Winter is slowly on it’s way once again. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to prep your vehicle. But what exactly needs to be done? What’s the cheapest way you can prep your car and still be safe? Is it worth it to prep if your car is running smoothly? These are some of the questions we will tackle in the following weeks as we look at all the safety measures to take for winter.
If you’re on a tight budget like me the thought of getting new tires can be a daunting and frustrating experience. My first thought is always, “If I have all-season tires why does it matter if I get strictly ‘winter’ tires?” The answer really depends on how much control you want to have over your vehicle. If you don’t like to constantly be fishtailing down the highway on your way home in a blizzard while driving at 15 mph then you should probably think, or at least entertain the idea, of getting new tires. It’s here that I too would inwardly groan. Is there really that big of a difference between all-season and winter tires? “All-season” certainly sounds like it would have more benefits than a tire that can only perform in one season.
Let’s break down the difference between the two tires to the left. First off, when looking at any tire there are three things to keep in mind and it all has to do with tread. The pattern, depth, and compound of the tread. These are key points for any tire, because each variation changes how it will perform on the road and weather. The pattern of a winter tire matters because it needs to be good with low traction conditions. The depth of the tread will determine how much slush and snow it pushes away from the car. The compound of the tire will tell you how much grip the tire will have on the road.
The deep groove in the center of the winter tire, shows the depth. The cross hair pieces will thrust the snow and slush away from the car and clear the way. It might be difficult to see, but the all season tire seems smooth to the touch, while the winter tire has all sorts of all in the rubber. A softer and more malleable tire performs better in cold conditions, while the all season tire can get cold and harden, which gives less grip and control.
I think this has swayed at least my mind about winter tires. The idea of having more control sounds appealing. I don’t want to be one of those people I see in the snow on the side of the highway in the middle of a blizzard. Whenever I go out this winter I want to feel completely safe.
What about Studs?
Studs can be helpful in certain conditions, but not all, which means you could be switching tires through the winter. Another downside of studs is that they aren’t legal in every state, because they can damage the road. If they are legal in the state you live in, check how icy the roads get in the winter. The studs dig in like little ice picks and help push you along. If the roads you travel vary between slush, snow, and actual plowed concrete, it might not be the best decision to choose studs for your every day driving. What is the alternative? Winter tires.
Studless Winter Tires
There are really only two types of winter tires to choose from. Studless or Performance. Studless tires are the most aggressive tire for the winter. The reason is because of the tread. This tire performs at its best when winter is at its worse. The colder it is the better they work. They are designed to work in icy and snowy conditions. Having these on your car ensures that you have maximum control of your vehicle during the winter. These tires will get you to and from work with increased safety for yourself and anyone else on the road. So are these right for you? Take a look at the routes you drive. What does you job ask of you when it snows? These are things to keep in mind when deciding between snow tires.
Performance tires might seem less quality after talking about studless, but that’s not the case. These tires have a different take on winter. They give optimal handling control to the driver. They offer the ability to have that summer drive feel in the middle of the winter. Performance tires are the median between all-season and the aggressive studless design. Realistically, these tires are for drivers who have more mild winters than some places. It could also be for those who are able to stay home during storms and go out when it’s more clear or wet. A lot of drivers who don’t want to abandon their sports cars during the winter will choose performance over studless. Why? These tires are built to perform and grip for the driver’s needs.
Tires for You
With winter coming quickly, it’s important to know that you’re ready and feel prepared. No one likes to be caught out in the cold. Take some time and really think about your choices for tires this winter. Do some research on what is best for your driving style and needs this winter. If you need tires, but aren’t sure where to get them, we can help you. Contact us and ask about what winter tires are for you. We can have some specially ordered for you or come look through our inventory of tires. We can be sure that you are safe and ready to go all winter long.
In recent years using carbon fiber material used for sports cars and race cars has gradually increased. It has become quite a major player in shaping the future of automobiles. Carbon fiber was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879. Edison used it in his light bulb endeavor and it would take a long time until carbon fiber’s full potential was realized. Even today, we have yet to unlock the full capabilities of the material. The real question is why we humans are using carbon fiber to begin with and why, more importantly, are we using it on our vehicles? Is it something that can harm our environment or is it something that can help save us? Let’s find out.
