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AUGUST 2016 VOL. 47, NO. 8

12 Impression—2017 Suzuki SV650

28 Design—Massimo Tamburini

13 History—Yamaha XS

30 Review—The Ride 2nd Gear

14 Evaluation—2016 Yamaha XSR900

31 Review—Induction Gloves

18 Evaluation—2016 H-D Low Rider S

32 Proficient—Growing Older

22 Feature—2016 Quail Gathering

34 Mental—Need for Speed

26 Legends—Gale Webb

40 Innovation—GloveTacts

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DEPARTMENTS 2 3 6 8 10 35 35 36 38 39

Editor’s Letter Letters Bulletins Downtime Files World Justice Street Strategy What’s Happening Open Road Contact Patch

Editor’s Letter

Fanboys vs. Hate


ne of the many pleasures of editing a magazine, especially one that doesn’t cater to advertisers, is responding to a litany of accusations on being biased one way or another. I am biased, and so are you. One of the many wonders of free speech is we can feel safe in voicing our own personal points of view. Before I delve deeper into my own psyche, let me define a couple of century-plus old words that have recently returned to the common vernacular: fanboy and hater. A fanboy is someone who is overly enthusiastic about something. It is sometimes used in a derogatory manner against anyone whose allegiance is so strong to a particular product that they do not acknowledge anything else. “You’re such a fanboy” finds frequent usage in the technology world. A fanboy might love Nintendo games and only talk about how great they are compared to everything else. The same can be said for many Unix users, who believe it is the best OS for computer power-users. Fanboys can be found for nearly any product, especially motorcycles. A hater has an intense dislike for something, and thrives on criticizing it, often unfairly. You might hear those with a more positive mental attitude exclaim, “Don’t be a hater!” Haters who love Nintendo make disparaging remarks about Xbox, PlayStation or PC gamers, because in their eyes they are substandard. Unix users are frequently PC and, oddly, even Mac haters (OS X is Unix). Don’t get me started on iPhone vs. Android. Hating is frequently a two-way street. Why are there so many motorcycle haters? Fanboy and hater are not synonymous; in fact, they are quite antonymous, yet frequently people are simultaneously opining from both sides of the spectrum, without taking a larger world view. My brand is best because I chose it, and your brand is not, because I didn’t. Many flame wars (angry exchanges in an online argument) have been started by fanboys antagonized by haters. But, isn’t choice a good thing? I’m a fanboy. I absolutely love motorcycles. I choose not to live my life without them, and it’s a safe bet you do, too. I feel sorrow in my heart for anyone who was ever convinced otherwise, whether by a parent, significant other, or society at large. I want to ride anything that has two wheels, regardless of who makes it, when it was manufactured, whether it’s comfortable, how fast it will go, how far it might lean, or what hideous colors it 2

comes in. When I’m not on a motorcycle, I can often be found on a mountain bike, which is my ultimate form of two-wheeled cross-training. And I only bought a pickup truck so I could transport motorcycles. I am not a hater. As I get older and wiser, I am open-mindedly trying more things I may have shunned in the past. I spent decades talking negatively about Harleys—I rode my first one only a few years ago, yet I rode a Japanese cruiser for a full decade prior. I wasn’t after style or performance; more important was functionality, a bike that suits its purpose. When I started testing bikes for MCN, I told the H-D press manager, “I don’t particularly like Harleys, but I challenge you

I want to ride anything that has two wheels, regardless of who makes it ... or what hideous colors it comes in. to change my mind.” She said she was up to the task. While I still haven’t found a Harley for which I would plunk down my hard-earned cash, I have been riding and reviewing them with some fervor. Today’s bikes, almost every single one of them, have a valid place in the worldwide market. Overall, they are well manufactured, easy to ride and maintain, and just plain fun. Still, I was accused of being a fanboy by readers for a relatively positive review of a Harley, and a hater by the press manager for implying they haven’t changed. Sometimes you really can’t win, and I don’t expect to. My goal in reviewing bikes isn’t to pick them to pieces, there really isn’t much need for that. Rather, I attempt to discuss the positive aspects of the bike, those that will appeal to the target demographic, and temper that with things I believe could


use improvement. I prefer constructive criticism that may state why something is inadequate but then explains how it could be improved. Riders shouldn’t have to invest more money in a brand-new motorcycle to make it rideable, but I understand that manufacturers are striving to reach a certain price point and a worldwide market. Thus, my interpretation is guaranteed to be different than others, probably even yours. It’s impossible to make one product that is right for everyone, and I am thrilled that there are so many great bikes from which to choose. I haven’t found a perfect forever bike, and I never will—things change too quickly, including this rider. There is something to be said for brand loyalty, which is what every company strives for in their product. Harley has built a dominant, industry-leading empire on that consumer commitment, and every other manufacturer aspires to match it. It’s clear that every brand thinks it needs a cruiser. Apparently, they also need enough parts and accessories to fill the Grand Canyon. They want boutique shopping experiences, without the clutter of competing brands. They mass-produce marketing collateral such as T-shirts and coffee mugs. The industry has become a victim of its own self-perpetuating repetition. But, if you actually want to test ride an expensive new motorcycle, which brands come to mind? H-D caters to their customers, whether that be owners, the press, aftermarket suppliers, or the general public. The company talks about feelings and heritage instead of this improvement or that color change. They make it extremely easy to get involved and immersed, and that is what other OEMs should be doing. Harley became a lifestyle because they’ve made it easy to play. It wasn’t always that way. Remember, you meet the nicest people on a Honda. If you refuse to ride anything but your favorite marque, you don’t know what you are missing. New bikes, even the Harleys, are all pretty darned good, even if they are all starting to look old again. To eliminate a brand from consideration based on perception, inconsistent history or a lack of cachet would mean eliminating Triumph, Indian, Norton, Royal Enfield, Ducati, MV Agusta, Moto Guzzi and others. Yet, all of these brands retain loyal followings in the larger motorcycling world. It’s okay to be a fanboy, just don’t be a hater.

—David Hilgendorf

Letters Everything’s Getting Faster! I’ve been reading a lot about the helmet industry to learn more about the number of motorcycle fatalities, but the problem seems insurmountable. If you check your own stats, you’ll see that with very few exceptions, almost all new bikes come with more horsepower, torque, and speed. And if I’m remembering my ballistics correctly, when you double the speed of a projectile, you increase the force at the target by a factor of four. They don’t call them “crotch rockets” for nothing! Nick Weber

Nick, double speed does equate to quadruple force, the trick is to avoid the impact. A helmet won’t save anyone from a headfirst into a solid object at typical road speed. Thanks to worldwide economic factors, the market for smaller displacement bikes is currently growing faster than for supersports. The industy counter to increased power is much better electronics, including traction control and ABS. The engineering of modern bikes also makes them infinitely more balanced and responsive. They are simply much more rider friendly. However, any bike is only as safe as its rider. —David Hilgendorf Where’s the Recall? Years ago, I owned a personal watercraft, which was always breaking, even when it was brand-new. The dealer stopped selling that brand because the manufacturer never reimbursed him for warranty work on their machines. Apparently some brands honor their warranties much better than others.

Volume 47/ Number 8

August, 2016

EDITORIAL Vice President, Content Joyce Bautista Ferrari Design Director LiLiana Estep Group Editor Russ Case Editor David Hilgendorf Associate Art Director Terri Blake World Reporter Doug Jackson Copy Editor Marcy Toschi Contributors to this issue: Mark Barnes, Jeff Buchanan, Harry Deitzler, David Hough, Glynn Kerr, Moshe Levy, Joe Michaud, Stu Oltman, Fred Rau, Dave Searle, Vince Tidwell, Jeremy Willard Multimedia Photographer & Studio Manager Gina Cioli PRODUCTION Multimedia Production Director Laurie Panaggio Multimedia Production Manager Jessica Jaensch Multimedia Production Coordinator Shawna Luna

With all of the automobile recalls for defects, I was wondering why motorcycle companies rarely offer recalls? I have heard that there are lots of problems with specific brands of motorcycle, but manufacturers won’t issue a recall because they want to hide it from the public. Robert Burg

relationship with your dealer, who can go to bat for you with the manufacturer. If your dealer isn’t willing to help, try another dealer who wants your continued business. Lemon law is applicable if you can’t get the same problem resolved in numerous attempts. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. —David Hilgendorf

Robert, most manufacturers wouldn’t want the bad publicity from trying to hide a known issue. More likely it’s a cost issue (recalls are expensive), or they haven’t received enough complaints, and sometimes they need further research on a fix before acknowledging a problem. There are many reasons for a numerical discrepancy in recalls, not least of which is the exponentially larger number of automobiles sold. Also, consider how many more parts there are in a larger vehicle, and the fact that the NHTSA enforces recalls based on the number of complaints. Fewer units with fewer parts equals fewer failures and fewer recalls. Most motorcycle recalls happen when something is determined to cause a potential loss of control. Once a vehicle is out of warranty, there is even less incentive for the manufacturers to go back and fix problems, unless the government forces their hand. Nobody wants to pay for failure—not you or your dealer, and certainly not the manufacturer or insurance company. But proving negligence is hard, which is why we have government and watchdog organizations. Warranty repairs are a common complaint with every vendor—when they get it right you don’t hear much about it, but when they get it wrong, it certainly feels like they are out to get you. Build a solid

What’s It Worth? I have referenced KBB, NADA and Edmund’s for bike valuations, but have noticed discrepancies with MCN numbers. I prefer to use your motorcycle-specific information when dealing with bikes. In 2015, the spring used bike value guide was published in your March issue, followed by the summer guide in July and fall guide in November. Can I expect it soon for 2016? Frank DelloRusso

LUMINA MEDIA Chairman David Fry Chief Executive Officer Keith Walter Chief Financial Officer David Katzoff Chief Sales Officer Susan Roark Chief Digital Officer Jennifer Black-Glover Senior Vice President, Retail Scott Coffman Vice President, PR and Marketing Cameron Triebwasser

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Frank, keep in mind, our published bike value guides use NADA suggested retail value (showroom price), which can vary based on mileage, condition, dealer, region, and even season. Selling to a private party should net you somewhere between the “clean trade-in” and “average retail” prices. You can expect a dealer to offer somewhere between “rough” and “clean.” Your bike is really only worth what you and another party agree to exchange for it. I am working on some updates to how we retrieve and format the data used in the bike value guide. However, I don’t see the numbers changing so drastically as to require publishing them more than once or twice a year moving forward. —David Hilgendorf

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A Dragon’s Tale The 11-mile “Tail of the Dragon” (U.S. Route 129 in N.C. and Tenn.) has sadly become a stretch for legalized robbery by Tennessee law enforcement. I recently received a ticket to prove it. I noticed plenty of police along the route and naively thought, Nice to see they’re watching out for motorcyclists. I was driving below the speed limit, stopping to film and snap photos, and frequently pulling off to allow faster traffic to pass. I was enjoying a safe, smooth and unhurried ride. About a half-mile from the North Carolina state line, a motorcycle cop pulled me over, stated I crossed the center line, and wrote a ticket. Technically, I’d broken the law, but in my opinion, a good cop would have issued a warning such as, “You’re driving plenty safe, but don’t cross the middle line.” What an introduction to America for a foreign visitor! William Kaliher

William, the problem with roads like The Dragon—and there are plenty in the U.S.— is unskilled motorcyclists kill themselves on them often. Thus, police are frequently mandated to reduce that risk by heavily enforcing every traffic law. If you speed or cross a solid yellow, you are likely to get cited. It’s not only illegal, but also dangerous—both risks you accept every time you choose to wander out of your lane, anywhere in this country. —David Hilgendorf Night Lights Yamaha’s FJR 1300ES (MCN 1/16) comes standard with lean-sensor-activated LED cornering lights. This is great news! Somebody finally gets it. I have complained about the lack of lighting at night while leaning into corners for years. When I look for a new motorcycle, the very first thing I look for is how much light does it project, not only down the road, but also to the side. I would love to read your reviews on testing bikes at night. Victor JonPaul More Lights and Passengers Unlike the auto industry, it is not always possible to test ride the motorcycle of your choice. This can be compounded by those living far from major cities with a variety of motorcycle dealerships. Detailed reviews and road tests by magazines such as MCN are very important to many of us. More emphasis and detail should be included as they pertain to passengers and their comfort. It would also be beneficial to include the effectiveness of the bike’s lights when traveling at night. Brian Morrison 4

I make it a point to ride every test bike at night, but generally make mention only if the lights are something extraordinary, or are remarkably incapable. I suppose that means the vast majority are average. The latest LED headlights are definitely a huge benefit to night riders, start shopping there. I discussed two-up riding on the new Road Glide Ultra (MCN 6/16), however, we tested the Bonnevilles with only one rider (MCN 7/16). This is sometimes due to lack of participants and time, but many new motorcycles aren’t even equipped with rear seats or pegs. We get most bikes for two weeks, and would have to find someone with nothing better to do than ride around on the back all day. Unfortunately, I don’t have a budget for supermodels, yet. —David Hilgendorf

I make it a point to ride every test bike at night, but generally make mention only if the lights are something extraordinary... Even More Lights I am just getting back into street riding, and I would like to add more conspicuous front and rear lights to my 1999 Triumph Sprint ST. I suppose that fork-mounted lights are low, so they would form a triangular lighting pattern and might be the right direction to go. For the back, I need advice on lights that will make sure I am not easily ignored. I don’t want to irritate car and truck drivers, but I do want a good light signature. The only types I’ve found are PIAA or Clearwater lights and Lumalink brackets. I also want a much better horn than Triumph supplied with the bike. I’m willing to spend high dollars for actual safety improvements. Can you help? Bob Milka

Bob, there are lots of aftermarket motorcycle lighting solutions available online. I recommend LED lighting to avoid overtaxing your bike’s charging abilities. As for the horn, often tone is more important than volume. Having said that, no matter how bright or loud your bike may appear, all of the aftermarket attention-getters merely create a false sense of security. Nothing will make sure you’re not easily ignored. The best defense is a good offense. Consider yourself invisible while scanning in front and around, predict what might occur given the traffic and sight obstructions near you, and then proactively take action to stay out of


harm’s way. Depending on others to see you, understand your intentions, and to then take action to ensure your safety is not likely to be an effective plan. Just ask any rider who’s T-boned a deer while equipped with a deer whistle. And unlike many car drivers these days, the deer aren’t even texting! —Stu Oltman Pivot Air Chuck Check-up I finally gave up after spending 20 minutes online trying to buy the Motion Pro Pivot Air Chuck (MCN 6/16). Even though I bought something from them in 2011, they wanted a password to sign in and pay. Then, after receiving a new password, I reset my account, but even that didn’t work. So I called them during normal business hours, and a message said their phone system may not work. Then I was sent to voicemail jail, where I left a message for them to call me if they wanted my money. I am finding it increasingly difficult to give businesses my money because of poor website design and bad phone systems. The owners of these companies need to take the advice of the book, Up the Organization, and try to call themselves and use their own websites before they expect customers to do so. It is too bad that after MCN wrote such a glowing review of the product, that they are making it so hard to purchase! Richard Taylor

This is on us—our relocation and systems changeover caused us to fall (or fail) below our standards for customer service. This looks to be a short-term issue and we hope to be back to 100-percent operations ASAP. We will keep working as hard as we can to deliver quality, innovative products and the best possible service. There is always room to improve. —Brandon Baldwin Sales and Marketing Director Motion Pro, Inc. Big Rig Tax Not sure I agree with Dave Searle’s response to the letter from James Carlisle regarding the contribution of heavy trucks to highway deterioration and the associated economics (“Thumbs Up for Truckers,” 6/16). That trucks are responsible for the majority of road damage is inarguable, but increased truck taxes will mean increased prices for everything trucks haul, and that is the ultimate regressive tax. Dave’s suggested solution, an additional axle, isn’t effective for two reasons. The first is that, typically, an additional axle appears on trucks with higher gross pay-

load allowed, so only trucking efficiency is gained. The second is that the primary determinant of road damage is unit surface loading, which is a function of the tire pressure. As long as truck tires continue to be inflated to levels three times that of the average auto or motorcycle, unit loading will also be three times as high. Mike Stephenson Who is paying the difference now if not all taxpayers, in fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees, etc., not to mention proposed “road use taxes”? What if our taxes didn’t pay to subsidize heavy trucking? Wh if truckers paid three times the road us taxes they do now? They currently pay f about 35 percent of the damage they creat Spread across billions of items, how muc would that add to the cost of our purchase How about letting the marketplac decide? If trucking costs were to rise to cov their true cost, some shippers might choos rail, instead. How would that impact road the economy or air pollution? Subsidie including our tax subsidy of heavy trucking’s costs, only mangle the efficiency of the free market. Taxpayers don’t have lobbyists like the teamsters do. It’s a fact that an extra rear axle works to spread the load over a greater distance of “elastic” asphalt, reducing damage. Don’t forget, the contact patch is also influenced by tire diameter. Trucks are limited to 80,000 pounds by federal standard. If they save on taxes, it would motivate them to upgrade to 22-wheels. If unit surface loading as a function of tire pressures was the primary determinant of road damage, heavy trucks would do even more damage. —Dave Searle Payloads The “Payloads” article in the May issue’s Proficient Motorycling was interesting. I found the comments in the piece regarding the Valkyrie rider quite telling: ... he attempted to address the ground clearance problem by installing aftermarket shock absorbers on the rear suspension specified as “heavy duty.” Did this rider think to check the spring rate on these “heavy duty” shocks? Too many motorcycle owners I’ve come in contact with know very little about the capacities or the maintenance requirements of their bikes. Simple checks such as tire pressure and brake fluid get filed in the “Ignorance is Bliss” folder. Based on the skid marks and divots, the motorcycle driver must have realized he was a little “hot” approaching the downhill corner, slammed the throttle closed, and jammed on the rear brake. That might work on a dirt bike but not on the street. In over 50 years of riding that includes enduros, road racing and recreational

riding, I’ve seen riders get into turns too hot, and their first instinct is to hit the rear brake, which usually unsettles the bike, and in the two incidents I saw, resulted in the riders being pitched off their bikes and the bikes cartwheeling off the road. It’s hard to educate riders on the correct use of the controls, and to me, jamming on the rear brake is a no-no. I’m surprised David didn’t address that statement. Learning the correct use of one’s braking system is paramount in understanding the dynamics of what’s going to happen when an emergency situation arises.

