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#185 FREE

Inside: A Bunch Of 2017–2018 Suzukis • Geezer •

Tales • Not Much Else, Everybody’s Out Riding


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #185 July 2017

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly®

Table of Contents July 2017

PUBLISHER Victor Wanchena

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From The Hip

MANAGING EDITOR Bruce Mike

REVIEW WRANGLER

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David Soderholm

All The News That Fits Road Rash

COLUMNISTS Paul Berglund Thomas Day

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Photo by Bruce Mike

WEBMASTER Julie S. Mike

From The Hip

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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By Bruce Mike

Bike Review 2017 – 2018 Suzuki Motorcycle Lineup Review

offee and motorcycles go hand-in-hand for me as well as food and motorcycles. I know I’m not alone in this based on the number of motorcycle themed/friendly coffee shops and restaurants. They are not just here in Minnesota, they seem to be pretty common in most states.

On a recent trip to Seattle I thought I would check out what that city had to offer. I wasn’t there long but I did visit Cafe Racer Cafe and Smarty Pants Bar and Grill. Both places were interesting and I picked up swag from each of them. I decided to make this a regular thing when I travel. I’m sure it’s not an original idea but with a smartphone it’s really easy to do.

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Geezer With A Grudge Might As Well Ask for Perpetual Motion

Local motorcycle friendly places that I frequent are Diamonds Coffee Shop and Bob’s Java Hut. Diamonds is on Central in Northeast Minneapolis and hosts a number of motorcycle events as well as serving fantastic coffee in a great atmosphere. Lucy the owner is a long time rider who always has a smile on her face and a story to tell. Bob’s Java Hut is on 27th and Lyndale and for me is the original rider’s coffee shop. I hung out there in the mid-nineties when it was across the street from it’s current location. In 1995 I rode the first Minnesota 1000 that started and finished at Bob’s. Both of these coffee shops hold fond motorcycle memories for me.

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Tales From The Road Ode To Ugly

There are numerous Minnesota restaurants that have special events for motorcycle riders. A quick Google search will turn up a bunch of them. Some of my favorites include Third Thursdays at Blue Cat Motors in St. Paul, The Bring Out Your Dead Rally at Sir Benedicts in Duluth and TwoWheel Mondays at Sal’e in Withrow. Blue Cat will often have a taco truck and a great gathering of riders with some very cool bikes. Sir Benedicts has great food, a great atmosphere and a great view of Lake Superior. Sal’s will give you free spaghetti on Mondays if you show up on a snowmobile, horse or motorcycle. Another coffee shop I have visited several times is the Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee. It was after my last visit there that I came up with the idea of looking up motorcycle themed coffee shops when I visit other cities. The comfort and familiarity I feel when visiting these places makes for a nice break when I’m away from home. They all have been independently owned businesses, which I like to support, and justifies my purchasing of t-shirts and sweatshirts.

My wife and I are planning a car trip this fall and I hope to add to what is currently a fairly short list of cafes and restaurants. I know, this is a motorcyle publication and why am I talking about a car trip. My wife and I have ridden our bikes on many trips and we decided to take a car this time simply because it’s been so long since we’ve done it. We have a blast on long drives together and a car trip takes a lot less organization and prep.

Cover photos by David Soderholm

Review Bikes Provided By Doug Chapman and Suzuki suzukicycles.com

So far we know we’re heading south and we’re going for at least ten days. We’ll be taking a leisurely route with no interstates if possible. If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations for interesting, motorcycle related stops, email them to bruce@mnmotorcycle.com. MMM

Je Suis Charlie

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #185 July 2017

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All The News That Fits into a successful stint in the AMA Grand National Championship and AMA Superbike series, in which he earned the 1999 AMA Supersport and 2002 AMA Superbike crowns with American Honda. He was promoted to the FIM MotoGP series with Repsol Honda, for whom he achieved his dream of earning the World Championship in 2006. Nicky also rode for Ducati and Aspar Racing in MotoGP, and last year he transitioned to the FIM Superbike World Championship with Photo courtesy of the internet the Ten Kate squad. Along the way, his chaHayden 1981-2017 risma earned him legions of fans the world Late last month as we went to press we over, while his dedication and professionalreported that MotoGP World Champion ism earned the respect and admiration of Nicky Hayden had been seriously injured in his teams, teammates and competitors.” Italy. We are saddened to report that shortly after we went to press Nicky died from his injuries. The following are excerpts of the obituary released by his publicist.

