Connect with us


Amazon’s Alexa will be available in all BMW cars from 2018




We don’t know when it happened, but suddenly the world is beginning to feel a lot like Star Trek.

First came the internet, then smartphones with the internet, then sat nav, now smartphones with internet and sat nav. TV screens are now 3D, and a box the size of a 1990’s mobile phone can project sound around your whole room. You don’t even need a smartphone anymore; you can do everything from your smartwatch.

We’ve all got used to that. It’s normal. Not futuristic at all. Then along comes Amazon with their Echo and now homes across the world have a very helpful personal assistant. We have computerised our homes. She can turn on your lights when you ask, brew you a pot of coffee after a hard day, order your shopping, tell you who has called you; she can even sort out the hoovering too.

Who needs a partner, when you have Alexa? She’s a singleton’s dream!

Things have stepped up this week with Amazon announcing a new deal they have with BMW. From 2018 new BMW and Mini models will have Amazon’s Alexa on board.

Think about it. How many times have you yelled at an imaginary person while driving along the M25? Or remembered something important you need to pick up from Waitrose, only to forget it again when you get home? With Alexa, you no longer have to worry.

Adding Alexa means your car can now be part of your digital lifestyle. One you probably didn’t even realise you had. Everything that is available to you on your Amazon Echo at home will now be at your fingertips while you are behind the wheel.

You can check weather, play music, order online without taking your hands off the wheel. A built-in SIM is installed in your car; you don’t even need a smartphone. You also no longer need to tap furiously at a screen, which will please many people. Now you can just yell your orders, and Alexa will politely respond with everything you could ever need. You don’t even have to say thank you, in fact, if you do, you’ll only confuse her.

It all sounds rather exciting, doesn’t it? Well, don’t get too excited. As with all new tech, we jump at the chance to get our teeth into it and then after the initial excitement, reality proves there are some things we don’t actually need. For example, at home Alexa can switch on the lights if you ask her. The only problem is that if you dare to turn on your own lights, via the switch, she throws a tantrum and you have to reset her. Don’t take her for granted! This becomes highly annoying because you also have to remember what voice command you gave her for each room.

We installed Alexa. Stood by the wall switch, it took us three attempts to get her to switch the lights on. Making the efficiency of Alexa, a little lacking. Of course, all new tech takes a little bedding in.

With BMW cars utilising voice recognition technology, it’s only a matter of time before we see this applied in the motorcycle industry. Skully has already pushed the process forward with their smart helmet. Although they have had a few issues getting it to market, we’ll be watching their progress with interest.

In the meantime, we off to train Alexa to make coffee and order new bits for the bike.

Source: Amazon & BMW

Fire it up in the comments below:


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.

Fire it up in the comments below:
Continue Reading


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).



Fire it up in the comments below:
Continue Reading

On Fire...

Copyright © 2018 Motofire Limited