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Electric Motorcyces: Is the Future Now?

Few sports and pastimes are as committed to their traditions as motorcycle riding.  With companies that have been in business for decades like Harley-Davidson, Indian, and others, the technology has evolved.  However, what riders want from their motorcycles has not.  They want power, speed, looks, and more importantly for some, sound.  They want the roar of a V-twin engine; to feel the rumbling just underneath their seat.  They want to go fast, and for everyone around them to know it too.  Harley’s CMO, Mark-Hans Richer, sums up the feeling riders want on their bikes saying, “Wow I really feel cool on this, and other people turn their heads when I go by and love the sound, and it makes a statement, and it’s got character and attitude.”

Continued fixation on these traditions has consistently prompted the major motorcycle manufacturers to turn away from exploring the all-electric bike market.  In addition, major manufacturers have a lot invested in pistons, valves, clutches, radiators and gearboxes.  Therefore, the all-electric technology is simply still too expensive for the average rider.  The 2014 Zero SR from Zero Motorcycles, one of the most well-reviewed and praised electric street bikes currently on the market, retails from $17,000 to $19,500, which means that the standard SR is about $10,000 more than a Kawasaki Ninja 650, a solid commuter style gas bike.  All of these factors have contributed to an electric motorcycle market that is nowhere near as developed as its automobile counterpart, dominated by small brands in niche markets with comparatively few resources, and little mainstream relevance outside of the very hardcore motorcycle community.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

However, things may soon change as both Harley-Davidson and Yamaha have announced their intent to introduce new all-electric bikes to their product lines.  On June 19th, Harley unveiled Project LiveWire, its first-ever electric motorbike.  Though it’s still considered a prototype, and therefore still unavailable to purchase, the LiveWire will tour Harley dealerships in the US, offering people the chance to test-ride the new bike.  The tour is meant to gauge public response to the electric Harley before deciding if and when to begin mass-production for the bike.  The company’s COO, Matthew Levatich, said, “”Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history.  Because electric vehicle technology is evolving rapidly, we are excited to learn more from riders through the Project LiveWire experience to fully understand the definition of success in this market as the technology continues to evolve.”  Although the bike does currently feature respectable specs, according to TheVerge.com, Harley “stressed that what they care about right now is getting rider feedback — including finding out who this bike is actually for.  ‘That’s one of the most interesting things we’re going to learn,’ says Harley marketing Chief Mark-Hans Richer, ‘the breadth of this experience.’  This isn’t a bike for most Harley traditionalists, after all, so the question may be what new, younger riders are looking for.”  Yamaha Motor has also begun its own process for developing an all-electric motorbike as well, publishing the following in its annual report for the year 2013: “In sports motorcycles, we are working to create new value with EV sports motorcycles, which we aim to launch in the near future, with the development of the small, on-road sports PES1, as well as the PED1, which are being developed to expand the scope of electric vehicles to the off-road world.”  According to Gizmag.com, neither of Yamaha’s two new models look like they’re going to “set the world on fire in their first iterations.”  Their electric bikes are likely to exhibit the performance characteristics “of what Zero was doing three or four years ago.”  However, with the resources of one of the biggest motorcycle manufacturers in the world, Yamaha can be expected to make rapid gains quickly with the proper motivation.

 

Yamaha PES1

Yamaha PES1

These moves by these two major companies represent a significant shift in the thought processes and focuses of these companies, and signify trends in the sport as a whole.  Although it’s more than extremely unlikely that combustion-engine bikes will be completely phased-out of the market anytime soon, the PES1 and PED1 by Yamaha, and the LiveWire by Harley, are acknowledgements that there is a growing customer interest in electric motorbikes.  There is still a significant amount of development needed before they will take off, but with companies like Harley and Yamaha backing the electric motorcycle, that time will be here much sooner than most people would have previously assumed.  However, the challenge for these companies is not just technical, but emotional as well.  Recreating that feeling of power and freedom with a machine that offers no noise and therefore no bravado is difficult, even for Harley, whose LiveWire “lets off a high-pitched whine that sounds more like an oversized vacuum than a vehicle,” according to TheVerge.com.  Harley is determined to deliver on its typical emotional satisfaction with the LiveWire, even if the sound may be totally different, and figuring out what can change riders’ minds is part of what Harley is after as it gets feedback on its electric motorbike.  One thing is for certain, with Harley-Davidson and Yamaha leading the charge, electric motorcycles will continue to make rapid progress, and the future will come along with them.models look like they’re going to “set the world on fire in their first iterations.”  Their electric bikes are likely to exhibit the performance characteristics “of what Zero was doing three or four years ago.”  However, with the resources of one of the biggest motorcycle manufacturers in the world, Yamaha can be expected to make rapid gains quickly with the proper motivation.