...which usually unsettles the bike, and in the two instances I saw, resulted in the riders being pitched off their bikes... John, thanks for your comments about the payloads column. The point of the tale of the Valkyrie rider is that he didn’t seem to have any comprehension of loading, GVWR, suspension, leanover clearance, or, for that matter, cornering. He paid a heavy price for his ignorance. Obviously, jamming on the rear brake attempting to decelerate for a corner (on pavement) is very likely to lead to a crash. I didn’t dwell on the braking error because the purpose of telling the story was to introduce loading. I did address braking in the April 2016 issue’s Proficient Motorcycling column, but your comments prompt me to consider a future column on how braking relates to cornering. —David L. Hough Money Matters I read Glynn Kerr’s column in the May issue and am at a loss to understand his code. What is GBP? Also, what is a buyer’s premium, and why do they have them at an auction? If you bid X amount for an item, why should you have to add to it? Nick Weber

Nick, when talking about money, USD references U.S. dollars, while GBP stands for Great British Pound, or pound sterling. Glynn included both values as our American readers are not expected to know or calculate the exchange rate on foreign sales. Buyer’s premium at auction is typically 10 to 25 percent of the hammer price, which goes to the auctioneer and is paid by the buyer (vs. commission taken from the seller, such as occurs on eBay). When attending live auctions, the percentage is explained to buyers when they register, and it needs

to be calculated into the bidding. Because many auctions are for pricey and collectible items such as jewelry, art and automotive items, these premiums can be substantial. —David Hilgendorf Shocking Solutions I received my latest issue with the Road Glide Ultra test (MCN 6/16). I own a 2015 Road Glide and agree: the suspension sucks! I could also complain about handlebar bend, noisy straight cut transmission gears, a loud compensator sprocket, and poorly chosen gear ratios. What can be done to improve the sussion? The owners I’ve spoken to said upgraded Harley rear shocks are not answer. “You’re wasting your money” ms to be the consensus. Also, what can done with the forks? A smooth comnt ride is what I’m seeking. Dan Jaram

The H-D Premium Ride Hand Adjuste Shocks (mentioned), or similar aftermarket shocks and upgraded fork cartridges, are likely to be the answer. One issue with hand-adjustable shocks on a bagger is you need to remove the bags to adjust them. You could set the preload for the way you ride most of the time and only modify for drastic changes in loading. Inconvenience may be the reason upgrade shocks were considered a waste of money. One issue with stock shocks is that the “air spring” lives in a small chamber, the leverage ratio is close to 1:1, and the pressure in that small chamber spikes quickly as the shock becomes compressed. With only 3 inches of travel, even sitting on the bike solo eats up half that amount. You could try applying enough air pressure to cause the rear to top out when the bike is loaded. Then slowly release some pressure until the rear just starts to sag. Doing this should preserve enough wheel travel to prevent bottoming out and the harshness that occurs when the air pressure spike happens near full compression. I’m wondering if you test rode the bike or competing brands before purchase. When real money is involved, or if there’s a particular purpose in mind for the bike, brand loyalty can sometimes go unrewarded. —Stu Oltman

Send Letters to the Editor MCN Letters c/o Lumina Media 2030 Main St., Ste. 1400 Irvine, CA 92614 Fax: 949-855-3045 Email: Website: MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016


» KTM Unveils 2017 Enduro and Sportminicycle Lineup

KTM has re-designed their enduro line from the ground up. A remarkable 90 percent of the 2017 lineup’s components are new, including the chassis, engines, and the WP XPlor 48 USD split-fork suspension.The upgrades shed up to 11 pounds and offer improved mass centralization, resulting in increased performance and better handling. Two-stroke models include the 125 XC-W and 150 XC-W designed for closed-course racing (replacing the 125 and 200 EXC), as well the fully homologated 250 EXC and 300 EXC. The four-stroke line-up features the completely updated 250 EXC-F and 350 EXC-F, plus a renaming of the higher-capacity models, which become the 450 EXC-F and 500 EXC-F. For budding junior riders and racers, KTM has also unleashed the 50 SX, 65 SX, and 85 SX Sportminicycle models. The 50 SX and 65 SX will receive brand-new AER 35 forks by WP Suspension, which allows the bikes to be easily adjusted with a simple fork pump.They also include a fully adjustable rear shock, new exhaust system, an hour-meter and graphics styled like the full-size bikes. The 50 SX is targeted at young motocross riders just entering the sport. It features steady, controllable power and an automatic clutch. The 65 SX is a full-fledged racer, with more power and improved riding dynamics. As the premier mini-machine, the 85 SX is available in both small and big wheel configurations and features traditional sprung forks. If you’re looking to get out in the dirt, all of these ready-to-race options should be available at your local KTM dealer now.

» Liquid-Cooled Harley-Davidson

XG750R Flat Tracker The Harley-Davidson Factory Team unleashed the XG750R—its first all-new flat track race bike in 44 years—at the AMA Pro Springfield Mile in Illinois. Powered by a modified version of the 750cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, Revolution X V-Twin from the Street 750, the race-spec engine and frame for the XG750R were developed by Vance & Hines Motorsports. The new XG750R motorcycle is currently available for race competition only, and is not being offered for sale. Hopefully, the Motor Company will hear loud cries from their fanbase and rectify this situation in short order.

ternational Hill Climb racecourse. The all-new, all-electric Victory RR finished second place under rider William Dunlop at the Isle of Man TT Zero emissions competition, with an average speed of 115.84 mph around the 37.73-mile course. It features a more energy-dense battery module and an optimized motor that runs 0 to 60 times under three seconds and reaches top speeds of 160 mph. Victory Racing participates in Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and the TT Zero to test the latest technology and improve performance, with developments that trickle down to production models. Perhaps we’ll see similar bikes

» Victory Races

Three Factory Customs Victory Racing forged a two-pronged attack on the 100th Anniversary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb: the electric Empulse RR—based on Victory’s production Empulse TT—versus the gas-powered Project 156, a Victory Octane-based prototype named for the number of turns along the 12.42-mile public road that forms Pikes Peak In6


on showroom floors in the not-too-distant future.

» Maryland Passes Motorcyclist

Anti-Profiling Law Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill into law that expressly prohibits the profiling of motorcyclists within the state. Washington state passed similar legislation in 2011, and similar efforts are making their way through several other states. These laws serve as an example for other states wishing to pass legislation that will eliminate discrimination against motorcyclists. Victory Racing’s Empulse RR (left) and Project 156



LATEST RECALLS Soaring Helmet Corporation XComponent(s): EQUIPMENT XSummary: Soaring is recalling certain Stealth Phantom helmets, part numbers 8300 and 8351, in all sizes, manufactured April 1, 2013, to December 30, 2014, certain Vega CFS helmets, part number 7590, in all sizes, manufactured April 1, 2011, to April 29, 2011, and certain Vega XTV 7400 helmets, in all sizes, manufactured January 3, 2011, to February 24, 2012. The affected helmets may not adequately protect a user in the event of a head impact or from penetration injuries in the event of a crash. As such, these helmets fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 218, “Motorcycle Helmets.” XConsequence: Helmets that do not adequately protect the wearer increase their risk of injury in the event of a crash. XRemedy: Since the helmet purchasers are unknown, a notification will be placed on the Stealth and Vega websites. Retailers will exchange the helmets for a different Stealth or Vega helmet or offer a refund, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin May 16, 2016. Owners may contact Soaring at 1-425-656-0683.

American Honda Motor, Inc.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company XComponent(s): ELECTRICAL SYSTEM XSummary: Harley-Davidson is recalling certain model year 2014.5-2016 Dyna Low Rider motorcycles (FXDL 103) manufactured January 6, 2014 to April 7, 2016. In the affected motorcycles, engine vibrations may damage the ignition switch internally and, as a result, the engine may shut off while riding. XConsequence: If the engine shuts off, the motorcycle would stall, increasing the risk of a crash. XRemedy: Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will install an improved ignition switch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in June 2016. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-2582464. Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0168.

KTM North America, Inc. XComponent(s): SUSPENSION XSummary: KTM is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 1290 Super Adventure motorcycles manufactured December 1, 2014, to December 11, 2015. These motorcycles have a rear shock absorber that may leak oil from the rebound damping plug, resulting in a loss of shock function. XConsequence: Loss of function of the rear shock may affect the handling of the motorcycle, increasing the risk of a crash. XRemedy: KTM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the rebound damping plug for leaking and replace the shock absorber, as necessary, and install a new version of the suspension control unit software, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact KTM customer service at 1-888-985-6090. KTM’s number for this recall is TB1611.

XComponent(s): AIR BAGS XSummary: Honda is recalling certain model year 2006-2010 Honda GL1800 (Gold Wing) motorcycles manufactured February 8, 2006, to May 14, 2009 originally sold, or ever registered, in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or “Zone A.” Additionally, unless included in “Zone A” above, Honda is recalling certain model year 2006-2008 Honda GL 1800 (Gold Wing) motorcycles manufactured May 10, 2007, to May 14, 2009 originally sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of ColumHusqvarna Motorcycles bia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, XComponent(s): CRANKSHAFT Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North CaroliXSummary: Husqvarna is recalling specific frame numna, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and bers of the 2016 FC 250 machines to authorized Husqvarna West Virginia, or “Zone B.” Motorcycles not originally sold or dealers for a complete crankshaft replacement. ever registered in either Zones A or XConsequence: It has been deterB are not subject to this safety recall. mined that deviations in the manuThese motorcycles are equipped with facturing process of the connecting For more information regarding an air bag inflator assembled as part recalls, owners may also contact rod may result in early failure and of the air bag module, used as original the National Highway Traffic Safety fracturing of the conrod under certain load conditions, increasing the equipment or replacement equipment. Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline risk of a crash. In the event of a crash necessitating at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), XRemedy: Owners of 2016 FC 250 deployment of the air bag, these or go to models are being informed by a perinflators may rupture due to propellant sonal letter, asking them to immediately degradation occurring after long-term contact an authorized Husqvarna Motorcycles dealer exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling. to arrange an appointment for replacement.Customers XConsequence: An inflator rupture may result in metal fragcan check online in the ‘Service’ area of the Husqvarna ments striking the rider resulting in serious injury or death. Motorcycles website to determine if their motorcycle XRemedy: Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace is affected by this recall. Replacement crankshaft work the air bag module containing the inflator, free of charge. The will be carried out at no cost to motorcycle owners, but manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. must be performed by authorized Husqvarna Motorcycles Owners may contact Honda customer service at 1-866-7841870. Honda’s number for this recall is KA8. dealers only.



Downtime Files No More Stink I was pleased to see my email regarding a strong fuel smell emanating from my 2001 Honda Gold Wing published in the May MCN (“A Whole Lot of Stink”). As usual, I was impressed by the completeness of your reply and suggestions. I did change the fuel tank, and the problem is now gone. When I removed the old fuel tank (not a job for the faint of heart), I noticed some staining around the fuel tank vent that is molded into the tank. It ran down toward the filler neck and stopped at that point. As to your other suggestions, the bike did not exhibit any hard starting when warm, so I don’t think the fuel injectors were involved. I do occasionally run Techron or Seafoam through the fuel system, and maybe that has helped to keep the fuel system clean. Bruce Foster

I’m glad to hear you got the stink under control. This proves once again that a thorough visual inspection is worth at least as much as sophisticated electronic test gear. Nice work! —Stu Oltman Boiling Gasoline I have a 2007 Honda ST1300 problem, the solution to which escapes the diagn skills of two Honda dealer service de ments. Periodically (sometimes w sometimes months), I’ll be riding, the bike suddenly starts to buck lik gas is being turned on and off. This o primarily when the air temperature the 100s and when the bike is at spee a freeway. The one exception was a day, when I was doing a lot of very trips, stopping for a few minutes starting back up, over and over. The bike will surge like this for a few hundred yards, then stop altogether and won’t restart. I usually manage to get off the freeway to a gas station, and after I add gas, the bike restarts and I have no further problems until the next hot day. If I wait for 20 to 30 minutes, the bike starts up and runs normally thereafter. On the day of the short trip stop-andstarts, when I made it to my destination, I heard a bubbling sound. I opened the gas cap and observed the almost-full gas tank boiling furiously! I felt down the right side of the bike below the tank and it was very hot to the touch. I stuck my fingers into the boiling gas very carefully, and it was hot, but not at all like sticking your fingers into boiling water. There was no indication of malfunction on the dashboard. The engine temp bars indicated normal, the oil light and engine lights did not come on. Chad Smith 8

Chad, the simple answer is that your bike is running out of fuel—sort of. As you know, the ST1300 isn’t the coolest running bike around. Though the rider is better shielded from heat on your ‘07 than on earlier examples, the engine heat still exists and serves to heat the contents of the fuel tank. Hot ambient conditions make things worse, sometimes boiling the fuel, as you noticed. The other contributing factor is the two-line fuel system, which continually pressurizes a fuel rail to which the injectors are connected. This rail can become very hot, and the fuel passing through it picks up a lot of engine heat, which it then passes through the pressure regulator and directly back into the fuel tank through the fuel return line. Add a worn or damaged fuel pump commutator or other marginal component, and elevated heat levels can cause an electrical resistance, slowing the pump, or a complete disconnect, stopping the pump. Fuel levels below around a half tank cause the remaining fuel to become hotter, and to do so more quickly, than if the tank were near full. When this occurs, a rest period of at least 30 minutes often allows the fuel and pump to cool and regain electrical contact. Refilling with resh, cool uel eliminates the condition

I stuck my fingers into the boiling gas very carefully, and it was hot, but not at all like sticking your fingers into boiling water. Replacement of the fuel pump is the only cure for this symptom. Your bike’s OE pump is sold only as part of an assembly containing many other parts, and the price is a bit eye-watering. As with most other fuel-injected bikes, there are aftermarket solutions from companies such as Airtex and Denso. In fact, the Denso model 950-0194 is very similar and will likely slip right into place in the pump holder assembly. That pump comes with a matching electrical connector and fuel-proof wires to splice to the original in-tank wiring, should the socket on the new pump not match the existing connector. You might browse ST1300 forums to see if any members have sourced an exact-fit replacement. —Stu Oltman I shared your response with my Honda service rep and discussed it with the mechanic, too. It was agreed that a new


fuel pump was in order. It was installed last week, and so far, so good. I’ve noticed “smoothness” on acceleration and sustained high-speed freeway driving that hasn’t been there for some time. So far, there have been no really hot days, which will be the real test. It does feel like a whole new bike now. By the way, a new Honda ST1300 fuel pump costs $560. Even with a discount, my total cost (the part plus two hours labor) was $740. That is one complicated looking piece of hardware! Thanks again. Chad Smith Based on your description of the improvements, it appears that your fuel pump was not delivering the required fuel pressure or volume, even under the best of conditions, so it may not have been long before it failed completely. I’m confident your issue is resolved, and you’ll likely notice an improvement in fuel economy, as well. Suspecting you were considering a DIY repair, I checked on-line prices for that pump assembly at Service Honda (a parts discounter) before sending you my response, but full-line dealerships list full retail at $540. Ouch! This is the way it is h many brands when replacement of ividual parts within an assembly are sidered to be either beyond the ability echnicians, too time consuming to be nomical, or too risky because of safety cerns. anks for your thorough description he symptoms and for letting us know outcome. —Stu Oltman ift It Like a Big Rig Last year I purchased a new 2014 Yamaha Super Ténéré, which now has 9,400 miles on it. After about a month of riding, I was shifting down while approaching a stoplight and the bike died. I pulled the clutch in and it fired right up. The same thing happened at the same stoplight a few days later, and I wondered if the light signal was interrupting something in the bike’s computer. Later, I was downshifting while exiting the freeway when I rapped the throttle to meet transmission speed—like in a Big Rig—and while approaching a stop sign, the bike died. This was the third time, always when downshifting for a stop. It has never died with the clutch engaged, and always starts right back up. It’s almost like something had to reset itself. I have been riding for over 50 years and generally try to find less-traveled back roads, but I still kick it up every now and

again to blow the carbon out, like in the old days. I run the recommended octane, unless it’s not available while traveling. Other than this little glitch, the bike starts and runs great, and gets good mileage. Never knowing when it will occur, all the stars would have to be aligned with the winning lottery numbers for it to happen in sight of a mechanic. I’m wondering if anything like this has had you scratchin your head? Andy Anderse Your bike obviously isn’t a Big Rig, and you certainly don’t need to “rap th throttle” to match transmission shaf speeds when downshifting a sequentia transmission as found on motorcycles. the Good Old Days, shifting the H-pattern tranny on your Rig, which likely ha no synchromesh, did require a differen technique. Is this throttle rapping with the clutch disengaged the cause of the occasional stall? I can’t say for sure, but I do suspect it may cause brief injector cutoff, depending on how high the rpm goes before the throttle is closed. If you’re determined to continue this shifting technique, try using only a very slight increase in throttle. Both up and downshifting should be performed as one smooth operation, without hesitation between de-clutching and shift lever operation, and with only slight reduction (not increase) in throttle, just enough to unload the gear dogs. No throttle rapping, no double clutching, and no anything else borrowed from your days rolling the nation’s highways in a tractor-trailer. I think your “problem” will resolve. If it doesn’t, then you are correct in assuming that any technician would have a devil of a time reproducing the symptom, let alone determining its cause. —Stu Oltman Trailer Towing Insanity Regarding a recent item about a trailer-towing Harley with no rear brake (“Give Me a Brake,” May issue), I wonder if the certified tech ever heard the statement, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” How many times did he replace the master before he did a complete diagnosis to find the real problem? As a mechanic, in regard to parts, I coined the phrase, “Just ‘cause it’s new, don’t make it good,” which was the case in this instance. I agree completely about overloaded trailers without brakes, but even with brakes, the combination is way overloaded as far as the powertrain is concerned. Jarvis (Jay) Knapp

To be fair, I couldn’t tell when it became clear to our ASE-certified friend that the master cylinder and brake line had already been replaced, and that the brake line replacement had cured the issue for 24 hours. On the other hand, he may have simply not trusted the work of the other tech, a strategy I’ve often found useful. But yes, the master was replaced two more times r i l r ir regard to parts, I coined the phrase, “Just ‘cause it’s new, don’t make it good”... was once as e y an or er o examine a bike they’d already bought back under the state’s lemon law, having failed to get it to start for four months. They’d had the bike in three different dealerships, asked the techs for a diagnosis, then instructed the techs by phone to replace the ECM, various sensors and relays, the tip over switch, and half of the electrical system, without any actual component testing. And this occurred in each of the three dealerships! When I arrived, I tested the battery and found it defective. The bike was idling happily 15 minutes later. This is what I was thinking of when I referred to human nature, we have a propensity for bypassing the simplest, most obvious possibility, in favor of less likely or more complex things. How that club mechanic figured a new rotor would cure a limp pedal is anybody’s guess. I also appreciate the opportunity to address trailering a bit more. The unintended consequences of trailer towing is a subject I’ve been yapping about, mainly to my Gold Wing-owning readers, for the better part of 20 years, with little effect. Yes, the powertrain is overloaded, sometimes resulting in clutch and transmission damage, especially when the rider is in the habit of not using the gearbox to best advantage. That damage is only going to put a huge dent in their wallets; their personal safety is of much greater concern to me. The less-responsive handling and greatly increased braking distances don’t appear to be of concern, as many proud trailer owners describe their towing experience with the phrase, “You can’t even tell it’s back there.” Maybe not, provided a rider doesn’t get into an emergency braking or maneuvering situation or tow at 80 mph. Trailering can be done safely and excess wear held to a minimum if done with good

preparation, common sense riding, and knowledge of the risks involved. Trailer towing readers interested in learning more can read one of my old articles on the subject on page 70 at —Stu Oltman Speedometer Error Is there any way to adjust the speedometer a 2016 wr250r? I was wondering why ple were flying by me like I was going , but my speedo read 75 mph. So I d a GPS—reading 62 at 70 mph and 54 0 mph, it seems ridiculously off. e bike has stock tires, gears, and y 1,200 miles on it. I wonder if I uld go and give the dealer hell. I gled speedometer accuracy laws, and re’s supposed to be no more than 2.5 cent inaccuracy according to federal s. (This applies to commercial transortation vehicles. —Ed.) If there’s no way to adjust, I may have to get a GPS speedo or something, because it bothers me not knowing how fast I’m actually going. Glen Sakai

Many bikes have had speedometer inaccuracies around 10 percent for as long as I can remember, though it seems more prevalent on Japanese models. I’ve never received a credible answer as to why it hasn’t been resolved after all these years. If the speedometer is electronic (as opposed to cable driven), an electronic calibration device, such as SpeedoHealer, may be your answer. Otherwise, observe your speedo when the GPS indicates 70 mph, and you’ll know approximately what indicated speed to hold when you want to travel at 70 mph. On your bike, that indicated speed is likely to be 79 mph, and I do agree that that amount of error is ridiculous. Giving the dealer hell won’t accomplish anything productive, as there’s nothing they can do to help. —Stu Oltman

Got Problems? Ask the Downtime Files Send questions to: MCN Downtime Files, c/o Lumina Media 2030 Main St., Ste. 1400, Irvine, CA 92614 Send e-mail questions (with images in jpeg format) to: Subject line: Downtime Files Questions are subject to editing. Not all questions may appear in print.



