New Can-Am Spyder Design Revealed in Patent Filings

May 26, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Bombardier Recreational Products has filed for patent designs for what appears to be a new Can-Am Spyder. The patents, at least five in all, show various aspects of the vehicle’s bodywork. They were filed on March 20 with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, but only published and fully registered today.

The new design has much sharper edges than the current Spyder models and looks somewhat like the lovechild of a Ducati Diavel and a snowmobile. The side body panels look a little like those on the discontinued Spyder RS model, but the large front grille looks like the one on the Spyder F3. The scoops on either side of the headlight unit also look similar to the F3 from the side, but the front view shows they are much narrower.

It’s difficult to judge the design’s proportions from these illustrations, but judging by the rise in the tank and the level of the swingarm, the seat height looks to be much lower than the Spyder F3’s already low 26.6 inches.

The Spyder F3 already has a fairly low seat height at 26.6 inches. The seat in the new design looks even lower, judging from how the fuel tank rises directly in front of it before sloping downwards. From the side views, there appears to be a gap running through the middle of the hump, and from the overhead view, there appears to be a small latch. There’s no sign of a fuel port, so it’s possible it’s hidden under this cover.

The dotted lines indicate other parts of the overall design that are not included in this particular patent filing. Interestingly, the dotted lines on the left side look much different from the right side. It’s possible one of those scoops is an actual air intake while the other one is merely decorative.

The swingarm appears to be a single-sided unit, which would be new to the Spyder line. Unfortunately, because the patents are only for the bodywork, we can’t see how the rear suspension system is connected. Existing Can-Am Spyders are belt-driven but studying the picture above, it’s plausible this could be shaft-driven, thus creating a virtually maintenance-free drive system, which would surely appeal to Spyder owners or the Spy-curious.

Above the swingarm, the design shows a solo seat but no tail, suggesting a bobber-inspired look. One of the other patents, however, appears to be a tail unit with panels that look like rear lighting, a plate holder and a spot for the BRP emblem. It’s hard to see how this would fit behind the low seat, however, and still leave enough clearance for the rear wheel.

The patents don’t specify which element of the design this part is for but the curve at the top looks like it would fit right under the seat. The dotted circle is an obvious fit for BRP’s round logo while the shapes to either side look like rear lighting.

Until now, BRP has kept a fairly simple nomenclature for its Spyder models. Since dropping the “Roadster” part of the name for 2013, Spyder models were identified by simple letter and number designations: RT, RS, and more recently F3 (plus various Limited, S or T variants). That may change with this new model, as BRP filed trademark applications in December with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the names “Ryker” and “Spyke,” both for use for “recreational vehicles namely, three-wheeled motorized vehicles and structural parts therefor.” The USPTO found some potential conflicts with both names, actually suspending the application for the “Ryker” name. The USPTO also refused the application for the “Spyke” name, but is giving BRP the chance to argue its case or revise the filing.

Can-Am Spyders have a small storage compartment in the front section in front of the headlight unit. For existing Spyder models, the cover is a smooth, curved surface resembling a car’s hood. The cover on the new design looks more like something you’d seen on a Can-Am side-by-side or a Ski-Doo snowmobile.

There are a few important elements left out of the design. Apart from the wheels and suspension, there’s no indication where the hand controls are located. There are no openings in the bodywork to show how handlebars would connect to the front end. From the patent filings, we know there are at least two more elements that were filed but have yet to be revealed, so the answers may lie there. Another possibility is that this design is for a concept model with a more practical production model to come further down the line.

Hopefully, we’ll have some more information in the weeks to come. Check back here on Motorcycle.com for the latest details as it becomes available.

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Five-Time World Motocross Champion Eric Geboers: 1962-2018

May 9, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Belgian motocross racer Eric Geboers, the first man to win World MX titles in the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc divisions has died in a tragic accident, drowning while trying to rescue his dog. Geboers was 55.

According to TheSun.co.uk, Geboers was on a boat on lake in Mol, Belgium, on Sunday evening when his Shiba Inu puppy plunged into the water. According to witnesses, Geboers immediately jumped in to save the dog. Geboers immediately had difficulty, and despite efforts from other people on the boat, went under the water. Rescue crews recovered Geboers’ body the next day. The dog, a recent gift from his wife, reportedly survived.

