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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #181 March 2017

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly®

Table of Contents March 2017 3

PUBLISHER

From The Hip

Victor Wanchena

MANAGING EDITOR

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Bruce Mike

All The News That Fits Road Rash

REVIEW WRANGLER David Soderholm

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COLUMNISTS Paul Berglund Thomas Day David Harrington

Geezer With A Grudge Outta My Cold, Dead Hands

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CONTRIBUTORS Rick Corwine B. P. Goebel Peter Lundgren Harry Martin Sev Pearman

Bike Review 2016 Victory Empulse TT 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 2017 by Hartman Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Tales From The Road Into The Future

By Bruce Mike

S

o it’s February 19th and it’s going to be 60 degrees. I rode to work the other day and will be going for a ride this afternoon and probably this evening. Our winters seem to keep getting milder. If I don’t think about the global implications, this climate change gives me a lot more comfortable riding experiences. For quite a few years now I’ve had a goal to ride at least once a month over the winter and this year it hasn’t even been a challenge. The Ural also makes it easier to ride whenever I want. It’s been a fun bike. For as long as I can remember, I’ve started each late winter, early spring, with some kind of motorcycle related goal. Whether it be a place I want to go, a bike I want to buy or build or just finishing an existing project that’s sitting in the garage. This helps fend off those late winter blues. This year the goal was to road race up at Brainerd. I met a guy over the holidays that was a new rider instructor and he got me all revved up to give it a try. I had a bike and a plan and was excited to get started. Then a couple of weeks ago I woke up and couldn’t make a fist with my right hand.

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Feature Some Of The Best From MMM Book Review The Adventurous Motorcyclist’s Guide to Alaska

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Random Scootering What’s Coming Up for 2017?

This is not a brand new ailment. I spent a lot of frustrating time seeing doctors last year. They went from having no idea what was wrong with me, to needing immediate surgery, to lets wait and see. It seemed that none of them had any confidence in what they were telling me. Of course me being me, I basically told them to go screw themselves and I walked away.

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Feature The I-Cycle On My Corazzo S2 Lambretta

Based on the three MRIs I had, it appears there is damage to a few discs in my neck. One thing all the doctors did agree on was that it was caused by some kind of trauma. When the trauma occurred is something they couldn’t tell me. In my teens and twenties I was in a lot of car accidents and I’ve had a few bike crashes over the years but nothing that ever put me in the hospital. I started a new round of doctor visits last week. Same health care provider, different doctors. The first guy I saw was great. He told me more in an hour than any of them did all of last year. At least it seemed that way. He also told me that motorcycle racing right now is a really bad idea. He said even a minor crash could be disasterous. I decided to be a grown-up and heed his advice. I haven’t given up on it. I’m going to be optimistic and hopefully do it next year. This year I’ll just work on becoming a bigger and better race fan.

Cover photo by David Soderholm Review Bike Provided By Polaris Industries

What these experiences have reminded me of is that life is short. This is not a new concept for me. Often times I am my worst enemy in approaching life with a sense of urgency. My stubborness prevents me from getting things done all the time. When I keep my approach to life simple. Do what’s right in front of me. Ride whenever I can. Enjoy every minute of every enjoyable moment. Do the work that needs to be done. When I live like this, I have no regrets. MMM

Je Suis Charlie

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #181 March 2017

All The News That Fits The Final Victory Polaris Industries, the parent company of Victory Motorcycles, made the semi-surprise announcement this winter that they will be ceasing production of the Victory line. A Polaris spokesperson, Megan Kathman, said there will be some job losses at the Spirit Lake, IA plant as a result of the Victory shutdown, but didn’t say how many jobs would be lost. Polaris will continue with the Indian brand motorcycles at the Spirit Lake plant. Polaris current plans are to focus on the Indian brand and the three-wheeled Slingshot, both of which have been success lines for the company. Polaris Chairman and CEO Scott Wine in a press release said Indian has more potential to grow than the Victory brand. Polaris is assisting dealers in liquidating their current inventories and will continue to supply parts for a period of 10 years, along with providing service and warranty coverage.

The Victory line was beginning its 18th year of production, but total sales were small at only 10,000 machines worldwide. With all patents and technology remaining with Polaris, Indian will certainly benefit from any research and development work being done. Rumors out of Polaris have included many new models on deck for release, but it is unclear whether they would be rebadged as Indians or what Indian’s plans for their product line are. Additionally the company has given no official word how this will affect Polaris’s other motorcycle brand the all-electric Brammo, which had been being raced under the Victory Motorcycle banner.

Not Again MMM is sad to report that the East Troy, WI EBR Motorcycles shut down production this winter. They have pledged to honor warranties and provide technical and parts support to current dealers and riders who bought motorcycles manufactured by EBR. A press release from the company stated, “EBR will continue to review strategic alternatives with interested investors regarding production operations.” Or stated another way, they ran out of cash and are looking for a buyer. The release went on to say, “The decision was a tough one for EBR as it has been solely focused on the growth and building EBR for success… This difficult decision was based pri-

marily on EBR facing significant headwinds with signing new dealers, which is key to sales and growth for a new company. In addition, EBR has had limited production in 2016 and 2017 that was under goal. The combination of slow sales and industry announcements of other major OEM brands closing or cutting production only magnified the challenges faced by EBR.”

Snow Bike Racing Now Sanctioned by AMA This winter, the American Motorcyclist Association began sanctioning the new sport of snow bike racing. Snow bikes for the uninitiated are competition off-road motorcycles modified with a ski up front and a track in the rear. They are similar to snowmobiles in many respects, but with handling more akin to a motorcycle.

“The AMA is excited to be getting involved in the new and innovative sport of snow bike racing,” said AMA Motocross Manager Kip Bigelow. “We have been watching it with interest for several years and decided that it makes sense to embrace this interesting new competition segment.”

The inaugural series sanctioned by the AMA will be the AMA Championship Snow Bike Series, with the first round of the AMA Championship Snow Bike Series held at ERX Motorpark in Elk River, MN this past December. The nine race series featured three races in Minnesota this season, Elk River, Detroit Lakes, and Hill City. The racers compete on a snow covered MX style course in the race not unlike snow-cross.

“We have learned from past snow-bike events that when dirt, dust and rocks are eliminated, racing gets closer,” said Ron Dillon, the principal of Big Nasty Hillclimb LLC and the series director for the promoter. “Racers will be riding inches from each other, fighting for a spot in our main events, and it is an absolute blast to watch them go at it.”

