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Archive for May, 2011

May 30, 2011

Tappin’ out to Tap in

Building a custom motorcycle takes creativity, skill and A LOT of patience.  In celebration of UFC coming to Toronto, for the first time ever, Yamaha Motor Canada and Flat Out Industries partnered to create a special, one-of-a-kind TapOut Edition YZF-R1. The idea came from Flat Out’s Sean Mance, and we’re glad he shared it with us.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, ultimate fighting is the sport right now—and Toronto can’t get enough of it (the event had a record sellout of 55,000 tickets, nearly doubling the prior record, held by Montreal’s Bell Centre). We knew it would be a great opportunity to expose our brand to new eyeballs and play a part, even a small one, in the sport’s history.

Where to start … first we had to get TapOut and Authentic Brands Group’s approval (ABG bought TapOut and thus has a major say in promotional partnerships). We needed permission to use their logos and also to display the bike inside TapOut’s booth at Toronto’s UFC Fan Expo. After getting the greenlight, Sean and I started discussing bike design and what this “street fighter” was going to look like. It wasn’t easy, as both of us, and many others, had different opinions. With a little compromising, we settled on a theme: a race replica supersport with a touch of bling!

The BodyWorks in Guelph, ON helped to “dress” the TapOut bike.

We ordered a brand new R1 and a box of performance parts. Yamaha P&A Specialist and sportbike enthusiast, Richard Irwin, secured us front and back BRAKING wave rotors, steel braided brake lines,  GYTR chain and sprockets, ASV levers, Harris Rear Sets, and a trick set of Italian Marchesini Wheels. Because this bike is a “show piece” we didn’t feel the need to alter anything internally (and hey, let’s be honest, does the R1 really NEED anymore jam?).

Once the bike arrived, Yamaha tech Matt Helmer stripped the bike down to its barebones and began installing the new parts. Meanwhile, Sean picked up the body panels, Marchesini Wheels and swingarm and delivered them to The Bodyworks in Guelph, ON for painting. It’s a small, humble operation, but the BodyWorks trio is full of talent and hilarious to work with. Unfortunately, due to lack of communication—and an actual rendering of the proposed bike—we had Bodyworks paint the swingarm twice. I’ll admit it, I’m a rookie…

We used TapOut’s NASCAR design as inspiration for …

… the TapOut Edition YZF-R1

To avoid this from happening again, we put the project on hold until we had a concept in our hands. After some debate, Yamaha’s graphic designer Nick Sang and I tossed around ideas and came up with a visual. Considering TapOut’s dark and gritty look, we used a lot of black, with red and white as our secondary colours. Sean made a good call on adding a big, white stripe down the centre of the fairing, tank cover, gas tank, and rear fender. It definitely improved the look and really grabbed your eye, even from a distance.

With only three weeks before the Fan Expo, I was getting nervous. Our big debut was almost here and there was still a lot of work to be done, not to mention marketing and promotional materials had to be created to support the initiative.

A custom engine protector, designed and machined by Sean Mance. Watch the TapOut Bike Build Process.

The team kept it pinned and Matt and I traveled down to Mance family’s machine shop in Guelph for two very late nights of work. As Sean programmed and machined custom engine and chassis components (which were then sent to RealChrome for chrome plating) and Bodyworks completed paintwork, Matt made sure everything was tight on the R1. (Matt’s a major R1/road racing fanatic, so he took great pride in this project, making sure this bike was ready to hit the track, if need be.)

Mechanic Matt was a huge help, and I’m so thankful he stayed in the fight, no matter how much we stretched his patience.

Tuesday April 26th … our last day of work before the Fan Expo … or so we think. Matt and I met with Sean in Guelph, hoping to finish the deal. Our goal was to finish up around 8pm, conduct a photo shoot and then head back to Toronto with the finished piece (move-in for the Expo took place Thursday April 28 from 12-5pm. Show opened at 9am the next day).