World Motorcycling


Moto Corse SRC 803HC Scrambler



oto Corse is best known for its exceptional large-capacity custom machines, including their Nuda Veloce Panigale, Diavel DVC and Bimota D6C builds. The military style SRC 803HC is an exception, as it’s built from a smaller-capacity 803cc Ducati Scrambler. The weld spatter was removed and polished—the frame, swingarm, tank, mudguards, wheels and all detail components are finished skin smooth—before a generous powder coating is applied in unique “Karst” green. The typical Moto Corse seat features hand-stitched calf leather. The Ducati 803cc 2V L-twin Desmo engine has a revised cylinder head-fitted with an 88mm high-compression piston from Pistal Racing in Italy, and a Moto Corse map. The 50.8mm-diameter titanium Moto Corse twin exhaust system fitted with dry carbon heat shields produces a pleasing sound. Öhlins FGRT fully adjustable suspension and a front-adjust-

able mudguard provide the rider with a choice of different tire sizes. The braking system utilizes Italian ALTH discs and brake pads, with a Brembo radial caliper up front and Axial single piston caliper in back. Moto Corse offers three options for the SRC 803HC Scrambler: complete machines, any of the special components in the build, or conversion of a customer-owned machine. —Doug Jackson






nthusiastic executives of BMW Motorrad France envisioned a current S 1000 RR converted into a Classic Endurance Racer of the 80s, and they chose Sylvain and Florent of Praem to make it a reality. Both were already experienced in building 1980s-style endurance racers, giving the project a head start. They were inspired by the Suzuka 8 Hour race, where speed and reliability are equally important. The bike features an asymmetrical fork head, classic half fairing, an endurance-oriented radiator, a racing seat with quick-access battery, and side panels to accommodate race numbers. A lengthened aluminum tank facilitates an extended riding position. Wheels are Rotobox carbon with carbon ceramic discs and slick tires. A custom-mapped titanium exhaust system emits the right sound, and combined with a weight loss of 40 pounds, enhances the overall performance of the S 1000 RR. The exotic paintwork is a satin finish that maintains the

Praem S1000 RR

style of competition vehicles of the 1980s. In the words of BMW Motorrad France, “Make Life a Ride.” What better machine to use for that purpose? —Doug Jackson



MW is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the revolutionary R5—which pioneered telescopic forks—and has developed a new concept named the R5 Hommage. Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, considers the R5 to be one of the most appealing bikes in the company’s history, making it a worthy machine to remember with the modernized 2016 version. In 1935, the R5 was racing with a 500cc supercharged Boxer twin motor that has become the core of the new R5 Hommage. Designed with twin camshafts, producing 24 hp and reaching a maximum speed of 84 mph, it was quite rapid for its time. One of these machines survived, albeit with crash damage to the engine, which was rebuilt, and with new covers produced in billet aluminum to make an authentically original power plant for the R5 Hommage. The R5 Hommage build was entrusted to specialist custom

builders Ronny and Benny Noren. The original 500cc engine was supplied by enthusiast Sebastian Gutsch and updated with a special supercharger and stainless steel exhaust system, increasing performance. Tank and frame echo the 1935 design, the latter with oval tubing and subtle modern rear suspension, while the forks maintain the original ribbed style. A modern disc braking system is mounted on wire wheels with complex hubs. The old style reversed handlebar mounted brake and clutch levers are a nice touch, contrasting with more current custom touches such as the lacking front and handmade rear mudguard. Finish is in classic BMW black with white pinstriping, plus an opaque smoke finish on the tank and rear mudguard, allowing the steel to partially show through. Engine and gearbox are in polished aluminum, and the saddle is handmade leather. The R5 Hommage is an impressive machine, blending old with new, but don’t reach for your wallet, as this is a one-only project with no plans for replicas. You are permitted only to look and dream. —Doug Jackson


BMW R5 Hommage


Gas Gas TXT Racing



he Scottish Six Days Trial, held May 2-7 in Fort William, Scotland, had a full Gas Gas support team for private riders, as well as their own factory team. The factory chose this event to introduce their 2017 range of trials machines: TXT Racing 125, 250, 280 and 300. Following the pattern of the EC Enduro range, all four machines have the same basic specifications, except for their displacement. Incorporating the factory’s very latest developments, all are liquid-cooled two-strokes. The carburetor is a Keihin PWK 28 with reed-valve induction and transmission by six-speed gearbox and hydraulic clutch. Frame is chromoly tube with aluminum swingarm, incorporating a progressive linkage system and Reiger mono shock, adjustable for rebound and spring pre-load. Brake systems are NG Wave floating discs with a four-piston mono-block Braktek caliper up front, and at the rear, a two-piston caliper. Light alloy rimmed wire wheels carry Michelin Trial X11 tires. Weight for the TXT Racing

125 is a scant 146.61 pounds, and for the remainder of the range 147.71 pounds. The 2017 TXT Racing bikes are already in production, giving riders a head start on any rivals still 2015 mounted. —Doug Jackson

For more information on bikes or parts featured in World Motorcycling, you can fax the World’s Motorcycles News Agency at: 011-441584876419, e-mail to:, or write to: WMCNA, 51 Greenacres, Ludlow, Shropshire, England SY8 1LY.



First Impression


Suzuki SV650 The lost King of Beginner Bikes returns.


N 1999, SUZUKI introduced the naked original SV650 at a very budget-friendly $5,699. The sporty, tourquey, carbureted V-twin was lightweight, handled remarkably well, and found an audience with a large number of budding enthusiasts and experienced riders. What Suzuki probably didn’t expect is that this model would garner a cult-like following, a racing pedigree, and intense aftermarket support. Because it was inexpensive, readily available and fun to ride, the custom scene quickly chopped, bobbed and repackaged the SV650 into all sorts of radical designs. The club racing scene bumped up the suspension, stroked it, added fairings, and started dominating the lightweight twins race class. It really was a bike for all types, and the sales numbers reflected that Suzuki had a hit. A major redesign in 2003 replaced the original aluminum oval tube trellis frame with a pressure-cast-aluminum diamond truss frame, also used for the SV1000. Additional updates that year included fuel injection, a new swingarm, exhaust, digital speedometer and a narrowed seat to accommodate shorter riders. In 2007, ABS became an available option. In 2009, right as the stock market crashed, the SV650 was replaced by the Gladius, and worse timing could not have been planned. While industry sales dried up across the board, it appeared more likely it was a design failure, possibly with some help from the economy. As an early release 2017 model, Suzuki is reintroducin the SV650. They spe the original, and target was light, most importantl as good today a have 10 years a years from no returned to the n dard layout that been popular. The 645cc V-twin was upd more than 60 n to increase ho and meet the m gent Euro4 emi requirements. T is the first Suzuk with internal components tinned or finished in resin coating to reduce friction. The are now two s plugs per cylind advanced O2 f



via a precise intake pressure sensor, which increases combustion efficiency and reduces emissions. Suzuki also added some convenience features to help new riders overcome some of the more challenging aspects of operation. The first is an easy-start system; when in neutral, a quick tap on the starter and the bike fires up. I’m personally not opposed to holding the trigger for a second, but now I don’t have to. The second feature, which is far more interesting and functional, is a low RPM assist feature that increases engine speed during low-speed starts to eliminate stalls. Simply engage the clutch slowly, and the ECU will increase throttle automatically. It is worth pointing out that this never interferes with correct throttle operation for advanced riders. As expected, a low 30.9-inch seat height and narrow saddle allow those with shorter inseams to flat-foot confidently. ABS is also available as a cost-effective option, for additional new rider safety, though it cannot be disabled. A new, and much more modern, instrument cluster rounds out the package. Suzuki took MCN out for a spirited mountain run to really demonstrate what the new SV was capable of. Starting out on had no trouble ay speed. It was nce to abuse the plight. Once we , though, I found eking. I quickly d gear is fantasick acceleration response in the s were more than e of scrubbing ed off aggrese corner entries. Lean angles are generous, but ’s still relatively asy to grind the s. I asked why peg feelers were and was told, rning, you have plan to test that I run the SV650 ion marks. with ABS), the n of budget-cone. MCN


by David Hilgendorf

ke, the 1968 XS 650. The renowned Setright (a British motoring journalist) n’t even acknowledge the moniker XS in 1979 history of Yamaha in The World of orcycles Illustrated Encyclopedia, callhe 650 maladroit and the eventual 750 e commendably honest. The XS1, XS2, XS650 twins stayed in production long the in-line fours of Honda, Suzuki, and n Kawasaki’s Z1000, up until 1985. One ible reason for the recent reintroduction e XS moniker—in the ‘70s, it was proSubsequent owners took advantage of great number of bikes available and made ership into a bit of a cult. ut XS wasn’t only for mid-displacement s. Chronologically, Yamaha continued 70’s 650 XS1 and continued in 1971 as the ey named it the XS2 for 1972 and dropped 973, calling it the TX650, perhaps to help addition of its new 500cc and 750cc siblings, all twin four-stroke . It looked like XS might never be seen again, until 1975, when the XS500B and 650B were offered, with the unlamented 750 nowhere to be seen. Then, in 1976, the 500C and 650C continued, along with the addition of an even-smaller twin, the XS360C. More importantly, the new XS750C featured Is nomenclature and paint enough? the first triple, a spiritual predecessor to the new XSR. By 1978 Yamaha was getting busy, the 500E and 650E returned Text by Vince Tidwell, photos by Yamaha and the 360 became a 400E. More importantly, they introduced the now-well-known XS Eleven, a four-cylinder 1100cc success. ug on the heartstrings of the older generation while Journalists praised it, often deeming it the excess-eleven. In 1979 strumming the nouveau, hipster strings of the younger, model year the 500 was dropped. 1980 “G” models saw the and sell more motorcycles—it’s not so simple. Product replacement of the 750 with an 850 four-stroke planners have struggled to evoke wallet action through retro triple, the most similar engine to the new concepts for decades; some succeeding, some not. Sales are the XSR900. All bikes were available in various measure of their success. The current motorcycle design trend versions and special editions. Then, in 1981, is what I deem the “naked ‘70s”—naked bikes with current Yamaha offered the XS400H, XS650H, technology splashed with retro colors, badges, monikers, and XS850H, and XS1100H alongside the paint schemes, often matching that era’s racing liveries. Yamaha introduction of the new XS750H, a has done just that with their four-cylinder called the Seca. 1981 new XSR900. It joins brought the XS400R Seca, XS650R the Honda CB1100, Seca (four), XS650S (twin), BMW R Nine T, nuand XS750 Virago— merous Guzzis, and yes, XS was also Triumphs, the latter being used for probably being the V-twin cruismost successful in emers. 1983 would ulating their originals. pretty much be What memory or feeling the end of the is the XSR designed to XS, with only the evoke? XS400, XS400R Yamaha was formed in Seca, XS650S and Yamaha XS 650 1955 as a subsidiary of Nipthe new XS500 Virago. pon Gakki—an aircraft propeller I suspect current product manufacturer—that started producing two-stroke motorcycles. planners picked up the R from here, as well, implying “race.” They got motorcycle serious in 1970, developing very large proThe most successful neo-retro product in the past 25 years is duction, distribution and warehouse facilities both in the U.S. likely the Mazda Miata, with no unnecessary additions or feaand Japan. Scope and scale were increasing at exponential rates, tures that intermediate the bonding between the machine and and racing was their calling card. Yamaha won the Daytona its driver. It’s interesting that it’s a Japanese update of a British 250cc class eight years in a row. In ‘73 and ‘74, Kenny Rob- roadster, not entirely unlike the original XS updating the claserts won AMA Grand National Titles, Pierre Karsmaskers the sic British twins of the ‘60s. Today’s XSR900 is both simple and AMA Supercross, and Bob Hannah took it from there. Yamaha sophisticated, with homage to the company’s racing heritage. also decided to get visually loud, introducing their infamous The only part that looks remotely like the aforementioned era yellow-and-black, chain-like block pattern paint scheme. It’s of Yamaha four-strokes is the optional 60th anniversary yellow interesting to note that red and black was also commonly used, paint scheme. Yamaha’s take on neo-retro doesn’t emulate the suggesting it may also make a return? overall appearance of motorcycles from a half-century ago, but The XSR nomenclature harks back to Yamaha’s very first four- did they hit the right mark bringing XS back? MCN

The History of

Yamaha XS




to 11,300 rpm and push around a wet 29, good for punchy MEETS n. The biggest imr the FZ is the addicontrol, which offers gement, and can be n though Yamaha -plane crankshafts ng order, they have engine to near-per. There is little vition in the bars and egs, and I actually ould have apprecid even more directedback. The exhaust also weak; I’d prefer rr than whir, and kly be seeking after. ree ride-by-wire g the same power ng throttle delivery. r will find a favorite ortunately, the coms the last selection A-mode is the fastt to be surprisingly off throttle, in some gging aggressively o thanks. I suggest e for performance text by David Hilgendorf, g and power wheelphotos by Brian Nelson ault mode, and was by far my favorite for everyday riding; y first street bike was a 1982 Yamaha XS400R smooth and accurate, it delivered the right amount of power for Seca, which I owned for eight years. Living in Wiscon- my wrist. B-mode isn’t a true rain mode, just slow and steady sin meant I pulled it out of the barn around Easter and with a hesitant throttle, a good sandbox for beginners to play in, stuffed it back between the hay bales at Halloween. The biggest or useful in traffic. All are adjustable on the fly, just throttle off. I primarily tested traction control in least-aggressive mode-1 problem was I could only ride six months of the year. I picked it up used for $300, because it didn’t run right. I took it to the or turned off, and found them both to be adequate to my ridbike shop around the corner, and for less than $100, he cleaned ing style. There is a more aggressive mode-2, which would be out the carbs and resealed the headers. The bike ran flawlessly, good on less-than-ideal surface conditions, or for beginners. I until I managed to kill the battery. Having higher priorities than normally wouldn’t recommend a 900cc bike for new riders, but electric start, I became very efficient at bump-starting Old Blue. if they have the wherewithal to stick with B-mode throttle and My Seca didn’t have much power, and I’m certain the brakes mode-2 traction, this bike is more than manageable, and they’ll were made of actual wood, but it was light, nimble, fun to ride, have ample room to grow. It doesn’t feel as fast as it actually is. and well loved. For several years, it was my only means of transportation—it was simple, cheap, and got the job done. It looked Transmission and felt sporty enough to me. Yamaha’s new SR400 probably has There’s nothing better than a modern slipper clutch—I never much more in common with my long-lost first. missed a shift on this bike. It’s always fun to drop a bunch of You may be wondering what this has to do with the XSR900. gears and dump the clutch, listening to the bike howl its way At the press intro, Yamaha bandied about numerous marketing back down from speed without breaking traction. The gear rawords meant to entice would-be buyers. Of course, that stuff tios and powerband are wide, so no matter which gear I was in, doesn’t work on me; I abhor advertising, I don’t like to be sold, a quick spin of the wrist always launched me quickly into the and I wanted to get to the meat and potatoes. Turns out the future. The clutch pull is single-finger goodness, and there were design mandate for the XSR900 wasn’t to make it look like an no problems finding neutral, either. old bike, it is meant to be entirely modern in both technology and aesthetic. The goal was organic design, using less plastic and Suspension more metal. They added a touch more retro appeal by bringing For a standard, the XSR900 is set up remarkably like a sportback the yellow-and-black Yamaha racing paint and acknowl- bike, with stiff suspension that gives ample feedback, yet is never uncomfortable. Fortunately, both forks and shock offer spring edging the 60th anniversary of the brand. preload and rebound damping, and have over 5 inches of travel. Engine This allows for ample personal adjustment, whether you are ridThe XSR900 was blessed with the same fantastic 847cc four-stroke, ing urban, canyons, track-days, or two-up. I appreciated the flexDOHC inline triple last seen in the FZ-09. The 105 hp motor revs ibility, and that Yamaha didn’t skimp on the suspenders. The split






rear swingarm is located in such a position that if I put the ball of my foot on the pegs, I could place my left heel on the swingarm and actually feel the suspension eating up most of the road surface irregularities. I enjoyed the sensation so much, that I found myself frequently doing this. I’d never appreciated suspension in this way, actually feeling it doing what it is supposed to. Brakes and Wheels The tires are named Hypersport—what more is there to say? They can lean all day. Again, performance parts on a naked standard are most welcome. The dual 298mm discs, squeezed by four-piston calipers up front, do a remarkable job of hauling this rocket back down from warp-speed. A trained hand can modulate the brake lever enough to stoppie without engaging the ABS, which cannot be disabled. In fact, I had to grab a forceful handful of lever to engage the ABS up front, though the rear would kick in much more readily (and noisily) as the weight transferred forward. Weight distribution is close to even, front to back, making for better balance and control. When emergency braking requires a fine line between not enough and too much, I feel confident this system will know the difference. Stops were consistent and good, halting from 60 mph in about 133 feet. Ergonomics and Handling I keep coming back to balance, as the bike is very well configured in that regard. The rid t i l k thi fortable, up to a certain poin and at freeway speeds I took head. I couldn’t recommend without some kind of win due to my higher center of a little uncomfortable leanin turns. This can be remedie ly adjusting into a more tu and hanging off, but I would recommend such advanced new riders. Yamaha alread forward clubman bars and and I’m sure the aftermark add to available options. Instruments and Contro This is the one area in w should really seek impro There are numerous swit in various sizes, colors, an spacing. I have griped before about the horn button being too close to the turn signals. What really bugs me is that the sleek LED gauge has two ugly rubber buttons sticking o the side, used to select the meter, odometer, fuel cons and clock. It’s a far reach to which could have easily be handlebar controls. Even m toggle switch for the tracti g p, tiny mode button to choose engine maps on the right. Both functions are shown on the same LED display. I did not like having to reach forward of the bars to reach these things. I expect user-adjustable settings on the instrument cluster to be manipulated by, at maximum, two switches on the bars. I hope Yamaha reconsiders their control layout for future bikes, because it feels like every time they add a new feature they

throw on a new switch, without any consideration for integration. It really doesn’t need to be this complicated. To add insult to injury, the dash blinks. The XSR offers a new ECO mode, which comes on whenever the bike is ridden in “an environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient manner.” Say what? I roll off the throttle and the ECO light comes on. Twist it hard, light goes off. Shift to a higher gear, lowering rpm, light comes on. Accelerate to pass and the light goes off again. Argh! And when fuel drops below a quarter tank, the gauge starts blinking continuously. And it covers the bottom eighth of the display. Why couldn’t it just turn orange? Attention to Detail There are bits and pieces shooting out in all different directions below seat-level, without a clear-flowing design. Even the silver bolts are not color-matched to the black engine and frame. I kind of liked the chaos, though. Above the engine, Yamaha really hit the mark. I loved the treatment on the headlight, instrument clock, tank, seat, and even the round LED rear taillight, which I did not like on the Bolt C-Spec. All of these parts are designed to be easily customized, personally or by the aftermarket. For instance, the tank stripe is easily removable and the brushed aluminum tank on the silver model is paint ready. In keeping with the organic material theme, additional functional and style pieces are manufactured in aluminum, including the fork guards, radiator trim, headlight bracket, footpegs, and und t dé Th 60th A i Y ll t t tl k

q y , $ , ($9,990 in yellow) the XSR900 is still $1,300 more than the FZ-09 it is based upon. As it stands, the XSR900 is a fantastic bike, with great power, technology, and a distinct look. If it speaks to you, it’s more than worth checking out further, and the price is reasonable for the package. It’s not often we get to buy $300 bikes anymore, but the XSR900 took me on a ride down memory lane. MCN MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016



4 1


5 1. The Bridgestone BattleAx Hypersport tires are well-suited to this performance bike, as are the dual-disc, four-piston brake calipers with ABS and USD KYB forks. Yamaha chose to use more metal accents like these fork guards. 2. The LED dash looks great, and is easily readable. The blinking low-fuel indicator and ECO light are distracting, and it would be preferred to have the two display cycle buttons on the handlebars, where the TCS and D-mode buttons already are; in fact, combine them all into one switch. The horn is still too close to the n signal. Major control refinement, please, Yamaha.


