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Variable Valve Timing Comes to Ducati

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Ducati’s new Testastretta DVT brings variable timing to desmodromic intake and exhaust valve actuation, and is the first of a new generation of Ducati engines. The system acts independently on both the intake and exhaust cams to optimize efficiency, and helps the Testastretta reach full Euro 4 emission compliance.

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BikerCam HD 1080p

Tachyon has introduced a new HD camera engineered for shooting forward in open areas, which eliminates the need for a fisheye lens and the distortion it brings. Called the BikerCam 1080p, it shoots in wide-screen format, and can connect to the motorcycle’s power via the included three-foot USB cable or a 12-volt adaptor plug. When connected in this fashion, it starts recording when you turn the ignition on, and stops when the bike is powered down. 

Like the black box on an airplane, the camera records continuously, and overwrites the oldest files with the most recent. Thus, you can run the camera non-stop, and remove any important video files should you need to preserve a recording. This is made all the easier because the unit offers the option of adding a date and time stamp. 

Tachyon claims the camera also can be used as a dash-mount unit in a car or truck, and offers a number of brackets and mounts to make that possible. It has a 1.3-in. CMOS high-dynamic sensor and high-speed CPU, and can record more than two hours on the 1080p setting. (Longer recording time is possible with the 720p setting.) It retails for $229.99 and is available from or Amazon. — CAS


Honda’s 2015 COTA Trials Bikes

Honda is adding a new Cota trials bike to its 2015 lineup, and upgrading the Cota Race Replica it introduced last year.  According to Lee Edmunds, Manager of Motorcycle Marketing Communications. "The new COTA 4RT260 we're introducing is designed and priced for riders entering the sport; those who compete at local and regional levels, rather than in national-level and pro events. Together, this pair allows trials riders to pick the one that best suits their tastes and budget." 

COTA 4RT Race Replica

The built-for-competition trials bike returns with a new four-piston monoblock front brake caliper, a slimmer shift lever, a new black finish for the triple clamps and handlebar, a slimmer front fender, and a new-style rear final-drive sprocket. A four-stroke Honda 260cc engine sits in the aluminum frame, and features both electronic fuel injection and a decompression system to reduce engine braking. This gives it an operating character similar to that of a 2-stroke. The bike also features adjustable competition-level Showa suspension front and rear, DID rims, Michelin tires, extra-wide aluminum footpegs, a race-replica headlight, Repsol sticker kit, and carbon fiber protectors for the fork, front fender brace/mount, clutch cover, head pipe heat shield and silencer. it will be priced at $9,499, and be available in January 2015. 


The COTA 4RT260 carries over the COTA 4RT Race Replica’s aluminum frame and 260cc engine, but features a unique 39-mm TECH fork, R16V shock for the Pro-Link rear suspension and Dunlop tires. Honda says these components are fully trials capable, but less expensive, giving the 4RT260 a better price point. The front and rear suspension are fully adjustable for rebound and compression damping, and the four-piston front brake caliper is unique to the COTA 4RT260. Perhaps the biggest difference is the seat that comes with every COTA 4RT260. Unlike the 4RT Race Replica, which has a minimal seat, the 4RT260 — which is aimed at more casual competitors — has a larger seat for greater comfort while riding between sections or waiting to enter the next section. The seat, however, is removable, incorporates a small amount of underseat storage, and can be switched out easily. Priced at $7,799, the 4RT260 launches in January alongside its bigger brother. — CAS


Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson is, perhaps, the last company you would expect to jump onto the eco-weenie bandwagon, but its unveiling of the LiveWire electric bike shows that even those with the roughest, toughest images have to follow the piper’s tune. The piper in this case is government, both state and federal, which are using their regulatory might to “nudge” vehicle makers in the direction of electrified vehicles. Driven by the pseudoscience of those who believe that the predominant gas living beings exhale (CO2) is leading to a global warm… er, climate change catastrophe, regulators are marching ever closer to mandating electric vehicles. Getting ahead of the wave places Harley in the enviable position of being seen as a responsible, “sustainable” corporation. It also gives the company a product that appeals to those well-heeled customers who: 1) feel guilty about the dubious effect their pleasure riding may have on the planet, and/or 2) want to be seen as smarter/more caring/hipper than the rest of us. Life is different in the Smug Cloud.

Starting this week, select customers will be able to ride the LiveWire and provide feedback. The 2014 tour will follow Route 66, and visit 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships through the end of the year. It will continue in 2015, and expand into Canada and Europe. You can learn more about Project LiveWire Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the Project LiveWire website. — CAS



Honda’s Trademark Scooter

Introduced in 1958 and still in production at 15 plants in 14 countries, Honda’s Super Cub scooter is the world’s largest selling vehicle with 87 million units sold across 160 countries. Now the scooter’s shape and design has been recognized by the Japan Patent Office as the first vehicle in Japan to be granted a three-dimensional trademark. It is one of a very few industrial products to achieve this status. The Super Cub was helped by the fact that the design has remained surprisingly consistent since its introduction, despite changes made to improve function and efficiency. — CAS