“Born into a large extended Catholic family in Owensboro, Kentucky, Nicky was the middle child of Earl and Rose Hayden, with two brothers and two sisters. The entire family loved motorcycles, and shortly after he could walk, Nicky declared that his dream was to be a world champion. Although life on a farm meant that animals— horses, pot-belly pigs, even llamas—were a part of every day, for Nicky they were just novelties, and while he was a natural athlete, childhood sports leagues were little more than a lark. Racing—for the whole family, but especially for Nicky—was everything. Apart from an annual spring-break jaunt to Panama City, Florida, family trips were to racetracks, first around the Midwest, then the Eastern U.S., and eventually the entire country. For Nicky, a distinguished amateur dirt track and road racing career transitioned

Nicky was 35 at the time of his death and is survived by his parents Earl and Rose; his siblings Tommy, Jennifer, Roger, and Kathleen; his fiancée Jacqueline Marin. No further details regarding the circumstances of the incident have been made public at this time.

Interior Department Evaluates National Monuments The U.S. Interior Department began accepting public comment May 12th on a list of national monuments designated since 1996 by three presidents under the American Antiquities Act of 1906. The public comment period, the first ever for Antiquities Act consideration, is part of a federal review of all monuments of more than 100,000 acres made by presidents during the past 21 years. The full list of the area under review is available on the US Department of Interior’s website (www. doi.gov). The review also will include designations where the current Interior Sec-

retary, Ryan Zinke, determines that the designation was made without sufficient public outreach and coordination with stakeholders. President Trump ordered the review in April, giving Zinke 45 days to submit interim recommendations and 120 days to submit suggestions for legislation, recommend that the president reduce the size of monuments larger than 100,000 acres, or rescind the designations altogether. The designation of these areas as national monuments closed their use to many users including motorized recreation like trail riding. You can submit your comments online at: https://www.regulations. gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001, or you can mail them to: Monument Review , MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.

Land Review Closer to Home The state Department of Natural Resources invites you to learn about proposed recreation opportunities in Centennial State Forest, a 3,394-acre state forest in Trelipe Township, Cass County, donated to the DNR in 2013. As part of the overall planning process, the DNR is proposing to classify Centennial State Forest as “limited”, which means it open to motorized use on designated trails and areas. The DNR is also proposing to designate about 11 miles of forest roads to allow OHV and motor vehicle use. Comments received will be used to develop a final recommendation that will be submitted to the DNR commissioner for approval. Written comments may be submitted by email to foresttrailplanning.dnr@state.mn.us, or by mail to Joe Unger, Parks and Trails Division, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4039. Comments will be accepted through July 26.



Hope For Autonomous Vehicles and Motorcycles Cohabitating? Ford Motor Company has recently patented a system for autonomous vehicles that allows them to detect lane-splitting motorcyclists. The system combines input from cameras and microphones to find the bike, and the vehicle’s software considers its op-

tions before changing lanes. While apparently designed specifically for lane splitting motorcycles, it seems a safe assumption that the system could detect motorcycles in adjacent lanes or vehicle blind spots. The current trend does point to continued work on the recognition of motorcycles by autonomous vehicles, but skeptisim remains in light of incidents like the accident last year where a Tesla model S with the Autopilot feature engaged failed to see a motorcycle, hitting and seriously injuring a rider.

Thai H-D Harley-Davidson has announced plans to build a plant in Thailand where motorcycles will be assembled from parts manufactured and shipped from the United States. The company said the plant will cater to the Asia-Pacific market, particularly China and Southeast Asia. Harley plans to begin production in Thailand in 2018. “There is no intent to reduce our U.S. manufacturing due to this expansion. Our U.S. manufacturing will continue to supply the U. S. and certain other global markets,” a company spokesperson told the New York Times.