Geboers, nicknamed “The Kid,” won the 125cc World Championship in 1982 and 1983 for Suzuki. He joined Honda‘s factory team in 1987 and immediately won the 250cc championship. Also with Honda, Deboers won the 500cc championship in 1988 and 1990, making him the first person to win world titles in all three classes.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of Eric Goeboers passing away. He was an outstanding rider, dominating the Motocross World Championship and leading Honda to victory three times,” says Takahiro Hachigo, president and chief executive officer of Honda. “I would like to celebrate his achievements, and express my deepest gratitude towards him.”

After retiring from racing in 1990, Geboers joined his older brother Sylvain Geboers in running Suzuki’s World Motocross team from 200 to 2015. Geboers also raced cars, competing in the FIA GT endurance racing series.

 

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MotoGP Clarifies Engine Stall Rules After Marquezs Argentine Fiasco

May 8, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Marc Marquez currently leads the 2018 MotoGP championship but it was only a month ago in Argentina that the Repsol Honda rider had arguably his worst race in the premier class. While much of the post-race talk was about Marquez’s role in Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaro crashing out in two separate incidents, what happened to Marquez on the starting grid was somewhat overlooked. Here’s a reminder of what happened:

Marc Marquez’s engine stalled on the starting grid, leading him to bump-start the bike in a panic. For this, Marquez received a ride-through penalty.

The start of the race was already somewhat chaotic after all the racers save Jack Miller opted to head back to the pits to change tires. As a result, everyone that switched was penalized 12 spots on the starting grid, forcing everyone to line up four rows behind Miller. Something must have happened when Marquez’s crew put on the slick rubbers, as his RC213V‘s engine stalled after he returned to the grid.

Not knowing what to do, Marquez appealed to race marshals for assistance before deciding to push start his bike. Once the engine finally started, he had to scramble back into his starting position. Marquez later claimed marshals gave him mixed directions on whether to head back to the pit.

Ahead of this past weekend’s race in Jerez, the Grand Prix Commission met to clarify the rules regarding what to do in such a situation.

This is what the rulebook previously stated:

Any rider who stalls his engine on the grid or who has other difficulties must remain on the motorcycle and raise an arm. It is not permitted to attempt to delay the start by any other means.

As each row of the grid is completed, the officials will lower the panels indicating that their row is complete. Panels will not be lowered when a rider in that row has indicated that he has stalled his motorcycle or has other difficulties. When all panels have been lowered and the safety car has taken up its position, an official at the rear of the grid will wave a green flag.

According to this rule, Marquez was supposed to stay on his bike and raise an arm. Officials would then keep the panels for Marquez’s row raised, to indicate the row was not complete. The confusion comes in not explaining what the stalled rider should do next to get the bike started. The rules say a rider should remove the bike to pit lane if the engine stalls before the warm-up lap, but there’s no mention of the procedure for a bike stalling after the warm-up and before the race starts.

What Marquez did, pushing his bike to get it to start, is mentioned in the rules, but only for a bike stalling after the race has started:

If, after the start of the race, a rider stalls his machine, then he may be assisted by being pushed along the track until the engine starts.

If, after a reasonable period, the engine does not start, then the rider will be pushed into the pit lane, where his mechanics may provide assistance, or where the rider may change machine in MotoGP only.

After meeting in Jerez, the Grand Prix Commission made this rule change to clarify what to do if this happens again:

The rider must remain on the motorcycle and raise an arm. Attempting to restart the motorcycle on the grid is not permitted. Under the supervision or assistance of a marshal the rider will exit the grid to the pit lane where his mechanics may provide assistance or, in the MotoGP class only, he may change machine.

Hopefully, this clarification will prevent any future confusion if this situation ever comes up again.

In addition to the rule modified, the Grand Prix Commission also approved two wild card entries for the Aug. 5 Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno. Stefan Bradl will make his MotoGP return as a third rider for the Repsol Honda team while Sylvain Guintoli will wild card for Suzuki Ecstar. Bradl raced for Honda’s World Superbike team in 2017 but has no regular ride this season. Guintoli is Suzuki’s regular test rider and filled in for Alex Rins when the Suzuki racer was injured last season.

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Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid Tour Hits Australia

May 4, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

While we eagerly await the final production version of the Ténéré 700, Yamaha is taking its prototype on an international “World Raid” tour with professional racers and brand ambassadors putting the 689cc adventure bike to the test.

