Biker News - Regularly updated

Welcome to our News section, where articles are listed below and if relevant within the categories on the right, just to make it easier for you to find what you wish to read...

Please note that the content within our News section (text and images), follows the same copyright laws/notice as all other content on the website - ie not to be reproduced (including slightly amending) without prior consent. 

 RSS Feed

Category: Motorcycles

  1. Harley-Davidson: a historic motorcycle manufacturer

    Posted on

    Think of a motorcycle manufacturer and chances are Harley-Davidson comes to mind. From humble roots to becoming one of America’s most iconic brands, join Custom Lids, retailer of Bell motorcycle helmets, as they delve into some of the key moments in the rich history of the world’s best-loved biking brand:


    The Harley-Davidson story begins in 1901, when William S. Harley — one of the brand’s founding fathers — drew up a blueprint of an engine that can fit into a bicycle. Designed for use on a regular bicycle, the engine would offer a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches and four-inch flywheels.

    While variants of the motorcycle existed prior to this point, it was certainly an important moment in biking history, giving rise to what would become one of the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturers.


    In 1903, the world got one step closer to Harley-Davidson as we know it today. William and his friend Arthur Davidson decided to work together to make the blueprints a reality and manufacture a motorcycle.

    Unlike the futuristic production lines of our times, the very first Harley-Davidson was built in a 10ft by 15ft wooden shed. The first Harley-Davidson motorcycle the public could get their hands on was designed to race, with a 3-1/8 inch bore and 3-1/2 inch stroke. One of their first customers was an old school friend, who bought his bike direct.


    Just one year later and Harley-Davidson’s success began to snowball. The first Harley-Davidson Dealer, C.H. Lang of Chicago, is established and sells the first three of the brand’s production motorcycles ever made.


    As well as their size, the performance of Harley-Davidson motorcycles started to make headlines in 1905. July 4th saw one of the brand’s bikes win a 15-mile race in Chicago.


    The first V-twin powered Harley-Davidson motorcycle is introduced, offering displacement of 49.5 cubic inches and a horsepower of seven. The cylinders were arranged in a 45-degree layout — a now iconic feature of motorcycles.


    By 1920, Harley-Davidson was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, with 2,000 dealers in 67 countries around the world.


    In 1925, gas tanks were modified to have a distinct tear-drop gas tank, which would go on to become one of the bikes’ most iconic features.


    By 1931, Harley-Davidson’s superior quality motorcycles, class-leading innovation and exceptional sporting performance had seen off all other American brands expect Indian (Hendee Manufacturing). The pair would remain the only two American motorcycle manufacturers for more than 20 years to come.


    A reaction to the Great Depression, all Harley-Davidson gas tanks are painted with a now-iconic eagle design, which triggered the start of graphic design on the bikes.


    In 1941, America and the rest of the world was rocked by World War II, with the production of military bikes now taking priority over civilians’. Over the coming years, Harley-Davidson dedicates their business and manufacturing to supporting the US’ war efforts. Activities included:

    • 1941 — Service School converted to aid the training of military mechanics.
    • 1942 — XA750 bike was produced, designed for desert use although the contract was terminated early when war combat moved away from North Africa.
    • 1943 — Wins the first of four Army-Navy “E” Awards for excellence.
    • 1945 — Over 60,000 WLA models were produced during the war. After the war ends, civilian bike production resumed in November.


    Harley-Davidson created and retailed the now essential and iconic black leather motorcycle jacket.


    Harley-Davidson’s 50th anniversary. In the same year, Hendee Manufacturing goes out of business, leaving Harley-Davidson as America’s sole motorcycle manufacturer — a position they would occupy for the next 46 years.


    The world was introduced to what would become the first of Harley-Davidson’s superbikes. Named the Sportster, it featured a 55 cubic inch overhead valve engine.


    The first (and last) Harley-Davidson motor scooter was produced — the Harley-Davidson Topper. In the same year, the company partnered with Aeronatica-Macchi to form Aermacchi Harley-Davidson. The European division produced single-cylinder bikes.


    Harley-Davidson began manufacturing its own parts using fibreglass.


    As well as introducing the XR-750 Sportster-based motorcycle, 1970 saw racer Cal Rayborn break the world land speed record set by a motorcycle. His 16ft streamliner — which was powered by a single Sportster engine — reached just over 265mph.


    Thirteen Harley-Davidson executives bought the company back from AMF, with the purchase finalised in June 1981.


    Harley Owner’s Group was formed; the world’s largest factory-sponsored motorcycle club. By 2000, the club had reached 500,000 members.


    Harley-Davidson was listed on the American Stock Exchange.


    Harley-Davidson celebrated its 90th anniversary in Milwaukee. The motorcycle parade contained an estimated 100,000 riders.


    Harley-Davidson reached its 95th anniversary, where 140,000 riders joined the celebrations.


    The VRSCA V-Rod was introduced, inspired by the racing version of the bike. It combined fuel injection with overhead cams and liquid cooling, delivering horsepower of 115.


    A new frame was introduced for the Touring family. It delivered a lower seating position, improved manoeuvrability and had a longer wheelbase.


