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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #183 May 2017


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly®

Table of Contents May 2017 3


From The Hip

Victor Wanchena



Bruce Mike

All The News That Fits Road Rash



COLUMNISTS Paul Berglund Thomas Day David Harrington

Geezer With A Grudge The Little League Dad Society



Tim Erickson Harry Martin Tammy Wanchena

Bike Review 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited Photo by Julie S. Mike


From The Hip

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: Subscriptions are available for $14.00 a year (U.S. funds). See subscription form below. Advertising inquiries: 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.


Tales From The Road Next Bike Fever

By Bruce Mike


hen I go on a motorcycle ride I like to have a destination. I never have a strict itinerary, just a place I’d like to end up. I know this isn’t necessary with a lot of people, my wife included, but it’s pretty important for me. I think it has something to do with my need for a routine in my everyday life. I’m not so rigid that things have to be this way, I’m just more comfortable with a plan. I also know that in some situations, being uncomfortable can be a good thing. On the first weekend of April every year, Moon Motorsports has an open house. There are demo rides and a huge sale. Sometimes the weather is great for a ride, sometimes it’s not. This year the weather was perfect and me, my wife and a few friends rode up. The plan was to go to Moon so my friend Rick could ride a BMW K 1600 GTL. He’s not planning on buying one but he’s renting one in Europe this summer and he wanted to see what they are like. The rest of the ride plan included checking out a barn that Rick is building and then a long ride home on the back roads. Rick has been a contractor/carpenter pretty much his whole life and sometimes he builds some pretty interesting stuff. This barn outside of Monticello is really cool. It’s over 20,000 square feet and is designed to look like it’s a hundred years old. It’s a completely custom build with a lot of reclaimed materials from all over the country. I had seen pictures but seeing it in person really put it into perspective.


Movie Review Ride With The Wind Feature The Top Ten Motorcycle Roads of Southeastern Minnesota


Random Scootering Taking Your Scooter With You. Calendar

The barn is part of the Veit Automotive Foundation and when finished will be filled with collectible cars, trucks, motorcycles and maybe even a few boats. Also in the Veit collection you’ll find probably every collectible gas pump ever made as well as a ton of other automotive memorabilia. For an online tour and updates on what’s going on go to

After Rick’s tour of the biggest barn I’ve ever been in, we ran into Vaughn Veit who just happened to be at the property to load up a car for a car show..He was kind enough to give us a private tour of his buildings and told some great stories about nearly every automotive item we saw. I love it when people have a real passion for their stuff. I’ve got stories for every motorcycle I’ve ever owned and it doesn’t take much to get me telling them.

Needless to say, after the private tour we had pretty much run out of time for a long ride home. While my ride that day didn’t quite go as planned it was still an interesting ride. Normally I find the journey to always be the best part but sometimes the destination wins. Being on a motorcycle was the only reason I saw this amazing automotive collection. I never would have drove my truck up to see the barn Rick was building just as I would never jump in the truck and head to the Delta Diner in Wisconsin just for pie. On a motorcycle, both trips make sense.

Cover photo by Grant Wood Review Bike Provided By Harley-Davidson Motorcycles


Je Suis Charlie

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #183 May 2017

All The News That Fits Indian Continues Flat Track Roll Indian Motorcycle is off to an impressive start in their first season in the American Flat Track racing series capturing 1st place in the first three races, and sweeping the podium at the Atlanta race March 25th. The Indian Factory riders Jared Mees and Bryan Smith sit atop the standings with a commanding lead over the closest competitor. All indications are the Indian FTR750 is a seriously competitive machine. The factory Indian team did a stack the deck in their favor pulling in two former Grand National Champions in Jared Mees and Brad Baker, as well as the current Grand National Champion Bryan Smith to ride for the factory team.

Harley-Davidson by contrast is not off to a stellar start with their new XG750R. Their best finish thus far has been 4th for Jake Johnson riding for the factory H-D team at Daytona. The XG750R is intended to be a replacement for the venerable XR750, but the initial results aren’t encouraging, but the season has a long way to go with only three out the eighteen rounds complete.

Minnesota’s own Jake Mataya, sponsored by MMM supporter Go Moto, is also off to an excellent start with two starts in main events thus far and a best finish of 9th at Atlanta. This puts Mataya in 14th place overall in the standings. Ride fast and take chances Jake!

Dungey/Reed Supercross Skirmish Minnesota’s own Ryan Dungey, riding for the KTM factory team, has found himself in a feud with Chad Reed (Yamaha) during the 2017 Supercross season. The source of the friction between the two isn’t completely clear with neither side saying much, but earlier in the year Dungey and Reed banged bars at the start of the race in Detroit. The pair got into it during a heat race at St. Louis while battling for the lead. There was contact during the heat, but nothing serious seemed to have occurred. Dungey, the reigning Supercross champion, has had a decent season. A couple wins and never finishing lower than 4th place. That gives him the overall lead points early in the season, but that lead has steadily shrank as the season has progressed. Eli Tomac (Kawasaki) has come on strong in the later half of the season with an impressive series of wins. As of this writing Dungey and Tomac were tied in points.

The situation with Reed flared up at the April

Photo courtesy of

1st St. Louis Supercross, when Reed failed to yield to Dungey during the final laps of the 450SX main event. Dungey, running 2nd, was about to lap Reed in 16th. Reed failed to yield to Dungey as directed by race officials who gave Reed the blue flag. AMA rules require riders to obey all on track directions communicated via flags. A blue flag indicates you are about to be over-taken by a faster rider and must move out of the fast line and not impede the faster rider. Reed had let Tomac past the lap prior, but appeared to block Dungey for several laps allowing Tomac to pull away and cement the win. The block during the main appeared to be Reed’s payback for the previous incidents. The decision of the AMA was to impose a fine of $5,000 on Reed and take five of his Championship points earned in the race. Reed has not appealed and the decision of the AMA is final. Given the current points standings the Supercross championship will likely be decided during the final round in Las Vegas May 3rd.

