Bikers' Den https://blog.bikersden.com Biker Lifestyle Blog and Motorcycle Industry News Fri, 13 Apr 2018 18:24:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i1.wp.com/blog.bikersden.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/The-Bikers-Den-Logo-Profile.png?fit=30%2C32&ssl=1 Bikers' Den https://blog.bikersden.com 32 32 33646635 Exploring Your Trailering Options for Your Motorcycle https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/exploring-your-trailering-options-for-your-motorcycle/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/exploring-your-trailering-options-for-your-motorcycle/#respond Fri, 13 Apr 2018 18:24:31 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4546 Now that riding season is really sneaking up on us, I know that a lot of you guys are itching to get out and rack up a few miles.  It’s usually times like these, when we see guys riding in...

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Now that riding season is really sneaking up on us, I know that a lot of you guys are itching to get out and rack up a few miles.  It’s usually times like these, when we see guys riding in good weather far away from us, that we start thinking about how we can easily haul our toys to those warm spots and ride them.

Let’s face it, if you’re dealing with blowing snow in Butte, Montana but could head south a few hundred miles to warmer riding what do you do?

Stare Death in the face dodging black ice on the bike or load it up in a trailer and have four wheels helping you along?

Yeah – I’ve ridden in the snow once and didn’t like it one bit.

For me, the idea of a trailer is novel, but not one I’ll use – as some of you will recall, I have an old diesel dually to handle the stray times I need the bike to piggyback on a trip, but for a lot of folks, a trailer makes a lot of sense – most any SUV or car can haul a bike on a trailer and the actual costs for a basic 6×10 trailer are far less than even the most ragged used vehicle.

So what do you look for?

Actually, there are a lot of things, but first, let’s make a couple of assumptions…

  • You’re going to be hauling one or two motorcycles
  • You’re buying (not building) a new trailer
  • You’re mechanically adept and reasonably healthy

If you just need a “point A to point B” trailer, then damn near any one of the generic trailers sold by home improvement retailer like Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Tractor Supply will probably do just fine.  These will usually have an extruded metal ramp to load equipment on but you need to be sure that the ramp and the hinges are strong enough to support your bike when you load it.  Remember, too, that lightweight trailers like these will “flip” up when weight is put on them, so if you are headed to a rally and you’re only going to drop the trailer and unload the bikes later, you could have a real challenge ahead of you.

You’ll likely have plenty of space on the platform of the trailer to carry gear, but, since the trailer is open, you can’t leave it unattended – your stuff will wander off.

The good news on these is that they are super inexpensive – $1500 will get you moving and, because they are super lightweight, you can haul them behind any truck and nearly any decently powered car.  No need for super strong hitches and the wiring is basically “plug and play” for anyone with the smallest amount of electrical knowledge.

The next step up in trailers is a “true” motorcycle or “toy hauler” trailer.  These are built on heavier frames, often feature tilt ramps for loading, and usually provide some kind of enclosed storage for tools and gear.  Bigger models in this category will often feature electrical brakes to help with handling on the road.

The catch, of course is cost(s) – there’s just more “stuff” on these and as a result, you’ll spend more to own them – at least another thousand bucks.  Due to the heavier weights, you’ll also need to make sure your tow vehicle can handle it – very few cars today will have the guts to haul these but if you have an old rear-wheel-drive V8 that was made two generations ago, you might be okay.  Likely, though, you’re going to need at least a full-size truck.  If your trailer has electric brakes, then you’ll also need a little bit more wiring hooked up as well as an electric brake controller wired up into your cab.

That extra weight and the added drag of storage compartments will also likely impact you at the gas pump, too.  Expect at least a 15% decrease in economy when you haul a trailer like these, unless you’re hooking it up to a diesel truck.  Smaller engines that have to work harder may lose up to 50% depending on the weight and the terrain you’re hauling in.

The top of the line trailer for moving your bike is the one that is fully enclosed.  These are generally built on the same frames as the last ones we just talked about, but the entire trailer is encased in a fiberglass or aluminum body.

Obviously, you’re going to add some more money to the purchase price, but the beauty is that all your gear is protected, all the time.  Surprisingly, fuel economy for these types is usually nearly as good as an open trailer, since many are built to be aerodynamic.   Even though I don’t like trailers, I love the fact that you can effectively buy a complete garage for your bike and, even when you have it parked behind the house, you can have a dedicated space just for the scoot – no worries about the kids “borrowing” your tools, no worries about the wife bumping it when she’s carrying in groceries, and no dust settling on your bike.

An added bonus of a fully enclosed trailer is that, with the correct wiring setup, you can utilize a power inverter to run interior lights or, if you’re feeling frisky, you can permanently mount tools – yes, even an air compressor.

What about resale value?

Actually, where I live, in the southern United States, there is always a market for used trailers – everyone has a brother who has a landscaping business, hunters want to haul quad bikes, and SUV owners who have to haul in mulch or home improvement supplies all seem to own a trailer.

In other words, you aren’t going to take long to sell a trailer if you decide you don’t need it anymore – and you aren’t going to lose a lot of money in depreciation, either.

So, if you’re ready to take a road trip but aren’t ready to jockey your bike through the snow to get to warmer climates, look into the trailer options – there are some great ones out there that can put you on the road to fun and sun weeks earlier than usual.

Keep the shiny side up.

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A Quick Guide to Selling Your Motorbike https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/a-quick-guide-to-selling-your-motorbike/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/a-quick-guide-to-selling-your-motorbike/#respond Thu, 29 Mar 2018 16:55:26 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4541 If you are looking to sell your motorbike, perhaps because you are considering an upgrade, or you simply don’t use it enough and need the funds, you want to be sure that you are not only going to be getting...

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If you are looking to sell your motorbike, perhaps because you are considering an upgrade, or you simply don’t use it enough and need the funds, you want to be sure that you are not only going to be getting a good price for it but also avoid any scams and make a safe sale.

 

With that in mind, we thought we’d put together this quick guide to selling your motorbike to guide you through the process if you are thinking of selling your bike soon.

 

Prepare your bike for sale

You’ll want to make sure that you give your bike a proper clean and polish before you take pictures and put it up for sale, as well as checking it over and making any repairs if necessary.

 

When evaluating what your bike is worth, take into account the age, mileage, and overall condition of the bike. It’s a good idea to check how much people in your area are selling similar bikes for to get a rough idea of what you can expect to fetch.

 

You’ll want to price it to attract enquiries, but be sure to allow a bit of a margin for any haggling so you don’t end up selling it for less than you would like.

 

Avoiding scams

If you are selling your bike privately, it is important to be savvy to ensure you don’t fall victim to thieves and con artists posing as would-be buyers. Never give out up front details such as the V5C or your personal details, and be wary of emails from abroad.

 

You should definitely be cautious of anybody who offers to buy your bike without coming to see it in person or offers to pay more than the asking price. You should also be wary of shipping or ESCROW services that a potential buyer suggests, as these could be bogus.

 

Make sure that you don’t meet potential buyers anywhere where you could be vulnerable, and ideally bring a friend with you, even if they aren’t an expert on bikes, just for safety reasons.

 

It is generally safest to take payment via bank transfer, as this is immediate, and cash can be counterfeit. For an extra layer of security, we recommend using the CHAPS system, as such payments are irrevocable.

 

Selling quickly and securely

If all of this sounds a little overwhelming or you are worried about being scammed, a straightforward and safe way sell is on Motorbike Trader, who will give you a valuation for your bike and then pay you via bank transfer or in cash within 48 hours. They will also collect your bike from anywhere, so you don’t need to worry about sorting out delivery.

 

All you need to do is enter your registration number, mileage, and some details about the condition and you will receive a valuation on the same day, which is ideal if you’re selling because you’re in need of some quick cash. Your bike doesn’t need an M.O.T or full service history, as they consider all bikes.

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5 Top Tips For Buying A Second-Hand Motorbike https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/5-top-tips-for-buying-a-second-hand-motorbike/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/5-top-tips-for-buying-a-second-hand-motorbike/#respond Sat, 24 Mar 2018 22:13:01 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4535 Choosing and buying a new motorbike is no easy feat as there are so many out there but, with a second-hand bike, there’s a lot more to consider.   Motorbikes don’t come cheap and, because safety is of paramount importance...

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Choosing and buying a new motorbike is no easy feat as there are so many out there but, with a second-hand bike, there’s a lot more to consider.

 

Motorbikes don’t come cheap and, because safety is of paramount importance when riding, it’s essential that you carry out certain checks before you hand over your money. It can all be a lot to take in, especially if you’re a motorbike novice, so here are 5 top tips for buying a second-hand motorbike.

 

5 Top Tips for Buying a Second Hand Motorbike

 

Be aware of dodgy sellers

Most people you’ll come across in your search for a second-hand motorbike will be genuine, but you should still be aware that there are people out there who won’t have the purest of intentions.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s genuine and who’s not, but if the person you plan to buy your bike from says anything like this, it may be time to look elsewhere:

 

  • “I’m selling it for my friend who’s moved abroad.”
  • “I just moved house and haven’t got the V5 back from DVLA.”
  • “It’s been serviced by my mate who’s a mechanic.”
  • ‘It eats Gixxer thous’ for breakfast’
  • “I fitted that alarm myself.”
  • “It’s not had its MOT yet but it’ll fly through one.”

 

Look at the boring details

You may want to skip past the tedious details and ride away on your bike as soon as you can, however it is really important that you ask certain questions.

 

We spoke to We Want Your Motorbike who said: “There are definitely some questions that you absolutely need to ask before you even think about putting a payment on a bike – especially when it’s second-hand.”

 

“First of all, you need to ask the all-important questions such as has it been crashed? If so, how badly? Are there any modifications? Then, move onto to other questions such as asking how many owners its had and asking about its service history.”

 

Walk around

It’s absolutely crucial that you do a walk around and it’s equally as crucial that you do this in daylight, preferably on a dry day. Walking around the bike and inspecting as you go should throw up some of the more obvious types of damage like hairline fractures and weld tears, so it’s an opportunity to not be missed.

 

Start it and listen

For the most part, the engines on modern motorbikes are reliable but you will do well to check for any noises that sound suspicious. If you have a friend who is experienced with motorbikes, it will be handy to bring them along with you, but there’s ways to diagnose an engine problem by the noise it makes in case you don’t already know.

 

Test ride

If you’re happy with the bike after carrying out all the above steps, it’s time for the all-important test drive. This is to ensure that the bike runs properly and is a good fit for you – under no circumstances should you buy a motorbike without test driving first!

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The Harley Davidson Livewire Initiative – What’s It Mean? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/the-harley-davidson-livewire-initiative-whats-it-mean/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/the-harley-davidson-livewire-initiative-whats-it-mean/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 19:22:04 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4531 About four years ago, Harley Davidson took a trip around the United States with a few bikes.  Electric bikes.  The project at the time was dubbed Livewire and in the last couple of months, Harley has actually greenlighted the development...

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About four years ago, Harley Davidson took a trip around the United States with a few bikes.  Electric bikes.  The project at the time was dubbed Livewire and in the last couple of months, Harley has actually greenlighted the development of a true electric bike.

Now, I remember that tour and while there was a little buzz about it, most of us really thought it was like those great concept cars you see at car shows – nothing they’ll ever actually make, but the technology they develop will help the company to build better systems in existing platforms.

Four years later, though, and Harley has announced they are going to be producing an electric bike for sale within the next 18 months.

Harley Davidson Livewire

Like you, I’m a little confused.

Harley made its bones by building big, loud bikes that fed into a rebel image and resonated with riders from the post-WWII era to the baby-boomers to younger folks who appreciated the classic lines of real American craftsmanship.

Electric bikes don’t really fit into that image.  In fact, if you had to pick an antithesis to the outlaw biker image that Harley has sold for four generations, the electric vehicle owner might be a pretty good place to start.

The way I see it, there are two really good things that can come from LiveWire:

First, Harley is going to have to push the technology they currently use far beyond where they have ever been.  That’s good for us as owners, because new methods and systems are going to be brought to market, even if we still ride V-twins.  Frame designs, the metallurgy, braking – all these things that bikes all have in common should, in theory, have to be considered and as the aftermarket digests this research, it is going to trickle down to us.  A generation ago, hot rodders didn’t have any desire to use fuel injection or computers in a street car that didn’t originally have one, now the vast majority of old rods I see at shows have fuel injection and are sporting at least basic engine management computers.

I see some of the LIveWire R and D helping us all, no matter how far back your bike goes.

The second thing I see – and you’ve read it here plenty of times – is that Harley is opening up a new market that it desperately needs.  Let’s face it, the Baby Boomers aren’t buying any more bikes – and they have been paying the bills in Milwaukee for a long time.  With LiveWire, Harley is going to attract folks who couldn’t care less about the Milwaukee 8 but like the idea of electric cars and bikes.

We’ve all seen the success of Tesla and that brand’s ability to attract buyers without even having cars to sell.  I’m betting that the electric bike market won’t be driven by Harley Davidson as a name brand, but based solely on quality and functionality.  If Harley can bring a bike to market over the next 18 months that has the type of build quality and design that reignited the brand in the early 1980s, then we might see a whole new industry open up for Mother Davidson.

So what does LiveWire look like?  The stills I’ve seen are all “posed” so it’s tough to get a lot of detail.  What has been released so far is that the platform is fast enough – 0-60 in about four seconds – and that, right now, range is about 50 miles.  As I’ve been following the “electric” trend now for a few years, I suspect that the final product they release will have a bit more range than that, but likely not too much.

And to all you guys with Iron Butts, understand, we, as riders, aren’t who Harley is selling too.  Maybe our kids, maybe the guy we used to beat up in high school, but most assuredly, not us.

