HUDSON - A tuxedoed James Bond rather than a leather-clad Sonny Barger would seem more at home astride the blue and chrome customized Intel motorcycle being shown at the Reed Road-based Intel plant.
A tuxedoed James Bond rather than a leather-clad Sonny Barger would seem more at home astride the blue and chrome customized Intel motorcycle being shown at the Reed Road-based Intel plant.
The customized chopper is a marketing centerpiece for the company's embedded technology. The bike features a thumbprint scanner that triggers the ignition, and a fully loaded water-proofed personal computer with wireless Internet hookup; computerized speedometer and volt meter; Bluetooth technology; GPS guidance; and computerized kickstands.
Instead of rear-view mirror, a Web cam has been installed on the rear of the bike. The camera's image can be viewed on the computer screen located near the intersection of the handlebars.
"From an electronic standpoint this is the most highly integrated and computer capable motorcycle out there," said Steve Reed, director of industry marketing for Intel.
That is to say nothing of the "wow" potential of a 214-cubic-inch motor that exerts 250 horsepower. The bike has a V-quad engine - essentially two V-twin motors that are mounted side by side, said Reed. A V-twin motor is a two cylinder internal combustion engine.
The bike was built by the cantankerous Teutul family of Orange County Chopper fame. Motorcycle junkies gathered yesterday to gawk at the machine.
Despite the chrome sleekness and gadgetry of the chopper, which one Intel representative estimated to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, former motorcycle mechanic Rob Messier was leary of the smoothness of the motorcycle's ride as he walked around the velvet ropes that partitioned spectators from the bike in a lobby area of an Intel building.
No rear suspension, said Messier, who pointed out the motorcycle likely had a wide turning radius. The position of the handlebars was less than ideal as well, according to the Marlborough resident.
"You'd have to be an orangutan to ride the thing," he said. "I just don't know how practical it is."
Having ridden motorcycles for 35 years, Reed, who is one of the five people on the planet whose thumbprint fires up the chromed beast, said he was pleasantly surprised at how well the bike rode.
"It looks like it would be pretty difficult, but I'm surprised at how well-balanced the bike is," said Reed.
Although he thought the motorcycle looked sharp, Jason Shea said he was unsure how it would ride. Flash-over is a philosophy that some two-wheeled warriors employ when customizing a bike, said Shea, who was one of the many cell-phone wielding bikers who were snapping photos of the machine.
Like Messier, the bike's lack of rear shocks did not miss Shea's critique.
"Bikes like this, they're meant for cruising," said Shea, who has celebrated the balmy fall weather by riding his Kawasaki Ninja around his hometown of Oxford.
Honda enthusiast and Intel employee of 24 years, Wayne Langlois was impressed with the bulk of the silver and blue chopper. Reed indicated the "riding weight" of the machine was around 1,000 pounds.
"This thing is probably as heavy as a Volkswagen," he said. "If it tipped over at a stop sign, I don't think I'd be able to pick it up. I'd love to ride it though, wouldn't you?"
Langlois' request to straddle the motorcycle and have someone start the engine was declined. There was no gas in the tank.
Seated in a chair near the bike, a goateed, tattooed, and shaven-headed Intel project manager Kevin Marshall took the opportunity to muse about the beauty of the open road - specifically, the odors of the open road.
"The smells you encounter are unbelievable," said Marshall, who was wearing a black Harley-Davidson T-shirt. "Right now you smell fresh grapes. In the spring it's the mountain laurel."
The bike will be on display for the remainder of the week. For a photo with the motorcycle, Intel is "suggesting" a donation to United Way of $5. Intel will match 100 percent of the funds raised through the photos.
Dan McDonald of The MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News can be reached at 508-490-7475 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.