Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Horsepower Versus Torque

Since this discussion happens so often, as it has, again, on the previous post, it's about time we explain horsepower and torque and how they relate. There are a lot of misconceptions, but there doesn't have to be because both are straightforward terms used everyday when motor vehicles (and a lot of other things) are discussed.
Please read this entire article carefully before commenting. You'll see where that 5252 number comes from and you'll see why you can't talk about horsepower and disregard torque anymore than you can discuss an omelet and ignore the eggs.

You gotta start somewhere, this is a good place.

Every motorhead wants more horsepower, but what exactly IS horsepower? What does it measure? Horsepower is an arbitrary unit created from a common reference point that everyone can understand. In today's world of advanced scientific instruments, horsepower hangs on, even though it is a little imprecise. Those keepers of the units and standards that quantify everything with precision would rather toss out this well known measure and substitute kilowatts. That Corvette has 298.28 kilowatts, hmm... 400hp just sounds better.

Where did horsepower come from?

James Watt, who did quite a bit of work on steam engines back in the 1700's, needed a way to measure their output. Watt used a common reference, the horse, as the basis for his calculations (like the inch was based on the width of a man's thumb). The exact process he followed to find out what a horse could do is open to speculation, everyone seems to have their own favorite story, but the end result was: 1 horsepower = 550 foot-pounds per second, which means, in Watt's calculations, a horse can lift 550 pounds one foot in one second.

Important note: There are only seven base units of measurement: length, time, mass, temperature, electric current, amount of substance and luminous intensity. Each unit can be determined by scientifically reproducible results (no more horses and thumbs!) and all units and standards used today can be derived from those basic seven. An international system, SI, maintains the agreed upon standards for all of these basic units.

Horsepower conversion formulas

The neat thing about defining a reference point with numbers is how easy it is to convert that reference to some other unit of measure.
1 horsepower = 550 foot-pounds/second
1 horsepower = 33,000 foot-pounds/minute
1 horsepower = .7456999 * kilowatts
1 kilowatt = 1.34102 * horsepower

Horsepower is one measure of power

All of those formulas and conversions are different ways of saying how much work is being done, which is exactly what power is. Power is work done over time.
P = W / t
where P is power, W is the work done and t is time.
Watts are the more common term for measuring power which is why the conversion to and from horsepower is good to know. One watt is 1 joule/second. And that can be converted to ... well, you'll have to do the rest of that research yourself because we could go on forever.

Torque - what is it?

Now, remember that figure of 550 foot-pounds? We said that 1 horsepower was equal to 550 foot-pounds "per second." It's important to see that "per second" because horsepower is a calculation not a measurement. Think about that. It means you don't actually measure horsepower, you measure that force exerted through a distance over a period of time and make a calculation that results in a number, the number is horsepower. That force being measured is torque.
Cars, motorcycles and most everything we are interested in here have engines that turn wheels. The twisting force necessary to turn them is torque. Torque can be measured in several different units but, because it's more familiar here in the US, we'll stick to foot-pounds . If you were to attach a one foot long wrench to a bolt and apply one pound of pressure to the end of the wrench, you would be applying one foot-pound of torque to the bolt. So,... torque is a twisting force measured (in our examples) in foot-pounds.

Torque to horsepower conversion

Now we need just a little math, it's easy but you will have to pay attention. Suppose we attach that one foot wrench to the end of a crankshaft and the engine rotates one revolution against that one pound of resistance. The end of the wrench will move 6.2832 feet (Pi * a two foot diameter circle) against a one pound weight. The end result is 6.2832 foot-pounds of work done at one foot-pound of torque.
Remember Pi? That's the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is a constant equal to 3.14159 carried for as many decimal points as you wish.
OK, here we go:
1 horsepower = 550 foot-pounds/second = 33,000 foot-pounds/minute
33,000 foot-pounds / 6.2832 foot-pounds = 5252  (Here's where 5252 comes from!)
So, if the engine rotates against the one pound resistance at 5252 rpm:
6.2832 X 5252 = 33,000 foot-pounds/minute = 1 horsepower
because the one pound of resistance was moved 33,000 feet in one minute
(1 foot-pound X 5252) / 5252 = 1

Therefore, to convert torque to horsepower:

(Torque X RPM) / 5252 = Horsepower
Example: 100 foot-pounds * 4000 rpm / 5252 = 76.16 horsepower
Example: 200 foot-pounds * 8000 rpm / 5252 = 304.65 horsepower
If you understand the above relationship, you'll quickly see there is a lot of misunderstanding floating around. Both terms are important but they represent different things. Torque measures a force being applied while horsepower is a measure of how much work the force can do.

by Paul Crowe on 4/21/2013
Original Story can be seen HERE

Friday, April 12, 2013

Avoid Road Rash, Ride Safe!

Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident
For every motorcycle on the road, there are nearly 40 passenger vehicles.  Yet slightly more than 1 in every 10 accidents in the United States involves a motorcycle.  Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to injuries and death in the event of an accident.  Given this, motorcyclists must take every precaution to protect themselves on the road. Below is a list of 10 ways to avoid being involved in a motorcycle accident (in random order).
Full Gear Versus Fool's Gear! Photo Credit: National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators
1. Be Aware of Fellow Motorists.
Motorcyclists must be fully aware at all times of their fellow motorists in order to act quickly in the event of a possible collision.  
• 56% of crashes that result in a motorcyclists’ deaths were multiple-vehicle crashes
• Of those multiple-vehicle crashes, 89% involved only 2 vehicles
• For the passenger vehicle drivers involved in two-vehicle motorcycle crashes, 35% of the driver-related factor was failure to yield right-of-way; failure to yield right-of-way is generally caused by a driver’s inability to see a motorcyclist.  
SourceNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published 2007 report after analyzing fatality data of two-vehicle motorcycle crashes from 2001 to 2005.  

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings.
Constantly check the road ahead of you for possible hazards, such as animals, debris, and roadway defects.  Hazards can be a direct or an indirect cause of an accident, i.e. avoiding a hazard can be the cause of an accident.  

3. Follow the Road Laws.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and speeding are known causes of motorcycle accidents.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclists were found to have engaged either in drugs, alcohol, or excessive speeds in 90 percent of motorcycle accidents involving no other motorists.  

4Do Not Lane Split. Also known as lane sharing, lane splitting is only legally allowed in California.  Lane splitting in other states puts you at risk; other motorists do not expect it, and thus they will not watch for motorcyclists engaging in it.  It simply isn’t safe!

5. Practice Preventative Measures.
Practice preventative measures, such as gripping your bike’s handlebars properly.  Holding your handlebars in a ready position for emergency braking is just one preventative measure you can take to protect yourself.

6. Practice Preventative Skills.
Periodically practice your preventative skills.  Emergency braking is perhaps the most important of these skills.  Laying your bike on its side is no longer the safest option in emergency situations, braking is.  Find a safe location and practice emergency braking; use both your front and back brakes.

7. Rid Yourself of Distractions.
Advanced motorcycle safety classes can save lives
Stow cellphones, your iPod, and other distractions while driving.  Wear properly fitting clothes so that you can ride comfortably and without constantly adjusting straps, strings, etc.

8Safely Position Yourself on the Road.
Always try to position yourself in a lane that will allow you the most room possible if you need to avoid an accident. In most instances, this will be the lane closest to the shoulder of the road.

9. Take a Motorcycle Safety Course.
Motorcycle safety courses are not just for beginners. Advanced safety courses for seasoned riders exist as well.  They serve as a resource for new information and a refresher course for old information.

10. Wear Proper Motorcycle Gear.
Wearing a helmet, protective clothing, shoes, and gloves are a must for motorcyclists. Helmets save thousands of lives every year according to the NHTSA. Protective clothing, shoes and gloves protect riders from the elements and injuries in the event of a crash; additionally, proper shoes and gloves help riders maintain a proper grip on their vehicle. Wearing brightly colored gear is just another precaution you can take as it makes it more likely that you will be seen by other motorists.

