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#180 FREE

A Royal Enfield Like No Other

Inside: T he All New Royal Enfield Himalayan

Tin Cup Challenge • More Flat Trackin’


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 Winter 2016

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly®

Table of Contents Winter 2016 3

PUBLISHER Victor Wanchena

From The Hip

MANAGING EDITOR Bruce Mike

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All The News That Fits Road Rash

REVIEW WRANGLER David Soderholm

COLUMNISTS

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Thomas Day Paul Berglund

Geezer With A Grudge Old Habits And New Fears

CONTRIBUTORS Trisha Baker B. P. Goebel Harry Martin Matt Mike Sev Pearman Bree Poland Jim Weatherhead

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Bike Review 2016 Royal Enfield Himalayan Photo by Bruce Mike

From The Hip

WEBMASTER Julie S. Mike Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® is published nine times a year by: Hartman Press, Inc. 7265 Balsam Lane North Maple Grove, MN 55369 Phone: 763.315.5396 email: bruce@mnmotorcycle.com www.mnmotorcycle.com Subscriptions are available for $14.00 a year (U.S. funds). See subscription form below. Advertising inquiries: sales@mnmotorcycle.com 763.315.5396 Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly encourages your submissions. M.M.M. will edit all accepted submissions and retains nonexclusive, multiple use rights to work published in M.M.M. Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly will return submissions only if accompanied by an SASE. “Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly” is a registered trademark. Copyright 2016 by Hartman Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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By Bruce Mike

I

n April of this year I purchased a new Ural Gear Up. It was set up as a Sportsman Adventurer model by the fine folks at St. Croix Harley/Ural. In the past couple months I’ve had opportunities to ride it off road. I was hoping it would be fun and I was not disappointed. I was told the bike could take a beating and it really can. The model I have allows the sidecar wheel to be engaged with the drive wheel so it gives me two wheel drive. On my first outing my brother was with me and he was convinced I would get stuck. With a curb weight of around 800 pounds, I was a little worried myself. I didn’t even come close. I plowed through mud and deep, soft, sand without even working hard. It was amazing. We were riding on trails near Danbury Wisconsin. The trails were basically single lane roads through the woods. We travelled at a pretty good clip and there was plenty of drifting with the Ural. I did learn, after the third or fourth time, to slow down when going through large puddles. The front of the sidecar is like the hull of a boat and at higher speeds it would throw up a huge wake, right in my face. My second outing was in Watertown South Dakota. It was the Fall Dual Sport Ride put on by Street, Trail, Four-Wheelers Unlimited Motorcycle Club (STFU-MC). It was scheduled to be a 140 mile day. My nephew and I lost the rest of the group and ended up with about half that many miles. The ride was mapped out on gravel, low maintenance and no maintenance roads. It was pretty cool. There were 15 riders on various dual sport bikes, dirt bikes, one four-wheeler and me and the Ural. I have been to South Dakota fairly often and the landscape always blows me away. Sometimes it feel like a different planet. Where we were riding, there were very few trees, a lot of soft rolling hills and just plain wide open spaces. A good chunk of the riding was on gravel roads which are really fun on the Ural. The rest of the ride was on rutted two track roads (trails) across farm fields and open plains. Riding the ruts was pretty challenging on the Ural. It’s not wide enough to just straddle the center. I would get pulled from side to side and control was somewhat limited. I took to riding with the bike on the center hump and the sidecar in the rut. The rut would occasionally change my direction and i mowed down a few corn stalks. It was quite the upper body workout. So far my experience off road with the Ural has been better than I expected. I’ve been able to go more places than I thought I could. It’s even more fun than I thought it would be and I haven’t felt like I’ve been holding the people back that I’ve been riding with. I had planned on taking it grouse hunting but time ran out. Hopefully next year. The sidecar is great for hauling stuff and the jerry can full of fuel has come in handy for me and other riders. I have yet to use the shovel but who knows, my off road adventures are just beginning.

Feature High Plains Drifter Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Slide the Bike Part IV

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Tales From The Road 200 Miles, 12,000 Feet On 30-Year-Old Tires

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Tales From The Road Thunder On The Mountain Cover photo by Matt Mike Review Bike Provided By Royal Enfield North America Royal Enfield of Milwaukee 226 N Water St Milwaukee, WI 53202 414.502.1204 royalenfield.com/usa reofmilwaukee.com

MMM

Je Suis Charlie

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 Winter 2016

All The News That Fits Braun’s feat was aided by the work of Minnesota’s own Ky Michaelson. Better known as “Rocketman”, Michaelson assisted the effort by providing the parachutes for the rocket and overseeing many of the safety aspects of the jump. Michaelson has a string of rocket powered creations including drag cars, motorcycles and a rocket belt.

Michaelson was on hand for the jump and was very confident that Braun would make it safely across. As part of the ground crew they were ready to remotely deploy the parachute or back-up if needed, but Braun was able to do so himself. Michaelson wasn’t surprised that the jump went off smoothly, but did comment the rocket traveled farther than expected. Videos of the jump are available online at www. tr.im/eddie and www.tr.im/eddie2. Photo Courtesy of the AMA

What the What? USA Takes ISDE Trophy!

when Ryan Sipes won the overall, except this year we also won the championship.”

The U.S. World Trophy Team dominated the 2016 International Six Days Enduro, the longest-running team world championship in motorcycling, winning the ISDE World Trophy for the first time and ending the 103-year drought for team USA. Held in Navarra, Spain in October, it was the 91st running of the ISDE since the FIM event was founded in 1913.

This year’s ISDE was the first year for the FIM Enduro Vintage Trophy. American Fred Hoess, competing on a 1986 WR250 Husqvarna, won the overall.

The U.S. World Trophy Team defeated runner-up Great Britain by 3 minutes, 38.66 seconds; a lead accumulated over six days of racing. Taylor Robert, who led the team, was also the top individual rider at the event. Robert’s teammates were Kailub Russell, Thad DuVall and Layne Michael. Often referred to as the Olympics of Motorcycling, the ISDE is a six-day cross-country off road motorcycle race that follows the enduro format where riders follow a set course and have to maintain a set pace. The riders must do all service work to the bikes, and there is strict control over when riders are allowed to work on their bikes. “We finally got it done,” said U.S. ISDE Team Manager Antti Kallonen. “Not only did we win the world championship, but we also won the individual overall. All of our World Trophy Team guys did exactly as we had hoped. Taylor was phenomenal winning the overall. It’s just as special as last year

Robert and Russell raced KTM 350EXC-Fs in the E2 class. DuVall raced in the E3 class, and Michael competed in the E1 class. Both rode Husqvarnas.

