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Too Quiet? How about too slow?
March 16, 2005 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Motorbike Unveiled (BBC link, no reg. req.)
The Emissions Neutral Vehicle (ENV), has a top speed of 50mph (80km/h), a range of at least 100 miles (160km) and can run continuously for four hours before the fuel cell needs recharging.
What's more, the bike's "exhaust" is water vapor and is so clean that its drinkable.
Concerns are that the bike is too quiet and plans have been made to add a motor sound to the bike so as to not startle pedestrians. Though I must admit to kind of liking the idea of "stealth mode" motorcycling.
A sort of follow up to this post.
posted by fenriq (57 comments total)

 
"They can add all the noise they want, it will still lack the va-va-voom serious motorcyclists look for,"

God, people are stupid. Power, power, power, that's all they want isn't it? The benefits of technology can run clean, cheap and silent is completely lost on the the sea of morons on this planet.
posted by borkingchikapa at 12:44 PM on March 16, 2005


The the. Morons indeed.
posted by borkingchikapa at 12:44 PM on March 16, 2005


I agree, that guy came across as a real moron. (He may be accurately reflecting the moronic opinions of a like of motorcyclists, though.)

That said, a silent vehicle can be pretty dangerous to pedestrians who are used to relying on their ears intead of thier eyes. I've lost count of how many times a pedestrian has stepped into the street in front of my silent zero-emissions vehicle (bicycle) without looking. They often react with shock and anger when I ring a bell at them.

Yes, stepping into the street without looking is stupid, escpecially in NYC, but it happens all the time.

I'm personally very siked about the advent of practical hydrogen-cell personal vehicles.
posted by Cranialtorque at 12:54 PM on March 16, 2005


I agree with borkingchikapa. This is a really cool bike that would be ideally suited to urban environments, but I have no doubt that here in Amerika nobody will buy one because it's too slow. Look at the picture of the bike in the article. I'm not too sure I'd want to go faster than 50 mph!
posted by krash2fast at 12:57 PM on March 16, 2005


So where does the hydrogen come from?

And don't say there's plenty of hydrogen, it's the most common element, etc.

There's water in the sea but you can't drink it.
There's oxygen in water but you can't breathe it.
And there's hydrogen in water but you can't burn it.

All of these hydrogen-fueled breakthough (sic) vehicles are a scam, because it takes LOTS of energy to get the hydrogen to begin with.....
posted by centerpunch at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2005


I agree, that guy came across as a real moron. (He may be accurately reflecting the moronic opinions of a like of motorcyclists, though.)

Ahem.
posted by scratch at 1:06 PM on March 16, 2005


Most motorcycles get in the neighborhood of 50 miles per gallon, and many get more. If they were limited to 50 miles per hour, they'd get more mpg. But even taking 50 mpg, that's two gallons of gasoline for the same 100 miles that the hydrogen cell can go without recharging.

Anyone know the amount of energy required to recharge the fuel cell as compared to two gallons of gasoline? Or what the emissions are? (Of course, this doesn't count the energy required to produce the cell in the first place, as noted by centerpunch).
posted by pardonyou? at 1:10 PM on March 16, 2005


Too simple. Adding back some noise (the quiet hum of an engine) doesn't mean adding a full-throated roar. Its important for safety reasons that motorcycles emit some sound. But they don't have to be loud enough to bother anyone.
posted by 4midori at 1:12 PM on March 16, 2005


They could make them have that cool futuristic "brrrrrrr" noise that cars make in futurisitic movies/cartoons. Now that would be cool, especially if you could tweak the sound to do various version of that future-engine-brrrrr sound.
posted by chaz at 1:18 PM on March 16, 2005


Instead of the sound of an engine how about something more in tune with nature? Maybe a bike that honked like a goose as it cruised down the street?
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 1:19 PM on March 16, 2005


centerpunch, the link to the other MeFi post has alot of info on the process of providing hydrogen fuel for these vehicles. It is not as simple as I'd thought. But that doesn't mean its not worthwhile to explore alternate energy sources for our vehicles, it just means that the whole process will have to improve before the masses can get their hands on it and that does include making the process of generating the fuel alot cheaper and cleaner.

