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#188 FREE

Fall Is The Right Time For An Adventure Bike

Inside: 2 018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000

The Couch Of Doom • Other Stuff


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #188 October 2017

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly®

Table of Contents October 2017

PUBLISHER Victor Wanchena


From The Hip




All The News That Fits Road Rash

COLUMNISTS Paul Berglund Thomas Day

CONTRIBUTORS Tim Erickson Harry Martin

Photo Courtesy of

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: 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.

By Bruce Mike


hile I haven’t ridden a lot of miles this year I’ve spent a lot of time on my bikes. Much of this time has been in traffic. Something I’ve noticed while sitting at intersections and watching the world go by is there are not a lot of young people riding motorcycles. I do see quite a few scooter riders who are young. I think that has to do with my being close to a college campus, scooters are cheap, and you can park them anywhere. My love of motorcycles started when I was very young and I was riding a street bike as soon as I could. I paid $500 for my first bike. A buck a cc. It was about five years old. That seemed to be common pricing for bikes back then. I spent about three years riding without a motorcycle endorsement but I was a bit of a scofflaw back then. I was in my late teens and there were a lot of other riders my age. I know it’s not news that motorcycle sales in the U.S. are pretty stagnant and they have been for awhile. There are a lot of opinions about why this is. The number one being, that motorcycles are expensive and normally purchased with discretionary income. Most people in America see motorcycles as something we own for fun and not a primary form of transportation. Over the years mine have been both. The industry’s response to this is to build smaller displacement, less expensive bikes to lure young people to riding. While sales of smaller bikes are going up, I think it may be too little too late. I think the answer may be in how manufacturers are marketing these bikes. Here’s my opinion. All these smaller bikes should have been on the market 10 years ago, right after motorcycle sales plummeted. They could have been advertised as fun and cheap which may have created interest for kids in their early teens. I think we’re at a point now where manufacturers need to market motorcycling, more than just motorcycles. We have an entire generation that are attached to their phones and the apps that are on them. They are consciously, and sometimes I think unconsciously, completely absorbed in their devices. This can’t be easily done on a bike. If everybody rode motorcycles there would be no distracted driving. I think bikes need to be marketed to these folks the way they used to be. As a way to be free from life’s attachments. Show them how great it is to be alone in your helmet and free of worldly distractions. Show them how practical a form of transportation they are. I base this opinion on my own observations. There seems to be a real trend for retro things. I see it with cars, motorcycles, clothes and activities like board games and pinball machines. We have television programs about tiny houses and living off the grid. There seems to be a real movement for less stuff and more experiences. I like to hope that these trends are a precursor to our society maybe returning to simpler pleasures and simpler times. A lot of the younger people I do see riding today are on vintage, smaller displacement, japanese and european motorcycles. If you’re going to sell retro looking bikes, which a lot of the new ones are, why not go retro with advertising. It might be time to remind everyone. “You Meet The Nicest People On A Honda”. MMM


Bike Review 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000


Geezer With A Grudge What Kind of Wolf Are You?


Tales From The Road The Couch of Doom

Cover photo by David Soderholm

Review Bike Provided By Suzuki

Je Suis Charlie

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #188 October 2017


All The News That Fits ment. MPR reports that Ron Potter, a retired Minnesota Department of Natural Resources trails employee who’s now a consultant for the National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, said the project could be completed by the summer of 2018.

The DNR contracted with NOHVCC and the Minnesota Four Wheel Drive Association to manage the project. The trail will start at Grand Portage and end at the North Dakota border in northwest Minnesota. The actual route and finalized plans are not published yet, but the intent is for a multi-use (motorcycle, ATV, UTV, and ORV) trail using existing road and trails. Seen as win/win venture, the trail would provide a point-to-point route for off-road enthusiasts while providing a boost to the local economies of communities along the route.

Ducati Not For Sale … For Now Photo Courtesy of Motor Sports Newswire

Jared Mees Takes AFT Flat Track Title Jared Mees made history in September by winning the American Flat Track Williams Grove Half Mile round, and locking up the AFT Twins championship on his Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750 with two rounds still to go. It was Mees’ ninth win of the season, and the first time in history the Indian brand won the Grand National Championship title.