How to Treat a Leather Jacket


Leather is the most common and recognized material used for motorcycle jackets. It has many advantages; protection against abrasion, protection against the elements, plus it just looks cool. Treated well, leather jackets will last up to 10 years or longer. Here’s some information and tips on how to get the most out of yours.

Types of Leather

To understand the types of leather, one must know the term “grain”. The grain is simply the epidermis, or outer layer of the animal’s skin. In general, leather is sold in four forms:

agvsport_classic_leather_jacket_black_front1. Split Leather

Split Leather is made from the lower (inner or flesh side) layers of a hide that have been split away from the upper, or grain, layers. Split leather is more fragile than full-grain leather.

  2. Suede

Suede is a type of split leather that has been buffed and brushed to create a fuzzy texture.

3.Top-Grain or Corrected Grain

Top grain leather has been sanded to remove scars and imperfections, then sprayed for a uniform look. Top-grain is not the same quality as full-grain or naked leather, but thicknesses of 1.2-3mm make this type of leather a very durable riding material.

4. Full-Grain or Naked Leather

Full-Grain leather is made from the finest hides and only a transparent dye is added. The natural Full-Grain surface will wear better than other leather. Rather than wearing out, it will develop a natural “patina” and grow better looking over time. This type of leather is the ultimate riding grade and also the most expensive. The most common leather used for motorcycle apparel is cowhide, known for its strength and durability. Buffalo hide is the next most common. The leather used in motorcycle jackets should be at least one millimeter thick.  Greater thickness generally means greater protection.

Effects of Different Weather Conditions on Leather and Common Issues

Leather is not meant to get wet, as that tends to deplete its natural oils.  It is advisable to wear a rain suit over your leathers in inclement weather. However, if they do get wet, allow them to dry naturally, away from extreme heat sources. Surprisingly, leather is damaged more by dryness and loss of oils than by water. Although water washes leather oils out faster and causes it to dry out, leather oils also dissipate when they’re dry.  This happens even when it’s not being used. Like your skin, it simply dries out. Wind, warm air, dust, chemicals, mud, and normal wear increase the rate of oil loss. Dry fibers scuff easily, get brittle, and break prematurely, causing cracks in your leather. Dry leather also cuts stitching and is prone to dry rot. Do not let the fibers dry out; keep them lubricated with proper oils.

Simple Solutions and Tips for Maintaining Upkeep

Before wearing your leather jacket, treat it with a suede and leather guard, like Scotchguard for leather furniture. This is usually a spray on application, and will help prevent damage from water and stains or grime. Never seal your jacket off unless absolutely necessary! When pores are sealed the leather cannot breathe, and you’ll sweat like you’re wearing rubber. Sealed leather is uncomfortable, can smell bad, and body acids, bacteria, and salt can rot it from the inside out.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 2.36.28 PMCleaning leather can be a difficult proposition since the act of cleaning it may often damage the leather. This is especially true of some cleaners that use harsh chemicals to clean. In mild cases, you may want to simply try using leather oil to act as a solvent on the grime; use the liquid oil to loosen the dirt and blot it away with the excess oil. This method will ensure you do not damage the leather.

If the leather is extremely grimey, use a natural and non-toxic cleaner. Heavily soiled areas may require several cleaning treatments depending on the strength of the cleaner.

The way your leather looks is determined by many factors including the type of hide, the tanning process, and whether it has been dyed or treated in some fashion. It is very difficult to predict exactly how a particular leather may react to being cleaned, oiled, or treated. In almost all cases, you can expect some change in color, and possibly texture, when you treat or clean your leather. Storing leather requires some special consideration to help keep it in good shape and well-protected. You should store your leather in an airy, cool, dry area that is not too hot or cold, and certainly not damp. The storage should be darkened to avoid direct sunlight as well since this will dry and fade the leather. Always use padded hangers to help preserve the shape of your item, and if you choose to cover the item, use a breathable cloth like a cotton sheet.   Hopefully this information can help you increase the longevity of your leather jacket, and keep it looking as good as new!

What Employers Want and Students Won’t Give

Jane Doe (her name has been changed to save her further embarrassment), 20, spent her summer interning with AGV Sports Group (a motorcycle apparel company located in Frederick, MD).  Unlike the 47% of college and high school students who were not actively seeking employment, Doe decided to gain experience in Supply Chain Management.  Three weeks later she was frustrated, confused, and fired.

Like many college students, Doe was involved on campus; she received good grades in school, and has tons of self-confidence.  How could she fail?  Every time she would get a bad grade in class she would work with the professor to change it, why couldn’t her employer be more understanding?  She was only 5 to 15 minutes late each day; when she worked part-time at the mall they gave her a grace period.  How was she supposed to know how to do everything her boss asked her to do?  He didn’t walk her through it.

