Kawasaki Recall: 2009-2010 Ninja 250R

Kawasaki has issued a recall on the 2009-2010 Ninja 250R, though only 250 units are actually affected.  If you’ve bought one of these wonderful bikes, the best sport starter bike around in my opinion, huff it on down to your local Kawasaki dealer to have it checked out.  The odds are very slim yours is one of the 250 (they probably sell well over 10,000 of these a year in the U.S.), but have them take a look anyway.  Here’s a summary of the issue from the NHTSA web site:

NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number:  09V464000 

Summary:  
KAWASAKI IS RECALLING MODEL YEAR 2009-2010 EX250 NINJA 250 MOTORCYCLES. POROSITY IN THE ENGINE CASE COULD ALLOW ENGINE OIL TO LEAK, AND BE DEPOSITED ON THE REAR TIRE. A SMALL NUMBER OF UPPER ENGINE CASES FOR THE AFFECTED MODEL COULD HAVE POROSITY IN THE ALUMINUM CASTING. THIS POROSITY OCCURS IN THE VICINITY OF A PRESSURIZED OIL PASSAGE JUST ABOVE THE TRANSMISSION OUTPUT SHAFT. 

Consequence:  
ENGINE OIL LEAKING FROM THIS LOCATION CAN BE DEPOSITED ON THE REAR TIRE, CREATING THE RISK OF A CRASH. 

Remedy:  
DEALERS WILL INSPECT AND CHECK FOR LEAKS IN THE VICINITY OF THE SUSPECTED POROSITY. UNITS EVIDENCING SIGNS OF LEAKAGE WILL BE REPAIRED FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 8, 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT KAWASAKI AT 1-866-802-9381. 

Notes:  
OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION’S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV

The NTSA campaign ID number is 09V464000 in case you wanted to click the link and check for yourself.  If you’re worried about Kawasaki’s quality, don’t be.  A good manufacturer will have high traceability on everything they make. If they’re able to narrow this down to 250 or so specific bikes, that’s pretty damn good and means they’ve got decent quality assurance procedures in place to be able to trace issues like this. Of course this doesn’t excuse whatever happened to create the issue in the first place. It could have been anything from a bad batch of raw material to a procedural mistake, but the fact that they’re able to go back and narrow this down to a specific lot of 250 bikes is a good sign.

Harry Hurt, Author of the Hurt Report, Dies at 81

It’s been almost 30 years since Hurt’s research report on motorcycle accidents was published.  Sadly, it’s the only definitive study of its kind.  To say Hurt’s work benefitted us all is an understatement.  You can read more about him and his report here:

LA Times article:
http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-harry-hurt2-2009dec02,0,1034954.story

The Hurt Report itself:
http://www.clarity.net/~adam/hurt-report.html

Protect Your Head: The Snell M2010 Helmet Standard

helmet

Look at the back of most full-face helmets sold in the U.S. today and you’re likely to see a SNELL logo sticker.  It means the helmet meets or exceeds the Snell Memorial Foundation’s standards for motorcycle helmets.  Here’s a snippet from their (terribly outdated) web site, www.smf.org:

In order to continuously monitor the quality of helmets being sold to the public, Snell purchases and tests samples of currently certified helmets from the marketplace. These helmets are tested only in Snell labs by Snell technicians. Should a currently certified helmet fail, the helmet manufacturer must take corrective action to Snell’s satisfaction.

In other words, if you make a helmet and want to have that Snell logo on the back so you can tell potential buyers that your helmet is Snell certified (and presumably safer than one that isn’t), your helmet has to pass Snell’s tests.  In the American motorcycling community, seeing the Snell logo on the back of a helmet is generally accepted as a good thing.

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