“I rode here in Spain in 1985 on basically the same bike as I rode this year, and I’d have to say on Day 5, when we were riding in the mountains and I’d look up at the scenery and smell the two-stroke oil and the burning clutch plates, I’d swear just for a second I was back in Spain and it was 1985 again,” said Hoess, who had competed in 25 ISDEs prior to this year’s special vintage competition.

AMA Fast Brain Award Local Flat track racer, Jeremiah Lindberg from Cambridge, MN, has won the 2016 AMA Fast Brain award. He was presented the award at the conclusion of the 2016 Suzuki AMA Dirt Track Grand Championship in July at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Du Quoin, Ill. AMA Fast Brain Award recognizes a young racer whose motorcycling talents are matched by classroom performance. “This means a lot to me, because grades have always come first and racing second in my life,” Lindberg said. “So, I am glad that I got an award that recognizes that education is important.” The award includes an educational scholarship that is funded by

Minnesota Connection to Snake River Jump It went off without the hype of Evel Knevel’s attempt 40 years ago, but in September Eddie Braun did what Knevel didn’t. He made it over the Snake River Canyon. Using a steampowered rocket of the same design as Knevel’s, Braun’s “Evel Spirit” traveled nearly a mile over the canyon, far greater than the 1400 feet needed to reach the opposite side. During the jump the rocket hit and estimated 430 mph and reached an altitude of 2500 feet.

contributions from AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bill Werner of Bill Werner Racing, Zanotti Racing’s Dave Zanotti, AMA Life Member Stan Simpson, Tom Seymour of Saddlemen motorcycle accessories, AMA supporter and friend of the AMA David Coovert and other anonymous donors.

Self-Balancing Motorcycle? BMW unveiled a futuristic concept motorcycle complete with a zero-emissions power plant, self-balancing capabilities, a flexible frame (Like the old Airheads? - MMM Ed.), advanced stability systems and a visor with a display that changes with the rider’s head movements As part of its vision for their next 100 years. They believe that design and technology will make riding both safer and more enjoyable. A master computer would monitor all inputs, then suggest changes to the rider or if you are going to do something really dumb make adjustments itself. The heads up visor could give the rider a rear view, directional information, or vehicle telemetry like speed or lean angle. The visor could even warn the rider of impending collisions. At this point, all the gee-whiz tech is just in the concept phase, but look for versions of this to make its way to production bikes in the future.

Hondama or Yamonda? Honda and Yamaha have begun talks around combining forces in the production of small displacement scooters for the home market. The talks are in regards to the Class 1 category of scooters, which are electric powered, and 50cc machines. That market has been shrinking in recent years and coupled with increasing safety and emissions standards the companies see this as a way to conserve resources in that part of the market. The plans for collaboration may include development of electric motorcycles and jointly producing 50cc scooters as an original equipment manufacturer. This wouldn’t be the first for Japanese motorcycle makers. Suzuki and Kawasaki joined forces in the mid-2000’s on several models as a way to broaden their offerings without the development costs. MMM

Photo Courtesy of the AMA

Every issue 1996 thru 2016 — www.mnmotorcycle.com


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 Winter 2016

Old Habits And New Fears

Geezer With A Grudge

I

By Thomas Day

retired in 2013 and my wife and I escaped our first Minnesota winter in 18 years in a used Winnebago RV. That was the plan, anyway. Unfortunately, I discovered a whole lot about Volkswagen and that company’s non-existent product support along the way (Ducati owners beware!). So, instead of a 13,000 mile trip to the southern California and up PCH to Portland, we spent the winter (all five months of it) in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico while I troubleshot our Eurovan’s electronics and contemplated going back to some kind of work since “retirement” had turned into such a disaster. Along the way, I met some really terrific people who also owned the same POS RV (Ours was a 2000 Winnebago Rialta.) and had a bunch of discussions about what kind of person makes a “good” RV traveler. Many of us came to the conclusion that the fact that I was perfectly happy traveling by myself, staying in cheap motels or sleeping in a hammock or on the ground probably meant I would never be a “real” RV sort of guy. Some of you might know that I generally don’t like driving any sort of four-wheel vehicle and would rather take the train, bus, or hitchhike than be anyone’s designated driver. Sometime during my early 20’s I passed the million-mile mark in work vehicles, driving 100,000+ miles a year for almost a decade, and any love I might have had for cars or trucks vanished. I own a pickup because it can carry a lot of crap, including my motorcycles and because my wife hasn’t given up on that damn RV dream. On my own, I’d rent a car when I need one. We bought the Rialta because it was supposed to be fairly easy to drive. As long as you didn’t have to back it up with a motorcycle trailer in tow, it wasn’t particularly painful to pilot. I ended up doing most of the driving because my wife freaked out about the motorcycle trailer, but she did at least 20% of the driving later in the trip and that made 20% of the RV

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traveling tolerable for me. Mostly, I wasted most of that first year’s summer getting the RV ready to travel: new flooring, transmission cooler, overhauled the A/C, new entertainment center, and a full 75,000 mile point-by-VWpoint service. 2,000 miles later, after being stranded in a snow and ice storm in Carlsbad National Park for a week, the many flaws in VW’s wiring and electronics put the vehicle in “limp home mode” and we eventually limped into Truth or Consequences for the next five months. In April of 2014, we drove the VW/ RV back home, cleaned it up, and sold it. End of story? I wish. Like I said, my wife had not given up on the RV dream but her new mantra became, “You want your house separate from your vehicle.” Slowly, I got talked into thinking about trying the mobile life again. Too many of the VW’s problems came from the poorly implemented electronics that controlled the automatic transmission, so I started looking for something with a manual transmission that could haul a motorcycle and pull a small trailer. Just in time for the move to Red Wing, I bought a Nissan Frontier in great shape with a manual transmission and cruise control; the Holy Grail of traveling vehicles. After some nagging and pleading, we stumbled on to a small camper that had the layout, weight, and price we’d decided on. We bought it last fall, knowing the chances that we’d go somewhere in it were slim due to other commitments for the winter. I’m writing this in mid-July and the camper hasn’t moved an inch since the previous owners parked it in our yard. Like 90% of the campers purchased on this planet, it is serving as a yet-unused spare guest room. “What’s the problem?” You ask. “General disinterest, marginal backing up skills, and practically no familiarity with towing anything other than a U-Haul trailer,”

