If there’s one thing KTM knows how to do, it’s how to get dirty. The company obviously has its long history of off-road competition, and victories, to its name, and that success has transferred nicely into the adventure bike market. You can even argue KTM’s adventure bikes (along with the BMW GS family) are responsible for this boom in the ADV market.
For ages, we didn’t think much about the batteries in our motorcycles. When you only have one option, the traditional lead-acid battery, there’s not a lot to think about. As long as it cranks the starter over and fires up the bike, you’re good. If not, time to shell out for a new one. But like all components on a motorcycle, eventually, new technology emerges to improve the breed. The battery is no different. With the emergence of the lithium motorcycle battery the consumer now has more options.
Kawasaki’s much anticipated, and heavily revised, ZX-10R has finally been announced, and it’s bringing along its race-bred sibling in the ZX-10RR, too. Rumors about an updated ZX-10R had been swirling about for some time, and armchair warriors really went crazy once early pictures were released from Australia. Buzz really started swirling last week, when the Kawasaki World Superbike team took part in the championship’s winter test, revealing the 2021 ZX-10RR in full race trim.
It goes without saying that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars, but that hasn’t stopped motorcycle manufacturers from trying to reduce the safety gap as much as possible. It’s often worth looking at the safety systems in the car world to get a glimpse into what might be coming down the pipeline for motorcycles.
As motorcyclists, we may have a different outlook when we hear the name Bosch. I know I do, but to many, the name may conjure up familiarities with automotive parts, household appliances, or power tools. The German technological powerhouse plays more of a role in our lives than the average consumer may ever be aware of, from sensors and software in your car, to the toaster on your counter, there’s a good chance you use the company’s tech and may not even be aware of it. Of course, I’m not really in the business of writing about toasters so, for now, we’ll focus on Bosch’s technological advancements for motorcycling and most importantly, a few new pieces of technology that we should be seeing on the market within two to three years.
The sad truth is that some motorcycles go through extended periods of not being ridden. While some riders are lucky enough to own multiple motorcycles, Winter storage is the most common reason for parking our beloved motorcycles. When smart chargers first hit the market, they were a revelation. Prior to that, people rigged up all kinds of Rube Goldberg contraptions to make sure that their stored motorcycle battery kept a charge but wasn’t ruined by the constant input of the old, dumb chargers. (I know of people who rigged their chargers to stay on as long as their garage door was open so that their battery would get a little tickle of electricity a couple times a day.) Smart chargers that could sense a battery’s level of fitness and switch to a maintenance charge when the voltage was above a certain level are relatively common now, but they were a game-changer when they were first released. Today, in this more mature market, buyers are looking for features to differentiate the available chargers. This is where the Bosch SmartCharge Plus enters the field.
Ask most motorcyclists about what role Bosch plays in our sport, and they’ll tell you that Bosch produces ABS technology and has been part of the recent trend towards expanding the technology into safety features like cornering ABS. All of this is true, but Bosch has its hands in so many areas of motorcycle technology that it would be hard to find one that the company is not currently developing. Last year, Bosch invited Kevin Duke and Tom Roderick to learn about how Bosch sees the future of technology-based motorcycle safety strategies and to sample cornering ABS in a controlled environment. Now, more than six months later we had an opportunity to sit down with Geoff Liersch, Head of the Bosch Two-Wheeler and Powersports business unit, to discuss what to expect from Bosch in the next few years.
When cornering ABS (C-ABS) arrived a couple years ago, the general consensus among the motojournos was, Hey that’s awesome, we’ll take your word for it working as described, because no matter how professional we try to be, grabbing a fistful of front brake mid-corner to evaluate this new technology is a line few were willing to cross. At the International Driver & Rider Training Symposium, EiC Kevin Duke and I were given a chance to fully explore C-ABS thanks to this year’s Best Product winner, Skidbike.
If your occupation is testing motorcycles there’s a certain measure of accepted risk that comes with the job. When cornering ABS (C-ABS) arrived a couple years ago, the general consensus among the motojournos was, Hey that’s awesome, we’ll take your word for it working as described, because no matter how professional we try to be, grabbing a fistful of front brake mid-corner to evaluate this new technology is a line few were willing to cross. Just thinking of the action conjures images of impacting asphalt at a rate approaching lightspeed.
In 2013, Zero introduced the platforms from which it would build upon for the future. Consisting of what, Zero claims, are the most energy-dense batteries on the market today, its propulsion systems remain quite advanced in the industry. However, off-the-shelf brakes, suspension and tires meant the bikes couldn’t quite reach their full potential. For 2015 however, Zero Motorcycles feels like it has finally come of age.