Forcing Riders Into Cars From the bureau of unintended consequences, the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations says low-emission zones and city bans could force motorcyclists into cars. Some cities are choosing to ban motorcycles built before 2006 and the Euro 3 emission standards or worse banning fossil fuel powered vehicles all together. The group conducted a survey of motorcyclists, finding that a whopping 87 percent aren’t willing to purchase a lower emissions bike that meets Europe’s stricter Euro 4 and 5 emissions standards and 76 percent would change their mode of transportation rather than buy a zero emissions bike. FEMA’s Wim Taal published an article on the FEMA website that warns forcing riders to abandon their “low-cost, pre2006 motorcycles” in favor of late-model cars “could have serious consequences for urban traffic, congestion and pollution.” The FEMA survey included 5,402 people from 30 countries.

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 — www.mnmotorcycle.com

MMM


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #185 July 2017

2017 – 2018 Suzuki Mot By David Soderhom

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’m kind of a motorcycle nut. Anytime I have the chance to get in on a cool motorcycle thing, I’m game all the way. When I got wind of Suzuki USA needing MSF instructors for leading and chasing the 2017-2018 Suzuki Demo Fleet rides at various dealers over a few days I jumped with both feet. Getting paid to run demo rides over an extended time period and riding all of the models offered really gave me a chance to do a super test of sorts. The routes encompassed city, country and freeway portions to give a great impression under the various conditions you may find yourself riding in. I’m going to break each motorcycle category down with the various options from Suzuki that were present to ride. Let me say this right up front – Suzuki is back and should be on your list of bikes to purchase.

Photo By David Soderholm

DR650S – ($6499.00) The DR is the grown up to the DRZ. A Photo By David Soderholm

TU250X – ($4399.00) A retro standard with a nice front disc

250 cc or less

brake, good suspension (cool twin rear shocks) easy handling and a somewhat torquey responsive air cooled fuel injected 250 cc single. Another very new rider friendly motorcycle to learn the ropes on. This is a great city bike and would even serve well on 2 lane back roads.

big torquey air cooled 650cc single will punch away from stop lights or loft the front with ease. Not quite as quick revving as the DRZ, but easier to use on the street. Good suspension front and rear make bumps on the street disappear. Less hooligan on the street than the DRZ, but oh so much more trail worthy. It’s also better over longer distances than the DRZ with a better settled chassis and seat. Noah rode one when he built the Ark, but it’s still a great bike.

Photo By David Soderholm Photo By David Soderholm

VanVan 200 – ($4599.00) The VanVan is an all new 200cc dual

purpose bike. Fat tires front and rear immediately bring to mind the Yamaha TW200. This is a more stylish Suzuki version with a fun retro flair. The seat is FANTASTIC and the light nimble fun handling and controls make it a hoot to toss around. Fuel Injection make starting simple. A front disc brake works well and it tops out at about 70 MPH. It would make a great cabin bike or legit scooter alternative in town.

Photo By David Soderholm

GSX-250R – ($4499.00) An early release 2018 model. I didn’t

ride this one, as it was a preview unit not for official riding yet. It slips nicely into the resurgent small sporty bike market. The seating is actually quite comfortable and it is very nicely finished. It does not appear to be a cheap inexpensive bike at all! On the contrary it feels and looks like it was put together with care and quality. I can’t wait to try one out…

Dual Purpose

DL1000-Vstrom ($12,999) The 1000 Vstrom is a revised early

release 2018 model. It comes in two flavors, standard and XT versions. The XT version comes with tubeless spoked wheels and a tapered handle bar. For 2018, the Vstrom has revised styling and A new, five-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) providing vehicle spacial information to the innovative Motion Track Anti-lock* & Combined Brake System. It also features refinements from 2014’s full revision in the engine mapping, controls and aerodynamics. Look for our full test on the Vstrom 1000 next month! For now, I’ll say if you are looking in the ADV shopping space be sure to check it out.

Cruisers

Photo By David Soderholm

GW250 – ($4099.00) The GW is a very nice fuel injected liquid

cooled parallel twin 250 with a cool modern look and an upright standard riding position. It’s got good power for a 250. From 6-11k on the tach it will accelerate quite nicely. Clutch and throttle work smooth and new rider friendly. An 80 MPH top speed give it actual freeway potential and twin disc brakes (f & R) make stopping effective and easy. Great new rider friendly mount with a modern and attractive instrument cluster.