THAT is the biggest change here.  Thirty years ago, when Harley started selling a lot more accessories in their showrooms, it was still stuff that riders might use or wear.

Electric bikes though?  Sure, a few guys that ride will buy them, but for the most part, I can’t see how the two markets will ever meet – and that, to me, is the real challenge that H-D has here.  The fellow that rides a V-twin may very well be environmentally conscious, but his bike really isn’t.  The person that opts to buy an electric vehicle, in general, is doing so as a statement based on their beliefs.

There’s an old country song that mentions the idea that “a man can’t stock two shelves” and the concern for me is that, as Harley enters into a radically different market and “goes green” they may not be able to reconcile the two sets of owners they are looking for.

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Spring is Getting Here, Now Do This Before You Ride https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/spring-is-getting-here-now-do-this-before-you-ride/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/spring-is-getting-here-now-do-this-before-you-ride/#respond Fri, 09 Mar 2018 19:32:17 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4528 Every year, we go through this.  We have a couple of nice days and suddenly, riders just fall out of the bushes with bikes they’ve drug out of hibernation.  About that same time, too, folks in the U.S. are getting...

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Every year, we go through this.  We have a couple of nice days and suddenly, riders just fall out of the bushes with bikes they’ve drug out of hibernation.  About that same time, too, folks in the U.S. are getting their tax refunds from Uncle Sam and blowing it on brand new bikes they aren’t sure how to ride, how to maintain, or how to care for.

Everybody, just take a break for a second.  I know that we all want to get on the bike and ride all weekend, but a little pre-flight checkup is never a bad thing.  Take an hour or two before you get on the bike and set your year up for success.

First of all, different scenarios call for different reactions.  If you are new to riding, then your new bike (hopefully) came with some instructions, a warranty, and maybe some dealership service.

For the rest of us who are pulling the scoot from the garage, here’s what you need to consider:

To start with, the amount of work you have to do in the Spring is directly proportional to the amount of work you did when you put your bike up for the winter.  Did you give it a full tune up, detail clean it?  Winterize the fuel system?  I know we talked about it, but maybe the ball game was on, hunting season was open, or it was just too damn cold in the garage because you rode until it started snowing.

Spring is Getting Here, Now Do This Before You Ride

If you went through all the systems on your bike and have had the battery on a trickle charger, then you might just be able to fuel it up, prime the carb(s), and be ready to start it.  Don’t.

Take a couple of minutes, pull the plugs, dribble a little automatic transmission fluid into the cylinders, and then, with the plugs in the engine but not hooked up to the plug wires, turn the engine over a few times.  The ATF will give you a little top-end lubrication, the starter will get some oil circulating and, at the same time, start getting some fuel into the carb bowl.

NOW, hook up you plug wires (correctly) and spin the starter over.

There’s two schools of thought on whether you should change oil that’s been sitting over the winter.  Lots of guys “winterize” with new oil, then run that for a bit in the spring before a regular change.  I’ve done it about as many ways as there are – changed in the Fall and changed it before firing it up in the Spring, NOT changed in the Fall and done a full tune up before Spring riding season opened, and changed in the Fall and rode for a while in the Spring.  I’m sure there are experts out there who have their own ways of doing things that they feel are best, but whatever you do, please, please, please, make sure you’ve got fresh oil in the crankcase on a regular basis.  Filtration is next to nothing on V-twins and with the amount of heat generated, oil simply doesn’t last.

Fresh oil is by far the cheapest insurance policy you can buy for your bike and there’s no reason that you can’t do it yourself no matter how small of a work area you have.

Now, I know that some of you guys still have snow up to your waists (my buddy out in Colorado sent me a picture of the door of his garage where he keeps his Road King – snow is drifted 5 feet on the back door).  Here’s a hint for you:

Get your riding leathers cleaned professionally.  Sure, it’ll cost you a little money, but you, too, can start the riding season as clean and fresh as the engine in your bike.  What’s more, you’ll be able to get all the “funkiness” out of the leather so it’ll actually last longer, freeing up your bike budget to get more goodies.

Here’s another hint – take a look at all your gear.  How old is your helmet?  After 5 years, you really shouldn’t be trusting it to keep your head together – the fiberglass can be weakened by UV rays and all the little bumps it takes just being around you.  The last thing you want to do is to tempt fate by “running around the corner” with a helmet that can’t save your life.

How about your gloves?  Goggles?  Did the kids get into your tool kit or “borrow” your rain gear?  Take the time right now to make sure that everything is tip-top because we both know, when the sun is out, the call of the open road is strong.

Down here in south Georgia, riding season is definitely here, but the pollen is killing me – clouds of the yellow stuff is just blowing all over and has me sneezing like crazy – something I hate to do on the back of the bike.  That’s not to say I haven’t gotten in some riding, but I’ve had to pick my days and routes wisely.  Another week or two and it’ll be gone and I can really get out of the house and put some miles on the bike.

Keep the shiny side up – and get ready!

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Daytona Builds a Hell of a Helmet https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/daytona-builds-a-hell-of-a-helmet/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/daytona-builds-a-hell-of-a-helmet/#respond Fri, 23 Feb 2018 19:55:45 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4523 So, a couple of weeks ago, The Boss called and told me that Bikers’ Den was going to start carrying some of the Daytona Helmets line. I told him that was great, but I had a helmet and then he...

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So, a couple of weeks ago, The Boss called and told me that Bikers’ Den was going to start carrying some of the Daytona Helmets line. I told him that was great, but I had a helmet and then he reminded me that part of my job is to make sure that you guys – our everyday readers and riders – know about new gear we’re carrying.

Now, a few of you guys will remember that two years ago, some nitwit stole my helmet off my parked bike right in town in broad daylight. At the time, I decided to do a lot of research, since I’d been wearing the same helmet for years, and, since I was suddenly in the market, I had to do a ton of research on the helmets we offer.

I mean, why would I shop anywhere else? Now that Bikers’ Den is carrying Daytona helmets, I’m in that same boat again.

Daytona Helmets Half Shell Skull Cap, German, Polo, DOT Certified Helmets

I really like the styles they’ve got out there, but what really gets me going was what I read that wasn’t sales or advertising, it was what the men and women who survived accidents because of their Daytona helmet said about that helmet…

“Just wanted to say Thank you I’ve been wearing this helmet for 3 years – 3 weeks ago had a car hit me head on at 40 mph Flew thru the air 30 feet broke pelvis – hand -leg and alot of rash but no head injury Even though helmet is trash now it did the trick and saved my life along with alot help from the big man upstairs THANK YOU!!

“Yesterday I had a low side accident at 55mph. The only thing I remember is the back tire going out from under me and my head hitting the ground. I was released from ER 4 hours later after a brain scan. I came out of it with only some road rash on my leg. I’ll be ordering another one. Thank you!”

“I wanted to thank you for making a great helmet. I had to lay my motorcycle down in heavy traffic to avoid an accident . Walked away with road rash, dislocated shoulder and a lot of soreness. I banged my head on the pavement so hard it bounced and tore the helmet up. I was wearing a Daytona Cruiser 1/2 helmet with pull down visor. There is no doubt it saved me from serious injury or death. Thank you for a great product.”

And I found comment after comment like these, all over the web.

What does that tell me? Number one, Daytona builds a hell of a helmet. Number two, they put a lot of thought into the design of each one of their lids to make sure that every rider has every opportunity to walk away from what could have been a lethal encounter.
As with any helmet we sell on the site, Daytona’s helmets – from beanies to Polos – are all DOT certified and, I’ve found, really light weight. In all my searching, I also couldn’t find anyone complaining about lift at highway speeds or mushroom head.

One last thing that I really like about these helmets is that Daytona took the time to design three different sizes of shell to accommodate all the different sizes of head out there. In this way, everything is scaled properly, no matter how big your noggin is.
The bottom line is this – if you’re in the market for a new lid, Daytona is building some really nice ones that won’t cost you an arm and a leg and offer a level of safety and comfort that a lot of helmets out there can’t achieve. I don’t work “for” anyone anymore, but it’s nice to work “with” folks who think that safety and value can be in the same sentence as style and good looks.

Check out the new Daytona Helmets page right here… and keep the shiny side up!

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Help Us Add More Biker Friendly Places to our List https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/help-us-add-more-biker-friendly-places-to-our-list/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/help-us-add-more-biker-friendly-places-to-our-list/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 19:00:16 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4516 Here’s the deal: Since we have thousands of folks that read this blog, buy the gear, and check out our social media pages, we’ve decided to build a complete list of biker-friendly establishments all over North America. Beer joints, hot...

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Here’s the deal: Since we have thousands of folks that read this blog, buy the gear, and check out our social media pages, we’ve decided to build a complete list of biker-friendly establishments all over North America.

Beer joints, hot sheet motels, truck stops, garages, restaurants, diners, campgrounds… all of them. The way The Boss sees it, anyone can buy their way onto a biker mailing list, but we’re building this list based on your opinions, not someone writing a check.

And we’re not marketing it to you, we’re just trying to help you have a better ride.

Brooklyn Tavern

Brooklyn Tavern in Cosmopolis, WA

Here’s the other part of the deal: We know that Harley dealerships like to see us. We know that Hooters girls like to see us. Let’s get off the beaten path, though and talk about those little gems you always stop at on your way to the Dragon’s Tail or when you ride the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Newsflash! We also know everybody in Sturgis is happy when we pull up, but where did you eat or sleep the day before you got to Sturgis? THAT’S the place we want to hear about!

All you have to do is click here and enter your suggestions in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Biker Friendly Places

Eagle Creek Saloon in Lilliwaup, WA

I know, I know, some of us aren’t all that good at following directions, so let me further spell it out for you: This is only for the good guys! Don’t list crappy places or places to get shot at – we’re building that list too, but the lawyer is really nervous about publishing that one due to slander and libel laws in all the countries, states, and provinces we’re operating in.

The whole goal of this list is to be able to give you access, as a friend of The Bikers Den, to places that you can trust and enjoy while you’re out on the road. You’re not going to walk into a place that’s going to give you a ration of crap if you smoke, smell like exhaust, or want to sit down for a spell before you get back on the bike for the next two hundred miles.

In other words, friends of the family.

C-Hunts Ice House

C-Hunts Ice House in Austin, TX

And some of you guys that own businesses that cater to bikers? Yeah, we’ll let you join in the list-building the process, too, but understand, if we find out that you suck, we’re pulling you off the list, period. We’ve spent years building our own family of readers and a group of folks that depend on us to give them good advice. When you attempt to betray that trust, we’re pulling the plug, brother.

Take a few minutes and put on your thinking cap and let us know the places that you trust on your rides. You never know, you might steer some of the good guys in the ‘Den into your favorite place and make some new riding partners…

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How to Start a Motorcycle Business https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/start-motorcycle-business/ Wed, 07 Feb 2018 19:24:05 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4504 So you’ve made the decision, and you want to go it alone. You’re going to open up your own motorcycle business. Well, good luck and we all hope it goes well…. at this point everyone you know leaves you to...

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So you’ve made the decision, and you want to go it alone. You’re going to open up your own motorcycle business. Well, good luck and we all hope it goes well…. at this point everyone you know leaves you to get on with it.

Well, how about one final check to ensure you’ve got everything you need to succeed in running a business.

  1. Premises.

Whether you’re opening a service business from your garage or opening a store, the same is true; location, location, location! You’ll need space for those bikes you’re going to service or sell and you must be far enough away from the established motorcycle businesses. But near enough to where bikers live and ride. If you’re not sure, then check out the Bikers are welcome site where they have lists of biker friendly routes across the UK and Europe and biker friendly businesses across the world – get yourself listed as a destination.

How to Start a Motorcycle Business

  1. Finances

You’ll know the costs of your premises, no doubt, and your business plan (you’ve sorted all this?) will have told you how many units you need to sell every week to break even. You’ll also need your business to be insured and that you’ve worked out the basics of taxes and who will do your accounts. Don’t forget to keep all the bills and receipts from day one to avoid any nasty shocks from the accountant when they do your return – and they need paying too!

  1. Employees

You may well be starting out alone, but at some point, you’ll be wanting an extra pair of hands. Staff are another one of those keys to success or failure; recruitment of the right people (not necessarily you mates!), is a must for a new business. Mechanics, salespeople, accountants – recruit experience and personality; recruit people that understand you.

  1. Marketing

Yes, the internet can seem to require a lot of knowledge and ‘tricks’ to be successful. But it’s how the world works these days. Have a site built which reflects what you offer and let people contact you by phone, email, semaphore, anything. Make sure you answer them! Find sites where you can offer your services to the people that need them – target the right motorcyclists; off-roaders don’t read track-day blogs. There are plenty of sites  where you can get mentioned as a point of reference – Big Bike Mad is a great example of a site which targets certain types of motorcyclist.

  1. Be a nice guy (or girl!)

The personality of the business owner is the one thing that can genuinely help a business to succeed. Yes, you’re a business, but go the extra mile; clean the bikes you service; pick prospective buyers up from the train station; do everything you can to let your customers know that they are important to you. It works. It always works for me.

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Biker Friendly Establishments – Help us Make a List https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/biker-friendly-establishments-help-us-make-a-list/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/biker-friendly-establishments-help-us-make-a-list/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 21:58:15 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4471 (Editor’s Note: Due to all of the submissions we have received, we have created a new page on The Bikers’ Den blog dedicated to listing Biker Friendly Establishments.) It never fails – you get an idea for a great ride...

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(Editor’s Note: Due to all of the submissions we have received, we have created a new page on The Bikers’ Den blog dedicated to listing Biker Friendly Establishments.)

