for the Pan America and the Bronx to go into production later this year, with the Custom 1250 cruiser scheduled for next year. These designs show that Harley-Davidson has further models close behind.
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March 31, 2020 at 12:48PM
Motorcycle News - T 22 Synthesis: A twin-engined Kawasaki drag bike
It’s hard to take that genre up a notch, but the top Indonesian shop Thrive has just gone one better than the typical eighth-miler. This extraordinary machine, nicknamed ‘T 22 Synthesis’ has not one but two engines. And those engines are tiny two-strokes, with a power band only slightly less forgiving than a light switch.
“The guys from Suryanation Motorland approached us with the idea of a contest called ‘Wheels of Inspiration’,” says Thrive spokesman Putra Agung. Entrants would write a story about their biggest dream bike, and the winner would be picked by Thrive, the local magazine GasTank, and the custom shop Lemb Inc.
“It happens in many major cities, which means a huge number of potential fans. We admire the racers’ courage and enthusiasm, using creativity that exceeds the budget.”
“He’s dreamed about salt flat racing since his college days, and we agreed to choose him as the lucky winner.”
Thrive decided to revive the old glory days with a modern approach, and brought Adhi’s bike into their Jakarta workshop. The perky 30 horsepower two-stoke 150RR motor went off to ace tuner and engine building Yosef Gumilar of Prama Motorworks: “He’s well known for restoring many XS650s using his knowledge as a racer from 90s,” Putra explains.
“All that work makes a bangin’ short range cruise missile. We also called Lectron to order the specific carburetor for our engine configuration, and they did a great job on it.”
At a glance, the stock Ninja 150RR looks like any other plastic-clad teenager screamer, so Thrive have ditched everything except for the drivetrain. Then a new frame was built with aluminum tube, following cues from old-school drag bikes, and using Thrive’s first custom frame jig.
“It was designed and built the old-fashioned way.”
The rims are 17 inchers, with an aluminum disc cover at the back, and shod with Goodyear Eagle tires
The monocoque bodywork is brushed aluminum and handmade, with a lengthy seat pad made in house and offering plenty of room to move around on. The metalwork is finished off with paint by Agung Castavo, one of the top pin stripers in Indonesia.
It might not be as fast as ‘Dubble Trubble’ and it’s unlikely to make it across the Pacific to the salt flats. But we reckon it’s going to cause a stir on the street racing scene in Jakarta.
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March 31, 2020 at 12:17PM
MotoGP News - MotoGP promoter Dorna helping teams pay wages amid COVID-19 hiatus
MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports says it is offering financial assistance to all satellite MotoGP teams and the Moto2 and Moto3 squads to help pay staff wages during the coronavirus-enforced hiatus.
The 2020 MotoGP season has had the first five rounds of the year either cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with at least the next two events in France and Italy scheduled for May expected to be knocked from their calendar slots.
With no racing taking place currently and no exposure for sponsors to fulfil contractual obligations, teams - particularly in Moto2 and Moto3 - are beginning to struggle financially.
Dorna itself is not generating the sort of revenue it would normally, but CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has revealed plans to help his championship's teams for at least the next three months.
In an interview with Spanish outlet AS.com, Ezpeleta said: "We are trying to help the satellite teams so they can pay their salaries.
"The championship's biggest asset is the people in it.
"There's a very big group of people working in this [paddock] and we have to try to keep it alive and well.
"We are starting to learn about the needs of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams and we have given them, for now, €25,000 per rider [fielded].
"In MotoGP, we are activating some lifelines to be able to pay the staff's salaries.
"In this case, it's not a fixed amount per rider, but per team.
"We have to consider monthly expenses and we'll try to help them financially for, at least, the next three months."
It is understood that the "lifeline" being enacted is an advancement on the participation bonus teams receive at the end of each year.
Dorna is yet to issue a revised calendar following last week's postponement of the 3 May's Spanish Grand Prix. Contractually, MotoGP has to run a minimum of 13 rounds, with ideas such as two-race weekends and extending the campaign into January all mooted.
Last week, Honda boss Alberto Puig praised Dorna's response to the coronavirus situation in an interview with Autosport.