What is Carbon Fiber, Actually?
Time for a small science lesson. Carbon is an element. It’s something that makes up diamonds, graphite, gold, and more. When you combine carbon with a polymer and you weave them together you get carbon fiber. It makes a sheet like material that is flexible. It’s an easily manipulable material, which makes it easy to mold into any sort of shape you could desire. To keep the shape, resin is added into the mix and then it’s a waiting game for everything to set. When it gets to this form it’s called carbon fiber reinforced plastic or CFRP for short. Using the CFRP has been a game changer for several reasons, but whenever we humans find something good there’s usually a catch. The same goes with using carbon fiber. Weighing out the pros and cons is crucial for any company who wants to invest in a relatively new technology.
Let’s start with the cons. It’s important to set the expectation bar low so we can be happily surprised when it comes to the advantages bit. The biggest problem with carbon fiber since it’s origins is how expensive it is. Price is an issue, because it means it’s not accessible to the every day consumer. Even today, the price per pound is about $4.40 while steel is about 89 cents. Not only is this a problem for consumers, it’s a major issue for businesses who want to utilize the product. This is why it takes extremely large companies to almost monopolize on the product before anyone else. Airline companies, and race car brands such as those who race in Formula 1, neither of which benefits the average person.
Even larger than expense, is the energy it takes to produce carbon fiber, it takes a lot more than it does to make steel. Meaning, it spews a significant amount more of greenhouse gasses than steel. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a bad thing for our planet. It also takes more man power, which costs money; and the process is a lot slower than steel and other metals, which costs even more money. Clearly, money is a major problem for companies wanting to use the product. One could argue that this is the reason why most race car brands only build some car pieces out of carbon fiber, because it cost too much.
The last problem with carbon fiber is that it’s basically plastic. Not that flimsy straw type of plastic, but the strongest type of plastic ever. Thus, it’s abbreviation CFRP. Being plastic means that it’s not biodegradable. It’s not environmentally friendly. When someone stops using it, it doesn’t corrode or rust into nothing, it lasts a lot longer. So any scrapped production of carbon fiber could and does end up in some heap somewhere and doesn’t really ever go away. Kind of like the massive amounts of plastic that floats around in the ocean and seems near impossible to get rid of. Except this is land where 99.9% of humans live and we can’t say “out of site, out of mind”. However, this is not the end of carbon fiber’s story.
The best thing about carbon fiber is that it is 100% recyclable. While, the initial energy it takes to create carbon fiber is major, recycling any unused bits of the material can be used again and takes less energy to do so. This means that if someone didn’t like how their mold came out, they could melt it down and start over. Any shavings or bits that aren’t used don’t have to sit on the floor or in a heap outside somewhere, they can be melted down and big a new life. Car got into an accident and is too damaged to drive again? Not to worry, it doesn’t have to rust in a junkyard. You know, the recycle life.
Strength and weight have everything to do with why carbon fiber is being used on fast moving vehicles. It is 5 times lighter than steel and 10 times stronger than steel. We’ve already talked about its longevity and durability, but these are, again, major factors as to why brands are slowly and steadily replacing steel car bits with carbon fiber. Why is it important that vehicles are lighter and stronger? For those of you who love electric cars, this is extremely important. With a lighter car, it takes a smaller battery to use, which makes sense for any economical vehicle. The lighter the vehicle the easier the engine has to work and makes better fuel consumption.
Another fantastic function of carbon fiber is when it is used as safety pieces within the car itself. Because carbon fiber isn’t like normal plastic and isn’t like steel, it is extremely difficult to brake when in an accident. Some F1 cars and race cars are using carbon fiber to reinforce the bumper, doors, or hood. Increasing the safety of occupants in the car has made it very desirable for consumers to latch on to the technology as soon as possible. Another unique bit of carbon fiber is the use it has for motorcycle rider gear and helmets. It provides a key factor in safety of any automobile operator.