DNR Seeks Comment on Renville County OHV Area The AMA hopes you’ll consider providing comments in support of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) that’s been published by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the Minnesota Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation area in Renville County.

The EAW reflects careful work completed by professional trail design consultants hired by the engineering firm for this project, as well as state

employees considering environmental and historic priorities. Despite what the AMA believes is the thorough, accurate work in the EAW, local supporters believe it’s likely that opponents will find fault with it in an effort to stop the project.

The proposed project lies on 278 acres in Sacred Heart Township, which has a 60-year history of mining. The county has received grantin-aid funds from the state DNR as a match to those received from the federal Recreational Trails Program for planning and design. The EAW cites intentions for mining to be phased out during the next 20 years. The proposed trail system includes areas designed for every type of off-highway vehicle, including technical single track for experienced offhighway motorcyclists and training areas for youth and beginners.

Comments must be received by DNR by 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 10. 

You can submit comments via email to environmentalrev.dnr@ with “MNOHVRA in the subject line or via U.S. mail to Bill Johnson, Planning Director, MNDNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, Box 25, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025 For more information contact the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Ecological & Water Resources at (651) 259-5126. The EAW and supporting materials are also posted the MNDNR website (

MV Agusta Not Dead? A business-restructuring plan was approved by an

Italian court for MV Agusta, allowing the motorcycle manufacturer to avoid liquidation. This move opens the door for Mercedes-AMG to sell it holdings of the troubled Italian bike maker to the Black Ocean Group, an Anglo-Russian private equity firm. The Mercedes-AMG acquired a 25 percent stake in MV Agusta in 2014. The MV Agusta had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year and the latest restructuring allows them to freeze its large debt load at the expense of their suppliers. The company’s current plan is to now focus on existing models with a goal of producing 5,000 motorcycles a year while reducing its workforce by about 200 employees. Rumors continue to swirl about Minnesota’s own Polaris being interested in acquiring a stake in the company as well. This would be an interesting development as Harley-Davidson owned the brand in 2008, but sold it a year later.

Hybrid GS? Sure. April 1st is a day when the motorcycling press is typically flooded with “fake news”. MMM being no exception, has put out it’s share of hoaxes on April 1, my favorite still being our reporting on our consultation of the V-8 powered Valdez (MMM April 1997). So it was with much skepticism that we read a press release from BMW on April 1 announcing, “BMW Motorrad launches the R1200GS xDrive Hybrid,” proclaiming it, “World premiere of the first travel enduro featuring Hybrid All-Wheel Drive.” The release described the system as adding 45 hp to the front wheel giving the GS a claimed 170 hp combined between conventional gasoline and the electric motors. They filled us with promises of regenerative braking and no additional weight. Many outlets took the bait. The release had enough plausible details to be taken at face value. The real bait if you did a little Google research was the revelation that German tuner/ aftermarket supplier Wunderlich had actually produced a two-wheel drive GS back in 2015 as a concept vehicle. Very convincing. The story unravels when they described a testing that included a ride from Nordkapp, Norway to the North Pole and back. That’s only 2600 miles on motorcycle over sea ice in literally Arctic conditions. Then it goes on to talk about BMW gear being good down to -70˚ F and the bike being capable of riding through snow 4 feet deep. This isn’t a first for BMW, which regularly fires off April Fools press releases and ads.

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 —


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #183 May 2017

Geezer With A Grudge


By Thomas Day

e’ve all witnessed the “little league dad” syndrome and some of us have suffered that arrogant, egotistical, under-achieving fellow personally. Some of us have even been stuck with little league dads and moms. Way back in 2014 (I Hate Racing #155 April 2014), I made my personal take on watching little kids on motorcycles pretty clear, “When a stadium motocross is broken up (too often literally) with a bunch of 8-year-olds plodding around a motocross track, smashing into each other and the track obstacles, I have to be somewhere else. I can’t watch.” Even worse, when I end up following a dad on his bike and his kid dangling from the back--feet a few inches from reaching the passenger pegs, in minimal clothing, and an ill-fitting helmet--I have to find another route to where I’m going. I’ve seen dead and mangled adults and I don’t like it much, but I can deal with it. I’d just as soon live my whole life without ever seeing a dead and/ or mangled little kid. I’m afraid I’d never be able to get that image out of my mind. I saw a dirt bike foot-peg-gutted high school kid, 40 years ago, and I’m still stuck with that image as if it happened last week. I wonder how many parents have digested the real message behind the Will Smith movie, Concussion, or the book it is based on, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru’s League of Denial? As one of the doctors in the book said, “We’re exposing more than 1 million kids to early-onset brain damage, and we don’t know yet how to prevent it.” Well, we know there are a lot more than “1 million kids” exposed to this because he’s just talking about football. Between baseball, hockey, soccer, motorcycle racing, and a culture that tells kids they can knock each other around like punching bags without consequence, almost half of our kids are exposed to early-onset brain damage (resulting in chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE) on a regular basis. Another sports-related concussion researcher said, “If only 10 percent of mothers in American begin to conceive of football as a dangerous game, that is the end of football.”