It never fails – you get an idea for a great ride and you pick up the phone to call some riding buddies.  You know the ones – the names in your phone are all “Spider” and “Wolfman” and “Jarhead” instead of the moniker their parents hung on them.  For “Company Name” you have what kind of bike they’ve got.

Anyhow, you call them to see what they’ve got planned for the weekend and when you say you might do a little riding, the question is always, “Where ya goin’?”

Where, indeed?  More importantly, where are you spending time and money along the way?  (In other words, keep reading!)

Down here in the South, we usually have the chance to ride nearly year-round, although this last month, we actually had a super-rare snow fall that kept most everyone off the roads (no plows, salt, or sand this far down in Dixie), so I suddenly got the chance to feel how some of you guys feel.  When the mercury dipped down below freezing for nearly a week.

Same problem.

No ride.  No wrench.  No fun.

That, however, got me to thinking about where we all like to ride.  What makes a road trip worth riding?

Sure, it’s the scenery in many cases.  Other times, like with the Dragon’s Tail, it’s the chance to stretch out a bike to the performance limits it can exert with you at the helm.  On the other hand, in every situation, a big part of the ride has to do with places we feel welcomed.

Every one of us has come in from some iron-butted ride in poor weather and just wanted to stretch our legs, get some gas, and slake out thirst and gotten crummy looks from folks because of what they “think” they know about us.  I’ve even written about some of the dirtbags here in these pages – the punk in his Prius on my way to Sturgis a couple years ago comes immediately to mind.  Along the way, though, you and I have met some great folks – my old friend J. L. Vines out in the west part of the state pops up, even though he hasn’t ridden since Johnson was president.

That’s what this is all about – the team and I at The Bikers’ Den are trying to log in all the great places and people that enjoy our business even if we “look” like bikers.

They have good food, good prices, cold beer, hot coffee, whatever.

We want to know who and where they are.  I’m going to start it off by saying that we all know that Hooter’s is a great destination and I think they serve food, but I can’t remember.  I know they don’t wear too many pieces of clothing there.

But what about those great watering holes off the beaten path?  Places like Bob’s Place in Pickens, South Carolina?  Somewhere up in those Appalachian hollows is another bar I have taken a drink or two at – Scatterbrains, but I’ve heard various stories about how it is and isn’t still around.   Then again, I’d be wrong to not mention the Snake River KOA and damn near every business in Hoback Junction, Wyoming, too.  Those folks were too great to forget and their prices were half of what they wanted for the same stuff right up the road in Jackson Hole.

Bob's Place - Biker Friendly Establishments

Just as importantly, if you don’t have anyone chasing your poker run in a van to fix what’s broken, then we also want to know where, in North America, you’ve found folks that can fix you up or get you back on the road when you’re far from home.  I don’t care if you’re in the Prairie Provinces or south Texas, let us know.

Just leave a comment below or post it on any one of our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).  We don’t care where you do it, we just want to start building a list of biker-friendly establishments so we can all benefit.

The way I see it, most of us have the chance to be back on the road in just a few weeks without fear of frostbite, so let’s log where the good folks are.  We don’t need any help finding the bastards in the world, but think about how powerful a list like this could be next time you try to plan a week’s ride through the uncrowded places?

Keep the shiny side up and Spring is coming…

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What’s the Deal With Triumph? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/whats-deal-triumph/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/whats-deal-triumph/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 21:44:32 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4462 Anybody who has been involved with riding for any length of time knows a little of the history of bikes in North America. Harley, Indian, the myriad of Japanese bikes starting in the 1970s, and then, assorted European and British...

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Anybody who has been involved with riding for any length of time knows a little of the history of bikes in North America. Harley, Indian, the myriad of Japanese bikes starting in the 1970s, and then, assorted European and British bikes that appeared after World War 2.

A few days ago, I was at a conference far to the south of me and had the chance to see – not ride – a new Triumph Bonneville Bobber and that got me thinking – what has Triumph been up to since Marlon Brando rode his Thunderbird T6 in The Wild One?

What’s the Deal With Triumph

I’d ridden a friend’s ancient Triumph a lifetime ago, but since I’m not really in the market for a new bike, I’ve always sort of skipped over keeping up with what the British bikes have done in the last 40 years.

They’ve been quietly building a damn good bike.

While the original Triumph company, which started in 1902 and built a variety of bikes and, it could be argued, that reached its peak with Brando and his Thunderbird in the 1950s. The original company folded in 1936, the next one made it until 1984, and the modern Triumph took over a decade to finally become profitable, but with the release of the Bonneville Bobber this year, I think they are finally building a series of bikes that combine the classic looks of a café racer with the current love affair we all seem to have with garage-built bobbers.

What makes the whole thing so damn interesting is that the website for Triumph is less than forthcoming about what their bikes are about. Couple that with the fact that the nearest dealership to me is a day’s ride, and I’m in the dark about what this really good looking bike is all about.

I can’t even find out (officially) what motor is in it, although our old friend Wikipedia says it’s a liquid-cooled parallel-twin 1200 cc motor.

In that case, it ought to scoot right along.

The really fun part of this reemergence of Triumph as a serious builder with great style is that there is another manufacturer out there that is building a high-quality product. The “old” issues that plagued everything that the British built – electronics, for example – are things of the past and the owners I’ve spoken to all talk about how well built and behaved the newer bikes are.

In the end, if your list for your Valentines Day Sweetie has a new bike on it, then it appears that Triumph is building the sort of high-quality bikes that serious riders are looking for – and at a price point that rivals any other quality builder. The only challenge I can see is getting to a dealership to put your butt on one.

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Should I Tune Up My Motorcycle in the Winter? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/tune-up-your-motorcycle-in-the-winter/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/tune-up-your-motorcycle-in-the-winter/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 15:56:50 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4449 One of the biggest challenges we all have when the snow starts to fly or the mercury drops is free time. We get on Google, we start thinking about projects we can do in the garage for the scoot and...

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One of the biggest challenges we all have when the snow starts to fly or the mercury drops is free time.

We get on Google, we start thinking about projects we can do in the garage for the scoot and then, we start making assumptions about what we think we know. Spark plugs, simple as they are, can be a real problem.

Why?

Well, too many folks don’t understand them. Take the “heat range” idea, for example. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had self-proclaimed “experts” tell me that running a “cooler” plug will make your engine run cooler. These are the same guys that think that high octane fuel is somehow magically “better” but can never seem to prove it on paper or via extended dyno runs or long-term economy data.

Motorcycle Tune Ups - Spark Plugs

So is there any merit in running a hotter or cooler plug? As a matter of fact, there might be.

First of all, let’s address that heat range thing. The heat range of a plug only has to do with the temperature range that the plug is most efficient. NOT the temperature range in which it ignites or sparks.

So, where bikers get in trouble with plugs in the winter is when they can’t make ONE change and then get data on it to determine whether that change was for better or worse. Here’s an example: Charlie decides to buy all new ignition components after he’s winterized his bike. He changes out the breaker, band, bushings, springs, and then, pops in new plugs and wires. He fires it up in his cold garage in January, runs it for a few minutes with no load on it, revs the motor a time or two, then shuts it down.

Charlie is happy as a clam since he got some time in wrenching on the bike and then, when March comes, he rolls out into the early Spring and the bike runs like crap.

Why?

Too many variables! Now, it could simply be that he’s getting a little pinging from bad gas or his timing is off a bit due to his rebuild. Easily fixed if you have the time, but, that first ride of the year, you’d rather be riding than tweaking.

Motorcycle Winter Tune Up

Charlie could have used those cold winter days more effectively if he would have taken the time to put the bike under load and see if he had the timing correct, no ping, and operating temperature was able to be tested with more accurate data – tough to do on an air-cooled engine when it is freezing cold outside.

On the other hand, by the time January comes around, most of us have been off the bike for at least a month and the urge to at least do something is a strong pull to the garage. Here’s a hint – buy the stuff you need, but don’t necessarily bolt it on. (An even smarter idea is to buy all the riding gear you need now and then buy the go-fast stuff early in the Spring to be able to tweak as it warms up)

If you absolutely have to tweak and tune in the middle of the winter, take the time to thoroughly research what those changes can and should do to your bike. Everyone is in love with Iridium plugs – me too, for awhile – but after comparing my actual mileage over 3,000 miles a few years ago, I switched back to standard Champions – a little cooler than normal, but still in spec for my motor. The result was slightly better economy but I could validate that because it was the only change I had made in that time.

Too many variables means that you are shooting in the dark and that means that you can lose time on the bike because you wasted time in the garage.

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All I Want for Christmas https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/all-i-want-for-christmas/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/all-i-want-for-christmas/#respond Fri, 22 Dec 2017 21:34:41 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4444 Every year, we get bombarded. Professional marketing firms are allowed to use all sorts of psychological data and research to figure out how to entice kids to beg their parents and grandparents for the latest “must have” gift that will...

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Every year, we get bombarded.

Professional marketing firms are allowed to use all sorts of psychological data and research to figure out how to entice kids to beg their parents and grandparents for the latest “must have” gift that will likely be forgotten about (or broken) by the time we ring in the New Year.

Americans and Canadians who have, for all intents and purposes, won life’s lottery when it comes to “places to live that are free” scurry hither and yon buying “stuff” to give away and never actually think about giving the gift of time instead of the gift of clutter.

And everywhere you look, there is a very real sense that the things you DO have – that you choose to buy and enjoy – is somehow not as good as a newer version of that same thing.

All I Want for Christmas

I get it – durable goods wear out, people gain weight or lose weight, and nearly everything has a useful life, be it a washing machine, She Who Must Be Obeyed’s car, or your boots.

What I don’t get, and never have, is why, at this time of year, we allow ourselves to make excuses to buy garbage.  If you are old enough to read this, then you are probably old enough to remember that the time you spent with your father, or grandfather, or even quiet moments with your significant other are so much more important, as the years go by, than another piece of lingerie, or a bracelet, or, for you, another Harley t-shirt or a set of bags.

How much would you give to watch your kids run downstairs when they were truly young and look for the items that Santa brought?  When most of us had kids, we also didn’t have much of a “kid budget” but we still made it work.  We pulled some extra shifts, we put stuff on layaway, or we simply did without.

I well remember wondering why my Dad never seemed to have the same number of presents as me or my mom, but still had such a big smile on his face as I tore into the gifts Santa had left for me.

I remember my Grandmother happily telling me how happy she was that Santa had arrived by 3:30 Christmas morning, but that we wouldn’t be opening the packages he had left until everyone else had awoken in 3 or 4 hours.  Funny thing, I don’t remember what I got from Santa that year, but I remember those words my Granny spoke as if she was here beside me.

Stuff.  Likely, we have too much of it.  Sometimes we need to buy it and sometimes we get caught up in it.  My wish for you this Christmas?

On The Biker Side Christmas Cartoon

I hope you have every penny you need to provide your family and friends the things they want and I earnestly hope that in doing that, you are able to spend the time with each of them that you both deserve.  Case in point?  At Thanksgiving this year, we were able to get both sets of inlaws to join us for the day.  As we went around the table to reflect on what we were most thankful for, my Dad said simply, “the time.”

As I thought about that later that night when all the house was asleep, I realized that the best gifts I was ever given as a kid were never things, they were time.  The sounds and smells of a home filled with love and appreciation for what the Christmas season means for so many – NOT a chance to go further into debt.

Plenty of people have wondered why, as a successful business man in the prime of my life I would choose to drive an old bike that isn’t a “classic” and the answer is, I don’t need it.  The freedom and memories that I’ve created with friends over the years riding and wrenching on bikes far outweighs anything that I could buy from a dealership.

My wish for you – and for all of us – is that you are able to come to a place where time is the most valuable commodity you own, not just the size of your bank account.

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Viking Cycle Warrior Jacket Review https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/viking-cycle-warrior-jacket-review/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/viking-cycle-warrior-jacket-review/#respond Thu, 21 Dec 2017 19:25:31 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4432 A lot of value wrapped up in a great package… I have to be honest, I love leather. No, cancel that – I love GOOD leather.  You know, the kind that smells good, feels smooth as butter, and keeps out...

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A lot of value wrapped up in a great package…

I have to be honest, I love leather.

No, cancel that – I love GOOD leather.  You know, the kind that smells good, feels smooth as butter, and keeps out the wind, the cold, and maybe even a little rain?

Yep, I’ve got a closet of the stuff, for riding, for cold mornings when I have to look nice to meet a client, and for crummy days when I have to do some work outside but don’t want to feel how bad the wind is blowing.  Anyone who rides a bike likely has at least a few leather pieces, whether it was chaps, or a vest, and everyone I know that owns a bike has a leather jacket – usually in black.

Viking Cycle Warrior Jacket Review Viking Cycle Warrior Leather Jacket Review

There’s just one problem with really good leather – it usually comes with a price tag that requires you to hide the receipt from the Old Lady – or scrape together the funds over a month or two to make sure that you can get it.

Nonetheless, I started getting that urge this Fall for a new jacket, but rather than going with the normal black that everyone on the back of a bike seems to love – or the wild colors that the import crowd seem to favor, I wanted to see how brown looked.

Wait, what?

Yeah – I bought a brown leather jacket.

Even better?  I got one that looks cool, feels great, and didn’t require a loan from the bank.

Viking Cycle’s Warrior Jacket.

The Good…

First of all, I really like the look of the coat.  Like any good riding jacket, it’s snug to keep from “puffing” on the road but when I’m wearing it, I don’t feel like I’m stuffed in it.

Next, Viking has reinforced or armored all the spots that you are likely to hit if you had to lay down a bike – the back is internally plated, the elbows are reinforced, and the overall feel of the jacket is that it is ready to take a hit.