Some companies are making the beds of their pick-up trucks out of carbon fiber, to increase their load amount, enhancing their vehicles’ strength and durability. Other companies such as BMW are looking for how to utilize the weight of the car so it can go faster. By replacing their cars’ roofs with carbon fiber sheets, they are cutting the roof weight in half. It gives the car a better center of gravity, creating better handling, and even faster to drive.
In the End…
While it has been years since Edison found carbon fiber, we still have yet to fully utilize this precious material. With so many companies embracing the technology it won’t be long until we can see carbon fiber vehicles available for the consumers who can afford it. As for the environmental side of things, it’s difficult to say whether or not this can save us, but if not used properly it could cause more harm and good. Something to think about.
We do have two vehicles available for purchase at AlphaCars right now that have these unique carbon fiber features. The 2015 BMW M3 and the 2012 Bentley Continental GT. The BMW has the carbon fiber roof, while the Bentley has used multiple facets of the material both inside and outside of the vehicle.
May of ’72 racing history was taking leaps and bounds with BMW Motorsport. With the cooperation of several Italian automotive companies including Lamborghini and Giugiaro, BMW began taking charge of racing. With the collaboration in place and the first product rolling onto the track, BMW’s racing legacy had begun. During the beginning years the Motorsport series (later changed to ‘M’ series) was only for racing. They had built the most powerful engines of all time with 100 horse power on a single engine without any turbo added. Truly an amazing accomplishment.
Today BMW’s M series is still one of the most powerful engines available for consumers. Even better, these race cars are now street legal and can accommodate any amount of passengers needed; from SUV to sedan the ‘M’ engine remains the same. These days the engines are turbo charged for the maximum amount of speed capability. BMW keeps true to their roots by using the logo on all ‘M’ vehicles. The blue stripe represents BMW and the Bavarian region. The red stripe represents Texaco who partnered with BMW at the beginning of their racing endeavors and the purple stripe signifies their partnership together. Making something great and building history even today.
Current BMW M Sport Inventory<– Check out what we have in stock right now.
Join us for the International Ural Ride Day on September 8!
This special day continues a tradition of Ural riders that started the Ural Rally Day. We’re happy to carry the torch for this annual tradition and share with the world, the friendliest motorcycles on the planet!
On this International Ural Ride Day we’d like to encourage our Ural community around the world to #sharethechair. Let’s set a record for giving as many rides to as many people as possible. Find friends, neighbors, coworkers, strangers, relatives, distant relatives, Russian sleeper agents, dogs, cats, anyone who would love a ride in the sidecar! Take pictures, collect points and win prizes!
Anywhere and Everywhere!
This event takes place wherever you are. It’s called International Ural Ride Day for a reason.
Highest scorers will receive a prize package from Ural. Best photos will also win Ural swag for wildest, funniest, etc. Each passenger equals 1 point. Earn 2 points for a person in uniform (policemen, surgeon, waiter/waitress, etc).Whoever wears a uniform on a Saturday could use a ride in the sidecar! Earn 3 points for a Russian who has never been in a Ural.
Earn the Stars
You’re on a mission. Channel your inner fighter pilot and earn a mission star decal for every 10 co-pilots you take along.
We highly advise the use of helmets and participants should obey all traffic laws.
- Offer rides only if you have enough experience operating a sidecar.
- Keep ’em short, a quick loop in the parking lot or a putt around the block.
- Don’t go fast. This isn’t a race.
- Avoid heavy traffic and busy streets.
- Don’t scare passengers with risky maneuvers.
- Watch our “Passenger Safety” and “How to Ride” videos to better prepare your passengers.
Summer is my favorite season. I always try my best to fill it with as many adventures as possible to make up for my hibernation during winter. One activity stands out from the rest. It’s a low key event on Thursdays in Stow, MA at the Minute Man Air Field. This is where air meets road. Each week there is a different theme of unique cars and planes to check out. Great food and good music to relax with, all while admiring the beautiful cars people bring from all over. Just last week I saw something I’d never seen before. It looks like the Bullet from Mario. I have no idea what it is, but it’s amazing. I wasn’t able to get a photo, but someone also brought a beautiful Triumph car (didn’t know they made cars) that had the most immaculate shade of blue I had ever seen.
