Motorcycle News - Yamaha Cross Core Ebike Review
Is an ebike cheating? Of course. But would I be sitting on the beach now after a strenuous-ish 15-mile ride from my house without it? No. I’d be napping on the couch in my usual after-lunch tradition. I had a regular nice $500 Specialized hybrid bicycle there for a while, until it got stolen, and I did the 30-mile round trip to the Santa Ana River mouth quite a few times on it (and wrote about it here). But it took a lot out of me and the biggest part of a day by the time I was done lying around for a couple hours afterward, recuperating and rehydrating.
Let’s face it, I’m never gonna be in basic training shape again, but bicycling is a great way for middle-aged people to stay reasonably fit; also, there appears to be a high correlation between people interested in bicycles and motorcycles. The Santa Ana River trail that goes from close to my house to the Pacific is really about as scenic as my urban swath of SoCal gets, especially if you like your rivers lined with concrete and dry most of the time. Actually, the closer to the ocean you get the more natural and liquid it becomes – a nice incentive to keep pedalling.
Usually you need to head south early-ish, lest you find yourself pedalling against the ocean breeze that springs up most days. A 5-mph wind in the face feels like a hurricane on my lowly beach cruiser, upon which I have never reached the beach. On my loaner Yamaha Cross Core, I beat right into that headwind in early afternoon and laugh in its face, a HA haha!
It’s still good exercise and gets the heart pumping, but every time you glance at the cool little LCD speedo on the Yamaha, you’re going 18 or 19 mph instead of however fast I used to go on the old pedal bike. Not very.
To get scientific about it, this past January 2 Strava tells me I did the 28.96- miles round trip to the beach at an average speed of 16.7 mph in 1 hour, 43.58 minutes on the ebike. In September, 2015, on my dearly departed Specialized pedal bike, the same ride took 2:19.30, at an average speed of 13.4 mph. I was 5 years younger then, more than a few pounds lighter, and my right ankle’s still not 100% after having it yanked off the Rocket 3 footpeg a couple months ago…
Basically what’s going on here is that suddenly you’re Lance Armstrong, but it’s the bicycle doing the doping. I’m a casual bicycle racing fan at best, but it’s another activity that, with the slightest inquiry, will give you huge respect for professional athletes. The winner of the Tour de France, which goes on for 23 days over 2200 miles, averages about 25 mph. That is sick. On this Yamaha, in tennis shoes and flappy gym shorts, I generally roll out of it a little when passing fully Spandexed-out riders on expensive pedal bikes just because we don’t want to sow any ill will, do we? They give me dirty looks anyway. I sort of feel like since my battery, gray hair and toothpick legs are right there in plain sight, I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.
The cool part is that the whole Yamaha system works so seamlessly, it never feels like you’re cheating. There’s no throttle to twist or nitrous button to push. Yamaha uses an exclusive speed sensor inside the rear hub, which measures pedalling cadence, torque, and rear wheel speed, and instantly adjusts motor assist as needed; the only time I really feel boost at all is when I’m climbing a hill. When droning along on my flat river trail at 18 or 19 mph, it feels like it’s all me. My only complaint is that at 20 mph, it really is all me, like hitting a soft rev limiter. I’m not sure if that’s an actual legal speed limit for ebikes or just an OEM agreed-upon one (It’s a federal regulation policed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. —DC). Probably 20 mph is fast enough, but a few more mph on a long straight doesn’t feel like it would be a bad thing.
The other place you feel the assist is when leaving from a stop. On my pedal bikes, I’d always use the pedestrian crosswalk and be grateful for the break while waiting for the light to turn. On the Cross Core, I’ll pull up alongside the cars and take off almost as fast as them when the light turns green.