Yamaha Ténéré 700 Is Still Just a Prototype

The first stage actually took place in March, with Yamaha Dakar racer Rodney Faggotter testing the Ténéré 700 on different terrain in his native Australia. Faggotter also surprised members of the Ténéré Tragics group during a rally event that featured various models including the original 1983 XT600Z Ténéré to the current XTZ1200 Super Ténéré.

Yamaha released a video showing highlights of Faggotter’s turn on the Ténéré, offering his impressions of the prototype from the perspective of a seasoned Dakar racer.

The World Raid tour continues with 13-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel in the Moroccan desert, Yamaha factory racer Adrien van Beveren in Argentina. Explorer Nick Sanders, multiple French Enduro Champion David Frétigné, Touratech founder Herbert Schwarz, Spanish Enduro Champion Cristóbal Guerrero and Italian ISDE racer Alessandro Botturi will then take their turns riding the prototype across Europe.

At the same time, Yamaha will be performing its own regular testing of various near-production versions, with one such bike recently spotted on the streets of Milan, Italy. Of course, photos of a camo’ed up test bike stuck in traffic aren’t as cool as watching a professional Dakar racer pop a wheelie on the beach.

All this build-up, of course, will culminate with the official unveiling of the final production model this fall, likely at EICMA in November.

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2018 Ducati Panigale V4 Recalled for Two Fuel Leak Issues

May 2, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Ducati is performing two separate worldwide recall on all 2018 Panigale V4 models (include the S and Speciale variants) related to potential fuel leaks. Though both recalls seem related, they are for two different problems, one that may cause fuel to leak from an internal breathing valve and one that may cause fuel to spray out when the tank cap is opened. The recall affects 692 motorcycles in the U.S.

The first recall addresses a potential leak from the breathing valve located at the rear part of the tank that is normally covered by the seat. According to the recall documentation released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the valve’s O-ring may be damaged during installation of the valve plug.

The O-ring (#5) may get damaged during installation. Ducati will replace both the O-ring and the valve plug (#3).

The problem was first reported on March 5 by a European dealer after noticing a fuel leak on a demo bike. Because the leak occurred at the back of the tank, the dealer was able to quickly identify the breather valve as the source and identified a pinched O-ring. Ducati immediately started an internal investigation. By April, Ducati had received four other reports including one from the U.S. All of these field reports showed evidence of a damaged O-ring. Ducati initiated its worldwide recall process on April 11.

Ducati dealers will replace the valve plug and O-ring on recalled units. The new plug has a chamfered edge to make installation easier while decreasing the risk of pinching the O-ring during installation. Ducati will also apply a different lubricant to improve plug fitting while not creating a false seal.

The second recall addresses an issue with fuel spraying when the cap is opened. According to the NHTSA documents, the Panigale V4’s fuel cap may not allow for proper venting. In certain conditions, pressure may build up inside the tank. When the fuel cap is opened, the pressure may cause fuel to spray out of the tank. Riders may feel and hear signs of excessive pressure when trying to open the cap.

Ducati first received two reports about this issue on March 21 in North America, one from a dealer demo bike and the second from a customer’s bike. Ducati immediately started an investigation. By the end of March, Ducati North America received two additional field reports. The investigation was completed in April, with a recall initiated on April 11.

Ducati dealers will modify the fuel tank caps on recalled Panigale V4 models to improve breathing capacity.

The corrective measures for both recalls were implemented on new models produced after March 28.

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BMW F850GS Adventure Certified by EPA for 2019

April 27, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

A couple months back, we published a spy photo of what we looked to be a new BMW F850GS Adventure. We can now confirm the F850GS Adventure has been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a 2019 model.

Based on the new F850GS (more on that below), the Adventure model is expected to have a larger fuel tank, a bigger windscreen, a thick bash plate and crash bars, and likely a stronger rear subframe to better support the weight of a passenger and luggage.

The EPA certified the Adventure version alongside the regular F850GS and F750GS, indicating they share the same 853cc parallel-Twin engine. BMW claims the F850GS produces 100.6 hp at 8250 rpm (the F750GS is electronically restricted to 76.4 hp) but the EPA’s certification document rates the engine at 88.5 hp at 8000 rpm.

We’ll likely see the 2019 BMW F850GS Adventure at one of this fall’s big motorcycle shows, either Intermot in Cologne, Germany, in October or the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, in November. As for when we’ll see it in showrooms, that’s a good question.