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March 31, 2020 at 09:32AM
F1 News - Mercedes revolutionary 'DAS' steering remains banned for 2021
Mercedes' revolutionary steering system has been banned for 2021 despite the regulations staying the same over the next two seasons.
The move comes as part of a series of changes made by governing body the FIA to tidy up the rules in response to the effects of the global coronavirus crisis.
Mercedes' so-called 'dual-axis steering' was set to be outlawed under new rules for 2021 that have now been delayed.
The change keeps the ban in place even though teams will run 2020 cars next year.
The DAS alters the 'toe' of the front wheels between cornering and straights to reduce tyre wear, and could prove to be a significant advantage for the reigning champions once racing finally gets under way this year.
The addition of a ban for 2021 under the existing chassis regulations means Mercedes will benefit from it for a maximum of only one championship season.
F1 has been thrown into disarray as a result of coronavirus, with the first eight races already called off, and others likely to follow.
It remains uncertain when the 2020 championship will start, but the FIA has now tidied up the rules so they take into account a series of changes agreed by the teams and F1 so the sport can respond to the situation to best effect.
Among these changes are the teams waiving their rights to the usual consultation process on the schedule of races, so it is easier for F1 to reconstitute the season when global travel restrictions are eased.
The changes agreed to bring the legislative process in line with reality are:
BBC Sport can reveal that teams are also discussing a plan to delay the new rules by a further season, to 2023, and to freeze parts of the car beyond the chassis, which will already be carried over into 2021.
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March 31, 2020 at 08:15AM
F1 News - Red Bull boss on ventilators, coronavirus 'camps' & F1 regulations delay to 2023
Formula 1 is on shut down as a result of the coronavirus crisis, but Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he's "busier than ever - there's a lot going on at the moment".
With the first eight races all called off, and more likely to follow, F1 has brought forward its summer break so as to be in the best state possible whenever racing can start up again.
Meanwhile, the UK-based teams have turned their attentions to helping out with the supply of medical equipment, and team bosses such as Horner are engaged in serious talks about how best to secure the future of the sport in the midst of a crisis that he says is far more critical than the 2008 financial crash.
In a wide-ranging interview, the first by a team boss during the sport's enforced hiatus, Horner discusses:
F1's ventilator plan
As has been widely reported, the UK-based F1 teams have responded to the government's call for industries to help boost the supply of critical care equipment to help the NHS deal with the influx of coronavirus patients.
There are three work streams on various types of equipment, and the work is being co-ordinated by F1 under their chief technical officer Pat Symonds.
Horner says the response from engineers and manufacturing staff to help with the project has been "overwhelming".
"People like Rob Marshall, our chief designer, he has done a couple of all-nighters on this coming up with engineering solutions to issues they've encountered," Horner says.
"The key thing is getting these systems out there as quickly as possible.
"F1's ability to problem-solve is second to none and our ability to make rapid prototype parts is again second to none.
"So not just our team but all the teams have responded in a phenomenal way. I can only judge what's going on in our our facility, and the efforts that the engineering team and R&D and manufacturing have put into this have been exemplary."
The teams are unable to share many details of their work because the project is run by the government but Horner says: "Basically, we've been using the engineering skill of the relevant people to problem solve and knock out a few rapid prototypes and get it to the point of sign-off."
Those Marko comments
Helmut Marko caused quite a stir on Monday when comments he had made to Austrian television on Sunday night emerged.
Marko, the right-hand man of Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz and the person who picks the drivers across the senior team and junior squad Alpha Tauri, volunteered that he had proposed all Red Bull's drivers attend a fitness camp where - ideally, in Marko's view - they would catch coronavirus so they would be fit and healthy whenever the season can re-start.
As Red Bull's team boss, Horner was, it is fair to say, somewhat caught off guard by Marko's remarks.
Now, he says: "As Helmut pointed out, when he raised it, it wasn't received with support from within Red Bull. It was in many ways a throwaway comment before understanding the seriousness of the pandemic.