You’ve got a 500-watt motor sitting under your hood, with a claimed 51.6 max foot-pounds of torque to move you out smartly. A Shimano thumb-and-finger shifter at each paw moves the chain over the two sprockets, sorry, chainwheels, up front, and 9 out back flawlessly. No way do you need that many: With boost in Standard or High, it’s pretty easy to blast off from starts even in a medium gear. As for range, I have zero anxiety. After my 30-mile beach rides on flat terrain, the Core’s LCD gauge always says I’ve got at least 60% of charge remaining. For me that’s more than plenty. Any further than 30 miles, and I’m going by motorcycle. If you ever do discharge the battery, Yamaha says the fast charger that comes with the bike will juice it up in four hours via your standard 110v outlet.
Yamaha’s been building ebikes for decades, but just recently bringing them to the US. Motorcycle and bicycle sales are both in the doldrums; ebikes, on the other hand, are on a tear. A lot of it is no doubt due to aging boomers like yours truly, but ebike appeal also embraces a huge demographic containing many varieties of tree huggers, cheapskates (ebikes are cheap compared to a car or motorcycle, at least), commuters, and that huge swath of people who’d like to get some exercise but want to be very careful to not get too much. I’m in almost all those camps. You don’t really need a trainer or coach to exercise, but plenty of people have them anyway because they need a motivator. The ebike is just that, but electric.
And don’t forget people with injuries. Robert Buchsbaum, of the Wilier ebike pictured above and a motorcycling FB friend from North Carolina, writes:
“I’m pedaling up the Blue Ridge Parkway and there are two kids in their thirties on the side of the road taking a break, and as I approach I hear one say to the other ‘Damn…..that old guy is killin’ it!’ As I passed them, I said ‘this old guy is getting some help,’ and I winked. The kid smiled and said ‘electric assist?,’ and I nodded and yelled back… ‘beats a fuckin’ wheel chair.’ They laughed.
“Reality is,” continues Robert, “that in the month since I got this thing, in spite of the weather, I’ve been on probably a dozen rides, each between 15 and 25 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where on each ride I’m spending half my time climbing between 1000 and 1500 feet. Without this bike I’d be home on the couch. After two hip replacements, a knee held together by a plate and nine screws, and a totally fused ankle, I just couldn’t do it. It has been transformational, and how it works is ingenious; motor seamlessly engages only if you pedal and seamlessly shuts off when you hit 20 mph, so you really don’t feel it at all; it just feels like my legs got REALLY strong overnight, or like I have a REALLY stiff wind at my back whenever I pedal. It’s like I found the fountain of youth!”
The health benefits are definitely in place. As for the more utilitarian reasons for having an ebike, I’m not completely sold. On the Cross Core, you need a backpack to schlep stuff around, though for $500 dollars more the Cross Connect gets you a rear rack, taillight, fenders and a telescopic fork.
But the main thing that’s going to keep me from running errands on an ebike is how quickly nice bicycles disappear in the land of the free; they seem to be the number one target for thieves. You can unlock the Core’s battery, but then you’re having to carry a bulky 7-pound thing around with you – and that’s no guarantee some swine won’t make off with the rest of the bike anyway. I guess if you have a really good lock you can trust… I don’t trust that such a thing exists. People who own nice bicycles tell me the only real cure is never to let it out of your sight when it’s not locked up at home. Kind of inconvenient, especially when there’s a Honda PCX150 in the garage.
Why not have it all dammit? I think I need a Cross Core for fitness/fun, and the PCX for mundane errands/fun: $2,399 for the bike and $3,699 for the scooter – $6,100 all in – isn’t bad to have all your transpo needs covered, is it? Then all you need is a motorcycle(s).
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January 15, 2020 at 04:16PM
Motorcycle News - A street tracker with race-tuned Yamaha MT-07 power
Unless, of course, your name is Michael ‘Woolie’ Woolaway, and you’re the head wrench at Deus in Venice Beach, California.
We’re not exaggerating. Nicknamed ‘The Framer,’ this Yamaha MT-07-powered machine was designed as a properly competitive AMA flat track mile racer, which could do double duty on the street too. So it’s a completely ground-up build.
The kit includes oversized pistons, a ported cylinder head, upgraded valves and cams, and a revised electronics package to enable custom engine tuning.
