Best of the Web: Sherp Mini-Monster

Here’s a bit of fun we ran into on our journeys around the interwebs. This little creature is a cross between an ATV and a monster truck. It seems to go where it wants to go. Enjoy the video.

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Looking for the Right Motorbike

Ducati Panigale V4R

How do you find the top motorbike for you? Let’s look at Ducati, they have a range of bikes such as an off-roader called the Scrambler, a racing bike, otherwise known as the Panigale V4R and so on. Your motorbike purchase is dependent on where you wish to drive it and it’s a good idea to look at the specialist brand which you like.

How does the power compare?

When it comes to learner bikes, sports bikes or the off-road variety it can vary between 250 and 400cc. The more retro bikes have a better range – between 600 and 900cc. There are even bikes which have a massive 1000cc or more known as superbikes.

It’s no good investing in a superbike expecting to be able to ride it when you have little experience. A mid-range sports bike may seem dull, but it’s a good place to start.

To give you more details about these bike types…

A beginner bike has an engine size that isn’t too daunting and is also easy to repair.

Retro bikes seldom have items like windshields but also have more power, either two or three cylinders. You might possibly consider them all-rounders.

Cruiser Style Bike

The adventure style motorbike can handle everything from mud to gravel. Sports touring is a subdivision of these types of bikes.

The cruiser has a striking design with a large engine and huge handlebars. If you wish to see the US coast-to-coast then the cruiser is the way to go.

The superbike is more dependent on aerodynamics to keep it on the road. Though as said above it’s daunting, there are still superbikes with less than 1000cc which are still thrilling to drive.

New Types of Bike:

Honda MiniMoto

There are a number of new types which the general public might not immediately call motorbikes such as the supermoto, the minimoto and the electric motorbike. These may cause you some difficulty: the minimoto is not suitable for interstate roads for instance and electric motorbikes are difficult to recharge when far from home. But they have the plus point of being new and exciting.

Limited Editions:

Ariel Ace Iron Horse

The more expensive bikes tend to be limited editions, and many are only available unofficially.

There are lightweight versions such as Ariel Ace Iron Horse, thanks to its skeletal look. It may seem like a sportbike but it’s so much more.

Although older bikers remember Marlon Brando or James Dean these names aren’t going to cut it for the early twenties market. So, Harley-Davidson (the cruiser type referred to above) are going for unique names such as Neiman Marcus Limited Editions.

Repair:

When it comes to maintenance motorcycle engines tend to be more specialized than car engines. In terms of repair with more select models you may be better off just buying a new bike. That’s the thing with niches though.

For example, the Ducati Panigale V4 is made of exotic material such as carbon fiber and weighs less than 200Kg. So you’re not running down to the parts store for a replacement to bolt in.

There’s a few bikes out there with carbon fiber such as the Suzuki AEM which is great at handling and is comfortable, but is it worth the price? It’s all down to you.

The Lamborghini Supercar

The Lamborghini is an established supercar designer and as such it can afford to take a few risks. How else could you explain the strange shapes like the Y shape and the hexagon shape-but what does it all mean?

What makes the design of the Lamborghini such a strong aesthetic?

It must be about obtaining lines which are as clear as possible and surfaces with sheen, or as their own website describes it “pure surfaces” working from sketches, turning into models to scale until finally reaching the finished car.

Huracan

The design of the Huracan is based on hexagon shaped clouds near the North Pole. If you didn’t know there were hexagon shaped clouds near the North Pole, you aren’t the only one. Lambo designers crammed in so many parts with the six-sided designs, the grilles, the air condition vents, even the rear-view camera. The whole thing is slightly reminiscent of a flattened hexagon.

The launch control has been marketed with the name of Thrust Mode, which is a bit Freudian, and could be a clue to who they’re marketing to. Regardless, it reaches 60mph in 3 seconds.

The Huracan has a slim line of lights under its bonnet. The Gallardo’s lights are square whilst the Aventador has the shape of Ys on its side.