Like everything I touch, things didn’t go quite as planned and we didn’t finish the bike until midnight. Not a huge deal to the three of us, as we all hold great passion for motorcycles and rather enjoy tinkering on them. Sadly, I can’t say the same for the photographer or Sean’s models … I don’t think they were too thrilled to be up past their bedtime.

Matt, Sean and I show off the fruits of our labour … I wonder who would in a fight?

All of the late nights were worth it though. Once we had everything bolted on and polished up, the three of us stood back and smiled. This bike was, as a fight fan would say, “Badass!” But what about TapOut? And what about the fans? Would they share the same opinion?

Keeping things consistent, we once again scrambed to move the bike into the Direct Energy Centre (DEC) on Thursday afternoon. We arrived at the DEC moments before the doors closed. The stress of it all floated away, fortunately, as we rolled the bike into the building and everyone who walked by complimented the machine or ran up and shot a pic with their cell phone…

The bike attracted a lot of attention at the UFC Fan Expo …

… especially when the ladies joined in!

The next morning, Yamaha’s motorcycle tech specialist, Nick DiCristofaro, and I showed up at TapOut’s booth, ready to mingle with fight fans. It was quite overwhelming, really. I knew UFC was big, but I couldn’t believe how many people jammed into the Expo. Over the two day event, more than 40k fans walked through the DEC! It helped that we were located right at the entrance, inside TapOut’s booth, and parked beside TapOut’s autograph line. Punkass and Skrape signed autographs and took photos with fans over the two day event, along with their fighters, including Jake Shields, who would be fighting Canada’s own George St- Pierre that evening.

The bike was a hit, especially when a beautiful young lady (or two or three) climbed aboard. We had posters printed up of the bike and TO’s Punkass and SkySkrape were kind enough to sign them and give away to fans. Both guys loved the bike, but what’s better, is the fact that both of them ride (as did their late, former leader, Charles Lewis, aka “Mask”).  Punkass rides street, while Skrape has a garage full of WRs, YZs, and TT-Rs, and this funky R1/Hayabusa hybrid.

TapOut founders SkySkrape (fro) and Punkass (shades) weren’t so happy that their sponsored fighter, Jake Shields,  lost to GSP in Toronto’s Main Event, but they liked the bike!

The goal of the project was to partner with a cool, hip brand, like TapOut, and get in front of new potential riders. The crowd was alive, young and showed great interest in our “Ultimate 2-Wheel Sreet Fighter.” Considering that, and the positive response from TapOut and their crew, I think it’s safe to say we met our objective.

If you wish to see this bike in person, tune into Yamaha ‘s Facebook page to see where it will be next. It will be on display at many dealers across the GTA, as well the Blocko 8 sportbike rally, corporate bike shows, and many other events during 2011.


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May 12, 2011

Gearing up for your first ride

NRD’s Tips of the Trade: Gearing up for your first ride
By Nick DiCristofaro

Before we begin, let me (DanBro) introduce you to Nick DiCristofaro. A native of Toronto, Nick holds great passion for the sport of motocross. Like most of us, Nick wasn’t going to make money racing. Instead, he opted to keep other riders bikes in one piece. A talented, hard working fellow, Nick has wrenched for many of Canada’s top MX teams (and he spent a summer working for Yamaha’s road racing team). That experience, and the relationships made, helped Nick to become a Motorcycle Tech at Yamaha Motor Canada in winter 2009.

When he’s not working on motorcycles, Nick spends way too much of his time on a road bicycle or in the gym. He also likes small puppy dogs, although, he would never tell you that cause that would mean he’s “soft.” Dirt bikes, dumbells and puppies … yep, that’s Nick in a nutshell.

Take it away, Smiley Nick!

One serious dude: Yamaha Motorcycle Tech, “Smiley” Nick DiCristofaro.