For the frame, Woolie called up a friend: legendary flat track chassis designer, Jeff Cole. Jeff helped work out the layout and geometry, then a jig was made for Woolie to build the actual chromoly frame and swing arm with.
Finishing off the chassis are a set of Öhlins forks, and a custom-made shock from Race Tech. The hoops are 19” Roland Sands Design ‘Traction’ numbers, wrapped in DOT-approved Mitas dirt track tires. Woolie installed full-floating Brembo brake systems at both ends, with a quick-release setup at the rear.
Up top, Woolie kept the OEM MT-07 speedo—but the rest of the cockpit is kitted with top-shelf bars, grips and controls. And yes, the bike is street legal; there’s a small spotlight in the hand-made nacelle, bar-end turn signals, and a removable taillight and plate bracket that’s not pictured here.
The Framer also closely resembles another of Woolie’s builds: Dani Pedrosa’s wild Honda CR500 tracker. Woolie calls this a “big brother version” of that bike, explaining, “whereas his was a short track racer, this is a proper mile bike with third gear wheelies all day.”
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January 15, 2020 at 11:30AM
MotoGP News - Rookie Binder waiting for "something to click" on KTM MotoGP bike
MotoGP rookie Brad Binder felt he did a "better job" on the KTM during the Jerez test, but admits he is still waiting for "something to click" on the bike
Motorcycle Racing News
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January 15, 2020 at 09:37AM
F1 News - Roy Nissany: Williams name Israeli as Formula 1 test driver
Israeli Roy Nissany is to be Williams' test driver in Formula 1 in 2020.
The 25-year-old, who last raced in Formula 2 in 2018 and will do so again this season, will drive in three practice sessions and one test as part of his role.
"This is a landmark for motorsport in Israel," Nissany said following the announcement in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
"The experience I will gain this year immersing myself in the team will be invaluable."
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: "Roy demonstrated his capabilities driving in the post-season Abu Dhabi test last year and we were extremely impressed with what he could do in a short space of time. He is a hard-working individual who we are excited to be working with this year."
Nissany is the son of Chanoch Nissany, who became the first and, so far, only Israeli to take part in a grand prix weekend when he completed the first practice session at the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix for Minardi.
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January 15, 2020 at 04:21AM
Motorcycle News - Spellbound – The VooDoo Virago Cafe Racer
There are a handful of motorcycles that became the poster children of the “new wave” cafe racer scene at the start of the last decade. Some were obvious choices like the Honda CB750 due to its historical significance. Then there were a few less obvious ones like Honda’s Moto Guzzi wanna be the CX500. Falling into the latter category was another motorcycle from Japan that was criticized as being an imitation when it was released. It was the Sportster-esque Yamaha Virago.
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January 14, 2020 at 08:28PM
Motorcycle News - Extreme Green: A Kawasaki ZRX1200R by deBolex
A handful of top builders specialize in less mainstream flavors though. One of them is Calum Pryce-Tidd of the south London workshop deBolex Engineering, who often starts with unconventional ingredients—such as an Energica Eva or a Yamaha MT-10.
Although it was something of a throwback, the big green machine was no slouch: it could run the quarter mile in less than 11 seconds, and pass the timing light at 125 mph.
That would be enough for most folks even today, but Calum hasn’t just given the ZRX a distinctive new look—he’s lifted its performance to an entirely new level.
Alex bought his ZRX1200R new and later sold it. But he regretted the sale, and bought it back a few years later—luckily with very low mileage, and still in great condition. He met up with Calum, and proposed using the ZRX as a base.
As with all deBolex builds, that meant a lot of metal shaping. “The ZRX was probably one of our more challenging projects,” says Calum. “Features such as the quick-release headlight cover, and the tank and tail designs, took some head scratching to achieve.”
The forks are hooked up with custom CNC’d yokes, and braking now comes from an ISR system with six-pot calipers and twin 310 mm disks. The 17-inch wheels are the lightest aluminum models that Dymag make: the same UP7X spec used on some WSBK racers and finished in gold. The front rim is attached via a quick release spindle.
