Inline Performance Magazine

Inline Performance Magazine

Ducati Fuel Tank Class Action

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 09:00 PM PST

Hey guys, Jon here again. By now, you have probably heard all the rumors of defective plastic Ducati tanks failing on new bikes. Well, a few days ago, Ducati was issued a class action law suit by local firm Girard Gibbs, LLP following extensive problems with fuel tank deformation.

The action seeks a permanent solution and compensation for owners of the 50,000 Ducatis sold in North America since 2004 with plastic tanks, including the Monster, Multistrada, 848, 1098 and 1198, Streetfighter, Sport Classic and Hypermotard models, which have extensive and well-documented fuel tank problems.

The lawsuit claims the tank material is incompatible with the fuel and distorts over a period of time, usually several months, during which time the tank can come loose on its mountings, swell enough to interfere with the steering on full lock and leak through the fuel pump mounting.

Ducati has been routinely replacing affected tanks under warranty on bikes up to five years old, often more than once. But the suit says that this is not satisfactory as the replacement tanks are made of the exact same material as the originals. Therefore, it demands that all affected tanks are replaced with ones that are not affected by the fuel.

The second and potentially far more damaging claim in the suit is that Ducati should reasonably have known about the problem but nevertheless continued to sell motorcycles with allegedly unsafe fuel tanks. It states that this amounts to unfair, unlawful and fraudulent business practice which has led to injury and financial loss.

The blame for the problem is being placed on the high proportion of ethanol used in American petroleum that is causing the tanks to degrade. For the full lawsuit, download it here.

For all of you out there riding new Ducatis, be careful. Hope you have good insurance, like one found at Auto Insurance Select. Hey, it’s either that or stop riding the thing altogether until the case settles. But it’s best to upgrade your motorcycle policy at this point.

Be sure to check out Ducatist for more information. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Erik Buell’s Latest Patents

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 09:00 PM PST

Hey, what’s going on guys? Looks like Erik Buell is still at it. While the rest of the industry is winding down for the holidays, he is still busy in his shop, putting ideas to paper. Here is a look at the his latest innovation. Mr. Buell recently filed for patents on a number of things for his motorcycles, such as an integrated swingarm and exhaust.

Officially, the new innovation is a motorcycle swingarm that movably mounts a rear wheel to a main frame of the motorcycle and defines a hollow portion through which exhaust gases are passed before being expelled from an outlet of the swingarm.

A movable joint may be provided between a header and the swingarm, including a first portion fixed relative to the main frame, a second portion movable relative to the main frame, and a flexible conduit between the first and second portions. The movable joint may be coincident with the pivot axis. In some constructions, the hollow portion of the swingarm is divided into at least three chambers, and a plurality of pipes is configured to provide at least two flow direction reversals within the swingarm between an inlet and an outlet, with multiple volumetric expansions between the inlet and the outlet.

Oh, and when I said new, I meant new to us. Erik Buell likes to say that the motorcycles he makes, including the EBR 1190RS debuting this winter, have only just caught up with his designs from twenty years ago.

You know, I have got to say, Mr. Erik Buell has won me over. His seer determination is truly inspiring. To call him a true American would be an insult. There have been many Baby Boomer era prodigies, and Erik is one of them.

To think, if he had gone into another profession in, say medicine, what he could be accomplishing. Cure for AIDS? Alzheimer’s? I am by no means implying that what he does for the motorcycle industry is a waste. But can you image the guy wearing scrubs, holding a stethoscope, or carrying a medical coat? Probably not, eh? Although a scrub hat is very similar to a doo-rag…

For those of you interested, the full patent can be downloaded here, in PDF format. Please voice your opinions at Buell Boards, and keep Erik’s vision alive!

Stay tuned for more updates.

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