Our expert mechanic will be going through basics and trouble shooting of the electrical systems on your bike. The workshop is free and open to anyone and will take about 1 hour. Feel free to ride in, stop by, come with a friend or come alone, just plan on learning some new things and meeting some good people!
From Greater Toronto Area Motorcycle forum. Link: here
Purchase a set of Sport Bike tires from Gator Custom and have them installed for $100.
Some restrictions apply. Please call or email for more details.
355 Bayly St. West, Ajax, Ont. , L1S 6M6 (905) 239-2886 email@example.com
From Greater Toronto Area Motorcycle forum. Link: here
Moto Revere is the GTA's First DIY Motorcycle Shop that is all about having fun, getting dirty and learning about your bike. Stop by on Friday night from 6-10pm for our Grand Opening BBQ and Meet-Up, we'll be grilling up some hot dogs, having some soda pops and a draw for some sweet swag as well as a Free Wyatt Membership. The BBQ is open to everyone who rides, wrenches, or is just curious about learning more about Motorcycles. Ride in, walk, TTC or drive, bring a friend or plan on making some there. Memberships will be available for purchase.
Moto Revere is located at 1250 Dupont Street, just West of Dufferin, across from the Galleria Mall. There is parking all along Dupont after 6 pm.
Check out more details Here!
From Greater Toronto Area Motorcycle forum. Link: here
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes took both wins this weekend at Donington Park – giving him a record-tying 8 in a row at this venue. In Race 1, Davide Giugliano (Ducati)finished second with the winner’s teammate Jonathan Rea third. Race 2 saw Rea come home second with Chaz Davies (Ducati) third. Rea continues to hold the championship […]... Click Here for Article
Here in ‘Murica, where MO’s editorial staff is based, tomorrow is Memorial Day, where we pay our respects to those who gave their life in the armed forces protecting this country. So for this week’s Church feature we’re going all-American and paying our respects to Buell Motorcycles, the motorcycle company parent company Harley-Davidson killed once the recession was at its height. Specifically, we’re featuring the 2007 Buell model lineup press launch. Fortunately for us, company founder Erik Buell has resurrected himself with EBR, though many still hold the Harley-powered Buells in high regard. Penning the words for this story is none other than Gabe Ets-Hokin, a quirky human perfect for writing about quirky motorcycles. To see more pics, check out the photo gallery.
Firebolts, Lightnings And An XB-RR: Buells In Bakersfield
2007 Buell Model Line-up Press Launch
By Gabe Ets-Hokin, Feb. 20, 2007
Photos by Tom Riles
Adding to my list of horrible geographic locations-you might recall I have dissed Phoenix and Alabama-is Bakersfield, CA. It is dusty, hot, polluted and in general a pretty grim place.
However, it does have the saving grace of being in between Buttonwillow Raceway Park, a sweet, three-mile sports car track 150 miles from LA, and highway 155, a twisty, beautifully-paved road that carries a motorcycle and rider from the grimy, overheated cesspool below to the cooler, cleaner mountains that rise above the California Central Valley.
So I won’t fault Buell American Motorcycles too much for choosing Bakersfield as the site of their 2007 Model Lineup press launch.
A fast pace in a grim place…
Let’s get this out of the way, to weed out readers who just want to know what’s new with Buell this year; new tires. That’s about it. Buell is ending their long relationship with Dunlop and has a new bride, sexy Italian tire maker Pirelli. Is this change important enough to write an entire feature article about? Maybe not. However, to spice things up, Buell brought a pair of their XB-RR racebikes and allowed the motley collection of journalists ride them at Buttonwillow. There are a couple of other changes to the Ulysses as well. Interested? After a complimentary hotel breakfast during which I suffered the indignities of consuming smoked salmon without bagels or even a trace of cream cheese, we gathered in a conference room for a tech briefing, which was probably remarkably similar to the prior year’s tech briefing.
Said briefing contained much interesting and pertinent information about what makes a Buell a Buell and why that is good. A room full of journalists gave out a slightly-disappointed “hmm” when company founder Erik Buell told us that 2007 is “a year of refinement.” However, the only thing that is really changing is the brand of tires, the seat on the Ulysses, and some bold new graphics.Pirelli’s people were up next to tell us about the tires on the Buells. Most of the product line will receive special version of the mass-market Pirelli Diablo tire. Designed for aggressive street riding and track days, the Diablo uses Pirelli’s patented 0-degree steel belt and rayon carcass.
This little guy is fun to kick around…the bike is good, too.
This gives the tire a lighter, more neutral feel, keeping the contact patch a consistent size for more neutral, confident handling. Icing on the big rubber cake is that the Buells will use “T”-spec Diablos, which use less rubber and a lighter bead to reduce weight and rotational mass. The front is 10 ounces lighter than a standard Diablo, and the rear weighs in at a more than a pound less.
The Ulysses and City X will now both get the Scorpion Synch, a tire designed for Supermoto use in Europe. It has a more aggressive, enduro-like tread pattern for better wet and dirt performance. We loved these tires on the City X last year, and there is no reason to believe they won’t work well on the Ulysses, too. Of all the models, the Ulysses gets the most re-vamping. Buell’s product planners and engineers listened to feedback from customers, internet chatrooms (they’ll learn) and even from half-witted magazine editors to make a few changes. For 2007, the Ulysses gets a re-designed seat that is not only lower and narrower at the front, but also uses “pressure mapping”–where a piece of pressure-sensitive material is placed under many different asses–to develop a truly comfortable touring seat. A gel seat is now offered for extra comfort, and for NBA centers, the original 2006 seat as well.
New airbox lid is made from 100% Peach Jolly Rancher candy. Stay out of the rain.
In addition to the new seat, the Ulysses gets a new triple-rate fork spring to firm up the front end. There’s also some new accessories, like a Buell-branded Garmin GPS system, a higher windscreen, hard luggage (a top case and side cases), and camouflage bodywork for some triple-digit duck hunting.
The rest of the line up gets new colors, like Cherry Bomb Red Translucid and Midnight black. There are new colors for the wheels and Thunderbolt windscreens, and the “tank” graphics are new as well. That “tank” is actually the airbox lid, and it has been re-vamped across the line as well. Enough about spec sheets; it is time to ride the bikes. It’s already up to 88 degrees at 10 in the morning as we leave the air-conditioned womb of our hotel and walk over to the 2007 Buells. The new translucid colors and giant Buell emblems look great in the bright sunlight, and I pick a Ulysses to start the day on; there’s going to be some straight-line droning before we get on the two-lane twisty road to Lake Isabella, and I want to test the new seat.
Gabe wondering how the hell he’s going to get back down the hill.
The bike is still absurdly tall for 5’6″ editors, but not as bad as last year. I can get one foot down, anyway, and the bike is so easy to ride I’m out on the road with little difficulty, sliding the back tire and popping teeny wheelies as I follow the rest of the pack to the freeway. Out on the road, the Buell displays the same smooth ride, good handling manners and great comfort we reported in our 2005 Sport Touring test. The long-travel suspension takes some getting used to, although the new triple-rate springs minimize the see-saw effect bikes with long-travel suspension tend to have during aggressive riding. The motor is perfect for fast, flowing roads, and it feels like it would be plenty strong even two-up with luggage.
I have a brief opportunity to ride the big orange bike on a winding dirt road up to a photo location, and I follow photographer Tom Riles as he performs Unnatural Acts with his hapless rental car (never, ever buy a rental car, as Tom really gets around). In the dirt, the Ulysses feels heavy and large for a small, novice dirt biker, but still has surprising grip and nimbleness. Cruising up the hill, I am alarmed when the bike jumps over a couple of hidden bumps, but relieved when it comes down in one solid piece, without the chassis becoming upset. In deeper dirt I notice the same unsteady feel the Triumph Tiger shares, but I think this can be overcome by not being me and riding faster. However, more expert dirt riders will want cleated footpegs, to help keep their feet on the pegs, and slightly higher bars for when they are standing on those grippier pegs. The tires, although offering more grip than tires like this reasonably should in the dirt, are still a far cry from knobbies. However, the Ulysses is not really intended as a dirt bike; rather, it is for gently exploring dirt roads so Buell-mounted tourists aren’t restricted from the 35 percent of US roads that are still, even in this day and age, unpaved, according to Buell.
It’s much more interesting than James Joyce’s Ulysses.
I’ve had limited experience on Buells up to now, having only evaluated the XB9SX city cross in our in our Value Middleweights comparison test and the Ulysses in the Sport Touring comparo last year. So naturally, I was wondering, like many of you might be wondering, which Buell is best? Is the tucked-in seating position of the Firebolt series better for hustling the bike through a series of turns? Will the torque of the 1200cc motor overcome the extra 700 RPM the smaller 985 motor offers?
I can answer one question definitely; the Supermoto-esque seating position on the Lightnings is the way to go for street riding. Your head is up to see through the curves, your back is comfortable, and most importantly, the footpegs feel much more rational than the high and forward pegs on the Firebolts. On the street, ground clearance shouldn’t be an issue (and the peg feelers come off it is for you, although I think you need therapy more than ground clearance if that is the case) and the legroom means you can ride much further and longer than a Firebolt-mounted rider can.
On the street, the bigger motor makes more sense for the majority of riders, although those used to Japanese fours (and Italian twins) might prefer the fizzier revving of the XB9. It gives you a bit of over-rev that keeps you from shifting too much if you are really going for it. The City X is just as much fun as I remembered, with nimble handling and a comfortable seat with more leg room. But that big 1200 motor is great, with a deep, rumbling vibration that is never intrusive, thanks to Buell’s Uniplanar mounting system, and heaps, waves, mounds of torque available at around 3,000 RPM. On both motors, power is good but not great; the last XB9 we tested made 72 HP at the back wheel and the last XB12 made 87. It’s enough to get sent to jail and enough to have more than a good time.
The City X is back for ’07 and as good as always.
The bikes are far from perfect, even if you don’t mind double-digit horsepower. Fuel injection is good enough for me but not as perfect as you would expect from other factories. I heard popping and pinging from the exhaust and cylinder head, and power delivery is kind of flat and slow, even if redline is reached all-too-soon. The gearboxes are still clunky, requiring plenty of clutch and smooth throttle to counteract the imperfect fuel injection and abrupt engine braking. Hey, you want torque, you got torque. Having a flounder-flat torque “curve” has its price. However, the XB’s chassis and brakes make for a solid platform to enjoy the ride from, just like last year and the year before that. What is new–Pirelli tires across the line-up– adds to the whole experience.
One thing that made all of us at MO take notice of the City X was the Pirelli tires, and they complement the other models just as well. They are light, turn progressively and evenly, and grip well too, giving you lots of confidence in sandy, greasy or gravel-strewn corners. That lightness is at the expense of tire life, but I don’t think replacing the lighter “T” spec tires with standard issue Diablos will damp your fun too much. The mix of bikes made for one of the most satisfying days of riding I’ve had for a while. This could be because highway 155 is beautiful: winding, well-paved and almost free of cars on a weekday.
Buells have always had an unmistakable feel to them that reflects their designer’s desire to make motorcycles that are fun and satisfying to ride on any kind of road, and Harley’s cash infusion has polished the rough edges enough so you’re not worried about straying too far from home or agonized by uncomfortable ergonomics. There may be better sportbikes for the street, but I always think of Buells first. A 200-mile day of riding comes to a close. We go to bed after more meat, Scotch and a trip to the go-kart track courtesy of Harley-Davidson. The next morning we arisehome his Gospel. It’s all stuff we’ve heard before, although I find a few items interesting.
The darker frame tells you this is the 1200 motor.
bright and early to shovel down some more rubbery scrambled eggs and bagel-less lox to attend yet another tech briefing before the track day. The Man himself gives the talk, to further pound
First, a Buell sportbike has about half the parts of a Japanese 600cc or liter machine. This allows Buell to make and purchase higher-quality components while still keeping the price reasonable. Also, fewer parts means they can use more precision machining, meaning less slop and a tighter feel, even on older bikes.
Belt drive is also a cool thing more manufacturers should jump on, in my opinion. Belts offer less unsprung mass, cleaner, quieter operation, and eliminate maintenance. I have severe chain-a-phobia; I loathe cleaning and lubing chains, and I am hopeless at aligning axles. Sure, tell me all about your string and laser pointers or shaman rituals you claim are so easy to do to align your chain, but when Erik tells me about a system that goes 100,000 miles without wearing out or being adjusted, I am sold.
A belt also loses the same amount of power to friction as a clean, new chain, but is more efficient than a dirty, misadjusted one. And how many of you out there right now have perfectly clean, adjusted and lubricated chains? Not me. To top it all off, Erik said a belt is “a quarter the weight of a chain”. All of these benefits are “better for the customer”, so even if it costs a lot more money (which eats into what must be an already slim profit margin for a small-volume manufacturer) it’s still “the right thing to do.”
The physics of Erik’s Zero Torsional Load (ZTL) system of his lightweight wheels and brakes bear mentioning as well. The front wheel, tire and rotor of a 2007 Ulysses are a full 10 pounds lighter than the front hoop assembly on a BMW R1200GS. This translates to all kinds of advantages with names like “turn inertia” and “spin inertia” with complex formulae that make me dizzy to look at. Still, you don’t need to be Stephen Hawking to understand the advantages of less unsprung mass. Finally, where is it written that the gas tank has to be up here and the exhaust pipe has to be out there?