Photo By David Soderholm

DRZ400SM – ($7199.00) The DRZ is a supermoto hooligan for

the street. A fuel injected 400cc liquid cooled high revving single make it versatile and fun to ride. The seat is a bit hard, but there is not much else to complain about. It will run freeway speeds (chassis is a bit lively there) and it makes city riding an absolute joy. Pot holes, curbs, speed bumps simply disappear under the great suspension. Handling in town is ridiculously good and entertaining. Wheelies, stoppies, backing it in – all simple affairs…..or so I’ve heard. It WILL leave a smile on your face.

Photo By David Soderholm

Boulevard M90 – ($11,199) The M90 is a great looking muscle

cruiser. It’s got a fantastic liquid cooled 1500 cc v-twin engine. The 90 ci engine is filled with torque and makes a great hot rod rush to redline. The feet forward riding position is actually nicely compact and comfortable with a great seat. A speedometer mounted on the bars is easy to see. Sensibly, but still meaty sized tire selection lets the handling shine. I’d put this one right up there with the Victory Octane in fun – and if you read my review of the Octane, that’s saying a lot! The Victory is lighter and more nimble, but the Suzuki really works well as a package.

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #185 July 2017

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torcycle Lineup Review Race Replicas and Sportbikes

Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. – ($14,999) The muscled butch brother

of the M90. Goodness me – this engine is a ripper! This bike has one flat out ripping muscular V-twin. Great fueling and torquey rippling muscle everywhere with a fantastic sound track mixed in. I’m not sure how they got it past the sound check guys – but it’s fantastic. It’s a stretch to the pegs and the drag bars fold you over a bit, but the seat is good. The optional touring shield on it was great. The shifting is industrial, especially in first to second gear shifts. Brakes are fantastic with radial mounted front calipers. Handling isn’t as nimble and easy as its little brother, being negatively affected by that huge rear tire. Just remember to keep counter steering through corners and you’re good to go.

Sporting Streetbike (Let me throw in a recommendation here. If you are a sporty rider and going to be mostly street riding, do yourself a favor and buy one of these 3 motorcycles instead of a GSXR. They are all VASTLY superior in every single street situation you will find yourself in, and be cheaper on insurance in all cases. If you are racing or plan to do a lot of track days, then get a GSXR. They are exceptional on the track. Otherwise, take it from me and buy the sporty street mount of your choice below instead!)

GSXR Line I’m going to lump all three of the GSXR’s together

Photo By David Soderholm

GSX-S750 – ($8299.00) The GSX-S750 is an early release 2018

model. Heavily updated and improved for the new release, this 750 is one fun sporty platform now! Brakes, suspension, engine and styling were all redone. Brakes are now radially mounted Nissin monoblocks and suspension is new preload adjustable KYB units front and rear. Both work great and the brakes are single finger stoppers. The engine sounds like a GSXR but has more torque at low RPM and rushes to redline with a great howl. Fueling is great at all times. Traction control is standard. Seating is sporty standard and the controls / instruments have a high quality look and feel. Tires are high quality Bridgestone Hypersport S21 tires. A bike that could excel at the track and still pull street duty with equal fun. Great job Suzuki! This 750 is a true surprise on the thoroughness of the revision made for 2018.

in one group. All have very high spec running gear, and are absolutely telepathic in their handling and braking at street speeds. Like production race bikes from other companies, their capabilities so far exceed anything you can do with them on the street that it’s ridiculous. They are meant to be pushed hard in a racetrack environment and are exceptional in that role. On the street, their punishing seating positions and restricted mirror visibility don’t make much sense. On the track – nirvana. The engines are all dead smooth, and turbine like with the 600 having the least low end and midrange power. It’s smoothness means it doesn’t fatigue you when running higher rpm’s though. The 750 has a decidedly stronger mid and top end hit and is a great street engine. The new for 2017 GSXR1000 is ripping fast at any rpm level – helped by a new VVT valve system. It also has a quick shifter and a very sophisticated electronic suite of rider aids that would definitely help control the power on the track. They are all mighty impressive, but if you are going to focus more on street vs track riding you are much better served with the GSX-S line of bikes.