would be the answer. I’m perfectly happy with a tent and sleeping bag, and rolling down the highway on two wheels. I don’t need to learn the new skills required to setup and drive a vehicle pulling a 3,000 pound trailer. My wife’s interest in traveling by RV is still strong. She, on the other hand, is expecting me to find the motivation to not only do all of that crap but to teach her how to do it, too. We’ve been married almost 50 years and all of our worst moments have been when I was stuck being her coach or teacher. I am a professional teacher, but she is a life-long stubborn resistant-learner. She has absolutely no self-teaching skills, instincts, or motivation and I would rather hand feed an alligator tiny pieces of steak than be forced to teach my wife anything difficult. And there is the problem. My memories of our five months “camping” are mostly of me trying to sort out VW’s wellhidden and inaccurate service information, crawling around under that damned Eurovan POS or disassembling the interior or engine wiring to find the three cobbled-together engine and transmission computers or worrying that I would be abandoning our $20,000 RV investment in New Mexico (the home of many abandoned retirement dreams). The “good moments” of that winter were mostly spent on my WR250 bombing around Elephant Butte Lake’s dried up shores relearning how to ride in deep sand. I’ve been told that when fellow campers heard the bike fire up they’d drag lawn chairs to the lake-side of their campsites and place bets as to how long it would take before I endo’d into a pile of sand. I rarely disappointed them. Other fine camping moments were when I’d given up hope on the VW for the day and settled down with a few bottles of beer and my Martin Backpacker to sing Kink’s songs to the coyotes. The best moments where when I’d given up on the VW entirely and loaded

up my camping gear and headed into the Gila National Forest mountains for a couple nights of solo camping while my wife stayed with the camper and dog and our new friends at the hot springs in Truth or Consequences. Speaking of the dog, the obvious problem here is getting and old dog to learn new (not particularly desirable to the dog) tricks. The idea of driving a fairly large pickup with a camper in tow is just not inspiring. I am really nervous about the whole concept. It seems claustrophobic and dangerous and complicated and expensive. In fact, at the moment I’m a lot more inspired to start the process of convincing my wife that we’d be better off selling the camper and giving up on the whole idea of traveling together than I am to learn how to be a competent RV’er. When I see something like this moment appear in my motorcycle students, I do not encourage them to press on. Maybe pulling a camper isn’t the same kind of risk as riding a motorcycle, but it does feel like the kind of thing that you shouldn’t be doing if you can think of a better way to travel. I don’t, honestly, have any faith that I’m going to be good at pulling a trailer and I have absolutely no motivation (other than making my wife happy) to learn how to pull a trailer safely. “Why me?” is the phrase that comes to mind every time I look at the thing parked in my yard. Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, I’d have bulled through the fear and loathing and learned how to do this thing that I really don’t want to do. At almost 70, not so much. The only good to come from this moment, so far, is that I have a lot more empathy for my motorcycle students who really don’t want to be out on the range learning how to ride a motorcycle to please someone else.

Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/minnesotamotorcyclemonthly

MMM


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 Winter 2016

The All New Himalayan And S

By Bruce Mike

ometimes we are offered unique opportunities at Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly. Reviewing the Royal Enfield Himalayan was one of them. At the time of this review, there were only two prototypes of the bike in North America. On a Friday in late August I got to ride one. I had to go to the new headquarters of Royal Enfield North America which is in Milwaukee. A great city to call home for a storied motorcycle company like Royal Enfield. The first Royal Enfield motorcycle was built in Britain in 1901 by the Enfield Cycle Company. The company was responsible for the original design and production of the Royal Enfield Bullet. A bike that is still in production today. In 1955 Enfield Cycle Company partnered with Madras Motors in India and formed Enfield of India. They have been building bikes ever since. In 1970 Royal Enfield in the UK stopped producing motorcycles and the company was dissolved in 1971. In 1999, Enfield of India switched its brand to Royal Enfield. I took my nephew to Milwaukee with me to make sure there was someone there to take pictures. We were meeting Bree Poland, Marketing Manager for Royal Enfield North America, at their corporate headquarters. Because the bike was a prototype, Bree would be our chaperone. That was all the info I had. We had some riding gear, a camera and it was a beautiful day. We got there and found out there would be a bike for each of us to ride. We got some time on the Continental GT as well as the Himalayan. It couldn’t have worked out better. Every once in awhile I manage to go through a day with a positive attitude and no expectations. This was one of those days. I have been “chaperoned” on rides before and more often than not, it sucks the life out of the ride. This was not the case with Bree. She took us for a real world riding experience. I’m not saying we were out racing around doing wheelies and burnouts but we weren’t going 10 mph under the speed limit either. It was nice to wander around Milwaukee with a rider and not just someone who sells motorcycles. When I think of Royal Enfield, I think of retrohipster-cool basic transportation. I had ridden

A very comfortable riding position and a Sari Guard for your passenger. a fuel injected Bullet before and I had seen and sat on the Continental GT. I’ve always liked them for what they are, middleweight, relatively inexpensive, fun-to-ride motorcycles. The Himalayan is a whole different Royal Enfield. It’s still a middleweight, and with a projected US price of $4000 to $5000, it’s very affordable. There is nothing retro about it. This is a whole new motorcycle.

and the rear is a 17 inch. There is 8.6 inches of travel both front and rear. The brakes consist of a twin-piston floating caliper with a 300mm disc up front, and a single piston floating caliper/240mm disc in the rear. I never had any fear of flying over the handlebars but the bike stopped when I wanted it to.

It has an all-new, air-cooled, carbureted (it would be fuel injected if sold in the US) 410cc single-cylinder unit construction engine (UCE), an all-new frame, and shares no parts with any other Royal Enfields. It produces a claimed 24.5 hp at 6,500 rpm and 23 ft lbs. of peak torque at 4,500 rpm. Power is sent through a five-speed transmission. These are not awe inspiring specs but they make for a very easy-to-ride and comfortable motorcycle.

Riding this bike was great. I have a 30 inch inseam and with a seat height of about 31.5 inches, this bike was a perfect fit for me. The riding position is upright and the ergonomics were right. I could easily do some touring on this bike. It weighs a little over 400 lbs. but it’s balanced really well. It’s a fairly narrow bike, even with a nearly 4 gallon fuel tank, it never felt unwieldy or clumsy. It had plenty of torque and throttle response was good. I never got a chance to take it on the highway but I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t have performed well.