Viking Cycle Jacket Review Viking Cycle Leather Jacket Review

Another thing I really liked – and I’m picky, I know – is the stitching.  Taking a closer look at how the jacket is actually assembled shows me that it was put together to stay together.  The thread used is heavy-duty, seams that needed to be reinforced have been double-stitched, and just as importantly, those seams are properly tied off.  Pardon the pun, but no loose ends.

As most of you guys know, I live in the South and that means that the weather can vary wildly just in the course of a day.  You might start the ride with temps in the forties and by the afternoon, you’re seeing the mercury hitting nearly 80 degrees.  Viking Cycle planned for this by building ventilation into the jacket – zippered vents in the front and below the shoulders allow you to stay zipped but have great airflow through the jacket at any speed.

The Very Good …

What I really liked about Viking Cycle’s Warrior Jacket is that it can be had for a fraction of the cost of some of the competition.  Even with shipping and handling, the sales right now can get you into this jacket for less than a $100 US and based on how it has performed so far, you can have a well-built, good looking coat for the price of a night out.

This part is going to sound silly, but I also really liked the overall color.  Yes, brown is brown, but it’s such a dark brown that you aren’t going to have to run to the cleaners if a little bit of dirt or oil gets on a sleeve.  I was actually picking up some other leather pieces I had to have cleaned the other day and the dry cleaner gave the Viking Cycle Warrior Jacket a “thumbs up” based on the construction and the quality.  I figure he’s seen more leather than me, so that’s always a good sign if the expert likes it.

The Not So Good …

Okay, here’s where I have to get nitpicky…  when I was ordering my jacket, Viking Cycle was in the process of restocking from their factory.  A minor annoyance, but a real one.  We live in a global economy and any company that sells internationally is going to have those moments.  As it was, it certainly didn’t take long to get my order – actually less than a week, but I noticed that they had several really great pieces of gear on the website that were out of stock.

Overall, after having worn this jacket in a variety of weather and circumstances, I really like it.  Fit is great, functionality is perfect, the pockets have all the room I can use and, even better, I’m into the coat for a fraction of what I’ve spent on similar quality jackets.  Whether you are looking for a “spare” for odd circumstances or thinking about retiring an old coat, I think that Viking Cycle has designed and built a great one in their Warrior Jacket

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Are You Healthy Enough to Ride? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/are-you-healthy-enough-to-ride/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/are-you-healthy-enough-to-ride/#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 16:59:31 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4427 Over the last two weeks, two really great guys that I know that live thousands of miles apart have suffered catastrophic crashes on the back of their bikes. The reason isn’t weather, or distracted drivers, or even a random system...

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Over the last two weeks, two really great guys that I know that live thousands of miles apart have suffered catastrophic crashes on the back of their bikes. The reason isn’t weather, or distracted drivers, or even a random system failure. Nope.

In fact, it is as far from those “traditional” problems as you can be.

Both men had life-threatening medical issues while riding – one a stroke and one a heart attack. In both cases, the result was not just the medical crisis but the ensuing crash as a result.

Are You Healthy Enough to Ride

So how are you feeling?

It’s no secret that we, as a group, are getting older. The “average” rider in North America is now pushing 60 years and the average buyer in a Harley dealership is 54, despite Mother Davidson’s stated goal of bringing the next generation of riders to the market with 100 new models in the next 10 years.

Add to the fact that most of us are men and we have an inherent dislike of doctors and anything to do with medicine. We all get on the back of the bike and feel bulletproof, so why should we go to the doctor for a physical? The very nature of motorcycling is that of the individual – out in the weather, on the bike (as opposed to “in” a car).

When you shoot an aneurysm at 75 mph, though, because you’re too damn stubborn to go to the doctor and keep track of your health, all the bets are off as to how long it might be before the first responders to the crash can quit worrying about the crash-related injuries and start to figure out that you had a stroke. Or a heart attack. Lost time, in this case, means lost lives, no matter how fast they can get you to the hospital.

So with all that said, there are two reasons that you need to make sure that you are actually healthy enough to ride – number one, laying the bike down when “the big one” hits you is going to suck, big time and if you lose consciousness before that, you are going to be one big road rash – ragdolling on the pavement and being unable to protect yourself means that a “survivable” crash might very well become a fatal one. Number two is more selfish – collectively, “we” as riders are all viewed increasingly as bad apples. None of the folks in cages have nearly as much freedom as we do – from safety gear to emissions to parking – and if you think that those freedoms are guaranteed, then you might have already have had that stroke.

Take the time now, while many of us are in the throes of winter, to have your health evaluated and take action to ensure that you can keep it. It’s a great time in history to be able to ride – they ARE making new roads, the bikes are more reliable than ever, and we are living longer than any point in history.

Stick around a little longer and enjoy the ride.

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Air or Water Cooling – Which is Best? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/air-water-cooling-best/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/air-water-cooling-best/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 21:49:40 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4420 Entire generations of riders have sworn by air-cooled engines and Harley took a whole ration of wrath when they decided to introduce liquid cooling into the Twin Cam 103 a few years ago.  Mother Davidson was far from the first...

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Entire generations of riders have sworn by air-cooled engines and Harley took a whole ration of wrath when they decided to introduce liquid cooling into the Twin Cam 103 a few years ago.  Mother Davidson was far from the first – in reality – they were one of the last – but is there an advantage to cooling systems?

The short answer is yes – but whether you see it as an advantage or a disadvantage depends on a lot of things.  Buyers preference, maintenance programs, induction systems, and a variety of outside influences all contribute to whether air or liquid cooling is best.

Air or Liquid Cooled Motorcycle Engines

Liquid – water or antifreeze – cooling has been used in internal combustion engines for over a century and first started making inroads into motorcycles with the large-scale importation of bikes from Japan in the 1970s.  Kawasaki, Honda, and Yamaha built hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of bikes in that decade and in many ways, the presence of a radiator in a bike was the defining feature between Japanese and American bikes at the time.  It’s worth noting that, at least anecdotally, the rumor persists that after the AMF management buyout in the early 1980s, the EVO motor was originally envisioned as a liquid-cooled motor – to compete with the influence that the Japanese builders were having on motorcycle design among North American riders at the time.  Ultimately, of course, the EVO was a traditional air-cooled engine (and probably the single reason that H-D survived the AMF quality control years).

So why would one company choose air cooling or water?  Here are some of the primary facts that the various powerplants bring to the table:

  • Engines that operate at higher RPM really need water cooling, as the frictional coefficient and coolant passages reduce hot spots internally.
  • The water jackets for a liquid-cooled engine allow the engine to run quieter.
  • Introducing cooling means a more complicated assembly as well as more systems to fail – be it the radiator, the oil cooler, or more machining steps for engine block preparation.
  • As a result of fewer systems, air-cooled platforms are “usually” less expensive.
  • Air cooling tends to make fuel injected systems harder to tune due to a wider variance in temperatures based on ambient external temperatures, airflow over the block, and even oil viscosity.
  • Rising emission standards make air cooling more difficult to execute, due to the wider range of operating temperatures and the inability to control temperature.
  • Liquid-cooled engines generally have tighter tolerances as a result of the various sealing surfaces needed internally, leading to, at least potentially, faster and higher revving motors.
  • Air cooled engines are – obviously – hotter. (A fact that any Harley rider can attest to if stuck in traffic on a hot summer day.)  At the same time, air-cooled engines demand a certain amount of airflow over the crankcase to ensure cooling.

Harley Davidson Liquid Cooled EngineAre any of these critical to a buyer’s decision in the dealership?  Unlikely.  Brand loyalty has almost always been a bigger factor in determining where your next bike is coming from, but as emissions regulations force more manufacturers into liquid cooling in the developed world, the air-cooled engine is becoming more and more of an anomaly.  At the same time, these systems can be more complex and that could mean less time “fixing” in the driveway and more time being repaired at the dealership.

No matter what, though, being on the bike is better than sitting in the office!

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Nobody Ever Wished They’d Spent More Time in the Office https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/nobody-ever-wished-theyd-spent-more-time-in-the-office/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/nobody-ever-wished-theyd-spent-more-time-in-the-office/#respond Sun, 19 Nov 2017 23:08:32 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4413 I mentioned last month that I had the chance to cruise around the state of Wyoming a few days on an old, borrowed Gold Wing. The lists of towns and places isn’t important, although the effect they had on me...

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I mentioned last month that I had the chance to cruise around the state of Wyoming a few days on an old, borrowed Gold Wing. The lists of towns and places isn’t important, although the effect they had on me was. More than once, I crossed the remnants of the Overland Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the Mormon Trail, and in Sweetwater, Wyoming, it hit me.

These tough bastards loaded everything they had into a mule or horse-drawn wagon and headed west. At about three miles an hour. They spent months side by side with their families in tiny-assed wagons. No time outs, no “taking away the X-box” punishments. I bet they got to the root of the problem and solved it, post-haste.

I mean, a decision like that, involving your wife and kids and everything you own? With plenty of First Nation people pissed at you and ready to decorate their lodge pole with your scalp? You have to have balls so big that they clink when you walk and if you got your feelings hurt, you sorted it out, right there.

At 70 miles per hour, it still took hours to reach the mountains in the distance. I didn’t need to find water (although gas was sometimes a challenge), I didn’t need shelter, and I had all my vaccinations, but it was still amazing to comprehend. In a lot of ways, the times I’ve driven to Sturgis or across the U.S., I never took the time to pay attention to the area I was in, I just wanted to get to my destination.

In the middle of the plains of Wyoming, though, I didn’t have an itinerary and was really able to just point the bike where I wanted to go and stop where I wanted to.

Nobody Ever Wished They’d Spent More Time in the Office

A Coke and a smile was anywhere I wanted it since there was no traffic to speak of and no need to check voicemail.

How many times can we say that we didn’t check out phones when we stopped?

Not for years…

What happened to me out there?

A shift in values.

I began to remember why I do the things I do. Not to buy more “stuff” but to enable me to enjoy the things I have. To share my knowledge with my kids and my friends. To make sure that the Old Lady is happy.

Or, more importantly, to NOT get stuck in a rat race of accumulation and debt.

Sitting at the rest area in Sweetwater, looking at the remains of the Overland Trail, it dawned on me, the stuff in this life that is really important is not stuff – it’s the intangible things that we do for our families and friends. I know men and women worth millions of dollars and I know folks who don’t have two nickels to rub together – and some are happy and some hate life.

The ones who hate life? They think that more crap in the house or the garage is going to change that. My new philosophy? Buy the best you can and think long and hard about why you need “more” and what “more” actually is.

New bike? Sure, it’d be great, but what about teaching your kids or spouse to ride?

If your answer is that you don’t like them that much, then you need to fix that relationship, not run from it. That new Road King is not going to make up for your failings as a friend, lover, or parent. Maybe, though, just maybe, spending time – instead of money – can change that. You could buy gear for the whole family for what the down payment would cost you and sort out why it is that they don’t like you or you don’t like them.

My Grandfather once told me, when I was struggling with my first marriage, “pencils have erasers for a reason” and that knowledge was the deciding factor to start fresh. Out there, in the middle of nowhere, I realized (again) that camouflaging the problem or avoiding it – whether that was due to your mistakes or others – was a piss-poor way to spend this life or the next.

My advice to you, from the middle of nowhere, is to get your act together and get busy living. Ride the bike. Hug the kids. Leave work early. Take her to a nice restaurant. Nobody ever wished they’d spent more time in the office or ate more leftovers. Your kids could care less whether you ride a new Harley or an old beater, but I bet they’d appreciate your ass watching their game on Saturday morning before you speed off to ride with your partners.

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Harley-Davidson Introduces the New Sport Glide https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/harley-davidson-introduces-new-sport-glide/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/harley-davidson-introduces-new-sport-glide/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 18:46:52 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4408 For a lot of the reasons we’ve talked about in these pages over the years, Harley has its challenges.  An aging ridership, changing manufacturing, and a question of direction versus tradition. None of those answers are easy and the questions...

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For a lot of the reasons we’ve talked about in these pages over the years, Harley has its challenges.  An aging ridership, changing manufacturing, and a question of direction versus tradition.

None of those answers are easy and the questions aren’t going away.  Harley, though, has taken it all in stride and, at a time when many companies would decide to shrink, H-D gets … bigger?

You got it.  Retail operations, financial products, a new engine a few months ago, and the lofty goal of introducing 100 new bike models in the next decade.  At the very least, they are going to go down swinging.

Earlier this month, Harley introduced the new Sport-Glide model and, at first glance, the reaction is “okay, that’s nice.”

2018 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special

With a deeper look, though, and you see how this can be a game-changing idea for the Milwaukee-based company.  See, the Sport-Glide does what a lot of us riders want our bikes to do – fill more than one role and look good doing it.

If you’ve been around bikes any length of time, you can remember that the Harley has a pretty good record of listening to what riders want (or are doing anyway) and then offering it in a factory package that costs more.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the Road Glide – basically a Tour Glide with a smaller fairing, which was a popular swap “back in the old days.”

Enough of that, what’s cool about the Sport-Glide is that it is built to be flexible.  We’ve all tried to make a Cruiser into a Tourer (or vice-versa) and failed, but Harley took some notes at our discomfort and did just that.

…They just did it better than most of us did in our garages.

The Sport-Glide has all the new goodies that you’d expect on a “big” Harley, including the Milwaukee 8 engine, but what makes it different is that the fairings and the hard clamshell bags can be easily removed to let you cruise or easily replaced for a longer ride.

