Get a group of NetBikers and gather them at Eicma, during the day reserved for operators in the sector. That’s what happened yesterday, Wednesday, 7th of November, when we organised, for a select group of our readers, a series of meetings with the houses of the motorcycle world
(In the first photo, Francesco Bombarda talked about technology underlying the engineering of an helmet)
We tested this format at a previous event and we replicated here at Eicma: bringing our readers to talk with engineers of major manufacturers in the motorcycling field.
Here what you missed.
First step: Pirelli
We all meet at 11 a.m. at the InMoto stand, where as usual we are guests. There are 18 NetBikers with us, and we settle in the living room of the stand for the first appointment, the one with Pirelli, represented by Giuliano Bonaccorsi, an engineer from the R&D department.
We already met Giuliano in Atessa at the end of August when we talked about road tires and basic tyres parameters. Today our chat was once again about these issues, but we also talked about the guidelines under which they work during the tire development phase. Later on, the debate was about the differences between the various aspect ratios: how about /50, /55, /60, or even the new /65, which are being used in the World Superbike Championship?
And then we talked about the build, the different types of compounds, the laboratory tests carried out during the development phase. And then about OEM tires that, as it’s not well known, are different from those usually available on the market. The builder sometimes, in agreement with manufacturers, develops indeed a version of one of his tires specifically for a certain model of motorcycle, marks it with a specific code on the shoulder and makes it available upon request through the usual distribution channels, but also as spare parts through the spare parts network of some motorcycle manufacturers. Something that we, average users, don’t often think about.
All of this took roughly an hour to be discussed. The NetBikers, however, also want to see the rest of the show, so we let them free to go around during the lunch break.
Second step: at Arai, to understand the science behind helmets
Back on track at 3 p.m. at the Arrai stand, with the dynamic Francesco Bombarda of BER Racing, which tells us about the manufacturing of helmets and safety tests. Which approval protocol is required? The ECE 22-05 or the Snell? What are the differences between the two? How about the paints? Why does Arai not have modular helmets, even though they now represent up to 40% of the market? And do you know why it is important to make different outer shells depending on the size? This happens not only to avoid putting an internal polystyrene of excessive thickness but also to prevent applying excessive rotation forces on the slim neck of someone with a small head.
Bombarda is on fire, and catches everyone’s attention. Especially when it accompanies us to the machine for the penetration test of the shell. Far from being a proof of homologation, as Francesco is quick to clarify, it’s just a test used to demonstrate the high quality of the helmets that Arai produces.
He gets one from those exposed, an entry-level model dating back two years ago. He rips away the fin of the top air intake and places it so that the tip of the punch lies exactly above the hole of the air intake.
3.5 kg is dropped from a height of 3 meters: the sound from the impact is loud, but the helmet holds together, and the metallic helmet support is untouched. The test, once repeated on the hole of the nearby air intake, has an identical outcome. Someone has still questions to ask, we leave him there as we go to the next house.
The slow-motion video of the penetration test
Step three: the constant evolution of Honda motorcycles
It’s now the turn of my friend Luca Fiorentino. Also known as “Lukethebike” to our readers, who are also his friends, he welcomes us to the Honda stand. We had previously prepared with him the second appointment of the seminar done at the end of August in the Honda plant in Atessa – Italy – about the development of a tire on a prototype motorcycle. Sadly time flies, so an overview of the 2019 models is all we get.
Something far from being unsatisfying, since Luca’s passion is something tangible, and he did not miss the opportunity to go into detail, explaining the reasons for certain refinements compared to the 2018 models.
In particular, we talk about the new CB1000R and the X-ADV, which some of our friends – @Bobpezzadoo for example – already bought.
Alpinestars and its TechAir System
The time-out is coming closer, that is the time when our friends will be returning to their hometowns. But first, we pay a visit to Alpinestars, where Gordon Casteller presents the Tech-Air Airbag System.
Someone still thinks it is still powered by a string to be connected to the bike, someone else to a control unit to be mounted on the bike. The Alpinestars system is actually completely autonomous. You can buy it and activate it straight out of the store, regardless of the type of bike you are using.
Everything revolves around 3 accelerometers and a gyroscope, which communicate to a control unit all the data on body movements, avoiding even any risk of accidental openings.
In 30 milliseconds the airbag of Alpinestars detects the anomalous movement of the body of the person wearing the jacket (or the suit) and explodes, inflating shoulders and torso. This is a completely sufficient time, as multiple crash tests made in a controlled environment demonstrated that, in case of an accident, about 100 milliseconds pass from the initial phase to the contact with a fixed obstacle.
Our friends are in a hurry, but the speech is just too interesting to interrupt mister Casteller. Someone even ponders on the purchase of the TechAir, to use it on the track and on the road. Eventually, it turns out that the road system is not suitable for use on the track, while the racing system is suitable for both situations, having a control unit easily programmable on both functions.
Time’s up, but we will continue on NetBikers.eu!
The questions won’t stop coming, but now it’s really too late. We will return to further discuss the subjects, in partnership with our friends of the motorbike manufactures. In fact, you can still ask questions, and if you want to do so by sending a message via THIS LINK, we will turn them over to the engineers.
The day is over and we take our NetBikers friends back to the exit: their (and our) smiling faces are the best possible gratification for everyone.
The show resumes today, with other friends: this time they come from abroad, and we’ll deal with someone else.