As far as I can tell, gas tanks are behind the steering stem above the motor because that’s where it made sense to put them on the first motorcycles, which were bicycles with motors clipped to them. However, technology and time marches on, and Erik thinks “it’s stupid to have the tank up here”. It raises the bike’s center of gravity and takes away valuable airbox space (some of you may remember the awful breadbox-sized thing sticking off the side of older Buell models). Why not put the gas in the frame? And the oil in the swingarm? And while we’re at it, tuck that exhaust way under the bike.
Placing it up high under the seat or sticking out to one side looks cool, but it does detract from handling. And to vindicate Mr. Buell, observe how other manufacturers-like Yamaha and Suzuki-have followed suit in recent years.
A squeaking chorus of glee arose from the assembled journalists when we were told we would get to ride the factory-prepped XB-RR racebike. The announcement was even enough to mask our disappointment to find that the only big change for the rest of the line was new tires. Designed for Formula Extreme competition, it’s basically a much-enhanced XB12R designed for use by privateers. The engine is a modified XB12 Thunderstorm motor. The stock bore of 88.9 mm is hogged out to 103.6, and stroke is decreased to 79.4 mm to create a higher-revving motor displacing 1,339 cc, near the class limit of 1350 cc. Compression goes to 12.5:1 from the stock 10:1, fed by bigger (than my freakin’ head!) 62mm throttle bodies. Air and small birds are funneled into the giant airbox through a ram-air system. This is good for 150 HP measured at the crank, and tuners can use the included Windows-based fuel injection programming software to make the motor run perfectly or order Cialis from Canadian pharmacies.
Buell generously painted the XB-RR to match Gabe’s helmet.
Chassis changes are similarly straight forward. The stock XB chassis is modified simply by welding Ulysses sideplates onto the frame (to increase fuel capacity to 4.4 gallons) and the addition of a new swingarm with billet axle adjustment plates for the chain final drive conversion. Suspension is by Ohlins; a 43mm fork in front and a linkage-less shock in the rear. There is still only one perimeter-mounted brake disc on the all-magnesium wheel, but it uses an eight-piston caliper with four pads. Grab-ola! The entire package is wrapped up in wind-tunnel designed bodywork reminiscent of the old Harley-Davidson roadracers from the early 70’s.
It weighs in at 362 pounds (the minimum allowable weight is 350), about 30 less than the stock bike. About 50 will be built this season for pre-approved racers, mostly Buell and Harley-Davidson dealerships with existing racing teams. Pricing will be $30,995.
One big eight-piston caliper-brake-a-palooza! Big and beautiful.
Production was delayed by some glitches early in the season that have been corrected. The main issue was a “weak gear pitch”, which caused a failure at Daytona. This problem has been corrected by using an off-the-shelf gearset, although it delayed production. Also, moving the timing rotor to the other side of the crank created a “resonant wave”, according to Erik, that caused other problems. With a few other little fixes, Erik has declared the XB-RR ready for battle; will it be strong enough to make an impact on the world of club and national road racing?
After spending much of the day riding the stock Buells on the racetrack, it’s my turn to experience the XB-RR firsthand. The bike’s been warmed up by a morning underneath maniac racer Steve Crevier and numerous journalists, yet it’s running strong as it sits idling, waiting for me. The seat is higher than stock, but everything else feels just like an XB12R; the footpegs and bars are in the standard positions. I just have to get used to the GP shift pattern; it’s distracting as I have only infrequently ridden a bike so equipped. The bike accelerates briskly out of the pit lane, but the power isn’t unmanageable or even particularly strong; just sharp and linear, pulling from ridiculously low RPMs all the way to over 8,000.
“It’s just a faster, lighter XB12 like you’ve been riding all day,” I try to convince myself. I know I have to make a good showing of it; I don’t want to be the guy everybody passed while riding the XB-RR.
Can you say “free-flowing”?
That said, I snick the much-improved gearbox (it uses straight-cut and surface-treated gears) up into fourth and screw it on entering the long, sweeping turn on the west end of the race course. The tach needle swings past 6,000 and the bike lunges forward, the compliant, yet controlled Ohlins suspension making molehills out of the mountainous bumps on that part of the track.
The illusion of being on a very fast streetbike comes to a halt when I slow for the Lost Hills elevation change, a sharp right hander that crests a blind rise (where I almost purchased some GSXR 1000 bodywork during our Open Superbike test). As the bike’s massive engine braking abruptly slows the bike, heat wells up under the big Lucifer’s Hammer-style fairing and starts to cook my right hand, practically burning it. It’s good incentive to keep on the gas, so I slide my right hand as far to the end of the grip as I can and keep going. The bike’s rigid chassis, quick steering and incredible stability are quite impressive. It feels a lot like the stock XB12R until you give it a handful of brakes and almost get launched over the bars; the brake is incredibly strong for a single disc, single-caliper system.
Erik could have gone with conventional brakes for the racer and nobody would have said anything, but he wanted to prove the efficacy of the ZTL design. I am here to tell you it works. In fact, everything on the bike worked well in my rigorous two and a half-lap testing cycle. Is it reliable? Buell brought out two XB-RRs for the track day, but only one would be available to ride, with the second on hand as a spare. After Crevier rode all morning, and 16 or so journalists rode it three and a half laps apiece, the bike was still running as fast (and hot) as it was when Steve Crevier blew past me like I was going backwards during the first session. The B-bike never left the garage.
Erik Buell sometimes rides in the tail section to take notes.
Were it not for the unfamiliarity with the reversed shifting and massive heat coming from under the fairing, it would have been like riding a very well set-up privateer racebike, and that is Erik’s goal. Even back in the early 80’s, Erik wanted to build a bike a privateer could be competitive on without having a budget like the Pentagon’s. He doesn’t want to conquer the world with a factory Buell race time, rather, he’s just “looking for a real show of competence.” Considering this will be competing against 600cc Supersports, Ducati 749s, and SV650s, it seems to be well-suited for its intended mission. If the sportbike-riding public begins to see Buells frequently winning in real races, with real riders on local tracks, the Buell’s message of real-world functionality and fun will be hard to deny.
How well do all these features work on the track? Are they enough to overcome the lack of power from the air-cooled V-twin and produce a memorable experience? Who the hell cares; I’m at one of the best tracks in California looking at 20 different motorcycles I can ride to my heart’s content. I decide to get it over with and see how the Ulysses is on the track. I’m expecting it to feel big, heavy and wallowy through high-speed turns.
Compared to the rest of the line-up, I’m right, but the bike is still fun. It has light steering, good brakes, and it holds its line well in a turn. It demands more respect than the other Buells; the softer, longer-travel suspension moves around a lot if you try to snap it into turns like a TZ250, and the pegs drag distressingly early, but if you ride at a comfortable, yet brisk pace, it finds a rhythm that is very fun and satisfying. You’ll still get passed a lot, though.
This seat is lower than last year’s and just as comfy.
However, if you just view trackdays as an occasional means of building your skills rather than a way to subjugate the other primates in your social group with a ritual show of athletic dominance, the Ulysses is beyond OK; it’s a fine choice for a track bike, a choice made even better when you pack your cooler and leathers onto it at the end of the day and ride it home two-up.
If you do want to show up the other monkeys, swing down from your tree onto a Firebolt. With high pegs and a compact seating position, the XB12R suddenly makes perfect sense, setting your body up to lever the bike into high-speed turns and drag knees and elbows. The light front wheel and roadracer steering geometry allow the stubby bars to steer the bike effortlessly, and the motor has enough torque to minimize what is still a pretty crude-feeling gearbox. Clutchless upshifting requires more coordination than a Japanese design, and the 6,800 RPM power peak requires more shifting than a torquey motor like this should. Still, the rigid chassis and very good suspension (I forgot completely that none of these bikes, not even the XB-RR, have a suspension linkage) allow this bike to do incredible things in the right hands.
Still, I’m more comfortable on the Lightning series, and a session with the City X feels like lunch with an old friend. It has all the chassis rigidity and feedback of the bigger bikes, but feels lighter and more nimble thanks to the higher-revving motor. It’s just an extra 700 RPM, but it somehow feels easier to ride, and you don’t miss the extra 13 horses, since you’re carrying so much corner speed. The lower pegs and higher bars on the Lightnings make racetrack riding a much more comfortable affair, and I only ground the pegs in a few spots, although the faster riders noticed it much more. The lack of wind protection would be serious on a faster track like Willow Springs, but even at 110 MPH I didn’t mind the windblast and even welcomed its cooling effects.
Riding the XB9R is like making love in the back seat of a Volkswagen; fun, but cramped.
The Lightning Long and Lightning cg produced some surprises for me. The cg-lowered one inch in the seat and .75 inches in the suspension-had that same light, manic feel that the City X had, while the Long actually felt heavy-steering and bland. However, the cg had a very pronounced scoop in the seat that made it hard to tuck in on the bike on straightaways and sweeping turns; I had to perch my butt on the passenger pad. Anyone taller than 5’5″-and there’s a few of you out there, I think-might feel cramped on this bike, although you can just get a taller seat for it. If you’re starting to think that the XB model line has produced a lot of choices, you’re right. The two different chassis setups and two different motors can be mixed and matched to suit all kinds of riders; I heard few complaints, even though the assembled journalists were sized from 6’7″ and 340 pounds to itty bitty guys like me, and every level of expertise was there as well, from weekend Harley enthusiast to National Roadracing champs.
With pricing from $8,895 to $11,495 (the same as last year) Buell is in the moderate price range. For such a carefully-planned, low-volume product line, it seems cheap. I could be very happy riding a Buell for a while, even if there is nothing really new to report for 2007. Erik’s motorcycles are unique and fun enough to be captivating year after year.
Keeping Your Cool
We’ve already established that Bakersfield in July is a very bad place. However, Buttonwillow Raceway is an excellent place any month, as it is a racetrack and you have a motorcycle. Still, riding a motorcycle in the heat is exhausting and as your brain and body start to overheat, dangerous. How to keep cool to maximize your time on track and minimize your time panting in the shade?
Hydrate! You should be drinking constantly when it’s extremely hot. If you feel at all thirsty and your urine isn’t close to clear (or at least the color of Budweiser), you are already dehydrated. Just like cold weather or rain, hot-weather riding is OK if you dress and prepare for it. If you’re riding on the street, you can carry a Camelback or similar hydration system to sip from frequently. Avoid caffeinated drinks like soda, coffee or iced tea. Gatorade and similar products are OK, but you should be drinking more water than sports drinks.
Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion so you know when to come off the track or stop riding. Signs can include: impaired judgment (signing up for a track day or vintage racing doesn’t count). nausea and fatigue cold, clammy skin and shortness of breath hot, dry skin (this is very serious) cramping (unless it’s just your time of month) Wear vented exterior clothing with a wicking layer underneath to keep your skin cool and dry.
Damp clothing against the skin, if it isn’t being ventilated, can get uncomfortable. I see riders with unvented black leathers in the mornings on hot track days, but they seem to be gone by mid-afternoon. The Buell people gave us “Neck Coolie” devices to help us stay cool. These are bandannas filled with an ultra-absorbent polymer powder that soaks up a huge amount of water and stays damp for a long time. Having the evaporative cooling effect on your neck (where it can cool the blood flowing to your brain and back to your heart, in case there are some MOrons out there with both a brain and a heart) makes the ambient temperature noticeably cooler. I “forgot” to give it back and will wear it until the powder leaches away, which happens eventually. Fortunately they are available for about $6, or if you are as cheap as Pete, you can make your own. Moisture-wicking underwear made of polyester or other synthetic fibers can make riding in hot weather a cooler and drier experience. Buell sells a branded wicking T, but many manufacturers sell T-shirts, underwear and socks that aren’t $40.
The moisture-wicking stuff is great not only because it helps to keep you cool (and warm in cold weather, if worn under an insulating layer), but also because you can rinse it out quickly in a sink and it will dry much faster than cotton. That way you can pack three or four sets of underwear for a week or two, saving room in your luggage for gadgets, pornography, beef jerky, single-malt Scotch or Beanie Babies.
Regardless of an individual’s position on firearms, the simple fact of the matter is that motorcycle ownership and firearm ownership often go hand in hand.
There are millions of peaceable, law-abiding, motorcyclists who own firearms for a wide variety of reasons, typically personal protection or for the simple enjoyment of target shooting or hunting. You’ve probably heard it a million times and argued for or against it in several different ways, but the right tokeep and bear arms is guaranteed under the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
But that right to bear is not absolute, and exercising it properly has a lot in common with riding your favorite two-wheeler on public roads. Simply put, enjoying either freedom requires tremendous discipline in order to avoid running afoul of local laws. Ignorance of a specific law is no excuse, and that includes laws governing a person’s right to carry, or even transport, a firearm on a motorcycle. Riding with a gun is easy to do and nothing to be afraid of, but it is the responsibility of any motorcyclist to ensure that he or she transports any firearm in a manner that is compliant with the laws governing their route.
After enduring California’s mandatory 10-day waiting period, Sean rode to his favorite local gun shop to retrieve our loaned Springfield test pistol.