The suspension and brakes are not going to blow your mind either. The front fork is a 41mm and in the rear is a monoshock with adjustable preload. The front wheel is a 21 inch

I like to categorize bikes and I would put this one in the “Everyday Bike” category. I spent my riding time in Milwaukee on city streets and the Himalayan was great. The suspension

wasn’t too hard or too soft, there was plenty of acceleration and maneuvering around potholes was a breeze. I don’t think it would do well with hardcore off-road riding but gravel roads and basic trails, you could do all day. Royal Enfield’s goal is to become the leading middleweight motorcycle company in the world. The Himalayan may be the missing piece in accomplishing that goal. With the Continental, GT, Classic and Bullet models already available, the Himalayan fills out the line perfectly. Now we just have to get it available for sale in the US. If you’re a new rider looking for a really cool looking, easy to afford and easy to ride motorcycle, check out what Royal Enfield has to offer. They are sold locally at Go Moto in Minneapolis, 3346 N Washington Ave. The folks at Go Moto are long time riders so they don’t sell bad bikes. If you are in Milwaukee, check out the North American headquarters at Royal Enfield of Milwaukee, 226 N Water St. They would be more than happy to sell you a bike too. MMM

Photo by Bruce Mike

Photo by Bruce Mike

Tank guards and luggage rack will make it easy to attach touring accessories.

Photo by Bree Poland

It has an all-new, air-cooled, carbureted (it would be fuel injected if sold in the US) 410cc single-cylinder unit construction engine (UCE), an all-new frame, and shares no parts with any other Royal Enfields.

Every issue 1996 thru 2016 — www.mnmotorcycle.com


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 Winter 2016

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d Other Royal Enfield Stuff Rod Copes: President of Royal Enfield North America This is only a small part of an extensive interview. You can read the entire interview at mnmotorcycle.com.

By B. P. Goebel

MMM: What brought you to Royal Enfield? Rod Copes: I started at Harley-Davidson in

1993 and had an incredibly blessed career there for almost twenty years. Rotating around, eventually doing all different functions and ending up as an executive in sales and customer service. I left there four years ago and wasn’t sure I would ever be back in the motorcycling industry but about two and a half years ago the CEO of Royal Enfield contacted me. I helped bring Harley-Davidson to India. So I got to know him really well. Royal Enfield was at the stage in there development where they were growing very rapidly and that they wanted to expand globally. So he asked if I would take on the North America region and really, not just grow it, but really kind of almost relaunch the brand in the United States and Canada. So I came on and have been taking on that challenge and been having a lot of fun with it.

MMM: How was Royal Enfield’s middle weight machines received at Sturgis, Land of the Big Bore Cruiser?

Rod Copes: (Laughs) That’s probably the first

time Royal Enfield has had a presence at Sturgis. Our reason for being there was just to get the brand out there. You know, we have hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts there. Let’s at least plant a seed in their mind. Everyone was pretty excited. Those that had heard of Royal Enfield were excited to see it again. Those that had never heard of them, we had a story to share. Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle company in continuous production, since 1901. Most people don’t know that. They were excited to see the kind of hand crafted, real metal tanks and fenders that give it it’s classic styling. So it resonated with both populations, those that knew of Royal Enfield and those that had never heard. They were very intrigued by it and many thought “Wow. This is a cool bike, it’s got a neat brand, it’s got a neat heritage, it might be something that I buy as an extra motorcycle, or it might be one that I buy as I’m getting older or might buy one for a friend or family”. It seemed to really fit a number of different opportunities with that motorcycling population.

MMM: Can you talk about the challenge of marketing your machines in the US versus other world markets where Royal Enfield is already well known?

Rod Copes: I think it’s all the areas that you can

imagine (laughs). The first is the ‘unknown’ of the brand. And so how do you effectively and efficiently get brand awareness without spending millions of dollars on advertising. We’re targeting social and digital media, as well as very localized events working with our dealer network to really get the brand out there. That is, I think, the biggest challenge. Then the other

is the fact that in the United States people don’t buy smaller motorcycles. And so we’re kind of running against a motorcycle industry in the United States that has flipped from what we would call a normal motorcycle mix, you know, 70% smaller motorcycles and 25-30% larger motorcycles is what you normally see in a mature motorcycle market.The US is one that’s actually an inverted pyramid and is 25-30% small motorcycles and 70-80% large motorcycles. Everybody has chased Harley-Davidson over the past two decades building these very large, expensive, complex motorcycles. So we think, while that’s a challenge, its also a huge opportunity. We have a whole new generation and pool of motorcyclists who typically want to go to a smaller motorcycle first. They haven’t had that opportunity in the US because there are very few smaller motorcycles offered. That is, the opportunity and the challenge, all in the same.

The Royal Enfield Continental GT

A

By Bruce Mike

s an unexpected bonus with our trip to Milwaukee we got to ride the Continental GT. I would call this bike Royal Enfield’s factory “Ton Up” bike. It is pure, simple, motorcycle joy. You probably won’t win a whole lot of races on it and I wouldn’t want to drive it across country, but a day of riding twisties on it would be great. It reminded me of a 1973 Yamaha RD350 I used to have. My RD was much faster but the

riding position and overall feel were close to the same. I think the Continental GT looks as cool from the factory as my RD did after adding a bunch of after-market parts. Plus, it’s fuel injected, has brakes that work and can go much further than 80 miles on a tank of fuel. If you’re looking for a classic style cafe racer, check out the Continental GT. At around $6000 with a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty, I think it’s a heck of a deal. MMM

MMM: The new Himalayan adventure bike

styled by Pierre Terblanche is a radical departure. Why the new focus?

Rod Copes: The Himalayan was actually de-

signed and developed in India for India. So when it was developed it wasn’t really designed for any other market outside India. But we really liked the bike. We brought two examples over into the US and had a number of different brand ambassadors and enthusiasts and media ride the motorcycle and they thought it was a great motorcycle and that it could do very well here. Again, it is a little bit small for our highways, but it’s large enough to be able to get to the off road locations. It’s almost like a 70’s old school enduro. It’s definitely not competing with BMW GSs’, the incredible, high end, expert adventure touring motorcycle, we’re really looking for someone who wants an everyday motorcycle that’s as good off road as it is on road. It could be for urban commuting but it could also be for the farm or for utility purposes. It’s such a broad based motorcycle we know there is an opportunity for that here in the United States.

MMM: Is this the first bike in the pipeline? Rod Copes: We are pushing very hard for India

to homologate that with EFI so that it can be sold here hopefully in spring of 2017.

