Monday, August 18, 2014

Matt Chan Takes a Bad Spill

Talk about unknown and unknowable!  Multiple-time CrossFit Games athlete, Matt Chan, and his wife Cherie (one of the coaches at my Level 1 course) went on a seemingly benign mountain bike ride and Matt took a spill that almost killed him.

Check out the graphic scene at 4:15!

My favorite quotes from the video:
Cameraman: You're definitely the most jacked dude on Earth using a walker.
Cherie: That's what the nurses thought, too.
Cherie: My mother-in-law said, "This is why you guys do CrossFit, because when something like this happens - and you never know when it's going to happen - you can bounce right back, because you're so much stronger.  Look how much better he can support himself because his upper body is so strong."
You got it, Mama Chan.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bacon Powered Motorcycle

I love motorcycles, and I love bacon.  How did I not think of this first?

Source: Auto Blog
The machine started life as an EVA Track T800CDI diesel-powered motorcycle, hailing from The Netherlands, and a bacon-grease conversion was performed by the crew from CSE Engineering, who are accompanying the procession as it crosses the western half of the United States as part of a 12-person team that is filming and documenting the adventure
 Here's a series of videos on the bike's and its rider's adventures across the US.

Motorcycles and bacon - what could be better?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Philippine Marine Scout Sniper Test

I don't trust anyone this much.

Indian Scout Engine CAD Drawings

Motorcycle Daily has more CAD drawings of the Indian Scout's 1133 cc, 60-degree V-twin engine.

Source: Motorcycle Daily

Source: Motorcycle Daily

I don't know Polaris' plans for this engine, but I can think of several exciting possibilities.  For example, this engine is somewhat similar to the Rotax-designed 1125 cc V-twin the Buell Motorcycle Company used in the last sport bike they produced before Harley Davidson shut them down.  In a higher state of tune, the Scout's engine could easily crank out 125 hp.  Polaris could even bore and stroke it out to 1190 cc like Erik Buell Racing did with the old Rotax engine and bump it up to 150 hp or more (EBR's current engine is wholly designed and built by EBR in East Troy, Wisconsin).

Such an engine would be a lot of fun in a sporty standard, or a street tracker, or even an adventure bike.  Maybe the Indian name is too wrapped up in history to support such bikes (then again, maybe not), but Polaris could decide to let Indian carry the heritage flag and finally begin to diversify Victory beyond cruisers and onto something more exciting.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Indian Motorcycles Releases New Scout!

For the second year in a row, I forgot all about Sturgis until it was already going (not that I'd actually attend), and for the second year in a row, the resurrected (for the 5th time?) Indian Motorcycles - now part of Polaris Industries - released a new bike.  Last year, it was the Chief.  This year, it's the Scout.

Source: Auto Blog

Check out these videos from Indian Motorcycle's YouTube channel.

Pretty cool, right?  Here's my favorite look for the bike, so far.

Source: Cycle World

Cycle World, Motorcycle Daily and Motorcycle USA (among others, I presume) have all published first ride impressions online, and their reviews are mostly glowing, with only minor nits to pick.  The Cycle World review seems to verge on sycophancy, but maybe the bike really is that good.

Source: Motorcycle Daily

Just looking at it, you can tell that Indian decided to ride the fence between tradition and high technology.  The frame is mostly cast aluminum, as opposed to the traditional tubular steel cradle frames of traditional cruisers.  The typical cruiser engine is a narrow-angle V-twin with air cooling and two push-rod-actuated valves per cylinder.  The Scout's engine features a 60 degree V angle, liquid cooling, four valves per cylinder, dual overhead cams and a counter-balancer.  It doesn't even pretend to be air cooled, like the Harley-Davidson V-Rod with its fake cooling fins.  Actually, besides the fake cooling fins, the Scout's engine specs are pretty similar to that of the V-Rod.

Either way, an 1133 cc engine that generates 100 hp at the crank is very lightly stressed, which leaves lots of room for owners and tuners to squeeze a lot more out of it.

Source: Motorcycle Daily

In short, it's not as traditional as the Harley-Davidson Sportster (the quintessential American motorcycle), but it's nowhere near as radical as the Ducati Diavel.

The Sportster seems like the Scout's most natural competitor.  As far as specs go, the Scout beats the Sportster hands down.  It's lighter, more powerful (by 32 hp), generates similar torque and can lean further into a corner.

Source: Motorcycle Daily.  Click to enlarge.

You can read a more comprehensive list of specs for the Scout here, and for the Sportster here.  Unlike most motorcyclists, however, cruiser riders are notoriously impervious to spec sheets.  They choose bikes for far more subjective reasons.

The one disappointment about this bike is that - like the Sportster - it doesn't really live up to its own heritage.  But then, no bike could.  The Scout and the Sportster were the badass sport bikes of their day.  They competed in everything from road races, to flat tracks to off road scrambles.  And that's why it's impossible for any bike to live up to that heritage.  Bikes today are so specialized, that no bike could be converted into both a champion road racer and a champion enduro.

Still, it's a cool bike.  At first I thought I wasn't in its target demographic because I don't ride cruisers.  But, maybe I am, because this bike might just change my mind.  Maybe if they made a street tracker version...

Source: Roland Sands Design

... with this classic look.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The scabbard is key.

1000 Yard Shot With a 9mm Revolver

I could do that... with a sniper rifle.  (probably not)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jackie Stewart on Racing In Monaco in the '70s

Is he talking about a car, or a woman?

Surely you've heard the term, "flying by the seat of your pants".  It was coined back in the early days of flying (before or during WWI).  Planes back then had little or no instrumentation.  The only feedback the pilot received from the plane was the very physical feedback from the stick, the pedals (both of which were directly connected to the control surfaces via levers and cables) and the seat.  And since the seat was the largest point of contact, it delivered the most feedback.

Though F1 cars of the '70s were far more sophisticated than WWI planes, they still had no electronics.  The driver's most important sources of feedback were physical - the wheel, the pedals, the shift knob and the seat.  Many consider that time the golden age of motor sport because there was a lot more experimentation and artistry to it back then.

Source: Red Bull
I can't really comment on that, but I know that the human element is one reason I prefer
motorcycle racing to car racing.  In motorcycle racing, the rider is always fully visible.  The spectator can watch the rider shift his weight forward to resist a wheelie, or backward to resist diving, or to one side or the other to assist the bike in a turn.

Intellectually, I know the race car driver is just as active as the motorcycle racer, but it's much more exciting to actually see what is happening, and no, the cameras inside the cars' cockpits don't compare to watching a racing phenom like Marc Marquez correcting a line by pushing off the racing surface with his knee and/or elbow.

Electronic aids are great in everyday life.  Anti-lock breaks, traction control, etc. undoubtedly help us ordinary folk avoid accidents, but we watch motor sports for the same reason we watch other sports - to marvel at people vastly more talented than we are doing things we could never do.  Because of that, it's probably a good thing that most sanctioning bodies ban electronic driver aids.

Incidentally, Jackie Stewart reminded me of another saying I've only heard in military settings: "slow is smooth and smooth is fast".  I don't know where or when that one was coined, but I know it's often true.