On American night we had to have some fun and bring out the 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat. There were a lot of people interested in this American gem. With the color so vibrant it’s hard to miss.
Another amazing car I saw during American night was a ’32 Ford Truck. I had just recently been watching a video of someone building one. To see one in real life was incredible. I kept walking by, gawking, extremely impressed. This gentleman was even selling it! I couldn’t believe it. In fact, there are a lot of older vintage vehicles that are for sale each week.
One last thing about Wings and Wheels that sets it a part from other car shows is that each donation that they receive goes right back into the community. They help out with high-school programs, senior citizen programs, and internal service projects. No one gets paid to set this up, it’s all volunteer based by a group of people who want to bring like-minded people together. It’s really great to see someone use what they love as a way to improve the community they live in.
What’s the theme this week? Wings and Wheels Website
Or you can follow them on Facebook .
Save the date for July 28th!
Last year we opened up our new AlphaCars and Ural Motorcycles store in North Hampton, New Hampshire. This year, we are proud to bring North Hampton’s first annual Ural rally day! For those of you who own Urals, we encourage you to come out and enjoy the day. We will have our latest Ural models in North Hampton for you to admire and take a look at, just in case you’re feeling like you need an upgrade. In addition you can check out our latest t-shirts, mugs, tumblers, and other Ural apparel and accessories.
Want to test your skills on a Ural? We will have an agility course set up in the parking lot. Don’t have a motorcycle license? No problem! We will have our qualified Ural staff take you around the course, showing you just how well the Ural can maneuver. True to our typical annual rally in Massachusetts, we will have a ride through North Hampton, but those plans are still pending. Absolutely, bring your gear, it could be a hot summer day out on the street. When our plans our finalized, we will let you know more details.
This is your chance to mingle with other Ural owners, hear their stories, and be welcomed into the Ural family. In the afternoon we will be serving up BBQ food items to satisfy your rumbly bellies. Bring the family, bring the dogs, everyone is welcome. We look forward to seeing you there!
Interested? Let us know you’re coming by registering (free) through EventBrite.
Memorial weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Lime Rock Park to watch the Pirelli World Challenge race. This would be the first time I’ve seen any asphalt racing. Prior to this event I had only gone to see rally races, where there is lots of dirt and technical driving. I’ve never been into the Nascar scene and so when my fiance told me we were headed to Connecticut to watch a not-rally-race I wasn’t too excited. However, we did watch parts of the 24 hour Nürburgring a week or so prior and I very much enjoyed watching that. He then told me that the Pirelli World Challenge was basically a smaller version of that I was now excited to go.
The biggest reason why I was excited was because I would see an actual Ford Mustang race. They have been my favorite cars since I was a young child and I was about to fulfill one of my dreams to watch one race. The first thing I noticed was the sound of speeding cars cutting through the trees when we parked at the foot of the Berkshire Mountains. We walked into the park and the sound got louder and louder. Finally, we were in view of a section of track. I realized I was grinning ear-to-ear, anxious to see the first car come whipping around a turn on the track. This wasn’t like a Nascar race where you sit in a grandstand able to see the whole track. No, this track had many turns, a hill, and no actual seating.
We made our way further into the park to find a good spot to watch. However, when we got over the hill, we saw that you could go down to where the racing teams were working on their cars. I immediately started looking for the mustang. There is a long section of road parallel to the pits, separated only by a chain link fence and security. Low and behold there was the driver and car I had been looking for. Scott Maxwell, driving number 55 Ford Mustang GT4. He drove right past me, so close I could’ve reached out and touched the beautiful car, on his way to the line up. I looked around at anyone else excited as myself to see this. Now, I was ready to watch this race.
There was still some time before the actual race happened so we wandered around the team tents and their cars. We got great pictures of the BMW’s that basically have a whole class to themselves, the Subaru’s that raced in the smallest class, and the Ferrari’s that were in the fastest class. It must have been the hottest day so far this year and by the time we walked around the whole park we were dripping with sweat. So, it was time for some water and ice-cream, find a seat to relax and watch.