With a little CNC magic, Calum and Des converted the rear brakes to an ISR two-pot caliper system, and completed the roadholding upgrade by installing Metzeler Racetec RR suspersport tires. This ZRX1200R is going to be generating a lot more g-force than the factory bike.
Gases now exit into a custom stainless exhaust system, terminated with a pair of high-riding Arrow mufflers.
“All work is carried out in-house,” Calum explains, “from design sketches to CAD to the metal shaping stage, and then onto paint and trimming. Keeping these processes in-house enables us to achieve exactly what we set out to achieve—and keeps us pushing to perfect our designs and finish quality.”
The electrics are hooked up to a Scitsu rev counter and Daytona ‘Nano’ speedo ahead of the drag-style Rizoma bars. They’re finished with Renthal grips, a Domino quick-action throttle and tiny Motogadget blinkers.
The ZRX1200R is a one-off of the highest order, and carries the ‘1/1’ designation given to unique, unrepeatable deBolex creations over the past eight years. But there’s going to be a delay before we see another 1/1.
Details of the series bikes will be revealed soon: if you’re interested, flick Calum an email via his website and he’ll keep you updated. And while you’re waiting, take a moment to savor the details on this delicious Kawasaki.
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January 14, 2020 at 11:26AM
Motorcycle News - Riding Gear – Cortech Bully Gloves
If you’re chasing retro-styled motorcycle gloves but want the protection of modern sportbike gear, look no further. Performance riding gear manufacturer Cortech has developed the perfect balance of form and function and injected into their Bully motorcycle gloves. An extra-tough goat leather exterior with integrated race-proven armor places these gloves amongst the most protective retro gloves on the market.
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January 14, 2020 at 01:38AM
Motorcycle News - THE LONG HAUL: Honda CB750 by Cody Fagan
Written by Martin Hodgson
Few, if any of the greatest automotive masterpieces to have been built in the last hundred years went through the ‘design by committee’ process. The entire exercise to take an idea from individual’s imagination to complete working vehicle is exhausting, but when led by a single visionary the result is often incredible. For Cody Fagan of Buffalo New York the process began three years ago and the more other areas of his life proved difficult, the more determined he was to build his perfect Honda 750. Thousands of custom CB’s have been built, but this is one of the most complete and comprehensive we’ve seen to date.
Cody picked up the 1979 Honda for a good price some three years ago, an especially good deal given the truckload of spare and performance parts that were included, some still new in their box. “The previous owner had planned on building a drag bike out of it but then went a different direction with a Suzuki. He even threw in basically everything Honda DOHC that he had which were a complete second 750 engine, another 750 case and a set of 900 cylinders and head that he had planned to use on his build,” Cody explains.
The first two years of the build were spent disassembling, cleaning and collecting parts, and doing research into the very best ways to build up the Honda as he desired. With plans to Frankenstein the motor into a killer 750/900 combination, invaluable advice came from Brent of Vince and Hyde Racing in New Zealand and Jim Sawtell of Jes Built in Oregon. The engine begins with the 750 crank, with grooves in the main journals for 360° oiling and larger sleeves that are taken out a further 5.5mm. The pistons are from Wiseco and result in a total capacity of 887cc at 10.25:1 compression.
The cylinder head is the 900 model that Cody ported himself and the bigger valves are now stainless with titanium retainers. Overcoming the chain tensioner issues is a bunch of parts from Vince & Hyde, who also sent out a pair of their adjustable cam gears. With more genius added to the oiling system thanks to the addition of a cooler, a 900 pan with AN8 fittings and stainless lines. The gearbox is built up with undercut gears, heavy-duty Barnett clutch and springs and Brent’s shift star for positive clicks through every gear.
The stock carbs would never keep up with such an incredible engine so the switch was made to the infinitely tuneable bank of Mikuni RS34s. While the Hindle 4-2-1 exhaust system was a very deliberate choice, gaining torque in the midrange to make the high RPM engine more street-friendly. Those revs build even more rapidly with a lightweight open charging system from Cycle X, which is backed up by a comprehensive electrical system of an antigravity battery, motogadget M-unit, dynatek electronic ignition and the solid state regulator rectifier.