Motorcyclists To Pay for Beef Over Beef The AMA launched a “bikes for beef ” campaign opposing a trade tariff on motorcycles that trade officials proposed as part of an

Photo Courtesy of the AMA

ongoing dispute with the European Union over hormones in U.S. beef. The Office of the United States Trade Representative requested comments in December regarding its proposal to include tariffs on motorcycles with an engine size between 51cc and 500cc imported from the European Union. The AMA was scheduled to testify in front of congress on the matter in mid-February. The AMA’s position is agricultural trade disputes should not be solved with sanctions against non-agricultural products. The tariff, which could be 100 percent or more, would affect US motorcycle buyers, as well as the dealerships and aftermarket suppliers of a laundry list of manufacturers including: Aprilla, Beta, BMW, Ducati, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM and Vespa. The tariffs, if enacted, would not apply to Asian motorcycle makers.

No Profiling For Motorcyclists Policies and education aimed at ending the profiling of motorcyclists would be required for all law enforcement agencies under a bill introduced in the Minnesota legislature, H.F. 164, by state Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa). The bill would require the development of a statewide model policy by Oct. 1, covering what constitutes profiling and tactics for officers to avoid. By Nov. 1, each law enforcement agency in the state would have to adopt a written anti-profiling

policy. You can follow on with the status of this and other bills via the legislatures website: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/.

X-Games Come to Minnesota What the what? Somehow Minnesota has been chosen to host the summer X-Games for 2017. This is the debut of the summer games here, which have been hosted in such cities as Austin, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Munich, Germany; and Barcelona, Spain. For those not up on the X-Games ,we will essentially be hosting the extreme sports summer Olympics. There are two motorcycle events that occur with XGames.The freestyle MX competition is a semistructured event where riders perform high-flying trick routines on MX bikes. It is always an incredible spectacle of high-flying, no bleepin’ way tricks. It is scheduled to happen inside US Bank Stadium. As is would be expected MMM (especially publisher Wanchena) is frenetically excited because flat track racing is now part of X-Games. Flat track debuted in the games 3 years ago in Austin Texas and has now become a staple of the games. Harley Davidson factory rider Jared Mees will be defending his number 1 X-Games number plate against 20 other riders in the invitational race. The X-Games are scheduled for July 13th – 16th. For more info and hard to navigate website (for those over 40) visit: http://xgames.espn.com/xgames/.

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 — www.mnmotorcycle.com

MMM


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #181 March 2017

Geezer With A Grudge

T

By Thomas Day

here is a punk gangbanger group on Facebook called the Yamaha WR250X and WR250R Public Group. I joined this group about two years ago, because their intro FAQ is all about the useful (and not so useful) things that can be done to make the WR250X/R more fun and practical to ride. I left the group this week because the most outspoken members are consistently spoiled brats. Like a lot of bikers/gun nuts/spoiled children and the rest of the crowd who think their “right” to do any damn thing they please overrides public safety, an undisturbed peace, and their neighbor’s property rights, many of these kids consider themselves above the law and beyond reproach. They are classic examples of why motorcycles and motorcyclists are about as popular as used car salesmen in plaid suits or politicians from another state. Between the “I don’t need no stinkin’ endorsement” and the “why would I carry insurance, I’m just a motorcycle” and “why should I care if wheelieing out of control freaks out cagers” attitudes, the group is a sad cartoon of why motorcycles are likely to be historical relics in a decade or less. There are some decent folks in the group, but their voices (like the voice of reasonable motorcyclists everywhere) are drowned out by the goons, brats, and gangbangers. The last “conversation” I had on the group was about how gangbanging is going to be tough in an autonomous vehicle world. One of the kids claimed “they’ll have to pry my steering wheel away from my cold, dead hands” and a halfdozen or more chimed in accordingly. I asked what they were driving now and got a list of fairly new, mostly-Japanese sedans and midsized pickups. I suggested that since all of these vehicles had automatic transmissions and were controlled by transmission and engine computers they weren’t really driving now. Add power steering, backup cameras, parking sensors, ABS brakes, adaptive cruise control and proximity warning systems and you are about 1/2 way to the fully autonomous vehicle. The difference between being a total passenger and a terrible

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Outta My Cold, Dead Hands driver in a smarter-than-humans car is immeasurably small. I think it is safe to assume that, based on their motorcycling attitudes, that these kids are awful cagers too. As macho as the American driver pretends to be, it ain’t gonna take much to remove most of us from the steering wheel. The first and logi-

“Cops will be watching the self-piloted vehicles closely, since their business will pretty much dry up on the autonomous side of transportation”. cal step is to crank the shit out of the price of car insurance for those who insist on driving themselves. That will pretty much do the job alone. Cops will be watching the self-piloted vehicles closely, since their business will pretty much dry up on the autonomous side of transportation. They are absolutely not going to be issuing tickets to the corporations that provide the multi-user leases to autonomous vehicle

passengers. Not only are corporations “people” but they are people with super-special privileges not to be fucked with. I can’t remember the last time I heard of a cop going after any sort of big business, regardless of how vicious the corporation’s crimes may have been. So, the only ticketing game in town will be the “cold, dead hands” crowd and they will be feeling pretty picked on by the time they hand over the reins to their own autonomous car. I know, you’re thinking “The Geezer is still just pissed off about his damn Volkswagen automatic transmission experience.” True, I’m pissed off at Volkswagen over that nightmare, but I have always disliked automatic transmission cars. They feel patronizing, sort of like having someone pat me on the head, when they put me in an electric wheel chair and say, “Now you’re in charge old dude. The hallway is all yours.”

Unlike the obtuse kids, I don’t care about driving and I’d just as soon lease a portion of an autonomous car as own a whole car that I have to finance, insure, and drive myself. Cars are boring and I’m a lot happier as a distracted passenger than driving. I can read, sleep, watch the scenery, or write as a passenger. As a driver, I spend most of my energy trying to stay awake. Unlike these kids, if I’m going be stuck behind the wheel I want as much control as I can have, including getting to decide my vehicle’s gear, engine RPM, and the point in the powerband for the situation at hand. I’ve yet to see an automatic transmission or all-wheel drive vehicle do a half decent job on ice or in deep sand and I’ve sure as hell seen those vehicles do a pitiful job in those conditions. So, until I can get at least 95% of an autonomous car, I’m hanging on to my 4WD, manual transmission pickup.

I think the most insulting vehicle I’ve ever driven was a Toyota rental car with “Sport Shift Mode” thumb shifters. I guess some kid who grew up playing video games might be able to fool himself into believing that he’s “really driving a car” when he can select the gear with a flick of the thumb, but I don’t play video games. The little Corolla had more than enough power to get out of its own way, but the Sport Shift Mode was clunky, intolerant of any high RPM operation, and it felt like an attempt by Toyota’s engineers to convince me to go back to letting the car do the driving. Which I did after a couple of unsatisfactory experiments with the thumb shifters.