In a crowded urban environment, this would be an ideal means of getting around. Where I live, it would be a deathtrap since I have to take the highway everywhere and this thing can barely break the bottom end of the speed limit. But I am incredibly excited, as cranialtorque (cool nick, by the way!) is, about the promise of this technology.

I love my motorcycle but I'd love it all the more if it were a clean, green and mean ride. Which means I'll be needing the same performance as the gas engine provides.

borkingchikapa, a hard core biker won't like it, I don't know why they asked him. There are many excellent uses this bike could be put to. But the Harley set will hate it because they live for the rumble and rattle. Though this bike's probably quicker than most Harleys.
posted by fenriq at 1:26 PM on March 16, 2005


Loud Pipes Save Lives
posted by OmieWise at 1:28 PM on March 16, 2005


I've been nearly hit by a Prius three times already at one of the UCLA parking lots.

When it comes zipping around a corner running on electric, there really isn't all that much you can hear above the ambient noise of a busy parking lot.

At least a motorbike... well, they're smaller -- won't hurt as much when they hit you.
posted by linux at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2005


Chemical Engineer Here,

yeah, what many may not realize is our easiest source of hydrogen is oil through autothermal steam reforming. The advantadge is that when you convert oil to hydrogen in one place you have better control over the emissions and can conserve the energy present within it better than the 10,000 or so automobiles. So in theory it would be a more efficient and cleaner use of gasoline.

Of course, what I'd be worried about is riding around on a tank full of stuff that could detonate.
posted by slapshot57 at 1:53 PM on March 16, 2005


Not only do they alert pedestrian who are mentally elsewhere, it's important to make some noise on those Sunday rides. Experienced riders attached "whistlers" {warning: sample sound} to spook deer before they wander in harm's way.

(...the moronic opinions of a like of motorcyclists, though.)
I second that Ahem and I have the plates in my arms to prove it...wait that didn't come out right.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:58 PM on March 16, 2005


As a pedestrian and cyclist, I often don't hear approaching cars and motorcycles anyway unless their engines are being gunned. I certainly don't hear them when I'm in the cocoon of my own car. I think the utility of a noise-making engine is a bit overstated.

Also, what centrepunch said. Calling it an "Energy neutral vehicle" is premature without a renewable source for the hydrogen.
posted by randomstriker at 2:03 PM on March 16, 2005


Anyone know the amount of energy required to recharge the fuel cell as compared to two gallons of gasoline? Or what the emissions are?

You don't "recharge" a fuel cell.

A fuel cell is a device that creates electricity from a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. So this motorcycle has a tank to store hydrogen at high pressure, a fuel cell that makes electricity from the hydrogen, and an electric motor powering the rear wheel.

General Motors has a site explaining all this at: http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_tech/400_fcv/fc_work.html
posted by centerpunch at 2:05 PM on March 16, 2005


I pray they don't adapt an existing technology for these, and put those obnoxious ice cream truck tunes on them!
posted by QIbHom at 2:06 PM on March 16, 2005


Another note about motorcycle emissions. Most folks don't realize motorcycle pollute ten times more harmful emissions than an automobile, see here {PDF, pg12}

I was emailing fueleconomy.gov when it was posted on MeFi in October. They told me noxious emissions is determined by smog equipment NOT gas mileage. Most new motorcycles are now getting closed loop emissions, catalytic convertors and fuel injection.

If it makes you feel better, bikes kick out less greenhouse gases which is dependent on fuel mileage.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:10 PM on March 16, 2005


All of these hydrogen-fueled breakthough (sic) vehicles are a scam, because it takes LOTS of energy to get the hydrogen to begin with.....

It dosn't take much energy to extract Hydrogen from natural gas. Initialy the Hydrogen suppliers will be the big oil companies. You also have the oportunity to produce hydrogen from Nuke plants.
posted by delmoi at 2:13 PM on March 16, 2005


OmieWise, you know, every time I hear a Harley rider talk about how much safer his bike is because of his pipes, I can't help but laugh at him. Here's the problem, exhaust is vented backwards along with all that noise. Its just about impossible for a bike travelling at 30 or 40 miles an hour to be loud enough to warn people ahead by noise alone.