Aventador

The Sian had a limited run, but it had the distinction of being the first hybrid. A couple of commenters believed the twelve-cylinder engines were a little bit too much as if it was “showing off” but at least these cylinders had been reinvented in order to deride extra power. Could you be paying for the titanium valves too? It makes the Sian reach 0-60 in 2.8 seconds.

The Huracan will be with us for a long time as it won’t be replaced until 2024 and there won’t be a Hybrid Urus until 2022.

The Millenio combines the elements of the fastest sports car with the electric car concept. As with many Lamborghinis it all comes with increasing the aerodynamics.

Less Successful Attempts:

Some cars however aren’t as successful. Take the Asterion. It was planned as a hybrid with a V10 and its bodywork had a lot curves. The upholstery was Ivory colored and it boasted more storage space than its competitors.

Asterion

It seems a shame that an iconic car didn’t enter production. Customers liked hybrid cars, true, but not if it didn’t improve the performance (meaning the speed) of the cars. According to an announcement by the Lamborghini’s CEO the speed wasn’t improved, which sounds strange to announce something before a piece of vital research has been carried out, but that’s the motor business for you.

Other Crazy Innovations:

It is not only cars which sell to the public that show uniqueness in the Lamborghini’s range.

The racing cars are designed to split in two parts in the event of a crash. The reason for this is that it prevents a fire risk. You might be shocked to see a bashed up half-car but this is the best way of operating. After the crash it is not welded together again it is picked up by a tow-truck and scrapped, which is probably just as well.

It is all these concepts and developments which make it a supercar. How long can it compete against the other premium sports vehicles? We can only wait and see.

Various Obstacles On The Road

It would be perfect if there was nothing encroaching on your driving, but the real world doesn’t work like that. You must navigate some problems out there–including slow moving vehicles, pets, bridges, barriers, and traffic cones.

Slow Moving Vehicles

Slow moving vehicles could be anything from horse drawn vehicles, tractors and ride on mowers even. If you are driving on an interstate highway you shouldn’t encounter them, it’s the little roads when they become an issue. If possible, you should look for a safe place to pass. Watch out for a long single line of traffic with no obvious explanation. Don’t just fly past everyone as there may be a horse drawn vehicle or a bicycle up ahead. If other vehicles seem reluctant to pass, there’s the flimsiest chance they are right?

Pet’s

Pets are a problem in more suburban areas, cats are especially likely to run into the road. It is always best to maintain a slower speed in order to watch out for animals crossing. If you hit an animal you must make contact with the owners. With farm animals and wild animals you should alert the authorities. It’s a rigmarole but it helps to obey the law in these matters.

Bridges

Virginia’s Oldest Covered Bridge

Hump bank bridges, draw bridges, or swing span bridges should be approached with caution as the road gets narrower. As you pass the top of the bridge the car has less traction and so becomes harder to brake and steer. Another reason to slow down is that your suspension can be damaged if you hit a bridge element at speed.

You should be prepared to stop as there tends to be one line of traffic or there may be pedestrians or cyclists on the bridge blocking your passage. You must check your mirrors to see if the way is clear. Move slowly until you’re completely satisfied.

There are additional problems if you are driving a long vehicle. If there is a curved approach you need to exercise caution and skill, you need to be sure how your vehicle turns. If at all possible, you should attempt to avoid the bridge altogether, try another route.

The sickness in the stomach which comes from crossing this type of bridge is due to it being linked to acceleration followed by deceleration.

If you keep going over humped bridges or road humps your tires will become distorted and the suspension will be affected. But it’s a little-known fact that cars going over bumps can cause damage to the roads, sidewalks and even nearby buildings. It may cause damage to your body – around the neck and lumbar (back) region.

Barriers

Barriers are meant to stop you from colliding with things such as rocks, buildings and so on as well as keeping you away from pedestrian areas. They may well harm your car more than whatever they’re keeping you from hitting.

Traffic cones date back to the 1940s – another obstacle to watch – they replaced wooden structures which indicated the road was being worked on, which sounds as if it created more accidents than it solved! A later innovation was to make traffic pillars, which aren’t as popular. Traffic cones are inexpensive, remarkably easy to see and can be used to close down lanes or guide drivers around obstacles in the road.