The Little League Dad Society Obviously, the possibility that 10% of American mothers don’t “conceive of football as a dangerous game” pretty much proves that there are a lot of clueless mothers out there. Anyone who has played football for more than one afternoon knows it’s a dangerous game. However, until recently we didn’t know how dangerous. CTE has been found in the brains of 18 to 21 year old football players and the leading neurological researchers are now recommending that “kids under the age of 14 should not play collision sports as they are currently played. We believe they should not be playing tackle football.” Likewise, it’s pretty obvious that kids under the age of 14 should not be racing motorcycles. It’s a well-known fact that when you’re racing off road, “if you’re not crashing you’re not riding.” Of course, this is an issue where following the money gets to core of the problem. Danger is why we like these high risk sports: football (394,350 injuries in 2012 with an average of 12 deaths per year for the past 25 years), soccer (172,470 injuries in 2012), baseball and softball (119,810 and 58,210 injuries in 2012), basketball (389,610 injuries in 2012), hockey, volleyball (43,190 injuries in 2012), wrestling (40,750 injuries in 2012), gymnastics (28,300 injuries in 2012), field and track (24,910 injuries in 2012), and motocross and road racing (for which there are no reliable statistics). Hell, we’ve even figured out how to make cheer leading dangerous (37,770 injuries in 2012). And there is a lot of money to be made (the NFL’s 2014 revenue was $7.24B) exposing young athletes to death, disability, and damage to their long term mental health. However, we’re just getting started with learning about brain damage and the fact that 76 or 79 studied NFL player brains found evidence of CTE hasn’t sunk; especially NFL players and their families. Regardless, you would have to be delusional to imagine that motorcycle racing doesn’t have these problems. The sad case of ex-NASCAR racer Fred Lorenzen is probably the first shot fired in motorsports and I suspect there is a lot of hidden damage out there in race cars, motorcycles, and every other contact sport. Now that (a few) doctors know what to

look for, a lot more cases will be popping up. The big sea change here isn’t that we are surprised that long term consequences result from injuries. We expect knee, hand and arm, shoulder, and even internal injuries from motorcycle racing that will hamper the ex-racer later in life. Racing is dangerous, get over yourself, right? My hip replacement was due, according to my orthopedic surgeon, to “use and abuse” and genetic factors. Racing and riding off-road motorcycles would be major contributors to that use and abuse. I wasn’t surprised and I haven’t once looked back and wished I’d not ridden motorcycles when I was young and made out of “rubber and magic.” The big change in attitude should come from the knowledge that “getting your bell rung” can have long term consequences to your mental health: resulting in CTE which is “essentially pugilistica dementia (boxer’s dementia)” with side orders of memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, anxiety, Parkinsonism, suicide, and progressive dementia. If you know your kid is being exposed to chemicals that could result in those symptoms would you keep him or her in that environment? We use, semi-rationally, to justify risk is the associated reward. Those of us who chose to ride motorcycles, with some understanding of the risk we’re accepting, have a collection of rewards that we believe makes the risk acceptable. The problem with this new knowledge is that the information is being aggressively repressed by the people who make the most money from

these sports. In the case of football, the NFL has done everything possible (like Big Tobacco) to squash research and evidence that head trauma can lead to long-term cognitive problems. By “everything” I mean everything from creating bogus “research” to ridiculing researchers in public media to suing people for slander. I suppose murder hasn’t been on the table, but you never know. Currently, their big argument has been that it’s not “certain” that head banging is the cause of CTE. Since we’re not absolutely positive that whacking on a kid’s skull causes CTE, we don’t have to stop it. Drug and chemical companies have used that bullshit argument for being able to continue polluting water, air, food, medicine, and the entire planet for a century. A more rational society would require the polluters to prove they aren’t doing harm before they are allowed to do whatever godawful thing they want to do, but humans are mostly irrational. Maybe we’re all brain damaged and it’s too late to make any difference for the species? In the meantime, I think parents should seriously reconsider the risk their children are taking for whatever weird cause they’ve used to justify putting a little kid on a motorcycle and putting that kid on a race track. Ten years ago, you could excuse this behavior with “it’s not a problem, he’ll shake it off and be OK tomorrow.” Today, the evidence is good that not only will that headache and loss of memory stay around a while but it might become a whole lot worse in 30-40 years. MMM

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #183 May 2017

The 2017 Harley-Davidso T

By David Soderholm

he 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited is the pinnacle of the HarleyDavidson touring line (excluding the limited CVO models.) It’s a design that’s been polished and refined for decades. Last reviewed by us in 2011 (Road Glide Ultra), big changes in the engine, suspension and on board infotainment package warrants another look by MMM. That and the fact that we had just ridden Indian’s equivalent means we need to incorporate a comparison into this also. (See last month’s issue – 182 – for complete coverage of the Roadmaster.) The biggest news for 2017 is the new Milwaukee eight 107 ci engine. This engine now powers all the touring bikes in the line-up. Its oil cooled on bikes without fairing lowers and liquid cooled on bikes with lowers that hide the radiators. It’s gone from two valves to four, and gained a counter balancer in the transition. That all means it runs cooler, barely oscillates at idle, still has the “potato potato” cadence and runs smooth regardless of rpm. This is one excellent running, refined sounding and thoroughly modern power plant. The new eight has great torque and the four valve heads mean the power just keeps pulling hard right to red line – a revelation in a Harley touring engine. It’s an absolute walk off home run by the engine department at HD. Great job! Suspension also received a thoroughly modern makeover this year. A new light weight 49mm “dual bending valve fork” and new hydraulic preload adjustable Showa rear shocks are worked into the new suspension package. Think of the front as a new cartridge fork and the rear as a much higher quality set of shocks than previously used on HD touring bikes and you get the idea. It’s a much better package to ride and works well to provide quality bump absorption. Handling has certainly benefitted from the big suspension upgrade. This is most obviously evident when running through corners with medium to large bumps on them. In the past you would have quite a big weave and wallow as the front and rear suspension each encountered the bump. This tendency is greatly reduced, though not entirely absent. Straight line bumps are absorbed without complaint from chassis or rider – especially combined