Summer is here and that means it’s time to break out your motorcycle and hit the track, trail or road! It’s tempting to get out and ride on that first sunny day, but before you do, please take time to perform these simple maintenance checks:

1. Check your battery. Make sure that it is charged to capacity. The last thing you want is to be stuck at the side of the road with a dead battery.

2. Drain the fuel tank/carburetor float bowls. Stale gas can cause severe engine and component damage and may even prevent the unit from starting. This step is important with 2-stroke models, as the fuel-oil mixture is prone to going stale quickly. Re-fill your tank with fresh fuel.

3. Make sure your air filter is clean and oiled. An oiled filter that has been sitting for an extended period of time may become dry, due to the oil slowly seeping to the bottom of the airbox.

4. Check your tires and air pressure. Have a look at the tread and make sure there are no flat spots on the tire. Air pressure decreases over time. Topping up to specifications will deliver better handling and lessen the chance of a flat.

5. Inspect your drive train. Make sure it is lubed properly (chain) and tension meets specification (chain/belt). Also inspect sprocket teeth for any hooks or chips. Replace if necessary.

6. Check all fluid levels and top-up. Oil, coolant, brake fluid, final drive fluid, and transmission oil. If any fluids are low, check the floor around your bike for any leaks and repair before using. Visit your local Yamaha dealer if unsure. Now might be a good time to perform an oil and filter change, if you are near your mileage interval.

7. Inspect your brakes. Wipe down rotors with a clean rag and contact cleaner and look for any brake/suspension fluid leaks. Check pad/shoe thickness and replace as necessary. Well functioning braking systems are extremely important for safe vehicle operation.

8. Start the unit. Inspect the operation of all lights, signals, etc. and repair if necessary.

Once you’ve performed these inspections, and it meets your satisfaction, get out and RIDE!

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May 9, 2011

Moberg Report #2: Best in the West

The Western Canada Motorcycle Power Tour kicked off its first week on beautiful Vancouver Island, BC. My travels included stops at select Yamaha Dealerships in Duncan, Courtenay, Parksville and Victoria, demonstrating new 2011 Yamaha Motorcycles.

Being springtime, a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts come out of the winter humdrum looking for dry, warm weather to ride their motorcycle or look for a new ride! There are lots of you already on the road.

Our participation at each dealership was good to great, but … as we all know,the rain can sometimes hamper our “test drive” demo rides. Nevertheless, it’s a good time to polish up the ride!

Meet your author: Jamie Moberg.

Riders all of all ages are coming out to see the 2011 Yamaha motorcycles, hence our future Yamaha Stryker rider.

‘Rides of the Week’ went to the Stratoliner Deluxe and the new 2011 FZ8. Very popular rides with great reviews!

This week the Western Canada Power Tour travels to the Lower Mainland of BC with stops in Chilliwack and Langley, and then travels to Vernon and Kelowna in the Interior. Click here for a complete Power Tour schedule.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you motorcycle enthusiasts as you discover:  “What Kind of Yamaha are You?”

Join us!

Jamie Moberg

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May 5, 2011

The Moberg Report: Western Power Tour kicks off!

Yamaha’s Annual Motorcycle Power Tour is on! Coordinator Jamie Moberg checked in with this update and photos from stop #1 on Vancouver Island:

The 1st Stop of the Western Canada Yamaha Motorcycle Power Tour started out with a great response, with fantastic weather and a full day of riding 2011 Yamaha Motorcycles. The Staff of Duncan Motorsports, Vancouver Island, BC, were extremely positive about their Power Tour day and it showed by the turn out of riders … some all the way from Victoria … on a Wednesday!

With a possible total of 88 rides throughout the day, 87 rides went out …  all positive. The Stratoliner Deluxe was the ride of the day as it was booked up for rides before any of the others. A popular choice!

See attached pictures for a better visual on the day.  The guy with the Yamaha Tuning Fork Tattoo owns a Raider S and is a true “Yamaha Man”!

I’ll keep you posted.

Cheers, Jamie Moberg

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