Yes, the people you've already passed are well aware but that's not the point.

Loud Pipes Don't Save Lives, They Piss Off Everyone.

Of course, what I'd be worried about is riding around on a tank full of stuff that could detonate.
posted by slapshot57 at 1:53 PM PST on March 16 [!]


You mean like gasoline? Yeah, yeah, I know, gas doesn't explode unless certain conditions are present while hydrogen can boom with alot less "prodding". Your comment just struck me as kind of funny.
posted by fenriq at 2:19 PM on March 16, 2005


It looks joke'ish to me, but then again I never really appreciated the dirt bike look - which this reminds me of.

Power, power, power, that's all they want isn't it?

uh no. Depends on the crowd (rice rocket, harley crowd, classic bike rider) but at minimum for any bike you want enough power to get out of a dangerous situation. I'm not sure that bike could pull it off.
posted by squeak at 2:26 PM on March 16, 2005


They could always put baseball cards in the spokes.
posted by knave at 2:29 PM on March 16, 2005


Its just about impossible for a bike travelling at 30 or 40 miles an hour to be loud enough to warn people ahead by noise alone.

I hate loud motorcycles as much as anyone, but you CAN hear them coming, unless the bike is going faster than the speed of sound, which is about 740 mph.
posted by centerpunch at 2:35 PM on March 16, 2005


It dosn't take much energy to extract Hydrogen from natural gas.

Well, if there's enough natural gas, that burns very clean all by itself, no need to extract hydrogen.

http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/gas_benefits.html
posted by centerpunch at 2:39 PM on March 16, 2005


centerpunch, yes, if you're sitting at a bus stop and Harley comes rumbling towards you, you will hear it. But if you're in your car with the windows up and not even the radio playing, those loud pipes don't mean a thing until they pass you. Even more so, if you do have the radio on and there's a fair amount of traffic around you.

Loud pipes are not a safety feature, they're an ego-stroking feature.
posted by fenriq at 2:45 PM on March 16, 2005


If you are driving yourself then you are using your mirrors and other driving aids to detect vehicles around you.

A pedestrian or cyclist is not so lucky.

Most accidents concerning silent-running vehicles will occur in parking lots and crosswalks. Hence, the noise needn't be loud, but it must be audible.

Even future cars in movies have a turbine-like whine to them, but those damned Priuses are dead-quiet when traveling under 10 mph, not even tire noise.
posted by linux at 2:52 PM on March 16, 2005


Someone needs to invent a self-contained, reliable, safe and turnkey solar powered hydrogen cracker suitable for installations at petroleum/gas service stations. I could see them being installed off to the side like the propane units at many stations here in the states.

Hopefully, all it would need is water and maintainence.

Water could be distilled or filtered in-line before cracking. Solar panels could cover the roofs of the station, or even provide additional shelter for a rest area. The cracking unit could be put on the grid for additional electricity for cracking/filtration on cloudy days, and could sell power back to the grid if it manages to crack enough hydrogen to fill the reserves, or if selling it back is particularly profitable at that moment and it has enough projected reserves.

The idea would be to make it financially attractive for station owners to want to buy and install these self-contained cracking units.

"Turn tap water and sunlight into money!"
posted by loquacious at 3:03 PM on March 16, 2005


Oh, and from the article: "Powered by a high pressure hydrogen fuel cell, the Emissions Neutral Vehicle (ENV) produces the equivalent noise of a personal computer fan belt."

Say what? Personal computer fan belt?
posted by loquacious at 3:06 PM on March 16, 2005


*wipes grease off hands*

Yeah, you're gonna hafta start thinking about replacing that personal computer fan belt, ma'am. How old is this baby, three years? Most people don't think about it until they're flying down the superhighway one day and POW! Personal computer fan belt goes flying and you hafta realign the RAM, which means getting in there under the motherboard, and that ain't going to be cheap.
posted by squirrel at 6:15 PM on March 16, 2005


The personal computer fan belt extends from San Francisco, through Chicago, to Boston. Personal computer fans mostly live in this belt. they are much quieter than Harleys.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:19 PM on March 16, 2005


This thread has some good lines in it - knave, Kirth et al.

