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#189 FINAL ISSUE

Inside: S YM Wolf Classic 150 • Flat Track Racing Roadcrafter Review • The End Of An Era


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #189 Winter 2017

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly®

Table of Contents Winter 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

CONTRIBUTORS Paul Berglund Harry Martin Sev Pearman

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Bike Review SYM Wolf Classic 150

WEBMASTER Julie S. Mike

Photo by Bruce Mike

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® is published nine times a year by: Hartman Press, Inc. 7265 Balsam Lane North Maple Grove, MN 55369 Phone: 763.315.5396 email: bruce@mnmotorcycle.com www.mnmotorcycle.com Subscriptions are available for $14.00 a year (U.S. funds). See subscription form below. Advertising inquiries: sales@mnmotorcycle.com 763.315.5396 Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly encourages your submissions. M.M.M. will edit all accepted submissions and retains nonexclusive, multiple use rights to work published in M.M.M. Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly will return submissions only if accompanied by an SASE. “Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly” is a registered trademark. Copyright 2017 by Hartman Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

From The Hip

By Victor Wanchena

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he number 189 is not very significant. It’s an odd number. Not mathematically important other than being needed to get from 188 to 190. But, it is important for MMM. Issue 189 represents the final print edition of Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly. While we are sad on some levels to see the print edition go (what will I put under leaking bikes or use to start campfires?) it was inevitable. The reality is that the market for print advertising, especially in a niche publication, has been steadily decreasing for the past 10 years. Frankly, we’re surprised we lasted as long as we did. It has been a long glorious run for MMM. Founded in 1996 by Dan Hartman as publisher and run by Troy Johnson as editor. I assumed the helm as publisher and senior editor from 2000 to 2010. The editor torch was passed to Bruce Mike in 2010 to present. We have each added our own something to MMM. Troy had the vision and the skill to found MMM. I brought an irreverence and a “whatever, let’s run it” attitude. Bruce has brought an eye for design and a hard tail chopper to our stable. I’m very proud of what MMM accomplished in 21 years in print. 189 times we entertained, irritated, informed, and taunted our readers. We supported our advertisers and they’ve supported us. We enjoyed a level of loyalty rarely found in print publications. Our longest running advertiser, Croixland Leather Works in Osceola, WI, has been in every issue printed, all 189. We never could have lasted this long without them. The good news is MMM is not dead. Just the opposite. In an ironic twist we were always forward looking, having had a website since 1998 where we posted almost everything we printed. That foresight (or luck in our case) means we have a well-established digital presence that will continue into the future. We’ll continue to publish the same stories, road tests, and rantings we always have. The only difference, it will be available anywhere, anytime on your computer or mobile device. Bookmark it today mnmotorcycle.com As we sign-off from the print edition I realize we will be losing a little something from the experience. You can’t grab it at a coffee shop and tuck it in your tank bag to read later. You can’t pass the issue on to other riding friends. And you can’t keep your TT500 from marking your garage floor with oil spots (not that I would know). But change is constant and inevitable. Feel free to insert your own cliché about carbs vs. fuel injection or points vs electronic ignition here. So, readers of MMM, thank you for the good run. We will see you on the digital side. Print is dead, long live print. Ride fast, take chances. MMM

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Feature Another Season Of Flat Track–Part 1

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Gear Review Aerostich Roadcrafter Classic

Cover photo by Neil Chudgar

Review Bike Provided By Go Moto 3346 Washington Ave N Minneapolis, MN 55412 612.588.MOTO (6686) gomotomn.com

Je Suis Charlie

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #189 Winter 2017

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All The News That Fits

Photo Courtesy of Yamaha

Rise of the Machines At the 45th annual Tokyo Motor Show Yamaha unveiled its latest version of Motobot, Ver.2. The Motobot is a project between Yamaha and SRI International to create “a humanoid robot capable of autonomously riding a motorcycle around a racetrack.” The project began in 2015 with the Motobot Ver.1’s first objectives: run a top speed of 62 mph, navigate a slalom course, and turn through a corner. They were successful.

Skip ahead two years and the bar has been raised for Motobot Ver.2. The new challenge is to break 124 mph and take on a Yamaha factory-backed MotoGP rider in a race. A lofty goal no doubt, bigger still when you find out the rider Motobot Ver. 2 is up against is one of the most successful motorcycle racers in history. None other than, Valentino Rossi!