New Harley-Davidson Street GlideEven better?  When you have them off, the mounting points don’t look terrible, something that has always been the problem with taking off hard bags or fairings.  (Although removing fairings is usually a real pain in the ass so once is usually enough before we come to our senses.)  Before you ask, yes, the Sport-Glide has all the other goodies that a new Harley should sport – LED, USB port, ABS, keyless ignition and a security system.

I guess the one fault I have in it is this – it sits low.  I know, I know, that’s all the trend these days, but on a cruiser, I’d like the pegs to be a little higher.  Now, bear in mind that I haven’t physically been able to compare the overall height of the pegs to other H-Ds, and it may simply be that the “lower” seat makes it look like the bike sits lower, but on a cruiser that may get slung around a corner or two, I’d have to sit on it and take it for a spin before I could jump up and down about it.

On the other hand, it is a damn good-looking bike and I really hope that it is only the beginning of some great new stuff from H-D.

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Legendary USA Joins The Bikers’ Den Motorcycle Gear Lineup https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/legendary-usa-joins-the-bikers-den-motorcycle-gear-lineup/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/legendary-usa-joins-the-bikers-den-motorcycle-gear-lineup/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 22:44:57 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4404 About three of you will remember a few months ago when the neighbor ruined my riding jacket and the good news about The Bikers’ Den having just the new one I needed. Well, the neighbor’s wife isn’t trying to do...

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About three of you will remember a few months ago when the neighbor ruined my riding jacket and the good news about The Bikers’ Den having just the new one I needed.

Well, the neighbor’s wife isn’t trying to do my laundry, but now that the snow is blowing in a lot of places and spouses are looking to you for guidance on what they Hell they are supposed to get you for Christmas, let me tell you four reasons you need to look at the new Legendary USA pages on The Bikers’ Den website.

Legendary-USA-Motorcycle-Jackets-and-Chaps

First things first – they build some bad-ass leather gear.

Next, as a guy who was taught to appreciate high quality leatheear!r in all its shapes and sizes, they use some really, really nice raw materials to make that gear.

Third, they cut, and stitch, and sew all that good-looking stuff in Pennsylvania, U. S. of A. In other words, this isn’t some cheap Chinese stuff made out of dog leather or whatever they make cheap jackets out of in the far East.

Last – and most important to me and you – Legendary USA offers a lifetime warranty on all the leather gear they sell. If you wear it out, they will fix it – even something as simple as a broken snap. Now, if you catch it on fire, they aren’t going to help you out, but if you can wear it out (which you most likely can’t), then they will step up and own any problem they are responsible for.

Kinda refreshing here in 2017, isn’t it, when most companies get amnesia as soon as the check clears?

That’s the point. Whether you are looking for a jacket, chaps, or a vest, these are all items that should last you years and you should never have to question the quality or the durability. Let me hip you to a little “Bikers’ Den” behind-the-scenes … The Boss doesn’t open the doors to you guys for just anyone. Over the years, he’s turned down partnerships with several names that you know and a lot of you guys swear by, since there were questions about quality and how that company would take care of you after you bought their stuff.

Looking back, though, he’s made the right choice.

Legendary is just like that – they’ve been crafting and building garments since 2001 and they stand by what they build. Who gives a warranty on clothes? Obviously someone who knows that they cannot be torn up.

Check out the new gear on the site and maybe drop a few hints for the significant other while the long winter nights play out. You never know, you might have been a better boy than you thought this year!

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Changing Your Views – On and Off Your Bike https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/changing-your-views-on-and-off-your-bike/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/changing-your-views-on-and-off-your-bike/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 17:39:56 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4397 “How can I be lost, When I’ve got nowhere to go?” – Metallica, Unforgiven III We all do this – get used to riding close to home, we get set in our ways, we take weekend trips to stuff we’ve...

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“How can I be lost,
When I’ve got nowhere to go?”
– Metallica, Unforgiven III

We all do this – get used to riding close to home, we get set in our ways, we take weekend trips to stuff we’ve already seen.  Park in the same spot.  Take the same route to work.  Eat the same junk off the menu.  Trade in one bike for the same one, just a few years newer.  Quit.  Quit it now.

In the last two weeks, I’ve had the chance to learn – or relearn – a few things, and the challenges that you and I face in our daily lives?  They aren’t that damned overwhelming.

The biggest challenge? The one that we are all suffering from? Mediocrity and “normal.”

Where’d this come from? The Old Lady. She had a business trip to Fort Collins to meet with one of her oldest clients and his company, so I tagged along, figuring that I could stay out of trouble and lay low, maybe steal the rental car and go check out the city.

When we got to Tom’s house, there was a bike tucked under a tarp in the garage and, of course, I had to ask.

Tom, who is in his late seventies, had bought this Gold Wing new in 1984 and ridden it a little bit each year for many years until he had a hip replaced two years ago. Now, it sat in the garage, battery discharged and spider webs in the spokes of the wheels. The conversation had quickly turned from business to pleasure and in less than half an hour, Tom graciously showed me where his tools were and invited me to “do what you have to” to get his bike running and take it out for a ride.

Two hours later (and a jerry can of fuel and a new battery), the old Honda turned over. The carbs weren’t completely in sync, but the fluids were clean and the filters had been changed before he’d put the bike up, so I donned his helmet (thank God his head was as big as mine) and, with none of the usual gear I would wear, eased the old bike onto the street.

Now, this isn’t a post about taking an old bike for a ride, or fixing up a septuagenarians’ Gold Wing so he could get back on the road, this is about changing your own mind.

I’m not going to get into all the back story, but Tom (and more importantly, the Boss Lady) said if I wanted to take the big bike out for a long weekend in the middle of the week, I could ride as far as I wanted.

And that’s what I did.

The next morning, with saddlebags stuffed with some overnight gear and a few tools, I headed north out of Fort Collins and headed towards Wyoming. Riding through the plains with the mountains rising in the distance?

Changing Your Views - On and Off Your Bike

Unbelievable.

Riding a bike that I knew virtually nothing about and hoping that no major mechanical issues arose?

Awesome.

Outside of Laramie, I lost phone signal. Nearly 150 miles later, I still didn’t have it.

Guess what? I didn’t miss it, either. I had guessed at everything I might need and just had to hope that I guessed right. Nobody was going to know where I was until I hadn’t showed up for a few days. At the same time, not really knowing where the heck I was going meant that nobody was going to be able to guess where I was until I had been gone awhile, either.

So what happened?

I guess the big answer is that when you ride the same area day after day and year after year, you close your mind down. Let’s face it, vast swaths of North America look a lot alike. South Carolina looks just like east Texas, although they are over a thousand miles apart. West Texas looks a lot like Arizona, and the Prairie Provinces of Canada all favor one another, too.

We all, inadvertently, ride ourselves into a rut, weekend after weekend and somewhere near Snowy Range Pass in the Medicine Bow Wilderness, nearly 11,000 feet above sea level, I realized that there is more to life than being small minded.

All of us get one life to live and I challenge you to make sure that the one you are living is actually worth it. As riders, we enjoy seeing things the guys in the cages can’t see. They ride “in” a car and we ride “on” a bike. As many of us are starting to plan on putting away bikes for the winter, I challenge you to put that bike away with the expectation that when you get on it again, you’ll do so with more passion and a broader mindset for where you’ll point that bike and what you’ll do when it gets there.

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How Much is Too Much? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/how-much-is-too-much/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/how-much-is-too-much/#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:58:07 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4392 The late, great comedian George Carlin had a rant in one of his shows years ago about “stuff” – you spent a lifetime accumulating it and then your kids spent years trying to get rid of it. He explained that...

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The late, great comedian George Carlin had a rant in one of his shows years ago about “stuff” – you spent a lifetime accumulating it and then your kids spent years trying to get rid of it. He explained that you would go on vacation to “get away from it all” but still bring a bunch of it with you, then fill a hotel room with “stuff you’d need” only to pack a bag to, you guessed it, bring along more stuff.

Riding has become a lot like that, too. Look at the bikes built today versus twenty years ago and you can see how our lives have changed. Bigger bags, Bluetooth connectivity, and even cupholders all are in demand for many riders who choose to spend long weekends carrying just enough “stuff” to leave the house for a couple of days.

The last straw for me was a few years ago when I saw a trailer being towed behind a Goldwing.

How Much is Too Much

I’m sure that those folks had a great plan in mind when they bought it and packed it, but how much do you truly need? If you are planning on seeing the world a la Easy Rider, pack light.

Now, on the other end of the spectrum is most of us. We have some things that we need to carry nearly every day – cell phones come to mind – and by the time you actually get on the road, your pockets are full of other “stuff” that you feel is necessary for the trip – even if it is just to town.

The classic work-around for this is saddlebags. Plenty of bikes have them and they are great places to stash stuff, but in the end, I’ve taken mine off for 90% of my riding. Most of them on the market today are big enough to hide a dog in so space is usually not at a premium, but there is another option – a gas tank bag.

The one I’ve come to rely on is made by Viking and is really well built. It’s a molded Cordura-like material that retains its shape while still having plenty of flex, and the back of the bag – the side that sits on the tank – is lined to keep from scratching the paint.
Three “clicks” and it’s on, three “clicks” and it’s off. If you are moving the whole thing from one bike to another (you can do this on some of the Viking models), then installation is as easy as popping off your seat to connect the rear anchor point, which is not permanent, but instead clipped to the frame immediately under the front seat support.

Personally, I’ve found that the tank bag gives me a lot of room in a place that won’t get in my way. The stuff that I’ve found to be critical to a trip is right there where I can get to it and instead of guessing what pocket I stashed something, I can just unzip the bag and see the entire contents, right in front of me. I’m willing to bet that you have some stuff that goes with you every trip and if you are looking for a better way to stash your gear, then I’d have to recommend Viking and their gas tank bags to help you do it. At the same time, though, I’d have to tell you that if you are carrying two full saddlebags of stuff for a daylong cruise, then you might want to look at what you’re carrying and ask yourself – “Do I need all this crap?”

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I’ll Bet You’ve Never Thought of This… https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/ill-bet-youve-never-thought/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/ill-bet-youve-never-thought/#respond Sat, 23 Sep 2017 15:52:38 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4387 Eventually, you’ll try anything to clean your motorcycle parts with. It could be because you’re out of your favorite product and can’t get it locally that weekend, it could be that you’ve finally gotten tired of all the elbow grease...

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Eventually, you’ll try anything to clean your motorcycle parts with. It could be because you’re out of your favorite product and can’t get it locally that weekend, it could be that you’ve finally gotten tired of all the elbow grease needed to get some kinds of cleaners to actually polish chrome or stainless, or maybe you just found out there is another product that promises better results.

Well, the unthinkable happened not too long ago and while moving stuff around in the shop, I managed to puncture my 20-year-old can of ChemTool carb cleaner. You remember the stuff – it came with a little basket inside to drop all your parts into and after a few hours, your metal carburetor parts came out clean and shiny and ready to reassemble?

I had been looking for my carburetor dip to rebuild and clean an old S and S Super E that I’d bought on Craigslist for $25 that was truly funky but not buggered up. As the dip leaked out I was left feeling let down – how was I going to clean this carb and get it spotless?

Cleaning Your Motorcycle Parts

I found the answer online – Pine Sol floor cleaner – you know the kind – your Mom or Grandmother probably had a bottle stashed in the house (and your wife may, too). I’d seen a couple of posts in forums about it but had never tried it. Well, here was the answer. $4 and a trip to the store later, I filled up an old plastic bucket with a solution of half Pine Sol and half hot water, took the carb apart, and dropped it in the mix.

Now, here’s the key – I left it there for awhile. Two hours of so later, I came back, fished out some parts (I had latex gloves on for this, just in case) and started scrubbing them with an old toothbrush.

The result? The body of the carb was spotless. Air horn was shining like new money. Throttle plate looked like new. All the screws – and the threads – were clean and you could even see some of the machine marks left on the surfaces of the throttle plate.

The best part? The shop smelled clean, too! I was able to put a rebuild kit on the carb in the next hour after I had blown out the passages with compressed air and let the works dry in the sun for a few minutes.

That night it was installed on a friend’s motor and I had made a sound profit on the deal.

I’ve been researching how some folks in the hot-rod world are using this to clean older carbs and the nice thing, if you are moving up into car carbs is that, unlike carburetor cleaners, the Pine Sol won’t damage the gaskets – in some cases, guys are dropping the assembled unit into the mix, blowing it out, and then purging it with fuel. I’m not sure if I’m ready to go that far, but if you encounter an older carb that could use a rebuild kit, first of all, they are a cinch to install and second, with a bottle of Pine Sol, you might be able to make a helluva deal on an old, funky looking carb that needs to be rebuilt.

Using Pine Sol to Clean Motorcycle Carb

I’m already thinking about other places to use this sort of mixture, especially when it comes to cases and parts that I’m going to have to repolish anyhow. I’m certain that if you leave aluminum in this mix too long, you’ll get some fade and need to polish it back out, but that is nothing new. If you have some old dirt on a battery case, oiler, or even shifters, this might be a worthwhile trick to start to use.

One hint, though – buy your own bottle – your wife would be pissed if you take hers.

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It’s Always Someone’s Backyard https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/always-someones-backyard/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/always-someones-backyard/#respond Sat, 16 Sep 2017 15:40:42 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4383 Hopefully, by the time you read this, Hurricane Harvey and the devastation that it caused in southeastern Texas will be old news and cleanup will have been quick, the death toll low, and the fallout – both literal and figurative...

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Hopefully, by the time you read this, Hurricane Harvey and the devastation that it caused in southeastern Texas will be old news and cleanup will have been quick, the death toll low, and the fallout – both literal and figurative – minimal.