“We had a phenomenal year,” said Mees. “I had a magnificent team behind me. I don’t know what else to say. I give all the credit to those guys. They work so hard week-in and week-out. The Indian was a phenomenal motorcycle for me from start to finish. It’s unbelievable.” American Flat Track recognizes a Rider Championship in each class. The rider that accumulates the most points in each class over the course of a season is declared the National Champion of the class. With only two races remaining, and Mees 50 points ahead of the next racer – teammate Bryan Smith, he has a lock on the class win.

season’s 48 total podiums, including six sweeps. Mees has nine victories on the season. Fellow Wrecking Crew Riders, Bryan Smith (276 points) and Brad Baker (247 points) will battle through the final two races of the season for second place. Indian has made an impressive debut for the Scout FTR750 winning the championship and they have the potential to sweep the podium for the year.

MN ADV trail

Put your checkbook away. Volkswagen’s supervisory board no longer backs a plan to sell Ducati, even though several companies showed interest when Volkswagen initially floated the idea in April. According to Reuters, five bidders were on a shortlist of potential buyers, including the Benetton family. Polaris was also rumored to be on the list as well. Ducati reportedly received offers between $1.52 billion and $1.76 billion. However, half of VW’s 20-member supervisory board rejected the sale

of Ducati unless there are compelling financial reasons. VW’s six-month financial results show the company doesn’t need more money, according to Reuters.

No Repeat Victory at the ISDE for US, France Dominates The U.S. Men’s Trophy Team lost its bid to defend its 2016 championship at the 92nd International Six Days Enduro when Thad Duvall broke his wrist on Day One at the ISDE. Held this year held Aug. 28 –Sept 3 in BriveLa-Gaillarde, France. The ISDE is the oldest FIM motorcycle event in the world and is one of the toughest off-road races. The injury to Duvall cleared the way for France to take the international championship, their ninth world title (seventh since 2008). France had been disqualified in 2015 with the world title going to Australia and they (France) did not compete in 2016 in protest. Other men’s US Trophy Team members continued to pursue individual titles at the event. Taylor Robert, the fastest overall individual last year in Spain, finished 3rd overall and Ryan Sipes finished a respectable 5th overall. Kailub Russell also finished in the top 20 with a 14th overall. The ISDE provides an excellent video recap of the event here: https://

As previously reported in MMM, a new adventure trail will take motorized recreationists along 400 to 500 miles of back roads across northern Minnesota, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio. Recent news is showing some progress in the trail develop-

The Indian Wrecking Crew has combined for 35 of the

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 —



Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #188 October 2017

2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 — Su I

By Tim Erickson

t took mere minutes aboard the latest 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 to realize why the “adventure” category is one of the best-selling motorcycle segments in North America. These bikes have a do it all mission, offering all-road capability, touring comfort, sporty handling and enough capacity to pack the goods from an efficiency apartment to spend time traversing the continent. I held the keys for a week, during which its tires trod over dry freeway, wet back roads, gravel shortcuts and other thoroughfares to get a great feel and understanding of what Suzuki was up to with its updated 1000 V-Strom. And while I didn’t hit an ocean coast and back, my 700 test miles were plenty to explore the bike’s personality and find its nuances. First and foremost, the latest incarnation – 2018 – is an update to the 2014 redesign which had a significant upgrade in styling, chassis and engine. Under its more understated, more beaked out pleasing blend of bodywork and mechanical art is an updated chassis, recalibrated and refined engine, an electronics package and a host of other updates that when added to the spec sheet help create its $12,999 bottom line. It’s worth noting this price is unchanged from when the bike debuted as a 2014 model. An XT package, with wire spoked wheels and tapered Fat Bar cost $300.00 more. From the first moments underway I was appreciative of the reworked engine. The dual overhead cam 90-degree 1037cc Vee is well balanced from vibration and provides strong, usable torque through a meaty midrange. For the occasional light offroad adventure seeker, first gear is short, but the transfer of power is smooth and linear to remove any jerky lowspeed, on-throttle maneuvering, even without feathering the slipper clutch – no doubt playing a role in overall driveline smoothness. I expected a little more top-end engine power; by displacement the engine’s 90-ballpark horsepower is on the low side of high performance. The powerband flattens after 6500 rpm

