Posts

Decline and fall

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Most motorcycle manufacturers have come and gone.  Pick your favorite defunct moto brand, google it, and surely you will find that someone has written a book all about the reasons no one is making them anymore.  But really, every motorcycle brand failure can be attributed to two reasons, people lost interest in buying them and or their makers lost interest in building them. When it comes to why consumers buy motorcycles, this too can be broken down to two reasons, they want affordable basic transportation or they want a motorcycle for fun.  Because most motorcycles are road legal, motorcyclists can combine practical transportation and fun, or at least that is what they tell their wives, mothers, husbands...   There is a (much) smaller market of motorcycles for commercial, police, or military use. Motorcycles started out with the marriage of the safety bicycle invented in 1883, with the high speed small gasoline engine, invented only a few years later. It is estimated that there were

Electrifying

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  The future is electric they say.  I agree, sort of.  I am on my second electric pedal assist bicycle and have test ridden a Zero FX.  I was impressed. I would have bought the FX right then and there, but negotiations stalled over the usual dealer charges for their overheads.  Sorry dealers, but I have had enough.  Do not advertise a sale price that won't roll it out the door.  Anyway, it gave me pause to reflect on electric's weakest link, batteries.   But before I rant on batteries, my experience with electric motorcycle and bicycles have convinced me electric motors are the future of transportation.  Electric motors with electronic control systems are so much better than petrol powered engines.  Electric motors eliminate clutches, transmissions, most required maintenance, smell, vibration, noise, excessive heat  and all the power wasted on noise, heat and vibration control.  On my test ride I did not miss any of them.  The instant torque, and the ability to enjoy the ride w

A tale of two XTs

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Over the years I have almost always had more than one motorcycle at a time, but never really had a collection.  Collecting stuff has a lot in common with activities like recreational drug use or gambling, it can be fun, but watch you don't get hooked.  In my case the wake up call arrives when I can't get into the garage anymore, and then it's 'everything must go!' until the garage is empty.  After which, like coat hangers in a closet, a bike creeps into a corner, and another and another. The collecting bug does not discriminate, people collect all kinds of shit, from buttons to military tanks. I never saw my random moto acquisition binges as an investment, I was mostly sucked into buying old bangers through the motorcycle price-age curve, a tool used by economists to study the demand for rusty old crap. As you can see in the graph below, the actual selling price of a motorcycle descends very swiftly the moment it leaves the showroom, mostly because the dealer

I'm baaaack

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Wow, a long time since I posted here my 9 followers must be getting anxious.  So, since I last posted about trying cruiser-dom, I really like the Guzzi, and have added nearly 20,000 km to its odometer. The only thing I don't like about it is the buffeting.  Buffeting for those who haven't experienced it, is a type of vibrating wind blast common to large handlebar mounted windshields on motorcycles.  It occurs at speeds above 100 km ie highway speeds.  At first you don't really notice it, but after a few hours it wears you down.  I tried a larger windshield, no joy. I tried cutting some openings into the windshield to reduce the low pressure behind the windshield, a little better, but not much.  Changed helmets, which did not work until I changed to a very light weight three quarter jet style, which worked best of all the things I tried.  So that's why cruiser guys prefer beanie style helmets, who knew?  Not really an ideal solution though, I like the protection of a f

A new era

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This year I officially became a 'senior', or 65 years old.  So the 60's have been a lot more fun than the 30's, but there are also some indications that things are going to change.  Take last summer, I was riding my KTM 640 Adventure down a quad trail by myself.  The front wheel fell into a deep rut going up hill and down I went.  No biggee, except I couldn't pick the bike up.  This had never happened before.  I have dragged that bike out of mud and sand on its side, and picked it up numerous times.  This time it was staying down, and I was not even sure why.  With the help of a nearby fisherman I was able to get the bike up and out. So, no more solo off road excursions, the reason I still had the KTM, which truth to say was never the greatest highway bike. Since I started riding well over 40 years ago, I have always been more interested in performance, not necessarily all out extreme by the numbers performance, but motorcycles that did something very well.  Som

Indian Chieftain Riding Impression

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Just like the real motorcycle blogs YAOGB test drove the brand new Indian Chieftain  as resurrected ( for the umpteenth time ) now it is Polaris' turn.   Based on my ride, this attempt may have a future. A tweet from Cycle Works, the Edmonton Alberta Indian dealer announced that the demo fleet would be here on September 20th and 21.  I dropped by about 1:30 on Friday,  there was hardly anyone there, no problems signing up, the ride, we left 10 minutes later, just me one other demo rider, the lead rider and the chase. Before we left I looked all the bikes over.   Polaris certainly got the looks right.  Just as an unblinged Heritage Soft Tail has captured the looks of the hard tail Pan Heads of the 1950's, and Road King that of the  Electra Glides of the 1960's, Polaris has matched the look of the last Springfield Chiefs. If Hank Williams came back from where ever he might be, he would recognize it immediately never realizing that the last true Chief rolled of the line

The kids are allright

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When I was 15 or so I fell in love with the Honda S90, I wanted one.  It was affordable, unintimidating, had a top speed that matched the then maximum speed limit, or so they said.  For my 15 year old self it represented freedom.  In my daydreams I rode that S90 everywhere with my imaginary GF on the pillion.  Life got in the way, I never did get that S90, my motorcycle career had to wait until I was 18, but the hook was set. Motorcycles had no interest for me BISH (Before I Saw the Honda).  My Dad, who I listened to up till I was 15, had frequently pointed out that motorcycles were large, dangerous, noisy and ridden by thugs and criminals.  I knew this was true, because all the bikers I saw were greasy, tattooed, scary individuals.  The papers were filled with the antics of the BDRs (Black Diamond Riders), and their infamous president, Johnny Sombrero. Honda's genius was to suggest to people like my 15 year old self there was an alternative motorcycle lifestyle with their &#