Somehow, I doubt it.

Down here, we get hurricanes. Not every year, but often enough to remind us how powerful Mother Nature is and to further remind us all that there is always a bigger fish. As I sit here writing this, I’m waiting on the phone to ring and from it, my direct-report will provide some specifics on what I’ll be doing with the post-Harvey cleanup. Even though it is half a continent away, inevitably, when a big storm hits, the guys that keep the lights on get called and the men and women of Search and Rescue teams around the world wait for the calls to come.

So I’ve got my usual go-bag sitting by the door, a few cases of water in the truck, and when FEMA finally gets everything sorted out, I’ll be on the road to Houston or, more likely, Corpus Christi. If it’s like the other big storms I’ve been called to work, there will be 24 hour days, the stench of sewage and decomposition, and the same lost look on the faces of those who have lost everything in a storm that barely existed a week before.

It will look more like Columbia or Haiti than the first world, and the repercussions of the storm will echo in millions of lives for many years – long after the spike in gas prices has gone down.

Hurricane Harvey Cleanup

Can you make a difference? Yes, actually, you can. Right now, in your house, you have things that you’re never going to use again. Clothes, blankets, access to clean water. Think about how those who have lost everything and have watched their homes disappear under the floodwaters must feel.

Walk through your home and see the reminders of the life you live, and now imagine that those things are gone – how do you recover?

Last year, the fires in northern Alberta did this to others in our community. My home withstood the devastation of Hurricane Matthew last fall, and today, millions of residents in south Texas are struggling.

All this at a time when Canada and the United States find themselves struggling internally about politics and “whose side” people are on.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if the people I’m going to help in Texas in a few hours are black, or white, legal or illegal – they are all people. The last time they got up out of their beds, they undoubtedly didn’t think they would never lay down in them again, but Harvey happened. If you can, give something of yourself to help them – your time, your supplies, or give the organizations that will help those affected by Harvey the tools they need to help out Houston and the entire region.

The freedom we all enjoy from the back of the bike is the same freedom you feel in your home. Now imagine losing that – not to a man, but to a force so powerful that you cannot ever hope to control it.

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What’s On Your Riding Playlist? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/whats-on-your-riding-playlist/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/whats-on-your-riding-playlist/#respond Sat, 09 Sep 2017 15:11:28 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4380 It’s been awhile since I wrote about adopting earplugs into my standard gear, but I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten pretty good at the habit now. With that being said, I’ve got to admit that after a few months,...

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It’s been awhile since I wrote about adopting earplugs into my standard gear, but I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten pretty good at the habit now. With that being said, I’ve got to admit that after a few months, it had gotten a little … well, boring.

Enter the Old Lady.

I was … discussing the ear plugs and the Catch-22 of wearing them at the dinner table a few weeks ago and She Who Must Be Listened To pointed out that she had some noise cancelling ear buds she used when traveling on airplanes that would allow me to listen to my iPod or a music app while I rode and still cut out most of the noise from the bike to save the hearing I have left.

Needless to say, I asked to borrow them and take them for a spin the next day. I’m hooked!

What is on Your Motorcycle Ride Playlist

Now, I know that earphones are a safety concern – and different states and provinces have different laws about what you can and cannot do. We can’t forget that, but since I was wearing ear plugs to save my hearing and they certainly drowned out pipes, horns, and sirens, I figure that a noise-canceling ear bud ought to allow me to hear all those over the drone of a V-twin under my seat on the highway.

In my diesel dually, I have a stereo system that will make the neighbors wet the bed, but all these years on a bike? I’d never even thought about it.

A whole new world of riding opened up to me now.

There’s just one issue – what I listen to isn’t “riding music.”

As a matter of fact, if I hear Steppenwolf tell me to get my motor running one more time in at a biker function, I’ll probably stab myself in the neck with a pencil.

Who decided that this was the anthem for motorcyclists? Sure, a version of it is in Easy Rider, but can we move past that? With THAT out of the way, I’m putting this out to you guys – what do you listen to and how are you listening? I’m going to have to give the Old Lady back her headphones soon and I’m trying to figure out the best stuff out there on the market that actually works on the road and under the helmet.

What do I need you guys to do? Two things – what are the best ear buds that cancel out the noise and what are you listening to while you wear them? Do they fit under your helmet? Flop around in the wind? Stay put? If you’re like me and live in the boondocks, then the other question is are you using an iPod or a streaming service like Pandora – and how is it working out for you?

You guys know that I’m old fashioned (and not quite old), but this is a whole new thing for me and I’m almost ashamed to admit it was such an “ah ha” moment when I started listening while I rode. I’ve seen where the big touring bikes have had this sort of stuff in place for years, but never thought about it since open pipes drown out any other options – or so I thought.

Let me know what you have that’s working because I’m suddenly in the market and loading stuff into my iTunes account like a teenager.

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Viking Tank Bag Review https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/viking-tank-bag-review/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/viking-tank-bag-review/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 14:52:18 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4372 When I first started riding three decades ago, a day on the bike meant you needed some gas in the tank, to check the oil, and make sure that you had some cash in your wallet.  If the weather looked...

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When I first started riding three decades ago, a day on the bike meant you needed some gas in the tank, to check the oil, and make sure that you had some cash in your wallet.  If the weather looked like it might get bad, you’d stash a slicker under the bungee cord or, if you had a big enough bike, you could tuck it in your bags.

In those days, if you were unlucky enough to have an Ironhead Sportster or a Shovelhead, you might check the tool roll to see that nothing had wandered off since the last time you used it, but for the most part, you got on the bike and rode.

The times, though, they are a changin’…

The bikes are more complicated and the lives that ride them are, too.

If you ride a Sportster or have built a bobber, then you’d better hope that you have enough pockets … until now.

Two weeks ago, I broke down and strapped on a Viking gas tank bag because I am one of those fools that treat my Sportster like a Cruiser – I drive it daily and in a week, it’s not unusual for me to log hundreds of miles.  I’ve run with saddlebags but, as we both know, no matter how good the leather is, if you are out in the weather – like, actually riding – then the elements can really affect how they look in just a short time.  I have never been able to convince myself that hard bags look good on anything but a big bike.

HD Sporster Tank Bag by Viking Bags

Now, Viking Bags got their start building bags for a lot of the same reasons that most of us buy a bag – the need to hold stuff.  Their side mounted bags – from traditional saddlebags to swingarm bags – are beautiful and durable, but what about their simple tank-mounted bag to hold all the crap you actually need?

It’s good.  It’s very good.

It mounts easily, too – pop off the seat and attach the base strap to the frame and then, the two “top” straps slip around under the tank to the frame.  There’s a load of adjustment in these straps, so whether you have a peanut tank or are using a larger one-off tank, there’s no problem getting it to fit.  Of course, my challenge is that I’ve got some nice paint on the tank, so can I protect it?  As a matter of fact, yes.  The bottom of the bag has a nice “moleskin” feel that extends out to the strap webbings, so unlike that “bra” you had on your 1992 Camaro, you aren’t going to screw up the paint.

So I’ve had Viking’s Large Tank bag on the scoot for about two weeks and about 900 miles.  What’s the reality?

I can carry a ton of stuff in it, I can take it off in less than a minute, and it retains its shape no matter how bad I’ve squashed it in the garage or the truck.

So how much does it hold?  Last trip, about 200 miles over the weekend, I decided to do an inventory – here goes…

  • 20-ounce soda bottle in koozie
  • Goggles and/or glasses
  • Small canvas tool roll
  • Leatherman
  • Phone charger
  • Ear plugs/buds
  • “extra” gloves
  • Wipes to get the bug guts off my goggles
  • Suitable tobacco products

In other words, all the stuff that you had to stuff in a backpack or cram under a bungee cord on the second seat OR live without.

The other sweet thing about the Viking Tank Bag is that the top cover has a sleeve built in to allow you to see your phone, use a Bluetooth headset, or even stash a map.  Personally, it allowed me to stay in touch with the She Who Must Be Listened To a little easier, since she wasn’t in town and I wasn’t at the house.

Here’s one other thing I really like about the tank bag versus a saddlebag – you can get into it without getting off the bike.  Try to find a water bottle in your saddlebags at a stoplight.

Not happening.

With the tank bag, it’s right there.  (And No, I’m not endorsing trying to drive with the distraction of a drink, but let’s stay grounded in reality here…)

In practice, I found that slinging the bag lower on the tank allowed me to fill the tank without moving the bag, but, depending on your style and your handlebars, you might find that strapping it higher on the tank “feels” better.  If you have Apehangers, then mounting the bag high on the tank might be easier, since those have a tendency to “pull” you up on the seat.  Even at speeds over 70 mph, there was no appreciable wobble to the bag (although to be fair, I’ve kept it loaded down with stuff most of the time).

As an added bonus, I checked with some of my local riders to see how the bag fit on a couple of different rides.  The result?  Viking built enough flexibility and adjustment into their large tank bag to allow you to move it easily among several different bikes with smaller tanks, so any Sportster (with the “peanut” tank or the larger 3.5 gallon tank) and a variety of metric bikes – my buddy with a Vulcan tried to buy the bag off of me.

When should you NOT think about a tank bag?  If you have a custom tank that has been raised, obviously, but that’s getting into the realm of choppers and high dollar builds that, in the real world, see limits to their overall usage.  Personally, now that I’ve used one, I like the options that it affords me and, if I’m not going far, I can pull it right off, stow it, and be “stock” in less than a minute.

Viking Bags Tank Bag Diary…

Day One:  Installed the bag this morning and it might’ve taken two minutes to get it adjusted perfectly.  Fit and finish along with build quality is exceptional and overall size is not intrusive into arms or handlebars.  Bag has a lot of room and I have no idea what I’m going to put in it. 283 miles today, ended up in a late afternoon storm.  Scoot got wet, stuff in the bag stayed dry and now, two hours later, bag is completely dry.  Easy to see phone in the clear plastic window in the top of the bag and the Bluetooth worked fine.

Day Five:  Rode up to South Carolina with John, tried the Viking Bag on his Sportster 72 – no fit issues.  He rode with it for about 70 miles and preferred it further up the tank than I had it.

Day Six:  Steve-O dropped the bag on his Vulcan – tight fit but still got the job done.  Little “iffy” on using this bag for his bike since Viking makes another specifically for his, but it did work.  Made it a little hard to see gauges, but he liked the idea and is going to look at the purpose-built Viking for his 2014.

Day Eight:  Didn’t take the bag and actually missed it.  Pain in the ass getting Bluetooth to connect, impossible to fix while under way, and not having a place to stash a drink in the heat today did suck.  Second time in 21 years my pack of smokes fell out of my pocket somewhere while riding.

Day Ten:  I actually started stashing the bag in my truck, mounted on the back of the armrest when I’m driving the diesel.  Virtually the same size but all the stuff I need on the bike ends up in a “kit” that I can simply point and click when necessary.  Fits the other Sportster with no problem even though it is mothballed.

Day Eleven:  Just under 200 miles today on the bike with the Viking Bag and it really has been perfect for all the stuff I like to carry.  I even tucked some lunch in it today and it rode out just fine.

Viking Bags Tank Bag for Harley-Davidson Sportsters

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Excited to be Promoting Voss Helmets https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-helmets/excited-to-be-promoting-voss-helmets/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-helmets/excited-to-be-promoting-voss-helmets/#respond Wed, 30 Aug 2017 18:26:54 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4366 So a week or so ago, I was attempting to sneak away from the desk and the computer after my second cup of coffee that morning and The Boss emailed me. “Bikers’ Den has partnered with Voss Helmets, so can...

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So a week or so ago, I was attempting to sneak away from the desk and the computer after my second cup of coffee that morning and The Boss emailed me.

“Bikers’ Den has partnered with Voss Helmets, so can you work some helmet stuff into the new blogs?”

Now, I’ll be honest, since I bought a new lid last year, I don’t think I’ve even thought about helmets except to drop one absentmindedly onto my head before I turn the bike over, but I shot back an email that I’d check them out and cruise around online to see what I could find.

Voss Motorcycle Helmets

What I found impressed me.  Not only was Voss building DOT-certified stuff, they were building stuff that looked good.  Over the years, I’ve had countless helmets – from full-face stuff (don’t ask) to some Easy Rider-esque Open Face 3/4s, but, like most of us, I’ve pretty much settled on half helmets.  They feel good (if you cinch them down right), they don’t wear you out on a long ride, and – admittedly – they are the most popular thing for V-twin riders these days.

Vanity?  Sure, there’s some of that, but I like the look.  25 years ago, we were all wearing full face stuff, but times changed.  I like what Voss is putting out on the market and I really like the customer service that I’ve been reading about.  They take care of the men and women who ride with their gear.

All that got me to thinking, though, and with the power of Google (and another cup of coffee), I spent some time reading about helmet safety standards.  Most of us know that helmets have a shelf life of about 3-5 years, but with the rise of novelty helmets, what should you look for in a new lid?

Simple – one sticker: DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified…

Voss Motorcycle Helmets - DOT Certified

It has to be on the back of your helmet and that sticker has to be from the manufacturer, not the guy at the swap meet selling these for a buck.  Why?

It’s your brain, jackass.

Now, it’s no lie that where I live is within an hour’s ride of two states with no helmet laws (Florida and South Carolina) and, as a younger man who was bulletproof, I have ridden without any cover before.  At the same time, going “topless” is a rush, but, like driving in bad weather or trying to beat a thunderstorm, I always had the feeling that I was on borrowed time.  Having caught enough bugs in my teeth and a few birds with my chest, all I remember thinking about was if I took the early bird to the head while riding, I was going straight from the asphalt to the Motorcycle Memorial.