Knowing what is allowable, and what is required, under federal, state and local laws can mean the difference between being able to exercise a right and possibly losing it for good. Get it right, and there is really nothing to fear. Get it wrong and you could face fines, arrest, court appearances, or even incarceration…. A loss of mucho dinero – or worse – no matter how you slice it.
Ignorance of a specific law is no excuse, and that includes laws governing a person’s right to carry, or even transport, a firearm on a motorcycle.
Please note our wording from above: “a person’s right to carry, or even transport…”, we worded it that way because those two terms refer to distinctly different acts in the legal context of firearms. “Carrying” a firearm is the act of having a ready to use firearm on your person or easily accessible on/in your vehicle. However, “transporting” is simply the act of moving personal firearm(s) from one place to another. In the eyes of the law “carrying” is a much more serious and complex issue.
Franky, we wanted to know the ins and outs ourselves, because several Motorcycle.com staffers are avid shooters who naturally also happen to spend a lot of time on motorcycles. It is logical to assume that we aren’t alone, so transporting a firearm on a motorcycle without a concealed carry permit is a subject of great interest to us. Thus, we did some digging and found workable solutions for most situations.
That said, it important to note that we are not dispensing legal advice here, and neither we nor our parent company should be considered liable for any legal hassles that arise from following the suggestions contained herein. Anyone considering the transportation of a firearm while riding a motorcycle should contact their local law enforcement agencies or check with an attorney to clarify the legal requirements in their locales. In the end, it is your responsibility to know and obey the specific laws governing your ride route(s).
We chose Springfield Armory’s XD-9 Essentials pistol for our feature. This affordable 9mm semi-automatic is a popular choice among firearms enthusiasts.
For this investigation, Motorcycle.com began with the support of Springfield Armory and the loan of a brand new Springfield XD Essentials 9mm pistol. As with most of his personal firearms, our Editorial Director, Sean Alexander, chose the XD-9 for the primary purpose of target shooting, although its 4-inch barrel offers a nice compromise between compactness and providing sufficient velocity for the 9mm cartridge to do its most effective work in a self-defense situation. Frankly, a tiny “carry” pistol wasn’t something in which we were interested, since none of us currently possess a CCW permit in our home state of California. At the range the relatively inexpensive XD proved surprisingly nice to shoot with a natural pointing ability and smooth cycling from shot to shot. It was also extremely accurate for a sub-$500 production pistol straight out of the box and it reliably fed and fired several different types of ball target and hollow-point defense ammunition ranging from 115 – 147 grains. It’s an impressive piece, especially considering its $459.99 price point at our local gun store.
Assuming that a firearm owner is in good legal standing to transport a firearm for lawful purposes but does not possess a concealed carry permit for their state or county, transporting a firearm on a motorcycle can be done, but we’ve found that it must be done a certain way in most states if you want to avoid being hassled by the man.
In some states, the process is easy-peasy. Currently, a number of states are classified as “unrestricted,” meaning that a person in good legal standing can even open carry or conceal the firearm during transport with no permit required. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Idaho (effective July 1, 2016), Kansas, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia (effective June 5, 2016) and Wyoming. For the rest of the United States, concealed carry and open carry are subject to restriction either by the state as a whole or even from city to city or from county to county. The waters are especially murky if you live in New York or Maryland, where the Big Apple itself prohibits possession of any firearm while traveling within the city limits unless you have a state-issued permit. Likewise, Washington D.C. has restrictive possession and carry laws.
If you’re a motorcyclist who has made the decision to purchase a firearm, your responsibilities are just beginning. After taking delivery, the first thing you need to think about is how to transport your new purchase without running afoul of the law should you be stopped by police.
Our recommendation? Know the requirements of these areas before you make the decision to ride a motorcycle with a gun in your possession, or just avoid these parts of the country altogether. If you do get stopped in one of these restrictive areas, it is best to make it clear from the get-go that you are just passing through, and that may not fly at all if you happen to be pulled over on a surface street in downtown Manhattan or Washington D.C..
The good news is that federal law recognizes the right of any law-abiding citizen to transport a firearm from point to point for lawful purposes as long as certain conditions are met. Title 18 Section 926(a) The Peaceable Journey Act, under Part 1, Chapter 44, of the federal code provides that:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation, the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, that in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”
That’s comforting, except that what constitutes “lawful transport” may vary from state to state, and being stopped by law enforcement and found to be in possession of a firearm in places with more stringent gun regulations, such as New York, Washington D.C., Illinois or California, may create hassles you never dreamed of. For instance, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii (on handguns only), Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York also have laws that restrict magazine capacity on semi-automatic firearms — usually to 10 rounds — and it is a major violation for anyone to import magazines able to accept more rounds than are allowed in those states.
For motorcyclists, transporting a firearm “out of reach” means placing the firearm into a locked gun case and then placing that case inside a saddlebag or backpack whenever possible. Keeping any ammunition inside the other locked saddlebag, or in a separate locked box within the backpack is a smart way to go.
So, as you can see, transporting a firearm lawfully and for legal purposes requires a lot of careful research, but does that mean you shouldn’t do it? That’s your decision to make. We would, but we’re also confident that our method of transportation will survive legal scrutiny.
First and foremost, most states require that any firearm transported –for lawful purposes from one place where it is legal to possess it to another place where it is legal to possess it– be unloaded. That’s common sense but it’s also just the tip of the iceberg.
It is important to note that slipping an unloaded firearm into your jacket pocket and heading out on the highway is an invitation to trouble, since that constitutes a “carry” situation and most states require a permit if you want to “carry” concealed (out of sight). While it is true that carry permit reciprocity between states has increased over the past few years, if you plan to carry a concealed firearm in a restricted state you need to be absolutely certain that where you are going recognizes the permit issued by your home state. Otherwise, things could quickly turn criminally ugly.
But if you don’t have a specific permit, the smartest way to avoid a “carry” hassle is simply to follow the rules of the Peaceable Journey Act by keeping your firearm stored in a locked container out of your immediate reach during transport. For motorcyclists, that means transporting the firearm in a locked container within a saddlebag or backpack whenever possible, and keeping any ammunition in a separate locked container, like the other saddlebag, or a separate locked box.
The luxury of saddlebags means the author is able to place the locked pistol case into one bag, while placing the locked ammo box (green box in Scott’s left hand above) into the other saddle bag prior to transport.
What if you don’t have a lockable case or a saddlebag in which to store your gun during “transport”? Even more precautions should be taken, such as rendering the firearm inoperable via the addition of a trigger lock, long padlock or a lockable cable that extends through the breech, the barrel or the magazine well of your gun. If you should be pulled over and are asked to present the firearm to a law enforcement officer, the fact that you are transporting a firearm locked in this manner will act as a strong signal to the officer that your intention is not to commit a crime or violate any “carry” laws.
And how would an officer know that you have a firearm in your backpack or saddlebag? Simple: If stopped for any reason, you’re going to calmly and clearly declare it. Immediately.
And how would an officer know that you have a firearm in your backpack or saddlebag? Simple: If stopped for any reason, you’re going to calmly and clearly declare it. Immediately. That in itself may sound like an invitation to search and seizure, and you might feel that such an admission right off the bat is somehow violating your right to privacy. If you want to set that kind of adversarial tone, more power to ya’, but you may already be in violation of the law if you keep your mouth shut because several states — even some with unrestricted carry and transport laws — have enacted “Duty to Inform” statutes that make it incumbent on any person in possession of a firearm to inform the officer of that fact when they interact with law enforcement.
Alaska (Alaska Stat. Ann. §11.61.220), Arkansas (Ark Admin. Code 130.00.8-3-2(b), Delaware (Griffen v. State, 47 A.3d 487), Illinois (430 ILCS 66/10), Louisiana, Michigan (MCL 28.425f(3)), Nebraska (Neb. Rev. Stat. §69-2440), North Carolina (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §14-415.11), Ohio (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2923.16), Oklahoma (Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, §1290.8), South Carolina (§23-31-215) and Texas (must provide permit when asked for ID, §411.205) all have such statutes on the books, but even if you’re not sure whether the state you’re in has such a law, our suggestion is still to let the officer know that you are responsibly and lawfully transporting your firearm, and if he or she asks to see it, you should calmly and slowly tell them where it is and ask for their permission to get it out beforeyou go reaching for it.
More than likely, doing so will put the officer’s mind at ease that your intent is to comply with the law and that you are willing to cooperate fully. That simple act will often go a long way toward helping you if you are actually in violation of some obscure law or another minor offense such as speeding. Granted, it’s no guarantee, but know it works because, on more than one occasion, some of our staffers (Sean) have been let off with a warning for such violations simply because they were forthright and cooperative about the fact that they were legally transporting a firearm. Don’t count on it, but it sure seems to help.
Don’t speed excessively or ride recklessly with a firearm… not getting stopped in the first place is a great way to avoid law enforcement interactions while transporting your gun.
If you are stopped and you calmly present an unloaded and inoperable firearm in a locked container and show any ammunition is locked in a separate container, the officer may still insist on hassling you about it. If so, remain calm and by all means do not argue on the side of the road. However, it may also be possible that he or she simply isn’t certain about what is permissible when it comes to legal transport for lawful purposes. That’s why we suggest keeping a printed copy of the Peaceable Journey Act, complete with the title and section numbers, with you at all times. After all, it is federal law, which ultimately supersedes state or local laws whether the officer wants to admit it or not. Having a copy on hand is no “get out of jail free” card, and your intention is not to argue with the police but simply to make it clear that you have done your homework on the issue.
If you still don’t feel confident that you will avoid being “busted” even if you follow the aforementioned guidelines for legal “transport”, consider that virtually the same requirements are set forth in Canadian law. Our research of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website revealed that what Canada considers “non-restricted” firearms (basically any rifle or shotgun that does not feature automatic-fire capability) must be unloaded during transportation, while restricted and prohibited firearms (namely revolvers and handguns) must be unloaded, affixed with a secure locking device such as a trigger lock, padlock or a lockable cable through the barrel or the magazine well and locked in a sturdy, non-transparent container. Canadian law even specifies that automatic firearms have their bolts or bolt carriers removed if they can be removed. Canada also requires that a citizen obtain an Authorization to Transport, and the RCMP website even provides a contact phone number.
A fast motor drive on the camera and some rapid fire by Sean made this muzzle blast photo possible…. after about 25 takes. Putting the ammo on an expense report made it all worthwhile.
At the end of the day, transporting any legal firearm on your motorcycle for lawful purposes, such as when heading to the range, your favorite hunting spot or your local gunsmith, need not be a source of anxiety as long as you follow these guidelines:
Transport your firearm unloaded.
Do store your firearm in a locked container.
Do store ammunition in a separate, locked container.
Do transport firearms and ammunition as far away from easy reach as is practically possible for that vehicle (for a motorcycle that means a backpack or saddlebags).
Do enjoy shooting. Do enjoy riding… do NOT enjoy shooting while riding.
Don’t carry a loaded firearm unless you have a permit to do so.
Don’t carry a firearm inside your jacket or clothing unless you have a concealed carry permit or that particular state specifically allows it without a permit.
Don’t transport a firearm within easy reach.
Do not handle, show, or demonstrate the firearm outside of your garage, a firing range, or a gun shop.
Don’t speed excessively or ride recklessly with a firearm… not getting stopped in the first place is a great way to avoid law enforcement interactions while transporting your gun.
While following this advice may not exempt you from being hassled by the man in the event you get pulled-over, properly locking and storing your firearm during lawful transportation will significantly reduce your chances of being locked up.
A MO reader offers his first-hand experiences on legally “carrying” a concealed firearm while riding
While researching this story, we figured there had to be a few Motorcycle.com readers who actually carry a concealed firearm while riding and who have obtained a permit to do so. Finding one was easy, as our recent point-counterpoint on firearms generated a fair amount of reader feedback. One of those readers was John Butrus of Dallas, Texas, a lawyer who also happens to moonlight as a professional poker player.
Butrus, 55, often rides his Kawasaki Concours 14 from state to state to play in poker tournaments, and he carries his firearm whenever and wherever he is legally allowed to do so.
“I took up riding about five years ago, and mostly what I like to do is go on long trips,” Butrus said. “I cross state lines a lot, I go to national parks and state parks. And, obviously, when you ride you wind up in restaurants and bars. I go to sporting events.”
Being a lawyer, Butrus did a lot of research into the legalities of carrying a firearm on his person when travelling on his motorcycle, although he stresses that he is not here to dispense legal advice; he is merely relating his own experiences, and his mindset, with regard to carrying a firearm.
“I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t wind up somewhere where it is a big problem,” Butrus said. “Like, for example, if I took a gun and rode to New York or New Jersey, that could be a major problem if I got stopped.”
Part of the issue that permitted carry holders face is simply keeping up to date on all of the changes in the gun laws from state to state. Lately, the trend has been that states are becoming more permissive when it comes to carrying a firearm. In Butrus’ home state of Texas, for example, the law was recently changed to allow persons with a valid concealed carry permit (CCW) to also open carry — in other words, carry a loaded firearm that is visible for all to see. Prior to January 1, the law required that CCW permit holders were required to keep their gun concealed at all times. That created some problems, according to Butrus.