Yamaha recently released video of the race and fortunately we won’t have to answer to our new robot overlords quite yet. Rossi beat the Motobot around Thunderhill Raceway’s two-mile course by a 30 second margin. Both were riding what were essentially stock Yamaha R1’s. The Doctor had a lap time of 85.740 seconds compared to Motobot’s 117.504. While hardly a race, this does point to the direction that dynamic vehicle controls are headed. Yamaha states they hope to, “optimize control of vehicle dynamics to develop higher performing and safer forms of mobility.” In other words, increasingly sophisticated electronic rider aids and the possibility of autonomous motorcycles or at least bikes that limit the “hold my beer, watch this” incidents.

100,000,000 Super Cubs! Honda celebrated a milestone that likely will never be broken this year. They announced that

worldwide production of the Honda Super Cub series motorcycles surpassed 100 million units. Honda began production of the first-generation Super Cub C100 in August 1958 at the Yamato Plant. In 1961, based on Honda’s longstanding commitment to “build products close to the customer,” Honda began production of Super Cub C100 in Taiwan using components and parts from Japan. Now, Honda produces Super Cub series motorcycles at 16 plants in 15 countries around the world. The Super Cub is sold in more than 160 countries, but unfortunately the US is not one of those countries. In 2018, Honda will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Super Cub production making it the most mass-produced vehicle in history by a wide margin.

M/C Show Comes Early The circus maximus of the Super Bowl has had one unintended benefit for Minnesota. The Progressive Insurance International Motorcycle show rolls into town two months early this year. The M/C show will be here Friday, December 8th – 10th. The show has exhibits from all the major manufacturers and a wide assortment of vendors. The Metal Mulisha will put on a Freestyle MX stunt show and there will be displays of vintage and custom machines. I am always disappointed they don’t offer the free M/C parking and demo rides at the Minneapolis show like they do for our southern cousins. Tickets are $16, and more info can be found here: www.motorcycleshows.com. (Pro-tip: buy your ticket online and avoid the long lines)

Keanu M/C Keanu Reeves has added motorcycle design to his resume. If you weren’t aware Reeves owns a custom/high-end bike shop called Arch Motorcycles. The story goes it was formed when bike-designer Grad Hollinger got roped into helping Reeves modify an ’05 H-D Dyna. One thing led to another and the pair ended up forming Arch Motorcycles to build the funky sport cruisers. Last month, at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori if you have ever wondered) Reeves unveiled two new models designed by him and Hollinger, the Arch1 and Arch Method 143. Both are sporty looking customs with interesting lines. He also brought out an updated version of their first bike the KRGT-1. All are powered by large displacement (2000 -2400cc) H-D clone twins. With a start-

Hines and Krawiec charged through the field during the finals to meet for the 21st time in an NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle final, and for the ninth time Hines prevailed, with a 6.868-second ET beating Krawiec’s 6.930-second run. Krawiec recorded the low ET of the weekend with a 6.803-second blast in the third round. Hines set the top Pro Stock Motorcycle speed of the weekend at 197.42 mph in the first round. Both riders were aboard Screamin’ Eagle team Street Rods.

Photo Courtesy of Arch Motorcycles

ing price of $78,000, these are the high-end type of motorcycles that usually find their way into Jay Leno’s garage, museums, and private “collections”. A road test in MMM is highly unlikely. See more at: www.archmotorcycle.com.

Krawiec Takes 4th NHRA Drag Race Title For H-D Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Ed Krawiec took his fourth NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA.

Krawiec’s teammate, Andrew Hines, defeated him in an all-Harley-Davidson Pro Stock Motorcycle final. Hines wins moved him up to second place in the final season standings.

“We had a real struggle in the middle of the season trying to get our new motorcycles to work the way we wanted, but I really think that stretch made us better,” said Krawiec. “It caused us to look at every detail of our bikes and our tuning, which ultimately strengthened our program. Everything came together at the right time with the win at Indy.”

The Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/ Vance & Hines team closes out the season with its ninth world championship and eight final-round wins in 16 events. In 2017 Krawiec won seven times in eight national event finals. He was the top qualifier at five races and went 41-9 in elimination rounds. Since joining the Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines team in 2008, Krawiec has not finished lower than third in the standings and has 43 career victories, third-most behind Andrew Hines (48) and the late Dave Schultz (45). MMM

From Cruisers to Sportbikes, Touring to Standard, we have something for everyone! Tires – Best Prices In Town! While-U-Wait Service Buy – Sell – Trade – Consign

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sed 200+ U es ycl Motorc ! k In Stoc

December 16th – Final Drive Maintenance & Oil 101 January 20th – Suspension & Tires February 17th – Track Day Setup & Gear March 17th – Touring/Adventure Riding & Spring Bike Preparation

www.simplystreetbikes.com • 952-941-0774 Simply Street Bikes • 7500 Washington Ave S, Eden Prairie Minnesota 55344

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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #189 Winter 2017

SYM Wolf Classic 150 — Good T W

By Paul Berglund

e rode the SYM Wolf Classic 150. SYM (pronounced S-Y-M like BMW, KTM or BSA) is an established scooter and motorcycle maker based in Thailand. The initial walk around left me with the impression of quality. This bike could be parked next to the vintage Japanese bikes that it resembles and it will stand up to direct comparisons. It’s a well built motorcycle. Not only that, but while it may be low tech my modern bike standards, it will out perform many of those old bikes.

It snowed the day after I got the bike to ride. I waited for the weather to warm up, but that didn’t happen. So with the deadline for the story looming, I bundled up and set out on a gloomy 34 degree day to do some riding. I chose to ride on Mississippi River Blvd in St. Paul, near my house. It’s very curvy and very scenic. The speed limit is 25 miles an hour which fits the intended use of the bike and keeps the wind chill to a minimum. The glossy heavy card stock brochure that came with the bike lists the top speed of the Wolf Classic as 65.5 miles per hour. I thought that was an odd number, but later on I tried to find the top speed on a long stretch of divided highway and sure enough in full tuck and freezing fingers I saw the speedometer needle swing up to 65.5 and it would go no further. Not on flat ground. Not with me riding the bike. I’m 6 foot

Photo by Sev Pearman

It’s seriously fun on a tight twisty road and it was very hard not to blow past the posted speed. 2 and 200 pounds, so if you were a gymnast or a jockey in high school, you may do better.

I had a slight fitment issue when maneuvering the bike out of my garage. I could bump my knees into the handle bar ends when backing it

out into the alley, but once underway I felt very comfortable riding this three quarter sized motorcycle. The seat is roomy and the foot pegs are far enough away that I forgot that I must look like a giant to people walking on the sidewalk. And speaking of sidewalks, I feel strongly that bike paths should be open to scooters, mopeds and tiny motorcycles like The Wolf Classic one day a month. That would be insanely fun and a good use of our tax dollars. The clutch pull seamed heavy for such a small bike, but that’s about my only complaint. The motor puts out a healthy amount of power for a 149.4 cc engine. The transmission is smooth and the 5 speed gear box and sprockets are the perfect combination to give you maximum performance around town. I would adjust the rear springs, mirrors and hand levers to better fit me, and this bike would be a great urban commuter.

Last summer when I had mini bike fever, I bought a 1970 Honda Trail 70 with an aftermarket 125cc motor stuffed in it. I thought it would be a great urban commuter. It is not. Tiny wheels are not your friend on crappy Minnesota roads. The Wolf Classic has an 18 inch front wheel and a 17 inch rear wheel. The tires are skinny as mountain bike tires but the end result is a real motorcycle feel going down the road. I’m going on the record here that I would buy the little Wolf way before I would buy a Honda Grom with it’s tiny wheels. The list price of $2999 is $200 cheaper than a Grom too. Back to the ride. It has somewhat sporty clip on style bars, but the reach is far from radical. I was sitting almost up right and the seat is comfortable. There is no bum stop bump in the seat, so you can slide forward or back till you find the sweat spot. I preferred forward and up right around town and slid back and crouched for my high speed run. It’s not meant for freeway ridding, but it can hold it’s own on any road with a speed limit of 55 or lower. It positively crushed the 25 mph speed limit on the river road. It’s seriously fun on a tight twisty road and it was very hard not to blow past the posted speed.

The steering is very nimble as you might expect for a motorcycle that’s this light. The weight is listed at 266 pounds, but it feels even lighter when you’re underway. It has a front disk and a rear drum for brakes but I thought it has plenty of braking power. It will certainly out brake a vintage bike in the same weight class. The ride is built for comfort but at urban speeds, I never ran out of cornering performance.