Here’s to an obstacle-free journey and the lure of the open road.

Exploring Wheels

A car or a truck would be nothing without wheels, we even call a car or truck a set of wheels. So, no prizes for guessing that we are talking about various wheel-related facts today.

First the hubcaps.

The hubcap is the small piece at the center of the wheel. Cars with alloy wheels are also known as center caps. They date all the way back to 1680 where they were known as dust caps or grease cover. They also cover the lug nuts – also known as lug bolts.

Most people don’t realize in may cars the rear wheel and the front wheel have different tire sizes. A wider wheel gives a better grip.

Monster Truck Wheels

Wheels that really stand out are the wheels of monster trucks. These must be 66 inches wide and 43 inches high, making them taller than the average person. They are made to fit 25 inch rims. They are really flotation tires and were originally used for tractors and other farm equipment. It takes about two days to prepare even one tire. They are also known as terra tires.

The trucks themselves it goes without saying have strong suspension and four-wheel drive. The first monster truck appeared in the 1970s.

Steering Wheels

If a steering wheel seizes up it may have something to do with the ignition lock. If it binds it may be due to a lack of power steering fluid, or possibly because it is dirty.

Is using a fingerprint lock to protect your steering wheel too much? There are ones on the market which can store up to 20 prints, which is only useful in the case of a community bus of some sort. Most vehicles – even trucks – tend to only have two drivers.

Spares

The spare tire is there in case of not only a flat but also a blowout or burst tire. A burst tire has the more technical name of “impact damage,” which may sound rather vague.

Some specialist tires which have the nickname donut or space saver aren’t seen as permanent tires and should be replaced as soon as you can. If you have a space saver fitted it is also advised not to drive faster than 50 mph just to protect the vehicle.

An external basket to place the spare wheel saves some space in the car. You should always make sure that it is in good condition in order to protect yourself if any of the wheels you regularly use need changing.

On the same subject don’t use a puncture repair kit – almost half of the population say they are unsatisfactory. The problem here is most people would rather keep a repair kit just in case it saves replacing the tire. The repair kit is not as useful as a spare tire so surprisingly these days most cars don’t include a spare tire as standard. How are you supposed to get back on the road without a spare tire? Well roadside assistance has become a popular option. Hopefully we’ve exhausted the topic of wheels for the moment, but only for the moment.

New Car Rules And Guidelines

A new president in the US means new legislation. Specifically the amount of emission of a new car as well as the number of new EV – electric vehicles – on the market.

Congress plans to add $2500 to the amount of credit to US EVs with a possible additional $2500 if unions are involved. This means that more electric vehicles can be made – SUVs. pick-up trucks or whatever.

Joe Biden proclaims himself as “American car guy” but more precisely “American e-car guy”. In 2021 only 5% of all car sales were electric. There also needs to be a massive investment in charging stations. But it’s none too clear where they should be.

Although the path to further electric cars seems a path we will have to follow eventually it is still highly expensive and as a result controversial.

The vehicle metals need to be shipped from abroad. Many US citizens wish this wasn’t so and they were using metals from US mines though it primarily went into battery parts for the US market.

Previously there was a reliance on China for metals, which will be reversed by this legislation. The metal will come from such places as Canada and Brazil.

What will become or 2021?

2021 may seem like a pivotal year with the theme of “Build Back Better,” and it’s great PR to make bold claims, but how do these ideas stack up?

There’s a feeling in the air that it’s something that needs to happen but not exactly right now. Volvo for instance wants to remove combustion engine “tech” by 2030. General Motors wants to remove any emissions from the tailpipe by 2035. It’s not clear if this will be reached because of the 2021 legislation.

One way to tackle gas emissions in an increase in loans and funding, as suggested by the Environmental & Energy Program. There’s a number of costs involved in e-cars, such as expensive lithium batteries and the difficulties in charging the cars, when compared with filling up on gas or diesel it takes too long. Or so the current surveys may suggest…

There are also regulations designed to make passenger cars more efficient and decrease how much carbon dioxide it produces. It also affects light trucks – exactly why heavy trucks are omitted is unclear because the same agency (Corporate Agency Fuel Economy) also deals with larger vehicles. Nor does it seem to affect SUVs or crossovers, again vehicles known for their substantiality over their economy.