There is nothing cold-dead-handish about this, though. I just don’t like doing things half-assed. If I can get a computer to drive for me, I’m in. If the computer is just there to make me a more distracted, less competent driver, I don’t need that kind of help. But back to the original point of this rant, in an autonomous car world (Coming soon to your town!) motorcycles morbidity/ mortality statistics will become an unjustifiably over-represented majority in traffic crashes and the ugly face motorcycling has proudly presented to the public will be something we’re going to wish we’d have done something about when it would have helped. MMM

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #181 March 2017

The 2016 Victo T

By David Soderholm

iming. It’s a thing. Sometimes you have it and sometimes you don’t. If you’re playing baseball and you have good timing, you hit the homerun, or you make the Kirby Puckett catch on the wall in extra innings. In life, maybe you buy the lottery ticket on the right day or show up in the right place at the right time to meet your lifelong Love. Like I said – timing is a thing. If you’re the review wrangler (yours truly!) timing has been a thing. Making the right contacts and calls at the right times to bring the readers good motorcycle models and stories. For me, timing has been a thing. A really GOOD thing……until it wasn’t…..and I received a text from Ben Goebel….. “( January 9, 2017) — Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) today announced it will immediately begin winding down its Victory Motorcycles brand and related operations. Polaris will assist dealers in liquidating existing inventories while continuing to supply parts for a period of 10 years, along with providing service and warranty coverage to Victory dealers and owners.” DAMN! Bad timing to be sure, as we had already ridden and written the articles you are now reading. Then another text, “Are we still running the Empulse review??” I do some more digging and find this. Polaris will “continue the electric part of the business…“and “Future products and markets will develop, both onroad and off-road”. “Hell yes!” is my reply to Mr. Goebel. So we are rewriting, still including things about the 2016 Empulse, but with a bend toward the electric experience. With that out of the way – read on. Many things are different when one decides to go electric. On the top of the list is something that has been termed “Range Anxiety” - the fear of being left stranded somewhere without power in the system. Range Anxiety sets you up to believe you had better have your roadside assistance # on speed dial just in case. It turns out that most of those fears are largely unfounded and overblown according to a new study published in Nature Energy by researchers from MIT and the Santa Fe Institute. Based on a vast data analysis of second-by-second U.S. driving patterns and other evidence they concluded, “That 87 percent of vehicles on the road could be replaced by a low cost electric vehicle available today, even if

Photo by David Soderholm

Seating position is sporty standard. You are moderately tilted into the wind with nice leg positioning and a reasonable reach to the bars. there’s no possibility to recharge during the day”. I can largely back up much of this claim in my day to day use of the 2016 Victory Empulse. Stated range on the Empulse was 140 miles on a full charge. Realistically, you’re looking closer to 100 miles on a full charge. That’s obviously highly dependent upon how much you whack the thing and also city vs highway (read freeway) commuting. As with many electrics, there is a recapture of energy anytime you are off throttle. This leads to city cycle riding being more “efficient” mileage wise than constant running. My commute to work is about 27 miles. It didn’t matter whether I took the freeway or the backroads to get to work. I had plenty of range available for both to complete my ride home. If I took backroads I had much more range available to play with than if I just bombed the free-

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way. I could have easily plugged in at work also, but didn’t, just to have a good range baseline to work from. What this ultimately means is that as long as the weather allowed it, I could commute to work on my motorcycle and NEVER have to worry about a gas station. I thought that was really cool. Just plug in with the included charger when I arrived home and a “full tank” was available the next morning. From empty to full took about 4 hours in a type 2 charger or 7-8 hours with the included type 1. So – daily commute to work and back – check, with room to spare. What about doing a trip on it?? Check again… only with caveats. This thing has roughly a 100 mile range, give or take a few. Obviously that would seem insurmountable, and I thought it was, until I came across this website - https:// na.chargepoint.com/charge_point. On it I discovered that there are literally thousands of charging sites for electrics that I never knew existed. Your trip will definitely take more time to plan, when having to include electric fills, but it’s entirely possible to travel with. You’ll be happy with the “fuel” savings too! What’s the Empulse like to ride anyways? It’s a rush unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. You “start” it by turning on the key and pushing a button. Then a light comes on the dashboard telling you it’s “on”, while being totally silent. Choose Sport or Eco. Either is a blast but there is noticeably more punch in Sport mode. It has a clutch and a transmission. Feel free to use them or not. Shifting smoothness could use some work. It’s notchy. When you’re running around anything but freeway, you can literally put it in third and never touch anything but brakes and throttle. That’s an eerily cool feeling. Punching the throttle makes you feel like the rock being shot out of the slingshot. It’s a most-

ly silent and forceful push up to speed that is thrilling. Torque is available instantly, although it is metered by the control unit to keep you from spinning out or high-siding yourself in a corner. Running at speed produces nothing but wind, tire and some driveline whine. Coming to a stop at a light, you have to look down at the dash to remind yourself it is still “running”. You hear….nothing. Seating position is sporty standard. You are moderately tilted into the wind with nice leg positioning and a reasonable reach to the bars. The dashboard has a lot of digital information; Things like speed, tach, odometer, gear position, energy consumption, battery status, estimated range and system status are included. Running gear is sport-bike quality. A multi adjustable, upside down fork and remote reservoir shock do a nice job soaking up the bumps. Not the absolute best out there, but totally livable and adaptable. The brakes are radially mounted Brembos up front and do an excellent job of slowing the bike down. Combine that with the regenerative braking in the rear and you have a nice stopping package. Handling feels very “dense”. You can tell there is a lot of mass centered between your knees. It all works with a pilot who counter steers well and holds that counter steering through corners. Overall, it’s a very pleasing package. Riding this Victory has me hopeful for the electric future. If Polaris’s PR copy holds true, then we have a lot to look forward to! The Empulse is a great first step for this homegrown giant in powersports. If you are at all interested, go get one. There are SCREAMING deals on them right now. MMM thanks Polaris for our use of the Empulse! We can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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MMM


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #181 March 2017

7

ory Empulse TT W

By B.P. Goebel

as fast, but as soon as it’s spooled up (almost instantly) you are already doing 40 mph with just the slightest movement of your wrist.

hen most people think of electric motorcycles, they think of quirky, hand built science projects in the form factor of a motorcycle rather than a refined, ready for mass production product, produced by a major motorcycle manufacturer. Victory Motorcycle Company has leveled up on the electric motorcycle game with the Empulse TT. The TT is definitely a real motorcycle. It’s not an adapted scooter or a toy. It feels like a motorcycle, acts like a motorcycle, it’s spec’ed with motorcycle parts and it’s from a motorcycle company.