It’s rated at 85 mpg. I was too cold to do a long distance ride to verify that kind of milage. But given the weight and motor size that sounds reasonable. I did find one quirk when I put gas in the tank. When you flip open the locking gas cap and look in the tank, your view is completely blocked by a metal flap. You can’t see how much gas is in the tank. It doesn’t have a gas gauge, so you have to keep track of your gas range using the trip meter old school style. It can be difficult when you are considering what bike to buy. The type of bike will make a huge difference in your decision. How and where you ride should help you choose. There are bad bikes out there, but most often people aren’t happy with the bike they bought because they bought the wrong type of bike for how they end up riding. I’ve had lots of different bikes over the years because where and how I ride has changed. The good bikes I owned didn’t go bad one day, I changed my mind and changed my riding style and that good bike no longer fit my life. I really liked this bike for what is. If what you want to do on a motorcycle falls within the mission statement of the Wolf Classic, then it could be a good fit for you. Lot’s of people who will be considering buying this bike have spent more money on tattoos. This is much less of a commitment. Looks are subjective, so you’ll have to judge for yourself, but I think this is a very attractive bike. The construction is solid and the components and the build quality are very nice. I was cold but very happy the whole time I was riding the Wolf Classic. If you love the look of vintage bikes but you don’t want the hassle of owning a vintage bike, stop by Go Moto and take a look at the SYM Wolf Classic 150.

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MMM


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #189 Winter 2017

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Things Come in Small Packages Downs Diminutive size may be a challenge for long legs. Beware the non-folding foot pegs.

Blinker switch is a little too authentic.

Wife’s First Reaction® “What a cool bike. Its adorable!” Fuel Economy: 85 mpg

MMM

SPECIFICATIONS 2017 SYM Wolf Classic 150 MSRP: Warranty:

Photo by Sev Pearman

A fun little bike that will take you wherever you want ot go.

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By Sev Pearman

here is nothing quite as satisfying as riding a bike that excels in its designed role. Off-road bikes BRAAAP, cruisers cruise and small bikes… “Wait!” you say, “Why would I want a 150cc street motorcycle?” Come along for the ride while MMM® samples the delightful SYM Wolf Classic 150 and find out. First impression is of the style. Taiwanese manufacturer SYM has nailed the lines and proportions of early-70s Japanese small-bore bikes. Skinny tires on spoked, polished aluminum rims and chromed blade fenders are signature period details. Accordion fork gaiters, chrome binnacles for the sweep dial gauges and a slotted chrome horn cover adorn the front. The motor and chrome exhaust look to be plucked from a 70s Honda single. Chrome snaps and a rear seat hoop ring the base of the seat. Twin rear shocks with chromed springs balance the rear. The red frame completes the time warp. OK, so there is plenty of “show”. What about the “go”? The Wolf is powered by a capable, modern 150cc, OHV single that makes 14.8

hp (8,000rpm) and 9 ft-lbs torque (9,000rpm). Redline is 9,500rpm. This is enough power to propel my 260-lbs to an indicated 63mph at full throttle in top gear. While no freeway burner, the Wolf 150 will happily lope along all day at 55mph. Clutch action is light, mated to a delightful 5-speed gearbox. Gearshift lever travel is short, facilitating nice, crisp gearshifts. Neutral is easy to find with an idiot light that is both large and bright. The “Whoa” happens through a robust, 240mm drilled disc and 2-piston caliper up front and a 130mm drum at the rear. The brakes are one of the highlights of this machine. Front and rear power are matched and balanced. The front is not grabby and the rear does not fade. I was surprised at the excellent feel and feedback I got through the front lever, even during aggressive stops. Well done, SYM!

I loved riding this bike. At 266-lbs wet weight, it is both easy and fun to flick about. The chassis is stable when leaned over and on the gas. Midcorner line corrections can be made with confidence. I like the look of the clip-on handlebars.

While sporty, they do not force the rider into a forward lean. Seat height is a tick under 30 inches, allowing most riders to get both feet on the ground at stops; doubly valuable to new or returning riders or those with a shorter inseam. After a few miles, other details emerged. The headlight is bright, burning a modern H4 halogen bulb. The horn is louder than expected; mirrors are big and vibration-free. I was thrilled to see a proper center stand in addition to the kickstand. With a MSRP of $2,999, there are a couple of budget concessions. The rider foot pegs do not pivot, so beware if you like to corner hard. The blinker switch doesn’t have the “push forward to cancel” feature. You have to slide the switch back to center and a couple times, I caught myself riding with the blinker on. The seat requires you to pull two bolts for access. Fuel economy is rated at 85mpg. With a 2.45-gallon tank, you have over 200-mile range. Impressive.