When compared to previous initiatives:

NY City Now

In 1970 congress passed the Clean Air Act and established the EPA to champion the cause. According to the EPA’s own site the 1970’s clean air act was a success(https://www.epa.gov/transportation-air-pollution-and-climate-change/accomplishments-and-success-air-pollution-transportation), but it’s noteworthy that US automakers couldn’t meet the standards by the initial deadline. They were nearly impossible to meet, although Japanese automakers Honda made it by the deadline and almost became the only brand allowed to be sold in the US. Congress ultimately extended the deadline giving US makers a chance to catch up.

NY City Pre Clean Air Act

By comparison, these new rules – not exactly laws – seem to have been led by public demand. The previous rules were hard for the companies to use, a far too high standard, these ones seem more realistic. There are always pressures from various quarters to bring down the numbers. Emissions are coming down but it’s not a steep decline.

This standard is expected to stay stable until 2026. They are based on ideas of being “tougher but feasible” according to Congress, ensuring that cars are safe and remain relatively affordable. It’s a compromise but it had to be in order to make progress.

On the subject of progress, there is some way to go. The companies which are agreeing to these changes make up only 30% of all cars sold in the US. Could it be described as only a token victory? Perhaps.

Rattles and Bumps – What’s The Problem?

Rattles and bumps can be highly annoying. What’s worse part not knowing what’s wrong or that it’s announcing to passengers that your car has an issue. The worst is needing to put it off and not being sure if it’s something that can wait or if you’re just making the problem more expensive by not prioritizing it. You need to know what’s causing the problem A.S.A.P.

So, here’s some common sense for you. (It goes without saying that we can’t diagnose your issue without seeing it, so use this advice at your own risk.)

You don’t expect a car to rattle when it is standing still. It may be something like the compressor clutch. The car also will make more noise moving than you’d expect too. A rattle or ticking noise may be due to low oil-it’s best to check your instruments.

If the rattle is under the car and sounds like shaking stones it’s possibly the exhaust system. If it rattles traveling over bumps in the road it indicates bad suspension. If the rattling disappears when you increase speed, for example go up a gear it may be linked to the engine being too warm.

The muffler rattling means that something is touching the exhaust pipe, possibly some corroded metal. This can also sound like a rumble. It should be dealt with as soon as possible and it will increase in severity over time. It might be something like the catalytic converter.

A gear rattle comes from the transmission and depends on the driving conditions. Sometimes the gear rattle may be confused with diesel knock. What is diesel knock? It’s given the less prosaic name of combustion roughness. The problem is linked to the high pressure of the combustion engine and is only to be found in combustion engines.

A lubricant will fix the problem. It’s possible that it will squirt out the fuel line so be careful.

A rod knock is caused by worn bearings – the crankshaft and the pistons rub together. Sadly your car will need a serious overhaul to fix the problem, the pistons and crankshaft may even need to be replaced. Many mechanics are confused by diesel knock, so it’s not good news at all.

Bumps

Nor are bumps good news. The usual suspect tends to be the tires – it may be that the tires aren’t secured properly or that they are losing air pressure. Check the air pressure if you are unsure–they bear the brunt of rough roads and can be damaged enough to develop a slow leak. If there are stones stuck in the tire it will also feel bumpy, so inspect your tread carefully.

If it is more like vibrating than a general bump it could be a damaged CV joint; the only way to solve it is to replace the part. It is especially noticeable when you are accelerating. CV stands for constant velocity and the CV joint connects the drive shaft with the rest of the controls. It is not safe to drive the car if this part is damaged as it may turn into violent shakes if it is left alone.

A jerking movement may be a range of things so it will be hard to diagnose, you could have to check the spark plugs, the fuel injector or possibly the accelerator cable. If you can’t work it out it’s best to just take it to the mechanic. That could be said for any rattle or bump but now you know what you might be in for.