Top Ten Weirdest Motorcycle News Stories of 2013

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Ghost Stories, Islamic Fundamentalists and Sex!

We’re now a couple of weeks into 2014 but we thought we’d take one more look back at 2013 and revisit some of the oddest stories from the motorcycling world.

Covering the daily motorcycle industry news, we get a lot of stories in our inbox, most of which is fairly mundane. New model announcements, recall campaigns, quarterly sales results, the occasional “leaked” spy photo; pretty much what you would expect.

But every now and then we land upon a story that is so bizarre, we can hardly believe it.

Here then, in chronological order, are the weirdest of the weird, the top ten oddest motorcycle news stories of 2013.

Indonesian City Forces Women to Ride Sidesaddle

An Indonesian model demonstrates how to sit side-saddle, but this probably isn’t what the leaders in Lhokseumawe had in mind.

Lawmakers in Lhokseumawe from the religiously strict province of Aceh in Indonesia, issued a new edict that drew condemnation from feminists and civil rights activists. Operating under strict Islamic Sharia Law, city leaders issued a law banning women from straddling motorcycles behind male passengers. Considering the riding position “improper,” lawmakers essentially forces female passengers to ride sidesaddle when riding with a man.

“Women sitting on motorbikes must not sit astride because it will provoke the male driver. It’s also to protect women from an undesirable condition,” the town’s Mayor, Suaidi Yahya told AFP. “It’s improper for women to sit astride. We implement Islamic law here.”

Critics were quick to respond, saying the government should focus on more important matters such as alleviating poverty or curbing violent crimes. Alas, Lhokseumawe lawmakers remain unswayed.

But it’s still okay for women riding behind other women, or a man riding passenger behind a woman, right?

Silly question. Of course not.

Brazilian Police on the Hunt for Mr. Harley Davidson

Keep an eye open for the suspect, first name “Harley,” last name “Davidson.”

Police in Guapa, Brazil, investigating a string of carjackings believed they found a key piece of evidence that could blow the case wide open: a Harley-Davidson cap belonging to a suspect. Did they find DNA linking the hat to a suspect? Not quite. Let’s just say the police’s sleuthing skills were a fair bit more rudimentary:

“He left a grey T-shirt which he had used to cover his face, and also a baseball cap with a skull embroidered on it, along with the name Harley, and the citizen’s surname, Davidson, who is probably the miscreant we’re looking for,” a police officer told a local news station.

Um … Right. Good luck tracking down Mr. Harley Davidson. In the meantime, let’s tell Jerry Bruckheimer to put a hold on that “CSI: Guapa” pilot he’s been working on.

Real-life Motorcycle-Riding Superhero in Argentina

Beware of Menganno!

Captain America might ride a Harley, but in Argentina, the super heroes ride a Bajaj.

Or at least, Menganno does. That’s the super hero identity adopted by former police officer Oscar Lefosse, who patrols the streets of Buenos Aires on a Bajaj Pulsar 200.

Menganno can now be seen making appearances at charitable events and rescuing street dogs, but last January, the masked crusader stumbled upon an actual crime in progress, reportedly defending his family from three assailants attacking their car. The erstwhile hero reportedly pulled out a gun and scared off the evil-doers.

Lafosse may be leading a more sedate life now, recently appearing at a fundraiser for a local hospital, but the criminal element better beware of Menganno!

Oxford English Dictionary Definition for Biker Deemed “Too Negative”


Do you identify yourself as a “biker,” a “motorcyclist,” or a “rider?” To some people, the terms are fairly interchangeable. To others, the terms are more finely nuanced, as the people behind the Oxford English Dictionary discovered.

Last February, the online edition for the Oxford English Dictionary rewrote its definition for “biker” after receiving complaints from motorcyclists. Riders took exception to the old definition which read: “a motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang: a long-haired biker in dirty denims.”

In a poll of 524 motorcycle riders, nearly three-quarters of them said the definition was inaccurate, while 60% said it was “dated and irrelevant.” Another 21% had a more passionate reaction, saying they were “outraged and offended.”

In response, the Oxford University Press, which publishes the OED, updated the definition to read: “a motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang or group: a biker was involved in a collision with a car.”

We’re not entirely sure that’s much better, but we don’t bill ourselves to be the “most comprehensive dictionary of the English language.”

Motorcycle Racing and PORN!

Dakar racer Hugo Payen with adult actress Anna Polina.

It’s no secret that sex sells. Just look at any MotoGP race and you’ll see grid girls in tight skimpy outfits holding umbrellas over racers as they wait on the starting grid. One of the biggest laments when Suzuki withdrew from MotoGP racing was the sudden absence of the popular Rizla Suzuki girls and their naughty police costumes. Racing team sponsors have long used sex to promote their products.

But what happens when sex itself is the product? We saw firsthand last year with two different race teams sponsored by pornography.

First was the story of Dakar racer Hugo Payen, who competed in the 2013 Rally (on bike #69, natch) with the sponsorship of French porn producer Marc Doucel. Payen finished the race 49th overall, with porn star Claire Castel featured prominently on the livery of his Yamaha WR450F. Payen returned with Marc Doucel for this year’s Dakar Rally, this time on a Yamaha YZF450 featuring porn star Anna Polina. He finished a career-best 31st overall.