Many riders have turned to twist-and-go scooters for urban commuting. But there is something to be said about a light, proper motorcycle running a torquey motor and tight gearbox. The SYM Wolf 150 makes an excellent commuter, date night runabout and weekend scratcher. With its low buy-in and proven, bulletproof reliability, the SYM Wolf Classic 150 will delight you for years to come. Many thanks to Marty and Lissa at GoMoto in Minneapolis (gomotomn.com) for making this review possible. GoMoto has been selling the SYM brand since 2010. You can reach them at (612) 588-MOTO. See you down the road.

Ups The SYM Wolf is lightweight, very forgiving and oh-so-easy to ride. Front disc + 2-piston caliper has a perfect balance of stopping power and smoothness. Photo Sev Pearman

Classic is the perfect way to describe the Wolf’s fit and finish.

SYM has nailed the retro 70s style.

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$2,999 2-years, unlimited miles

ENGINE Type: Bore x Stroke: Displacement: Compression Ratio: Valve Train: Fueling: Cooling:

4-stroke single N.A. 149.4 cc 9.6:1 OHC, 2-valve/cyl Carburetor Air-cooled

PERFORMANCE Horsepower: 14.8 hp @ 8,000 rpm Torque: 9.04 ft.-lbs @ 9,000 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Transmission: Final Drive:

5-speed Chain

CHASSIS Front Suspension: Telescopic fork Rear Suspension: Dual shocks w/ coil-over springs Front Brake: Single, drilled 240mm rotor w/ 2-piston caliper Rear Brake: 130mm drum Front Tire: 2.75” x 18” aluminium rim Rear Tire: 3.00” x 17” aluminium rim DIMENSIONS Seat Height: 29.9” Wheelbase: 49.2” Rake: N.A. Trail: N.A. Curb Weight: 266-lbs Fuel Capacity: 2.45-gals COLORS: Red/White(tested), Hunter Green, Midnight Black, Century White


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #189 Winter 2017

Feature

Another Season Of Flat Track–Part 1

Photo by Tim McBride

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By Victor Wanchena

hat a strange season this has been. In the last installment of my flat track adventure I had left the last event feeling very enthused about the rest of the season. I had spent a three-day weekend at the Cedar Lake Arena, one day of practice and two days racing. The track had been in great shape and thought I had both machines fairly dialed in (mechanical mishaps not withstanding). I left feeling pretty solid about my performance. The new to me KX450F was the big shocker. I had been very nervous I would not be up to the challenge of riding such a powerful machine. The reality was it’s easier to handle than my vintage bike and arguably more fun. It is also the loudest motorcycle I have ever owned. That doesn’t say much more for me as I rarely run loud or open pipes. But even a fellow racer commented that it was hands down the loudest motorcycle he’d ever raced against. He described trying to pass me on the exhaust side and getting hit by the proverbial wall of sound. The open Jemco pipe is not for the faint of heart. The TT500 ran okay, but a few tuning and other gremlins plagued me. At first, I realized I was running way too rich and needed to lean out the carb. After solving that, I lost a couple bolts, critical nuts (like the swingarm pivot nut!), and even my petcock was coming loose. I also had a persistent oil leak that I couldn’t seem to track down. All the fixing, leaking, trailering, loading, unloading, carrying, and cursing had led me to a conclusion. I needed a better trailer. I had been using an ultra-cheap three rail trailer which I had for many years, and it really limited how prepared I could be. What I lacked in convenience I had to make up in efficient planning and execution. In other words, I fumbled to make it work and I always seemed to be missing something or damn near losing bikes off the trailer I swore I tied down. So, in my ever-deepening commitment to the motorcycle racing gods I purchased an enclosed trailer. What luxury! I felt like the guy that had just discovered a killer secret short cut. Easy bike loading, room for all the gear, a place to change, no sketchy tie down jobs, the list goes on. I was only a full decal wrap from pretending to be a real racer. Looking very racy, I headed south to the Flying Dutchmen for their late spring race. I went down Friday evening to set up and prep. The evening was rainy, and the weather didn’t look terribly promising for the next day. Saturday