“For example, if you are riding somewhere and you kept your gun concealed in a tank bag, and you stopped for gas, you either had to leave the gun in your tank bag or figure out a way to carry it on your person. But if someone saw you holding the gun, then it is no longer concealed. Texas was also considering letting everyone open carry, but that’s just kind of ridiculous. So, they limited it only to people who qualify for the (CCW) license.”
Like many of the gun laws themselves, CCW permit qualification requirements often differ from state to state. The vetting process usually involves a comprehensive application procedure that includes a thorough background check, personal interviews by law enforcement, fingerprinting and the applicant’s ability to demonstrate that he or she can safely operate a firearm as well as use proper judgment in a situation that could mean the difference between life and death.
And some states are classified as “shall issue” while others are “may issue” when it comes to CCW permits. Currently, 41 states are “shall issue,” meaning that anyone who clears the vetting process in their state must be granted a CCW permit. Nine states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island — are “may issue,” which leaves discretion for issuing a CCW permit to state or local authorities, who will usually stipulate that an applicant be able to show “good cause” for carrying a concealed weapon.
There appears to be no one-size-fits-all reason when it comes to being able to demonstrate good cause, and although this requirement has recently been challenged in the State of California, the argument that it is within one’s Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms simply does not qualify as good cause. And even if a person is issued a CCW permit in their home state, that does not mean that the permit is necessarily valid across state lines.
“There are a ton of websites that tell people which states have reciprocity, and every state has different requirements. And the thing is that if you would not qualify to carry in that state, you are not allowed to carry in that state. For example, if I ride into New Mexico, which I do all the time, New Mexico might have a provision that says that you cannot get a concealed carry permit if you are behind on child support — and I’m just being hypothetical here. I don’t know if that is the case. But if that were the case, and Texas does have reciprocity with New Mexico on concealed carry permits, and you get stopped in New Mexico and they find out that you are behind on child support, you are not eligible to carry in New Mexico. It is fairly complicated to figure out if you can carry concealed in another state with reciprocity. You really have to study their statutes to know whether you would qualify to carry in their state.”
And there is even more to carefully consider when crossing state lines with a concealed firearm. After all, it stands to reason that most permit holders do so in the interest of self-defense, but it is also crucial that they have an understanding of what constitutes self-defense.
“The law for use of deadly force varies,” Butrus said. “Hopefully you would never get into a situation where you might actually have to shoot someone, but you sure as hell want to make sure you are justified in doing it. I’ll give you a quick example in Texas: I don’t know why, but a couple years ago they changed the law so that if someone is creating mischief on your property you can shoot them. I think it was because prowlers were getting shot and then they wanted to hold the homeowner liable. But if you don’t know when you can use your gun, you could end up in major trouble.”
Although admittedly never having been in that situation, Butrus has found that the law enforcement officers he has encountered have been very understanding when made aware that he has a concealed carry permit and is carrying his firearm
“One time I was on my way back from New Mexico, and I was just east of Lubbock [Texas],” Butrus said. “It was early in the morning and it was a wide open road, and I was just kind of enjoying the ride when I came over a hill. There was a sheriff on the left shoulder, and he pulled me over and said I was going 104 mph. When I got my license out, he saw that I was carrying a concealed carry permit. Now, a lot of times I will just show them my permit anyway while I am giving them my driver’s license because that tells them you’re not a dangerous person and that you don’t have a criminal history. That will sometimes calm them down a little bit, and he ended up just letting me off with a warning. He never even asked me if I was carrying or not.
“They know what the requirements are to get a permit — background checks, fingerprints to the FBI, no history of addiction, no felonies, no domestic violence,” Butrus added. “It’s really hard. But, they do keep statistics on crimes committed by permit holders, and it is like nothing other than traffic offenses. Literally nothing. So, if you’re a cop who is pulling a 55-year-old guy with a permit, he is probably not the guy who is going to be giving you a hard time.”
Butrus said that he is always forthright about whether or not he is carrying his firearm when dealing with law enforcement.
“I’ve been stopped a few times in my car, and I always show them my permit, which looks just like a driver’s license,” Butrus said. “If I have a gun, I tell them, and if I don’t have a gun, I tell them. If I do have one, I tell them where it is and then ask them how they want to proceed. If it is in my pocket, I want them to know that it’s there, or if it is in my glove compartment I want them to know that it is there so that if I open up either one they will not think that I am reaching for a gun. You have to be careful how you handle the situation.”
Spain’s inaugural national flat-track series, the Copa RFME de Flat Track, will offer its top riders more than a national title.
At the invitation of AMA Pro Racing, organizers of the world’s most prestigious flat-track series, the premier Pro class champion will be flown next March to Daytona Beach, Florida, to take part in the opening round of the 2017 AMA Pro Flat Track championship at Daytona International Speedway.
The agreement reached on May 25 between AMA Pro Racing and On Track Motorsport, promoters of the new Spanish series, includes airfare and all basic expenses, plus assistance in fielding a race-ready, single-cylinder 450cc race bike.
Additionally, champions and runners-up in each of the Rookies and the Masters categories of the Spanish series will be invited to compete in two internationally known short-track events:
Champion and runner-up in the Rookie class will compete in the Superprestigio of Barcelona at the Palau Sant Jordi, a race won last year by 2013 AMA Pro Grand National Champion Brad Baker by the narrowest of margins over four-time Grand Prix World Champion Marc Marquez.
Champion and runner-up in the Masters class for veteran riders will enjoy the experience of competing in the “100 Kilometers of the Ranch” in Tavullia, Italy, a race won in 2015 by the track owner, nine-time Grand Prix World Champion Valentino Rossi, and his brother, Luca Marini.
On Track Motorsport CEO Iana Petrova believes these opportunities “will not only reward but also motivate Spanish riders who hope to eventually earn a place among the elite in this traditional and exciting discipline.”
The opening round of the RFME Flat Track Cup will be held on July 9 and 10 at the Ricardo Tormo Grand Prix circuit. The flat-track oval is in the construction phase and is an exact replica of the famous Lodi Cyclebowl in Central California.
Team HRC’s Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides has sealed overall victory in the Afriquia Merzouga Rally, which closed today in the dunes of Merzouga. Benavides kept the field in check after the motocross-style start, crossing the finishing-line in second place. Brabec posted sixth on the day as well as sixth in the general rankings.
It was the first race as part of the official HRC team and a first win too. The budding young Argentinean shone throughout the whole week and stormed to an overall triumph in the Afriquia Merzouga Rally. The back of the victory had been broken in the dunes of Morocco’s Erg Chebbi.
Benavides had placed himself in a virtually unbeatable position yesterday ahead of today’s final stage which got underway with a motocross-like start in the Lago Yasmina Erg Chebbi area. The wins in stages three and four consolidated the Argentine’s domination of the event and paved the way for today’s celebrations in the Team HRC camp.
This is the second time Team HRC have clinched the Merzouga Rally title. In 2013 it was Briton Sam Sunderland who took the Honda CRF450 RALLY to the top step of the rostrum.
Benavides’ Team HRC companion Ricky Brabec (U.S.A) wound up in sixth place overall, improving daily with such a steep learning curve of tough navigation. The apprenticeship in navigation has been the rider’s main goal over the course of the five-day rally.
The next outing for Team HRC will be the third round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the Sardegna Rally Race. Kevin Benavides once again participates, this time under the auspices of Team RS Moto.
STAGE: 2ND FINAL POSITION: 1ST
I’m really super-happy about my first race for Team HRC and to win has been something fantastic. I think that I had a great rally in spite of having a minor problem with the roadbook on the first day and the five-minute penalty that I picked up on the second. But the third day was a spectacular one and yesterday was the decisive stage. I was happy because I opened up a gap which allowed me to set off today in a more conservative way, with a good pace, but without going mad. I’m really pleased to have brought the team victory. I’m very happy to have started with a win and for the great team-work with Ricky. Also, it’s great to give Roberto Boasso his first win, because we both began with Team HRC at the same time. I shouldn’t forget about my mechanic Germán Olivares either, who looked after the bike or Martino Bianchi and Mariano Casaroli from Honda Argentina. Many thanks to all of you.
STAGE: 6TH FINAL POSITION: 6TH
Today was the last day with a motocross or grand prix-style start. I rode well today; I got passed in the end by two people but I think the race was over for me yesterday as I was so far back in time. So, today was just to get through to the finish and get another rally finished. This is my fourth rally finish and I’m healthy. I’m excited as this is my second time with Honda when they have won. Winning is always great and it is good for Honda. I think that we have a strong team for Dakar so we’ll keep attacking for the whole year and be back for the Dakar 2017 and on the podium.
I’m really so happy about Kevin’s win which has given victory to Honda. It’s great for Team HRC, Japan, Spain, the mechanics and also the people from HRC who were able to give us the spare parts sooner than we expected. Kevin has proved himself to be a very mature and cool-headed rider. He was able to put the penalization behind him and came back winning and that shows what a great competitor he is. I would like to thank Ricky Brabec for the great work that he has done during the race and also everyone at Honda for believing in us. This is just the beginning and we won’t have time to relax because there is a lot of work still to be done. Thanks to all of you.
CARB (the California Air Resources Board) has blown its fair share of surprises for motorcycle manufacturers here in the U.S. Most recently, earlier this week, it was discovered that a new 2017 Yamaha model was certified as the “FZ-10”, a clear reference to the MT-10, R1-derived naked bike available in Europe currently. As we wrote […]... Click Here for Article
Suzuki motorcycles have a long and rich history in AMA Superbike competition. This summer at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 8-10 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, that history will be on full display as part of Celebrating 40 Years of AMA Superbikes, presented by Suzuki Motor of America Inc.
Suzuki’s support is even more fitting because Wes Cooley, 2016 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Grand Marshal, rode a Suzuki GS1000 to his first AMA Superbike Championship in 1979. In 1980, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer successfully defended that title for Suzuki in one of the most thrilling AMA Superbike seasons ever.
“Not only did Wes Cooley win in exciting fashion, but he was a pioneer in a racing style that captivated fans and, at the same time time, helped AMA Superbike become the premier discipline in motorcycle road racing,” said AMA Chief Operations Officer Jeff Massey. “And you can’t discuss Wes Cooley and his contributions without bringing up the role of Suzuki and the GS1000. It’s only fitting that Suzuki Motor of America Inc. is supporting the Celebrating 40 Years of AMA Superbikes display at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.”
In addition to Cooley’s 1980 championship bike, the Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000 owned by collector Brian O’Shea, and the bike he rode in the 1982 campaign, the Yoshimura Suzuki Katana owned by collector Ken Edgar, the display will include signage honoring Cooley’s career as well as other key moments in AMA Superbike history.
“We are glad to support AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days and have the chance to continue telling great stories like that of Wes Cooley and the Suzuki GS1000,” said Kerry Graeber, Vice President, Motorcycle/ATV Sales and Marketing for Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. “Many fans think sportbike history began with the GSX-R750 in 1985. There’s no doubt that ground-breaking model forever changed the landscape of motorcycle performance, but the GS inline fours raced by Wes in the late ’70s and early ’80s were the catalyst for the sportbike revolution that followed.”
The display will be paired with additional information about modern Suzuki sportbikes, including the GSX-R1000, GSX-R750 and GSX-R600.
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, a fundraiser for the nonprofit AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, includes vintage and post-vintage motocross, trials, hare scrambles and vintage road racing. A half-mile dirt track event will be held at the nearby Ashland County Fairgrounds.
Additional activities at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days include North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Bike Show, the American Motor Drome Wall of Death, mini road racing in the upper paddock, a classic motorcycle field meet, demo rides of current production bikes, seminars, live music, Builder’s Row featuring some of the country’s best custom bike builders, two premier raffle bikes on display, a beer garden with the region’s best craft beers, the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Adventure Bike Challenge, the AMA Pit Bike TT and displays by some of the AMA’s most active classic clubs.
AMA members who buy event tickets directly from the AMA before June 6 receive an exclusive price discount. AMA members can call (800) 262-5646 to purchase a weekend pass for $45, a one-day pass for $25 for Friday or Saturday, or a $20 pass for Sunday, a $5 savings off the regular advance rate. There is no service charge for AMA members when purchasing through the AMA.
Dubbed The Greatest of All Time, or simply, the GOAT, Valentino Rossi is a living legend in the world of MotoGP. Fans can’t get enough of him, and frankly, neither can we. Thankfully, Rossi is also sponsored by Monster Energy drinks, who have funded the making of a five-part series entitled: Valentino Rossi: The Doctor. In this, the second of five episodes (you can catch episode 1 here), the series follows Valentino to the biggest race on the MotoGP calendar: Mugello. Rossi’s home race, the pressure is always high, as are the demands for his time. But The Doctor loves this place and the fans love him back. If you could only attend one MotoGP race all year, Mugello is the one to be at and this video gives a glimpse into the reason why – the fans are some of the most passionate people you’ll meet anywhere. Check out Monster’s description of the video below, then keep scrolling to view the episode.
The second episode in the ‘Valentino Rossi: The Doctor Series’ ventures to one of the most intense, emotional and important Grands Prix on the MotoGP slate: Mugello. In the spectacular Tuscan hills lies the fast and sweeping racetrack at which Rossi has enjoyed and endured some of the finest and most difficult moments of his career.