Original Article by Gina Williams, posted via Karen Kefauver
See full story HERE.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Top 10 Notorious American Biker Gangs

When some people think of bikers they most often think of the stereotypical of dirty, leather clad men with shaggy beards covered in road dust riding around the country wreaking havoc and getting into barroom brawls. The truth is that most bikers are not rowdy trouble-makers and are in fact honest, law-abiding, hard working people.
However, there are small numbers of bikers who refer to themselves as “1%ers”. “One percenter” motorcycle gangs have been given this label because it is purported within motorcycle club circles that 99% of all bikers live within the boundaries of the law. Then there is the other 1% who rejects main-stream norms and live outside of the law, often engaging in highly criminal activity. This list takes a look at 10 American “1%er” biker gangs and highlights some of each gang’s alleged criminal activity.
It is important to note that although some of the members of these motorcycle clubs/gangs have been arrested, tried and convicted of various crimes not every member of the following clubs engage in criminal acts.

10 Vagos

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The Vagos Motorcycle Club was started in San Bernardino, CA in the 1960’s. Members of the club often wear green and bear a patch of the Norse god Loki riding a motorcycle. The club has approximately 24 chapters spread across the western United States in states such as Arizona and Nevada and also 3 in Mexico.

The Vagos have been the subject of several investigations by the FBI and the ATF for illegal activity such as the production and distribution of methamphetamine, murder, money laundering and weapons violations. A highly coordinated investigation in March of 2006 led to the arrests of 25 Vagos members and their associates in what has been labeled as the largest investigation in Southern California’s history.

9 Free Souls

FscolorThis particular motorcycle gang was started in the state of Oregon in the late 1960’s. Their patch consists of an ankh, an ancient Egyptian symbol in the shape of a cross, in the center of a motorcycle rim and tire. All of their chapters, with the exception of one in Vancouver, Canada, are located within the state of Oregon.
On May 2, 2007, three members of The Free Souls Motorcycle Club were arrested and charged with various crimes. Amongst the evidence were illegal drugs, weapons and stolen motorcycles all of which were seized as part of the investigation and arrests.

8 Bandidos

Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1966 The Bandidos are among the more notorious of American Motorcycle Clubs. The gang’s patch bears a cartoon-ishly obese Mexican wearing a large sombrero and carrying a machete in one hand and a pistol in the other. The colors of gold and red were adopted as the club’s colors due to the fact that their founder was a former Vietnam Marine veteran. The Bandidos have around 90 chapters spread across the U.S. alone, but they have also branched out as far as Asia, Germany and Australia.
SargentodearmasThe Bandidos gang has a long and brutal history of illegal activity. A member of The Bandidos was arrested, tried and convicted of the 2006 murder of a well known flyweight boxer and a member of the rival Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club was sniped while leaving a restaurant in March of that same year during The Bandidos 40th Anniversary of the clubs annual birthday celebration. Police suspect that members of The Bandidos are responsible for the murder. Other members have been arrested from anything from murder to drugs and illegal weapons possession as well as assault and racketeering charges.

7 Highwaymen

Highwaymen-PatchThe Highwaymen were formed in Detroit, MI in 1954. Their chapters have spread across the state of Michigan as well as other U.S. states and have reached as far as Norway and England. Their club colors are black and silver and their insignia is a winged skeleton wearing a motorcycle cap and a leather jacket. The Highwaymen also have their own mottos which are: “Highwaymen Forever, Forever Highwaymen” and “Yea, though we ride the highways in the shadows of death, we fear no evil, for we are the most evil mother fuckers on the highway.”
Despite being the largest motorcycle club in the city of Detroit, they are not acknowledged in the Detroit Federation of Motorcycle Clubs due to their violent and criminal reputation. In May 2007, after a two year investigation into the gang’s activities, the FBI raided homes and chapter clubhouses resulting in the arrests of 40 Highwaymen and associates. The charges included insurance and mortgage frauds, murder for hire, cocaine trafficking, police corruption and racketeering.

6 Warlocks

Picture 1-118The Warlocks were founded in 1967 in Philadelphia, PA and gained a large number of members after the end of the Vietnam War. Consisting only of white males, The Warlocks have spread through the state of Pennsylvania and a good portion of the northeastern United States and also have chapters in the southeast United States as well as overseas in Germany and England. Their club colors are red and white and they use the Greek mythological figure of a winged Harpy as their insignia. Members often adorn themselves and their vests with white supremacy insignia as well.
In 2008, Tommy Zaroff, a former President of the Bucks County, PA chapter was arrested on suspicion of possessing 10 pounds of methamphetamine. In October of the same year four members of The Warlocks were arrested and charged with producing, transporting and distributing methamphetamine throughout Berks and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania. It is alleged that they sold over 500 lbs. of methamphetamine worth approximately $9 million.