If you love to watch racing, or driving around a track, definitely check out this great history filled park. We had a great time exploring the grounds. I’m so glad I got to have this experience. Hopefully, we will be able to go again and watch more races. Even though it was so hot, watching the race got my heart pounded and kept the smile on my face all day long.
This past weekend we hosted our annual Spring Rally with a great turn out. There were so many new faces this year, it made for a wonderful time. We had 10 more bikes this year than we did last year — welcome to the Ural family, everyone who bought a bike in 2017!
Since we had so many people this year, we split the ride into several riding groups. A big thank you to those who volunteered to help us lead rides! We are so thankful for those of you who stepped up. Because of you this ride went smoothly and became a lot less stressful on our full time staff.
The photo on the left shows one of our most unique riders this year. A pig who rode in the sidecar with stylish goggles. We had a lot of other dogs riding with the group, but this pig certainly stood out from everyone else. Keep riding!
True to tradition, after the ride everyone came back and enjoyed an enormous Russian meal. Thank you to the women who worked tirelessly in making sure everything was set up when riders got back and for serving food. We had summer borscht, kielbasa, beat salad, radish salad and much more. There was so much food no one went home hungry!
Eating is one of the highlights of the rally, because it’s food that is different than our every day cuisine. Food is also something that brings people together. There was much laughter and story telling over the meal. It’s always a fantastic time to meet new people, especially people who ride such a unique motorcycle. Urals are what bring us together, but it’s the food that binds us. Thank you to those who cooked the day before and the day of to pull everything together so wonderfully.
Another element to our rally this year was our tribute to our beloved friend Fredda Cole, who passed away earlier this year. We were honored to have her bike in our show room and have some of her greatest accomplishments posted up on the bike.
We also set up a donation booth to an organization that was close to Fredda’s heart, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Fredda’s grandson has cystic fibrosis and always wanted to do more to help him. Thank you for those of you who were able to donate to a cause that was so close to Fredda’s heart. From now on every year our rally will be dedicated to Fredda’s memory.
Thank you everyone who came and participated in this year’s rally ride. Thank you Russ for allowing us to display Fredda’s Ural. A big thank you to those of you who stayed later and helped us clean up!
We are so thankful we got to spend time with the Ural family before riding season really kicks off. Remember to stay safe out there and drink lots of water!
C’mon Spring! We’re summoning warmer weather on May 5th for our second National Demo Day of 2018. If you missed our last demo day in March, it was a big success. Don’t miss out on seeing new Urals, eating donuts, and talking shop with like-minded sidecar fans.
P.S. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Wear a sombrero to the event, get $250 toward a new Ural. Seriously.
P.P.S. Send us pics!
What to Expect
Coffee and Donuts
Come on out and grab some donuts or coffee or whatever other bites of food your Ural location may have. Full bellies make for better rides.
Never been on a Ural before?! This is perfect for you. Our dealers will help walk you through everything you need to know. We got you covered!
Nice to Meet You!
Get a chance to mingle with Ural owners. The Ural family is one of the closest and most friendly groups there is! Come out ask questions and listen to some great Ural stories.
Last month we had a great time meeting everyone and getting to know them and their Urals. We are very excited that we get another chance to see everyone again. Because this the Demo Day coincides with our Annual Spring Rally, it will be very busy, but there will be lots of food. See you soon!
COME ENJOY A WONDERFUL DAY WITH US IN BOXBOROUGH MASSACHUSETTS.
Our traditional Ural Rally is a great way for Ural and motorcycle enthusiasts around the world to come together and spend the day doing what they love, riding.
Enjoy coffee and pastries while everyone gets settled and ready to ride. The Rally will start with a beautiful ride through the New England countryside. Be sure to get here before 10 so you can be sure you can ride with the group.
The rally will then be returning to Ural of New England in the afternoon to feast on traditional Russian cuisine. Relax and walk around our state of the art facility, share stories, laugh, and check out the latest in Ural accessories. Also, be sure to check out the cool collection of unique automobiles and motorcycles.
Local Accommodations can be made for the weekend at:
Formerly Holiday Inn: Boxborough Regency Hotel
Register: Ural of New England Rally Registration