came and so did more rain. We waited optimistically all day, but no luck. The track was far too wet to even consider racing. Retiring to the Dutchmen’s clubhouse, the few racers hanging around drank plenty of beer and watched videos of races from previous years. We solved many of the worlds problems and started a few new ones. Sunday came, and things weren’t better. The rain had parked over the area and soaked the track. It was full rain out. I loaded up, which thanks to my racy new trailer meant I just pulled away from the parking area and headed for home. My new garage on wheels had already come in handy keeping the race bikes out of the elements all weekend. Rain outs happen, and I took it in stride. In the meantime, I had a little time to tweak both bikes further before the next race, the Norsemen TT. I had found at the first race I couldn’t reach the rear brake pedal very well on the bike. At my height (6’7”) I am cramped on most machines, and these two were no exception. To help on the TT500 I actually raised the seat height about 1” and adjusted the brake pedal much lower. Tucked forward onto the tank I was able to reach the rear brake without moving my foot off the peg. The KX450 was easier in that the only option was to buy a peg mount that moved the right peg forward and down. This combined with a new custom brake pedal got everything much more comfortable.

steps and you have Elton John platform shoes kind of muddy.

and miss horribly. The harder I road the worse it ran. I finished 5th out of 5.

We waited impatiently for the track to dry while the organizer worked to get setup. This was their first event which meant there was a big learning curve. All the little details most racers and spectators take for granted all need to be addressed. Sign up, change, scoring sheets, hay bales, the list goes on. Even as a rookie I was drafted into evaluating track prep and race sign up protocols.

It was a quick turn around to the races. The track was also drying quickly, but in a rough way. The packed grove we were riding on was fairly solid, but it was getting dusty at the end of the straights. The fine silty dust was slick. Outside the groove it was rough and still wet in spots. Certainly, a challenge for me stay on the fast line and not wander out of the groove.

The sun was out, but the track didn’t dry up until mid-afternoon. I signed up for Open A and the Vintage 600 Single races and waited for practice to begin. It was chaotic. The class structure wasn’t completely clear, and the track helpers weren’t ready for antsy racers. But eventually we all got a few laps in to figure out the track. It was roughly a 1/3 of a mile with mild banking. The black dirt had started to pack in okay, but the surface was choppy and rough. On top of that the TT500 was running odd. It was hard starting and seemed to miss when I’d roll on the throttle at low speed. At full throttle it would miss as it got above a certain RPM. Huh, I wonder what that is? I parked it next to the trailer hoping it would fix itself. My Open A heat went okay. There were 6 of us and I got a great start leaping to 2nd for a brief moment, but my line choice into the corner was poor and I by the back straight I was in 5th. That’s where I stayed for the remainder of the race finishing a ¼ lap back of the main pack. These were some fast riders. In the pits I checked the tach on the KX and saw I was hitting my 12,500 rpm redline. My gearing was a little short. That was a bit of a quandary. I was riding it in 3rd, which pulled nice and seemed plenty fast for me, but it was obvious I needed to hit 4th and learn to carry more speed into the corners. The Vintage heat didn’t go as well. The TT was still not running right and there was no obvious reason. I had an average start, but the bike never ran right the whole race. If I could keep the motor in the mid-range at medium throttle it was fine. Anything else caused it to spit

The mains went off in roughly the same order as the heats, and the results were pretty much the same. The Open A race was competitive, and I stayed in the action for the first couple laps, but steadily lost ground on the fast boys. I finished 5th I think. I’m actually not sure as I never saw the final posting. The Vintage race was more of the same. The ill-tempered TT was running poorly and treated the spectators to a few big backfires on the front stretch. I finished the race in one piece and happy the engine hadn’t come apart. As I packed up, I made the rounds to say goodbye to a few friends when I was informed the Vintage single class was actually a cash paying class. What? I walked over to the lady doling out awards figuring my weak finish would have qualified me for nothing more than warmest personal regards from the promoter. I was wrong. My ride had earned me 4th place and $50! What strange turn of events. The payout was hardly deserved, but appreciated and marked the first time I’d won anything other than bragging rights. What a long strange trip Algona turned out to be. The unseason continued for me with the midseason single day race getting moved to a different weekend that I was going to be out of town for. Crap. Oh well, I was looking forward to the second flat track race of the year at the Flying Dutchmen and there were rumors of the Cambridge TT being rescheduled. We’ll pick up the season again in the next installment, which you will find on the MMM website mnmotorcycle.com. MMM