Photos by Bree Poland

There are other motorcycles that are in development that, I would say, are more geared to a mature motorcycle market. They will designed for highway riding, higher speed, more performance and fit with riding styles in Europe and North America.

MMM: What would you like the U.S. customer to know about Royal Enfield?

Rod Copes: The first is we’re back. If they have

never heard of them(laughs), it’s a great story that we’d love for them to learn about. We think it’s a great opportunity for new motorcyclists as well as existing motorcyclists to participate in again, this return to pure motorcycling. It’s about simplicity, fun, and affordability and we think that resonates with any current or future motorcycle enthusiast in North America. MMM

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 Winter 2016

Feature

T

High Plains Drifter...Or How I Learned

By Victor Wanchena

he final installment of my rookie flat track racing adventure finds me heading into the last four races of the season. At this point in the season I’ve gone from a complete rookie to slightly seasoned rookie. I’m learning the skills needed to race, but more importantly I am having a blast. I also find myself in new territory being in contention for year-end awards in two classes, Open B and Vintage Single. It’s more due to me making all the races than winning them, but heading into the last races I have a shot at a respectable rookie finishes in Open B and Vintage Single. The first event is back at the Norsemen Clubgrounds for another TT. Last time there, I fought a rough track and several mechanical problems. The day was warm and dry with a strong wind out of the south. The track was in much better shape this time. They had worked it over and it yielded a much smoother surface. The wind was going to be the big variable. The hot dry wind would make keeping the track watered properly a challenge. The practice sessions went off without a hitch, but I came in a little confused. The speed I had gained on the oval seemed to evaporate on the TT course. The first corner begged for a fast entry, but that set you up poorly for the next corner, which fed you into an even tighter radius left before the short straight. Once off the good line I would ping-pong corner to corner losing precious speed. The back corners seemed easier, but I never felt like I had them figured. I often drifted wide on the final corner losing traction while the competition motored away. The first heat was the Open B. In a word it was “crap.” I started poorly, spinning hard off the line, and never gave anyone any pressure. The couple riders I was ahead of got around me and I never made up the ground. The Vintage Single heat wasn’t any better. It was an average sized class with 5 riders total, but they made it more interesting mixing us with the 50+ age grouper class. Don’t let their age fool you, these are wily old veterans. I got a decent start and hung with the main pack a lap, but they started pulling away after that. I ran wide on a couple corners and finished at the back of the pack.

I’ve screwed myself into an A Class racer for the remainder of my racing career. The races were pretty much carbon copies of the heats, but with a little extra drama. In the Open B race I was pushing hard to keep the lead pack in sight. I picked an outside line on the back straight trying to apex the first turn later and that meant turning in late. My plan worked perfectly. I ran hard down the straight, landed off the jump, and tipped in from the outside edge of the groove… right into a two-wheel drift! The fine powdery dust on the outside of the track was icy slick. I slid way outside, and was heading for the grass. A better rider would have leaned farther and slid deeper. I am not that rider, instead opting to stand the bike up and head straight into the grass. I kept the bike up, got an up close view of some trees, and headed back onto the track last place firmly in my grasp. The Vintage Single race was more of the same. I did get a better start and did stay within sight

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of the lead riders, but was a distant third. The good news out of the race was I didn’t give up much ground in the points race in either class. A short two weeks later I headed south to a two-day race at the Flying Dutchmen Clubgrounds. The weather was cloudy and damp on the drive down and the recent rains made me nervous about track conditions. Like most worries, it was needless fretting. I arrived to find the track in superb shape. A lot of hard work by the Dutchmen had fixed the recent storm damage to the track and the wet weather early in the day kept the track surface beautiful throughout the day. At a 1/3 mile it’s the longest of the short tracks we raced this year. I actually found the length easier to deal with even with the increased speed. The extra length on the straights gave me time to think about my line, entry speed, and body position. Practice went really well. I was amazed at how much traction was there. I felt like I was pushing the bike hard, but there was more there than I was using. The first heat was the Open B. The class was split into two heats with me in Heat 1. I got a good start and stayed with the lead pack for much of the race only losing ground toward the end taking a respectable third. The Vintage Single heat was super similar to the Open B. Decent start and motored to a mid pack finish. The Open B main didn’t go as well. I hit the start hard, but spun too much right off the line. The track is in great shape and I’m pushing hard, but to no avail. I try to catch the main pack, but pull farther and farther away. All that good grip meant they’re even faster. I don’t get lapped and do manage to stay ahead of one other rider, but finish a distant 6th. The Vintage Single race was another disaster. It’s a full field so I line up way to the inside.

Photo by Jim Weatherhead

My plan is go hard for the first corner trying to get a wheel inside before anyone else could get there. Intently staring at the start light I let the TT surge ahead… about ¼ second before it turns green. I drag a couple other riders with me on my first jumped start, dang it! I get lined back up, now on the penalty line, starting behind everyone else. The start goes better the second time and I actually motor ahead of one rider out of turn two, but never give anyone else any pressure. The only rider I passed eventually dropped out with bike problems so I end up with a last place finish. The following day dawns with more good weather and the track in fine shape. I am determined to do better this time. Practice was another carbon copy of the day before. I’m feeling even more confident and try pushing a little harder. In retrospect I was unprepared for the good traction the previous day and caught myself rolling off the throttle way too soon. In fact, a few times I actually rolled back on the gas for a moment. Both heats go off without much drama. The Open B heat is first. I try to focus on smooth and trusting the bike. The traction continues to be extremely good so the mantra I repeat in my head it is, “Trust the bike, trust the bike, trust the bike”. I finish mid pack in Open B, but the reality is the fast guys are really fast. Vintage Single is the same. I find myself giving up a half wheel on the starts though, still gun shy after my jumped start. During the intermission between the Heats and the Mains the Dutchmen ran a couple of exhibitions races, one being the Century Race. To qualify for the Century the rider and bike have to equal a combined 100 years in age. So, 20-year old would have to ride an 80 year bike i.e. a 1936 or older bike. Being more “advanced” in years meant I could ride anything 1960 or older. A friend offered me his