in its climb to a 9200 redline, and after a few orientation miles I rarely directed the engine to report more than 6000 rpm on the analog tach. It doesn’t mean the displacement lacks fun and an energetic ride; it’s more about how it’s calibrated for low- and mid-range grunt with close gear ratios. Roll-on thrust anywhere in the midrange is rapid if not thrilling. There is one caveat, however. In one instance, the close ratio tranny and an instantaneous throttle response caused me to nearly overshoot the apex of a 20 mph 90-degree right turn with a second gear upshift. One of the bike’s nuances is it’s difficult to be smooth in this particular scenario. Acceleration wasn’t a threat to overall control, but it did require a quick reaction to keep the bike leaned over when the chassis impulse was to stand up, straighten out and propel me into a Pontiac fender on the other side of the painted lane divider. The moment finetuned my brain calibration to be more sensitive to second gear roll ons. The best engine power observed is in the 3200 to 4500 rpm range where the response is instant and third-through-sixth upshifts smooth and seamless. It’s this same range where I consistently found a harmonic vibration that “hummed” the chassis a bit. Despite chain final drive and regardless of gear selection, I chalk up the resonance to unused torque escaping as lost energy in the chassis, now 13% lighter and constructed stiffer than its DL predecessor. There are three ECU-mapped drive modes commanding the traction control system. Think of Mode 2 as eliminates wheel spin, whereas Mode 1 limits wheel spin. A third option disables the TC. I found a remote, gravel road for better feel of the traction control system capabilities. Hard acceleration while exiting a gravel turn at a moderate lean was a suitable test combination. The warning indicator flashed while the engine acted as if I triggered a soft rev limiter. The net result was the bike held its line without rear end drift, without over-rev. Chalk it up to a system that works as designed. Handling is predictable, fluid and controlled, in

Photo by David Soderholm

Want to explore that dirt or logging road, or maybe that single track trail? With an ADV bike go ahead. They are ideal for that with their long suspension and high ground clearance. part from the wide bars and tall stance (ground clearance is 6.75 inches) that gives riders great leverage on a high cg. Unlike many bikes of similar stance, the V-Strom doesn’t feel too top heavy with a turn in too abrupt. It’s all road surfaces intent is supported by its all road surfaces behavior, much of it supported by its well composed suspension. Suspension is fully adjustable up front and rebound adjustable in the rear, which is one of the things that keeps the price modest compared to other bikes in the liter-bike adventure touring class outfitted with full electronic suspension. The front has the typical inverted coil spring forks with spring preload adjustment, as well as compression and rebound adjustment to control the oil flow thought the valve stack. The rear link-type swingarm behavior is supervised by a shock with a remote collar spring preload adjustment. Brakes are excellent and without negative critique. The Tokico radially mounted calipers squeeze with good feel, offering adequate stopping power without drama. ABS is standard on the V-Strom 1000, and we did not have cause, thankfully, to test a full squeeze on the lever to check the “it works” box. There is no option to disable the ABS. In the saddle the V-Strom positions riders upright, in a commanding, square shouldered posture. Suzuki engineered the seat shape with a front taper to make it easier for those riders with shorter-inseams to get their feet on deck, and added grippy material panels to the seat sides helps riders hold the bike in place if their legs are at full extension from the 33.4-inch seat height.

Photo by David Soderholm

The dash itself is laid out well with a large centrally mounted tachometer front and center. To the right is a split digital portion with gear indicator and speed up top and a multifunction (time / temp / fuel / engine temp / odometer / TC settings) unit underneath.