Photo By David Soderholm

The Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited received significant upgrades for 2017 including a major one — the Milwaukee Eight engine platform. with the amazing seat this thing ships with. The cockpit is first rate. Settle into the couch of a motorcycle seat and revel in the stunningly good ergonomic perfection that only comes from continued refinement over decades of time. All switch gear has a high quality chunky solid feel and seems to move on well-oiled micro bearings. Switches are exactly where you move your fingers to find them and sight lines are excellent. Air flow in the cockpit is perfect. There is no buffeting from the NACA duct equipped front windshield. Heat from the engine is a non-issue, even in stop and go traffic. Refinement is found everywhere. Even the luggage hinges and latches are redesigned to be smooth operating and easily used with one hand. It’s a small thing, but this bike’s many small things add up to a fantastic feeling of quality and refinement. Nothing gets in your way of covering thousands of miles. Sitting on the dash is HD’s version of a digital infotainment system. It’s a 6.5 inch touch

screen compatible LCD screen with multifunction capability. Blue tooth, GPS, NAV, Sat and regular radio are all included. Sound on the system is outstanding and is helped by the complete lack of turbulence in the cockpit. Menu systems aren’t always intuitive or easy to navigate however. Handlebar controls for the system are excellent, and after some time are easily used to navigate the many functions while keeping your eyes on the road. In the end, this is a massively refined, but still character filled touring machine that does the bar and shield company proud. The project Rushmore refinements that customers told HD they wanted were implemented to bring this bike into the modern age without losing the classic feel of an HD machine. I can’t help thinking this is a result of the challenge brought on by Indian right across the border. How do they directly compare? Let’s see…..

Engine The Indian comes equipped with the 111 ci. 2 valve Thunderstroke engine which was their launch engine when Indian returned. It has fantastic clutch and throttle smoothness. The Indian is a super smooth running torque filled V twin. It has serious lunge from the bottom that effortlessly propels the big Roadmaster but runs out of steam in the upper rpms. The Harley comes with the new four valve Milwaukee eight. The eight in the Harley has slightly less of a torquey lunge, but pulls great right through the midrange and up to red line. It sounds smoother and less mechanical than the Indian. Heat is very well controlled. It’s a fun, nostalgic, and modern engine to use and listen to and never fails to put a smile on your face.


Photo by Tim Erickson The center of the dash includes the full feature 6.5-inch full color touch display that was read easily in all forms of natural light.

If the Harley takes a win in the engine department, the Indian takes a win in the chassis and handling department. Ridden through the same stretch of rough corners the Indian glides through and asks for more. Both ends absorb-

ing the undulations and tracking solid front to rear. Through the same corner, the Harley is less linear in steering and less unified in its tracking. You get a wag through the turn where the Indian is linear and solid all the way.

Infotainment Another win for the big Indian. Its bigger infotainment unit has many more functions. It’s placed higher in the dash. It has better clarity and brightness with its high definition screen and is much faster in response time and touch sensitivity. Its menu system is more logically organized and easier to navigate. Overall, it’s a joy to use. The Harley has better handle bar controls and more clarity from the sound system. It also seems to have better FM radio reception. Not that the Indian’s is bad – just not as good at hanging onto stations from distance. Blue tooth and smart phones make this mostly a moot point anyways.

Refinement and Ergonomics Both bikes are fantastic in this category. The Harley is definitely better in the ergonomics department. It’s obvious that they have been at this game a long time. Controls are perfectly placed and dialed in. Almost every switch and control is where it should be for easy access and function. The Indian is the equal of the Harley in fit and finish, if not slightly better. Remember that they are both excellent and this is probably the closest category of all. So who wins? Can you make a wrong choice with these two? Well – no you can’t. Whichever you buy, you will be eminently happy with your thoroughly American tourer. Engine guy – HD. Handling or tech guy – Indian. I’d probably pick the Indian myself just because of the uniqueness of it. It doesn’t look like every other bike the company has produced in the last 20 years like the Harley does. But that Milwaukee 8 is one heck of an engine…..and so refined. Dang, like I said… can’t go wrong.

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #183 May 2017


on Ultra Limited — Wow E

By Tim Erickson

ngage conversation with any motorcycle riders assembled in a coffee shop and you’ll exhaust hours talking together about Harley-Davidson’s plight in recent history – plant closures, layoffs, competitive pressure and the company’s experiments with other “modern” engine platforms with limited sales success and return on investment – think V Rod. While the V Rod remains in production and Harley executives insist on its success, it is a niche vs. mainstream motorcycle positioned as a muscle cruiser. There is ample speculation that the R&D tab for the 60-degree liquid cooled v-twin housed in the V Rod’s long, low chassis was at one time planned to expand to other models – in short, it was an enormous development expense that required dealer discounts in its initial production numbers. Similarly, the company’s other recent ventures did little to attract and expand the customer base for Harley-Davidson. Its ownership of bike brand MV Agusta, and subsequent sale little more than a year later, was an investment failure. The storied Buell brand was shuttered under Harley’s ownership in 2009. These venture efforts reaffirmed that Harley was in a tight spot – the company has little room for risky new product introductions among its heritage-based demographic. The HD product line must look and sound like authentic Milwaukee iron to appeal to its masses: the core group of motorcycle owners that pay Harley’s bills. Enter the Milwaukee Eight: a precise blend of technology, brand heritage, increased output and regulatory compliance wrapped into a 45-degree pushrod configuration. Though it doesn’t betray the heritage look with its exterior pushrod tubes and air cooling fins on the heads, this isn’t a refresh – the engine was a clean sheet design using no carry-over tooled parts. On its motorcycle product pages, Harley boasts its engine heritage with “iconic look, distinctive sound and massive torque make them instantly recognizable.” We spent an October week aboard a $28,049 MSRP two-tone dressed 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited logging several hundred