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 Winter 2016

9

To Stop Worrying And Slide The Bike — Part IV 1942 Harley-Davidson WL. The WL was the flathead 750cc v-twin that was a mainstay during World War II. It makes an interesting flat tracker. Foot clutch, hand shift, and a hard tail, and it was described to me as not being “rider friendly”. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity I jumped on and fired it up. I rolled onto the track a combined 118 years of experience between me and the bike. The race was quite the experience. The start is odd given the foot clutch, but I make it off the line without killing the motor. I quickly hustle through the three gears in a weird shuffling process: foot out onto clutch, clutch in, hand on shifter, select gear, dump foot off clutch, and hit the throttle. I learn quickly to get into a high gear and conserve momentum. I settle in behind one of the elder statesman of the Flat Track, #49 Coot Schmidt on a TT 500. I follow him for a few laps until I find myself in a fight with another WL. I relinquish 2nd place after a lap not wanting to completely flog a 74year old motorcycle that isn’t mine and settle for a respectable 3rd. The Open B main is my first race after the intermission. It’s a big field with 10 riders. I am lined up close to the inside again. I get a reasonable start, and keep the bike in the pack through the first two corners. I am holding on to 7th and trying to gain ground on the 6th. The laps roll off and I don’t make up much ground on 6th and instead am feeling pressure from 8th place looking for an opening to get past me. I do that up until the 6th lap. I run a little wide coming out of turn four and the rider sneaks past me down the straight. Dang it! I follow for a lap looking for an opening. On the last lap coming down the front straight I see my chance. I run wide and fast into turn one then diving toward the apex. It works! I pass him decisively and finish 7th. May have only been for 7th, but earning back the position felt intoxicatingly good. Vintage Single race was up quickly there after. I did much better than the day before. No false start this time, but again flinch a little off the line. I end up at the tail of the lead pack, but am getting pressure from another rider. We turn lap after lap, he’d make up ground on the corners and I’d pull away on the straights. We remained this way for the entire race neck and

Photo by Trisha Baker

“Go fast, turn left.” Seems simple enough. neck, neither able to shake the other. I finish a respectable 5th, but I’m thrilled to have maintained by my spot and not give up any ground. The final race of the season was a return to the indoor Cedar Lake Arena, where it all started for me. It was a little bitter sweet to know the season was ending, but all good things must come to end. The arena had the casual air of an event at the twilight of a season. I’m feeling very confident going into the final race and being indoors I know the track stays nice and tacky without needing constant water. The Open B heat is up first. It’s a decent sized class with 7 riders. The start goes well and I immediately remember how fast everything happens here. The track is only a 1/8th of a mile with short straights, so a lot happens in short amount of time. I’m holding my own mid pack for 3 laps when my over confidence gets me. I’m trying to power hard out of corner four and spin up the rear. I hold on trying to ride it out, but just do a spinning low side. Crap! I’m back up and grab the bike, but I’m 2 laps down before I’m back on the track. Determined to do better in the Vintage Single

heat I focus on my start and hang on. 2nd lap I push hard into turn one. The speed is a bit much for what I’m asking of the bike, and I wash the front end into another low side. Crap, crap, crap! Again it’s two laps before I rejoin the race. I head into the Open B race wondering what I’m doing wrong. I’m determined to make a better showing of myself this race. I have my typical start and find myself mid-pack. I hold off a couple riders for most of the race but fade the last couple laps and drop back to last place. The Vintage Single race is to be my last of race of the year. I am determined to finish now without drama. The start actually goes well, I’m holding my own in 3rd going in to the second corner, neck and neck with another rider. As we power out of the corner we both push wide heading for the wall. I have the better line, but the other bike starts to edge past as we hit the straight. I feel like I’m shoving him into the wall and back off letting him slide past. Not the most competitive thing I’ve done, but there was nothing riding on this race. I follow for the next few laps, but never have a chance to pass or even give him much pressure. The race is over in a flash, and with it the season. As the dust settles from the season I find myself somewhere I never expected, a podium finish for two classes in the season championship points. I finish 2nd overall in Open B and 3rd overall in Vintage Single. The reality of both of those wins is it really came down to making the races more than a commanding presence on the track. To finish first, you must first finish. That said, not bad work for a rookie season. I also screwed myself with the strong Open B finish. You see the rules clearly state that the top 10% of Open B riders move to A Class for the remainder of their racing career. Yup, I’m now an A Class rider, at least according to the rules I am.

Photo by Jim Weatherhead

Foot clutch, hand shift, and a hard tail, and it was described to me as not being “rider friendly”.

The hook is now deeply set. I have a laundry list of things to attend to in the off-season. The Vintage Single, a 1977 Yamaha TT500, needs some serious attention. The suspension is very weak, the motor leaks oil and smokes a bit, the rear brake is pretty hokey, and the whole thing could use a thorough cleaning. Despite all that, it was a ridiculously fun motorcycle and was actually pretty cheap to run for the year. The KTM I used for Open B needs a few modifications to make it more competitive namely

lowered suspension, a wider rear rim, fresh tires and closer gearing ratios. I did the math. I did the math again, and then I started shopping. The end result was a 2010 Kawasaki KX450F. The KX is the former back up/ practice bike for a local AMA Pro Racer, and most importantly, is built to compete. All requisite work is done to suspension, wheels, and has all the nice finishing touches to make it work perfectly. And, the cherry on the sundae for me, the motor is heavily massaged to pump up the horsepower. I reviewed the dyno sheets with a flat tracking friend who described the output as “contender level”. So, in reality I screwed myself again, by removing another excuse for a lack luster finish. No more blaming the bike. For those interested in exploring flat track I suggest the following: 1. Visit District 23 website (http://www.armca.org/) there you will find the rules and event listings, promoter names, and contacts info. 2. Visit any of the promoter webpages and Facebook pages for info. The Shadow Valley Drifters maintain a Facebook page and they organized the class I took this year. There are rumors of them running practice days in conjunction with races at the Cedar Lake Arena this coming spring. (https://www.facebook.com/Shadow-Valley-Drifters-1499790933661641/) 3.If you want to go big time there’s American Supercamp. This is “the” school for flat tracking. https://www.americansupercamp.com 4. If you’re ready to race, join the AMA and District 23 (you need to be a member of both to race though you can buy race day passes if you just want to try it out) 5. Find a bike, or dust off that treasure in your garage. I am happy to share my perspective if you don’t know what to ride. 6. Go racing! For those would like more details on how and where to get involved, to ask questions, or just to tell me I’m silly for starting flat tracking in my forties email me at vwanchena@gmail.com. The final bit of advice I will pass on is the secret to flat track racing given to me by a sneaky fast veteran, “Go fast, turn left.” Seems simple enough.