G to ride, TESTERS’ ryLO s good, it’s easy e perfun bike. It look tbik

a ve spor The XSR900 is has great, hooligan-friendly d performance an ed , ct ed than expe well balanc er tt be ed rd co isn’t always re formance. I even es to show the biggest engine and and ride go gr h plunk down 10 numbers, whic esn’t look like ct that you can the best. The fa erformance machine that do aha is pay-p m away with a high stament that someone at Ya ed in seeing te st a re is a sportbike I’m very inte to the market. the road, I expect it will do ing attention wn do s numbers uld be the lack this bike’s sale mplain about anything, it wo en you take co st, but not wh well. If I had to . It’s fun to go fa ad. I also felt like the moon ti ec ot pr nd d he of wi on your chest an iny, and almost too smooth. the brunt of it wh y, irr wh ’s —it ally screams tor was soulless ke. I prefer something that re s an afterap bi This isn’t an e- the XSR has plenty of it. Perh like it feels, e e POWER, becaus d make this triple sound mor . ul rld wo wo r pe pi te t ie a qu marke dorf d learn to live in —David Hilgen and if not, I coul 16


The seat is wide and fairly comfortable, including plenty of room r a passenger, though the upright riding posture causes a lot of ind blast on the rider and creates a higher center of gravity. The ushed aluminum tank trim has quickly removable accent material, esigned for easier customization. 4. The inline triple is ripped from the FZ-09 and uses a cross-plane crankshaft with an uneven firing order, which is well counterbalanced. It is a stressed member in the die-cast aluminum frame. The addition of traction control is welcome. High pegs and 3-into-1 exhaust with an upswept shorty pipe allow ample lean angle. 5. There is a lot of busyness going on here. It is a very pieced-together, mechanical look that screams function over form. The asymmetrical swingarm allows the chain to pass through, and provides a place to rest your heel and feel the suspension in action. More aluminum accents include the headlight mount, rearset, radiator trim, and under-seat décor.

2016 Yamaha XSR900 SPECIFICATIONS AND PERFORMANCE DATA ENGINE Inline 3-cylinder, 4-stroke DOHC, 4 valves/cylinder 847cc 78.0mm x 59.1mm 11.5:1 Fuel Injection with YCC-T, 3 ride modes Exhaust: 3-into-1 DRIVETRAIN Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate assist-and-slipper wet clutch Final drive: Chain RPM @ rev-limiter: 11,300

PERFORMANCE ⠄4 mile: 11.07 sec. @ 118.83 mph 0–60 mph 3.77 sec. 0–100 mph 8.01 sec. 60–0 mph (w/ABS) 133.49' Power to Weight Ratio 1:4.07 Speed @ 65 mph indicated 63 mph


Type: Valvetrain: Displacement: Bore/stroke: Comp. ratio: Fueling:

MC RATING SYSTEM EXCELLENT —————————————— í ’í ’í ’í ’í ’ VERY GOOD ————————————— í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” GOOD ————————————————— í ’í ’í ’í ”í ” FAIR —————————————————— í ’í ’í ”í ”í ” POOR ————————————————— í ’í ”í ”í ”í ”



54" 32"

51" F




57" 13.25"




MISCELLANEOUS Instruments: digital tach, speedo, odo, ambient and coolant temp, fuel, trip, clock, mpg, range TCS,ABS, engine, coolant, oil, Indicators: signals, N, high beam, gear, immobilizer, ECO mode, D-mode $9,490 as tested MSRP: Routine service interval: 4,000 mi. Valve adj. interval: 24,000 mi. Warranty: 12 months Colors: Matte Gray/Aluminum, 60th Anniversary Yellow ($500)




Vertical (ground to) F: Handlebar (center) G: Rider footpeg (top) H: Rider seat (lowest point) I: Passenger peg (top) J: Passenger seat (middle)

í ’í ’í ’í ’í ’ í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ”í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ’ í ’í ’í ”í ”í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ”


DYNAMOMETER DATA Low end Mid-range Top end

í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ’

This motor was great in the FZ-09, and it’s every bit as good here.The addition of two-levels of traction control makes it even more manageable. Generous power comes on quickly and feels like it will go forever, but the sound doesn’t quite match the engine performance.

TEST NOTES PICKS í ’ Plenty of power everywhere í ’ Comfortable, sporty, and fun to ride í ’ Technology package works great


Controls need to be reďŹ ned, simpliďŹ ed, and on the bars On/Off throttle is rather abrupt in A-mode ABS has only one mode, and can’t be disabled



105.48 HP 100






59.33 LB.-FT. 40



20 3










Engine Transmission/Clutch Suspension Brakes Handling Ergonomics Riding Impression Instruments/Controls Attention to Detail Value OVERALL RATING

Horizontal (nose to) A: Passenger seat (middle) B: Rider seat (middle) C: Handgrip (center) D: Passenger footpeg (center) E: Rider footpeg (center)





DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 56.7" Rake/trail: 25°/4.1" Ground clearance: 5.25" Seat height: 32.75" GVWR: 805 lbs. Wet weight: 429.0 lbs. Carrying capacity: 376.0 lbs. SUSPENSION Front: 41mm inverted fork, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 5.4� travel Rear: Single shock, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 5.1-in travel BRAKES Front: Dual 298mm discs; ABS Rear: 245mm disc; ABS TIRES & WHEELS Bridgestone Battleax Hypersport Front: 120/70ZR17 Rear: 180/55ZR17 ELECTRICS Battery: 12V, 8.6Ah Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Alternator Output: 415 W Headlight: H4, 60/55W FUEL Tank capacity: 3.7 gal. Fuel grade: Premium High/low/avg. mpg: 39/35/37



STANDARD MAINTENANCE Item Time Parts Labor Oil & Filter 0.5 $34.99 $50 Air Filter 0.5 $29.99 $50 Valve Adjust 4.0 $26.99 $400 Batter Access 0.2 $20 Final Drive 0.3 $30 R/R Rear Whl. 0.5 $50 Change Plugs 1.0 $36.00 $100 Synch EFI 1.0 $100 Totals 8.0 $127.97 $800 *MCN labor rate changed to $100/hr as of Dec., 2015 MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016




Low Rider S

by David Hilgendorf, photos by Gina Cioli/Lumina Media

orn in 1977, the FXS Low Rider was the first factory-custom from the Motor Company, leading to a long line of up-spec models for which H-D could charge a pretty penny extra. It proved popular, became sought after, and eventually collectible. In 1993, the FXDL Dyna Low Rider was introduced as its successor, and had a long run until its 2009 discontinuation. A revised FXDL Low Rider surfaced in 2014, and for 2016, H-D decided to throw choice bits of their parts and accessories catalog at it, and rebadge it “S” for “sport.” The biggest change was stuffing it with a Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine, coupled with the popular heavy breather air intake and premium ride suspension on both ends. It’s clear H-D is catering to riders seeking improved performance. For those longing for technological improvements, the bike comes stock with fuel injection, ride-by-wire throttle, cruise control, ABS and a security system with wireless-start key fob. I’ll get right to the negatives: It’s hot; has negligible ground clearance; the instruments are located where you can’t see them; the brakes struggle, slowing its mass; the air-cleaner isn’t waterproof; the back of the seat is uncomfortable on the lower back; and it even stalled on me during testing. I requested the bike because I’ve heard this is the Harley for guys who just don’t get it, that it was supposedly what all Harleys should be. So, read on to find out what happens when Harley listens to the masses and decides to start releasing “sportier” versions of their iconic models.


erplant can be used as a normal lineup marketing tool. The Low Rider S features that same 101.6mm x 111.1mm bore and stroke motor that lays down about 81 hp and 103 lb.-ft. of torque with a compression ratio of 9.2:1. As with all the aircooled Harleys, this motor gets hot, especially under duress. It comes complete with the signature Harley shake, and vibration is really what this motor is all about—it’s always present, but rarely annoys. Another Harley trademark is broad torque delivery, and the Low Rider S is no slouch, staying over 90 lb.-ft. from 2,200 to 4,800 rpm. It’s a short and sweet powerband, and ends abruptly when the rev limiter kicks in at 5,500 rpm. Under hard acceleration, which this bike is more than capable of, I found rapid shifting distracted from simply enjoying the thrust. The Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) and ride-by-wire throttle are mapped perfectly, and fuel delivery was near flawless. After several 0-60-0 mph fast starts and stops, the bike stalled under hard braking, right after the stop. I thumbed the starter— nothing. Thumbed it again, and it choked to life in a cloud of black exhaust smoke. Rather than risk being stranded, I chose to discontinue the abuse for a while, but the bike never stalled again, even when I returned to do a few more sprints. For giggles, I also ran a stoplight drag with another older Harley, which was apparently souped-up, as it was a virtual dead heat. If I owned this bike, I suppose I could find comfort in knowing that it is one of the faster stock Harleys. But what I’d really kill for is a 10,000-rpm redline.

Engine Formerly relegated to Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO), Harley is realizing the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 pow-

Transmission Butter. Shifts are silky-smooth, which is perfect, because they come so frequently. The clutch, on the other hand, still requires



considerable effort, even with supposedly upgraded springs. First gear felt far too short, and fifth and sixth felt like an afterthought. On a bike with this much torque, that barely breaks 100 mph, it really doesn’t matter how many gears there are, just get it moving and roll along. Did I mention it redlines at 5,500 rpm? That’s simply not high enough for a “performance” bike. Suspension In my Road Glide Ultra evaluation (MCN 6/16), I claimed the suspension was too soft and suggested it would be my first upgrade. The Low Rider S features those very same P&A “premium ride” upgraded suspension components. Non-adjustable 49mm forks up front contain the premium ride cartridge, which makes compression and rebound much tighter than the standard stock components and still provides 5.1 inches of travel. Out back, dual shocks offer just over 2 inches travel, and they are preload adjustable! That this bike weighs only (ahem) 675 pounds means that the better suspension has less work to do than a full bagger, so it’s almost like a double upgrade. The suspension doesn’t hinder braking, though I can’t say it made it any better, either. I noticed no wallowing during acceleration or braking, which is typical with the lower-grade parts. I did notice some side flex in the front end, particularly under hard acceleration and also at freeway speeds. It feels more like a shimmy or wobbles. Though not so drastic as to feel like I was losing control, I was definitely aware of it on several occasions. Brakes and Wheels Braking components are a pair of 300mm discs squeezed by four-piston calipers with ABS on the front, and two-piston ABS on a slightly smaller single disc in the rear. The ABS kicks in easily, and I didn’t find the pulsations to be smooth; in fact, in some cases, it felt like wheel-hop. This may have been due to surface irregularities, but it didn’t inspire confidence when emergency braking, which I expect from a good ABS setup. Stops ended up on the longer side, with a best of 145 feet, which is disappointing for a bike that accelerates rather rapidly. If I was building a 675-pound bike that hit 60 mph in under five seconds, I’d make sure the braking components could get it stopped more rapidly. Under casual braking, I found nothing to complain about—the feedback and response was exactly as I would expect. If it’s not ridden like the performance bike it is supposed to be, the brakes are more than adequate. Split five-spoke cast-aluminum wheels would look trick in gold, if the large disc rotors didn’t hide the design, and the gold actually matched the rest of the bike. As it is, the gold is browner, and doesn’t really add the bling factor, but hey, at least it’s not black. H-D branded Michelin Scorcher “31” tires handle the tire-burning straights and mild-leaning turns quite well, though it is possible the tire and not the suspension causes those weird wiggles up front.

Ergonomics and Handling The rider triangle is quite good. The drag bars, bullet headlight nacelle, and low seat height combine for adequate wind protection. The bike offers approximately 28 degrees of lean angle, which equates to a lot of grinding. The peg feelers were already gone, the rubber worn, and the pipes had scratches on the bottom, and I wasn’t even trying. Sweepers, on-ramps, and any manner of tight turn can be expected to touch down. It’s a long, low and heavy bike, which makes pushing it a bit of a chore. However, it is balanced well, which makes directional changes in motion quite easy. A low center of gravity will help those with short inseams. In fact, this is one of the lowest bikes on the market, with a 27-inch seat height. Instruments and Controls I’m a big fan of Harley’s well thought-out, bar mounted controls. Not having to reach from the bars to get to what I’m after is important to me. However the instruments need some work. On a bike with no front area, where style beats function, it might make sense to move the clutter of gauges to the tank. On this bike I found it incredibly distracting. The gauges are below eye level, so in order to check anything, even my speed, it required I look down toward my lap, taking my eyes off the road. Then there’s the bullet fairing, with a big, black, ugly chunk of plastic filling the space between. The drag bars are a little bit high, so, for shorter riders, those bars might also interfere with gauge visibility if placed front and center, however, it seems like that is where the instruments should have been mounted, regardless. Attention to Detail Let’s get back to what this bike does best, exactly what it set out to do. It is fast, with smart performance parts upgrades, a good technology package, a slick combination of black coloring that doesn’t blend together, a few touches of gold to break it up even more, the goofy-huge air cleaner everyone apparently likes, clean lines, big rumble, and a bar and shield. If you were to throw your own parts and accessories book at a Dyna, you might come out with something a lot like this. Isn’t that what factory customs are all about? Value Harley lists the Dyna Low Rider at $14,399, and the Low Rider S for $16,699, both far cheaper than the similarly upgraded Softail Slim S ($18,499) or the Fat Boy S ($19,699). But, when you start tacking on accessories like ABS, a security system, cruise control, custom paint, the heavy breather, or premium suspension, the Dyna may quickly surpass a $2,300 up-charge for items the Low Rider S comes with standard, and you still won’t get the bigger 110 engine. If you like the Low Rider S—available only in Vivid Black with Magnum Gold trim—it’s probably worth the extra money. Just don’t expect the “S” to equate to “sport.” MCN MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016







1. From this angle you can see the fancy splitfork rims, which are mostly hidden behind the large discs. What can’t be seen are the performance upgrade fork internals, which actually work quite well up and down, but have considerable side flex that makes the front end feel floaty. The bike looks very Sons of Anarchy-inspired

2. A solo seat, yet for some reason the tapered rear has a very stiff and steep rise that puts a bit too much pressure on the lower spine. It is cut low and wide, plenty comfortable otherwise. 3. Back-side there is a meaty, 160mm Michelin, covered enough to give the bike that lowered look The rear also

TESTERS’ LOG I’m stil searching for a Ha that bike. It gets a lot of rley that I would consider purchasing, and thi s is not things right: custom sty sensible parts upgrade s from the base Dyna, an ling, ample power, useful and d a comfortable riding po Where it really fails is in sti the lenged, but it’s so low tha details. Yes, it’s low—great if you are inseam on. chalt I ground pegs on every sweeper I encountered. on-ramp, tight corner, an Eve d to touch down. The dash n more disturbing, based on scrapes, the pipes are next is not viewable while rid ing as the clocks are mo on the tank, well below a unted for ample, eye-level space in ward visual area. What’s more surprising is tha the fancy bullet fairing, t which could have been us the a display, was, instead, ed for filled with ugly black pla sti gold, but whoever was res c. ponsible for color-match I like the idea of black and the mark. My '70s refrig ing erator matched them bet those rims really missed shield. Better-than-aver ter than the tank-side bar ag Rider S many bikers' ho e Harley performance might be enough to make and g of choice, but it’s not the Low mine. —David Hilgendorf 20



that are actually preload adjustable! The matte-black finish on the pipes and heatshields look great, but the pipes drag on hard cornering. 4. The fancy, expensive, non-waterproof heavy breather air filter comes stock on the Low Rider S. You can get a waterproof sock to cover it if you choose to ride in the rain. It does look good and is color-matched to the bar and shield. 5. It's not a very bright idea to put the instuments down on the tank, where they are all but invisible. There is ample room for something far more custom in front of the bars, but instead, that space is filled with a chunk of black plastic.

2016 Harley-Davidson Low Rider S SPECIFICATIONS AND PERFORMANCE DATA ENGINE 45° air-cooled V-Twin SOHC, four-valves per cylinder, self-adjusting hydraulic clearance Displacement: 110 cu. in. (1802cc) Bore/stroke: 101.6mm x 111.1mm Comp. ratio: 9.2:1 Fueling: Electronic sequential port (ESPFI) 2-1-2 Exhaust:

PERFORMANCE â „4 mile: 13.45 sec. @ 101.1 mph 0–60 mph: 4.81 sec. 0–100 mph: 13.24 60–0 mph (ABS): 145.27' Power to Weight Ratio: 1:8.30 Speed @ 65 mph indicated: 65 mph MC RATING SYSTEM EXCELLENT —————————————— í ’í ’í ’í ’í ’ VERY GOOD ————————————— í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” GOOD ————————————————— í ’í ’í ’í ”í ” FAIR —————————————————— í ’í ’í ”í ”í ” POOR ————————————————— í ’í ”í ”í ”í ” 1

Type: Valvetrain:

DRIVETRAIN Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh Final drive: belt RPM @ limit 5500

FUEL Tank capacity: 4.7 gal. Fuel grade: Premium 91 octane High/low/avg. mpg: 33/22/32

HEAVYWEIGHT CRUISER ERGONOMICS TEMPLATE Horizontal (nose to) A: Passenger seat (middle) B: Rider seat (middle) C: Handgrip (center) D: Passenger footpeg (center) E: Rider footpeg (center)



D N/A 27.25" N/A

11.5" F


MISCELLANEOUS Instruments: Analog speedo and tach, odo, trip, clock , fuel Indicators: Hi-beam, signals, N, fuel, engine, oil, security, gear,ABS MSRP: $16,699 Routine service interval: 5 ,000 mi. Valve adj. interval: N/A (self-adjusting) Warranty: 2 years Colors: Vivid Black/Magnum Gold




Vertical (ground to) F: Handlebar (center) G: Rider footpeg (top) H: Rider seat (lowest point) I: Passenger peg (top) J: Passenger seat (middle)

í ’í ’í ’í ’í ”

Engine Transmission/Clutch Suspension Brakes Handling Ergonomics Riding Impression Instruments/Controls Attention to Detail Value OVERALL RATING

í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ”í ” í ’í ’í ”í ”í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ”í ” í ’í ’í ”í ”í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ’í ‘í ”


DYNAMOMETER DATA Low end Mid-range Top end

í ’í ’í ’í ”í ” í ’í ’í ’í ’í ” í ’í ’í ”í ”í ”

The larger Twin Cam 110 makes this Dyna quite potent. It’s easy to break traction, but redline arrives far too quickly at 5500 rpm. All that desirable torque is relegated to a shift-fest. After repeated 0-60-0 attempts it stalled coming to a stop. Fired back up with a cloud of exhaust.