With that said, Sport mode is much more fun. Having the proverbial, invisible (and silent) giant hand pushing you hard from behind is pretty cool. Putting it in second and just point and shooting is really fun especially since you can go the other way just as hard with the premium brake system. Closer to race spec than not, two Brembo radial calipers and big discs adorn the front. They have to be good because of the weight they need to check and because of how quickly the bike can get up to speed.

Too big to be called diminutive, the TT feels like a 300-400cc class bike in physical size. The riding position is compact, folded and uptight, not unlike a sport bike. All the controls in the spartan layout feel like real motorcycle controls. At the risk of invoking scooter images, the TT can be twist and go too. But hey, scooters are fun. And twist and go is easy. Forget all the shifting stuff, twist and go is super easy. One and done. First gear does 60 miles an hour, so if you are just driving around, what gear you are in is relatively moot. You can ride around in first all day, but you don’t have to. You can split the difference between super acceleration and throttle sensitivity by using second gear all day instead. When you need to be in more of a performance mode, the gears allow you to spread the power around where you want, when you want to. The gears can also allow the “revs” to drop, helping to conserve battery. Dichotomous to the performance aspirations of the rest of the bike, there is a decent amount of driveline slack and the transmission is balky at best, feeling more agricultural/cruiser-like than sportbike like. In cold and windy conditions at the drag strip, the Empulse did 73 MPH in second gear and did and 88 MPH in third. Like on a ICE bike, when starting out in third gear the acceleration is less aggressive and the throttle is less touchy. Unlike an ICE bike, it doesn’t kill on you when you start out in third. It just goes. The resistance to downshifting from speed is much less than you would get from an

The Empulse seems to carry its weight up higher, rather than lower. It takes a firm press to initiate lean and once initiated, it needs a continued firm press to hold the line.

Photo by David Soderholm

The Empulse seems to carry its weight up higher, rather than lower. It takes a firm press to initiate lean and once initiated, it needs a continued firm press to hold the line. ICE motorcycle. Even abruptly downshifting to first. To make you feel at home, when you roll off hard, there is quite a bit of resistance from the regenerative braking system. Sound on roll-off is like the sound of a jet starting to descend. There are two riding modes, Sport and Eco. Sport mode lets it punch much harder, especially when you use the gears. It loves to have you dump it into a higher gear at large throttle openings. The electric motor isn’t phased and just heaps more on-it will pull it. This is where the gears really come into play, leveraging the motor. Power comes on in a really greasy, super smooth way. They aren’t giving it all to you at part throttle, you can tell the motor controller software is holding some back. The future is one hack or updated software release from being able to light off the rear tire

at will. Ludicrous mode anyone? Launch control? No problem. The TT makes more torque than HP. How hard does it accelerate? Hard enough that in any kind of traffic it leaves little mental energy for anything but the task at hand. When I first got the Empulse I headed straight to the highway. Reveling in the disorientation of the silent, pulse quickening acceleration and fighting back allusions to TRON, I merged with the rapid traffic stream. How fast was I moving? I have no idea, I was instantly, electrically, just flowing with fast traffic. Discerning speed is made harder by lack of vibration/ sound feedback. The loudest thing on the bike is the final drive and tire noise. While you may think Eco mode is just planet saving conservation, battery extending, unfun, dry motoring best left for when you start to get range anxiety, Eco mode is really not that much of an albatross. It doesn’t rip off the line

The thankfully adjustable suspension holds the stout TT pretty tautly. The suspension must deal with a bunch of weight and with some of the weight in not the usual places. You don’t want that weight flailing around. It can do bumps in the corner, but it doesn’t really like them. To charge/fill up, you have two options. A Level II charger will get the job done in just short of 4 hours. The Level I charger does it in just less than 8 hours. So, get home, plug it in just like you do with your cell phone, and the next morning you are set to go. Assuming an average daily commute, range is not that big deal. As an electric motorcycle should, the display gives you data and lots of it. Like your iPhone, it has a battery icon and displays remaining battery percentage so that you can play range anxiety games with yourself. If you can charge at work, you can pound sport mode all the way home without any energy worries. Also, to keep you from other kinds of worrying, the TT comes with a 5 year/100,000 mile warranty (AppleCare isn’t even that long!) They should put on auto-canceling signals because you will be having so much fun you will forget to turn them off. In many ways, riding an electric motorcycle makes it feel even more like you are getting away with something, than with normal motorcycle riding. MMM

aerostich.com/mmm

Photo by David Soderhom

Like your iPhone, it has a battery icon and displays remaining battery percentage so that you can play range anxiety games with yourself.

©2016

aero_mmm_5x3_5_0516.indd 1

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 — www.mnmotorcycle.com

3/1/16 9:45 AM


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #181 March 2017

Tales From The Road

Into the Future

By Paul Berglund MMMRoadTales@gmail.com

back in stock shape and its ready to ride the twisty roads again.

elcome to 2017. Winter is upon us and the fresh fallen snow has hushed the sounds from the outside world. Buell has gone quietly and gently into that good night and Victory will soon follow. Sadly, Buell may be down for the last time. On the bright side, Victory went away so Polaris can direct those resources into it’s Indian line of Motorcycles. Hopefully one of the future new Indian motorcycles will be a 450 pound street bike. That’s all I’m asking for Polaris. But as long as I have your attention, what do you think about naming some of these new Indian brand models after other antique bikes. How fun would it be to zip down a twisty road on a shiny new Thor or Flying Merkel?

I still have all the parts I bought to make it more off road worthy. So if any of you have a 2005 to 2010 Triumph Speed Triple that you would sell me cheap, drop me a line here at MMM. You can reach me at MMMRoadTales@gmail.com. I still have some ideas on how to make a Speed Triple into a scrambler, but I would rather not experiment on my only road bike. If I can find a stunt double to stand in for the pretty orange bike, I can let my imagination run wild. I’m not sure just what will happen if I build a 1050cc scrambler, but I’m guessing you’re as curious as me to find out. So keep your eyes open for a scruffy Speed Triple. Heck, I think the smaller (675cc) first generation (2007 to 2012) Street Triple might work too.