Every issue 1996 thru 2016 — www.mnmotorcycle.com

MMM


10

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 October 2016

Tales From The Road

T

By Sev Pearman

his past July, I got itchy and called MMM® off-road guru Paul Berglund and asked if he was up for another Colorado mountain ride. “Sure. What do you have in mind?” “The Tin Cup Challenge. It is time.” “I’m in.” The Tin Cup Challenge is a reference to MMM’s Trans-America Trail ride (see April, 2011 issue of MMM®). On that trip, Hancock Pass in CO was washed out. We re-routed over Tin Cup Pass and a get-off by yours truly landed me in the hospital. With each re-telling of that ride, the adventure grew. Publisher Wanchena then started joking that if we would buy it, he would ride any vehicle over Tin Cup. We amused ourselves by emailing ads of choppers, mini vans and stretch limos, bragging, “Yeah, I could get that over Tin Cup…” Jump ahead to July, 2016. The Tin Cup Challenge boasts have grown stale, I haven’t taken a long trip since April and there is a hole in my calendar. Time to shut this down. First, I needed a bike. In my garage were two Moto Guzzis and my KTM trail bike. The KTM was no-contest and the Guzzis are too pretty to toss off a cliff. This meant I had to buy something. I decided to go with a Japanese street bike. Internet searches would find possibilities but the sellers were either insane (“Ran when I put it away in 1996; no title; $1,800”) or baffled by electronic communication. A call to Kim at Sport Wheels (www.sportwheel.com) got the ball rolling. Paul explained what we were up to and our paltry budget. Kim listened patiently, expressed her support and steered us toward a few bikes. $500 doesn’t buy much but I settled on an ’86 Suzuki GS450. We did the paperwork and I drove home with a hideous but running Metric cruiser in rattle-can black. While I had hoped for a standard bike, a

200 Miles, 12,000 Feet On 30-Year-Old Tires cruiser, with its additional handicaps, would add “trail cred” to my Tin Cup Challenge. I cleaned the carbs, fixed the tank leak and installed fresh fuel lines. New spark plugs and caps smoothed out the idle. I changed the oil and brake fluid. Over the next two weeks, I sorted things as needed. While the ride and performance were dated, the bike basically ran fine. Next up was a test of her off-road (li)abilities. The Suzuki was no KTM. Those ancient street tires were a joke. In loose soil, the front would plow straight ahead. While lowering the pressure to 15psi helped, I wanted to replace them with knobbies or a decent dual-sport tread. Other areas of concern were the slippery, ribbed foot pegs; low-slung oil sump and header pipes and suspension. The bike bottomed out on any bump bigger than a walnut. A trip to Crosstown Cycle (www.crosstowncycle. com) in Bloomington was next. “You want to do what with this turd?” And with that query, “Turd Bike®” got her name. Crosstown confirmed the stator was shot. This meant that the bike would not generate electricity to recharge the battery. I would have to start each day with a full charge or risk it not starting. They said they could fashion a skid plate, dismissed the suspension worries and agreed that newer tires were a good idea. I cut off the pillowy, OEM foot peg rubbers and inserted ice racing tire screws into the metal tangs. The tires were more problematic. The cruiser 16” rear limited tire choices. My $1,000 budget depleted, I decided to run on the existing, ancient street rubber backed up by a used 19” dual-sport front and new, loaner 16” street rear as spares. I did spring for new spare tubes (front + rear) and a spare clutch cable. I was out of dough and out of time. Fortunately, I would not be alone. I would be joined by Mr. Berglund and MMM® regular Rick. While I went cheap, Rick went low-mass. His weapon of choice was a 1977 80cc Yamaha

The riders and their mighty steeds. Champ with a feathery 125-pound weight. Mr. Berglund went “Distinguished Gentleman,” by Range Rover-ing his 2008 Triumph Speed Triple with knobbies and a “stunta” crash cage. Why take a 100-hp street bike with zero offroad ability off-road? Because you can! Arriving in Buena Vista, CO, we rode our “regular” trail bikes to St. Elmo and over Tin Cup Pass to assess the trail and get our chops up. Listed as Forest Road 267, Tin Cup Pass is six miles long and connects the towns of St. Elmo and Tin Cup, CO. FR-267 is more rocky trail than road. We easily made the 12,154-foot summit, proceeded to the town of Tin Cup and then bagged other passes. We returned to town and took our TCC bikes out for a final shakedown. All systems were “go”. The next day, Paul led the way on his Triumph while Rick and I trailered our TCC bikes to St. Elmo. If everything worked, we would ride over and back, then have lunch in town. We left St. Elmo in formation, Rick blazing the trail. Unfortunately, the mighty Champ was muzzled by the thin air and Rick’s Viking mass. He waved Paul and I ahead. We wouldn’t see each other for hours. Paul and I traded lead position as we rode up the southern side, both bikes easily navigated the trail. It was glorious to hear his Triumph triple in full song as Paul skillfully ripped toward the summit. At the summit, we paused for the obligatory pics, then headed down toward Tin Cup. I led the way and - HOLY CRAP! What happened to the trail? What was easily traversed on my KTM the day before was an evil, rockfilled, case-bashing, trail of tears on the Turd Bike®. I struggled to maintain momentum, for if I slowed below a certain speed, gravity would take over and pull the bike from me. A group of KTM riders did a double-take as I rode by on the Turd Bike® but I could not stop or wave. It took all my skill and strength to keep the poor Suzuki moving forward. After a half-mile, I pulled over in a relatively flat spot, panting from exertion and dripping with sweat. I dismounted, took off my helmet and hobbled back to look for Paul. He soon appeared, triple growling under the slipping clutch, bounced around the corner and high-sided. I scrambled up to help and a guy in an ATV stopped as well. We quickly got the Triumph on the trail, thanked the stranger and -

Photo by Sev Pearman

Ruh-roh… Oil streamed out of the bottom of the motor. Somewhere since the summit, the mountain had delivered a mortal blow to the Triumph. One thing about Paul: he never loses his cool. He calmly said that we would push and coast his now dead bike down to Mirror Lake, then go get the trailer and pick him up. We briefly discussed me turning around and riding back over the summit and getting the truck and trailer, but I didn’t want to leave him alone and frankly, didn’t think I could ride the Turd Bike® uphill over the merciless rocks. Between my pushing and gravity, Paul bounced his dead, 470-lb bike down to Mirror Lake without further incident. At one point, he flagged down a couple in an ATV and bought their tow strap. If you want a new moto-challenge, may I suggest Team Off-Road Motorcycle Towing. All that remained was a hundred-mile ride to the truck, then a repeat trip over Cottonwood Pass to Taylor Park, St. Elmo, Mirror Lake and Paul. I met up with Rick and Julie, we rescued Paul and returned to Buena Vista 13 hours after our departure. The Turd Bike® didn’t disappoint. It successfully completed the Tin Cup Challenge plus delivered another 200-miles. Damage? One jettisoned rear blinker and a broken tail light filament. What about Rick? Walk/riding his Yamaha to the summit, both he and the Champ made it. Unaware of our plight, Rick turned around and rode back to St. Elmo and our trailer. It took hours to make a cell connection and get a recovery plan in place. Lessons learned? 80s Japanese street bikes are simple, reliable and robust. Street bikes make lousy off-road motorcycles. Skid plates are more important than fresh knobbies. Always ride off-road with a friend. Satellite phones are good for wilderness riding. When in doubt, take that motorcycle trip. See you down the road.

