Episode 115, in which we design motorcycles with Larry Au

Whatever came over us, we couldn’t fight it. That’s how you get two new episodes in the same day!

Larry Au (pronounced “Ow,” but not dramatically so) is a professor of industrial design at Pratt University. While you can imply much about his interests given that data point and his appearance on this podcast, what you can’t possibly know until he brings it up is his unhealthy penchant for mopeds. Yet we couldn’t stop listening as he detailed his efforts to eke out every last ounce of power from his current tiny-engined project bike.

Motorcycle fatalities were up dramatically in 2020, and the NTSB wants the NHTSA to get more involved in motorcycle design and production, so our discussion with Larry was strangely prescient. You can even read the report to which I refer repeatedly in our discussion of motorcycle crash statistics in the state of Virginia. It may not seem related, but Europe is set to commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035, something that could all of us electric motorcycles.

Patents are critical to protecting one’s intellectual property, because they have to expose all sorts of proprietary information to successfully file the application. Honda and BMW are typically at the sharp front edge of technology when it comes to motorcycle-related patents; in this case, Honda’s been working on a clutch that automatically un-stalls in case it’s needed, while Indian is leapfrogging over the competition in the adaptive cruise control wars.

Zero’s “Cash for Carbon” incentive program is back, and you could get $4,000 in addition to an elevated value when you trade in your gas-powered bike for a shiny new Zero SR/F or SR/S. Nobody knows how long the program will be active, so if you’re interested in a Zero, you’d best get on it. Not only is BMW Motorrad putting their futuristic electric scooter the CE 04 into production for 2022, their parent company (BMW) is teaming up with Ford to invest millions in a company trying to improve EV battery technology. As Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) said in Airplane!, “I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you.”

Thanks to webBikeWorld for funneling news our way, and be sure to check out their website for the latest motorcycle news and in-depth product reviews.

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