About a week out from the Norsemen TT I got an ominous text from a fellow racer. “Race is off ”. What??? A couple text messages later I learned that the Norsemen TT was cancelled. No weather issues this time. The promoter had decided to call it, but no reason was shared. Wow. What had started as a promising year was turning into the un-season. I cheered up when alerted by another racer of a race being held July 1 in Northern Iowa. This could be interesting. The promoter had scheduled it during an ABATE rally and was going to use the stock car track at the local fairgrounds. Why not? It wouldn’t pay points in my district, but the track time would be fun. I travelled south to the lovely town of Algona, IA figuring it would be an easy one-day event. I arrived early to find I was literally the first person to arrive. The track was in the county fairgrounds, but things weren’t looking good. Overnight rains had soaked the track and unlike other tracks this one was made of silty black dirt. Soil like that plus ample rain equals a muddy quagmire. It wasn’t just wet, it was take three

Every issue 1996 thru 2017 — www.mnmotorcycle.com

Photo by Tim McBride


Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly® #189 Winter 2017

Gear Review

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Aerostich Roadcrafter Classic By Bruce Mike

’m 55 years old and I’ve been street riding since I was 17. I’ve accumulated a lot of riding gear over the years. I’ve got several leather jackets as well as textiles. I’ve got warm weather and cold weather gear, with and without armor. The Aerostich Roadcrafter Classic is my first one-piece suit. I’ve never had an interest in separate pants and jackets but I’ve always thought a full suit would be the way to go.

Aerostich made the first Roadcrafter riding suit in 1983 and added a two piece version two years later. They have since added to their line of riding suits and continue to refine them. Each of their suits are custom made, one at a time, in their store/factory in Duluth. This is gear designed by riders for riders. Since 1983 the Aerostich catalog has expanded to thousands of items specifically chosen to make riding a motorcycle better. From long distance riding, to everyday commuting, from camping to safety, Aerostich covers it all.

I was really impressed that they could fit me over the phone. I’m kind of a short fat guy and just by having a conversation with Stephanie, they put together a suit that fit me perfectly. I got it pretty late in the season so I haven’t had the chance to use it on any really long trips yet. I wore it on a weekend ride through northern Minnesota and experienced cold, warm and rain and it performed great. I loved not having to switch gear depending on what the current elements were. I’ve also used it around town in nice weather as well as rain. Last week I wore it on my commute in 30 degree weather with a hoodie and I was fine. Granted, I have a short commute and if I was to go any further I would go with a few more layers. As far as safety, this suit has TF2 armor in all the right places. Roadcrafter suits were the first riding gear available with removable armor. Everything else had sewn in padding made out of felt or foam rubber. Based on crash stories you can find on the internet and in reviews on their website, Aerostich suits provide great overall protection.

One of the advantages I found to full riding gear, is less fatigue when riding. I spent a number of years wearing little to no gear and the difference is dramatic. It’s not just the noise and weather, it’s the air pounding on me at 70 mph. It just kind of sucks the life out of me. The Cordura used in the Roadcrafter offers a great barrier from everything. I felt a noticable decline in fatigue after a full day of riding. It’s like having a full body windscreen. The construction of the Roadcrafter Classic is impressive. The materials used, the way it’s put together, you can tell it’s built to last. The pockets and zippers are made so you can work them while wearing gloves.

There are only two things about this suit that I struggle with. I think both have more to do with me than the Roadcrafter. I’m supposed to be able to get in or out of it in like 10 seconds. It takes me about 30. Also walking around in the suit is not as comfortable as I would like it to be. Riding while wearing it wonderful. I’m pretty certain my issues would go away if i lost some weight and got in a little better shape. I know there is a lot of high-end riding gear available these days so why pick Aerostich? For me it’s as simple as the gear they manufacture is as good, if not better, than everything else out there and they manufacture it in Duluth, MN. So not only is it made in the U. S. A. but it’s made in my home state. If you’re thinking about new gear, give Aerostich a shot. While you’re poking around the thousands of items on their website, check out the Roper gloves. Hands down, my favorite riding gloves ever. Check them out at aerostich.com. MMM

Photo Sev Pearman

Carabiner for your keys on the front of the suit. I can work it while wearing gloves.

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Photo by Julie S. Mike


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Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly - Winter 2017  
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly - Winter 2017  

MMM #189

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