Need a quick hit of motorcycle news, but don't have a lot of time? Don't worry, RideApart has got you. Welcome to Speed Reads, our new roundup of bite-sized stories we thought you might find interesting. We'll skip the long-winded intro and get right to the good stuff. 

Tom Birchall, Most Successful TT Sidecar Passenger In History, Retires

2023 IOMTT: Birchall Brothers break 120 MPH Sidecar speed record

After winning 14 Isle of Man TT races alongside (and behind, and around) his brother Ben Birchall, Tom Birchall is calling it a day on his extremely successful sidecar passenger career. In addition to the TT wins, the Birchalls have also won the British championship, as well as scooping the Sidecar World Championship four times together. Tom Birchall is 36 years old, and is the younger of the two brothers.

Ben, who is 46 years old, plans to continue racing with a new passenger. He'll be participating in the 2024 IOMTT, and Tom plans to continue to support his brother in any way he can outside the sidecar. 

"It will feel totally different and take time to get used to competing without him, but I'm still totally committed to racing and so it's the start of a new and exciting chapter," Ben Birchall told the BBC.

MV Agusta Announces New, Improved Production Line At Its Schiranna Factory

MV Agusta New Production Line

As MV Agusta enters the second year of its strategic partnership with Pierer Mobility AG, it also proudly announced that a major investment has been made in modernizing its production line. While MV Agusta craftspeople will still be assembling the bikes by hand, a new, fully automated line management system will move and correctly position units in progress among the 28 different workstations on the line. 

Plans include an initial production amount of around 1,000 bikes per month, but a total capacity of up to 100 bikes a day is possible if warranted by demand. 

 “I am so excited about this new line launching right here, in our historic plant in Italy, while many other industries are delocalizing or even stepping down production. All the efforts we’ve been putting in over the past couple of years are coming together and we are now seeing some very concrete results, with growing numbers and the increasing success of our latest models. This is not only an investment in our own operations, but also in this community and in our people," MV Agusta Motor CEO Timur Sardarov said in a statement.

Other 2024 plans for MV Agusta include expansion of its dealer network internationally, as well as finalizing the integration of MV Agusta products (including complete machines and parts inventory) within Pierer Mobility AG's systems. This integration, MV says, will be completed by the end of Q1 of 2024, and is intended to result in a smoother customer experience going forward. 

Norton V4CR Limited Release Faces Delays

Norton V4CR

In a new interview with MCN, Norton CEO Dr. Robert Hentschel mentioned several items of interest to those who are following Norton developments in 2023. Among these, most immediately, is the fact that the limited edition V4CR is apparently delayed due to quality issues with some components provided by suppliers. 

Given the rocky road that Norton faced under its previous administration, it's not difficult to understand why its current administration wants to take the extra time necessary to get these bikes right before sending them off to their new owners. 

Dr. Hentschel also talked about Norton's future, and revealed that the current engines in use by Norton are not Euro 5 compliant. That's one reason why the bikes have not been made available outside the UK. While the company plans to sell bikes globally in the future, multiple changes and advancements will need to be made in order to make that possible.

You can read the full interview with MCN at the link in our Sources.

MSF Reminds Gift Givers This Holiday Season To Not Forget The Gear And Training

MSF Rider Safety Training

Did you give or receive a new bike for the holidays? If so, that's awesome, and we're very happy for you and your loved ones. If you didn't also give or receive gear and training to go with that gift, now is the time to look into it and get ready for 2024.

Depending on the type of riding you'll be doing, you'll want to look into all of the following:

  • A helmet (DOT in the US, ECE/Snell/Sharp/JIS ratings also good, especially in appropriate markets). If you require eyeglasses to see, make sure they fit comfortably inside any helmet you're considering.
  • Eye protection, in the form of goggles or a visor on your helmet. If you require eyeglasses to see, and you're thinking about goggles, look for goggles that specifically mention that they'll fit over eyeglasses. Prescription goggles are also available, but are probably something you should look into down the line if you want to continue wearing goggles while riding.
  • Gloves with full finger protection (fingerless gloves might look cool, but they won't protect you)
  • Over-the-ankle boots (look for enhanced ankle protection if you're doing off-road or dual-sport riding)
  • Arm and body protection (long sleeves and abrasion-resistant materials protect the skin, while armor at the back, elbows, and shoulders shields against impacts)
  • Leg protection (again, abrasion-resistant materials protect during slides, while armor at the knees and hips protects your joints)

If you or the person you've gifted a new bike to doesn't have much experience or training, though, training is also a great safety enhancement to help them keep riding into the future. 

“If someone has little to no riding experience, a training class is the best way to start. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers DirtBike School for ages 6 and up, and the ATV Safety Institute offers hands-on ATV RiderCourses for kids and adults. There’s also free online ATV eCourses for everyone, and for street motorcycle riders, the MSF offers the Basic eCourse and Street Strategies eCourse for a small fee," Andria Yu, an MSF RiderCoach, DirtBike School Coach, and ATV Safety Institute Instructor, said in a statement.

For more information on any of these courses, check out the MSF link in our Sources.

MotoGP commercial rights holder Dorna Sports could be sold at any time, says CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta Suzuki

Rumors have been flying around for some time about Dorna being up for sale, but rumors frequently run rampant in and around MotoGP. However, in a new interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta addressed the rumors about a potential Dorna sale head on.

Ezpeleta confirmed that there have been discussions regarding a possible sale, and the possibility remains open. As to when such a change could happen, he said the possibility exists at any time.

After doubling the number of races on the calendar and upping the social demands on riders, attendance at MotoGP races soared in 2023. As for what the future holds, that's anyone's guess.

Honda Collection Hall Set Trials Rider Takahisa Fujinami Loose To Give Us A Tour Of The Hall, Now Under Renovation

Let's say that you're one of the biggest motorcycle and automotive manufacturers on the planet. For a moment, let's also say that you've had the vision to create a special museum dedicated to some of the most singular and/or influential pieces of your history. It's absolutely irreplaceable stuff, and you regularly welcome visitors from all over the world to see it. 

So naturally, when it comes time to shut your museum down temporarily for renovation, you decide that the perfect thing to do is to invite retired professional trials rider Takahisa Fujinami to come show off the Honda Collection Hall for a short YouTube video. Right? Right!

Thanks for all the joy you've brought us, Honda, and we look forward to seeing what 2024 brings.

Like your news in bite-size form? Be sure to check back each weekday for more. Happy reading and riding! 

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