Doe, like many of her counterparts, grew up in an era where there are no losers, we get A’s for effort, and grading in red is too harmful for students’ self-esteem.  The idea that making life easier for our children is great up until they enter the working world and realize that employers will not teach them every aspect of their jobs.

Tim Sackett’s “1 Reason Interns Suck” is harsh, especially to those college students who don’t rely on their employer to babysit them throughout their internship, but he makes a good point that employers need people who will really work and an internship is the perfect opportunity for students to prove that they are these types of people.

Employers don't want interns to wait around to be told what to do.

Employers don’t want interns to wait around to be told what to do.

According to Penny Loretto (the Associate Director in the Career Services office at a small liberal arts college) 95% of students who completed an internship or co-op were either hired by the company they interned for or received other job offers.  Students who have never had an internship are completely unprepared for a job where their employers expect them to take responsibility over their position and not wait to be told what to do.

Employability skills –showing up on time, working in a team and independently, basic computer skills, problem solving, and writing and communication skills are important in both jobs and internships.  Employers are shocked by the invasion of 20-somethings that write in chat speak, cannot address an envelope, and speak and dress as if they are going to a club rather than work.

“It is very important that my interns have a good understanding of Microsoft Office,” says Michael Parrotte (Owner and President of AGV Sports Group), “I am willing to guide them and teach them, but I run a business I don’t have time to babysit.”

Students like Jane Doe are common in the group of recent and upcoming graduates.  The belief that their degree entitles them to a job is being shot down as employers refuse to hire and fire employees who lack basic employability skills and have no experience in their field.

AGV Sport Element Vintage Jacket Review

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
There are a few criteria I like in a motorcycle jacket. I want smelly leather, I want the leather to wear like a second-skin, and I want armor. Other factors will always help seal the deal, but these are the big three for me. Let’s see how the AGV Sport Element Vintage Leather Jacket I’ve been sporting lately stands up to these standards.

AGV Sport Element Vintage Jacket

My last AGV Sport jacket, a Pella Perforated model, ran just a tad small, so I went up a size this time to a 2XL and the fit was spot-on. The top grain cowhide isn’t super thick but still provides a sturdy buffer against wind. The Element Vintage Leather Jacket comes with pre-curved arms and the leather is pliable so it allows for an unencumbered range of motion in the arms and shoulders. The cuffs are adjustable courtesy of Velcro tabs, which come in handy when putting on gauntlet-style gloves because you can easily wrap the sleeve around the glove. Velcro tabs on both sides of the waist help tailor the fit, too. It’s fashioned to sit right at the beltline while the collar is cut low enough that it doesn’t rub, but you will feel the chill on your neck during morning rides. Overall, the quality of the leather outer shell has left a positive impression.

Besides the abrasion resistance of the leather, protection comes in the form of armor in the elbows, shoulders and back, all of it removable as they reside in pockets with Velcro closures sewn into the liner. The shoulder and elbow protection are both CE-grade. The armor is well situated and doesn’t move around during riding. The armor also covers lots of area because the elbow pads extend down the forearm while the shoulder pads wrap around the entire shoulder.

The AGV Sport Element Vintage Jacket circulates plenty of air thanks to zippers up the cuff and vents conveniently placed in the arms, shoulders and back. The jacket is a distressed brown, so it doesn’t attract as much sun as a solid black jacket. And while it’s a solid choice for spring and summer rides, because of the short neck and the relatively thin leather, the Element Vintage Jacket is only comfortable down to about 50-degree rides. Any colder than that and you’re going to be looking for your hoodie to add another layer of warmth.

The inside of the jacket is as well-tailored as the exterior, its polyester liner comfortable and fashionable. The liner does double duty, with the pockets sewn into it holding the armor in place. Inside the jacket are two chest pockets with Velcro closures while there are two exterior pockets that zip closed, all pockets about hand deep. The entire jacket is stitched together well, with extra stitching at the major seams because of the multi-paneled design of the jacket.

The way the jacket is divided into multiple panels along with the timeless distressed-look of the brown leather gives it an attractive, masculine design. After three months of wear it still looks new. It hasn’t even creased where it bends in the elbows yet.

At just under $250, the AGV Sport Element Vintage Leather Jacket costs almost half what you’d pay for similarly styled motorcycle jackets. Considering the quality of the leather and stitching used in its construction, combined with the fact that it’s heavily armored without being bulky and vents really well, the Element Vintage Leather Jacket is a bargain.

The AGV Sport Element Vintage Leather Jacket is available at the Motorcycle Superstore for $246.99. Sizes range from Small to 3XL in Distressed Brown Only.

Bryan-Harley
Bryan Harley
Cruiser Editor

Moto Piter in St Petersbug Russia

We recently visited Russia for business and checked out Moto Piter, they have a huge complex that the Russian riders use off-season to practice since it gets so cold they have trouble practicing, In order to get inside they need to bring their bikes up three floors in a freight elevator.