I love the sound of a nice loud cruiser like mine. It's a big improvement over other urban noise pollution, like buses' superchargers and jackhammers and the like. A silent bike would be fun, too. The world can still use both.
posted by greasepig at 9:16 PM on March 16, 2005


It seems somewhere along the way we got lost. Hydrogen fuel cells are not an alternate energy source -- hydrogen is an energy storage medium, just like oil. Unlike oil, there aren't giant fields of it beneath the earth waiting to be tapped.

But, also unlike oil, a fuel cell is a zero-emission device. I didn't not say "low emission" device -- I said ZERO EMISSION device. That is the advantage of a hydrogen-based car.

But we certainly need someway (energy-wise) to get hydrogen. That's what we haven't really got yet. But hydrogen-based cars are a good idea, as they are clean, and it is only a question of time before the oil runs out, and we need a replacement. Hydrogen seems like it might be it. The utility of it now is so-so. But it is not a scam.
posted by teece at 10:44 PM on March 16, 2005


Err, did not or didn't, not didn't not. Channeling Chaucer.
posted by teece at 10:46 PM on March 16, 2005


Yeah, I hear ya, teece... but will it have the exact same kind of drink holders? Cause unless it's exactly like what we have now, I don't want to know anything about it.
posted by squirrel at 5:31 AM on March 17, 2005


But, also unlike oil, a fuel cell is a zero-emission device. I didn't not say "low emission" device -- I said ZERO EMISSION device. That is the advantage of a hydrogen-based car.

But we certainly need someway (energy-wise) to get hydrogen. That's what we haven't really got yet. But hydrogen-based cars are a good idea, as they are clean, and it is only a question of time before the oil runs out, and we need a replacement. Hydrogen seems like it might be it. The utility of it now is so-so. But it is not a scam.


That's exactly like saying we have an infinite source of clean drinking water in the ocean, all we need to do is find a way to get the salt out that doesn't cost any money.
posted by escorter at 6:19 AM on March 17, 2005


Make fun of Harley riders if you like, but I get Prius-like milage (55 mpg on my commute) for 1/10 the price of a prius. An I pass them stuck in traffic all the time, while I ride between the lanes. This is where loud pipes help, keeps (to some extent) people from lane changing while you are along side of them.
posted by 445supermag at 7:25 AM on March 17, 2005


445supermag, sorry if I made fun. It just bothers me sometimes out here when all bikers acknowledge each other on the roads with a wave or nod but the vast majority of Harley guys won't acknowledge a non-Harley biker. Its a strange sort of snobbery.

But I wave anyway.

And yeah, I love filling my tank up and figuring out that I'm getting nearly 50 miles per gallon even when I have a tendency to spin my bike up to a hundred plus every so often. My Jetta gets 26 miles a gallon tops.

I tend to use my high beams (during the day) when I split lanes as another means of letting drivers know I'm rolling through.
posted by fenriq at 8:39 AM on March 17, 2005


Fenriq, for me personally, I got away from japanese bikes (I had a 500 yamaha in high school, went cross country with it) after working my way through college as a machinist and welder. I wouldn't have liked it if my job got shipped to japan, so I just try to extend that courtesy to other americans who still have to work for a living.
posted by 445supermag at 9:45 AM on March 17, 2005


That's exactly like saying we have an infinite source of clean drinking water in the ocean, all we need to do is find a way to get the salt out that doesn't cost any money.

Not at all, really. The oil is going to run out. Period. We need some way to power cars, and a nuclear reactor in every one is probably not it. Battery technology doesn't seem to be advancing fast enough to make electric cars workable outside the urban-commuter set.

Using hydrogen as a storage medium can work. Does it take energy to get hydrogen? Why yes, it does. But that is a separate issue: hydrogen is not an energy source, like I said. It isn't all that hard to make, either. I've done it with a pair of 6V, hand cranked generators and a tub of water. It is nowhere near the difficulty of water desalination.