103.13 LB.-FT.





81.38 HP 60





20 3

TEST NOTES PICKS í ’ Looks straight-up custom í ’ Decent, adjustable suspension í ’ Will beat most stock Harleys in a drag race


Pegs grind, often, then pipes Rev-limited at only 5500 rpm Gauge location on tank near useless when riding








DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 64.2" Rake/trail: 30°/5.1" Ground clearance: 5" Seat height: 27.125" GVWR: 1084 lbs. Wet weight: 675 lbs. Carrying capacity: 409 lbs. SUSPENSION Front: Premium Ride 49mm single cartridge Rear: Premium Ride emulsion shocks, preload adjustable BRAKES Front: 4-piston fixed front 2x 300mm disc, ABS Rear: 2-piston torque-free floating rear, 292mm disc, ABS TIRES & WHEELS Michelin Scorcher “31� on split 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels Front: 100/90B19 Rear: 160/70B17 ELECTRICS Battery: 12V, 19 Ah Ignition: Digital electronic Alternator Output: 540W Headlight: 55W/60W


STANDARD MAINTENANCE Item Time Parts Labor Oil & Filter 0.5 $63.00 $50.00 Air Filter 0.2 $89.99 $20.00 Valve Adjust N/.A $.00 Battery Access 0.2 MF $20.00 Final Drive 0.5 50.00 R/R Rear Whl. 1.0 $100.00 Change Plugs 0.2 $16 $20.00 Synch EFI N/.A $0.00 Totals 2.6 $168.99 $260.00 *MCN labor rate changed to $100/hr as of Dec., 2015 MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016


A small sample of the many vintage motorcycles on display at The Quail.

ifferent kind of motorcycle show Text and photos by Jeff Buchanan

The motorcycle that launched a million adolescent dreams, the breakthrough 1973 Honda XR75. What every American twelve year old seemed to want. 22


t took three kicks, the clack of 91-year-old German internals penetrating the tranquil morning, before the 1925 BMW R37 race machine was brought to e. The choke and spark advance were adeptly adjusted smooth the thump of the cold Boxer Twin as it came p to temperature, the distinct exhaust note stirring the risp air of Carmel Valley. It was an appropriately poignnt aural announcement that the 2016 Quail Motorcycle Gathering had begun. Celebrating eight years, the annual Quail Motorcycling Gathering—affectionately known by locals as “The Quail”—has become a signature, quintessential celebration of motorcycles among aficionados. The event is an unequaled combination of stunning geographic location—Carmel Valley, that bastion of affluence, old money, and quiet retirement—with an equally stunning line-up of more than 300 motorcycles spread out over the perfectly manicured grass of the Quail Lodge Golf Club’s 18th fairway. Augmented by picket fences and white tents, it’s a setting truly befitting the gathering’s illustrious two-wheeled treasures.

History on Display What separates The Quail from other mo torcycle shows is the way the event unfold in terms of balance. Organizers carefu ly craft their presentation so as not to fa vor (or overload) any one area, creating a pleasant walk through the engineering and design evolution of the motorcycle; both with regard to OEM, as well as bespoke machines. There is always a healthy dose of racing pedigree at The Quail, with a generous number of motocross, road racing, flat track, dirt bike and trials machines represented from over the years. With the chosen motorcycles carefully monitored by virtue of specific themes and a “quality as opposed to quantity” approach, the one-day event offers a relaxed air where attendees can peruse the offerings and garner a decent chronology Above: HarleyDavidson Boardtracker of two-wheel history. The Quail has an uncanny ability to Replica. Right: The touch on sentimentality, where walking Quail is the place among the eclectic range of motorcycles to show off rare is sensory overload for anyone who has and unusual vintage ever held a passion for bikes. There seems motorcycles, such to be something to pique most any enthu- as this 1950 BSA D1 siasts’ particular fancy: old American Har- Bantam “GPO.” Below: ley-Davidsons and Indians (some pristine, A beautiful example some dressed in their time-earned rust); of American flat track early 20th-century creations; a cadre of heritage: the capable British, European, and Japanese beauties, Bultaco Astro (note right etc., etc. If dirt was where you had your side shifter and rear roots—as so many did—there is always a brake pedal combination some of his rich racing history. host of significant motocross Supporting the roadrace machines, from CZ and Maico theme was a special 40th to Bultaco, CCM, Rickman, and Anniversary of Superbike class, a plethora of Japanese makes. which included a beautiful 1991 Sandwiched in-between are Ducati 851S, a pristine 1975 rows of spectacular, often rare Rickman/Honda CR750, a 1986 machines that saw time on the Honda/Rainey VFR 750, and a paved circuits and roads of the 1974 BMW R90s. world. From British icons to Other legends in attendance rebellious choppers, the event were Grand National Chamtouches on a wide range of eras pion and On Any Sunday star, and disciplines, all arranged by Mert Lawwill (now a regular category with plenty of space fixture at the event), who was around them to allow for signing autographs and chatting whimsical gawking. it up with attendees. Fellow flat This year, The Quail featracker and another On Any tured an enthralling array of pre-1916 motorcycles. It’s hard to believe these machines are Sunday star, Jim Rice, was milling about, quietly studying the all more than 100 years old, with many being extremely rare, motorcycles on display and taking especially long to admire sevsuch as the 1912 Marsh-Metz, the 1910 Pierce, a Flying Merkel eral vintage flat trackers. BMW was well represented with a special BMW Classics diviand a Pope, both from 1911, and a 1910 Yale, among others. As always, there were several Board Trackers on the grass to sion, which was seeded with 35 machines that ran the gamut of remind us of the courage the racers possessed to tap these early models and years from 1925 to 2014. They all seemed right at contraptions out on the steep banks of the motordromes. Sev- home parked alongside one another on the perfectly manicured eral times throughout the day, one of these old, straight-piped grass of the Quail Lodge Clubhouse. Sharing the grass next to the race machines would be cranked over and thump a bit in anger predominantly signature black BMWs were the colorful Japanese machines. Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki stirred a lot of and nostalgia for the entertainment of the crowd. memories with a broad example of the motorcycles they poured Legends, Both Man and Machine into the U.S. market in the 60s and 70s to drive the motorcycle For 2016, the “Legend of the Sport” made a return to The Quail, craze to its zenith. CBs, RZs, CLs, and SRs were lined up in the this year honoring Reg Pridmore, who was the very first AMA Su- central coast sun. The crowd bottlenecked slightly at a Mini-Trail perbike Champion, winning the title the first three years consec- 50, a blue SL70, a CB 350, and a 305 Scrambler, all in showroom utively, from 1976 to 1978. Pridmore graciously used the event’s condition. Yamaha roused memories with several RD 350s, an RZ casual, uncrowded atmosphere to interact with fans and share 500 and an SR500, and Kawasaki represented with an H1 500, H2 MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016


750, and a KZ900—again, just to name a few. The two machines that seemed to conjure the biggest smiles were a 1973 Honda XR75 and a firstyear Elsinore 250. After all, a majority of attendees had some sort of memory from their youth affixed to one, or both, of these machines. The British provided a generous sampling of vintage UK iron with severa beautiful Vincents, a 1958 Ariel, a 1962 Matchless, a 1966 Velocette, and a 1970 Egli, along with a number of pristine Triumphs, Nortons (including a 1974 John Player Special), BSAs and Royal Enfields, a stylish 1962 Matchless and a beautiful 1971 Dunstall Norton 810, (again, too many to name here). The Italian Class had a decent sampling, which included several Moto Guzzis, a number of Ducatis and MV Agustas, an Aermacchi and a 1955 Devil. The Other European Class was comprised of a small but interesting display consisting of an NSU, a Zundapp, a 1957 Csepel, and a 1939 Nimbus C. Among the various groupings of competition machines were several 70s-era Bultaco and Yamaha flat trackers with iconic paint schemes, a TZ 750 Roberts replica, a rare 1972 Rickman 125 ISDT and a spotless 1973 Montesa 250 Capra. Sprinkled out over the venue indiscriminately were various motorcycles that hold significant history: a CZ Falta Replica, a DKW 125, a Bultaco Sherpa T350, an especially clean Ossa Pioneer Enduro and several 60s-era Bultaco roadrace machines. Along with categories for Japanese, American, British, Italian and Competition On-Road and Off-Road motorcycles, there were classes for Custom Modified, Scooter and Chopper—with categories in-between designed to showcase the full spectrum of twowheel history and invention.

Best of Show 1925 BMW R37— Robert Talbott, Calif. Spirit of the Quail Award 1964 MV Agusta Triple— Virgil Elings, Calif. Pre-1916 Motorcycles 1910 Pierce Four— Tom Holthaus, Calif. Extraordinary Bicycles 1941 Columbia Clipper— Danny Stewart, Calif. BMW Classics 1925 BMW R37— Robert Talbott, Calif. 24

Top: There is abundant 70s metal at The Quail to stir all kinds of dormant memories. Bottom: This 1968 BSA Thunderbolt is typical of the type of machines that make up the Quail’s Custom/Modified Class.

Every year at The Quail, there manages to be a motorcycle placed directly at the entrance that stirs memories from my own twowheel past. Three years ago, it was a 1970 Yamaha DT1, a white one, just like the bike I learned to use a clutch on. Last year, it was a 1971 Honda CB350, exactly like the one I spent the summer of 72 with. This year, it was a white 1970 Ossa Stiletto with iconic factory fiberglass tank and tail section number plates. This was the bike a friend of mine had, which seemed like a monster of a motorcycle (with a nasty snarl to go with it) when I was 13 and stood 5 foot 4 inches. It’s not only vintage iron at The Quail. Italian electric motorcycle manufacturer Energica was showing their impressive naked upright machine, and American manufacturer Lightning Motorcycles (the “fastest production electric motorcycle in the world”) were showing off their modern wares in the vendor area. Also party to the contemporary machines, actor and motorcycle enthusiast Keanu Reeves was on hand, answering questions (with genuine enthusiasm and knowledge) about his new venture, the bespoke, S&S-powered Arch Motorcycles. In addition to the various classes, the grounds of The Quail provide generous space to a number of private collections, whose owners are on hand to answer questions and show off their beauties in a gathering of shared appreciation and a genuine love of motorcycles. Perhaps where The Quail shines

40th Anniversary of Superbike Wayne Rainey #60 Kawasaki American Motorcyclist Association Industry Award 2009 Ducati Monster/ “Leggero”—Walt Siegl, N.H. Innovation Award 1973 Vincati 1200cc— Mitch Talcove, Calif. Design and Style Award 1960 Velocette Revival Cycles, Texas HVA Preservation Award 1910 Pierce Four—


Tom Holthaus, Calif. The Cycle World Tour Award 1948 Indian 648 Big Base Scout— Matt Black/Iron Horse Corral, Calif. Significance in Racing Award 1957 Harley-Davidson KR— Michael Taggart, Calif. Why We Ride Award 1947 Salsbury Scooter— Donald Orosco, Calif. AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award Wayne Rainey #60 Kawasaki American Motorcyclist Association

most prominently is in how the relaxed atmosphere and comfortable climate of Carmel Valley allows attendees to soak up the scene without feeling rushed, not only rediscovering the machines that drove their early passion, but discovering a host of machines they weren’t aware of. As the day wound down (and after the catered lunch offered to all attendees) and the awards were handed out, it was Robert Talbott’s beautiful 1925 BMW R37—the bike that awakened Carmel Valley earlier that morning—that won the BMW Classics, as well as Best of Show. Tom Holthaus’s 1910 Pierce Four took the honors in the Pre-1916 class. The 40th Anniversary Superbike Class was won by Wayne Rainey’s famous #60 Kawasaki. Perhaps one of the most pertinent titles was the Significance in Racing Award, which was given to Michael Taggert for his 1957 Harley-Davidson KR. Taggert had a lengthy roster on display of the machine’s many wins. He chose to leave the bike dirty for a more authentic feel. It worked. The Spirit of the Quail Award went to Virgil Elings’ 1964 MV Agusta Triple. The most heartfelt moment during the awards ceremony was when the AMA Bud Perkins Lifetime Achievement was presented to designer and Hall of Famer, Craig Vetter, in his first public appearance since suffering extensive injuries after hitting a deer last year. Mert Lawwill graciously stepped in to present the award (Perkins was Lawwill’s longtime sponsor) ushering in the biggest applause of the ceremony as Vetter cautiously made the stage, leaning on a walker and the arms of Lawwill and actor/motorcycle enthusiast, Perry King. Despite a grueling 10-month rehabilitation, Vetter—in his signature gentlemanly grace and poise—was all smiles and charm. An Image Shed Basking in the Central Coast sunshine of Carmel Valley, with this stellar gathering of beautiful motorcycles spread out over the perfectly cut fairway in front of the Quail’s clubhouse, I couldn’t help but think of the entertaining irony of the venue’s relatively close proximity to an event in the annals of motorcycling that touches on folklore, perhaps even myth. The Quail Lodge is but a scant 40 miles over the Salinas mountains from Hollister, Calif., site of where the somewhat infamous “Hollister Riots” took place in 1947. Hollister was chosen by a motorcycle club for its July 4th Rally that year, and ended up slipping into history by virtue of an embellished news story that opened with the alarming headline, “Bikers Take Over Town.” The story spilled out into LIFE

Scooter Class Award 1967 Vespa Sears— Gianluca Baldo, Calif. Chopper Class Award 1951 Harley-Davidson Custom— Joe Brown, Calif. Antique 1st Place 1931 Moto Guzzi Sport 15— Mark Leonard, Calif. Antique 2nd Place 1929 Moto Guzzi Sport 14— Mark Leonard, Calif. American 1st Place 1949 Indian Arrow— Jason Hartje, Calif. American 2nd Place 1942 Harley-Davidson XA Prototype—Jim Farley, London

magazine and inspired The Wild One. Like most folklore origins, the whole thing was blown out of proportion, but not before doing some collateral damage to the image of motorcyclists. It’s interesting to compare the faded, black-and-white images of hooligans spinning donuts on Hollister’s main street in 1947—along with one very unsavory drunk slob reclined on a Harley that famously made the LIFE magazine piece—to the present-day, upscale, sophisticated atmosphere of the Quail event. As I pulled away from the Quail Lodge and a day of fond memories, and as the fairway became almost completely devoid of motorcycles as the various beauties were loaded into vans and onto trailers, I thought to myself how we’ve come a long way since the “incident” that erupted in Hollister just 40 miles away and all those years ago. Perhaps we’ve finally shed the residual negativity of that sorry episode in motorcycling history. I can’t wait for next year. MCN

Above: 1970 CB750: the beginning of a new era in motorcycles. Right: Mert Lawwill presents Craig Vetter with the AMA Bud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award.

British 1st Place 1952 Vincent Touring Rapide— Gene Brown, Colo. British 2nd Place 1965 Royal Enfield Interceptor— Albert Catelani, Calif. Italian 1st Place 1963 Malaguti Olympique— Vincent Schardt, Calif. Italian 2nd Place 1955 Devil 160 Super Sport— Stewart Ingram, Calif. Japanese 1st Place 1972 Honda CL350 K4 Flying Dragon—Don L. Stockett, Calif. Japanese 2nd Place 1966 Honda 305 Scrambler— John Zuffi, Calif.

ther ropean 1st ace 1969 Bultaco El Montadero— The Delamore Family, Calif. Other European 2nd Place 1951 NSU Konsul 500— Ziggy and Lisa Dee, Calif. Competition Off Road 1st Place 1989 Honda XRC650 Africa Twin Marathon—Sam Roberts, Calif. Competition On Road 1st Place 1964 MV Agusta Triple— Virgil Elings, Calif. Custom Modified 1st Place 1952 Triumph Thunderbird— Bryan Thompson, Calif. Custom Modified 2nd Place 1980 BMW R100— Chris Canterbury, Calif. MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016


LEGENDS OF MOTORCYCLING Gale Webb: muddied up and with a true love for the sport.


Respected by all, especially the men she competed against in her “guy’s sport.” by Joe Michaud







Gale Webb in a photo used as part of a Kawasaki promotion.

Respect, Earned How was it—mixing it up, elbow-to-elbow, in a male-dominated sport? “You have to gain respect in life no matter what you do,” Webb stated, “and I knew it was a guy’s sport. I could tell by the N Y

Landmark Meeting “I found some girls at the Orange County Fairgrounds [in Costa Mesa, Calif.] going around in a circle; they were called Powder Puffs. That day changed my life, literally,” Webb says. “I met one of them and went to a meeting, and that single event kicked off my motocross career.” Before the skydiving incident, Webb was limited in her two-wheel experiences to seat time on a moped as a kid. However, that chance Powder Puff meeting felt like a lightning strike to her. “I had never done much in the dirt, so I bought a little Yamaha,” Webb said. “When I first got on it, I told my husband Jim that it was too slow. I want one of those.” She was pointing at a then-new Elsinore CR

125, a groundbreaking new model from Honda. The Honda Elsinore is often credited as being the first real raceable bike available to the walk-in buyer. The newly married couple saved their money, some resulting from garage sales, and eventually Webb acquired her own out-of-the-box silver race bike. It turned out that motorcycles were the exact challenge that would make her thrive. “It had a quick throttle and I almost broke my leg,” she laughs, and makes a loud, two-stroke motor sound. “I crashed and crashed and crashed, but I learned. I’m one of those people who learn from the experience, and I love a challenge. It was so much fun and the people I met, my gosh!” Webb’s first race was in 1974, at Escape Country, an open recreation area in Orange County, Calif. She was 30 years old and a mother. She laughs, “Everybody in that Beginner class lapped me probably three times. I had never been in a race before, hardly even been on the dirt. I did practice there once or twice, where I rolled over the jumps. I was so excited when I finished; my husband had tears in his eyes.” From that first race, her life direction was set, and a scant seven months later, she would win the women’s Novice class at the World Motocross Nationals in Carlsbad, Calif.