"Red Bull, yes, they have many athletes but the focus regarding all the actions that are going on at the moment is that this can affect young people, old people, vulnerable people. It is not a limited sector this applies to. So things like the ventilator project we are working on demonstrate how seriously we are taking this and how much effort's going behind it.
"Helmut's comments were made before understanding the severity. It has never been discussed or tabled as a serious suggestion."
How teams are handling the virus lockdown
Other than those working on the ventilator projects, all F1 staff whose work relates to car performance are on an enforced break at the moment.
This normally happens in the summer, but the teams agreed with governing body the FIA to do it now so that F1 is able to cram in as many races as possible once restrictions on global travel are eased. The 2020 season could well, as a result, extend into January next year, before the 2021 championship starts up again in March.
Teams can choose when, before the end of April, to take their three-week shut down, and Red Bull's began on Friday. In theory, it ends on 20 April, but Horner says he expects that to change.
"There will be a discussion during the break weekly, and I can only see it being extended," he says. "I can see it being extended to the end of April, beginning of May and then reviewed again. There will be a discussion among the team principals, FIA and FOM in the next few days."
In this period, the teams are also not doing any design and development work on their cars, and this, too, is likely to continue.
"It's the only fair way of dealing with it," Horner says. "It's a competition at the end of the day. What's right and logical at the moment is everybody abide by the same rules and the shut down, incorporate FIA conditions to it, until the teams are in a position to go back to work."
As for paying staff, Horner says: "Obviously, we're looking at what the government have communicated. All the teams again, all the HR managers between the teams are talking so there is as much consistency as possible.
"It's very positive the teams are communicating in a positive and proactive manner. It reminds me very much of the 2008 financial crisis but this goes way beyond that."
Is F1 under threat?
No races means reduced income, although exactly how much teams will lose can't be known because of the huge uncertainties involved.
F1's three main income streams of race-hosting fees, broadcast rights and sponsorship are all going to take a hit, so it's easy to look at this crisis and be pessimistic about the future of the sport. But Horner believes F1 will pull through.
"F1 is a very strong business and it's got enormous heritage," he says. "F1 will survive this. Whether all the teams survive this is another matter, and it is the responsibility of all the team principals to act with the interests of the sport and all its participants (in mind), to do our best to ensure all 10 teams come out the other side.
"The difference in 2008 was we were still racing, there was still a calendar, there were still events. You could see the issue more clearly, whereas here we are more blind," Horner says.
"When will we start racing again? It's a different scenario. 2008 had its pressures and the people in the room at that time - Ron Dennis, Flavio Briatore and so on - were thinking about the interests of the sport and it is crucial we do that collectively at this time.
"The world is a different place at the moment. Of course revenue is hit very hard. We don't know how hard it will hit F1 yet.
"All the teams have been reacting responsibly and collectively. Obviously some teams are more exposed than others, particularly the small ones, and it's important that we try our best to protect the F1 community as best we can."
F1 has been owned since early 2017 by US group Liberty Media and as a business is leveraged quite extensively with debt, but Horner says he believes this is not a major concern.
"To be honest, the Liberty structure is quite complicated and you can only imagine that Live Nation, the owner, is also taking a hit on the events business," he says.
"But they have deep pockets as well. And they have always taken a long-term view on this. I think they will do whatever is needed to ensure the sport continues."
More rule changes on the way
Back in 2008, F1 responded to the financial crash by introducing a series of measures that controlled costs.
The same is going on now. It has already been agreed to delay the major rule changes that were planned for next year, with the idea of making the racing closer, until 2022, and racing in 2021 with this season's cars. And Horner says the new rules are now likely be deferred by a further year until 2023.
"The most fundamental and important thing is taking away the necessity to spend in order to be competitive," he says. "So, freezing parts of the car. The monocoque's already agreed. We're looking at front suspension, uprights, wheels, all the associated parts for that, gearbox internals, probably 60% of the car other than its aerodynamic surfaces and that being frozen for this year and next year.
"We're also talking about pushing back a further year the new regulations, because in my mind it would be totally irresponsible to have the burden of development costs in 2021.