Not to be outdone, the Paul Bird Motorsports MotoGP team also turned to pornography for sponsorship, signing on with exotic movie website The porn company sponsored the team’s Aprilia ART machines as well as riders Michael Laverty and Yonny Hernandez.

“The lads in the team have been tasked with checking out the offering and we can confirm it’s top quality!” says Team Owner Paul Bird. is expected to return for the 2014 season, this time backing Laverty and Broc Parkes.

Suzuki-Powered Mobility Scooter Out-Races Nissan Skyline

Garage Insanity claims its Suzuki-powered mobility scooter can reach a theoretical top speed of 140 mph.

We hear about a lot of projects with motorcycle engines swapped into other kinds of vehicles. But none are as strange as the Suzuki Katana-powered mobility scooter produced by Garage Insanity.

The aptly-named garage claims the 600cc I-4 engine can propel the mobility scooter to a theoretical top speed of 140 mph, though in practice, it’s only been clocked at 102.2 mph. But allow us to re-iterate: it’s a freakin’ mobility scooter!

To demonstrate the mobility scooter’s performance, Garage Insanity brought it out to a drag strip to race against a number of cars including a Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-T. The Skyline is a fine automobile, but the mobility scooter makes mincemeat out of it, as the video below shows.

Japanese Shop Gives Away Harley-Davidson – and a Life-sized Anime Statue
The man holding the oversized key was the lucky recipient of a 2008 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide and a life-sized statue of anime character Fujiko Mine. Only in Japan.

Motorcycle giveaways are always fun. We witnessed that ourselves last year when we gave away a brand new Honda Grom. But Japanese shop Bike-O took the motorcycle giveaway concept one bizarre step further, awarding a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide and a life-sized statue of a cartoon character as the grand prize.

Perhaps a bit of context is in order here. The life-sized statue is of a character called Fujiko Mine from a long-running Japanese anime series “Lupin III.” The Lupin series of anime and manga comic book is extremely popular in Japan and Bike-O’s television ads often feature characters from the show.

We’d say the idea was unique – except Bike-O would later do it again, with another contest giving away a sidecar-equipped Yamaha SR400 and statues of not one, not two but three Lupin characters.

Indian Village Builds Shrine to a Royal Enfield

Mystical Royal Enfield Bullet or elaborate tourist trap?

A small village in India has a shrine erected around a Royal Enfield Bullet 350. Naturally, there’s a story behind this mystical motorcycle, and it’s a doozy.

According to local legend, the son of the village leader crashed and died riding the Bullet. Police seized the bike for investigation but, as the story goes, the motorcycle vanished from the station and mysteriously reappeared at the scene of the accident. Police tried several more times to collect the Royal Enfield, but the bike kept disappearing and showing up at the crash site.

Is the motorcycle trying to find its lost owner? Is the fallen rider’s ghost trying to complete his final journey? Hard to say. One thing’s for certain: those villagers hit on a great way to draw a lot of tourists.

Fan Backlash for Video of Jorge Lorenzo’s Mansion

It didn’t take long for Jorge Lorenzo to regret producing a “Cribs”-style video showing off his posh mansion.

Jorge Lorenzo is one of the most active MotoGP racers on social media, with 1.25 million Likes on Facebook and more than 900,000 people following his Twitter feed ( @lorenzo99). Lorenzo is a frequent Tweeter and is very careful about how he presents himself to his fans.

But the two-time MotoGP champion made a big social media misstep last year, appearing in a video for his sponsor, energy drink maker Monster Energy, showing off his 13,000 sq. ft. mansion in Barcelona, with its two swimming pools, rooftop hot tub and private discoteque.

The “Cribs”-style video might not raise many eyebrows for Lorenzo’s fans in the U.S., but with Spain struggling with a financial crisis and crippling unemployment rates, it’s easy to see how the video might not fly over too well in Lorenzo’s native land. Also drawing criticism was the video’s sexualized focus on the bikini-clad models provided by Monster.

Lorenzo was quick to respond, scrubbing all traces of the video online, but the damage was already done.

The Taliban likes Honda

Taliban-published Azan magazine is quick to condemn America but loves the Honda CG125.

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but Honda can’t be too pleased with the rave review it received from “Azan,” a quarterly magazine published by the Taliban.

An English-language publication, “Azan” is radical propaganda intended to recruit disillusioned Muslims. The cover story for its third issue dealt with how to leave your life behind to join in the Jihad against the West.

But buried in the pages of the issue was a full page spread highlighting the virtues of a humble Honda CG125 as a vehicle of choice for the Mujahideen.

“All Praise is due to Allah Who has made the Crusaders flee with a humilating defeat at the hands of the Mujahideen who have so little resources compared to them. We, the Mujahidin, have won the war with HONDA 125s valued at around $700,” the magazine stated (with “humiliating” misspelt, by the by).

Making things even worse, from Honda’s perspective, is that news of the “Azan” review broke just as it revealed a new CG110 model for Africa.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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