5 Sons of Silence

Photoid12570The Sons of Silence are another “1%er” motorcycle gang that was founded in Niwot, Colorado in 1966 and featured in a 2009 episode of Gangland on The History Channel. Since 1966 The Sons of Silence have spread across the United States, with concentrations in the eastern U.S. They also have several chapters spread throughout Germany.
The Sons of Silence have adopted the motto “Donec Mors Non Seperat”, which is Latin for “Until Death Separates Us”. The club patch has been adopted from the American Eagle logo used by the Budweiser beer company and bears an eagle superimposed over the letter A with their motto underneath.
In October of 1999, 37 members of the Sons of Silence were arrested on drug trafficking and illegal weapons charges during one of Denver’s largest federal undercover operations. During the raids, The ATF seized 20 lbs. of methamphetamine, 35 firearms, four hand grenades, 2 silencers as well as cash and motorcycles.

4 Outlaws

410WThe Outlaw Motorcycle Club is one of the more notorious and oldest clubs on this list. The gang started in Matilda’s Bar on old Route 66 in McCook, IL in 1935. Using the insignia on Marlon Brando’s leather jacket in The Wild One as inspiration, the club adopted the skull with cross pistons as their official club patch. Since the club began over 70 years ago their chapters have spread widely across the United States and have been well established in Australia, Asia, Europe and North and South America.
Harry Joseph Bowman, The World Leader of The American Outlaw Association (A.O.A.), was the international president of The Outlaws Motorcycle Club and presided over 30 chapters in the U.S. and 20 chapters in 4 other countries until he was sent to prison for 3 murders in 1999 after being on the F.B.I’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive list in 1998. Across the globe members of The Outlaws have been suspected, arrested, tried and convicted of countless crimes from prostitution, trafficking in narcotics and stolen goods, arms dealing, extortion and murder.

3 Pagans

PaganscolThe Pagans formed in Maryland in 1959 and by 1965 had expanded rapidly. Their patch depicts the Norse fire giant Surtr sitting on the sun wielding a sword with the word Pagans in red, white and blue. Members are known to wear their patches on cut-off denim jackets with accompanying white supremacist and Nazi insignia patches. The club’s members have also been seen with tattoos of ARGO (Ar Go Fuck Yourself) and NUNYA (Nun’Ya Fuckin’ Business). Their territory seems to be confined strictly to the eastern coast in the United States.
Aside from their history of violent rivalry with the notorious Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, The Pagans have been associated with numerous crimes including murder, arson, drug smuggling and have been linked to organized crime in the upper northeastern United States. In February of 2002, seventy-three members of The Pagans Motorcycle Club were arrested in Long Island, NY after violence erupted at a motorcycle and tattoo ball. The Pagans allegedly went to the ball specifically to confront members of The Hell’s Angels MC resulting in 10 wounded bikers and one murdered Pagan member. Then in 2005, members of The Pagans allegedly shot and killed the Vice-President of the Philadelphia Chapter of The Hell’s Angels.

2 Mongols

MongolsThe Mongols, also known as Mongol Nation or Mongol Brotherhood, were formed in 1969 in Montebello, California from Hispanic bikers who were refused entry into The Hell’s Angels MC due to their race. Their colors are black and white and their insignia bears the name Mongols in large black letters above a pony-tail sporting man riding a motorcycle wearing a leather vest and sunglasses while carrying a scimitar or cutlass. Mongol chapters are concentrated in the western United States, but have also opened in Canada, Mexico and Italy.
In 2008, the ATF coordinated a sting against The Mongols MC where 4 agents went undercover to become fully patched members while gaining intelligence about the gang’s activities. This operation resulted in 38 arrests including the arrest of the club’s president, Ruben “Doc” Cavazos. As part of the operation 160 search warrants were served and 110 arrest warrants were carried out. As part of the operation, members of The Mongols MC are now prohibited by law from the use of the Mongol MC logo and insignia including wearing the patches on vests or any other garb.