"There seems to be reasonable agreement but it needs ratifying by the FIA to push back those development costs into 2022 for introduction in the '23 season.
"The most important thing we need now is stability. Because the one thing we know is that whenever you introduce change you introduce cost, and stability right now and locking down as much of the car as possible is the most responsible way to drive those cost drivers down."
There is also talk of lowering the budget cap that is due to come into force next year at $150m, but Horner says he believes this is not as important as other issues.
"There is positive and healthy discussion going on among all the teams to be responsible. And it's not just about the cap.
"The cap is a ceiling. It is almost secondary as far as I'm concerned, it is reducing the cost in order to go racing. With, let's say, 60% of the chassis frozen for the next 18 months, that will have a dramatic effect on reducing the operational costs of a Grand Prix team, whether that be for Red Bull or Williams."
The Ferrari controversy
Getting through the coronavirus crisis has become the overwhelming priority for everyone in F1, but that does not mean people have forgotten other issues.
One that has been put on the back burner for now is the controversy over the confidential settlement reached by Ferrari and the FIA after an investigation into the Italian team's engine last year.
Mercedes have backed away from that topic, leaving Red Bull leading the group of teams demanding more clarity over what was in that settlement.
Horner says that once the coronavirus situation is under control, he will be going back to FIA president Jean Todt looking for answers.
"At the moment that is secondary to the issues F1 is facing," Horner says. "We want to deal with everything I've just discussed and then that will be picked up and addressed at a later date.
"We have raised some questions to the FIA. What I would say is that a confidential agreement regarding the technical compliance of a competitor's car is obviously something that raises questions. And I'm sure at the relevant time we will have a conversation with Jean to try to understand why and what that agreement consists of."
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March 31, 2020 at 07:51AM
MotoGP News - Lorenzo wouldn't be "short of offers" for full-time MotoGP return
Jorge Lorenzo believes he will "not be short of offers" if he were to stage a full-time MotoGP comeback in the future, having retired at the end of the 2019 season.
The three-time MotoGP world champion hung up his leathers at the end of last year following a bruising sole season aboard the factory Honda.
In the winter, Lorenzo signed a deal with Yamaha - with whom he spent nine years and won all of his premier class titles - to become its official test rider, and is scheduled to make a one-off race return at the Catalan Grand Prix in June as a wildcard.
Numerous riders have questioned Lorenzo's decision to contest a wildcard with Yamaha, while some - including KTM's Pol Espargaro and former Honda team-mate Marc Marquez - believe retiring was a means to simply get away from the Honda.
Commenting on this in an interview with Radio Catalunya while on lockdown in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lorenzo said: "I have always said that the first intention was for the decision [to retire] to be final.
"But it can never be said that I will not drink from this water again.
"I was convinced, I had a long and successful career, but I also hurt myself a lot.
"Economically I have been fortunate to be able to save money and I can make the most of life doing other things.
"I feel like enjoying life and doing other things, but I am also lucky to be able to ride a MotoGP bike 16 or 18 days a year [as a test rider] and take the good from this profession and save myself from the bad.
"I think I have the perfect job right now."
He added: "There are many opinions and you have to respect what everyone thinks.
"If in this case Pol believes this and says it with respect, I understand it.
"Personally, I think that if I wanted to compete again, I would not be short of offers.
"But right now it is not the case and I am fine as I am."
Lorenzo has so far only ridden the Yamaha for two days, during February's Sepang shakedown and official Sepang test - though only circulated on the 2019-spec M1.
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March 31, 2020 at 04:56AM
Motorcycle News - RAGING BULL: Honda CB750 by Bull Moto Custom
Written by Martin Hodgson
They say you have to go big or go home; and as last year was drawing to a close we featured a high quality custom build from a new shop in Bulgaria. With the scene just getting starting in the country it was hard to know when we might hear from the workshop again. Well, we didn’t have to wait long, as Bull Moto Custom has had huge success since their opening salvo was fired with the company already tripling in size. Back with another Honda, the crew headed up by Ivan Mushev isn’t playing around, giving an old favourite a full makeover. With just their second full build they’ve added their unique Eastern European design to a Honda CB750 and come out with a trick sports tourer they call GT2.