The F750GS and F850GS debuted at EICMA last November and are available now in European dealerships. Neither bike is currently available in the U.S., however, nor do they appear on BMW’s U.S. website as of this writing. It’s possible BMW opted to delay introducing the new bikes so dealerships can clear out their inventory of F700GS and F800GS models. From the EPA’s document, it now appears the new models will be part of BMW’s 2019 model year lineup alongside the new Adventure version.

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Ford Patents Car with Deployable Motorcycle

April 26, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

We’ve seen some pretty crazy looking patents, but this one probably tops them all. Ford has filed a patent for a car with a motorcycle built into it that can be deployed as a separate vehicle. It’s kind of like the Batpod that shoots out of the Batmobile in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, but with a Ford C-Max.

The patent application, filed Oct. 18, 2017 but published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, describes an electric motorcycle (Ford’s wording; it’s probably more like a scooter which, like the C-Max, sounds a lot less cool) that is connected by a rail system inside the car between the front seats. The scooter actually makes up the center console of the car, with the seat serving as an armrest or storage area.

The guides (410 and 420) keep the two-wheeler aligned within the car while an actutator (430) helps deploy or retract the bike. For safety reasons, the bike can only be deployed when the car’s ignition is on but the engine is off.

When needed, the motorcycle can be deployed out the front of the car. The hood lifts up and actuators, either electric motors or a hydraulic system, releases the motorcycle. With the two-wheeler deployed, the rest of the car can be driven on its own, powered by either a rear-mounted engine or hub-mounted electric motors. Meanwhile, the gap in the car where the center console used to be gets closed off by a rubber seal.

While still attached, the motorcycle can be raised so that its not touching the ground while the car is in use but the patent also describes a situation where the bike’s drive wheel can be touching the ground helping to propel the car along with the rear engine, making it a hybrid vehicle in more than one sense of the term.

The car’s infotainment system (232) is actually part of the bike itself. The saddle (232) is between the driver and passenger seats.

Ford doesn’t describe the two-wheeled vehicle in much technical detail, except to describe some amenities. The car’s infotainment system, for example, is part of the bike and can continue to serve as such when deployed, offering an on-board computer, GPS navigation, radio, and Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, the patent describes the center console’s electrical system to heat the saddle.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever see this idea come to life, but if it does, it won’t be anywhere as awesome as this:

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Ducati to Introduce Motorcycle Radar System by 2020

April 19, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Ducati announced plans to introduce a front and rear radar system for motorcycles and to make cornering ABS available across its entire model range. The two initiatives are part of Ducati’s overall “Safety Road Map 2025” plan, the company’s strategy for motorcycle safety technologies.

Working with the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering at the Politecnico di Milano University, Ducati is working on a radar-based warning system to detect vehicles in a motorcycle’s blind spot. The system would alert riders of potential hazards, making for safer lane changes.

Ducati is also working on forward-facing radar with an unnamed technical partner to detect objects in front of a motorcycle. The forward radar system would be used for an adaptive cruise control system, automatically reducing cruise controlled speed when a motorcycle gets too close to traffic ahead. A forward radar system could also warn riders of potential head-on collisions.

Both forward and rear radar systems will be introduced on a Ducati model in 2020, likely a Multistrada (such as the 950 model in the supplied illustration). The Multistrada line has become a bit of a test bed for new Ducati safety technology; in 2014, Ducati worked with Dainese to introduce an integrated D-Air airbag jacket system on the Multistrada 1200 for European markets.

Ducati also announced plans to implement the Bosch cornering ABS system across all of its models. This process is already underway, with the addition of the Bosch 9.1 MP cornering ABS on the Scrambler 1100, which Ducati hails as an industry-first application of the technology on a retro “heritage” model. We can probably expect to see more models to come standard with cornering ABS on for 2019.

We can also expect to see other manufacturers adopt cornering ABS to more models, as government agencies, especially in Europe, push for increased safety technology for two-wheelers. The current Euro 4 standard, for instance, mandated ABS, daytime running lights and traction control systems for most models, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect cornering ABS, radar sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to become standard in the future. In this regard, Ducati trying to get an early jump on safety technology.