I’m quite happy with the bikes I do own. Right now I have a 2008 Triumph Speed Triple and a 2015 KTM 500 EXC-F. Both bikes are orange and both are the top of the line bikes in their category. They are more capable performers than I am at riding them, so I have some room to grow. If you read our last issue, you saw me attempt to ride the Triumph where the KTM was meant to go. Tin Cup Pass in Colorado was not kind to the big Speed Triple, or me for that matter, but much fun was had. I’ve got the bike

The next order of business is Vintage Torque Fest in Iowa. For 2017 it’s May 5th and 6th. Last year some of the MMM gang went down and we had a blast. I was on a loaner mini bike. The kind with a pull start lawnmower motor and no suspension. Bruce, the editor of MMM was riding a vintage Honda Trail CT70 and our friend Rick was on another of those horrible no suspension kind of mini bikes. No one is talking, but I have it from good sources that Rick will be riding a Honda Trail CT 90 and Bruce found a

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Photo by Paul Berglund

Photo by Paul Berglund

knock off Chinese bike and did a motor swap with his CT70. He will be packing 110cc. I still don’t have a vintage little bike to compete with these treacherous old men. So I’m turning to you the reader once again to help me find a suitable bike to go against my fellow riders down at Torque Fest. It too has to be cheap. I’m not sentimental in the least when it comes to bikes from my younger days. I don’t lust after a mint condition Honda Trail or any of the countless little enduros. I just want to ride around a race track in Iowa with my friends. Of course it wouldn’t hurt if my bike was faster than theirs. Thats just the nature of guys and bikes. I’m seeing little vintage enduros on Craig’s List, but my computer is covered in coffee from all the spit takes I do when I see the price! So again, if you have an appropriate bike gathering dust in your garage, please let me know. Just to be clear, I’m not planing on doing stupid things with these bikes. However, the best stories come from doing stupid things with bikes. If you have the appropriate bike to sell and you’d faint if it gets dusty, that’s not the bike I’m looking for. Nor am I looking for a “ran when parked” “project” bike that looks like it was stored under a shed for decade. I just need a bike I can do zany antics with to fill the pages of MMM. I’m doing this for the readers. It takes a village to bring you a motorcycle

magazine. So this may be your opportunity to contribute to the motorcycling community and the delinquency of a middle aged man. I’m not trying to build a motorcycle collection. There is no room in my garage for a museum. To me, the value of a motorcycle isn’t in the price you pay for it, it’s in the experience you have when you ride it. That’s what I’m spending my money on. It’s the things I’ve done and the places I’ve seen that give me happy thoughts. Not polishing chrome or seeing my reflection in store windows as I ride past. Looking back, I remember some of the bikes I’ve owned with fondness, some of them I’m glad that they are gone. When I’ve done what I wanted to do with a bike, it’s time to pass it on to the next rider and start the next adventure. They are not toys to play with, but tools to build happiness. Of course I think we can all agree not to mention any of this to my wife. She has enough to deal with and needn’t be burdened with extraneous knowledge about unholy motorcycle creations, out of state mini bike racing, broken ribs or just what came in those empty boxes out by the recycling bin. I feel a garage should be a safe zone. Free of blame, recrimination or accurate depictions of intended outcomes. Motorcycles are all about freedom. We can leave it at that. MMM

Photo by Sev Pearman

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #181 March 2017

9

Some of The Best From MMM

Feature By Victor Wanchena

Best Local Ride There are few rides with as much to offer in the Twin Cities as the Grand Rounds. Curves and hills, scenery and urban grit; this interconnected series of parkways are nearly an ideal set of motorcycle roads. Consisting of 50 some miles of parkways, the Grand Rounds snake their way around and through the heart of Minneapolis. The brainchild of Horace Cleveland some 120 years ago, the Grand Rounds offer an inner-city ride that feels more like a country lane, something that appeals to everyone from the brawny chopper guys and to the beep-beep scooter crowd. Starting on the northeast side of town, The Grand Rounds cut west across the northern part of the city and head south through Theodore Wirth Park, then around the lakes and back east along Minnehaha Creek. It turns north at the river and ends in downtown. The “look at me crowd” is all too familiar with the loops around Lake Calhoun and Harriet, but seldom do they venture out to lesser-traveled sections. Pure bliss can be found on late summer evenings after the traffic has subsided and the traffic lights all turn to green. You can find maps and more info on the Grand Rounds at https://www.minneapolisparks.org.

Best Road Outstate Ride There are over 135,000 miles of roads in Minnesota, so picking a favorite is difficult. A portion that stands out as some of the most beautiful is Highway 61 from Duluth to Grand Portage. There are many scenic roads through every corner of this state but this one ride encompasses so much of what Minnesota has to offer. Even Minnesota’s native son Bob Dylan thought enough of 61 to immortalize it in song, apparently “anything” can be done out on

Book Review

Hwy 61. The North Shore, as it is often known, easily becomes a favorite of anyone who’s had the pleasure to ride it. Recognized nationally as a scenic road, Hwy 61 clings to the shore of Lake Superior as it heads to the Canadian border, a trip of 150 miles. Along that stretch you get bluffs and waterfalls, lighthouses and forests, all on a well-maintained ribbon of twolaned black top. Especially popular is the early fall when the colors are at their height. The way north is dotted with state parks and small towns. Curio shops and smoked fish shacks are a fixture as well. Those looking to extend their ride can explore the Gunflint Trail and Highway 1 to Ely. A real treat for those with time is to continue north into Canada and over the top of Lake Superior, highly recommended. For more info on the North Shore visit the DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Best Mechanic To paraphrase a quote from the movie Kelly’s Heroes, “Oh, I just ride ‘em man. I don’t know what makes ‘em work.” So some sage advice from my youth was to find a good barber, mechanic, and doctor. In that order, and stick with them. A good mechanic is really a precious commodity; they can make an unruly heap of junk into a well-oiled machine. And because they are essentially mechanical shaman, their craft is rarely understood or truly appreciated. Lou Lakey of Roy’s Repair has been working his famous voodoo over bikes for close to 40 years. Known for his skill and lack of patience for silly questions, riders needing a skilled hand on their bikes have been bringing them to Lou for many years. His collective years as a mechanic is longer than many reading this have been alive. Unfortunately this is known by enough people to keep Lou busy and he continues to threaten retirement. And like most artists he shouldn’t be rushed, wait your

turn and he will drive the evil spirits from your bike. His specialty is bikes from the Land of the Rising Sun, but European and American riders fear not, Lou is an equal opportunity wrench. Lou can be found at Roy’s Repair 3232 Snelling Ave. S. in Minneapolis or call 612-721-8868.