miles through urban jungle and its rush hour commutes, as well as scenic byways and isolated county highways to get acquainted with the new powerplant and ensure that it satisfies all the marketing boasts. And most importantly, that the new mill strikes a chord with its core, target audience.

The Milwaukee Eight: Technology Improves Performance The Milwaukee Eight comes in two displacements and two cooling variations for a total of three configurations. The 107 ci (1750cc) has two cooling options: oil cooled heads and liquid cooled heads, the latter going to the full dresser models with lower fairings. Our Ultra Limited was so equipped. There is also a CVO specific power train with displacement punched out to 114 ci, also with liquid-cooled heads. As compared to the previous generation 103, the 107 has increased power output not just from the +4 cubic inches, but also from the 4-valve heads that move 50% more cubic volume. The extra displacement is in bore only (100mm vs. 98.4mm in the 103) as stroke is unchanged. In a move to simplicity and fewer moving parts and rotating weight, the new Milwaukee Eight uses a single, chain-driven cam vs. the Twin Cam designation that was promoted on prior power trains. The net result of larger displacement, less friction and a bump in compression ratio from 9.7 to 10:1 is the most powerful stock engine in its history, claiming 113.6 pound-feet of torque at 3250 rpm. Less power train noise allows the rider to appreciate more the exhaust notes from idle all the way through the rev range where forward thrust builds quickly. Though more valves are playing in the engine topside, the use of lighter spring rates contribute to the noise reduction, as well as the single cam design is less mechanized clatter. Delivering the increased power output to the wheel still requires a heavy hand on the clutch lever compared to other bike brands, though among the changes to the power train is an advertised reduction between 5-10% of lever

Photo by David Soderholm

The Milwaukee Eight is a blend of heritage, refinement, improved power and less heat – all important categories to owner prospects. effort. This reduction may be hard to quantify unless comparing side by side to the former.

Comfort Abounds It should come as no surprise that the Ultra excels in creature comfort. Rider and passenger are treated to exceptional saddle comfort, though the rider’s seat pan and cushion plop the operator into a single position. Footboards are placed ideally for a comfortable bend and easy reach to the ground, and the bars are a commanding angle for good control of the steering inputs as well as the numerous controls for the normal controls, as well as for the cruise and infotainment switches. Both left and right grip controls have thumb toggles for navigation through the features of the 6.5-inch full color touch screen display with navigation and Blue tooth. It’s also voicecontrolled. A compartment in the fairing secures away your phone or iPod, complete with a USB to charge and integrate play lists or audio streaming blasting through the 75w per channel audio system. The full feature info panel monitors all the bike health conditions, too.

Smoother, Quieter & More Power The smoother engine was evident when we first fired the engine. There is still a big twin shudder in the bars and elsewhere felt in the chassis, but there is no mistaking the smoother engine at its 850 rpm idle. Once underway and off idle, all pulses but the melodic exhaust thump disappear, meaning clear, shake-free views of the mirrors and instrumentation. The rev range remains free of vibration until the rider is near red line on the tach.

Photo by Tim Erickson

The left thumb can control the infotainment screen when underway – though the tech package is also touch enabled or voice activated.

We appreciated the increased torque on hilly county roads where the bike held speed while we had the cruise control engaged. In places that would labor the engine more on prior models and drop a mile an hour or two, the 107 pulled and held speed with little rpm change. The torque will benefit riders touring under full weight, carrying passengers, top gear acceleration and when passing.

We felt an infrequent, occasional off-idle jolt that was felt through the chassis at slow speed, when closing the throttle in first and second gear, stop and go traffic. It wasn’t a major jolt, but it was undeniably there. We cast blame on EFI fuel mapping confusion in a perfect storm of throttle position, engine rpm and low road speed. Though the 2017 Ultra is headlined with the new engine, there was considerable effort to improve the ride quality with new suspension. Instead of an air pressure setting for rear spring preload that required constant attention, there is a hydraulic spring adjuster now – set and forget it. Up front, a new valve stack in the forks improves road contact and feel with better progression from minor to major impacts. We never felt uncomfortable from harsh suspension action or suspension-related chassis behavior. We also noticed the improvements to engine heat management. Some of this is due to the narrower engine design and new, more rearward position of the catalytic converter, but the adjustments to variable ignition timing and knock sensing that help lower exhaust gas temperatures can’t be ignored. The specified attention to reducing engine heat to riders will be appreciated most in slower urban settings but should also keep rider and passenger cooler on the open road.

Better Than Ever The 2017 Ultra Limited’s upgrades are more than skin deep. It’s not often that a package comes together that creates enough reason to upgrade or consider this touring machine when previously overlooked. With the new engine performance, chassis changes and full complement of technology, the 2017 Ultra Limited is ready to take new travels to faraway places in greater comfort, power and convenience than ever before. If the $26,999 starting MSRP is too rich, check your used market – there should be plenty from prior owners to go for the upgrade.