The 5km asphalt has been home to seven consecutive MotoGP wins and is also an annual festival of colour, noise and ‘fandom-mania’ as Valentino stands at the centre of the whirlwind for three days.
‘Racing Mugello’ follows the man under the brightest and most pressurised of spotlights with insight and comments from his inner circle and group. What is the Grand Premio D’Italia really like for an icon such as The Doctor and the fans that flock to see him? This is Mugello.
EBR Motorcycles, Erik Buell, and Liquid Asset Partners are pleased to announce Memorial Day weekend that they will be donating the proceeds from the auction of the first 2016 EBR Motorcycle, a Limited Edition ‘1776’ 1190RX, to benefit the Fisher House Foundation. The online auction is open to the public and ends July 4, to highlight the American flag themed bike. The Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.
“We at EBR Motorcycles and Liquid Asset Partners believe in the freedom of America, and know that freedom isn’t free,” said Bill Melvin of EBR Motorcycles. “We are eternally grateful to our troops and their families. At first we felt the ‘1776’ bike showcased our American Motorcycle heritage, and instantly when we saw the flag on the bike we wanted to show our love of America by donating the proceeds to support our troops, veterans, and their families. We are glad the first Limited Edition bike can benefit the Fisher House Foundation. They do amazing work, and there was no better day to have the auction end then 4th of July, which this year is our nations’ 240th anniversary! What a way to celebrate our Freedom! So I hope everyone bids with patriotism and charity in their hearts, because it’s really for a great cause.”
“The Buell family and EBR Motorcycles is a close knit group. We intensely appreciate our freedom to be uniquely American, and also understand what family and friends mean in times of adversity,” said Erik Buell, CTO. “It’s the least we can do to donate this first motorcycle from the new EBR towards the goal of bringing family and friends closer to the servicemen and women who have willingly sacrificed so much for all of us. Freedom isn’t free, and we hope those who bid on this unique bike bid with that in mind. You can be sure that 100% of what is in the winning bid will go to the Fisher House.”
The EBR Motorcycles Limited Edition ‘1776’ 1190RX Superbike was the first off the production line in 2016 with the launch of the EBR Motorcycle factory. It was featured in magazines, newspapers, and publications around the world including Cycle World, Road and Track, Motorcycle Road Racing News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and more. EBR Motorcycles 1190RX was designed by world renowned motorcycle designer, Erik Buell, whose history includes being CTO of the Buell Motorcycle Company, Erik Buell Racing, and now CTO of EBR Motorcycles. EBR Motorcycles is the only American Sportbike company and the 1190 superbike platform is known for success around the world on the race track. The limited edition ‘1776’ bike was the idea of Bill Melvin with the artistic American Flag paint designed by Ryan Hahn, and the bodywork was implemented artistically by Jason LeCavalier at Artistimo Custom Designs.
Bid today on the EBR Motorcycles Limited Edition ‘1776’ 1190RX, with auction proceeds to benefit the Fisher House Foundation.
EBR Motorcycles has partnered with Northern Classic, Custom & Race AB of Delsbo, Sweden to provide EBR Motorcycle parts and service to customers throughout Europe.
“Jens and Birgit Krüper (owners of NCCR) and Erik Buell/Buell®/EBR Motorcycles have had a business relationship for over 15 years,” said Steve Smith, President and CEO of EBR Motorcycles. “As we move forward under the new ownership and direction of EBR Motorcycles, it is important that we ‘restore the trust’ in the American Sportbike brand. Economies and business climates in the U.S. and around the world create challenges, and manufacturing companies are sometimes faced with difficult decisions that impact their customers and suppliers. This was the situation last year when EBR closed unexpectedly and was shuttered for the better part of a year. The company, EBR Motorcycles, is now back up and running with production of 2016 model-year 1190RX and 1190SX bikes that started on March 16 of this year.”
The primary focus of EBR Motorcycles for these innovative American sportbikes this first year will be to meet the strong demand at home in the United States. The U.S. Superbike’s return has been much anticipated and is translating into increasing sales that are out-pacing this year’s supply. Founder and Chief Technical Officer, Erik Buell said, “I have known Jens since 2002. Jens, Birgit, their daughter Julia, and the team at NCCR have real passion and are very knowledgeable of our product. We are very aware of the recent European regulatory changes, and are working as our resources permit towards a full return to that market with new EBR motorcycle sales. NCCR will help us to maintain existing EBR bikes and relationships until that time.”
Erik Buell started production with motorcycles bearing his name in 1983. Since then, over half of all the units produced were sold to riders in countries other than the United States. Understanding that these customers, tens of thousands in Europe alone, require access to components and technical support, the partnership with NCCR and Jens Krüper makes solid business sense. Jens understands the EBR and Buell® products intimately, as well as the rules and regulations of commerce in Europe. This combination of product savvy individuals and an established network of business partners in the individual countries of Europe will serve the EBR and Buell® customers very well.
EBR Motorcycles builds athletic, performance focused machines that maximize the ability of the rider. With Europe unquestionably the epicenter of the Sportbike universe, EBR Motorcycles is working hard to bring back the East Troy V-Twin to European market. The team in East Troy is developing the next generation EBR Motorcycles to exceed the demands of Sportbike enthusiasts all over the world. While this will take some time, Jens and the team at Northern Classic, Custom and Race, will work hard to maintain the EBR bikes and relationships. It is not only the bikes, but the enthusiastic customers of these machines that wear ear-to-ear grins and posses a ‘swagger’ that only comes from throwing your leg over the iconic American Sportbike.
Speaking directly to the European enthusiasts and customers of EBR Motorcycles, Owner and CFO, Bill Melvin said, “We very much understand the importance of the Euro-market and will return to go toe-to-toe with the best that Europe and Asia offer as soon as we can.”
EBR Motorcycles encourages individuals to take the time to contact Jens and his team at Northern Custom, Classic and Race and get to know them if you do not already.
In addition, remember to watch Splitlath, the EBR Factory Race Team, in the coming weeks as they battle the insanity that is the ‘Isle of Man.’
Northern Classic, Custom & Race AB
Businesses interested in working together with NCCR to ‘Restore the Trust’ in EBR Motorcycles should contact Jen Krüper directly at:
Northern Classic, Custom & Race AB
SE 820 60 Delsbo firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fab Four in the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship are separated by just 26 points after four rounds (eight races). Cameron Beaubier (1) has won four races and is 11 points behind his teammate Josh Hayes in the title chase. Toni Elias (24) is fourth. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
The 2016 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship reached its halfway point with two incredible Superbike races at VIRginia International Raceway, May 13-15. As crazy as it sounds based on his previous record, four-time champ Josh Hayes’ victory in race one was his first of the 2016 season. In race two, Cameron Beaubier turned the tables on his Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha teammate to score his fourth win of the season, but the championship is still being led by the consistent Hayes, 137-126. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden and his Spanish teammate Toni Elias, who has won three times thus far in 2016, are third and fourth in the championship, respectively. In the other classes, Italian Claudio Corti leads the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 standings; Garrett Gerloff heads the Supersport title chase; Bryce Prince is atop the Superstock 600 point standings; and Anthony Mazziotto III and Brandon Paasch are just five points apart in the KTM RC Cup title chase.
For complete updates on the series with videos and reports from the opening four rounds, visit MotoAmerica.com.
ON-DECK: THE HONDA SUPERBIKE SHOWDOWN GETS ROLLING
The Honda Superbike Showdown, a three-race series within a series, gets started with the Honda Superbike Showdown of Wisconsin at the picturesque Road America, June 3-5, a week prior to the second round of the Showdown at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, June 10-12. The finale of the three-race Showdown is scheduled for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, July 8-10, in Monterey, California, with MotoAmerica sharing that weekend with the World Superbike Championship.
The Honda Superbike Showdown will award a 2016 Honda Civic Sedan to the rider who scores the most Superbike points in the three races – Road America, Barber Motorsports Park and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It’s going to be fun watching the Honda Superbike Showdown,” said three-time 500cc World Champion and MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “Our series is already exciting. We’ve had some incredible races and the championship battles are all still up for grabs. Now we get to see who steps up in the Showdown and comes away with a new Honda Civic. Everyone starts the Honda Showdown at Road America with zero points, so it’s a fresh start and you never know what can happen.”
For those looking to show off to their friends by wearing the latest in MotoAmerica apparel, make sure you visit our online store. Our newest products are easy to find and purchase, simply by Clicking Here
The store features everything from T-shirts to jackets to MotoAmerica accessories such as coffee cups and hats. And keep coming back as we continue to expand our product line.
ON THE RECORD: JOSH HAYES
Four-time Superbike Champion Josh Hayes won his first race of the season at VIR.
“I have enough experience to know that championships always feel better when you beat a lot of good guys. Whoever comes out successful at the end of this year will have won a championship they will be very proud of.” – JOSH HAYES
Josh Hayes talks about the 2016 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship, his season thus far, and the challenge that lies ahead.
For the On The Record interview with Hayes, Click Here
THE WOMEN OF MOTOAMERICA
Superstock 600 racer Shelina Moreda is one of six women racers in the MotoAmerica paddock.
MotoAmerica is proud to say that it has six women racers taking part in the series in 2016 and we’re not sure of another professional motorsport organization that can boast that. And that’s not all. We also have women team owners, crew chiefs and other team personnel in the paddock. Thus it seemed only natural that we do a series of stories on the Women of MotoAmerica. You can find the first story on Caroline Olsen by clicking here and the second story on Shelina Moreda by clicking here. Stay tuned to www.motoamerica.com to continue to see stories on the Women of MotoAmerica.
Following a thrilling Mugello race in Italy last weekend, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR moved to Valencia in Spain for two-days of exclusive testing to allow Suzuki engineers and technicians to evaluate several new parts; primarily to find new set-ups that will improve the traction and grip of the Factory GSX-RR.
The Suzuki Factory delivered two different specifications of the chassis, which have been tested intensively by Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró; and their feelings were positive today, having gained more confidence in riding and improvement in efficiency. Together with the chassis’, engineers introduced many variations in the geometry of the machines and set-up configurations, as well as many new finalisations to the electronics.
The two-days of testing has been very demanding due to the tight schedule, but having a track at its exclusive disposal allowed the riders to find more efficiency, whilst also improving the feeling with the team.
“It’s been positive for us to take profit from this private test, we needed to find more efficiency with the traction and we also worked for many other improvements. The Suzuki factory sent us many pieces to test and also new configurations, so we tried some improvements in the chassis and also many set-up configurations. It was a positive test, we had a great deal of feedback that will be useful for the future to determine the paths to take. The GSX-RR is already a very good machine in certain areas; like the fast corners and its agility, but lacks in some other areas. We are working to find a good balance and be more and more performing.”
“The Mugello weekend was tough but testing is always important for us, as we are still in the development process and we need to grow as fast as possible. Here we had many things to test as the Factory is working very hard to give us all its support. We had two different steps on the chassis and one of them gave me very positive feeling, so we have made another step forward. Of course we need to further investigate our options; in Barcelona we will continue this work, but it is very positive that we have this support and we are consistently improving.
Team HRC Argentinean Kevin Benavides scored an emphatic triumph in the fourth stage of the Afriquia Merzouga Rally – the second part of the marathon – that leaves him poised to seal overall victory tomorrow.
It was domination from start to finish for Kevin Benavides, who led throughout on the Honda CRF450 RALLY in today’s penultimate battle. After yesterday’s crucial win, Benavides was the first to set out this morning in a special stage that had been reduced by 34 kilometres, with the start moved to CP1. A total of 170 km, filled with troublesome navigation, played out for the most part, on speedy off-piste track, but with some work in the dunes too. The result sees Kevin Benavides jump two positions on the leaderboard where he now holds a 3’05 advantage over the nearest second-place rival with just one day to go. Tomorrow kicks off with a motocross-style start, followed by two laps of a 37 km circuit.
Benavides’ Team HRC companion, Ricky Brabec (U.S.A) turned out a solid performance chalking up a splendid fifth place. Today the Californian did far better with the navigation and pace in a far-from-easy while-knuckle stage. He maintains his 6th place in the overall.
STAGE: 5TH OVERALL: 6TH
Today was really good; one of the fastest days here. Navigation was way better for me today – for each note on the roadbook you had a little bit of space. It gave you time to think about the note and what was coming up next. It was unlike the first three days, which were very difficult for me. This is by far the trickiest roadbook that I have done. I’m learning a little bit. Out here it seems like you have to go slow to go faster. You can’t just go fast because if so, you just blow the corner and then you just lose time each time you do it. Today was good. Tomorrow is a motocross start, so maybe tomorrow on the second lap around I will put some time up on some riders because I will know where everything is and it will be more like a practice run.
STAGE: 1ST PROVISIONAL: 1ST
Today has been the happiest of the race so far. Apart from the result, I’m really pleased because I opened the way and I finished first, without having any references out in front of me. It was difficult to navigate with a lot of off-road, many dangers and tracks that were impossible to find. I was able to mark a difference. I really believed in my chances; I was very focused and it all worked out well. Last night we slept in the high mountains for the marathon stage in a very distinct bivouac. I wish to thank Ricky Brabec who gave his exhaust pipe over to me, as mine was in bad shape. It has been great team-work. I’d also like to thank the whole team for the great job that they’ve done up until now. Let’s see how the stage tomorrow goes.