Photo By David Soderholm

Photo By David Soderholm Photo By David Soderholm

SV650 – ($6999.00) The SV650 returns and is one great all

around V-twin motorcycle. Suzuki KNOWS how to build a 650 v-twin. Within 100 yards I was comfortable on it. Balance is excellent, as is the controls and rider interface. It straddles the line between sport and standard wonderfully. It has fun sporty engine power, enough to entertain anyone but always manageable and with perfect fuel injection. The cockpit is modern and well finished. Seating is sporty standard and it has a feeling of quality and unity built into it. Everything about the SV just feels “right”. This is a bike you could comfortably ride to a track day, tape up the lights and have a great time (within suspension limits of course). At the end of the day, pull the tape off and take the long way home. On the street, on the track, new rider, experienced rider — it’s all covered by this great bike.

GSX-S1000 – ($9999.00) The S1000 is a holdover model and is the

bigger brother to the S750. Like the 750, it has radially mounted brakes (Brembos this time) KYB suspension (fully adjustable this time) and high quality controls / instruments (including a Renthal fat bar). It uses a revised K5 GSX-R1000 motor that was torque rich to begin with. Minor tweaks to the engine boost the curve of the engine at street speeds even more. It is snappy, torque laden and quick revving with relatively low gearing. In other words it’s a heck of a lot of fun. The only fly in the ointment is a somewhat snatchy throttle in on-off transitions. It’s something you can get used to, but is noticeable for sure. Suspension, handling and brakes are magnificent. Seating position is again sporty standard. Even more capable on track than its 750 brother, it also excels in street situations. Both GSX-S models are a ton of fun and truly outshine any pure sportbike on the street while offering 90% of what they will do on a track day.

Hayabusa ($14,599) Honestly for me, the shocking surprise of

the group. We nicknamed it the Starship Enterprise. It looks so heavy and bulky, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Busa is rock solid, nimble and extremely competent. Aerodynamics are very smooth, and the seating position is dialed back from sportbike punishing…..just enough. The motor is an absolute rocket ship that still works on the street because of the controllable and buttery torque available. Make NO MISTAKE – this thing is mega fast, but feels so controllable and unstressed as you accelerate through the gears. Suspension and brakes are once again…fantastic. Always feeling smooth and composed. If you get one, keep an eye on the speedometer, it’s too easy to park it at 100 MPH and think you are doing 55…you’ve been warned! In summary – I’d like to thank Doug Chapman and Suzuki for the opportunity to do this. Suzuki has a great lineup of bikes that need to be on your list of inquiries when you shop. Stay tuned for next issues 2018 Vstrom 1000 full test. MMM

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #185 July 2017

Geezer With A Grudge By Thomas Day

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o start off my morning, I unloaded the washing machine and dumped the wet clothes into the dryer. When I cleaned out the dryer filter, I noticed a lot of lint and dog hair had slipped by the filter into the airway leading to the condenser. So, I pulled the condenser and cleaned everything before I started up the dryer. It took about ten minutes to do the whole procedure. We’ve had this ventless dryer for about six months and it has needed a good cleaning no more than three times in that period. My wife, of course, has yet to read the dryer’s manual and has no idea that the dryer needs anything more than loading and unloading. She is, apparently, like a lot of motorcyclists in that way. When I test rode the Honda VT1300CT Interstate for MMM a few years ago I wrote, “Honda skipped the usual crappy Japanese tool kit altogether. I’m not fond of this thinking, but their theory is probably that the kind of rider the VTX attracts will be unlikely to do his or her own maintenance.” Or, for that matter, any maintenance until absolutely necessary. At that point, the work is no longer properly called “maintenance.” It can often be emergency roadside repairs or a tow to a shop followed by expensive work that might even result in the rider having to abandon the bike and/or make plans to get back home on more than two wheels.