So it could be a useful technology, especially when you consider it is completely emission-free, so it would have a MAJOR impact on pollution levels.

Sure, we still need to solve our energy problem when the oil runs out. Guess what? That one is not easy, and is completely removed from the question of the utility of the hydrogen. We probably have no choice in the long run but to go nuclear for primary power generation. And for that, hydrogen would make a fine energy storage medium.
posted by teece at 10:29 AM on March 17, 2005


445supermag: Make fun of Harley riders if you like, but I get Prius-like milage (55 mpg on my commute) for 1/10 the price of a prius. An I pass them stuck in traffic all the time, while I ride between the lanes. This is where loud pipes help, keeps (to some extent) people from lane changing while you are along side of them.

Having witnessed the results of some motorcycling Artful Dodger doing this and being whacked by a car (and another time, in South Africa, swiped by an arm--ouch for all parties concerned), there's a reason that doing this is illegal, sort of like driving on the shoulder. It feels good to be able to move when traffic isn't, but it's tremendously dangerous. (That said, I also have a huge problem with car drivers not being able--or willing?--to see 'bikers before changing lanes--a weird sort of conceptual blindness ensues and they cut off motorcyclists pell-mell, at least here in MI and when I was back in NJ.) A quiet motorcycle would exacerbate both problems, unless some kind of sea change in the behavior I've witnessed from both two- and four-wheelers takes place.

To be honest, I'd much rather everyone drive small (two-wheelers or microminis) than large, for awareness as well as economy. I drove a Smart in SA and it was magnificent for getting in touch with one's own mortality. The fuel economy was great, too!
posted by trigonometry at 11:18 AM on March 17, 2005


there's a reason that doing this is illegal

It's legal in several states including California. If you know what you're doing, it's still dangerous, but from riders I know it's pretty rare to get wacked if you're doing it safely.
posted by chaz at 11:43 AM on March 17, 2005


Lane splitting is legal in California, otherwise, air-cooled bikes like mine would overheat (say, in the stopped traffic on 1 south of Santa Cruz that I have to warily make my way home through each night). I'd love to ride in a HOV lane, but no such thing exists here.
No reason for light-weight cars to be dangerous, race cars are very light and yet can roll 10 times or hit a wall 100 mph and the driver usually walks away. This is due to the roll cage. Manufacturers don't include one for looks, economy and weight, but I can buy one retail for $250 and it weighs less than a lot of other options (like air conditioning, power seats and windows).
posted by 445supermag at 11:49 AM on March 17, 2005


Loud Pipes Save Lives

Unmitigated bullshit beyond all belief. Only the most perverse idiot -- or someone who has never travelled by car -- would make such an assine assertion. Between the noise being projected backward and the good soundproofing of modern cars, loud pipes accomplish sweet fuck-all except for annoying everyone else and increasing the aggravation in already edgy driving population.

"whistlers" to spook deer

Yet more unmitigated bullshit. First, ultrasonic sound is highly directional and does not have adequate range to be of any use whatsoever. Second, there is no reason to believe that deer hear ultrasonic sounds, let alone that they are afraid of them. Third, actual tests of these products prove that they are utterly useless: in tests, deer have shown no response at all to the ultrasonic sound, and only react to the visual stimulation of the movement of a vehicle towards them.

Don't waste your money and your safety on these gimmicks. They absolutely will not protect you.

Ref1. Ref2 (pdf). Ref3.

Finally, I wish my KLR650 were silent. It's not noisy, not by a long shot (I often get within a couple dozen feet of deer), but if it were perfectly silent... wow. That'd be so cool.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:54 AM on March 17, 2005


Lane-splitting is explicity legal in some states, and is not explicitly illegal in other states and provinces.

Almost all of BC's electricity and a good hunk of Quebec's is hydroelectric. It would be child's play to use a hydroelectric dam to generate H2 from the water that passes through it.