But trying to cut through the crap of understanding DOT standards, Snell testing, and the rather bizarre alternate standards that the Europeans have cooked up left me more confused than ever, and my primary takeaway from all that Googling I did was this:

Buy from a reputable North American dealer, make sure your lid has the correct DOT sticker, and make sure that the manufacture date on your helmet is less than five years ago.

The real irony is that despite the revolutions that have taken place in manufacturing and technology, helmets haven’t really changed a lot since the first laws were put on the books in 1968.  You’ve still got a fiberglass or carbon-fiber casing that has varying degrees of Styrofoam wrapped in some sort of fabric that (hopefully) wicks moisture away from your head and (hopefully) can be cleaned.

By the way, THAT’S the main reason for the “five year” rule – sweat, body oils, petroleum fumes, and other funky compounds degrade the lining and the Styrofoam “crush zone” inside the helmet and it cannot protect you as it should.

How do you know that your helmet isn’t safe anymore?  Well, first of all, there’s the manufacture date.  If your lid doesn’t have one, then chances are, it was made by authentic slave laborers in an offshore sweat shop and the quality was suspect.  If you can find the date, that’s a good start – it may not be a novelty helmet.

Now, put it on and strap it down.  Can you move it around on your head?  If you can deflect it more than an inch or so from side to side or vertically, then your liner is probably degraded to the point where it isn’t offering much protection in the event of a lay down.  See, what’s interesting isn’t that the liner degrades, it’s that the liner is really the thing that is going to save your bacon in a crash.  It’s there to deflect some of the force of an impact.

Next, there’s the age-old “rumor” about dropping a helmet.  It’s not a rumor.  Don’t drop your helmet.  Period.  If you do, you are taking some of the hit out of it that you need to be reserving for your safety.  Here’s how this works:  Your helmet is designed and tested to take one big bang, then be replaced.  UV light gradually breaks down the fiberglass or the carbon fiber (over many years), but careless handling can create stress cracks in a helmet that can lead to a catastrophic failure in a crash event.

So don’t drop your helmet, keep it clean inside and out, and if you don’t know how old it is, or you don’t know the full history of the lid, buy a new one.  Shameless plug here?  You guessed it – check out the new Voss Helmets page at The Bikers’ Den.

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Feed the Hobby, not the Obsession https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/feed-hobby-not-obsession/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/feed-hobby-not-obsession/#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 20:26:17 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4359 By the time you read this, Sturgis will be either roaring through the last weekend or the cleanup crews will be working overtime. Even though, for most of us as bikers, Sturgis represents the chance (albeit one we don’t often...

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By the time you read this, Sturgis will be either roaring through the last weekend or the cleanup crews will be working overtime. Even though, for most of us as bikers, Sturgis represents the chance (albeit one we don’t often take) to go and hang out with half a million kindred spirits, the truth of the matter is, most of us like motorcycles, we aren’t obsessed with them.

Somewhere along the road of life, we got an idea in our heads of what fun looked like and a part of us believed it was on the back of 900 pounds of Milwaukee’s best.

What’s funny to me is this – in our collective community, we all get so ruffled about what a biker should and shouldn’t be.

Think of “the” rider in your head and you’ll get images like:

  • Black leather
  • Tattoos
  • Wraparound glasses
  • Engineer boots
  • Facial hair
  • A haircut that is either “too short” or “too long”

Change just one or two of those and suddenly you end up with a “weekend warrior” or a poser and Heaven forbid if that rider is on a metric bike or one that doesn’t look like a V-Twin. What about the guy that has all of that but is only learning to ride and has a smaller motor on an older bike?

Feed the Hobby not the Obsession

Give me a break – if you ride, you’re my friend.

What really pisses me off is the almost sophomoric ease at which bikers with far less experience seem to judge anyone that doesn’t “check out” based on the above-referenced list.

My Old Lady doesn’t like facial hair, so my beard is long gone.

It’s over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in South Georgia in the summer, so there are plenty of times that I’ve ridden without my six pound coat.

I’ve worn the same haircut since I graduated the Academy in 1990.

And if I hop on the scoot to run to the store and I’m not in full regalia, some schmuck on a brand-new Indian looks at me like I’m an idiot – and then shows his own ignorance by struggling with the clutch at the light.

I guess what I’m getting at is that we are all brothers on the road – united by our own independence. Why get your ass on your shoulders because my idea of riding is different from yours? I’m willing to bet that we’ve all got our own stories of meeting riders who were everything from neurosurgeons to ne’er-do-wells and in that, it didn’t matter. The millionaire rode with the minimum wage earner and nobody cared who had what in their bank account.

For all of you who didn’t go to Sturgis – I’m with you. It’s a spectacle and one that you probably should see at least once as a rider. But in that, I think, after all these years on the road, it’s also wise to remember that we all chose to ride and, like a kid in a swimming pool, each of us has to figure out how deep to go.

None of us has to worry about how deep anyone else is. Feed the hobby, not the obsession.

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Harley and Indian Are Working Together? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/harley-indian-working-together/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/harley-indian-working-together/#respond Wed, 09 Aug 2017 21:03:01 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4355 Just kidding.  In a way, it’s true, though.  Harley Davidson and Indian may not be officially working with one another, but it is interesting that they have both recently come out as looking for “sleepers.” These are the 9 million...

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Just kidding.  In a way, it’s true, though.  Harley Davidson and Indian may not be officially working with one another, but it is interesting that they have both recently come out as looking for “sleepers.”

These are the 9 million or so licensed riders in North America that don’t own a bike and have the ability and credentials to simply walk into a dealership and buy one.  In a time when the demographic of riders continues to get older and the cost of new bikes continues to spiral upward, these sleepers represent a huge potential catch if Harley and/or Indian could convince them to actually buy a bike.  These are the sleepers that Harley and Indian want.

Harley and Indian Are Working Together

Theoretically, converting just 20% of those licensed riders into owners would have the effect of increasing overall registration by nearly 25%.  At a time when Indian and Harley are struggling to find the sweet spot with new bike sales in a demographic that is getting older, this could be the difference in continuing to be a big fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond.

So where did all these licensed riders go?  Aside from going to sleep?  Simple – they had other things to do.  Certainly, the costs of ownership might have gotten in the way of riding, but more likely, they had families, careers, and other things to do.  No place to store a bike or time to ride.

At the same time, there is a very real issue for the manufacturers, too – for most of those people who don’t ride, the costs of ownership aren’t clearly understood.  Younger people – the so-called Millennial generation – have student debt and the very real costs of family, housing, and furnishing that house.  Older riders might have more disposable income, but they also might be looking at retirement savings and other hobbies that make the costs of riding look untenable.

Of course, the real challenge that Harley and Indian face is convincing these sleepers that buying a new bike is what they need to do.  We’ve talked many times over the years in these pages how inexpensively one can get into riding if you choose to, but laying out ten or twenty thousand dollars requires a passion that many of these folks may not have.  The “stuff” that got in the way before is still there in most cases.

Harley Davidson Street 500

At the same time, there is another challenge that manufacturers have to face – what are they producing?  The silliness of reality television leads some folks to believe that the only good bike is a bar hopper that is useless and uncomfortable.  “Fashionable” bikes, in my experience, are anything but enjoyable to ride and some of the offerings on the showroom floor are worthless to a newer rider.  Harley has subliminally acknowledged that by promising to deliver more bikes themed to newer riders in the next ten years, but, aside from talking about it, the actual products they are gearing towards new riders?  The Street 500?  Gimme a break.

If you want to wake up these sleepers, then you need to give them a better incentive to buy new and ensure their loyalty.  Give them the confidence that you can turn out great products, take care of that product, and give them a reason to come back in 2 years with the desire for a bigger bike.  Guarantee that the depreciation the bike is going to have is not going to be an impediment to them trading up when the time comes and that you want their business over the long term, not just the short dollar.

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Watch Out for the Cheap Stuff – “Value” is Subjective in Some Cases https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/watch-cheap-stuff-value-subjective-cases/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/watch-cheap-stuff-value-subjective-cases/#respond Tue, 01 Aug 2017 21:04:03 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4350 So three days ago, a friend of mine called me to ask a question about his bike and one of the “upgrades” he had done a month or so ago. Now, it’s not important what the bike is (it happens...

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So three days ago, a friend of mine called me to ask a question about his bike and one of the “upgrades” he had done a month or so ago. Now, it’s not important what the bike is (it happens to be an immaculate Virago from a dozen or so years ago), but what is critical is that my partner cheaped out when it came time to upgrade his headlight and was trying to figure out where he went wrong.

Now, I’m not going to jump on the “Everything not made in the U.S. is crap” bandwagon, but his “projector headlamp kit” was atrocious. He’d had to modify the case to fit, run jumper wires and relays, and in general, cobble together a system that – you guessed it – didn’t work. While it may be “cool” in some circles to have an odd-colored LED running your license plate light, depending on reverse-engineered knockoff materials from abroad to light your way down the highway on a dark night is asking for a one-way trip to the Motorcycle Memorial Park in Wisconsin.

What was the result? A few cooked wires, a blown fuse, and a charred bit of insulation, but we both know that if it had happened at a different time and place, he wouldn’t have come home at all.

Virago Motorcycle - Customizing Your Bike

There are two takeaways in this story – the first is simple – buy the best you can afford or else wait until you can and the second is just as simple – know how to do the upgrade you are doing.

For a long time, I wouldn’t touch brakes on cars, trucks, or bikes. I had no problem putting go-fast parts and shiny stuff on for one simple reason: If I somehow screwed up the install and the bike didn’t run, I still couldn’t crash it. On the other hand, when it comes time to stop? You have to be able to stop!

It’s no different in this scenario; without a prospering functioning headlight – one whose cone is properly centered on the road and whose output is proper for the electrical system – you are on the side of the road walking or in the back of the ambulance.

We ended up cutting out the affected wiring and soldering in the right stuff. In order to actually “upgrade” his light output, we also installed a heavier-gauge wire, cleaned his grounds, and checked for resistance and voltage drop through the actual circuit. With all that done, we essentially installed a very similar, but brand new, standard bulb and the illumination, current draw, and beam spread was as good as anything I’ve seen from a stock system.

One of the things that continue to draw us to bikes and riding them is the chance to customize what it is we ride. That’s been a fact of life for as long as the internal combustion engine has been rolling on two wheels, but when you decide to do that, you also need to ensure that you are doing it safely and the improvements you are making actually are improvements – not impediments. Remember, safety standards are standards for a reason, and when you are the smallest vehicle on the road, every safety you can use to your advantage is one that can save your life.

Be safe out there!

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Sturgis is Coming, Are You Going? How About in 2037? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/sturgis-is-coming-are-you-going-how-about-in-2037/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/sturgis-is-coming-are-you-going-how-about-in-2037/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 22:59:27 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4335 If you ride a V-twin and live in North America, you’ve heard of Sturgis, South Dakota. For 77 years, if you believe the mythology, thousands of bikers – 99% of them on bikes are Harleys or want to be Harleys...

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If you ride a V-twin and live in North America, you’ve heard of Sturgis, South Dakota. For 77 years, if you believe the mythology, thousands of bikers – 99% of them on bikes are Harleys or want to be Harleys – have made the pilgrimage to Sturgis to not act their age, enjoy the company of others who love bikes, and basically, take a vacation surrounded by biker culture.

Now, I’ve always been a bit of a Doubting Thomas when it comes to legends, but I have enjoyed the times I’ve been to Sturgis. I’m sure I’ll go again, but I won’t ride there like I did last year. In fact, in many ways, the success of the Sturgis Rally, and actually being there, is a good indicator of where this sport and industry is and I’m not convinced that everything is so good.

In the last year, we’ve seen the closing of the Victory brand, Harley is building fewer bikes at a higher profit, and the average age of the riders keeps right on getting older. In the United States, the average rider is 48 and the largest sector of the market? Men, age 51-69.

To be sure, it’s a group with disposable income who are able to travel, so in the short term, big rallies like Sturgis are going to continue to grow and make money hand over fist.

The Future of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

What will it evolve into, though? Sure, it’s kind of a moot point for most of us – what is an annual event going to look like in two decades?

Still, though, you have to wonder – are these the good times or are they long gone? From a vendor’s point of view, having half a million people within spitting distance is a sweet way to make a lot of money. From the point of view of a participant, how can you possibly see everything and experience enough of that much to say that you got the full flavor of an event when it takes place over 10 days?

No matter what, a spectacle like Sturgis is amazing and cannot be described. You have to immerse yourself in it – speak the language of bikes and bikers to be able to understand it.

 

Sure, there will be some folks there that have never sat on a bike, but they’ll stand out. Come in at 12 and be gone by 4. They won’t look at the newest stuff being sold for performance, they’ll be there to buy a t-shirt. They’ll drink a beer and talk about the bike they almost bought and then get back into their rental car or RV and keep on driving to see Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore and go home to get the kids ready for back-to-school.

Sturgis is, in a lot of ways, a perfect synonym for the motorcycle culture that exists in America. For the other 50 weeks out of the year, it’s under the radar, lurking, and then, finally, it can come out and see the light of day and remind people that riding a bike can be fun and safe. Work hard and play hard. Pay the bills, cut the grass, and then, go out and have a good time.

Now I want to go…

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Hydraulic Clutch Install? Ditch the Cable and Cramped Hands https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/hydraulic-clutch-install-ditch-the-cable-and-cramped-hands/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/hydraulic-clutch-install-ditch-the-cable-and-cramped-hands/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:39:26 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4330 If you’ve read these articles over the years, you know that I love old technology. The idea of fuel injection, computers, and – to a degree – LED’s for lighting seems superfluous to me when we’re discussing a mode of...