    Expansion into India announced.


    HD-1 is announced, giving riders the chance of a factory-built custom motorcycle.

  2. Kawasaki introduces updated colours for 2017

    Posted on

    Announcing new colour-ways for several popular existing models, Kawasaki are forging towards the 2017 season with characteristic optimism.   Kawasaki introduces updated colours for 2017

    The much loved Z800 e version first seen in 2013 is the first machine updated for the upcoming model year. The most accessible Z super middle weight now comes with belly pan with new colour and graphics encompassing Metallic Spark Black with Matt finishes.

    For fans of the larger capacity classes, the ZZR1400 Performance Sport model will run alongside the ever-popular standard version. Both are updated with new colours with the Performance Sport appearing in a stunning Golden Blazed Green with Metallic Spark Black look and the standard version featuring bold Metallic Spark Black paint with Golden Blazed Green highlights.

    Kawasaki has taken the ZZR1400 and Z800 e versions to the next level with the three revised colour ways featuring upgrades to ensure the machines keep their legendary power and character.

    Commenting, Morihiro Ikoma, Director of Kawasaki Motors Europe, underlined the importance of updates for the machines.

    “Both the Z800 e version and ZZR1400 have been consistent sellers across Europe since their introduction. The Z and ZZR brand lines are very important to our dealers and customers so it’s great to launch such bold and appealing updates in advance of the sales start later in the year.”

    In the UK the Z800 e version should hit showrooms in October whilst the new colours of ZZR1400 standard and Performance Sport will be available from December 2016.

  3. Get paid for giving your views and opinions on a future generation Motorbike!

    Posted on

    A famous motorbike manufacturer is looking for roadster/naked bike owners over 500cc+ who bought their bike from new and since 2013.
    Get paid for giving your views and opinions on a future generation MotorbikA group of riders will be given the opportunity and privilege to see a Motorcycle that has been designed for the future and before it has been released to the general public. You will be part of the development as your views and opinions will assist in this future generation bike.
    This will be held in Birmingham next weekend (9th / 10th April). Those who take part will be paid for your time, which includes travel expenses. Refreshments will be provided. The session will last 2.5 hours during one specific time and day over the weekend. The times will depend on the bike you own. 
    Examples of qualifying bikes are: Ducati Monsters, Harley-Davidson forty eight, Harley-Davidson softail slim, Street Bob, Yamaha Bolt, Honda CB1000, Yamaha XJR1300, Kawasaki Z800/100, Asprilia, MV Augusta Brutale, BMW R800/R1200R among others.
    If you have such a Motorcycle and fancy being part of this, contact Simon @ [email protected] letting him know which model you own, along with contact details.

    Posted on

    Losail (Qatar), 23 February 2016 - The first true tests of the Aprilia MotoGP project have just been concluded. In fact, the three days of testing had the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini hard at work on the new RS-GP, the prototype developed entirely at Noale that will be used in the upcoming 2016 season.

    Despite the extremely recent debut of a completely new project, the Aprilia garage is highly optimistic. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl began working on development straight away, immediately noticing promising room for improvement in the new prototype. There really isn't one single area where efforts were focused: the new RS-GP has nothing in common with previous Aprilia projects except for know-how. It is a completely new MotoGP bike in every component without exception, developed based on the data gathered during the 2015 season with last year's laboratory bikes.

    The Aprilia RS-GP machines will be back on the track in Qatar just a few days from now for the official IRTA tests that precede the first race of the season.

    ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
    "After the Aragon shakedown with the test riders, Alvaro and Stefan began to get to know the new Aprilia RS-GP here in Qatar. These were three very intense and positive days of work. We are bringing home a lot of information and some growing pain problems we need to solve, but above all we are leaving with confirmation that the new bike's dynamic performance is significantly better than the 2015 bike. We have an important development path ahead of us that will be necessarily accelerated, but we are confident that this will be a season of growth toward a decidedly interesting level."

    FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
    "Hearing the positive comments from our riders after the first kilometers ridden astride a completely new bike was exciting. The RS-GP seems to have gotten off on the right foot. Alvaro and Stefan noticed a clear improvement in dynamic performance compared to the 2015 bike. Now we have a big development schedule ahead of us but we know we are starting from an extremely solid base.”

    "In these three days we explored the new bike, doing a lot of work with short sessions since this was the first real test with the 2016 RS-GP. Obviously we are not at 100% but we have a very good starting point. I think that we are already at a similar level as the end of 2015 with the difference being that we are just at the beginning. There is a lot of room for development whereas with the old bike we were at the limit. We still need to work on a lot of things but I'm pleased with the work Aprilia has done. In the next tests I hope to be able to lay the foundation for the new season.”

    "This test was really important as it was the first contact with the new bike. First impressions are good. I see a clear difference compared to the old bike and we are moving in the right direction. At the moment I have a good feeling despite the fact that we have a long way to go before we'll be able to say that we're satisfied. That was to be expected at the beginning. This is a completely new and decidedly demanding project, but we can truly say that we are off on the right foot.”