Below you can find some pictures we took of Moto Piter’s facility as well as their shop which carries AGV Sport products.

Clothing Tips

 

Motorcycl

There are a lot of different reasons why people love motorcycling but most motorcycle enthusiasts know it is an advanced form of freedom. Whether it is road racing or road trips throughout the country – riding on the motorways of California or on the mountains of the Dakar race – motorcycling is what makes the heart of every two-wheel vehicle enthusiast beat. But if you want to get the same thrill as world-class professional riders do, you need first to feel secure, comfortable and AWESOME in your outfit so all you actually worry about is RIDING. Unfortunately, too many amateur riders still don’t know how to choose their outfit. If you are one of them, here are some tips for you to select the right clothing combinations. 10 steps to perfection:

  • If most motorcyclists consider leather as the ideal texture for a jacket, it is for a reason: leather combines the 3 important elements of a piece of outfit – protection, function and style. Leather keeps you warm; it protects you against the wind and cold. Also, it provides you with safety in case you crash. Finally, it is the most solid, and thereby, stable texture to give you a non-binding fit.
  • Depending on the climate, too warm might not be so good either. When your outfit is too warm you sweat, which increases your chance to catch a cold after riding. So you might want to choose vented clothing, but not in all areas: the armpits and the chest are the most important ones.
  • Keep the extra protection consistent but simple so the critical areas of the body – Back, shoulders, elbows and knees – are secure. Extra padding is a great example; it can be worn over or under the clothing. Sometimes they are built into it.
  • It is important to accommodate your riding position. Adapting your outfit to your activity is crucial to keep focused on what you do. For example: Pants worn by a dirt bike rider may not be comfortable on a chopper rider, or vice versa.
  • Stick with motorcycle clothing that’s stiff and less likely to be affected by wind. Clothing suitable for an afternoon walk may balloon while riding.
  • Consider the whole outfit. If you’re buying a jacket, keep in mind the thickness of layers you’ll be wearing beneath it. A large T-shirt is not appropriate to try a jacket or a suit. You should also wear your riding boots to the store or at least take them with you.
  • Fabric is an alternative to leather, but it should be designed for motorcycle wear. Jeans and thin fabric afford almost no protection for the skin or body parts. You must consider the length of your riding event. Some riders opt for motorcycle designed fabric clothing for shorter rides and full leather gear for longer rides.
  • This is general motorcycle knowledge: Synthetic fabric is stronger than fabric and as strong as leather, but weighs less.
  • Leather boots are more protective than nylon sneakers. Boots with heals are more practical to use with the bike’s foot pegs. The taller the boots, the more protection you get.
  • Gloves should be abrasion resistant, but they must also be flexible enough for you to grip the bike handles. Most bikers wear cowhide leather gloves, but alternatives include goatskin.

Here are some additional tips for you to consider:

  • Top Tips For Choosing Your Ideal Motorcycle Clothing:

http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Top-Tips-For-Choosing-Your-Ideal-Motorcycle-Clothing/1416983

  • Ladies Motorcycle Clothing Is More Popular Than Ever:

http://www.articlesbase.com/motorcycles-articles/ladies-motorcycle-clothing-is-more-popular-than-ever-2028839.html Stay tuned for more articles to come!

Are you interested?

We remember our past, but constantly look for ways to improve our future, so wouldn’t it be nice if someone else was looking out for our future as well? At AGV Sport, the company makes innovation a priority.  Though, it is the reason behind innovation being a priority that sets this company apart from all others.  There is nothing personal about innovation itself that is prioriCovertizing the customer over the product.  Yet, AGV Sport has survived through the credibility of standing by its core market of sport bike riders and road racers. Each product is designed by riders for riders and because of this; function will always take precedence over aesthetics.  AGV Sport makes it essential to keep the product development and design in house in addition to using experienced riders.   Through these techniques the company has and will continue to stay true and stand by the company’s dedicated advanced riders who defer to the quality of performance driven products. It has been AGV Sport’s commitment to materials and design innovation that has enhanced the evolution of the AGV Sport product line.  These products are engineered to be strong, buoyant, abrasion defiant, cool, and comfortable.  From amateur products to globally renowned high end proficient race equipment, regardless of expense, AGV Sport’s design is always innovated towards the needs of the serious rider over the simple need of innovation for self advancement. To further your knowledge on innovation for reasons regarding social responsibility, please visit http://www.agvsport.com/mission.php for AGV Sports Group Inc’s mission statement and http://goarticles.com/article/AGV-SPORT-Road-Race-Glove-Rated-NUMBER-ONE-by-Motorcyclist-Magazine/6405066/ to read further about the company’s impact on the riders and racers out there through their dedication to innovation.