As you exhale you realise that’s just the engine, and Cody sure means business! Just like with the install of the CBR1000RR swingarm, other’s told him to use the tried and true 600 unit, but with on again off again access to a mill and lathe, help from a shop whose work had to be redone and a bunch of engineering tricks he made it work perfectly! No compromise was made on the front end either, 2013 GSXR600 forks fit with a Cognito Moto top clamp. But making the Honda front wheel and big 320mm brakes with Brembo calipers work together in their new home is more Cody genius!
To get the look he was after the frame was modified and shortened at the rear before being powder coated Ink Black, with the engine given the same treatment in Black Jack. Then he began work on the tailpiece, using the lines of the stock piece, designing a new, making a mould and then forming the finished product that merges at the tank far better than most. “The color scheme really came from the Biltwell diamond grips, I loved the Chocolate Brown colour and carried that through to the powder coat on the wheels which is prismatic powders Lentil Brown and the seat, which also has a diamond pleated pattern,” Cody tells us.
The rest of the paint is flawless, with factory inspired graphics extended across the bodywork and the off white a factory Mini Cooper hue. Wherever you look there is Cody’s touch in pursuit of perfection, from the Venhill cables and Goodridge brake lines, to the hand built wiring loom and Cognito Moto rearsets. The engine is a work of art and the suspension now matching the geometry of the GSXR with modern sportsbike rubber means she handles like a dream. I say she because a friend nicknamed her ‘Honey’; but in the end, it’s the process, not just the remarkable finished product that makes Cody so proud, “I just have so much time, heart and blood into this thing, not to mention the money!”
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January 14, 2020 at 01:33AM
Motorcycle News - Trilobite 661 Parado Jeans Review
Trilobite 661 Parado jeansEditor Score: 90.0%
Now that they’ve become a thing, I have a pretty decent stack of “riding jeans” on the shelf. But when these Trilobites flew in over the transom the other day, I seem to have forsaken all others. It was really easy to find photos of them on MO, since they’re the only pants I’ve worn in about the last six months of road tests. Just like with a good helmet, fit is key, and the stretchy-feely Trilobites hug my curves just right. Do not body shame me.
They’re made from medium-weight, 11.5-ounce elastic denim that’s 98% cotton and 2% elastane, which provides softness and stretchiness (if you haven’t got your first stretchy jeans yet, consider moving into the 21st century). In addition to the natural stretchiness of the denim, the Trilobites feature something none of my other riding jeans do: Ergonomically shaped accordion stretch panels in crotch, knees, and back of the waist make them even more flexible. That makes it not only really easy to climb on and off your bike, but also really comfortable to sit on it and move around as needed. Your legs are flexi/stretchy the same way they are in a nice set of expensive Italian racing leathers. You could do light roadside yoga in these.
You’re not getting the same level of protection you would in leathers of course, but no doubt you’re getting quite a bit more safety than the typical pair of non-riding jeans. Like most, these have an additional layer of fabric in the butt, hips and knees, in the form of DuPont aramid fibers made with Kevlar. Knock on wood, I’ve never tested this stuff, but it’s claimed to offer great abrasion resistance – and if you’re riding through Hell and crash at speed, or re-entering earth orbit, a claimed melting point of 450 degrees Celsius should be enough.
I’ve never understood why they don’t put the Kevlar along the outer legs, which is where I always seem to fall. I guess that would make assembly more difficult, since every pair of pants I’ve ever seen has a seam there. As things stand, if you fall straight off the back of your motorcycle and land on your butt, or directly onto your knees, you should be good. Overall construction seems really robust, with all important seams double- and top-stitched. After wearing these a lot, I have zero loose threads or failures of any kind.
Like most riding jeans, you also get closed-cell foam pads in the knees and hips: These are CE2 three-layer jobs, light and flexible, that drop into pockets sewn into the jeans.