72-year-old Gale Webb that she can’t do something. She has spent her adult life proving people wrong. While growing up, she was a tomboy, “a crazy, wild, blonde kid” who was fearless on anything with wheels. Her first motorized bike was a moped, and she simply loved to go fast. Born in Brooklyn, NY, in June 1944, Webb struggled through a rough home life and, by her own admission, grew up as a strongwilled, hard-knock kid. That determination would be sorely tested when she was 19, and a skydiving incident using borrowed equipment went tragically wrong. After Webb’s main canopy failed, she plummeted to the ground, crashing through trees and breaking many of her major bones, including her legs, ribs, neck and back. Recovery would be a bitch, and she would struggle in and out of comas for weeks. Webb was told that she would never lead a normal life. “Adapt to a wheelchair,” her doctors advised. She had to relearn even the most mundane life skills, such as tying her shoes. Her speech became slurred, too, but Webb had always been a tough girl. Relying on that toughness would be her salvation when she confronted the lingering aftermath of the trauma. During her recovery, Webb became withdrawn. “I wasn’t talking too well,” she said, “and I wouldn’t even go in restaurants. I stuttered after the accident. I would hardly talk to people.” But then she met a group of special girls who were riding motorcycles at an event to which Webb had never been exposed.






ing, she began traveling extensively around the U.S., promoting motorcycling and other action sports as a wholesome outlet for kids. At the high point of her “Gale Webb’s Extreme Sports and Air Shows,” she was doing 200 shows a year, plus TV/radio interviews as well as print media. Kaw a s a k i re c ognized her as a spokesperson for the industr y and provided her race bikes, factory set-up and helped her with her youth work. Gradually Webb’s injuries, including a knee transplant, would prevent her from competing at the pace she loved. Her last race was at the age of 65, at the Mammoth Motocross held in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., the oldest continuous motocross event in the U.S. and Webb’s favorite track. She credits the crew at Mammoth, including Dave McCoy, Larry Carlson, Mike Colbert and others, for their support during her rehab. Encouraging Future Generations Webb’s current passion is raising money for her new non-profit, Gale Webb’s Kids-R-#1, which will continue the work she feels is payback for the people who have helped her. Webb has been producing action sports shows for the last 40 years—travelling to schools, skate parks, BMX and MX tracks, spurred by her dream of attracting more kids to the world of action sports, as well as urging them to achieve their goals through positive action. In a 1990 article titled, “The 25 Most Interesting, Important & Powerful people in Motocross,” Motocross Action magazine called Webb “motorcycling’s most visible and active public relations force and MX’s ambassador to the world.” That was 26 years ago, and her zeal has not waned. Tom White is a longtime supporter and sponsor of Webb, and like everyone familiar with her irresistible energy, he sums her up thusly: “Gale Webb has always been ‘Motocross Mom’ in our motorcycle world. But, pick any name you like—BMX Mom, Skateboard Mom, Skate Mom—her message has always been to stay high on life and not on drugs. Through her shows, her love, her support of participants, and her own example, she has been the most important role model in so many lives. And, most important, she has shown us how to lead an exciting life, to touch people in a positive way, and to stay clean and sober.” Webb reviews her life simply: “I love our sport. I truly love the feeling every time I learned something that made me faster. In every sport I’ve been in, I hope I’ve made a difference.” Be sure to visit GaleWebbsKidsR1 to learn more about this legend’s latest passion. MCN JIM WEBB

looks I got, but I never complained. I just went out there and did the best I could. I never made a scene, I never griped.” Webb believes her capacity to simply do the job as best she could while never complaining earned her the respect of the male racers. Eventually, she enjoyed racing only among the guys because such competition made her better. “Sure, I got banged around a little, but I gained a lot of respect.” She knew she was making headway when some of the male racers she idolized began to give her tips on choosing better lines and improving her overall technique. She dearly loved the four “double-doubles” at the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park. “There was a new set of doubles, four of them, maybe Above: “MX Mom” at 65, during her last race at the 4-feet high. I loved doubles. Mammoth Motocross in MamI liked the challenge, even moth Lakes, Calif. Right: Gale though they’re kinda scary at Webb with Jeremy McGrath first, and I crashed a lot. But I remember the first time I got the four of them—they could hear me all across the track.” Webb strayed from racing for five years after her Novice class win in Carlsbad to pursue her passion for helping kids achieve their goals. She wanted to be that mother who she herself needed when she was growing up. She took time off to organize a skateboard motivational show that she took to schools, Boys & Girls Clubs—anywhere she could—urging kids “to live their dreams and never give up.” After five years, Webb returned to motocross, where she was promptly placed in the Intermediate class due to her win at the World National as a Novice. “I had been racing barely a year in total, and now I was in a faster class. There was a big race coming up. I practiced a lot, and did well and won that. Then they bumped me to the Expert class.” Webb found herself racing against her idols—people such as Sue Fish, Carey Steiner, and DeDe Cates. They were all faster and younger than her by 15 or 20 years, but Webb had that hardknock determination. “I won two World Vet races, one in Adelanto and one in Perris,” she said. “I raced every single weekend, someWith Roger times traveling to Arizona. DeCoster I raced Wednesday nights at Los Angeles County Raceway in Palmdale, and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday everywhere I could. I was addicted. My husband and I slept in our camper.” Webb’s work with kids, and her racing, began to draw the interest of manufacturers interested in promoting motorcycling to families. American Honda took her on board with bikes and swag for her shows. When she wasn’t rac-



Design Absent Friends by Glynn Kerr

Tamburini’s Swan Song The T12 was devised during Tamburini’s three-year contractual sabbatical after parting ways with MV Agusta in 2008. His health had not been good for some time. There was some concern as far back as 2001, when I presented him with the first-ever honorary membership of the Motorcycle Design Association, that he might not make the meeting, and that was at his own CRC office in San Marino, Calif. So the T12 project was no doubt completed with a sense that this would likely


The T12 works better from certain angles.





HE KING IS dead, long live the king!” That proclamation traditionally accompanied the ascension to the throne of a new monarch upon the passing of the former. But in the case of motorcycle design maestro Massimo Tamburini, it applies more to the resurrection of the old king, at least as far as his influence on design trends goes. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the Ducati dealership, out snaps another design from the ultimate Italian superbike creator—two years after his passing. It would seem that rumors of Tamburini’s creative demise have been greatly exaggerated. Thanks to his son Andrea, who ensured his father’s quest to build the ultimate superbike was brought to reality, there’s a new kid on the block in the superbike game—albeit not for the road, and built to order only for the super wealthy. A serious deposit on the €300,000 price tag is required before you can utter the words, “Hey, Mister Tamburini, build a bike for me.” Don’t you just hate it when that happens? Right after you traded in your $160,000 Midual for a $184,000 Honda RC213V-S, along comes the $336,000 Massimo T12. Bummer! Now everyone in the neighborhood will know you’re a cheapskate.

be his last. And he certainly seems to he author presents Massimo Tamburini have put his soul into the creation. As Tamburini’s swan song, it’s actually with the first-ever fitting that the T12 is a track-only tool. honorary membership His hopes for MV Agusta to re-enter GP of the Motorcycle racing were frustrated by the company’s Design Association continual financial turmoil. This dashed in 2001. his vision to base subsequent road-going versions on race-proven competition bikes, although that could be an incentive for Andrea to develop a street version of T12. However, at this point, no such plans have been announced. Attention to detail was something Tamburini was infamous for, right down to the nuts and bolts he was rumored to keep lined up in obsessive order in the CRC parts cabinets. It was quite true—he once showed them to me with great pride. Genius, perhaps, but it must have been hell to work for him. So the T12, his posthumous pièce de résistance, is suitably adorned with intricate über-detail from nose to tail. The drilled end-caps that finish every tube look technical and weight-saving, with almost jewelry like precision. Of course, just leaving them off altogether would have been even lighter, but that’s not the point. Dry weight of 341 pounds is still pretty impressive, and about 46 pounds less than the BMW S 1000 RR that donated the T12’s engine. Power on that has been upped from 199 to over 230 hp, thanks mainly to a new Motec ECU, so the power-to-weight ratio should be favorable. Even higher outputs are reportedly available for racing, although as the bike is only available in track form, that part seems to have lost something in translation. If you don’t race a track bike, what do you do with it? Mount it in your dining room and admire it over dinner, I guess. That will likely be the fate of some—the ultimate two-wheel conversation piece. Yes, okay, in my younger years, I once kept a Ducati 900SS Desmo in my dining room, but that’s only because I didn’t have a garage at the time. Or a dining table. Or insurance. The first T12 frame, a signature high-tensile steel trellis with magnesium


plates securing the engine and swingarm, was welded by Tamburini himself. This harks back to his original day job in the heating and air conditioning business that was the starting point for Bimota, and his subsequent career in motorcycle chassis development. On top of an adjustable steering angle and offset, along with the rear swingarm pivot, link and shock, the frame itself is adjustable for flex, allowing the bike to be fine-tuned for different circuits. Magnesium is profuse throughout the design, including the wheels and swing arm, while all body components, including the airbox, are aviation-industry-standard carbon fiber.

The T12 has some Ducati Supermono feel to it—albeit with nearly four times the power.


Aesthetics In profile, the T12’s look reminds me somewhat of Pierre Terblanche’s Ducati Supermono, especially around the upper fairing, although brought up to date with some typical MV Agusta elements and a KTM RC8-like kicked-up-thebutt tail. It all manages to look technical and purposeful, although whether all the ducts and cut-outs really have any function may be questionable (so what does that grill under the seat do, exactly?). Owning a 916 has shown that some of those essential-looking scoops and vents that make it look so purposeful are nothing but dummies. The 996 that followed is comparatively duct-free, despite having similar cooling needs. But make it look engineered, rather than styled, and the sports bike world will love you for it. Tamburi“Tamburini” special edition of the MV Agusta F4. ni certainly got that point, at least once he got the Ducati Paso off his chest. Tamburini as brand value was recognized long before Andrea in fashion, but there’s no contrast that lets us see what’s going became Chairman of Massimo Tamburini S.r.l. The name was on. Or differentiate it from other, all-black bikes. Part of that is previously paraded on a rather glitzy, high-end MV F4, and the deliberate—the not-styled look on display once again—but just a slightly oddball Husqvarna STR650 Supermoto, unveiled at the splattering of color would help us read the form. I guess we need 2006 Milan EICMA. This was back when Husqvarna was part to wait for the sponsors’ decals and team paint schemes to show of the Cagiva empire, which explains the connection, although us what we’re really looking at. In the meantime, it’s a weapon, claims that Tamburini “penned” the design should be approached and weapons have their own inherent, if somewhat cold, appeal. Maybe it’s best this way. As a piece of motorcycle styling, I’m with care. Perhaps, the unhappy balance indicates that he was more comfortable with superbikes than supermotos, but it’s not sure the T12 is a thing of great beauty. There, I’ve said it. more likely the bodywork was created by an underling. Although Some angles are better than others, but there’s a general flow of everyone likes to credit a single personality with an entire design, line that’s lacking on the bike as a whole, compared with Tambuespecially when he’s of Tamburini’s fame and caliber, there are rini-era MVs, Ducatis and Bimotas. The gap between the front invariably many others involved with the development of a wheel and the fairing looks dated. The sharpness of some of the motorcycle. While he has been portrayed as being solely respon- forms conflict with the softness of others. Maybe Tamburini’s sible for the Ducati 916, concept sketches from the late Bimota ill health got in the way, or maybe he lacked the team support designer Sergio Robbiano show the latter was responsible for that pushed his earlier designs to perfection. But the T12 wasn’t much of the basic styling direction. And Adrian Morton, now designed to please the masses or win design awards. It was one fittingly Director of Design at MV Agusta, was instrumental in man’s final unfinished symphony, which, thanks to his son, has much of the F4 and Brutale under Tamburini’s leadership. The been brought to the world complete. Paisley Park may have a vault full of un-released Prince numbers clay model for the F12 was reportedly handcrafted by the man himself, but I guess we’ll never know how much of that was a they can slowly release to the public over the coming decades, but this is likely the grand finale from the motorcycle maestro. If you solo effort. The aesthetic beauty of the T12 is easier to appreciate in detail have €300,000 to spare, this is your last chance to own an example than it is to evaluate over the bike as a whole, mainly because of one of Massimo Tamburini’s designs of relevance. If not, at least everything is just so black. I know it’s carbon, and I know black is we’ve been given a final glimpse of a creative master. MCN MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016


Book Review

í ’í ’í ’í ’í ’



a dime a dozen, so when I was offered a copy of German publisher Gestalten's second book in The Ride series, The Ride 2nd Gear, I was concerned about there being enough content to justify the fairly high retail price. Typically, these books are filled with pretty pictures and not much else. Not being familiar with the first edition, I jumped in with very low expectations. The 352-page hardcover book was inspired and edited by journalist Chris Hunter, a former creative director in the advertising world, who started the photo-sharing website Bike EXIF, which went on to become an online showcase of global custom-bike creativity. The book not only shines a light on incredible examples of art-meets-metal, but also reveals the story behind each machine, and the men and women who crafted them. It begins with a brief history of motorcyclists' love for cus-

tomization that dovetails into the recent economic collapse and the new breed of customizers who emerged. It does a fantastic job explaining how and why this new generation of builders rose from the ashes of the industry's global meltdown. Next is a glossary that deďŹ nes nine custom styles—from Bobber to Scrambler— including when they were introduced and several examples of each Starting on page 10, hundreds of the best small-workshop custom The Ride 2nd Gear builders from around the globe is available in either are profiled, with amazing Rebel or Gentleman photography, detailed modedition covers, the el-speciďŹ c modiďŹ cation speccontents are identical iďŹ cations, and a biography of the build and builder. The bikes are inspired by history, a possible future, and everything in between. Art, science, ďŹ ction and fantasy are often combined with surprising and exciting results. Perusing the contents printed on these pages should result in motorcyclist ecstasy. No matter which types of motorcycles you gravitate toward, if you love bikes, you'll love this book. —David Hilgendorf GESTALTEN

The Ride 2nd Gear

$68.00 at

Movie Review

A Story Worth Living


í ’í ”í ”í ”í ”

up with all things motorcycle, you may have seen some of the marketing for this movie, which was originally distributed as a country-wide Fathom Event in theaters on May 19, 2016. It was promoted heavily to mainstream enthusiast media with pictures of motorcyclists on an epic Rocky Mountain adventure, with recognizable names like Arai, Klim and Sena featured prominently up top. You would be forgiven for thinking this is a movie about motorcycling, or even motorcyclists.

have attended one of Eldredge's retreats, and was familiar with his work, but I came to the movie via the motorcyle industry promotion, and didn't know he was involved until a few hours before my ďŹ rst screening. Thus, I was even more interested in the results. Unfortunately, Eldredge chose to enlist several inexperienced motorcyclists, inluding his three sons, to partake in his thousand-mile "adventure" over Colorado ďŹ re trails. The producers (his sons) clearly promoted the motorcycle story to net them sponsors and attract more interest. They also manufactured plenty of mock drama, attempting to make their lack of skill more interesting. On BMW F800GS bikes, they take off to Rawhyde for some rudimentary training. Along the way, they frequently mention their love of Ewan McGregor's Long Way Round, as well as Star Wars and other adventure ďŹ lms. This leads to random discussions surrounding their personal spiritual journeys, which are neither interesting nor impactful. It's a shame, because the underlying message is good, but here, everything comes off disjointed. The motorcycling sequences in this movie are mostly relegated to several short riding montages interspersed between poorly framed dialog. If you are seeking motorcycle adventure, look elsewhere. If you want to know more about Eldredge and his story, read his books. If you are still curious, and have 90 minutes to burn, you will at least see beautiful cinematography and, occasionally, motorcycles. Unfortunately, though, this movie lacks impact, adventure, focus and direction. —David Hilgendorf COURTESY AND SONS FILMS


Writer John Eldredge is a faithbased author who made a name for himself promoting spiritual life as an adventure, where men seek their meaning through battle and bonding, slaying their demons and rescuing the beauty. His books are New York Times best-sellers, and he offers spiritual retreats for those who follow his work. I

Why are six motorcycle industry sponsors listed above the movie title?



Read a producer's comments at astoryďŹ

Product Reviews


NEW Jersey, Mother Nature was very cooperative in providing ideal test conditions for the Dainese D-Crust Plus suit this spring. I ventured out into the biblical oods to determine its functionality, and the ďŹ nal verdict is mixed. The jacket’s construction is of lightweight, coated nylon with tight stitching and thermowelded seams. The collar is tall to effectively guard against dripping rain, and has dual plastic snaps to open and close. A single GRT main zipper is sealed off by a Velcro-actuated water block. Drawstrings allow adjustment of the collar and jacket bottom, while Velcro straps provide adjustment on the bicep and waist areas. Generous swaths of reective material are incorporated over the length of the sleeves, the waist adjustment straps, and the “demon headâ€? Dainese logo on the jacket’s back. Inside, a slip liner offers separation between the nylon shell and the rider, while a wallet-sized waterproof Napoleon pocket on the left breast serves as the suit’s lone storage space. The pants are the same coated nylon shell exterior with slip liner material inside. An elastic waist ensures a universal ďŹ t, and the ankle areas have reective piping to match the jacket’s. In the rain, both the jacket and pants were completely waterproof. Not a drop leaked inside all season long, despite many hours in torrential showers. The suit’s overall breathability was admirable, as well, and the hi-viz yellow color stood out distinctly. Not all was rosy. This suit has a very trim-ďŹ tting European cut, and sizing runs very small. I had no problem slipping a ERE IN

large-sized jacket over lightweight, form-fitting summer riding gear, but it was a tight squeeze getting it over bulkier armored gear. Also, the pants are very difďŹ cult to climb into and out of with boots on. There are two sets of zippers running down the outside of each Both jacket and pants of pant leg—one that's the Dainese D-Crust Plus waist to knee, and another that's cuff tested as completely to knee—and the pant legs never open waterproof. widely enough to quickly step into. With the slip liner inside, which constantly snagged on my wet, size-10 boot heels, it could be a real challenge to don the pants by the side of the road. Finally, at this price point, I would have liked to see a hood on the jacket, too. Overall, the Dainese D-Crust Plus is very effective rain gear tailored to those who value the lean European cut aesthetic over the more practical concerns of rapidly ďŹ tting it over typical armored riding gear. The Chinese-made suit is available in black or hi-viz yellow. Jacket and pants MSRP is $99.95 each. —Moshe Levy MOSHE LEVY

Dainese D-Crust Plus Rain Gear í ’í ’í ’í ”í ”