Based in the large town of Kyustendil in the far west of the country, the home of Bull Moto is a mix of modern manufacturing and ancient sites dating back to Roman times. There are still buildings in pristine condition from the 11th century, so you don’t have to look far for inspiration and with warm summers with little rain it’s a perfect place to ride. So despite a love for the craziest of creations that come from Japan, Ivan is insistent on building bikes that are first and foremost nice to be on and with Svetoslav Kostadinov and Vasil Pinev joining the team they’re ramping up for the coming riding season.
The CB is the first of the bikes ready to hit the tarmac but it was initially sourced from their local bike dealer as a 1981 stocker with plenty of work needed to bring it up to scratch. Inspiration for the build came from the Black Ford GT40 MkII and not only did that influence the aesthetic but the boys desire to create a GT style motorcycle. That means you need a quality foundation and to achieve just that they stripped the chassis back and got to work. The back end was entirely cut off, the swingarm ditched and the pivot point re-inforced to accept a stronger mounting arrangement.
Then an entirely new rear subframe was fabricated from scratched and welded on, with a beefy design not lacking in physical strength and a strong presence. The all too common hoop tail was given a miss in favour of a more squared-off design that best matches the bikes ’80s lines. With the very clever integration of an LED taillight in the back and matching turn signals on the angled sides all having to be slotted in before final welding took place. Then before the gloss black was applied to give a uniform finish to the chassis, it was all smoothed out and plenty of brackets tossed aside.
To update the handling Ivan wanted to go much further than just improved shocks and instead sourced a 1994 Honda VFR750 single-sided swingarm. With the standard upper shock mounts left off the new subframe, a new mount was fabricated and welded to the centre post, while the braced frame utilises custom machined bushings to accept the legendary swingarm and all it’s more modern components. But wanting a long and low look for the bike the factory shock was removed and replaced with a Honda Hornet item that still works brilliantly with the pro-link setup.
Such a drastic change would be let down in form and function if the spindly stock front forks were left in place. So the search was on for the appropriate front end and rather than use the typical sportsbike items the boys chose instead to take from a bike more closely related in handling characteristics. So with a bearing and stem change they slotted in the entire front end off a Yamaha FZ1 from 2009, fully adjustable and complete with its front wheel, big twin disc brakes and then wrapped both ends in the appropriately named Pirelli Angel GTII rubber.
Moving onto the look and again the desire to do what everyone else is doing was ignored to go in their own direction. The rear cowl is a beautifully fabricated piece with its own aggressive lines that wouldn’t be compromised to store the electronics. Instead, it is the reshaped tank with heavily defined knee dents that is modified internally to hide away the cables and the battery. There are also two seat options for the rider, “The seat with red edging is Alcantara and was made by MGDesign, the other leather one is more comfortable by CrazyCust,” Ivan explains. The matte black paint has some green pearl mixed in while the no. 2 lettering is a direct GT40 replica.
The old faithful 750cc engine has been rebuilt, repainted and given a set of filters for the carbs and a stunning 4-1 exhaust with twin chrome mufflers for a cracking sound. The client likes quality and the accessories are dripping with it, Sato racing rearsets, clip-ons from Vortex, Rizoma red and a trick LED headlight from Wrangler. Even the top clamp is a work of art, now acting as the dash with a Daytona speedo, lights and mini gauges all built in. The owner is understandably thrilled and on the first outing the biggest motorcycle equipment dealer in the country presented the Bull Moto boys with a matching Biltwell helmet, a nod to the crew who are causing a new boom in Bulgaria.
[ Bull Custom Moto | Instagram ]
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March 30, 2020 at 11:05PM
Motorcycle News - Stylmartin Jack Motorcycle Boots
Shoes and boots designed for motorcyclists often battle with finding a balance between form and function. They tend to offer either sturdy protection or stylish looks, but rarely both. The Stylmartin Jack Boots, though, delivers both. With protection and padding tailored to riding, these casually styled boots are just as much at home on a motorcycle as they are being worn out on the town.
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March 30, 2020 at 08:54PM