Though the seat and slightly forward lean from handlebar orientation make it difficult to have more than one position when aboard, the seat is easily comfortable enough to extend through

its 250ish mile fuel range, visible to the rider in the LCD information panel. The rider also has fingertip access to the traction control settings, a fuel gauge, two trip odometers and other welcome info such as actual and average fuel consumption, gear indicator, air temp and a clock. The cockpit is also armed with a handy 12V outlet, a prerequisite of any bike with a hint of adventure touring pedigree. To power plug-ins and accessory lighting Suzuki fitted a 490 watt alternator. The stock windscreen has three positions to control windflow. Riders who touch the 6-foot mark may want to consider aftermarket options. The stock shield was semi-functional at highway speed in the tallest position, which puts the screen most vertical, though we noted slight buffeting in the chest and chin area. In the low position at freeway cruise speeds we were directing wind to the helmet front. The screen was most effective and appreciated while riding in rain showers. Later in our test we tried an MRA screen with the adjustable top spoiler, and wind protection was superior. By contrast we could ride with helmet visors wide open at highway speeds without complaint using the MRA. Over the various terrain the all-purpose tires trod, it was hard to find fault in the latest VStrom that aren’t subject to personal preferences. Some riders will want a more powerful engine. Others might want electronic suspension adjustment. Others will prefer shaft vs. the higher maintenance chain. All those other features add cost, whereas the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 remains modest by comparison. In our opinion, the Suzuki emerges as the best value in adventure bikes, especially because you’d have to look harder to find one at full MSRP vs. one with out-the-door discounts.

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #188 October 2017


uzuki’s Better ADV All ‘Rounder small and big hits and rebound damping in nicely controlled. Bumps on the trail and on the street just disappear under the wheels. It reminds me of the WP suspension on the Tiger XCx – and I loved the WP suspenders on that bike. There not electronic with active damping, but I never cared. Complementing the suspension is a set of radially mounted 4 piston Tokico calipers. This is a set of seriously good brakes. Much higher spec than you would expect. They are nicely controllable with good feel and pack a lot of confident stopping power for street riding. They do have ABS and like the rear, it can’t be turned off for dirt work short of pulling the fuse. If that’s a problem for you – pull the fuse. As I mentioned in the opening, the cockpit ergonomics are also highly versatile. The riding triangle is spacious. The seat foam is nicely supportive over the tank range. The bars are wide with good leverage and make transitioning to standing easy. The only fly in the ointment may be the windscreen which had a tendency to buffet occasionally. We put an MRA Vario with an adjustable spoiler on the 1000 and never had another issue. With either screen on, Suzuki built in some nice adjustment with variable rake and height incorporated. Photo by David Soderholm

The Suzuki emerges as the best value in adventure bikes.


By David Soderholm

DV motorcycles. The new class of uber UJM’s. They do it all and do it all in comfort and competence. What makes them so versatile? Let’s start with the upright commanding seating position. Bolt upright, open seating triangle, tall in the saddle, alert and with maximum fields of view. Need to give your bum a break and keep riding? Ride the next 20 miles standing up and stretching out. Weight is distributed among all your contact points. Want to explore that dirt or logging road, or maybe that single track trail? With an ADV bike go ahead. They are ideal for that with their long suspension and high ground clearance. How about loading them down with hard bags and touring across the country…… with or without a passenger……CHECK! Want to chase sport bike guys through the corners…Check! No wonder the sport touring class is drying up. They do nothing better than an ADV and aren’t nearly as versatile. For 2018 Suzuki updated their V-Strom 1000 to keep pace with the rapid development of bikes in the ADV class. The V-Strom was totally changed in 2014 and the 2018 revisions have updated that 2014 model. Updated bodywork, engine tuning and electronics are included. Given the very solid bike the 2014 model already was, this only adds to the appeal of the revised V-Strom. Most of the revisions to the bike for 2018 are refinements. When Suzuki completely redesigned the V-Strom in 2014, they did extensive research with their loyal customers on what they wanted and how they used their