Dainese USA, Inc., 949-645-9500, us_en/

Klim Induction Gloves í ’í ’í ’í ’í ”


motorcyclists On the road, the Induction gloves yearn for the perfect comow what feels like 90 percent of bination of protection and the air as very lightweight summer breathability in their gear, and the gloves, while offering the rider mid-weight Klim Induction gloves exponentially greater security, come close. especially with the wrist strap They feature premium materials and gauntlet holding things designed to provide serious fortiďŹ cation firmly in place. The preagainst the unexpected. The palm area features curved ďŹ ngers and generous Pittards Armortan leather, comprised of ďŹ bril stretch panels equal minibundles encased by microscopic ceramic armor mal break-in time, and the plates for high abrasion resistance. Thick Poron tactile feel is quite comfortMOSHE LEVY XRD padding is stitched into the palm heel and able, with no hot spots or bunching outer gauntlet, while the lower thumb area is also material as the hands travel through their ranges heavily buttressed.A carbon-ďŹ ber knuckle protector of motion. I experimented with iPhone capacitive dominates the dorsal side. Everything else is designed Klim Induction gloves offer touch screen operation and found periodic sucto maximize airow; 1000-denier mesh panels overlay ample protection and great cess, as long as the ďŹ nger pad touching the screen a moisture-wicking membrane over the wrist, which breathability. was through leather and not a seam. leads to a stretch panel, followed by perforated leather The gloves themselves have held up admirably as for the ďŹ ngers. The “micro-ďŹ neâ€? mesh at the ďŹ nger bases offers the miles racked up. The leather’s deep-black color did not bleach astounding circulation, even if the hands are in a naturally closed from the sun, and the materials used throughout seem to wear like position. The gauntlet and wrist strap are leather, and both fasten iron. However, be aware that the sizing runs very small compared securely via Velcro. to other brands. I am normally comfortable in a size 9.5/Large, but The stitching is true and doubled up in all the right places, the Induction in Klim’s size L was very tight-ďŹ tting. So do try before although I would have liked more reinforcement along the out- you buy. The Chinese-made Induction gloves have an MSRP of side edge of the hand. Scotchlite reective panels on the index, $159.99 and are available in black or white ďŹ nish. middle, and wedding ring ďŹ ngers, as well as the gauntlet, are a —Moshe Levy functional ďŹ nishing touch for night riders. Likewise, wet weather riders will appreciate the left index ďŹ nger’s integrated squeegee. Klim USA, 208-552-7433, UMMER IS WHEN



Proficient Motorcycling

by by David L. Hough


time, I get letters from readers who mention advancing age, and are wondering about their physical abilities to continue motorcycling. That’s a difficult subject to address. Most of us admit that we’re getting another year older every 12 months, but do we have to think about that now? It’s much more enjoyable to focus on today’s ride and put off any serious thoughts about what’s going to happen next year—or 10 years down the road. Well, it’s time we talked about how aging might relate to your motorcycling, because what you do today will have a direct effect on the rest of the ride. I believe I am qualified to discuss this because I’m now old enough to have experienced lots of changes in my life and my motorcycling. Of course, we’re all different, so your experiences will be unique, but there are some commonalities that might help you make appropriate choices. I’ve been riding since 1965, and followed the traditional progression from smaller, lighter machines up to heavyweights, both bikes and three-wheelers. I commuted daily by motorcycle for several decades, and also discovered the satisfaction of long-distance travel. In the “good old days,” my idea of travel was to load up a motorcycle, take off across the landscape, and return home two weeks or a month later without resorting to any other form of transportation. OK, several foreign trips made it necessary to fly across oceans, and once I had to schlep a machine home in a rental truck thanks to an oil system failure, but my point is that I depended almost entirely on motorcycles for travel once my kids left the nest. ROM TIME TO

At age 50, you might swear you’ll never stop riding, but at age 60 or 70 you might find your priorities changing. A few years ago, I injured my back a week before a cross-country trip, but I ignored the pain and headed out anyway. The pain got so bad that I couldn’t ride home. I had to store the bike in a friend’s garage and fly home to recuperate. A couple of years later, I had a very painful flare-up of gout in my left ankle 32

that made it impossible to shift the transmission. Rather than cancel a planned cross-country trip, I loaded the machine into a trailer and towed it. There have been other health incidents and injuries that delayed trips or caused me to visit the ER, including a $38,000 helicopter life flight out of the desert, and by about age 70, I was forced to recognize that my vintage body was getting unreliable. At about age 75, my attitude about motorcycling was changing, and after negotiating 80 miles through a lush The author valley overpopulated with a KLX. with wild deer, I realized that I had lost my nerve for traveling by motorcycle. I knew too much about the hazards to enjoy the ride anymore. I still wanted to attend a few motorcycle events, but the combination of unreliable body parts and loss of nerve caused me to change tactics entirely. I sold all the big roadburners and bought a 250cc bike and a hitch rack for the SUV. Now I transport the small bike to rallies, and ride around town a bit to demonstrate that I’m still a motorcyclist. The Aging Trend One fact for sure is that there’s a serious aging trend in motorcyclists in the U.S. Veteran motorcyclists are growing older, and a few “return riders” are getting back into motorcycling after fulfilling work or family obligations. But fewer young people are getting into the sport (see sidebar). Ten years down the road, today’s 55-year-old motorcyclist will be 65. And today’s 65-year- old survivor could be 75. There are realities to face, such as lengthened reaction time, wobblier balance, fuzzier vision, and ongoing medical issues. At age 50, you might swear you’ll never stop riding, but at age 60 or 70 you might find your priorities changing. And you might find that growing old doesn’t happen the way you thought it would. A younger motorcyclist thinking



The Rest of the Ride PART 1X Growing Older

ahead to advancing age may imagine only shuffling feet and hearing issues, but mental attitudes are also likely to change. As you age, your priorities will very likely be shifting from motorcycling to health. Permission to ride tomorrow may be morphing from what you want to what your health will allow. What’s more, nobody gets out of this life alive. If you want to avoid a long, miserable end, it might be prudent to stay as healthy and fit as possible and then suddenly expire with minimal suffering. One important question is, do you want to continue motorcycling as you grow older? Your physical and mental abilities will decay. Do you have some exit plan—say, a theoretical age at which you plan to hang it up? Or do you intend to continue riding for a few more years, modifying your riding tactics to accommodate your decreasing abilities? I know people who intend to just keep on riding until they die in the saddle. I’m not being facetious here; one of my friends was found dead on his bike, leaning up against a guardrail. He did what he wanted to do, and bailed out with minimal suffering. Whatever your plan, it would be wise to take steps now to help make it happen without too much angst. We may not have a choice in growing older, but we do have a choice in our quality of life,

and the choices we make today will help determine how our plans turn out. For instance, it’s harder to continue motorcycling when you’re overweight or having to deal with ongoing medical issues.

When crashes occur, older riders are more likely to be seriously injured, and often bring along extra “medical baggage”... The ER The trend of motorcyclists aging is showing up in hospital emergency rooms nationwide. When crashes occur, older riders are more likely to be seriously injured, and often bring along extra “medical baggage” to the hospital that complicates recovery. The University of Rochester Medical Center conducted a study of injured motorcyclists that was released in 2010. It reviewed the records of more than 61,000 motorcyclists aged 17 to 89 years injured in crashes nationwide between 1996 and 2005. Injury patterns remained constant through the study, with the most common injuries being extremity fractures (broken arms and legs). The majority of severe injuries were to the chest and head. Medical researchers noted that over the study period, there was a steady rise in the average age of hospitalized motorcyclists. Of all injured motorcyclists in the study, the 50 to 59 age group was more rapidly expanding, while the 20 to 29 age group was rapidly declining. “Older” motorcyclists (over age 40) were more likely to spend additional

time in the ICU, had more complications (heart attack, infections, etc.) and were more likely to die than younger riders. (Excuse me while I chuckle at a 40-year-old motorcyclist being tagged as “older.”) Note that the study involved crashes from 1996 through 2005, so the data is now more than 11 years old. Because the mean age of motorcyclists is continuing to increase, we can safely assume that the trends are continuing. Today, we would expect the most rapidly expanding age group to be 60 to 69. To read the report, visit the ScienceDaily website here: releases/2010/04/100405102116.htm.

the air conditioning kept me comfortable, the ice chest provided a ready supply of chilled water, and I had the necessary snacks and diabetic equipment at the ready. The point is, traveling in the “cage” and carrying the small bike on the back allowed me to continue attending motorcycle events into my late 70s. Tactics One motorcyclist I know (I’ll call him “DS”) is known for racking up mileage. DS explained that he preferred to be out riding, relative danger be damned, rather than vegetating on the porch or staring at the boob tube. He apologized for logging only about 25,000 miles one year because he had taken time off for a heart bypass operation and getting both knees replaced. I believe DS was about 83 at the time.

Heat One issue with aging is the degrading ability to manage heat. A vintage body is more likely to be stressed by triple-digit weather. Over the years, I have learned to use hot weather tactics such as wearing an evaporative cooling vest, and packing crushed ice in my outer jacket pockets. I have ridden through Death Valley and crossed the Arizona desert in scorching summertime heat, but that was when I was much younger. Not too long ago, during a hot day in the Columbia Gorge, I experienced heat stroke. My vintage body just couldn’t take the heat. I checked into a motel and slumped in front of the air conditioner while wetting myself down with a damp towel. It took about two hours to get my core temperature under control. The message was that motorcycling in hot weather was not just a discomfort, it was no longer an acceptable tactic for me. On a subsequent SUV trip through eastern Washington in 117-degree temps,

...traveling in the “cage” and carrying the small bike on the back allowed me to continue attending motorcycle events into my late 70s.

MEAN AGE OF MOTORCYCLISTS Over the past decade, the mean age of motorcyclists has increased 0.83 year per calendar year, based on the information I’ve gleaned.The population of motorcyclists is not only growing older, but the rate is increasing, and we can estimate the 2016 mean age at 58. MOTORCYCLIST MEAN AGE

24 30 38 49 58




DS realized that his mental processing was slowing down, so he adjusted his tactics. At intersections, he made a point of looking twice for traffic before proceeding. He shortened his daily mileage on long trips, and he adjusted the schedule. He would depart early in the morning, when the air was cooler, and then stop for the day in the early afternoon before he began to feel fatigued, and before the temperatures got too hot. In other words, DS realized that his body was degrading, and he compensated by employing more conservative tactics. I know lots of riders who lavish attention on their motorcycles, while allowing personal health to deteriorate. I don’t know why we focus more on machines than on health. I know I should stop sneaking cookies, and get in more exercise. For whatever psychological reasons, I’m inclined to go futz with some mechanical detail, or finish an article such as this one. I do know that if the goal is to outlast our motorcycles, we’re all going to need to be more proactive about health. So, what’s the plan for the rest of your ride? MCN OO David Hough, the original author of MCN’s Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies columns, is the author of the best-selling books Proficient Motorcycling, Mastering the Ride, Street Strategies, and Street Riders’ Guide. MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016



Mental Motorcycling

by Mark Barnes, Ph.D. such addictions include a) continued, compulsive use, despite negative consequences and efforts to stop, b) the development of “tolerance,” meaning that increasing amounts are required to achieve the desired effect, and c) “dependence,” inferred by the emergence of withdrawal symptoms, physical and/or psychological, when use is interrupted. Certain brain abnormalities have been associated with substance addiction, such as deterioration of the frontal lobes, which is, in turn, associated with decreased ability to apply logical reasoning, initiate organized effort, and exercise control over impulses. If you’ve wondered why alcoholics and drug addicts don’t learn from experience, it’s partly because the areas of their brains that would normally make rational choices based on evidence no longer work properly (and may have impairment to begin with, increasing their vulnerability to addiction). In addition, the reward center of the addicted brain has been hijacked. Repeated, exaggerated activation of this circuitry leads to an increased sensitivity to the source of pleasure. “Sensitivity” here refers to some-

Need for Speed


n the MOVIE, Top Gun, Maverick and Goose repeat these words in anticipation of their next stint in a mind-blowingly fast jet. Not just a catchy phrase, it’s one to which many people definitely relate. Most of us have felt strong cravings for the visceral rush of fierce acceleration and the exhilaration of hurtling through space at a rate demanding extraordinary concentration and commitment. Speed is an intoxicating blend of euphoria and terror. It’s no accident that amphetamines are known as speed; just like physical speed, they can provoke our brains into states of uncommon focus and alertness, as well as fragmentation and paranoia. Both stimulants lift our bored, sluggish minds out of the humdrum of routine existence and catapult us to a more exciting stratum. Human beings generally enjoy getting a jolt of some sort, whether via socially acceptable caffeine and rollercoasters, or illicit velocity and chemicals. Some can’t get enough. They desperately want wall current running through their brains, and they will do whatever it takes to get it. We call such people addicts. All of us have heard or said things like, “I’m addicted to motorcycles” or “horsepower is addictive.” Usually, such statements reflect a high level of appeal, not real addiction. But it is actually possible to become addicted to behaviors, and riding fast could be one such activity. The topic of behavioral addiction is controversial, and there’s still debate over aspects of traditionally defined substance addictions. So know that the following isn’t the only way to understand such matters; there are research publications and expert opinions that conflict with this model. It will inevitably be proven incomplete, even inaccurate in some details. But there is compelling research to support it, and it fits the experiences of people I’ve known personally or worked with professionally. First, a bit about substance addictions, which are more widely accepted than their behavioral counterparts. The hallmarks of 34 is actually possible to become addicted to behaviors, and riding fast could be one such activity. thing different than you’d expect. On one hand, an alcoholic will develop a tolerance to alcohol, which is a type of decreased sensitivity to it. On the other hand, addicts will become increasingly alert to opportunities to drink and be preoccupied with doing so. When craving alcohol, “everything looks like a bottle,” meaning everything reminds them of drinking. This is the kind of sensitivity I’m talking about now. Along with this increased sensitivity to the substance (and everything associated with it) as a cue to potential pleasure, there is a desensitization to other sources of pleasure, so that, eventually, nothing promises to activate the reward circuitry but the substance. Interest in all else fades, as does motivation for anything but getting the substance—even after it loses its ability to produce the pleasure it once did. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter most associated with experiencing/anticipating pleasure and actively pursuing it (when it’s released in certain areas; it has


other functions elsewhere). You could think of the addicted brain as having too little dopamine in play in the reward center (a gross oversimplification, but true enough for this discussion). Some brains may be set up this way from birth, predisposing people to addiction. They need more intense stimulation of their reward circuit to feel pleasure and/ or excitement than the rest of us do, and they feel lousy without it. But it also seems that dopamine depletion in the reward center is a result of overstimulation. Perhaps it’s a vicious cycle. The substance being abused, among its other effects, produces a much-needed surge of dopamine in the brain’s reward center, even as its repeated use also decreases the general availability of dopamine in response to other activities. This process is complex, involving other chemicals in the brain and reductions in the number of certain dopamine receptors (the brain’s effort to “normalize” overstimulation). Our brains are supposed to direct us toward survival-enhancing actions. The reward center is connected with memory and action centers to point our interest and initiative toward things like eating and sex, which we’re wired to find inherently enjoyable. This motivates us to do the work necessary to obtain them. But when we can flood this system with dopamine with little or no effort, it ends up directing us toward whatever produced that effect, whether or not it’s good for us. And with decreased frontal lobe functioning, judgment becomes faulty and loses influence. Intensely exciting activities seem to produce effects in the brain similar to those of substances. Hence, the argument that we can become genuinely addicted to things such as gambling, overeating, overspending, viewing pornography, playing video games, or exposing ourselves to life-threatening danger. Thrill-seeking may not involve ingesting a chemical, but it can yield a whopping dose of the brain’s own home brew. It’s one thing to enjoy speed and harness the motivation to master associated skills and experience it in appropriate settings. It’s a very different thing to be obsessed with speed and “get your fix” by simply whacking open a throttle and flying through traffic on public roads. You may not have this problem, but you’ve certainly seen riders who do. MCN OODr. Mark Barnes is a Clinical Psychologist. He completed his internship at The Cambridge Hospital of Harvard Medical School and has been in private practice since 1992 in Knoxville, TN. He owns both dirt and street bikes, “cross-trains” on a pair of vintage PWCs, and has written extensively for MCN since 1996.

Motorcycle Justice


Progressive refused to cover a crash because their policy excludes any use of a motorcycle “on a closed course or race track,” even though the crash occurred on a track during a street riding school. Most training classes are conducted on a closed course, so this could be a real issue for Progressive customers. I’m looking at other insurers, but none will provide a copy of an actual policy. The Maryland insurance commissioner confirms they are not obligated to do so. How are riders supposed to make an informed decision when they can’t see what they are buying until they’ve already purchased it? —Larry Cain


For an insurance commissioner to rule that the insurance company does not have to disclose policy terms to the potential purchaser of an insurance policy is absurd. The contract cannot be valid unless both parties read and agree to the terms. The Maryland Insurance Commissioner, Alfred W. Redmer, Jr., is appointed by the governor with advice and consent of the Maryland senate. I have no insight

as to Maryland, but in some states, the commissioner is a political appointment endorsed by the industry that donated campaign funding to the governor. The result can be that the insurance commissioner sides with the insurance company more often than the consumer. You can go to court and dispute that the Progressive policy exclusion would encompass a riding school. A reasonable interpretation of “closed course or race track” may be that it contemplates only the foreseeable and intended use of closed courses and tracks (such as racing), and not the fortuitous positioning of the motorcycle riding school at that venue. The claim that you would make to resolve your coverage dispute (and seek attorney fees and interest) is under Maryland Code, Insurance Article, section 3-1701. If you win, it is possible that the insurance company’s obligation of good faith to its first party insured policyholder may force Progressive to pay your attorney fees. The term “first party” in this context references the person attempting to collect coverage under insurance that he purchased, as opposed to trying to collect from some other person’s insurance.