I’m happy because today Kevin had a great stage, in first place the whole way, opening the way from start to finish, navigating well and riding fast. This means that he’s more confident in his riding and even more so when you consider that the rivals were trying to catch him up from behind. He’s been cool and calculating. He was helped yesterday by Brabec, who we’d like to thank on behalf of the team. This says a lot about the team and how united we are. Today’s result is, in part, thanks to Brabec and all the mechanics who have helped them reach their goals. Tomorrow won’t be easy. We are calm about it but the race finishes at the chequered flag. Let’s hope it goes well. Thanks to everyone, to Kevin and Ricky and all of those following us throughout the world.
The 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship arrives at the midway stage with the ninth round of 18 and the Grand Prix of Spain this weekend; taking place for the third year in a row at the circuit in the town of Talavera de la Reina, southwest of Madrid.
Team Suzuki World MXGP will be looking for more podium potential in the Toledo region from Kevin Strijbos on the works RM-Z450 and also for Jeremy Seewer to get back into his trophy-run on the RM-Z250 in the MX2 category. The team unfortunately cannot count on Ben Townley or Brian Hsu after both athletes sustained injury setbacks this week.
After three back-to-back meetings MXGP enjoyed a short hiatus in preparation for another brace of races in Spain and followed by the trip to St Jean D’Angely in France; two hill-set circuits that have vague similarities in terms of a hard-pack base, a narrow trajectory and restrictions on bona fide overtaking spots. For the next two weekends race starts are going to be absolutely key in the premier class and Strijbos – who captured a season-best fourth position last time out at Arco di Trento in Italy (another hard-pack and compact venue) – is optimistic of more progression.
“I’ve had some good days riding and putting in the motos and I’m happy with the set-up on the bike for the harder tracks so the focus has been more on me and my work,” the Belgian said. “The important thing this weekend will be the starts because it is not so easy to pass at Talavera and I know I need to get out of the gate if I want a result. I will be putting everything into this for the motos because I know if I can start in the top-three then I can stay there. On the other side I’m sorry for the setback with Ben. We did some good riding in France during the week and it is a shame if he has to miss the race.”
Townley was anticipating his first competitive outing at Talavera but a crash while riding yesterday required a medical check on the New Zealander’s left wrist and ribs and has left him needing to withdraw from the weekend and start another recovery process. “I went down today and hit my wrist, ribs and banged my head a bit,” he said. “I’ll need a few days off again. The wrist is not broken but the doctor told me I’d need to rest it and start some treatment. I will have to go day-by-day and see where I can get to. That’s all I know at the moment.”
Spain will present Seewer with the ideal chance to resurrect his streak of podium results in the MX2 class that currently sits at six trophies from eight outings and a clear second position in the world championship standings. The Swiss was unlucky to become involved in a start straight collision in the first moto at Talavera last year that prevented him from showing his comfort and form around one of his favoured tracks. He will line up at looking to bounce back from the respectable fifth place he scored at Arco and after having refined further his RM-Z250 for the golden Spanish terrain.
“Even though the last Grand Prix did not finish in the best way I’m feeling so good on the bike at the moment,” the #‘91’ said. “We did some more work on the engine and squeezed a little bit more power which I’m sure will help me further for the starts. It will be useful at Talavera. It is a track I really like and I always feel confident on this type of hard soil.”
He will once more be the sole MX2 representative for the crew as Brian Hsu suffered further injury around his left hand after a crash last weekend in the second round of the ADAC MX Master series at Moggers. The 17-year-old was making a tentative comeback to action after improving the feeling and flexibility around the wrist he broke last November but will now have to reset and review his progress.
Bas Vaessen will attempt the fifth round of the EMX250 European Championship in Spain as the Grand Prix feeder series also reaches the halfway stage. The Dutchman is aiming for his second podium appearance of the year and to also gain four more points than Kevin Wouts to enter the top four of the standings.
Temperatures are expected to hover in the mid-20s this weekend with the chance of some thunderstorms on Saturday and clearer skies on Sunday.
MXGP World Championship Standings (after 8 of 18 rounds): 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 335 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 331 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 310 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 273 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 264 p.; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 247 p.; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki World MXGP), 204 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 189 p.; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 153 p.; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 146 p.; 11. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 139 p.; 12. Christophe Charlier (FRA, HUS), 135 p.; 13. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki World MXGP), 119 p.
MX2 World Championship Standings (after 8 of 18 rounds): 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 397 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki World MX2), 297 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 260 p.; 4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 211 p.; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 210 p.; 6. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 202 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 183 p.; 8. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 182 p.; 9. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 179 p.; 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 162 p.
EMX250 European Championship Standings (after 4 of 10 rounds): 1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 182 points; 2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, KAW), 151 p.; 3. Darian Sanayei (USA, KAW), 137 p.; 4. Kevin Wouts (BEL, KTM), 114 p.; 5. Bas Vaessen (NED, Suzuki World MX2), 110 p.; 6. Nick Kouwenberg (NED, HON), 105 p.; 7. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), 85 p.; 8. Anton Gole (SWE, HUS), 83 p.; 9. Miro Sihvonen (FIN, KTM), 83 p.; 10. Nicolas Dercourt (FRA, KAW), 69 p.
This weekend’s MXGP of Spain at the classic Talavera de la Reina track marks the halfway point of the 2016 MXGP World Championship, and both Evgeny Bobryshev and Gautier Paulin are eager for the fight.
After missing five rounds through injury, Paulin is getting back into his racing stride and will be looking to build on his return in Italy two weeks ago. Whilst the weekend didn’t quite go to plan after getting caught up in a first corner crash in race one, Gautier showed that he’s lost none of his strength on the bike with a determined performance that impressed many after so long off the bike.
Now, with more time practicing on the CRF450RW since Arco di Trento and significantly more seat time under his belt now, he’s going to be faster and stronger still.
Evgeny Bobryshev was on the edge of the podium at the venue last year, and will be hoping to take another step as he chases third in the World Championship. The Russian has been strong in the last two races despite nursing a shoulder injury, but as that gives him fewer problems race-by-race, you wouldn’t bet against the Russian to continue the top-three run he started with race two in Germany, and continued with the second moto in Italy.
First used in 1994, the hard-pack Talavera de la Reina track made a return to the MXGP calendar in 2014 after a short hiatus. This weekend, the temperature is set to 24 degrees Celsius, with only a small chance of the odd shower into Saturday night.
Evgeny Bobryshev 777
“Since Trentino I’ve been on the bike and riding a bit but also taking it a little easy. I had quite a relaxing weekend, although I also did a 120km cycle competition in Eindhoven…! It was my first time doing something like this, and I was pretty sore after 80km but good fun! We’ve also been riding in France as the weather’s better there, and things are going well. My shoulder is so much better than even in Italy. It’s getting stronger, and now I’m able to ride without painkillers. It’s still missing a bit since before the crash, and it feels tired after an evening of riding, but I’m feeling a lot stronger. After Latvia there was a double hit because I missed time on the bike and also had the pain to manage, so now I’m able to spend more time on the bike and it’s much more easy for me to race and to manage the speed. Talavera is quite a tight track so it’s not always the best for racing, but I like the track and the ground so I hope we can continue to build upon the top-three finishes in the second motos in Germany and Italy.”
Gautier Paulin 21
“It was good to be back racing in Italy and although the result wasn’t what we wanted with the crash, the speed is there. I’ve had a good two weeks of training, testing in Spain and also some Dunlop tyre testing, so I hope this weekend I can ride without pain and get back fully my race rhythm.”
HRC General Manager – MXGP
“In Trentino Gautier got back to racing again after a while off and was in strong condition, so with a GP under his belt now he’ll be stronger still this weekend. Bobby’s also had more time for the shoulder to recover and is now closer to his condition at the start of the year, so in Spain we’ll see him back to nearer his normal self. He’s had some remarkable races since Latvia, but also two top-three finishes the last two times out so he’s a solid base to build on. I think we can expect good things from this weekend.”
Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE Racing Team has announced Australian Josh Brookes as a team rider for the Endurance World Championship Round 3 Suzuka 8H event alongside regular team rider Takuya Tsuda.
Brookes and Tsuda worked together in the 2013 Suzuka 8H event, finishing second following an unfortunate crash while recovering from a pit lane speed limit penalty.
We clearly remember their fighting spirit, and for sure they will bring the team on the podium again.
Tsuda has been the regular Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE Racing Team rider in the All Japan Championship and Suzuka 8H since 2013 and remains the nucleus of the team.
Brookes has raced in the highly competitive British Superbike Championship in recent years, taking the title in 2015. He brings passion, motivation and experience to the Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE Racing Team for the 2016 Suzuka 8H event.
The Suzuka 8H race provides a unique challenge for all the leading teams and riders who will once again rise to meet that challenge on July the 31st.
The Yoshimura tuned Suzuki GSX-R1000 machine continues to devlop and improve and the Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE Racing Team is working hard to make even more competitive in the coming two months.
An announcement on the third Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE Racing Team rider for the Suzuka 8H will be made shortly.
You’ll remember we, okay I, first rode Indian’s new Scout Sixty last November, where we laid out the differences between it and the regular Scout. Besides a substantial reduction in price to $8,999 and the doing-away with of fifth gear, the Sixty gets, “a simple sleeving down of the bike’s excellent liquid-cooled 60-degree V-Twin, from 1133cc to 999cc (69 to 61 cubic inches)… accomplished with 6mm slimmer bores, down from 99 to 93mm diameter. Stroke remains 73.6mm, meaning this is still an oversquare Twin that doesn’t mind using its 4-valve DOHC heads to rev smack into the 8200-rpm limiter now and then if you so desire. Compression ratio for the smaller engine is a bit higher; up to 11:1 from the 10.7:1 of the 1133cc version.”
Indian claimed 100 crankshaft horsepower for the big Scout; the dyno said 83 at the rear wheel. For the Sixty, Indian said 78 and the dyno reads 69. With cruisers, though, it’s all about the torque. In November I wrote, “the Sixty feels pretty spunky when you give it a big handful. In fact, it doesn’t seem that much slower than the big Scout…” That’s because it only makes a scant 3.1 lb-ft of torque less than the 1133cc engine at low rpm, and runs that close to the bigger engine all the way to almost 6000 rpm. After 6000, the big motor takes off and makes 14 hp more before its 7800-rpm redline.
Hmmm, you’d really expect the bigger engine to make quite a bit more torque via its extra 134cc, but it barely does. Past 6000 rpm, the small engine really tails off, which is another thing you wouldn’t expect given its higher compression and higher redline, and given that both engines inhale through the same 60mm throttle body and the same heads. The Sixty also appears to use the same diameter exhaust headers as the 69-incher.
Can you tell which Scout is which?
Given the nearly identical curves below 6000 rpm, it looks like they even use the same camshafts, which leads us to believe the only difference must be in the ECU tuning: It looks like Indian just dialled back the Sixty’s power output from 6000 revs to its 8200-rpm redline, via giving it less fuel, less ignition advance or a combination of those. Which means it should be pretty easy to modify via a simple reflash. Which, if true, means $8,999 is a better bargain than we thought.
Stay tuned for a comparison of the Scout Sixty vs. Harley-Davidson’s Iron 883 soon.
At Indian Motorcycle®, designing and building exceptional motorcycles doesn’t end after an eight-hour workday. Melding their careers with a shared fervor for going fast, a team of Indian Motorcycle engineers continues to practice their art on two-wheeled skunk-works type projects after-hours in the office and at home. Now, in a seven-episode video series titled “A Passion For Speed”, we’re able to capture a glimpse of what happens in these creative sessions as the team prepares an Indian® Scout® and Indian® Chief Dark Horse® for land speed racing in El Mirage, Calif.
Located in the Mojave Desert, El Mirage dry lakebed has attracted speed enthusiasts for more than 60 years. At its best, the 1.3-mile-long hard and smooth track serves as a unique venue for testing a machine’s maximum velocity. At its worst, under spectacular summer thunderstorms, it becomes an impassible quagmire of clay and silt.
In “A Passion For Speed”, we follow the Indian Motorcycle team – Calibration Engineer Wayne Kolden, Senior Development Technician Chet Michaelson, Development Technician Dan Gervais and Powertrain Development Technician Neil Sikora – as they build a Scout and Chief Dark Horse specifically for dry lakebed duty, recall where their passion for fast machines came from, work together to overcome setbacks, and then travel 1,800 miles to realize their dream. The series begins when the team has only 22 days remaining until race day and culminates in a surprise ending that has team members counting the days to their next opportunity.
“It’s not a one-man show, by any means,” says Michaelson. “It’s everybody coming together and chipping in and building something phenomenal. And that really is the foundation of where Indian Motorcycle came from – a bunch of guys in the shop working for the win. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
“The first motorized bike that I had was actually a homemade minibike that my dad built with me,” Kolden explains while assembling an engine in his home workshop. “All of the kids our age had minibikes, motorcycles and go-karts. Everyone was a motor-head. That was just the environment we had growing up. To go to El Mirage, or hopefully someday Bonneville, is one of my dreams.”