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MMM


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 Winter 2016

11

Thunder on the Mountain

Tales From The Road

The thrill of victory...

A

By Paul Berglund

s foretold by the oracle in the last issue, I have built a scrambler. It didn’t turn out the way I had planned and then I did something else unexpected. I rode it over a mountain in Colorado. Tin Cup pass near St. Elmo Colorado to be exact. The outcome was… mixed. In the original scrambler mission statement, I had theorized that scrambler motorcycles are made to ride on bad roads. I was still feverishly working on what bike I would use to build my scrambler when the former editor of Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, a Mr. Sev Pearman, declared his Tin Cup Challenge. He was going to buy a street bike for $500 and ride it over Tin Cup Pass at the end of August. Most likely it would be an early eighties Japanese cruiser, because no one loves them and they’re about the cheapest bike out there. I instantly wanted in on this action. I began looking for a $500 motorcycle on Craig’s List. But mid summer in Minnesota, people are gripped with a profound delusion on what their motorcycles are worth. The poor souls that had their non running, just needs a carb clean, easy fix, dropped by previous owner, turd bikes listed on Craig’s List felt their bikes were worth

Photo by Sev Pearman

$1000 or more. I tried to reason with a few of them but it only lead to frustration for both of us. This went on for nearly a month. It was then I remembered the TV cartoon Tom Slick. Tom Slick was a racecar driver and he had one car called the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper. Each week he would enter a different race and modify his car to work in that race. I looked at my motorcycle (named Thunder Punkin) and thought that for the price of a turd bike, I could modify it to enter the Tin Cup Challenge. And that’s what I did. The road that runs out of St Elmo up to Tin Cup Pass is a bad road. From the pass down to the town of Tin Cup it’s not a road any more. It’s made entirely out of rocks and boulders and it’s closer to an obstacle course than a road. But I chose to ignore the “bad road” stipulation in scrambler’s modus operandi and press on. I started to prep my unsuspecting Triumph Speed Triple for the challenge from the ground up. First thing I found were knobby tires. That was easy, I took the wheels off my bike and brought them down to Crosstown Cycle and asked them to put knobby tires on them. Done. Next I wanted some form of protection or crash bars to bolt on to my bike. I found a company on line called Xtreem Bikeworks (http://www. xtreembikeworks.com) that made “crash cages”

The agony of defeat... for stunt bikes. I ordered up one of those and waited for it to arrive. Between looking for a turd bike and helping Mr. Pearman with his bike, the two of us forgot that we hadn’t ridden off road all summer. We decided (a week before we were set to leave for Colorado) that we should go down to Snake Creek off road park and do a test run on his bike. I didn’t have my crash cage yet, so I brought my dirt bike. We had a blast! His Suzuki GS450L was not good off road. Not good at all, but it can be done, and in the doing, much fun was had. In all that enthusiasm, I forgot (again) that I hadn’t ridden off road all summer and high sided onto a bunch of rocks and cracked a rib. Now I had two tasks. One was to finish prepping my bike and two was to not let my wife see how much pain I was in till we left for Colorado. The next day the crash cage arrived and I quickly explained it was protection bars and I was just sore from riding all day yesterday. Honestly, would you tell your wife that you were going to bolt an Extreem crash cage on your street bike and ride over a mountain in Colorado? What good could come of that? Saturday morning we had the bikes in the truck and drove off without much protest on her part. But then, she always appears skeptical when I explain what I’m about to do, for some reason. Once in Colorado we road our dirt bikes over Tin Cup Pass on Monday. On Tuesday we saddled up for the Challenge. Mr. Pearman on his GS450L, Rick on his Yamaha 80cc Champ and me on my Speed Triple. Right away we noticed Rick couldn’t make it up the first climb. He neglected to re-jet the Champ and while it could move his butt on flat ground in Minnesota, it struggled mightily to do so at 10,000 feet in Colorado. He would make it to the top, but he walked next to it for most of the ascent. His wife had accompanied us on her ATV, so he waved Mr. Pearman and me on.

Paul and the Mighty Thunder Punkin at Mirror Lake.

Photo by Sev Pearman

Photo by Sev Pearman

tion never resulted in so much fun. When we reached the summit there was a large group of people in side by side ATVs. They gave us a funny look. They didn’t understand what we had just done. But Mr. Pearman and I knew, and Rick would know in about an hour. Right then we were on top of the world. The next leg of the journey took us down the rock road to Mirror lake and then on another bad road to the town of Tin Cup. The clever boys at Crosstown Cycle had made a skid plate for Mr. Pearman. He bashed his way down on his Suzuki. Several hundred yards into our descent a large and nasty rock took out my oil pan. I shut down the motor instantly and it would be several weeks before it would run again. Luckily this mountain is steep and the bike and I were coasting in the same general direction as the gravity that was active here in Colorado. Some parts where terrifyingly fast as I struggled to maintain momentum for the slightly up hill portions. It was on one of those up hill sections that I was breathing so hard while struggling to push the bike that my cracked rib decided to break. Then the fast down hill rocky sections lost some of their fun as the bike hammered my arms and thereby my rib. But I made it to Mirror lake on my own. I had to wait there for five hours while the rest of the team went to get the truck and came to pick me and Thunder Punkin up. I stood in the drizzle and looked at the lake for most of that time. Every half hour or so I’d look back at that shiny orange bike parked at the bottom of the trail and I knew I would do it all over again without hesitation. This had been an epic trip and even though we were both wounded, each of us would heal and both of us would be the better for it.

Mr. Pearman took the lead. It seamed no one wanted to follow a huge knobby tire spun by a 120 horse power triple up the trail. The sound was glorious. That ride up the mountain was one of my life’s highlights. A spur of the moment idea, followed by poor prepara-

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly - Winter 2016  

MMM #180

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