Might As Well Ask for Perpetual Motion When I do a Basic Rider course for the state, I always stick a little basic maintenance instruction into the class. Safe riding requires a well-maintained motorcycle and pretending that motorcycles don’t need maintenance is silly. Repair and maintenance is a sore subject for a lot of riders, drivers, and laundry machine owners. A lot of today’s products are designed to be “maintenance free,” which you should read to mean “designed to last no longer than the manufacturer’s warranty.” When Honda makes the decision to forego even the slightest tool expense because the company thinks we’re too lazy to do anything to prevent a breakdown, that is a big, scary statement. There is no such thing as a maintenancefree motorcycle; or any other mechanical device. Expecting a machine to labor indefinitely without cleaning, lubrication, and the occasional part replacement is foolish. You might as well hope for a perpetual motion machine while you’re at it. High performance requires a lot of engineering sacrifices, including a conservative intolerance for contaminated lubrication, fasteners selected for lightness rather than redundancy, and lightweight vs. heavy-duty driveline parts. In fact, the more performance demanded from the machine, the closer every part will come to the engineering safety margins. That means more, not less, maintenance will be required if you want and expect something resembling reli-

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ability from the machine. If you don’t want reliability from your machine, why the hell are you reading this column? I’ve been beating this dead horse, and a couple others, for almost two decades. Modern manufactur-

“However, I know a few kids you might call “hipsters” who have salvaged 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s iron and rebuilt those machines into motorcycles that any sensible person would be proud to ride”. ers have performed near-miracles with the products we enjoy, but they do expect us to make some sort of contribution especially if we’re going to be riding on the outer edges of civilization. As Charlie and Ewan discovered, even BMWs break. While manufacturers have been trying to convince consumers that modern prod-

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ucts are supposed to have a two or three year lifetime, some consumers are taking a different path. “Hipsters” take a lot of unearned crap from old farts who are jealous of kids who can still fit into skinny jeans. However, I know a few kids you might call “hipsters” who have salvaged 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s iron and rebuilt those machines into motorcycles that any sensible person would be proud to ride. Not only are these kids unafraid of maintenance, they are practically throwbacks to an age when riders knew how to tear down a motor or transmission and how to field repair leaking fork seals, busted shifter and brake levers, and who actually ride their motorcycles places more remote than a Hudson bar. They haven’t bought into the delusion that drive shafts, belt drives, electronic-everything, and unrepairable black-box design equals mindless reliability and I love them for that. They give me a smidge of hope that humans might survive our self-made “Sixth Extinction” and that Americans might continue to make stuff, fix stuff, and invent stuff in the future. As for the rest of the motorcycle market, the growing crowd who don’t want to get their hands dirty, learn anything more complicated than video game rules and mastering the next iDevice and who are happy being consumers in a throw-away society, I’d be lying if I wished you “good luck with that.” I hope you go broke buying all that crap, burying yourself in credit card debt, and stuffing landfills with the remains of your poor decisions. You folks are lousy citizens, terrible neighbors, and you will be recognized as miserable ancestors by the generations who will get stuck with the job of bailing out our economy, cleaning up our environment, and rebuilding the world we carelessly trashed. You can’t escape maintenance, you can only avoid it until something major breaks; something you could have avoided with routine maintenance. MMM


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #185 July 2017

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Ode to Ugly

Tales From The Road

I

By Paul Berglund MMMRoadTales@gmail.com

love the way my bike looks. Like most motorcycle riders, I tend to buy bikes that I think are attractive. I feel it’s important that when you walk into your garage and see your bike, it makes you happy. And yet, one of the first things I do when I get a new bike is ugly it up, by putting on a tank bag. Tank bags are just so darn practical. I keep all kinds of things in them, like sun glasses, a towel to clean my face shield, maps, snacks and various cables and adapters for my phone and heated clothing to name just a few things. I don’t like the way a tank bag looks on my bike, but I love riding my bike and having a place to put stuff that makes life easier. It gets real ugly when it’s going to rain, or I’m running errands on the bike. Then I put on the top case. It’s a great way to store my jacket and helmet when I get to where I’m going. I can fit a full bag of groceries, or what ever I buy at the store and put it in the top case on the way home. It can also fit my rain gear along with all that other stuff. Top cases are just so darn practical. They don’t add width to the bike. You hardly know they are there when you are riding. You do have to kick your leg a little higher to get on and off the bike. I can live with that. What I don’t like is how ugly they look when you are walking up to the bike. A huge black box stuck up high on the back takes away the sex appeal of most any bike. No more sleek lines or flow of design, it’s all botched up in service of practicality. To leave room for a passenger they seam to sit too far back and too high on the bike. They just look awkward and dorky. And yet, I end up slapping them on each bike I get, because they take a beautiful toy and transform it into a practical mode of transportation. This past June, it seemed like there was a chance of rain every day. So the top case stayed on my bike. The Town & Country Cafe (320 E Belvedere Ave, Kellogg, MN 55945) in Kellogg has good food every day, but on Mondays, a pice of pie costs a dollar. So last Monday I checked my tire pressure and oil level, made sure my rain gear was in the top case and took the scenic route south