“At Indian Motorcycle we love riding and racing as much as our dedicated and passionate owners,” says Reid Wilson, Marketing Director for Indian Motorcycle. “Wayne, Chet, Dan and Neil reflect the obsession we all have for motorcycling. All we needed to do was follow them with a camera and do some interviews. This was their passion project.”
Hot on the heels of John Burns’ feature on custom Harley Street 750s, The Motor Comapny comes out with this. Yes, folks, JB is salivating uncontrollably right now… -TS
A new-generation Harley-Davidson® flat-track motorcycle is ready to race. The Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle® Factory Team is unleashing the XG750R, its first all-new flat track race bike in 44 years, to battle in fierce, adrenaline-filled competition on dirt ovals across the U.S. The XG750R will make its official competition debut Sunday, May 29, at the AMA Pro Flat Track Springfield Mile in Illinois.
Powered by the fuel-injected, liquid-cooled Harley-Davidson Revolution X™ V-Twin engine, the XG750R will be raced by Factory Team rider Davis Fisher on the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines flat track series. The new XG750R motorcycle is strictly for race competition and will not be offered for sale at this time.
The new flat tracker is powered by the 750cc Revolution X™ V-Twin engine designed for the Harley-Davidson Street® 750, a motorcycle built for maximum urban maneuverability with rebellious Dark Custom™ attitude. Tuned for the track, this modified Revolution X engine will power the new XG750R as it fights to be first to the finish line.
The race-modified Revolution X engine and a racing frame for the XG750R were developed by Vance & Hines Motorsports. Vance & Hines also is the partner for the factory Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines drag racing program where V-Rod® motorcycles have won eight of the past 12 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing championships.
“After decades of flat-track racing success behind the Harley-Davidson XR750 flat track motorcycle, we knew it was time to develop the next-generation Harley-Davidson to compete in one of the best spectator racing sports out there today,” said Kris Schoonover, Harley-Davidson racing manager.
Fisher, in his first season racing with the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Factory Team and a rookie in the GNC1 series, will be the first racer aboard the XG750R. The 18-year-old racer from Warren, Ore., won the 2015 AMA Pro GNC2 championship.
“We wanted a young rider with plenty of raw ability for the XG750R program, and Davis proved himself in the GNC2 class,” said Schoonover. “We are excited to have the opportunity to bring an emerging talent like Davis up to the GNC1 series to develop the new bike alongside an experienced champion like Brad Baker.”
Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Factory Team rider Brad Baker, 23 years old and the 2013 AMA Pro Grand National Champion, will continue to race aboard the proven Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle while Fisher races the XG750R through its developmental stage.
“The XG750R has shown great potential in testing and the first few races this season,” said Schoonover. “But as with any new racing motorcycle, there will be work to do. We’re excited to continue testing the XG750R in real world competition, and as we make our way through the season, we will evaluate the performance of the bike and our factory riders to see if Baker might switch to the new bike.”
Be sure to also check out Baker and Fisher competing next week, June 2, during the ESPN X Games Austin Harley-Davidson® Flat-Track Racing event. In its second year as an X Games medaled event, Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing will feature top motorcycle racers from around the world going head-to-head on the challenging Circuit of the Americas half-mile chasing an X Games gold medal.
In case you haven’t read my First Ride Review of the 2017 Suzuki SV650, let me sum it up for you: It’s an awesome motorcycle. Of course, if you’ve been reading MO for any length of time you’ll likely know I’m a big fan of the SV, having previously owned and raced one myself. With that, you can likely conclude that I’ve thrown journalistic objectivity out the window when it comes to the new SV. However, if Suzuki had missed the mark, I’d be sure to criticize instead of praise.
My fellow MO cohorts are probably tired of me talking about the SV, but too bad. We’ve all got our favorite bikes here: Evans adores his 13 year-old R6, Duke his classic Ducati 900SS, Tom’s a Ural guy, and ‘ol Burns won’t shut up about the NC700X and the Harley Street 750. So now it’s my turn to wax poetic about the new SV650. Still with me? Here we go.
Why is it that Maverick Viñales is considered a future MotoGP champion … not only by Yamaha, but by Valentino Rossi and several other senior members of the paddock? He has a special mix of desire and calm, which comes across well in the excellent video produced by Alpinestars featured below. It takes a look at Viñales […]... Click Here for Article
We’ve ridden the Indian Chieftain a few times, and we’ve always been fond of its engine and power delivery. Still, the semi-secret, unofficial MO Motto is “More is more.” So, when the Indian PR folks asked us which model Chieftain Dark Horse we wanted to take home to cuddle up with, a stocker or one that had been blessed with the complete listing from the factory performance catalog, you can probably guess our answer. Then toss in the fact that, with the exception of the model-specific exhaust, all of these modifications could be made to any Thunder Stroke 111 engine, and we saw the opportunity to share our bounty with our readers.
Naturally, you’re curious about what the Indian Parts & Accessories department have cooked up. So, without further ado, we’ll move through the engine along the same path as the atmosphere would. The Thunder Stroke High Flow Air Cleaner – Black retails for a surprising $499.99 and allows the beefy V-Twin to breathe deep without endangering small birds or children. The removable filter element can be washed to maintain the engine’s peak performance, and the 1-inch narrower profile gives the rider a little extra room on the left side of the engine. Finally, the blacked out style matches the Dark Horse’s look perfectly. Still, $500 for an air cleaner?
Aside from the increased breathing capacity, the High Flow Air Cleaner creates some extra room for the rider’s left leg.
To take advantage of the freer-flowing intake, the Indian Motorcycle Stage 2 Performance Cams offer a claimed increase of 13% horsepower and 7% torque all while maintaining 50-state emission-compliance. Throttle response will also be significantly increased. These $499.99 cams can only be bought at an Indian dealer and must be used in conjunction with the aforementioned air cleaner and matching Indian slip-ons. The why of this requirement is that the modifications require the EFI to be recalibrated for emissions compliance. Additionally, having the parts installed and the EFI updated by a dealer maintains the factory powertrain warranty. The loss of warranty is one of the big compromises of going to the aftermarket.
The Stage 2 Performance Cams make it possible for the Thunder Stroke 111 engine to take advantage of the increased flow from the performance intake and exhaust.
The final pieces of the puzzle are the exhaust modifications. All of these parts are available in both chrome and blacked out, so if you want to maintain the chrome exhaust instead of the fully-blacked-out look of our Dark Horse, the cost will be a bit less. The functional components are contained in the $699.99 Touring Thunder Stroke Stage 1 Slip-on Exhaust Kit. These dual mufflers attach to the factory headers (hence the slip-on name) and allow more prodigious exhaust flow. Still, according to Indian, they maintain 50-state compliance – which is quite a feat. If you’re changing the finish of the exhaust, you’ll need to add the $279.99 Exhaust Shields (black, in our case). The slip-ons also require the purchase of exhaust tips, which range from $199.99-$299.99. The Six Shooter Exhaust Tips shown here check in at the top of the scale.
The Touring Thunder Stroke Stage 1 Slip-on Exhaust Kit with the matching header shields and the Six Shooter tips deepens the Dark Horse’s blacked-out style.
After even a short ride on the stock Chieftain Dark Horse, stepping onto the hopped-up version is a revelation. The throttle response is quite snappy with the more muscular low-rpm torque apparent from the saddle. And then there’s the exhaust note!
Out on the road, the modifications combine to make the Thunder Stroke more powerful and responsive across the rpm-range.
Around town, the throaty sound is more than pleasing to the ear – though bordering on a little loud for my delicate sensibilities. I’m particularly cognisant of the sound when entering or leaving my driveway in my very quiet neighborhood early in the morning or late at night. Although the motorsports-crazy grandmother next door did shout to me from her front porch, “What is that new bike you’re testing? I love the sound!” I figure that not all of my neighbors spend their weekends watching two races at once (thanks to PIP). So, I try to keep the revs down on my street. Venturing onto the freeway or out into the countryside highlights the Thunder Stroke’s basso profondo.
Whacking open the throttle in an environment where you can run out the engine reveals power that keeps on building throughout the rev range. My only quibble is that neutral throttle is more difficult to hold at lower rpm – like when poking along in stop-and-go traffic. Since this does not translate over into engine speeds at which riders typically corner, the chassis is never upset, relegating this criticism to the type that motojournalists are paid to complain about.
The dyno chart illustrates how at every engine speed both the horsepower and torque are greater than that of the stocker. The slight dip in both graphs around 2,000 rpm is unnoticeable from the saddle. While the 18% increase in horsepower exceeds Indian’s claims about the performance gain, we need to stress that the before numbers did not come from the same bike prior to the changes. Rather, they were from our previous test of the Chieftain run on the same dyno. Updates to the stock EFI in the current model year Thunder Stroke 111 or simple variations in manufacturing tolerances could have slightly decreased the stock numbers and inflated the percentage of change. Still, the peak torque of 113.1 lb-ft is a 10% bump. What is most noticeable, however, is how the gap between the stock and modified curves increase throughout the rev-range for both horsepower and torque, showing the engine’s improved breathing ability. The tested 38.0 mpg is pretty respectable for a modified bike, too.
So, if you’re the type of rider for whom the MO More philosophy applies and you’re willing to pony up $2,280 plus labor, you will probably be quite happy with the upgrades. The price may be steep, but it will pay dividends every time you twist the throttle.
Rats, I missed the Quail Motorcycle Gathering again for the eighth year in a row. Not to worry, our excellent correspondent Geoff Drake was there to deliver an excellent story for MO. Luckily, I’m not terribly upset. I seem to have a pretty low tolerance for standing around looking at rich guys’ motorcycles, though at the Quail I hear there is at least a good ride to break things up. (You have to sign up early and pay like $350 to go on it, but lunch is included!) Getting to Carmel and back is usually better than being there, unless the reason you’re there is to go to Laguna Seca. Or if somebody else is picking up the tab.
Hope springs eternal, but I may have already had my peak Classic Motorcycle Gathering a few years ago at the Ritz just up the coast in Half Moon Bay, where I drew the fantastic assignment to ride up with Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read and Eraldo Ferracci to write a story for a competing publication. MV Agusta sponsored the event that year, and spared no expense in putting on quite an extravaganza. (I wish I could evolve into the kind of person who doesn’t let the occasional bankruptcy keep me from enjoying the finer things.) The best part was listening to Read and Ago rehash the old days, though it was Read doing most of the hashing. Still a bit testy after all these years.
Ago and Phil at the Sea Lion Breeding thing on the Pacific coast. Phil is either about to make an important point regarding the 1966 Swedish GP or just did.
New old bikes are still being found in barns and being restored I suppose, but I think I’ve already seen one of each, thanks. There is some interesting engineering in old motorcycles, but frankly most of them are pretty rudimentary. Say, look at those funky plaid spark plug wires! I register the nostalgia but mostly I feel empathy for the hardy suckers for whom this was as good as it got: Not only are most old motorcycles unreliable, they’re also pretty damned uncomfortable and unsafe – just like life before penicillin and disc brakes. Basically, vintage bikes bring mortality to mind, which is the last place I want to go when it’s motorcycle time.
For awhile there it was all about the perfect 100-point restoration. Now I think it’s about original condition and retaining the patina, which I’m completely down with but which doesn’t leave much room for the restorer to show off his skills. Look, you can still see the tracks of the last guys’ tears who tried to kickstart this one… is that blood spatter?
Okay maybe listening to Phil Read and Ago wasn’t the best part. I digress…
I understand that I’m kind of an introvert/ borderline misanthrope lately, but seriously, how long before you get tired of standing around telling people about the same motorcycle you’ve been bringing to concours d’elegances for the past ten years. For many collectors, it is about the motorcycles. For lots of other ones – especially the guys with the really expensive bikes – there seem to be equal amounts of ego, one-upmanship and money in the mix. In that contest I am an unarmed opponent, I am Vichy France, I’ll have another glass of champagne. Have we located the Holy Grail Billy Bike yet?
You expect that sort of short-fingered vulgarianism with Ferraris and Aston Martin Lagondas and Delahayes, which were built in the first place to separate wealthy swells from their money. But motorcycles were never about that, not even the most expensive ones. Then as today, they were built for crazy people to tear around the countryside on. If Phil Irving or George Brough or Soichiro Honda were to reanimate and turn up at one of these events, they’d make a beeline for the modern bikes in the parking lot, where they’d freak out over fuel-injected V-Fours with DOHC, liquid cooling, ABS, traction control and TFT displays; Soichiro would freak out the most as he tried in vain to find a VFR1000RR with that stuff.
I like going places on boringly reliable new motorcycles way better than breaking down on old ones halfway there.
What it comes down to is, I’d probably like old bikes better if people would quit loaning me brand new ones all the time. I love my ’97 Jaguar, but I know if somebody from Road & Track took it for a spin they would laugh at its cassette-player antiquity. The few times people have let me loose on their Nortons and things, I’ve come back with a big fake grin trying to conceal my disappointment. Most vintage bikes are loose-jointed old things that produce more noise and vibration than performance. Probably most of the really valuable bikes at the Quail don’t get ridden much.