Best Place To Be Seen With Your Bike Come on admit it. You like to ride but you also like to park and stand next to your bike. Hoping the “cool” is dripping off you like sweat in the summer. For better or worse the place to do this is the First Thursday gathering at Dulono’s Pizza in uptown. As the name implies First Thursday is held the first Thursday of each month. Starting sometime after 5pm and going till Dulono’s closes, this gathering of bikes and riders is the best place to be seen while building some street cred for you and your ride. The crowd, which can reach a few hundred in the summer, is wide ranging from the portly Boss Hoss boys to the squidly Star Boyz types. Local luminaries do make occasional cameos. Ironically, the guys that started First Thursday, the Norton Owners Club, have been driven off by the crowds, their meeting place a tightly held state secret. Be warned the environment gets raucous as the night wears on and the neighbors are less than enthusiastic about the noise and hubbub. You will see everything here from $50 rat bikes to $100K customs. Dulono’s Pizza is located at 607 West Lake Street in Minneapolis.

Funkiest Place to Get Scootered Up (Best Scooter Shop) So you want to re-enact a scene from Quadrophenia but aren’t sure which scooter shop is cool with the Mods but also respected by the Rockers. Without risking another Brighton Beach incident you can be seen at the Twin

Cites Scooterville. Tucked away in plain sight off 94 in Minneapolis, this funky shop sells and services scooters in a way that’s so square it’s hip. Amid large banners in a mildly neoItalian theme shop are arrayed scooters from the Far East and India. Owner Bob Hedstrom has combined his love of vintage Italian machines with modern offerings, like the ever-hip Stella or Buddy, and modest service facilities. Scooterville is fun and smart, not a high rent, glass front scooteria for neo-urban hipsters. The surroundings punctuate the fact that Scooterville is the shop for those in the know. You are just as likely to see motorcycles as scooters parked out front, which means the message is out; Scooterville is a moto-friendly shop for tire kickers and those just scootercurious. They can be found at 904 19th Ave S, Minneapolis or call at 612-331-7266.

Best Race of the Season For 2017 the best racing action will be hard to call with several must see events happening this coming summer. The easy winner this summer though will be the X-Games making their Minnesota debut in the July. This will be quite the treat for the Minnesota to have what amounts to the extreme sport summer Olympics here. There are two motorcycle events that occur with X-Games. The freestyle MX competition is always an incredible spectacle with much high-flying, no bleepin’ way tricks, but MMM is especially excited because flat track racing is now part of X-Games. It debuted in the games 3 years prior and has been come a staple of the games. We are excited to watch the defending champion, Jared Mees, pitch it sideways. The X-Games are scheduled for July 13th – 16th. For more info and hard to navigate website (for those over 40) visit: http:// xgames.espn.com/xgames/. MMM

The Adventurous Motorcyclist’s Guide to Alaska guided and self-guided, are all covered. I was slightly depressed after reading this chapter because Lee made way too good of a case for flying in and renting a bike, crushing my dream of riding to Alaska, with too much practical travel knowledge and application of common sense. Oh who am I kidding, I’m riding there.

need for gas, and how long it may be for help. To that point, Lee cautions several times to have everything you need for an unexpected night or two, it might take that long for help if you break down. Isn’t that the true definition of adventure riding? Man, machine, and wilderness?

The introduction and the first chapter alone was worth the price of the book. The Intro covers the important basics like gear, tools, choice of bikes and a breakdown of several week long trip itineraries. You’ll get advice for everything from Sat Phones to Best Bars, hotels to tire selection. Getting there by Fairy is an option I never knew of and how to reserve space, secure your bike, and get a decent cabin is all covered.

The rest of the chapters breakdown along the major highways in the different sections of Alaska. I don’t think any of us will ever live long enough to ride it all so deciding on one or two of these routes is a must. If you’re serious about riding Alaska then read this book with a map of Alaska handy to make notes as you go. I didn’t the first time and, since I don’t have the geography of Alaska memorized, had to read it all again with the visual aide. Not that big of a deal to read twice, it is actually a fun read. With colorful writing like trails described as “Kiss your wife and kids goodbye because you may never return” or finding the local boat guide by “call from the town bar or, more likely, find him occupying the stool at the end of the bar” you will be entertained while getting useful info.

Alaska is too big and offers too many options to just wing it. Read through this book and see what interests you. For instance I though riding to Prudhoe Bay would be fun, you know, going to the Northern most ridable point, but it doesn’t sound scenic or that much fun riding across mosquito saturated barren tundra up dangerous company roads. The Eastern Alaska area sounds fun and scenic and has great roads and countless rustic roads. Your reason for going is likely different than mine, but whatever is your reason or destination this book will help and even tell you where to find other resources on your picked location.

Chapter One is called Base Camp which refers to Anchorage. I believe the author picked this spot for all the available motorcycle touring amenities. Outfitters, motorcycle rentals, tours

The highways, the trails, hotels, campgrounds, hot springs, how to make reservations, all broken down into daytrips. You always know how far you are from civilization, what you

By Lee Klancher with Phil Freeman Copyright 2012 Octanepress

I

By Kevin Driscoll

realize I am no great standout in the motorcycle community when I say riding Alaska is on my bucket list. As a matter of fact I believe that exact phrase was used in the last Ride Alaska book review in MMM. But it is still true. So I looked around for a great book and was happy I found this one. It isn’t a glorified ride report lake many books I sampled, but instead it is a true ‘Here’s how to ride Alaska’ manual.

I wanted to ride Alaska before I read the book, now it is a must do. This book took out most of my fear of the unknown and just left me with decisions to make; exactly where to go, how best to get there, and on what.

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MMM


10

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #180 October 2017

What’s Coming Up for 2017?

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By David Harrington

e’re coming up on a new riding season here in Minnesota and that means either getting our scooter(s) out of storage and making them road-ready or…. Getting a scooter!

If you’re part of the former group, be sure and devote some time to verifying the reliable function and safety of your ride. Check those tires, lights, brakes and so forth. If you DIDN’T prep your scooter for storage, get ready to (likely) clean out that fuel system and (probably) get a new battery. Those of you in the latter group have some shopping to do. There aren’t a lot of “new” offerings in the scooter world for 2017. There are some scooteresque machines coming out and we’ll delve deeper into those coming up.