along the Mississippi river on the Wisconsin side. When I got to Nelson, I crossed over to Wabasha on the Minnesota side. Six miles south and I’m eating the daily special (spaghetti with meat sauce) and ordering up some pie. When I got out of the restaurant the pain of seeing the ugly top case was eased when I saw how dark the sky was to the north. I stayed on the Minnesota side for a change of pace and headed north towards St Paul and home. Just south of Red Wing the black bottomed clouds let loose and the rain was on. I swung into a gas satiation to fill up and put on the rain suit. Back on the road I was happy, warm & dry and full of spaghetti and pie. For a half an hour or so. What the hell is the deal with rain gear? It only works once or twice and then it just stops doing it’s job. I’ve carried this rain suit around with me for two years and hundreds of miles in several different states. It worked fine the first two times I used it and now it leaks all over the place. I rode around looking like a dork with a big ugly box on the back of my bike, lugging around a rain suit that doesn’t prevent water from soaking my clothes. It works great, until it doesn’t. No warning. That sucks. Not as bad as if it happened with a fire extinguisher or an epipen, but it chaps my ass. On this ride I had on my mesh gear, because it was hot and humid. The rain suit I use is a two piece with long leg zippers so you can easily step into the pants standing in a gas station, or on the side of the road. My other

Photo by Fontana Fotos

riding jacket had a water proof outer shell, till it stopped working. The same goes for my formerly water proof riding pants. So, what ever I’m wearing I have to lug around a dedicated rain suit when ever I go for a ride on a cloudy day. I would like to go on the record and say that riding jackets and pants with a water proof liner are some of the stupidest things on the market. You have to take off your jacket and pants, in the rain, to put on your rain gear. Who thought that was a good idea? So this rain suit will go in the trash and I’ll go buy another one. Just like I have to go and buy yet another pair of water proof gloves. All the “water proof ” gloves I’ve bought have failed. 100% of them. Same goes for my $400+ dollar water proof boots. So it’s an entire segment of the motorcycle industry that is guaranteed to fail at some point, just when you need it. It’s 2017, rain and water

were preexisting conditions for several billion years before humans came along. So how about we take one of the smart technicians and put them on developing a rain suit that works. Tell the slack jawed yokel who was working on them to go back to sweeping floors. I can’t afford new riding boots every year. Nor can I pop for new jackets and pants annually. I hate that the $125 leather gloves I bought last year are now more hydroscopic than brake fluid or a beach towel. So it looks like I have to track down new rain gear that goes over my current riding gear and just buy it every year. Just like I pay for new license tabs and insurance every year. Maybe it’s lucky that only 2 to 3 percent of Americans ride motorcycles. It won’t be long till our landfills are choked full of crappy ass rain suits that are good for nothing. MMM

Summer Cycle Fest

Saturday, July 8th from 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Join us for the Motorcycle Event of the Summer!

Tires – Best Prices In Town! While-U-Wait Service

SSB Ride Nights

sed 200+ U es ycl rc to o M k! In Stoc

July 19 | August 16 | September 20 • 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm • Join us for group rides, free food and drinks and horsepower pulls by MC DynoTech – 3 for $20

www.simplystreetbikes.com • 952-941-0774 Photo by Paul Berglund

Simply Street Bikes • 7500 Washington Ave S, Eden Prairie Minnesota 55344

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly - July 2017  

MMM #185

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