Alas, it’s probably just class jealousy rearing its green head again. I had to work the weekend of the Quail. That’s right, the Man forced me to ride the new VFR1200X up Figueroa Mountain Road north of Santa Barbara so I could write last week’s review. As we learned, that bike weighs 612 pounds and it’s not really meant to go “off-road” at all, but it’s amazing how effortlessly the thing disposes of freeway, then does surprisingly well roosting up mountain fire roads too.
The Gloved One never buzzes us in to Neverland anymore.
They were all “dual-sports” in the early days before all the roads got paved, but it’s horrifying to contemplate riding the Big Bear Hare & Hound on a BSA Victor or old Triumph. In the old days, you had to be a really good rider, great mechanic and accomplished masochist. Now all you need are legs long enough to reach the ground and a vague urge to get off the couch. The VFR will handle all the other details, including starting itself and dodgy traction, and if you manage to get a flat you can usually just plug it in five minutes and keep rolling thanks to tubeless tires. I’m trying to remember the last time I suffered a mechanical failure on a test bike… I’m drawing a blank. The more modern the bike, the better its ability to deliver me effortlessly from the teeming belly of the SoCal beast to where other people aren’t, which is really my favorite place to be. Ahhhh…
Just like with big adventure bikes, a few people will drive their SUVs off the beaten path. Most of them are Euros on holiday. “Is thees the weelderness?” Not quite, it’s just over that next ridge.
Maybe I’m just not old enough yet. My eyes glaze over pretty quickly hearing about setting your Norton points with a cellophane cigarette wrapper, but I can see the eagerness in your orbs when I launch into mansplaining that my 2000 R1 was the last year of the first generation R1 and thus the best of what many consider the first really modern superbike. I can tell by your body language you want to learn more. It’s the last one with carburetors. I actually attended the launch for the first one in Cartagena. Hey, come back! I will buy you a champagne!
After navigating L.A.’s infamous 405 Flee-Way, then merging onto the 118 East, and finally taking the non-Ozzy Osborne Exit off the 210 Pasadena Freeway, I noticed a semi-mushroom cloud of smoke rising over the Hansen Dam park grounds. I thought the bike event’s barbecue had launched without me. But it wasn’t burger’s squealing on the grill, it was a massive herd of banshee shrieking, ringy-dingies of all sizes and vintages doing the “parade lap” thing around the staging area for the annual 2-Stroke Extravaganza. Then a little voice in the back of my Shoei helmet whispered, “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.”
I think that was the same voice I had heard many years ago when test riding a minty 1975 Kawasaki 750 H2 Mach IV Triple that I was contemplating buying. I was no stranger to two-strokes, having experienced my first wheelie, though unintentional, on a Yamaha RD350; then riding my buddy’s Kawi 500 Triple after arriving in L.A. back in the previous century. Later on I rather enjoyed a Suzuki GT500, and later still a Yamaha RZ500 V-4 two-stroke rocketship that had snuck across the Canadian border. But after just a few blocks aboard that Kawi H2 Triple, I listened to that inner voice and took the bike back to its owner. Okay, I admit, I wussed out, but only because I thought the frame was badly tweaked, which it wasn’t – it was just part of the bike’s “character.” There was a reason the mags called it “scarily fast” especially when trying to go around corners.
In any case, I overcame my two-stroke trepidations and cruised on over to the 19th annual smokefest aboard my trusty, crusty 4-stroke ’80ish BMW R100/7 and found myself embroiled in a repetitive case of deja vu – all the 2-strokers from my past literally flashing before my eyes. Also, I discovered that I am perhaps the only person in SoCal not wearing shorts and tennis shoes when riding. Maybe in this case the “relaxed dress code” was a result of the “static” show nature of the event, since riding was minimal although the preceding Saturday, a well-geared up group ride had two-stroked along the Angeles Crest Highway warming up for the Sunday show gathering at Hansen Dam.
This would be the 19th Two-Stroke Extravaganza, the event’s history finding it staged at various locations, including several at the famous SoCal bike gathering point at Cook’s Corner. But now the rally has found its home at Hansen Dam under the most able leadership of Paul Kralick, now in his fourth year as the show’s wrangler along with fellow two-stroke aficionado Jay Mendoza, the guys even hand-crafting the show trophies.
A SoCal bike event isn’t complete without Jay Leno rolling in, and this time he rolled in appropriately enough on a two-stroke Brit-made classic, a Scott Flying Squirrel. Like they say, different (two) strokes for different folks, and since I didn’t get Jay’s choices for best bikes at the event, I went ahead and made my own selection.
Best Harley at the Event
Now don’t start sending in ferocious complaints about misidentification. “Harley” happens to be the name of the gracious young lady that handed out the show trophies. The bike, of course, is the near mythic Kawi H2 750 Triple like the one that scared the earplugs out of me.
Best Guess the Translation Bike
A tech takes the Roland Sands custom for a spin. Built for the Born Free rally, instead of doing the chopper route Roland went to the iconic Yamaha RD for two-stroke inspiration. Starting with a 1974 RD 400 powerplant nudged into a legendary TZ250 chassis, he produced an RDTZ. The Japanese kanji graphics translate to “Two-Stroke Attack.”
Best Fan of the RZ350
Roger Rompal rode down from Santa Clarita on his California-legal 1985 Kenny Roberts Edition Yamaha RZ350 with mods that included Stage II porting, a milled head, 30mm carbs and aftermarket expansion chambers. He’s got another Kenny Roberts RZ at home. Says Roger, “I have twin boys now 10, and when they’re old enough and responsible enough, they each get one.”
Best Now Hard to Find Decal
The RZ350 sold in California in 1985 was the first Yamaha street bike with a catalytic converter. In ’84 there were two Kenny Roberts “signature” models, one in yellow and the other in red and white, but Kenny’s name didn’t appear on the fairing until ’85. Yamaha suspended sales of the righteous RZ after ’86.
Best Suzuki GT550 Almost Like I had
Okay, mine was a 500, blue and not so shiny. This red one, a 1976, was restored by Jose Tieras. Suzuki had brought out the 380cc and 550cc three-cylinder two-strokes in 1972, with production ending in ’77. Many consider the Suzukis the best of the “smokers.”
The very advanced liquid-cooled two-stroke British built Super Squirrel was launched in 1925, followed in 1926 by the Flying Squirrel. Yes, people do go nuts over these unique machines.
Best Three-Days-Fresh Build
Former pro yacht pilot Capt. Jim Ronis brought his custom ’73 H2 Mach III Kawi to the show, seen also in the article’s lead image. The two-year build was completed just three days prior to the event. “Yes, the green wheels are traditional Kawasaki green, but the swingarm is off a (Yamaha) YZF dirtbike, the forks from a Suzuki GSX-R. The motor’s got Arctic Cat reed valves, and the pipes I gas-welded together from four pieces.”
Best Shop ’til you RD Drop
Trio of Yamaha RDs in various stages of café transformation were offered at bargain prices. RDs had a huge showing/following at the event.
Best Sharpest Toothed T-Shirt/Project Bike Combo
Robotics designer Lindsay Lawlor from ElectricGiraffe.com brought his radical work-in-progress project, a bike named Barracuda. Based on a 1984 RZ500 with its V-4 motor heavily breathed on by MP Racing, it features a Jolly Moto exhaust, Yamaha R1 fork and brake calipers, and an R6 swingarm. Bodywork combines an R1 upper fairing with Ducati 999 tank and Desmosedici tailsection. “It’s like four chainsaws strapped to a bicycle,” says Lawlor about his bike. His t-shirt depicts a hyena, an animal with the same compact powerhouse look and temperament as his bike.
Best Violation of Maximum GVWR
Master mechanic John French brought his Honda MotoCampo, the mini-scooter originally sold in Japan along with ’81-83 Honda metro cars. Foldable, it was stowed in the auto’s trunk. The car would be parked on the outskirts of congested Tokyo, and the commuter/rider would unfold the bars, pegs and seat before putting off to work. Would still come in handy when your Tesla runs out of juice.
Best Kickin’ Up a Ruckus
After Carlos Perez bought a stock 49cc Honda Ruckus, he dropped another $5.5k into its mods including a 150cc motor and $1200 Yoshimura pipe. Says Carlos, “People easily throw $10k into these bikes… it’s a money pit.” He’s claims hitting 69 mph on what he calls “The Battle Ruck.”
Best of Best of Show Bike Show Winner
Gary Bjorling’s rare 1996 Honda Repsol NSR250SP took home the BoS gearful trophy. The liquid-cooled two-stroke made 40 hp at 9000 rpm and weighed about 300 lbs. dry. The SP was last sold in 1996, and the bike painted in Repsol colors to celebrate Mick Doohan’s second-consecutive win in the GP500 class on the factory racer NSR500.
Shonn from San Diego on his munchkin sidehack goes mini-wheel to mag wheel with Stacy Porter, winner of the “Stage 13 Porting Award” for his highly tuned RD400 in period Yamaha racing colors.
Best I Shrunk the Race Bike
Sean Wika crunches into a 1998 Honda Factory Road Racer RS125. Sold to licensed AMA competitors in all white, owners then added their own paint scheme and sponsor decals, etc. The RS now qualifies for AHRMA vintage racing events.
Best First Place Kawasaki Winner
Nick Cook (who happens to live next door to the famous Cook’s Corner motorcycle gathering point) scored the gold for his meticulously restored 1973 Kawi 750 H2 Triple.
Best I’ve Never Seen it Before
Except for the pipe, it’s a stock Yamaha production bike, just not one we got in the U.S. The liquid-cooled 200cc 2-stroke was produced in 1986-87 only for the Japanese market and featured 34 hp in a 253-lb. trellis-framed package.
Best Rat Bike but Please Don’t Call it a Rat Bike
While the show judges classified it as a rat, owner Sam Hoffman sees Spanish built Bultacos as works of art, including his daily rider 1976 Alpina. Designed as trail and trials model, it was converted to street legality for the U.S. market.
Best Hope that High-Pipe-Heat-Shield-Works Bike
Seemingly fresh off the Suzuki showroom floor is this 1976 TC-90J Blazer brought by Jeff Waters. It took the runner-up Best Suzuki trophy.
Best Don’t Tread on Me Bike
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a Rokon, the all-terrain two-stroke first appearing in 1954 and made in the USA, with various models called the Trail-Breaker, Ranger, Scout and Moto-Tractor. The wheels could carry 2.5 gallons of water or gasoline. The company went bust in 1978 but was reborn and still in production the last time I looked. The tank-tough Rokons maintain a fervent fan base.
Best Not-a-Two-Stroke but has a Beer Rack
EMT specialist Angelo Ghiglieri rode in on his ’89 BMW GS 100R. Its engine is now a big valver fed by 40mm Bing carbs; muffler is Yoshimura titanium carbon fiber originally designed for a Hayabusa. A BMW K-bike front end rolls an 18-inch wheel. “I shortened the frame but left the GS rear rack, so it’s the only café racer with a beer rack.”
Best Tall Man in the Saddle Bike
Sean Wika did not require a ladder to climb aboard the 1991 Honda CR500. Designed for off-road use, it’s rare to see one “certified” street legal, in this case thanks to a ‘90s Baja Designs kit (and, presumably, a blind DMV clerk… –Ed.)
Best Interspecies Friendship
Maybe it was me or the end of the Two-Stroke Rally day pleasantly ringing in my head, but I thought that woodie sidecar’s grill was smiling at my BMW. What’s not to like.
19th Two-Stroke Extravaganza Show Winners
Best Kawasaki – 1973 H2 750 Nick Cook
Best Honda – 1996 NSR250 Gary Bjorling
Best Exotic – Pete Phillips 1966 Bultaco Metralla 250
Best Yamaha – Dan Patterson 1976 RD400
Best Daily Rider – Mitch Feingerseth 1972 Kawasaki H2 750
Best Suzuki – Jose Tejeras 1976 GT550
Best Restoration – Rodney Peacock 1972 Kawasaki H2 750
Best Scooter/Moped – George Yamanaka 1971 Suzuki Trailhopper 50
Best Off Road/Enduro – A Pro’s Touch 1974 Suzuki TM125
Stage 13 Porting Award – Stacy Porter 1977 Yamaha RD400
Best Modified – Bill O’Hanlon 1975 Yamaha RD350
Best Rat Bike – Sam Hoffman 1976 Bultaco Alpina 250
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (May 24, 2016) – The anticipation of the opening round of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, resulted in an action-packed afternoon of racing this past weekend to kick off the 12-round season. While RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s […]... Click Here for Article
After claiming two more podiums in Sepang (Malaysia) with Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano in Race One and Two respectively, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team is ready to resume action in Donington (U.K.) for the seventh round of the WorldSBK championship. The circuit located in the East Midlands represents the “home track” for Chaz […]... Click Here for Article
As a fan of local radio station KCRW I hear a lot of Los Angeles traffic reports. Many of these include coverage of vehicle collisions (a frightening amount involve motorcyclists). Nearly all are referred to as accidents, but most are not. For example, texting while driving and smashing into someone is an act of idiocy, not accidentalism. For years I’ve complained about the universal use of the word accident for referring to any/all traffic collisions. Finally, advocacy groups are pushing to replace the word accident with crash. “Traffic crashes are fixable problems, not accidents. Let’s stop using the word ‘accident’ today.” If you agree go to crashnotaccident.com and sign the pledge.