Small-scale hydroelectricity may very well prove an ideal method of generating hydrogen gas. The generators have minimal impact on the environment (provided the stream is not a salmon spawning stream) and I think they'd provide adequate power to generate a lot of H. (Small hydro is about 3kW to 8MW.)
posted by five fresh fish at 11:58 AM on March 17, 2005


I'm sure there are better ways than engine noise (horns, clanging bells, etc.) for drivers to warn one another that they are approaching.

How about wireless transmitters and receivers? Vehicles could be tuned to tell drivers (by sound and dash display) the size, speed, and direction of everything around them and to transmit their own identifying signal. An emergency vehicle would make a light blink on your dashboard display and maybe make your steering wheel vibrate a little like a cell phone.

You could also incorporate road conditions into the system -- if the next corner is tight and you're doing twice the speed limit, a sign before the corner tells your car to slow down or die.

Receivers could be built into crosswalks to warn everyone about what's coming. Pedestrians and bicyclists could choose to listen on headphones, maybe as background to music or cell phones but with an override (music cutoff) to warn of impending doom, and they could transmit their own signals to warn drivers they are there.

You could even, to carry this to extremes (or not?), hang little warning systems around the necks of kids, pets, and large wildlife. Maybe. Electronic stuff is cheap. It's a matter of deciding where you don't want such things.

And you could turn it all off (or down) if you preferred to use your eyes and ears alone, and people not on the road could enjoy the quiet.
posted by pracowity at 1:01 PM on March 17, 2005


five fresh fish- Loud Pipes Save Lives

Unmitigated bullshit beyond all belief. Only the most perverse idiot -- or someone who has never travelled by car -- would make such an assine assertion.


While I admit to being perverse, and, who knows, maybe I am an idiot and am so dumb I don't realize it, I must say,
Fuck You and the riceburner you rode in on.
I know people in cars next to me can hear me, hell, I can hear the echo when they have their window rolled down. And this is when I really need to be noticed, close beside them, but behind the driver. If I am totally behind the car I can brake ( I don't go much more than 10-15 mph faster than traffic when I lane split).
posted by 445supermag at 1:14 PM on March 17, 2005


I assure you that you put yourself into much greater danger running around with loud pipes when lane splitting. In traffic snarl conditions, people are edgy, aggressive, and actively hostile toward anyone who appears to be cheating.

Given advance warning that some noisy asshole on a motorcycle is trying to get ahead of them, most of them are having to repress the impluse to jog their car sideways into "your" space.

Of course, it only takes one person with poor impulse control to turn you to mush.

At 15mph your minimum stopping distance is 20 feet; at 30mph, 55 feet. You delude yourself thinking that merely being "behind" a car is going to save you: you need to be significantly behind the car if you plan on stopping in time.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Ref1. A small quote: "The [AMA] believes that few other factors contribute more to misunderstanding and prejudice against the motorcycling community than excessively noisy motorcycles".

And then think on this: "Seems like every year we hear about somebody trying to ban motorcycles from someplace or other. This isn't spontaneous, it's about the noise, and the behavior associated with the noise. There's nothing intrinsically foul or dangerous about loud motorcycles, but they aggravate an already poor stereotype and undoubtedly leave a negative impression on people who don't ride. Let's think about this: in the long run, loud pipes probably put our rights, our image and our lives at greater risk."

Ref2. The American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation position themselves against loud pipes. These are the two largest motorcyclist-rights organizations that support research, motorcycle rider training, and fight against unjust legislation.

The only thing loud pipes do is accomplish is shit like this: anti-noise bylaws and legislation.

Finally, the bottom line when it comes to motorcycles is this: Brains save lives. All the loud pipes, blinking headlights, bright colours, and helmets in the world are going to do sweet fuck all to save your life if you're an idiot to begin with.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:51 PM on March 17, 2005


[thanks for the laugh re: "riceburner," though. The KLR is a freakin' hippo of a tractor. Riceburner implies all sorts of performance characteristics that it simply and absolutely fails to fulfill. That said, it is hella fun in curves (the lean-over angle can be stomach-turning, especially with the noodley front-end!) and offroad. But a pig, oh, it is a pig.]
posted by five fresh fish at 2:55 PM on March 17, 2005


five fresh fish got it right, if you're an idiot, it doesn't matter what you ride, you will be turned into road pizza. And there are angry, pissed off commuters who don't know that lane splitting's legal, so they swerve to cut you off from time to time. I'm always vigilant on my bike but I am hyper-vigilant when I'm between the lanes.

pracowity, its a lovely concept but I just kept hearing a cash register going off while reading your comment. The expense and technical hurdles would kill any system like this on the drawing board.