Vespa/Piaggio – In the Twin Cities proper, you’ve got Scooterville for Vespa (and Piaggio) scooters, a bit south there’s also Leo’s in Lakeville. Vespa is continuing to evolve their line for 2017 offering some new colors and configurations but no new models. In Minnesota, 50cc Vespas are treated as motorcycles (not mopeds) so they are not commonly found at delaers. What you will see are the smallframe Primavera and Sprint and the large-

50cc and 125cc versions, the Fly (one of my favorites) is 50cc and 150cc fuel-injected versions, the mighty BV350 with a fuel-injected liquid-cooled 33 horsepower (that’s a lot in the scooter world) 330cc engine as well as anti-lock , electronic stability control and big wheels. This model is my current favorite doanything scooter. The three-wheeled MP3 is still here with one engine choice of about 500cc. The Liberty is a big-wheeled scooter in 50cc and 150cc choices. The Liberty has been around in other countries for a bit, but the line has been completely re-designed for 2017 so the USA will be getting the latest version.

Honda – In Minneapolis there’s Honda Town. Spreading out to the suburbs adds Tousley, Motoprimo and Hitching Post. Go out a bit further and the list just grows. Honda’s scooter line up for 2017 includes the 50cc Metropolitan and Ruckus. The PCX is a 150cc machine that is an excellent choice in this class. At 280cc is the Forza which brings real highway capability to the game. For the maxi-scooter crowd, there is the venerable 600cc twin-cylinder SIlverwing. The 2017 Honda X-ADV is one of those new machines that blurs the lines between motorcycle and scooter and we’ll discuss further in a future article.

Photo Courtesy of Honda

frame GTS. Oh sure, you might encounter a 946 “art scooter” or two out there, but with an MSRP of $10,500 for 150cc machine I doubt you’ll see many of them. The Primavera offers 150cc, fuel injected of course, 3 valve engine and the unique Vespa steel monocoque chassis. I heard they were also adding anti-lock brakes for 2017. The Sprint has the same driveline, slightly larger wheels and, in my opinion, a more retro headset. The Sprint has included anti-lock and electronic stability control since its introduction. In larger Vespas, one can pick from the GTS in several configurations and the GTV. Both lines offer a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 278cc powerplant along with antilock technology. The GTV bumps up the game with a front fender mounted light, split seat and more standard goodies. Piaggio is bringing us something new (for the USA) this year in their Liberty scooter. Their continuing line-up includes the Typhoon in

Yamaha – Look to Tousley, Motoprimo and Hitching Post for Yamahas close to the metro. From Yamaha we have the 50cc Vino Classic and a couple of versions of the 50cc Zuma. Back in the day, the then 2-stroke Zuma was quite the machine with a large performance aftermarket and cult-like following. Not so much in these 4-stroke times. The Yamaha SMax is a 155cc machine that fits into the same class as the Honda PCX. Though not new for 2017, the Yamaha T-Max was re-introduced in 2015 (it had died out in 2009) and I have not yet ridden one. A 530cc twin-cylinder maxiscooter with sport leanings in style and, ostensibly, performance. I’d love to get my mitts on one so I can give a first-hand impression. Suzuki – Close to the metro we have Tousley, Leo’s and Hitching Post for Suzukis. For 2017 Suzuki continues to hold the lead position in maxi-scooters with their Burgman 650. This machine has seen some evolution over the

years including improvements to the transmission that make it much friendlier around the garage. The 638cc twin-cylinder executive version includes heated grips and seat and is a wonderful highway machine. The Burgman 400 is, in my opinion, a bit overweight for its class, but is filled with high quality features just like the big machine including anti-lock braking. The Burgman 200 is another scooter of the Honda PCX and Yamaha S-Max ilk. Nothing especially new in scooters for 2017.

Kymco – Scooterville in Minneapolis is the largest scooter dealer in the area. Delving into the suburbs we also have Cities Edge and Heinen’s that carry Kymco. I’m a Kymco fan and have owned several. Until the recent Piaggio BV350 upgrade, the Kymco People 250 – 300 line held my title of best do-everything scooter. In recent years, Kymco has reduced their USA offerings their fine 2-stroke 50cc scooters are long gone. They are still one of the few lines to offer moped-legal 50cc scooters in Minnesota including the Agility 50 and the Super 8 50. At 110cc Kymco offers the small stature rider friendly Fuel injected Campagno. The Agility 125 has been a value leader in this class for years. The Super 8 is also available in a 150 and the Like 200i offers more traditional scooter styling in a fuel injected 163cc machine. Jumping up to the 300cc class, Kymco has the Downtown with maxi-scooter styling and the still exceptional People GTi that can do it all from highway trips to running errands around town. The Xciting offers up a 500c liquid-cooled fuel-injected anti-lock braking equipped true maxi-scooter at more favorable pricing than its Japanese competitors. The bigger Kymcos are manufactured in Taiwan and represent a great value. SYM – GoMoto in Minneapolis is your local SYM (and Lance…. and Royal Enfield) dealer. Like Kymco, SYM is a Taiwanese company. The SYM USA distributor also distributes Lance scooters. Lance scooters are mainland Chinese through SYM and are of substantially better quality than many of the mainland Chinese offerings. The SYM Mio 50 is one of my favorite 4-stroke 50cc scooters and is a very friendly scooter for those of normal stature as opposed to the freakishly tall (say, oh, anyone over 5’ 10”). For 2017 the SYM Fiddle 200 is fuel injected (169cc) and offers more traditional scooter styling. The HD 200 is a 171cc liquid-cooled big-wheeled scooter of excellent quality. The similar RV 200 offers sportier styling similar to the Honda PCX and Yamaha S-Max though without fuel injection…. yet. The SYM CityCom is a 278cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected do everything machine in the class of the Piaggio BV350 and Kymco People GTi. Lance offers 50, 125 and 170cc machines (including some fuel injected) in their Soho, Cabo, PCH, Havana and Cali lines. You can see these aside the SYM offerings at GoMoto.

maxi-scooters with no major changes for 2017 that I noticed. I have not ridden either of these machines and can’t speak from personal experience, but many people are fans of the touring C650GT and the playful (for a BMW) C650 Sport.