Street Strategy

Lane Hoggers

In unfamiliar territory, it’s important to think like a local.



to get out to the Northwest to explore the scenery and twisty roads. Today, you’re riding through some forests, enjoying the greenery and the cool, pitch-scented air. You seem to have the road to yourself, but you resist the urge to crank up the throttle and enjoy the curves as well as the scenery, because you know how quickly hazards can appear. Suddenly, leaning into a right-hander, you are startled by a

Before filing your lawsuit, Maryland law requires you to file a complaint with the Maryland Insurance Administration (the same commissioner who told you insurance companies don’t have to show you a policy before you purchase it). If you win, the insurance commissioner can fine an insurer that has not acted in good faith in denying a first-party insurance claim. But if you lose, the cost that you incur for legal representation may far exceed the cost of the damage to your bike. Unfortunately, the answer is not black and white, and, therefore, the cost of disputing Progressive’s denial of coverage may be a significant deterrent. —Harry  OHarry Deitzler is a partner in the law firm O of Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee and Deitzler, PLLC; Charleston, WV. Send questions to: Please Note: The information in this column is intended for general purposes only and is not to be considered legal or professional advice of any kind. You should seek advice that is specific to your problem before taking or refraining from any action and should not rely on the information in this column.

text and photo by David L. Hough loaded logging truck coming toward you, with the trailer tracking way over on your side of the pavement. You subconsciously push harder on the right grip to get the bike leaned over more, and manage to avoid going under the rear wheels of the trailer. Wisely, your conservative speed kept some cornering traction in reserve. You’re shocked at how aggressively the trucker came around the corner, and his apparent disrespect for a motorcyclist. Actually, the truck driver was very likely not disrespectful, but just trying to rush another load of logs to the yard. Like yourself, the truck driver hadn’t seen much traffic, and probably wasn’t expecting to encounter a fast-moving motorcycle in a tight corner. When you are traveling in unfamiliar territory it’s important to adapt to the local attitudes and hazards. In forested areas out west, logging is common, so you need to be aware of logging trucks, both on the highway and pulling out of forest roads. And you should understand that in a tight corner a truck with a long trailer will take up more than half of the pavement. Local drivers know to give them lots of room. Such situations are a good reason to control your urge to ride way above the speed limit. Even before you heard or saw the truck, you should have predicted the possibility, realized that pavement space was limited, and kept to the right side of your lane. MCN MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016


Events What’s



July 5 Yamaha Champions Riding School “ChampDay,” held at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ, is a one-day program that teaches riders the Champion Habits taught at YCRS. July 6-7 Yamaha Champions Riding School “ChampSchool,” held at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ, is a two-day program that teaches riders to ride faster and safer. July 21-23 The 15th annual Evel Knievel Days is an annual, non-profit, three-day event in Butte, MT. Celebrate the legacy of a worldwide icon and see dozens of spectacles, world-record stunts and purse races featuring motorcycles, BMX, mountain bikes and skateboards—all free! July 21-24 The 45th Annual Top O’ The Rockies Rally in Paonia, CO, offers hundreds of miles of adventure riding, wine tours, hiking, a beer garden, live entertainment and more. July 25 Sharpen your skills and build confidence at the track! The Street Skills Riding Academy is conducting a Cornering Skills Instructional Track Day just for street riders, at the New York Safety Track in Oneonta, NY. Preregistration is required. Info: 585-8029859;; July 30 The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis, SD, begins its nine-day journey in Los Angeles, CA, taking 20 nominated veterans through spectacular backroads of Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Nebraska. For info and to nominate veterans, visit August 8–14 76th annual Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally™, Sturgis, SD. This year’s event has the potential to be one of the greatest and perhaps largest gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts of all time. Celebrate the 76th year of the Sturgis Rally. 36

August 31–September 3 The 38th annual Wing Ding: Blazin’ the Beartooths. Bike show, trade show, demo rides, parade, poker runs, music, food and fun. GWRRA 800-843-9460,, wing-ding-org September 9-11 The 15th Annual Michigan Moto Guzzi Rally will be held at the Cycle-Moore Campground, 11075 US 31 South in Interlochen, MI. Rally fee includes camping, meals, a group ride, awards, prizes, raffles and more. Frank Dituri, 231-866-1851,, or Randy Peterson, 231-871-0811, September 9-11 34th Green Mountain Rally, Goshen, VT. Enjoy home cooking, Vermont selfguided tours, Gap and GS Rides, live bluegrass music and much more. September 11 Presented by the Metro Triumph Riders, the 34th Annual Battle of the Brits, held at Camp Dearborn, 1700 General Motors Rd. in Milford, MI, features classic European bikes, awards, a swap meet, vendors, food, on-site camping and more. metrotriumphriders. com; September 12 Yamaha Champions Riding School “ChampStreet,” held at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ, is a four-hour course aimed at street riders. September 13 Yamaha Champions Riding School


“ChampDay,” held at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ, is a one-day program that teaches riders the Champion Habits taught at YCRS. September 14-18 Held at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, on the Mescalero Apache Reservation adjacent to Ruidoso, NM, the Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally includes a trade show, bike judging, a new bike giveaway, and more. September 15-18 The 15th annual OC Bikefest and Delmarva Bike Week, Ocean City, MD. The largest motorcycle event in the mid-Atlantic not only provides a great time for motorcyclists, it also brings an influx of 160,000+ visitors to the area. September 16-18 The Twin Valley Riders 7th Annual Twin Valley Rally, held at the Willville Motorcycle Campground, 1510 Jeb Stuart Highway, Meadows of Dan, VA, offers nightly live entertainment, meals, door prizes, slow race competition, vendors and much more.; TwinValleyRally@ September 25 Sponsored by Canton Motorcycle Club, the Annual Dam Poker Run and Canned Food Drive starts at their clubhouse located a quarter mile south of Brewster, OH on SR 93. Registration is at 11:30 a.m., and First Bike out is 12 p.m. Call 330-970-9359 or email

October 7-9 The 12th Annual Barber Vintage Fest will be held at the world-famous Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. The family-friendly festival features vintage motorcycle races, seminars, stunt shows, displays and a swap meet that goes on for miles! Don’t forget to tour the museum; it has the largest motorcycle collection in the world!; 205-699-7275; October 17-18 Yamaha Champions Riding School “ChampSchool,” held at the Inde Motorsports Ranch in Wilcox, AZ, is a two-day program that teaches riders to ride faster and safer. October 20-23 Babes Ride Out 4, Joshua Tree, CA. A global community of like-minded women who connect through a love of riding motorcycles. info@babesrideout. com tickets at November 4-6 The 46th South Central BMW Owners Reunion at Oak Thicket Park on Lake Fayette, W. State Highway 159,

Fayetteville, TX. Enjoy guided road rides, social events, and dinners on Friday and Saturday night, breakfasts Saturday and Sunday. Contact Nick Bell at or 713-818-0134, cms/club-rally. November 6 Sponsored by Canton Motorcycle Club, the Annual Freeze Your Buns Run and Canned Food Drive starts at their clubhouse located a quarter mile south of Brewster, OH on SR 93. Registration is at 11:30 a.m., and First Bike out is 12 p.m. For information, call 330-970-9359 or email November 7-8 Yamaha Champions Riding School “ChampSchool,” held at the Inde Motorsports Ranch in Wilcox, AZ, is a two-day program that teaches riders to ride faster and safer. December 5-6 Yamaha Champions Riding School “ChampSchool,” held at the Inde Motorsports Ranch in Wilcox, AZ, is a two-day program that teaches riders to

ride faster and safer.

2017 September 14-24 Nashville Bike Week is a 10-day motorcycle rally and festival based at the historic Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN. The event will offer motorcycle enthusiasts live music, stunt shows and multiple scenic rides around the great state. Information subject to change. To list your event, send all relevant information to: MCN—What’s Happening, c/o Lumina Media, 2030 Main St., Ste. 1400, Irvine, CA 92614, or email:, subject line: What’s Happening. Please include as much information as possible—dates, locations, where to contact sponsoring group, phone numbers, email addresses and websites. Always double-check all spelling and dates. To be assured of a listing, please let us know AT LEAST 90 DAYS before the first of the month in which the event occurs.

Join the Movement! Statistics show that women are a significant presence in the world of motorcycle ridership and ownership, with numbers that continue to rise steadily. The Women’s Guide to Motorcycling, written by accomplished long-distance rider, performance and sports-psychology coach, and magazine columnist Lynda Lahman, brings the sport of motorcycling to female riders from a woman’s perspective. Softcover, 240 pages, 8” x 10 7⁄8” $24.95 US/$32.50 CAN ISBN 978-1-62008-209-6 eBook ISBN 978-1-62008-210-2

Available wherever books are sold and from online eBook retailers!

Open Road



PPEARING TO BE no more than a weatherproof container for an air filter, the modern airbox is actually a highly sophisticated, but underappreciated, component that’s often the target of crude efforts to boost a motorcycle’s performance. Besides preventing as much dirt or water intake as possible, airboxes have several other important jobs, not the least of which is to quiet the intake tract so that the maximum allowable sound that reaches the EPA’s meters can come from the exhaust system for a customer-pleasing impression. Yet the inside of an airbox is actually a very noisy place, so that’s not easy to do. Because a twist of the throttle opens passages that are alternately sucking air to high velocity and then slamming a valve against the flow to create sharp sonic reflections, not only is all this whistling/honking activity loud, it also makes the airbox housing pulsate strongly. So think of the airbox first as a silencer for the intake side, and like an exhaust silencer, its efficiency will largely depend on rigid construction, a large volume and a precisely sized opening to the atmosphere. To appreciate the importance of size, imagine the throttling effect on response and peak power if an undersized airbox can’t supply an engine’s maximum appetite for properly conditioned air— meaning, air that has been filtered and straightened for a non-turbulent entry into the fuel mixers. And the bigger the motor, the harder adequate airbox space is to find on a motorcycle. Research suggests that a single cylinder test engine should have an airbox volume 10 to 12 times greater than its displacement for a good compromise between its size and effectiveness. But even that surprising multiple is likely not enough for optimum performance. Although airbox volume is rarely noted, back when powerful 600 supersports got major updates every couple of years to stay ahead of well-televised competition on track, the 2004 Honda CBR600RR boasted of a 15-liter airbox, or a displacement/airbox volume ratio of 25:1! So it’s very likely that many airbox setups are seriously undersized for the engines they serve, making the temptation to “improve” things hard to resist. Removing restrictive-looking snorkels, cutting oversized openings or fitting aftermarket air filters may appear to be the easy answer, but if the airflow into the carbs or throttle bodies then becomes hotter, turbulent


or otherwise inconsistent across the rev range, even extensive re-jetting or dyno remapping can fail to fill in the holes, and the not-uncommon result is a fraction more top end power, at the cost of a noticeable loss in driveability and low/ mid-range power, plus, of course, more noise. And on those rare engines, like the best supersports, that have generously sized airboxes tuned to perfection, any change at all can easily spoil some incredible complex engineering and cost’s very likely that many airbox setups are seriously undersized for the engines they serve, making the temptation to “improve” things hard to resist. you power. We’ve even seen an expensive “high flow” aftermarket panel air filter noticeably decrease driveability. And, just like with exhaust systems, the latest airboxes on everything from dual-sports to supersports may now incorporate rpm-sensitive valves meant to relieve airbox restriction at higher rpm and boost low/mid-range response. Yet the internet is abuzz with how-to videos that show how to carve all that clever acoustic tuning away with a Dremel tool. Because they are commonly positioned atop the engine, the airbox is also exposed to high heat, which must be prevented from raising the temperature of the incoming air any more than absolutely necessary. Their typical, slightly heavy, fiber-reinforced plastic construction satisfies the need for a container with sound-damping as well as insulating qualities, and the rule of


thumb is that for every 7 degrees of added air temperature, power will fall by 1 percent. Likewise, any method that reduces air temps by the same amount, like an effective cold air box or perhaps a fancy gold-foil-covered insulation blanket around the airbox, can boost power. A ram-air system, although very similar in parts, is not to be confused with a standard airbox. The name was originally coined in the sixties by Pontiac, and while many automotive systems are, in truth, just cold-air boxes, a proper ram-air system is meant to capture the air pressure generated by high vehicle speeds in a sealed airbox to achieve a supercharging effect. By expanding this air in a plenum chamber, its velocity is decreased, which causes its static pressure, and therefore density, to increase. But unlike turbo or supercharging, the air is not heated in the process, so the effect has no downside costs. And because the precise shapes of the air passages can be so important, it seems Kawasaki’s ram-air systems have been particularly effective as its aero division’s engineers are on-call to assist its motorcycle divisions. According to tests, Kawasaki’s ram-air will begin to make a hp difference at speeds of 70 mph and up, with a maximum advantage of almost 10 percent at 170+. But what’s probably more important at road-legal speeds is that ram-air introduces an intoxicating intake honk to the bikes’ sound, and because this sound is projected away from the exhaust, it doesn’t negatively affect EPA sound testing, either. Perhaps the most subtle science employed in an airbox is resonant tuning. Any time you create a volume with a neck, like a bottle or an airbox, you have created a potential resonator. To appreciate the effect of resonance, think of pushing a youngster on a swing. It will be comparatively difficult to start the swing moving, but once it has achieved its natural frequency, just the slightest push is all that’s needed to keep it swinging strongly. In the same way, an acoustic system at resonance will have almost no resistance to airflow, and the engine designer can tune this effect to optimize intake efficiency at engine speeds where the engine’s valve overlap is out of sync with its rpm, smoothing power delivery. Of course, any modification to the snorkel or the internal passages will change or eliminate that desirable resonance.

—Dave Searle

Contact Patch

Getting Physical


or more than 40 years, I gave little thought (really, none whatsoever) to my personal physical condition prior to going off on an extended motorcycle tour. Thinking back on those times, I now find it a bit odd to recall that I would devote literally hundreds of both hours and dollars making certain that my bike was in absolute tip-top condition, and yet expend virtually none of either on my own body. Such is the arrogance of youth. After a long summer of traveling last year, it became apparent to both my wife and myself that our physical conditions were beginning to seriously impact our ability to spend long days in the saddle, or to ride five or six consecutive days at a stretch. Though our current choice of bike and the quality of our gear were conducive to riding longer and in greater comfort than ever before in our careers, our bodies simply were no longer up to the task. So it was, that on September 20, we made a conscious decision that if we intended to continue in our chosen riding lifestyle, we needed to make a serious commitment to changing our non-riding lifestyle. After first getting physical exams and consulting with our doctor about the best way to accomplish our goal, we dove straight in. That very first day we removed all sweets and snacks from the house. No more candy, cookies, ice cream or cake. No more late-night snacks cuddled up on our recliners in front of the TV. No more pancakes, waffles or French toast drowning in maple syrup for breakfast (that one really hurt—I love waffles!). The next day we went to the gym in the morning, hitting the treadmills and stationary bicycles. Much to our chagrin, we found that neither of us could sustain more than about a half-mile at a time, at no more than 1.5 mph. Pretty sad. But we have made it a habit, and have hit the gym at least three days a week ever since. Seven months later, Cherrie is walking 2.5 miles at a stretch, at 3.1 miles per hour (on an incline, no less), and I’m biking about 15 miles uphill. We also joined a healthy living club, which is a sort of support group that meets once a week, and have made several other minor lifestyle changes. The result to date is that Cherrie has lost about 35 pounds and is suffering less from her arthritis, and I have lost about the same and have had my doctor reduce my diabetes medication by 50 percent. We both have seen significant improvements in our cholesterol levels, and an EKG indicated

a 30-percent improvement in my heart function. We are both still a long way from anything that could be considered “good” physical condition, but we’re working on it, and each little improvement only serves to strengthen our resolve to continue. We understand that the only way for this to work is for it to be a permanent change.

We are both still a long way from anything that could be considered “good” physical condition, but we’re working on it... We can’t stop the aging process, but we can slow its debilitating effects. Ten days from the day I am writing this, we will be leaving on a 60-day tour, covering approximately 10,000 miles. In preparing our routing and scheduling for attending a half-dozen motorcycling events along the way, I have added an extra two hours of off-bike time every other riding day to allow for exercising. This also means that when reserving hotel rooms, I will need to make sure we stay in places with exercise facilities. I suppose in a pinch we could just go out for a brisk walk, but to be honest, Cherrie doesn’t like to go out walking in unfamiliar neighborhoods. She’s a little paranoid that way. But another concern when it comes to lodging is finding places where healthy meals are easily accessible. After riding all day, we really don’t want to have to get back on the bike just to get dinner. This shouldn’t be a problem if a hotel has a restaurant on the premises, but most of the less-expensive ones don’t. In the past, we would often walk a block or so to the nearest fast food joint for a burger or a pizza, but that is no longer going to be an option unless it happens to be one of our “cheat days.” Once every two weeks or so (never less), we allow ourselves a meal outside of what are now our normal parameters. You can’t

imagine how great a loaded baked potato or a stack of pancakes tastes until you haven’t tasted such food for a month or more. As I am writing this, Cherrie is in the kitchen sorting through the hundreds of pills we need to take along for the ride. Between us, we take about eight different prescriptions a day, most of those being mine. It was quite a hassle getting the pharmacy to allow us to purchase several months’ supply in advance without special written permission from the doctor. I can’t for the life of me imagine why, as I doubt there is any kind of Mexican drug cartel or black market demand for prostate or blood pressure meds. I had to find a small, fold-up walker and stool for Cherrie that we can pack in the trailer for when her arthritis flares up. Some of the rallies we will be attending involve a considerable amount of walking, and I don’t want her to have to suffer or not get a chance to walk through the trade shows and such. As for myself, last week I developed a toothache, and upon going to the dentist, found I needed to have no less than three teeth yanked out of my head. As I couldn’t risk the problems of the situation getting worse while on the road, the teeth were removed two days ago. But that was nothing compared to tomorrow morning, when I will go into the hospital for ophthalmic surgery. I have a congenitally defective right eye, which I have lived with from birth but which couldn’t be corrected. I wear the strongest contact lens that can be made, but still the eye was only corrected to 20/450. And now, I also have a cataract problem. You might think this would be bad news, but, actually, it is very good news, as the surgical technique to fix my congenital defect is now available and can be done in conjunction with the cataract surgery. So within a week, I expect to be seeing correctly out of my right eye for the first time in my entire life. If you had asked me last year how much longer I thought my wife and I could continue to ride the way we have for most of our lives, I probably would have guessed we had no more than two or three years left to go. Now, with the combination of modern medical science and our personal commitment to a complete lifestyle change, I am honestly beginning to believe we might have another decade ahead of us on the open road. An

—Fred Rau MCNEWS.COM // AUGUST 2016


Next Month

Our trip should take about three years. I haven’t had the nerve to tell my wife yet. Motorcycles scheduled to appear in the September issue: Q Suzuki SV650 Q KTM 690 Duke

Innovation of the Month



ike many, I use my smartphone for a GPS while riding. Despite the technological leaps in motorcycle gear, it seems the majority of motorcycle gloves do not come equipped with touchscreen capability. After reading the “AnyGlove” product review in the July 2013 edition of MCN, I gave it a try with mixed results. Searching for an alternative, I stumbled on GloveTacts. Like AnyGlove, the product replicates the conductivity created by the human finger that would otherwise be blocked by a glove. This conductivity is what registers with your smart device’s screen to allow your finger to “click” and navigate apps. Rather than a liquid application like AnyGlove, GloveTacts accomplish this by adhesive pads that can be affixed to any finger of any glove. For the nominal cost of $9.99 (plus $1.99 shipping), I figured I would give them a try in the name of motorcycle science. Each GloveTacts pack comes with

GloveTacts allow riders touchscreen capability without having to remove their gloves.

two pads. This means if you don’t need two fingers for things like the “pinch to enlarge” function, one pack will provide touchscreen capability for two pairs of gloves (one pointer finger for each pair). The pads are made from what GloveTacts refers to as “AX Suede,” a thin, black, lightly grained material that resembles leather or leatherette. According to GloveTacts, the pads will stick to cotton, wool, leather, man-made leather, synthetics, and lycra. They also claim to be washing machine safe, yet can be removed, if needed. Just keep in mind that, once removed, the pads cannot be reapplied. I installed GloveTacts on the left-hand pointer finger of three different leather gloves and found the process to be a snap. The pads have a unique shape that is designed to fit the contours of a finger. They’re a little wider in the center, where your fingerprint would be centered, with a tab that is designed to slightly wrap over the fingertip of the glove. I found this shape works well on simpler glove/ finger designs, such as my waterproof heated gloves, but not as well with my more-race-inspired gloves, because the box-stitched finger meant having to either keep the pad farther toward the base of the finger or having it run over a stitched seam, which seems to create a potential area of weak adhesion. As far as performance goes, the GloveTacts worked as advertised, allowing my gloved finger to register inputs with my phone’s screen. I did find that inputs are a little clumsier compared to a naked finger, but this is more a factor of the bulk added by gloves versus the GloveTacts. Testing them while not moving, I was able to enter addresses, albeit with a few more mistakes than normal. More simple tasks such as scrolling through a page or selecting a prompt offering a shorter route worked perfectly. As of this writing, the adhesive seems to be holding up well, even on the more intricately stitched gloves. All in all, I would say that the ability to enter simple commands into my phone without having to remove my gloves makes GloveTacts a worthwhile purchase. They are made in the U.S., and can be purchased directly from the manufacturer’s website. —Jeremy C. Willard GloveTacts,




Motorcycle consumer news august 2016