One of the most important steps that could be made is forcing drivers to undergo re-education every decade or so. Make them learn about motorcycle laws, make them learn about electric vehicles, make them learn about changes to traffic laws. Its ridiculous that a guy can get his license and then never have to learn another thing about driving, they just drive until they're too old to drive anymore.

Maybe even make it financially attractive, better insurance rates, lowered registration fees and things like that.

Drivers don't know shit about motorcycles and that's one of the main problems.
posted by fenriq at 3:30 PM on March 17, 2005


First, ultrasonic sound is highly directional

And second, if you bothered to read the page you'd see it's not ultrasonic, but a "high pitched, directional sonic wave."

The page quite clearly spells out that deer are unpredictable and will not necessarily run from the sound. However recommendations for forward projecting noise makers to ward off wayward animals came from the teachers of my CC rider course who impart better information than a loud mouth like yourself.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:51 PM on March 17, 2005


fff- "Given advance warning that some noisy asshole on a motorcycle is trying to get ahead of them, most of them are having to repress the impluse to jog their car sideways into "your" space".
I don't think you understand the situation that I lane split in: same thing every night, 5 miles of stopped to 10 mph traffic. Lane splitting is legal and I am hardly the only one who does it. I suspect that the average car driver stuck in this traffic gets passed by 5-10 motorcycles per commute, many of them Harleys. If there does exist someone who will ram loud bikes, it is likely they have already taken themselves out of the equation. By your logic I should turn off my headlight too. I find that a lot of drivers actually (and needlessly) swerve away from me (many times well in advance of my approach). I suppose I could start asking the if they saw me or heard me.
"At 15mph your minimum stopping distance is 20 feet; at 30mph, 55 feet. You delude yourself thinking that merely being "behind" a car is going to save you: you need to be significantly behind the car if you plan on stopping in time."
I don't have to stop, merely slow down to their speed. There definitely is a time from when I am along side to 10 feet behind someone could suddenly swerve and I couldn't stop. But situations like this happen all the time in driving, someone could run a stop sign, etc. Just because I can't 100% avoid the chance of accidents doesn't mean I should not try at all.
Then you start with the "idiot" and "stupid" and "asshole". Its true, I may get squished tonight, but, somehow I have managed to put >>100,000 miles on motorcycles over the course of 23 years without an accident. This includes riding in freezing rain in Maryland, on snow pack in Montana and lane splitting here in Santa Cruz (by far the most dangerous).
The only thing rice-burner implies to me is "made in japan". Its not the type of the bike that I dislike, its the fascist system, with workers singing the company song and working themselves to death, while the wealth is maintained by the same imperialist warlord-derived families that brought us Pearl Harbor.
posted by 445supermag at 4:01 PM on March 17, 2005


quoth me: "I agree, that guy came across as a real moron. (He may be accurately reflecting the moronic opinions of a like of motorcyclists, though.)"

TYPO! Should have read: "He may be accurately reflecting the moronic opinions of a lot of motorcyclists, though."

(Such as "my bike has to rupture eardrums to keep me safe."

I think the best first use for a bike like this would be as an urban delivery/courier vehicle. Make the ride more upright, add some storage capacity, and pizzerias and chinese takeout joints all over NYC would snap them up. It would be perfect for all the places that use scooters now. For business locations, weekly deliveries of hydrogen wouldn't be too much more of a worry than weekly deliveries of flour or olive oil or other consumables. Being in use and visible in cities in this capacity would make them more attractive to individuals, and might add incentive for gas stations to start selling hydrogen.