V-Strom. What emerged was a radically different bike tailored to their target customer. That’s when the big changes happened. For 2018 Suzuki polished and refined that great package. One big thing they did add for 2018 was a major electronics safety update. The 2014 already had traction control and ABS, but in 2018 Suzuki added a three-axis Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that ties in with a new braking system. It has access to the V-Strom’s yaw (left and right), roll (left and right), and pitch (down only). This means full cornering ABS control is now possible. The only electronic aid it doesn’t have is multi engine maps, and with the great well controlled engine response it is not needed or missed. Look to the engine to see how Suzuki tailored this bike to the feedback of its buyers. The thoroughly modern 1037cc 90 degree V-twin puts out around 92 hp @ 8000 rpm and 70 lb ft of torque @ 3800 rpm. Did you get that? Maximum torque is at 3800-4000 rpm, and the “curve” is flat after that. This shows that Suzuki was listening. When I was out riding, and I had the bike in the natural feeling correct gear, I’d occasionally glance down and the tach would be parked right at the torque peak – almost every time. Lugging this engine and riding the torque is a treat. It pulls urgently in that range,

regardless of the gear. Go ahead and be lazy with it. It’s really an amazingly good engine for real world use - strong and confident. If there is a knock against it, it’s that it doesn’t have much of an upper end hit. It will pull right up to redline, but doesn’t want or need to. Better to shift (nice transmission btw) and run through that great torquey low end and mid-range again. On the street and trail, it lugs nicely and doesn’t feel lumpy until really low rpm and high gearing is combined. At that point, it’s your fault, not the bikes. The chassis is also fantastic - confidence inspiring and composed. It steers quick, but remains stable whether on the dirt or the street. Suspension by KYB is excellent. It has that firm forgiving athletic feel that all good suspension has. It smothers

The dash itself is laid out well with a large centrally mounted tachometer front and center. To the right is a split digital portion with gear indicator and speed up top and a multifunction (time / temp / fuel / engine temp / odometer / TC settings) unit underneath. It’s highly legible and all the functions easily controlled from the left handlebar. As you can probably tell, the crew at MMM liked this V-Strom a lot. It’s an easy to ride, well-functioning, comfortable, versatile, high quality unit. Sure it may not have 150 hp, but at real world speeds with Suzuki’s engine tuning you’ll never notice and you’ll save 6 – 9 thousand dollars in the process. Reliability with the V-Strom will be great and maintenance will be inexpensive compared to many competitors. As I said a couple issues ago, Suzuki is back and if you aren’t checking out their bikes you are missing out. This thing is a bargain in the class and if you are looking at ADV bikes get a test ride. I think you’ll be impressed….. MMM

Photo by David Soderholm

The dual overhead cam 90-degree 1037cc Vee is well balanced from vibration and provides strong, usable torque through a meaty midrange.

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #188 October 2017

Geezer With A Grudge


By Thomas Day

upposedly, there are three kinds of wolves: alpha (leader), beta (follower), and solo or lone wolves. Most of my business career I spent as some kind of manager, which might make you suspect that I am an alpha-sort. There are some bits of evidence that would probably contradict that assessment. An experience in a recent motorcycle course with an actual alpha reminded me of how far from that guy I am. In 30 years of management, I probably called no more than a half-dozen meetings because I have always believed that meetings are what lazy managers do instead of talking to people, individually, where you can get their honest, un-pressured opinions. Also, I hate meetings. I absolutely believe in Dave Roth’s “crowd rule” that says you can divide the IQ of the smartest person in the room by the number of people in the room to get the crowd IQ. Why would I hire smart people, then force them to sit at a table and be stupid? The same goes for packs or groups of motorcyclists. Individually, most of the people I know who ride a motorcycle are pretty interesting. Even the hippobike crowd has a fair number of members who do interesting things, can surprise you with their intelligence and insight, and tell great, funny stories. In a pack, they’re about as funny and entertaining as a pack of rampaging Comancheros who just broke into a 55 gallon barrel of rotgut whiskey, but they can be actual human beings in small quantities.

