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Archive for August 18th, 2009

Siemens & OCC Smart Chopper

Siemens & OCC Smart Chopper

Imagine for a moment an old chopper guy who has a bike totally torn apart.. totally… split cases, gears out of the tranny etc., and is rebuilding the Linkert carb with new gaskets, running new cables and the lot trying to rebuild the bike while making ends meet with the food and electric bills.

Speaking of electric bills, now imagine a highly customized motorcycle that makes only a “whirly” noise when running, but has the ability to scan the rider and identify if there are certain thoughts taking place within the brain, logs the riders intentions before they become actions and informs law enforcement!  Not in my life you say?   Think again.

Siemens (the German engineering company) is a mega-giant in the field of industrial-equipment which few people know about.  They have a deep portfolio of technology as well as significant background in magnetic resonance and MRI medical devices to perform brain scans. It’s well known that researchers have placed volunteers in MRI machines and asked them to decide something while pushing on two different buttons.  Meanwhile in another room scientists are looking at scans of the brain and using the MRI data to figure out what the volunteer intends to do before it is done!  Still a skeptic, then do a “Google” on Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience or look up Dr. Paul Wolpe’s work at the University of Pennsylvania.

MRI Brain Scan

MRI Brain Scan

It’s called predictive behavior and wouldn’t you know the sleeveless dudes at Orange County Choppers (OCC) worked with Siemens to develop that highly customized “ecobike”… an electric motorcycle that has zero emissions.  OCC used recycled materials, water-based paint and lots of Siemens’s electric motor technology, LED lights, and high-tech 12-volt batteries. The bike is estimated to go 60 miles before it needs to be plugged in for a charge and can reach speeds of 100MPH.  And while on the subject of ‘intentions’… it’s smart-grid ready and has the ability to tell the motorcyclist when electricity is cheapest.  Siemens calls the bike the “Smart Chopper” and plans to show off their technical prowess at energy/industrial trade shows and conferences over the next year.

Props to Siemens and the Teutul’s!  I previously blogged on a desire to see Harley-Davidson experiment with and showcase their engineering prowess re; electric motorcycles, but clearly they are not listening to my idea of an American motorcycle manufacture investing in this future technology.  I also provided information on the Zero and the Ashland, OR-based company, Brammo, who announced it was selling an electric motorcycle with an estimated 378 miles per gallon and cost $11,995.

Don’t get me wrong, the OCC/Siemens electric chopper is cool enough, but it looks like an industrial-sized MRI machine between your legs! And, what if I’m correct about those “scans?”  Siemens made special arrangements to have a lot of its products used in the bike and what if that “whirly” sound is determining your intentions – reading your mind – as you throttle on the built in wi-fi relays predictive information to some authority?  Maybe my prediction is off a year or two?  But, at minimum this complicated electronic chopper should provide practical applications such as an understanding of subjective thought and help people change radio channels!

Clearly the technology is moving at a pace which gives any ethicists something to think about.  If you ride the “Smart Chopper” and are accused of a crime please contact me for a complimentary consultation.  I’m not an attorney, but I will blog for your best interests and try to help ensure that you are not wrongly punished for thinking!

Photo courtesy of OCC and Siemens.

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Canada & Glacier Road Test Route

Canada & Glacier Road Test Route

Previously I provided an in depth review of the Harley-Davidson FXRG® Perforated Leather Jacket HERE.

My experience in the initial post was primarily from short trips around town and I was looking forward to a longer road test of the jacket.   I planned to wear the jacket on an 8-day trip through the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park in Montana which you can read about HERE.  More important to the jacket road test was the trip saw temperatures from 47F to 107F degrees and allowed for an extended trail while fleshing out it’s features across a broad spectrum of weather conditions.   View this post is a follow up to the original review.

First off I got a chuckle whenever handing the jacket to people and watching them nearly topple over when they try and lift it. It’s not just a leather jacket – it’s riding gear and a bit heavy because of it. The nice thing is that all that thickness and weight will be between you and the road should you ever go down.  And as the saying goes, ride wearing what you want to crash wearing.

FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket - Road Test

FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket - Road Test

The temperature sweet spot, at least for my body type was 65F to 85F degrees.  There was plenty of ventilation to help me stay cool during the hotter parts of the day and during the lower temps I would wear the removable windproof liner that features the Gore-Tex® Windstopper® technology.   In fact, after a long day of riding I wore that liner out to dinner which saved space having to lug yet another fleece or light jacket on the Road King.

However, any extended riding with temperatures below 60F degrees and you experience a ‘wind chill’ effect.  I found myself searching for a rain jacket to provide extra wind block from the cold.   For example, our morning departure out of Banff, Alberta was 47F degrees and wet.  I had a long sleeve t-shirt, windproof liner, perforated jacket and windproof rain coat.  Everything was zipped high and tight.  I was cool during the ride, but not too cold to function properly.  This cold weather was not anticipated, but you never know what you’ll ride into.

FXRG Jacket - Under Rain Coat - Glacier Nat. Park

FXRG Jacket - Under Rain Coat - Glacier Nat. Park

On the hot side of the temperature gauge spectrum… Perforated Leather is only “uncomfortable” when you’re not moving so my suggestion is never stop!  With temperatures up in the mid-90F’s I was actually pleased that the jacket provided significant ventilation and helped me stay cool.   Anything above 97F degrees and I don’t care how many deflecting diamond plate patterns supposedly deflect sun or how much “CoolMax” “breathable liner” you have on — it’s too damn much!  I had to remove the jacket.  When the temps top 100F, you experience this ‘convection oven’ effect. You really notice it riding at 107F which was the temperature in Wenatchee, WA on the day of our arrival.  And the faster you ride, the hotter it feels. So, I stripped down to a t-shirt.  It would not offer much protection going down, but I didn’t need to ride all day with that high of temperature.  Had I needed too I would have worn long sleeve t-shirts and a leather vest.

All the zippers on the jacket from the front, sleeves and pockets worked flawlessly.  I especially liked the quick access to cell phone and sunglass interior pockets.  The jacket was very durable and held up well to abrasion as it was tossed about on the bike at fuel stops or in motel rooms.

In summary, the FXRG Perforated Leather jacket is a very solid jacket.  It looks tough but at the same time is smooth and streamlined.  It’s heavy enough for cold weather riding and has built-in blow-through venting for hot summer riding. The protective armor along the spine, shoulders, and elbows gives you added physical security if not some extra peace of mind.

Harley-Davidson is known for quality bike clothing and their new FXRG Perforated Leather Jacket delivers.   The one negative that I can offer for this product is that the Mandarin collar, YKK® Finguard® front zipper takes some getting used to.   When riding and with the jacket partially unzipped, the collar (does have a soft lining) had a tendency to rub or interfere with the bottom of my helmet or chin strap.  I learned to fold it a bit which relieved the issue.

Lastly I want to provide a shout out to H-D and Laura for providing the testing opportunity.  Thanks!

Photo courtesy of H-D and Google maps.

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