And yes, a hydrogen fuel economy won't necessarily reduce overall air pollution - but there's a good chance it will. And it will make the air in cities a lot healthier. Don't forget that we really really are running out of oil; the switch to a renewable fuel for vehicles is essential.
posted by Cranialtorque at 4:18 PM on March 17, 2005


445supermag, funny, you and I ride almost the same commute. I bet I've pulled up behind you once or twice or vice versa.

My pipes aren't loud at all (until my rpm's get up to around 8K and then it is screaming!) but my headlights sure are bright and I've been seeing more and more cars move out of my way lately than when I was on the SV.

And, to be clear, I don't dislike Harleys per se. I do dislike those bikes that have straight pipes on them for maximum noise production. But then, that can be applied to any bike. Or car and truck for that matter.
posted by fenriq at 9:21 PM on March 17, 2005


445supermag wrote: The only thing rice-burner implies to me is "made in japan". Its not the type of the bike that I dislike, its the fascist system, with workers singing the company song and working themselves to death, while the wealth is maintained by the same imperialist warlord-derived families that brought us Pearl Harbor.

This is almost humorous. The average CEO-to-worker pay ratio in Japan is (depending on your source) between 11 and 20-to-1. In the USA, it's 301-to-1. Sort of makes you wonder who's working themselves to death while their bosses maintain their wealth.


escorter wrote: That's exactly like saying we have an infinite source of clean drinking water in the ocean, all we need to do is find a way to get the salt out that doesn't cost any money.

Well, it's true, isn't it, except for the "doesn't cost any money" part? But then the water and fuel we use now costs money, too. When what we use costs more than what it would cost to get the alternative out of the ocean, we'll change over.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:41 AM on March 18, 2005


445supermag, sorry if I made fun. It just bothers me sometimes out here when all bikers acknowledge each other on the roads with a wave or nod but the vast majority of Harley guys won't acknowledge a non-Harley biker. Its a strange sort of snobbery.

But I wave anyway.


My God, it's turned into rec.motorcycles on USENET. All we need is a gun thread now.

I've seen both sides of the pipe issue debated for years as a rider. As a cager (that is, a car driver to you non-riding folks) I can usually hear loud pipes in car, but have a hard time determining direction of source. As a rider, I'm usually watching cagers very carefully, treating each one as a potential threat, and taking action where I can to minimize the risks. I don't think that loud pipes save lives. Smart riding, situtational awareness save lives from both bikers and cagers.

Oh, and I wave at every biker, whether I'm on Honda, Harley or Ducati.
posted by TeamBilly at 6:20 AM on March 18, 2005


I suspect that the average car driver stuck in this traffic gets passed by 5-10 motorcycles per commute

In which case they are already very well aware of the danger of changing lanes without checking for lane-splitting motorcycles, and do not need the ear-splitting roar of some selfish motorcyclist.

Enough of this bullshit. The AMA, MSF, MRF, and several other safety institutes conclude that loud pipes are ineffective at anything save convincing legislators to clamp down on motorcycles. If you wish to believe otherwise, you risk mostly your own life. It is of little to no concern for me, especially as I live far, far away from any legislative consequences you incur.

One of the most important steps that could be made is forcing drivers to undergo re-education every decade or so.

I'd love to see all drivers have to learn to ride motorcycle. The vulnerability and the need for alertness and forethought pretty much force one to change one's habits. Those that don't, die.

"high pitched, directional sonic wave."

Deer have a hearing range that peaks at 4KHz, which is basically the antithesis of high-pitched.

The whistle to which you linked creates a "sonic wave produced by the Hornet is at the cusp of most people's hearing range." That would be at the 20MHz end of the spectrum, which is beyond the limits of the deer's hearing range ("At intensity levels of 95 dB a response was obtained at 16 Khz." 95dB is so loud that it causes hearing loss in humans.)

Enough of this bullshit. I have made the effort to educate myself by seeking out multiple reliable scientific resources regarding this subject, and it all points to one conclusion: deer whistles are snake oil of the purest form. If you wish to believe in it, go right ahead: it's you and your passengers lives that you put at risk, not mine.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:09 AM on March 18, 2005


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