What Kind of Wolf Are You? As difficult as this might be to believe, I hate conflict. As a manager, I tried to enforce my own version of the “no assholes rule” and I fired people who violated that rule as quickly as I could identify them. Firing people sounds like conflict, but one bad hour is a lot less painful than months of disagreement, disappointment, and team dissolution. I look at a non-performing team member as someone who is dragging the rest of the team down and the good of the group overwhelms my inconvenience and discomfort. The hour I take firing someone pretty much screws up the rest of my day or week, but I get over it. If I don’t do it, I’m screwing up everyone else’s weeks until I bite the bullet. The whole group ride thing begs for otherwise pretty decent people to show off their asshole sides. Either by pretending that maintaining the spacing is important and playing “formation enforcer” or by showing off real or imagined skill that puts other riders at risk, the alpha assholes in a group ride are encouraged to bark and howl. I’ve tried a couple of these rides, on and off-pavement, and the magnetic pull of going somewhere else always takes control of my bike until I’m on my own on a road to nowhere anyone else is going. It only takes a couple of seconds of exposure to the group riding asshole to fire off my escape magnet. There must be some kind of reward for staying in the pack, but it escapes me and I’m perfectly happy to be escaping the pack. You’d think that teaching would be an alpha

dog kind of thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Adult education is pretty much student-driven. Lectures are minimal, the assumption is that students have pre-read the materials that will be discussed and will have questions about what they didn’t understand or would like to explore further. The “sage on the stage” routine is for teaching little kids and I’d rather explore extensive dental work than stand in front of a room full of kids. Bored or disinterested adults are even less inviting as a student audience and a big part of the reason I retired from what should have been the best teaching gig on the planet--teaching recording engineering, equipment maintenance, and acoustics/ physics--was because 90% of my students were there because they didn’t know where else to be. Unlike them, I never have a shortage of places I’d rather be than bored and disinterested, so I handed in my whip and chair and went somewhere else. I got a reminder of all of this stuff when I taught a motorcycle class at a school where I haven’t been for several years. Where I usually teach, we’ve been calling this place “the wild west,” because pretty much all of the MSF guidelines and “best practices” had been tossed out the window for instructor convenience. Most of those rules/guidlines are designed to keep the training safe for both the students and instructors and the rest are to maximize the learning experience. Blowing them off because they are inconvenient or boring or re-

quire a little extra work is an alpha dog kind of thing and deciding the other coach is going to go along with that decision without question is really alpha dog’ish. What I learned from the experience was that I’m not a willing follower and I’m not interested in being a leader and my preference when exposed to either option is to head out on my own. Which, I guess, means I’m a lone wolf/dog/ guy. No surprise, I suppose. I can’t remember the last time I was on a ride with someone and at some time didn’t wish I was somewhere else. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t end up somewhere else when I started the trip with another traveler. It’s not that I mind the company, it’s that I dislike the complications. The best trips I’ve had with a friend have involved a brief discussion of where we’re going to end up/meet and a quick split-up immediately afterwards. Usually, we meet at the designated place at the assigned time, but if that didn’t work out we’re both adults and can manage our lives alone and we do that. No whining, no power plays, no aggravation, we just didn’t end up at the same place for whatever reason and moved on from there. Motorcycles are, by design, a one-person vehicle and I think they are best experienced alone. Cars, buses, trains, and planes all have comfortable seating, are reasonably quiet spaces, and are nicely designed for conversation and socializing. If I want that, I’ll leave the bike at home.