1 Hell’s Angels

6Af6F70Daed83Cabf515D3Af05Ca20B6Probably the most well known American biker gang, The Hell’s Angels have a long and thorough history on American highways. Much information concerning their origins is hazy due to their long-standing code of secrecy. Sometime within the 1940’s or 1950’s in California Hell’s Angels MC was formed. Their insignia is the “death’s head” logo which is copied from the insignia of the 85th Fighter Squadron and the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron. Red lettering over white backgrounds stands for the club’s colors. With so much popularity, Hell’s Angels chapters have sprung up across the Untied States as well as Russia and New Zealand and the continents of North America, South America, Europe and Australia.
The Hell’s Angels MC have gained mass notoriety in the U.S. due to their involvement in many highly publicized run-ins with the law and rival biker gangs. The most note-worthy of publicized events happened during the Altamont Free Concert at Altamont Speedway in December of 1969 where it is alleged that The Rolling Stones hired members of The Hell’s Angels to stand-in as bodyguards for the band. Violence erupted in the crowd and also onto the performance stage and as a result one male was stabbed to death after brandishing a pistol.
Another publicized incident occurred in Laughlin, Nevada in Harrah’s Casino and Hotel. A violent confrontation in the casino between rival Mongols MC resulted in one fatally stabbed Mongol gang member and two fatally shot Hell’s Angels members.

Friday, April 5, 2013

7 Awesome Scenic Rides

Big Sur and the Bixby Creek Bridge   

Big Sur Highway

Starting point: Cambria, Calif.
Distance: 251 miles
Challenge factor: Low (a leisurely ride, but keep an eye out for gawking tourists)
Highlights: The Big Sur coast, Carmel Valley and the Monterey Peninsula. This is the quintessential scenic California ride, and perhaps some of the best motorcycling in the world. If you haven't seen Hearst Castle (800-444-4445), stop for the tour.

Narragansett Towers in Rhode Island

Bay Loop

Starting point: Charlestown, R.I.
Distance: 174 miles
Challenge factor: Low (a fairly flat and easy ride along scenic coastline)
Highlights: Pristine beaches, New England fishing villages, historic homes and museums. Check out the Newport Mansions, and stop at the Coast Guard Restaurant in Narragansett for a killer view from the observation deck.

 Aerial view of Galveston, Texas

Galveston to Rockport

Starting point: Galveston, Texas
Distance: 221 miles
Challenge factor: Low (but use caution riding on the beach)
Highlights: The scenic south Texas coast and a beautiful wildlife preserve. (Remember to wash your bike thoroughly if you ride on the beach. Salt will pit your chrome.) Keep an eye out for deer, bobcats and even alligators at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Complex near the town of Austwell.

 Curved Road on Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain

Starting point: Blowing Rock, N.C.
Distance: 120 miles
Challenge factor: Medium (beware of sudden dips and steep uphill turns)
Highlights: Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway. While visiting Grandfather Mountain be sure to walk across the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge for breathtaking views. Drop by the General Store in Todd for a trip back in time and a delicious, old-fashioned fried-bologna sandwich.

 Rocky Mountains in Colorado

Rocky Mountain High Loop

Starting point: Golden, Colo.
Distance: 184 miles
Challenge factor: Medium (be careful on tight curves and hairpins)
Highlights: The finest views in Rocky Mountain National Park. It takes three to four hours to cover the awesome "Roof of the Rockies" at 12,183 feet above sea level — where you can see snow even in summer.

 Death Valley, Road 190

Death Valley 

Starting point: Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley, Calif.
Distance: 127 miles
Challenge factor: Difficult (for experienced riders only; includes 35 miles of dirt roads)
Highlights: The part of the loop that takes in Badwater (270 feet below sea level), Zabriskie Point and Mosaic Canyon. The panorama from Dante’s View is  mind-blowing.  Meet up with other riders at Death Valley Junction and take in the show at the Amargosa Opera House.

Covered bridge over a calm stream in Pennsylvania Heartland

Pennsylvania Heartland

Starting point: Gettysburg, Pa.
Distance: 191 miles
Challenge factor: Low (easy terrain, but watch out for Amish carriages)
Highlights: Covered bridges, the Appalachian Trail and the East Broad Top Railroad tour. Excellent for a fall-foliage run in early October. Don't miss the covered bridge on Couchtown Road (SR 3008) near Centre.

*All distances from starting point and back. Rides are mapped out in detail in the American Motorcyclist Association's Ride Guide to America, edited by Greg Harrison.