A strip of Velcro sewn vertically into the knees lets you adjust the height of the knee pads to fit your body, as well as a little lateral adjustability. Even with the pads as far to the outward portion of their pockets as possible, though, mine still cheat to the insides of my knees, which is opposite of where I’d want the pad to be in case of a crash. If you’re lucky they’ll protect your knees in the event of a get-off; if you’re not, the knee pads are at least excellent for kneeling at the side of the road to plug a tire or whatever.
Another nice feature is the YKK brass-zippered vent that runs about 7 inches along each thigh; it does a nice job letting air vent out from your legs on hot days. The main zipper’s also a nice brass one, with a Trilobite embossed button at the top of the fly. Classy, bro.
The stretchy crotch material is nice and breathable also, and provides plenty of room to expand southward for those hung like LBJ. For those not hung, they’re also available in ladies’ sizes.
In summation, I can’t conjecture if these Trilobites are going to be any more protective than the competition, but I do know I love the way they fit better than all the competition I’ve worn so far. They don’t look like leggings off the bike, but the fact that they’re cut – with the accordion panels and stretchy crotch – pretty much like the lower half of a nice set of racing leathers – really makes me feel more comfortable and secure when I’m riding. Furthermore, the belt loops are set an inch down from the top of the waistline. With a belt on, that and the rear accordion panel keeps drafts out of your man cave.
Parado 661 jeans are made in the Czech Republic, and CE and TÜV certified, in a bunch of sizes for men and women. My 34 seems true to size, and each waist size is available in Regular, Short and Tall inseams. Rolling up my Regulars an inch at the cuffs is just right for my 30-inch inseam. Good stuff, really, and Trilobite makes a bunch of other jeans and riding gear as well.
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January 13, 2020 at 04:02PM
Motorcycle News - Triumph Rocket 3R and Rocket 3 GT Video Review
You read the review, now see the movie! Filmed in an exotic location in full Technicolor last November, and featuring an all-star cast of one, it shouldn’t be too painful to watch because it’s only barely four minutes long. No animals were harmed, though my right ankle still hurts from being yanked off the Triumph Rocket 3 GT’s forward-set footpeg.
We still haven’t quite got our hands on a new Rocket 3 for further testing, but Triumph says the new 2458 cc triple produces 163 lb-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm, and 167 horses at 6000 revs. Stout-hearted! Maybe even better than that, the new WBEM (World’s Biggest-Engined Motorcycle) is said to be 88 pounds lighter than the outgoing model; Triumph’s claim of around 645 pounds, dry, is still a lot of motorcycle, but this one feels considerably lighter on its tyres.
In fact there are two new Rocket 3’s: Your R in red ($21,900) gets mid-mount foot controls, an inch-higher seat and lower handlebar. The GT ($22,600) gets forward-mount pegs, a higher pullback bar, adjustable backrest and slightly bigger windscreen. Footpegs, handlebars and seats are swappable between the two bikes.
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The vid was filmed in the middle of my one day on the bike, the morning of which didn’t include any really vigorous riding. In the afternoon, though, we did hit some warm, dry sporty roads that drain from Tenerife’s active volcano to the Atlantic, and both Rockets showed that they’re not just great motorcycles for blatting around, but also for surprisingly serious sporty riding, with plenty of cornering clearance and surreptitious power delivery. I’d’ve been more positive, in other words, if we’d filmed at the end of the day.
Not that you have to ride like a cephalopod to appreciate this motorcycle. Check the new seamless gas tank, the TFT display, and all the wondrous functions it controls to keep you from hurting yourself and to keep you in contact with the outside world, should you choose to be. The hydroformed exhaust on the right side is a thing of metallurgical beauty, so are all the brushed aluminium bits and brightwork, all of it meticulously put together by Triumph’s brightest minds to serve notice to the world, as we enter this new decade, that it’s not only the biggest but the best. Lately it’s hard to argue.
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January 13, 2020 at 03:18PM