Dr. Mudspringer

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #188 October 2017

Tales From The Road



The Couch of Doom

By Paul Berglund

had the chance to ride my bike in the mountains last month. Three of us hauled our enduro bikes out to Ouray, Colorado and set up camp at the KOA just outside of town. I had slept in a tent before, but this was my first time living out of a tent for a whole week. I can’t say I’m a big fan now, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. Sev and I had ridden this part of Colorado several times before, but it was the intrepid Sarah Mae’s first time in the big league. We had a great time as you might expect. It’s the highlight of my year every time I can ride the trails that transverse some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Together we enjoyed the views and the thrill of riding motorcycles through my kind of paradise. If you ride off road put this on your to do list. If you ride a road bike, there are absolutely fantastic paved roads to ride as well. I know first hand because we rode 550 south of Ouray to Silverton several times. Even on (street legal) dirt bikes it was a blast. Grab a map, hop on your bike and start riding. I don’t know about you, but this is why I own a motorcycle. Having a newbie with us helped me see things with fresh eyes. We threw Sarah Mae in the deep end of the pool. She’s only ridden off road a dozen times, and we dove in head first. Thats the way we came into this world and thats the way we roll. While the pace was slowed somewhat, I got more out of each mile we rode. While coaching Sarah Mae, I had to think about what I was doing. Really think about what I was doing. That’s not my strong suit. I found several flaws in my riding technique. Things that I have been taught, things that I know to be true, that I simply wasn’t applying to my riding. Like standing up. On many occasions I have complained about how uncomfortable motorcycle seats are. While that is undeniably true, (motorcycle manufactures SUCK at making seats) it’s also true that if you’re sitting on that horrible seat when you are trying to ride off road, you’re doing it wrong. That was a bitter pill for me to swallow. Standing up helps. Grip the bike with your legs, bend your knees and keep your elbows up. This gives you much more control over the bike. While seated, you are only along for the ride. My bike is far more capable off road than I am, but it can’t think

Photo by Paul Berglund

on it’s own. It’s up to me to guide us along the path I choose, and not get in it’s way. Another thing that I knew but never implemented was airing down tires when riding in the rough. I don’t know why, but I had a phobia about letting air out of my tires. I went so far as to pantomime letting air out while the other guys would be dropping their air pressure at the start of the trail. I tried riding the same very rocky trail with 25 PSI and then 15 PSI and proved to myself that life at 15 PSI is much easier. It really works! Several times on this trip I found that the parts of off road riding that I struggled with were my own damn fault. I was making things harder for myself. I was preventing the bike from doing what it does best. I was riding behind a new rider and watching what she did right and wrong. I could see what she was doing, but it was more difficult to see my own rights and wrongs. The one thing that surprised me the most watching Sarah Mae ride was the determining factor of whether or not Sarah Mae made it through a difficult section wan’t skill, it was confidence. Sarah Mae, you, me, once we have the basic skills down, it’s the fear – confidence equation that

determines our fate. Yes you need skills to ride your bike. Take some classes, read some books and practice your technique. If you want to enjoy riding a motorcycle off road you have to replace fear and hesitation with confidence. When I was new to trail riding the fear of difficulty just added stress. It was hard to bliss out on the scenery when I was constantly feeding my anxiety, worrying that my skill would fall short just around the next bend. Once I made it down a difficult section, I didn’t feel elation or pride. I felt dread. What if we have to come back this way? Could I ride up this rocky mess? I don’t know how to overcome this particular obstacle. I didn’t know how to give Sarah Mae confidence when that was all she was lacking. She had enough skill to move forward but her lack of confidence was holding her back. That’s a part of the ride that I still have to figure out.

Photo by Paul Berglund

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I went from camping in Colorado to a nursing home in Arizona. My dad is 91 years old. He had knee surgery and they sent him home one day later. He fell at home and ended up in a nursing home to get rehabilitation. I haven’t been home in a month as I write this. I’m taking my turn looking after him. Seeing my father so weak he can barely get from his bed to a wheel chair is very disturbing to me. I want to leave you with this thought. If you don’t get off the couch and go riding, before long you won’t be able to get off the couch at all. Don’t let inertia or fear hold you back. I’m still working on the magic formula for confidence. I’m sure it’s something we could all use. Make the plans to go riding in your paradise and then make the effort. Follow through, the pay off is worth all the work you’ll put into it.. MMM


Getting the Perfect Fit • All Roadcrafters are available in more than sixty in-stock sizes in ‘short,’ ‘regular,’ and ‘tall.’ Optional alterations if needed. • Fits nicely over a layer of street clothing. Contact us and we’ll help you get the right fit. Fully custom made-tomeasure garments are not available. • Need a different size? Return the suit and we'll ship a replacement free of charge (domestic ground shipping only). |

8 0 0 . 2 2 2.1 994 @2017

aero mmm fit 5x6_5 2017.indd 1

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly - October 2017  
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly - October 2017  

MMM #188