Photo Courtesy of Genuine

Genuine – Back to Scooterville for Genuines in the metro. Best known for the Stella scooter (essentially an updated Vespa P-series) and the Buddy line (wildly successful), Genuine brings us the best (in my opinion) Minnesota moped-legal scooters available with their 2-stroke Buddy 50 and Roughhouse. Doubt me? Cruise around the U of M and count the number of Genuine Mopeds you see. The Buddy is also available in a carbureted 125 and fuel injected 170. The Buddy Kick is a 125 fuelie that is similar to the Kymco Campagno. The Venture is a big-wheeled moped-legal 4-stroke 50cc. The Stella is still out there in an automatic version and one might even find a manual shifter or two available. The Hooligan shares the 170 fuel injected powerplant with the Buddy and is bigger, sportier and features modern styling. The sporty 220cc fuel injected Blur is also available from Genuine. There you have my quick 2017 listing of available scooters, not counting many of the mainland Chinese offerings. Coming up, I’ll look at some machines that blend the motorcycle/ scooter line and we’ll talk about some small displacement motorcycles that seem to draw scooterists, including anew-to-the-USA offering from SYM…… the Wolf 300! Twin Cities scooterist David Harrington owns and operates JustGottaScoot.com

BMW – Hitching Post, Leo’s and Moon Motors are your closest to the metro BMW dealers. BMW offers two

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 — www.mnmotorcycle.com

MMM


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #181 March 2017

Feature

11

The I-Cycle On My Corazzo S2 Lambretta in the same position I started in but at least now I know how the cards work. ;) Lunch was included in the entry fee with hot coffee and tea provided by the fine folks at Diamonds Coffee Shoppe in Northeast Minneapolis. After lunch and a quick gas up, we reconvened for another rider meeting before I once again took the pole position to start the afternoon leg of the derby. The afternoon leg ended up taking us into St. Paul and I have to say, I really thought I was finally in my groove for this leg. I kept an eye on my speedometer to make sure I wasn’t speeding and also making sure I wasn’t hammering it off the line. Overall I performed all 3 of the legs on this half flawlessly. I never missed a single turn and never got passed by anyone so at least I wasn’t dragging my heals or messing up my navigation.

Photo by Rick Corwine

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By Peter Lundgren

n Sunday, January 1st I had the opportunity to compete in the 69th Annual I-Cycle Derby in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

What is it? The I-Cycle Derby is essentially a Time-Trials event held on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In it’s current format it is divided into 6 segments with a lunch break to warm up in the middle.

Time to Derby! I woke up early Sunday morning and loaded the Corazzo S2 Lambretta into the back of my truck for the trip to Minneapolis. I unloaded my scooter at my buddy Dan’s house and departed from there with a few friends. Temps when we left that morning were a tropical 18°F and sunny. The street outside of Roy’s Repair in Minneapolis was packed full of activity. People came from all different backgrounds to participate, which is clearly a sign of a good event. Everything from vintage Honda Passports all the way up to a Victory Vision, which I think was the largest vehicle that participated this year. There were a few sidecars as well but the majority were motorcycles and scooters. At 10am they held a riders meeting inside to explain the I-Cycle Derby and draw numbers for our starting positions. According to the organizers we had 49 competitors this year which they all felt was due to the warmer weather. The basic idea is you get a card with directions on it. You follow the directions on the card until you reach the next checkpoint, where you will receive the next card. Riders depart in 1 minute intervals from the starting line with the goal of reaching the checkpoint as close as they can to the specified average speed listed on the card. There are a lot of variables that affect your ability to do that like traffic, time spent at stop lights and your ability to navigate the route accurately. Riders get 1 point for every minute they arrive late and 2 points for every minute they arrive early with the goal of finishing with the least amount of points possible. It’s similar to golf in the regard that points are not a good thing although unlike golf, you cannot earn negative points. Once you get a point, that is yours until the end of the event.

Seeing as I have not lived in Minneapolis in 14 years I figured that I could just follow the rider in front of me and hope they knew where they are going. That was definitely not the case for me as I drew the number one starting position! I was quick to tell everyone NOT to follow me since I was a first-timer AND had no clue where I was going. In the end those were words to live by! After receiving the first card and taping it to my arm I was at the starting line and at 10:31AM I was on my way: The first 3 turns went just fine although I had hit all green lights on Lake street so I was worried I was running fast even if I was trying my hardest to hold the speed limit. It all fell apart for me after that as I didn’t look over the card well enough beforehand and just assumed the mileage on the left column was the distance between the turns and not a running total of miles traveled since the start. This turned out fatal for me as it showed 7 miles in the left column so I went ahead and blasted 7 miles down Lake Street before I even started looking for the next turn. After not being able to find it I eventually just pulled over and checked my phone. After realizing I had essentially blown the turn by over 6 miles, I hot tailed it back to where I should have turned and found myself well into the mix of riders competing this year. At the first checkpoint I got my new card and quickly reused the tape from my first card to attach my second card. I had no clue where I was in the mix of riders but I did know I needed to drop the hammer and pass as many people as I could to make up all the time I lost on my little excursion. With the hammer dropped, I was motoring past rider after rider on Penn Avenue until I passed 50th street. About 50 feet past that intersection my 2nd card flew off my arm and right into the middle of the street. I quickly stopped and turned around to get my card but Penn was so busy with traffic that I got to watch a grip of riders I had just passed motor along down the road while I waited for my chance to grab my card. Eventually I was able to rescue my route card from the street and resume the hammer dropping. Thankfully the remaining first half of the Derby came without issue. I was able to pass a few riders and eventually came in as the 22nd rider at Roy’s Repair for lunch. Since the idea is to come within a target average time/speed, I should have ended

It was not totally without issue though as when I got to St. Paul, my Speedometer starting making some seriously ill noises. The needle starting bouncing pretty fierce but the odometer was still working until I reached Shepard Road, when the whole thing made one last long and labored squawk and that was the end of it. Rest in Peace dear Veglia speedometer. You can now sleep at zero knowing that you have spent most of your life committed to being 60% accurate. Thanks Veglia speedo for your 55 years of subpar performance. I arrived at Roy’s Repair a little after 2pm to no fanfare. In fact nobody was even outside since ap-

parently the 2nd half of the Derby should have taken me about 1 1/2 hours and I did it in a little over 1 hour. Remember when I said that you get 2 points for each minute you arrive early? Whoops! Once all the riders had returned we all hung around and drank more coffee and ate Christmas Cookies until the final points could be tallied and trophies awarded. As a first timer, seeing the point totals it takes to win an event like this was a real eye opener. The 5th place trophy started at 6 points with this year’s winner coming in at an incredible 0 points! That means they came within 59 seconds of the exact time specified for each of the 6 legs of the Derby, which is a pretty incredible feat and as one of the volunteers noted, the first time he ever has seen that happen. Since clearly I was playing by my own rules on Sunday (those being only to start and finish the I-Cycle Derby), I ended with a whopping 109 points! Apparently that was not the worst score this year so I can only imagine that whoever got more points than I did has probably got a pretty good story to tell... Overall I had a really great time on Sunday. Everyone that participated and volunteered on Sunday were super friendly and helpful. It definitely was a great experience and now even a cream puff like me is starting to seriously consider making another go of it. Thanks to Team Strange Airheads and all the sponsors for putting together such a great event. MMM

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly - March 2017  

MMM #181

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