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 —



Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #183 May 2017

Tales From The Road


Next Bike Fever

By Paul Berglund

his past weekend I had a real fever. I had a bad headache and swung back and forth between shivering and sweating. I didn’t feel much like eating, or standing up or looking at anything. Not looking was the hard part. It interfered with my other fever, next bike fever. If I’m hanging out with my wife, watching TV and my attention wanes from the show she’s watching, I fire up the iPad and hit Craig’s List to look at the used motorcycles that are for sale. If one peaks my interest, I might do a google search and read the specs or a review of that bike. For me, it’s a very pleasant way to pass time. It’s all fun and games till I get fixated on one bike. For example, I’ve become obsessed with an obscure bike like an early eighties Kawasaki GPz 305 and use my powers of Web Fu to track one down nationwide. Thankfully, that’s an easy bike to resist. The fever is low on that one. I can get over a 305 GPz in a day or so. Some bikes produce more heat. I can’t stop thinking about them for a week. When it gets real bad, I’ll run a high “next bike fever” for a month or more. I have two bikes in my garage that I love. Oh, and one more that I don’t love. Long story. So I don’t need another bike. Bike fever isn’t about needing a bike. That’s a strait up treatable disorder. Just buy a bike. You’ll be much happier. Wanting a bike is a lingering disorder that can be disruptive to your entire life. It will also annoy the hell out of your friends and family should you foolishly discuss it with them. People who need a bike are welcome company to other riders. They will be happy to help you find that bike. If you just want a bike, you get one conversation. Anything more than that, and you’ve annoyed anyone listening to you. I’m as stoic as a stone mouse about my next bike fever. With 3 bikes, the wrath is both swift and terrible. Some forms that are more difficult to contain are transitional bike fevers. If you have a motorcycle that you enjoy, but are curious and desire a different kind of bike, be wary. If you think you would be happier on a type of bike you know nothing about, like cruiser, adventure, standard, touring, sport, etc, you are going to have many questions. Do lots of research on

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the web. Haunt the Owner’s Group web page. Read voraciously, post sparingly. No one online can pick the best bike for you, because they don’t know you. This one is all on you. Work through the fever. One form of fever that recently bit me in the ass is when you find a low fever bike that’s both local and cheap. I didn’t want the damn thing before I saw it for sale. Suddenly, I was thinking about it way too much. I figured, I’ll go see it. Maybe take it for a test ride. Surly that will cure this fever. The whole thing went as anticipated, clearly I would regret buying this bike. I was going to walk away. I, was, going, to, walk, away. Just to be polite and mindful of wasting the owners time, I made a low, low, offer. Fate stuck the knife in my back and I stuck the bike in the back of my truck. I guess it wasn’t such a long story after all. So, once I sell that bike, I will address the current fever that is burning within. I have a single, for off-road use and a triple for on- road use, but what I’m wanting, what I’m missing, is a v-twin. I love v-twin motors. Can I get an amen! What would help my situation is finding a v-twin stuffed in a bike that doesn’t do everything that

my triple does. In other words, when I’m sitting on our patio watching a fire in our outdoor fireplace and my wife goes into the garage to adjust the volume on the stereo, and she whacks her shin on the new to me third bike parked in the way, and the flood gates open, I have to have some way to justify the existence of that bike. To all the faithful that answered me with an amen when I shouted out to the v-twin. You won’t be there man. For me, the sound alone is all the justification I need. Just listen to it. Why are we even talking? Sadly, none of that should be said to my chosen life partner. Some of my options are combine it with one of my other next bike fevers. Like my burning desire for a scrambler. Possibly a Dorsoduro or Hypermotard. Or some pre-justified form of bike that I don’t currently own, like a sport touring bike. So that leaves me with what? A Moto Guzzi Norge? Has any husband stood up in his living room and announced to his wife, “Honey, I’m buying a Norge!” and she runs to him, hugs his neck, happy-ever-after music plays and the credits roll? If she saw the bike first and I taped over the name, I might

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get away with it. One bike I thought I had a real shot with was a Harley-Davidson XR1200X. You may recall, it’s arguably the best handling Harley ever made. It was rejected by the Brotherhood for not being a cruiser and by the non Harley riding crowd for being a Sportster. And it’s heavy. I thought I had a chance when she asked me what I’d been looking at on the lap top for the last three hours, I showed her a picture of the XR1200X (making sure to hold my thumb over the ugly part of the spec chart). She looked at the bike and then at me, her brows furrowed. She looked back at the glowing picture on the screen. “It looks like a turd bike.” she said. (Honestly, I don’t know where she picks these things up. It’s a handsome bike.) I explained that as a writer for a major motorcycle magazine (she doesn’t read any motorcycle magazines, so she doesn’t know) that it would be a real connection with a portion of MMM readers that feel underserved. I should own an American bike. For that I got a scowl. Well, it’s going to have to be cheap and local. MMM

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #183 May 2017


Ride With The Wind

Movie Review

Director: Bobby Roth Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Helen Shaver, Bradley Pierce (2014)