 

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Zero Buying Back 2012 DS Models Because of Fire Risk

April 16, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Zero Motorcycles is recalling all 2012 Zero S and DS models as well as the DSP police bike, because of a problem that can cause an electrical short in the battery, creating a fire risk. Due to the nature of the issue, Zero will be buying back all models from owners, or offer a financial trade-assist towards a newer model. The recall affects 218 units in the U.S.

According to documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the cell pouches in the battery packs of the affected models were designed in such a way that they could move within their holders. Through regular wear, this may cause a breach in the outer layers of the cell pouches. Humidity can thus penetrate the pouches, leading to cell separator decay and allowing an internal short within the cell, creating the potential for what Zero calls a “thermal event” (i.e. fire). Motorcycles affected by this problem may exhibit a significant decrease in power and range.

The problem was first reported in July 21, 2016 after an S model converted for police use in Hong Kong experienced a “thermal event” while charging. According to the South China Morning Post, a pair of S models were charging at the Ngau Tau Kok police station when one of them caught on fire at 1:15 am local time. The fire damaged both motorcycles as well as a nearby police van, but no one was injured.

Zero hired a battery technical expert to examine the affected motorcycle as well as the rest of the police department’s fleet. The contracted expert determined the cause was due to unexpected wear of a cell pouch combined with the humid Hong Kong climate. Zero proceeded to notify the cell manufacturer, Energy Innovation Group (EIG). The South Korean company responded, saying it had received no other reports and could not recreate the problem.

Fast forward to October 2017 when Zero received two more reports, one from Canada and another from Texas. In both of these cases, a 2012 Zero S model experienced thermal events. Both Zero’s battery technical expert and the contractor that conducted the Hong Kong investigation conducted a forensic analysis of the two North American bikes but were not able to make much progress due to the extensive damage to the two bikes. Zero’s battery expert conducted further analysis on battery packs that had been returned to Zero from customers and found evidence of wear on the cell pouches and signs of humidity entering the pouches. According to Zero, EIG did not respond to requests to take part in the analysis.

The problem only affects 2012 Zero S, DS and DSP models. For the 2013 model year, Zero changed to a completely different battery pack architecture produced from a different supplier that uses cells fixed within their holders and thus will not experience the same wear.

According to Zero, EIG had not made any changes to the design of the battery pack architecture, so there is no remedy in place. As a result, Zero will repurchase all 2012 S, DS and DSP models or offer a financial trade-assist towards a newer model. Zero asks owners of affected models to avoid riding or charging recalled units. Zero will arrange to pick up all recalled models at no expense to owners.

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Haojue HJ300 Patent May Preview a Future Suzuki GSX-S300

April 7, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Haojue, Suzuki‘s Chinese partner, has filed a design patent for a new naked motorcycle to be called the “HJ300“. Considering the fact Haojue manufactures the GW250, GSX-250R and V-Strom 250 for Suzuki, the HJ300 may provide a preview of what a potential GSX-S300 may look like.

The patent drawings show a bike with an engine that looks nearly identical to the 248cc parallel-Twin powering the GSX-250R and V-Strom 250. The patent, filed with China’s State Intellectual Property Office by Haojue’s parent company Dachangjiang Group Co., states the design is for a motorcycle to be called the HJ300. The name follows the company’s typical codename structure, and the labels make clear this is a Haojue and not branded as a Suzuki.

For comparison, we’ve taken a diagram Suzuki submitted of the design patent for its V-Strom 250 and lined it up with one of Haojue’s diagrams. We’ve adjusted the contrast of both images to better illustrate how similar the engines look.

Below is a look at the right side of the two bikes. The two engines have a similar shape but the Haojue bike has an extra circular design in front of the oil filler cap, likely a sign of a balance shaft.

The sharp lines look more like what you would expect offered in western markets than the typical Chinese-market models Haojue produces that tend towards curvier shapes. There are some Suzuki styling elements, but the badging makes it clear this is a Haojue. The company sells both Haojue and Suzuki products in China, but is clear in branding the bikes separately.

Other details we can see include an inverted fork, ABS, an LCD display and a stacked headlight design.

 

While all indications are the HJ300 will be a Haojue-branded motorcycle, we can’t help but imagine a Suzuki-badged version at some point. A Suzuki GSX-S300 would probably look less angular and borrow more styling elements from the larger 750 and 1000 models. Of course, if Suzuki releases this model as-is, we wouldn’t complain either.

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