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Multi-vehicle communication tech is the real star of Honda’s CES 2017 reveal



The self-balancing bike wasn’t the only piece of interesting tech launched in Las Vegas this week.

Voice commands, self-balancing mobility robots and innovative display designs were all shown alongside the Honda Riding Assist motorcycle in Las Vegas this week, but the real message of Honda’s CES 2017 showing was the interconnectedness of the offerings.

Whilst many companies tease Artificial Intelligence, Honda with their research and development divisions have taken the wraps off of their ‘Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem’ and begun talking about a future that promises vehicles communicating with each other – and the traffic infrastructure around them – in order to help with traffic congestion and to preempt and prevent road traffic accidents before they even occur.

The Honda Riding Assist motorcycle was just part of the reveal – on upon which most of the motorcycle press naturally picked up on – but it’s this intercommunication between vehicles that Honda believe will truly revolutionise our roads.

Back in late 2015, Honda, Yamaha and BMW all joined forces to launch their ‘Connected Motorcycle Consortium’, an attempt at increasing development towards motorcycles within the Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) protocol.

There are lot’s of acronyms to be learnt when it comes to these type of programmes, but in essence these are the frameworks that countries and companies help develop and work within when developing systems that are intended to work throughout the world and across various industries.

As part of the CES reveal, perhaps the most important announcement for Honda was that of their ‘NeuV’ Urban Vehicle concept.

As a self-driving, ride-sharing vehicle, the NeuV is positioned as an automated machine that treats potential drivers as customers and is built to be shared amongst several ‘riders’ – hopping from rider to rider when it would usually be sitting idle.

And it’s here that the A.I. begins to drip out from the interconnectedness of the cars and bikes from the road and into the cabin, as an ’emotion engine’ detects the driver’s mood and judgement – assuming that they’re even bothering to control the car at all – and uses the learnings from this behaviour to make changes to the vehicles dynamics, ride styles and even musical suggestions to help settle the ‘mood’.

None of which sounds like anything that we’ll be looking forward to whilst actually riding a motorcycle, but when combined with their ‘Safe Swarm’ technology – which attempts to replicate the behaviours seen in schools of fish – to coral and contain mass movements of traffic using the ‘connected’ systems that we’ve mentioned before, and the advantages to all road users, and not just four-wheeled ones, are very clear to see. Just ask Frank Paluch, president of Honda R&D for the Americas,

“The autonomous age has dawned, and Honda, like all automakers, is working to refine and advance this technology to achieve our goal for a collision-free society in the 2040 timeframe,”

“Using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and drawing upon big data and artificial intelligence, Honda will work with others to create an environment in which road conditions are predicted and managed, and collisions avoided.”

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Custom of the Week: Yamaha SR500 ‘Scrambler’ by Daniel Peter




SCRAMBLERS ARE A HOT TOPIC. Build one, and you’re sure to be judged solely by how well equipped it is for hardcore off-piste use.

But that’s not all that scramblers are about. Daniel Peter compares his latest build to his childhood BMX—and it’s pretty much how we feel about modern-day scramblers too.

“When I was four years old, my BMX bike became my life,” he explains. “It was so simple, yet so fun. Just wheels, pedals and brakes. I’d ride it to the beach, jump a few curbs along the way, race my friends. Those were the good days.”

“30 years later, I set out to build a motorcycle based on the same principles. There’s nothing on this bike that doesn’t need to be there. It has wheels, a punchy engine and great brakes. I didn’t even put a speedo on it, because I never looked at the one on my last bike.”

Daniel works as a photographer in Chicago, but wrenches during the winter to keep his passion for riding alive. He keeps a workshop in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, outfitted with a tool cabinet, a welder, and a 1940s South Bend lathe.

This 1978-model Yamaha SR500 is the fourth Yamaha 500 he’s built to date. “It’s the most simple, yet the most thorough, of the bunch,” he says.

The motor’s been bumped to 540 cc, with a grocery list of go-fast bits that includes a lighter XT500 crank, a new piston from JE and a Megacycle cam for better torque down low.

R&D valve springs with titanium caps, a Powerdynamo ignition and a high-flow oil pump from Kedo round out the package.

Hoos Racing refreshed the crank and cut new valve seats for Daniel, but he tackled the rest of the rebuild himself. Every single bearing and seal was replaced along the way too. As for the carb, it’s been swapped out for a 39 mm Keihin FCR flatslide number, fed by a fat K&N filter.

The exhaust system is a combination of a custom made stainless steel header, and a Cone Engineering muffler.

The SR rolls on 17” supermoto wheels, borrowed from a KTM (front) and a Honda CRF450 (rear). They’re wrapped in Pirelli MT60 Corsa tread; a 120 up front, and a chunky 160 on the 5” rear rim. (“It juuust fits,” says Daniel.)

The brakes have been upgraded with a mix of Brembo and Beringer parts, with an RCS 14 radial master cylinder up front.

On top is an aluminum Yamaha XT500 fuel tank, wrapped in a paint scheme “inspired by an unforgettable riding trip through Baja.” Just behind it is a new saddle from MotoLanna, with a new kicked-up subframe loop.

It’s just about spring in Chicago, so Daniel must be itching to rack up the miles on his SR500. And we’re betting it’s going to be impossible to get him off it.

A version of this article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here with permission.

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Icon claim back the streets in their latest, epic video



Street’s Not Dead.

Regular readers will know that we eagerly await anything released from the US streetwear firm Icon Motorsports. So the moment that a video drops from the Portland firm we’re bound to pay attention.

That’s an interest piqued double when they post it alongside what is essentially a call to arms…

“Street’s not dead. If you think it went away, you’d be wrong. Street’s still here undermining pompous authority, rejecting standards, and bucking the status quo..”

And they’re not kidding either. With the Icon clad rider thrashing their Kawasaki ZX-10R through city streets, car parks and even a public fountain at one point, there’s a lot to take in.

Couple that with their usual loud, Icon style and you’ve certainly got a statement of intent.

(Don’t try this at home kids).



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