By Tammy Wanchena

othing tears at your heartstrings like a kid with an incurable disease. Unless of course you add a surly alcoholic old flat track racer to befriend him. That is what lies in store for you in this month’s 1994 Made for TV Drama, Ride with the Wind, starring Craig T. Nelson and Helen Shaver. Frank “The Eagle” Shelby missed his chance



at winning the Nationals years ago when he crashed into his best friends’ bike in the final loop of the race. So Frank gains some weight, takes to the bottle, and borrows money he can’t pay back. In my circle, we refer to this as becoming middle aged. In his case, it represents his struggles with not being on top of the flat track circuit. One night while drinking and driving, Frank comes across a ‘damsel in distress’ in need of a tire change. Rather than help her, she winds up helping him when he passes out in front of her car. If you have ever seen a Made for TV movie in your lifetime, I am guessing you can figure out the rest. Spoiler alert: the kid

with the incurable disease is her son and they are going to become a family! And if you are extra lucky, The Eagle may just wind up winning the Nationals! Dated? You bet! Sappy? For sure! But I honestly did not hate this movie in spite of its predictability. It would make a good Sunday afternoon family movie. The racing looked pretty convincing. And let’s face it, what kind of person would I be if I made fun of a movie about a kid with an incurable disease? MMM

The Top Ten Motorcycle Roads of Southeastern Minnesota

By the Staff of MMM

hat make a great motorcycle road? Our opinion is any road you can ride is good, just some are better than others. The best roads most always have a few common traits. First, it must be scenic. Second, a few corners are nice. And third, the less traffic the better. In the interests of motorcycling enjoyment, we called in sick and headed to our favorite riding area, Southeastern Minnesota, and using highly scientific methods complied this list. So, in no particular order here are our Top Ten Motorcycle Roads of Southeastern Minnesota

The Great River Road, Hwy 61.

I know, I know, everybody knows about it. Sure, it can be busy, but how can you beat a road with “Great” in its name. Stunning scenery, quaint towns, and even a few curves. Be sure to follow it at least as far as the Iowa border. In the words of Bob Dylan, “And head that way down on Highway 61.” http://

Hwy 60, from Zumbrota to Wabasha.

Hwy 60 is unique because it’s to only state highway that runs continuously from one border to another, from Wisconsin to Iowa. The section from we love is that 35 mile stretch on the eastern end. Along the route you’ll pass the Spring Creek MX Park home to the legendary Spring Creek National MX race. For a fun side trip follow Wabasha Co. Rd. 11 along the Zumbro River valley which meets Hwy 60 at the Spring Creek MX Park to Hwy 63 and loop back north to Hwy 60.

MN Hwy 16, “Bluff Country Byway” Preston to La Crescent.

Here’s a veteran riding tip, if the word “byway” is in the name of a road it’s probably pretty good. This historic road was once part of part of network national highways that

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connected the East Coast to the West Coast. Now a charming byway this road brings you from the prairie to the driftless region of bluffs untouched by ice age glaciers. http://

US Hwy 52, between I-90 and Preston.

This is part of the Hwy 52 that returns to two-lane. As it heads south you are brought through the heart of Amish country in southern Minnesota. Watch for the black buggies. The charms of 52 lies in the relaxed feel of the countryside it literally rolls through. A fun side trip is to Niagara Cave and the underground waterfalls south of Harmony.

Welch Village Rd (Goodhue Co. Rd. 7), from US Hwy 61 to MN Hwy 19.

This was once one of the semi-secret sportbike haunts of the south metro. A winding stretch of pavement that attracted menagerie of riders on weekend nights. Quieter now, it

still is one seriously fun road. A nice route includes heading either direction on Hwy 19 towards Cannon Falls or Red Wing.

MN74, from St Charles to Weaver.

This highway is one on the oldest in area. Some portions date back to earliest public roads in the territory. Passing through Whitewater State Park, MN Highway 74 is a mix of curving pavement in the southern section and winding gravel on the northern end.

US14 from Rochester to Winona.

This US highway runs all the way from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park. Most through traffic sticks to I90, so we’ll let 14 be our little secret. Ssssh! Trans Minnesota Adventure Trail. For the more adventurous crowd there’s the Trans Minnesota Adventure Trail or TMAT for short. This collection of gravel roads and trails go all the way from Iowa to Canada. Laid out by dedicated dual sport enthusiasts, the TMAT

lets you explore some of Minnesota’s dirtier roads. Not that kinda of dirty, I mean gravel and such. Download the GPS tracks and learn more here.

Houston County Road 249 from Reno to Caledonia then Mn Hwy 76 to I90.

These two roads are in a word bucolic. Yep I had to look it up as well. Bucolic means “of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life”. Pretty much sums it up. 249 is gravel and 76 is paved. Enjoy.

Whatever road you’re riding on.

We know, it’s a cliché that as cheesy as a 70’s era van with a wizard mural, but it true. Get out, ride, and enjoy it. Not every road can be post card scenery and racetrack corners. The best road is ultimately the one you’re riding.

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #183 May 2017

Taking Your Scooter With You.


By David Harrington

K, right up front, this is not about bringing one’s scooter along to the afterlife. I know there’s talk about Krevin being buried with his scooter, but we mostly assume he’ll eventually crash and sink into a marsh someplace – more of a bog man burial than anything. I’m going to review scooter hauling methods, correct and incorrect, and make a recommendation.

We’re looking here at two reasons to haul your scooter – you have to or you want to. You have to when your scooter is damaged or broken, not rideable, and you need to get it someplace. The someplace you need to get to may also be difficult for your scooter, so hauling becomes the better option (long distances on a 50cc for example). You want to when you’d like your scooter to accompany you someplace, the cabin, vacation, a distant rally perhaps.

Scooters do tend to give one more hauling options than bigger motorcycles, quads and whatnot. Take the mirrors off, and some smaller scooters will fit in a van for example. This bring up our first “DON’T”. Hauling your scooter on its side is bad. Bad for the scooter, bad for the vehicle doing the hauling, just plain bad. Go ahead, ask someone who works at a scooter shop, they’ll tell you horror stories of damage from bringing a scooter to them on its side. Fuel can, and likely will, leak out. Batteries can leak acid. You can end up with damage to your scooter AND the vehicle you hauled it in. DON’T DO IT. How SHOULD you haul your scooter in a van or similar vehicle? Get a decent ramp to start. Make sure the ramp is firmly set on both the ground and the floor of

the vehicle. Search YouTube to see MANY examples of how quickly poor ramp handling can go very bad. In advance of loading, have straps near to hand and places to secure the straps inside the vehicle. BUNGEES ARE NOT STRAPS. Have a plan and measure. Before you roll your scooter up the ramp (DON’T RIDE YOUR SCOOTER UP THE RAMP) and into your van, be sure it will fit and have anchor points picked out. Generally speaking, you will want to have four points, two front and two rear, ready to be utilized.

For most ANY scooter hauling, I utilize a bar harness like the popular Canyon Dancer. It makes for two excellent mounting points in the front and protects your scooter’s controls and grips from damage. The front end should be held tightly with some, but not total, front end compression. The scooter should be reasonably close to straight upright with the front secured. Here is a potential failure point I’ve encountered all too often – people will stop here and head out with their scooter. It may seem secure, but even with the front end compressed the likelihood of the scooter pivoting at the steering head and “flopping” is considerable. One good bump in the road and you could have problems. This is why we continue after getting the front end captured with securing the rear of the scooter. I like to go for rear attachment points that are fairly high, like a grab rail, but even looping through the rear wheel at the base is better than nothing. Be sure and double-check all your attachment points and secure any leftover strap material so as to NOT be flailing in the wind when moving.

Hauling in the box of a truck is pretty much the same with the added benefit of not having to remove the mirrors, having generally easy attachment points, and being easier to roll on and roll off. Do be sure and have a barrier at the front tire to protect the front fender of the scooter as well as the front of the truck box. Conventional open trailers are about the same as truck boxes while usually being lower to the ground and often having some kind of ramp built in.

OK, I promised a recommendation. I suppose the Canyon Dancer counts so this is really a bonus suggestion. If you’re hauling a lot, say, because you WANT to (cabin use for example) get a VersaHaul (www.versahaul. com). You’ll need to have a vehicle with a receiver hitch and the capacity to mount the combined weight of the VersaHaul and your scooter. I’ve used a VersaHaul extensively and find it to be the easiest way to haul my scooter securely. The system is mounted to your hitch with no pivot making it much easier to handle than a trailer. One and off are simple, fast, and easy for one person to accomplish. There are versions for 50cc scooters of up to 250 pounds, single scooter/motorcycle carriers of up to 500 pounds and even

Photo By David Harrington

double carriers. Scooterville in Minneapolis is your local dealer for VersaHaul.

In summary, plan ahead, DO NOT haul scooters on the side, bungees are not straps, don’t ride your scooter up the ramp and double-check your work. Twin Cities scooterist David Harrington owns and operates


Calendar Ongoing 2nd Monday of the month, 7:00pm Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Gathering Diamonds Coffee Shoppe, 1618 Central Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis, MN. Not Necessary To Be a Member to Attend Gathering.

Every Tuesday, 5:45-9:00pm Ride To Sir Bendicts Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake, 805 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802 Have dinner, talk bikes.

1st Thursday of the month, 5:00 pm Dulano’s Pizza Parking Lot Party 607 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN Hang out, eat pizza, show off your bike, watch the variety of humanity.

3rd Thursday of the month, 6:00 pm Blue Cat Motorcycle Third Thursday 460 Prior Avenue North, Saint Paul, MN, Two wheel block party. The action starts at 6:00 PM.

May May 6, 12 pm — Dirty Rotten Bikerfest Boulder Lodge Bar & Grill, 18919 Lake George Blvd, Oak Grove, MN Vendors, swap meet, bike show, bike rodeo games, bands, beer, beard contest, Daisy Duke’s contest, bbq. Put on by folks who love community, music, and motorcycles.

May 6 — International Female Ride Day

Everywhere The only globally synchronized women’s motorcycle ride. The world’s largest most unique women motorcycle riders event. Across all cultures, through all parts of the world, across all borders! Join us on the 11th edition for 2017 and JUST RIDE!

May 20 — Aerostich Open House and Motorcyclerama 8 South 18th Avenue West, Duluth, MN 55806 Phone 218.722.1927 Seminars, demos, presentations of gear and equipment. Expert fitting and sizing. In-store specials. Factory tours. Prize

drawings. Food vendors! Free swag.

May 28, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm GLMC Bonzai Road Rally Best described to those who have never tried a road rally as an oversized treasure hunt. Ride some of the best motorcycle roads in the upper Midwest by finding a set of unique and interesting bonus locations.


June 3, 8:00 am — 13th Annual Motorcycle Run - Chuck’s Ride

June 3, 10:00 am —10th Annual 2 Wheels 4 Heroes American Legion Lino Lakes, 7731 Lake Drive, Lino Lakes — There is no registration fee but donations are appreciated. There will be food, door prizes, and an auction. Proceeds will benefit the Minneapolis Poly Trauma Center. See the most current event listings on our website Hosting an event? MMM will list your motorcycle event for free as a service to our readers. Email

Fury Motorcycle, 740 North Concord Street, S St Paul, MN — Free pancake breakfast for all registered bikers. Driver: $25.00, Passenger: $15.00 (Run fee includes parade & street dance admission). Parade Leaves 5:00 p.m. Drkula’s 32 Bowl, Inver Grove Heights. Street Dance: 4:00 p.m. South St. Paul VFW, Multiple bands – Indoor and Outdoor stages.

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 —


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly - May 2017  

MMM #183

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