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If you’ve read these articles over the years, you know that I love old technology. The idea of fuel injection, computers, and – to a degree – LED’s for lighting seems superfluous to me when we’re discussing a mode of transportation that can’t even keep you dry or even marginally climate-controlled.

On the other hand, I’m slowly coming around to the idea of hydraulic clutches for bikes. Sure, I know that they’ve been used forever on some bikes and have even been an option from the factory on Harleys off and on for at least a decade (although I cannot find any current reference to them), but personally, I still like a clutch that is cable actuated.

Hydraulic Clutch Install - Ditch the Cable and Cramped Hands

Last week, though, I got roped into helping install a hydraulic setup on a friend’s bike and, I’ll have to say, it was a pretty slick install.

Now, I’m not going to name names or endorse products here, and I know my buddy doesn’t want the world to know just how cheap he is, but I’ll say this: he cobbled together the entire setup online from Ebay, the swap meet, and a few other sources for less than $60. What exactly is a hydraulic clutch? Basically, it is a sealed system using brake fluid to operate the clutch on your bike instead of the more traditional cable that most of us have. The primary benefit is that, depending on the bore size of the primary (master) cylinder and the bore size of the slave cylinder, you can end up with a very “light” clutch that takes almost no effort to engage.

In the case of my buddy, since he is missing a finger and has terrible arthritis in his hands, it makes riding, especially in traffic, far easier.
Are there any benefits besides pressure to retrofitting a hydraulic clutch to your motorcycle? That depends. The cables that operate most clutches inevitably stretch over time and since far too many riders are nervous about “ADJUSTING THE CLUTCH” (That’s how I always envisioned it years ago – whether for a car or a bike – “experts” made it sound a lot harder than it was), the result is often a trip to the stealership that ends in a bill you don’t like the size of. This is true of all cables – whether throttle, brake or clutch – and if you think that your older and formerly faster vehicle might be showing it’s mileage, it actually may only be a case of stretched out cables.

Anyhow, I told you all that to tell you this: The switch to hydraulic actuation made a huge difference in the perceived effort to operate the bike. Overall, the install took a little over two hours – and that included some figuring and fabricating and when we were all done, it necessitated a good long ride to check out the handiwork. The results were that after three hours in the saddle, Charles had none of the perceived pain or numbness that he usually had due to his physical issues and the bike ran flawlessly (1986 Wide Glide).

Hydraulic Clutch Install - Ditch the Cable and Cramped Hands 2

Should you consider doing it in your driveway? A lot of that will have to be decided on based on the skills you have in understanding the system, especially the relationship between the bore sizes of the master and slave cylinders, the distance the rod is going to travel and how the linkage will pivot, but as far as physically installing it? It should only require simple hand tools to actually complete the job. One thing I will definitely state is this – make sure that if you do this you use a metal master cylinder instead of the plastic ones – they have never looked right and I’ve always questioned their durability.

While Chuck went for a stainless lever to match all the chrome he has on the old Glide, you can find levers anodized in nearly any color with aluminum and varying levels of polish for the stainless ones.

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A Closer Look at the H-D Street Glide https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/a-closer-look-at-the-h-d-street-glide/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/a-closer-look-at-the-h-d-street-glide/#respond Fri, 07 Jul 2017 17:54:27 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4324 One of the side effects of being an independent and a guy who has owned the same bike for two decades is that every once in awhile, you finally get around to noticing something. These days, if you’re like me,...

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One of the side effects of being an independent and a guy who has owned the same bike for two decades is that every once in awhile, you finally get around to noticing something. These days, if you’re like me, you might see something that you like and make a mental note to look more deeply into it, but that might take you an awfully long time to actually do.

Case in point – a few weeks ago, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I kept seeing Street Glides that really looked sharp and I just couldn’t figure out why they looked so good.

A Closer Look at the H-D Street Glide

I’ve seen these bikes since they first got introduced in the 2006 model year and never really gave them any thought. It could have been the fairing, it could have been because they got computerized and fuel injected that I quit caring, or maybe they are just kinda rare in my neck of the woods. For whatever reason, I never gave them a second look until now.

Now, it seems like every time I turn around, I’m seeing a Street Glide that looks sharp. Maybe they all looked great this whole time, but the combination of colors that I keep seeing – blacked out or monochromatic, candy apple reds and dark greys, or completely blacked out – all seem to be grabbing my attention the way girls in my high school did when they wore tight fitting sweaters.

What’s wrong with me?

Anyone who has been around Harleys for any time knows that the Street Glide is really just a cut down Electra with less stuff hanging off of it. Guys have been modding these for years – especially when the fairings got easier to manage in ’98 or so and honestly, Harley just saw what the public wanted, gave them less stuff on the same chassis and charged more for it.

I don’t know why I’ve suddenly gotten hot for them, but done right, they are awesome.

What are the newest ones like? I haven’t been near the dealership in a few months, but I did some creeping around on the website to get my facts straight for the 2017 models (I’ll throw in the Road Glide, too – it’s the same bike fundamentally).

You end up with a big bike with the newest engine, the Milwaukee Eight, fuel injection, a lot of gadgets and gizmos that I can’t pretend to endorse, and a really good-looking ride. Since the chassis is one of the biggest sellers for Mother Davidson, you have a nearly endless stream of ways to customize it from chrome to completely different fairings.

These bikes tip the scales at over 800 pounds, but the torque they produce, along with the six-speed tranny, tells me that it will get up and go if the driver knows what he is doing.

A Closer Look at the Harley-Davidson Street Glide

In the end, the Street Glide and the Road Glide may not replace my Sportster, but I’m not the guy that Harley-Davidson is marketing to. I’d say that a value-conscious shopper could score one of these with all the bells and whistles he or she wants for a price in the low twenties – and that includes all the goodies they can grab while they are in the dealership.

I may never ride – or even sit – on one, but you know how things sometimes just grab you. They are awfully good-looking bikes and who knows, if I ever decide to get behind a fairing again, it may be attached to one of these.

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Biker Cliques – How Did We Get Here? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/biker-cliques-how-did-we-get-here/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/biker-cliques-how-did-we-get-here/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 21:48:10 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4313 Waxers. One Percenters. Citizens. Weekend Warriors. You name it, we’ve made up a term to describe it. From Panheads to Crotch Rockets, bikers may not have done too much, but we’ve damn sure got a label for everyone and we...

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Waxers. One Percenters. Citizens. Weekend Warriors. You name it, we’ve made up a term to describe it. From Panheads to Crotch Rockets, bikers may not have done too much, but we’ve damn sure got a label for everyone and we don’t do a good job of mixing with others.

You don’t see street bikes rolling with Harleys. Unless there is a reason, in my part of the country, you really don’t even see clubs mixing it up.

Those of you that have read these posts over the years know that I really don’t care what you ride or what you look like – if you’re on a bike, I show you respect until I deem you unworthy of it. I don’t do this out of some misguided philanthropy, just a lifetime spent meeting people of all walks of life. I also don’t really care what other folks do – they have their own crosses to bear and it’s not my job to second-guess how they came up with their own moral compass.

I told you all that to tell you this – last month, Memorial Day here in the States – I decided to ride a few hours northeast of the house and see one of my first COs from when I first got out of the Academy. Now, Captain Gunn was a badass, but after a career in the Navy and a second one turning recruits into cops, he lives outside of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and spends his days fishing and reading. As far as I know, he’s never been on a bike and it doesn’t look like he’ll be doing that, either. At any rate, I rode up to see him and ran smack into something I’d forgotten about – Black Bike Week.

Biker Cliques - How Did We Get Here

It was Bike Week, but for riders who are African-American. Now, I won’t get into all the ways that it’s different from Daytona, or Sturgis, and even though my allegiance was to go and spend time with the Captain, the lure of 100,000 bikes was strong, so I eased over to check it out.

You guessed it – a lot of black folks. What struck me as so cool was one blatantly obvious thing – these riders were on bikes of all shapes and sizes. Road Kings parked by what I think was a new Ducati 1200S (or a regular 1200, who knows?), Crotch rockets riding beside – not screaming by – an old Shovelhead that was in the process of restoration.

Whereas motorcycling in the white world seems to be about finding some little clique you can join – even at the biggest rallies – this one was all about simply riding and having a good time.

Somewhere along the way, a lot of folks have forgotten about that. Brand loyalty, age, skill, even the gear we wear all seems – if you look at it objectively – to be how we judge the content of a rider.

I didn’t see any of that in Myrtle Beach over the weekend. I saw guys riding and having a good time, laughing and joking with other men that may never have been their social equals in other places, all democratized into friends because of their love of bikes.

I enjoyed my visit with the Captain, but I enjoyed the chance to be reminded of one thing that even I forget sometimes – if you ride, you are my friend.

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Stop Asking Me and Learn for Yourself https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/stop-asking-me-and-learn-for-yourself/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/stop-asking-me-and-learn-for-yourself/#respond Wed, 28 Jun 2017 18:07:47 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4305 We’ve all been there – out on the road and you stop for a Coke and a smile and they come out of the woodwork. Posers, Wannabes, and the genuinely curious – all with questions about bikes and bikers and...

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We’ve all been there – out on the road and you stop for a Coke and a smile and they come out of the woodwork.

Posers, Wannabes, and the genuinely curious – all with questions about bikes and bikers and “how do I learn to ride a motorcycle?”

Some of them I tell just to get on a bike and try it while others I actually try to explain what it takes to learn to ride a Harley.

Little kids are the best since they are so honest – I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had some little boy or girl ask me something like “what’s it like to be in a biker gang?” just because I’m sitting on my bike in the corner of the gas station parking lot and smoking my lunch on a long ride. On the other end of the spectrum are the guys my age who finally have a little discretionary income and want to get out on the road and relax a few days a month.

Ready-to-Ride-An-Intro-to-Learning-to-Ride-a-MotorcycleClick Here to Download

The real problem for a lot of people who really do want to learn more about riding is that it really is a chicken-or-egg discussion.

Do you buy a bike and learn to ride it or do you learn to ride a motorcycle and then buy a bike? If you don’t know how to ride it, you can’t get home with it when you buy it and if you know how to ride it, then you likely already have access to someone who knows how to responsibly teach you how to ride a bike.

…And we wonder why our numbers are shrinking each year!

I know that all of you guys feel the same way and get the same questions all the time – “How do you learn to ride?” “Where can I learn to ride?” “What kind of bike should I get?” – and you and I both know that those are hard to answer. I physically cannot remember what it’s like to not know how to ride a motorcycle and no matter how hard I try, I still struggle with trying to teach skills that I no longer even think about using.

After all, how do you teach rolling into a hard turn without using the brakes since you’ve already slowed down enough to actually accelerate into that same turn? In a world where fewer and fewer people understand what it means to know the “feel” of a mechanical instrument and make decisions based NOT on a computer but on subtle hints your own senses, the relationship between a rider and the bike involves a lot of that most intangible of the senses – “touch”.

The good news is that the team at the Bikers’ Den actually took a lot of those lessons we’ve all tried to give to new or interested riders and condensed it into a downloadable book – “Ready To Ride” – just for new riders or those folks that want to learn more about how to get started riding.

Is it going to turn a lifetime cage driver into Easy Rider?

No. But it is going to walk them through the many options they have available to learn to ride a motorcycle, the safety gear they’ll need, and the basics of what they can expect when they start to seriously think about learning to ride a bike, from a Road King to a crotch rocket.

The next time you get asked how to learn to ride, you don’t have to give out a bunch of esoteric answers, you can just tell them they can start here and once they’ve got the basic understanding of what it takes to learn to ride a bike safely and effectively, then you can explain it even better.

No matter what, though, remember, the main lesson is this one – keep the shiny side up!

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Fox Creek Leather Is Back and Just In Time https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/fox-creek-leather-back-just-time/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/fox-creek-leather-back-just-time/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:32:31 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4299 Have you ever noticed how things always happen for a reason? The older I get, the more I know this to be true, and the day “the Boss” emailed me about Fox Creek Leather being back in stock at The...

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Have you ever noticed how things always happen for a reason? The older I get, the more I know this to be true, and the day “the Boss” emailed me about Fox Creek Leather being back in stock at The Bikers’ Den was no exception.

You see, last week, the young couple that live next door – which is actually about half a mile away – asked me to watch their house while they went out of town. No problem.

Fox Creek Leather - American Made Motorcycle Gear

Or so I thought.

I played the good guy, went over, fed the dogs, checked on their cat, made sure that nobody had broken into the house, you know the drill. Unfortunately, the third day, the weather was looking like a bad storm was brewing and I figured, incorrectly, that I could get there and back and not get drowned out on the bike.

I got there, got the dogs out and then all Hell broke loose. Thunder, lightning, even hail – which we rarely ever get – came crashing down and one of the hounds came bounding in and the other one took off like his head was on fire and his ass was catching. Now, why the dog took off, I may never know, but since I was in charge of the critter, I felt obligated to find it. Normally, summer rains around here are five or ten-minute affairs, but after half an hour, the rain hadn’t stopped and I figured the dog would’ve come slinking back.

Nope.

So out into the storm I went. I’d managed to scrape up one of those little useless umbrellas that companies give away which kept a fraction of me dry, but for the most part, I was getting drenched. Head, coat, pants, boots, soaked to the skin. Twenty minutes later, the storm started to abate and there, in an old pump house half a mile or so from home, sat the dog – caked in mud, drenched to the bone, wagging his tail conspiratorially. Since it wasn’t a big dog and I didn’t have a leash, I just picked the cursed thing up and sloshed back to the house. Washed the mud off of him, dried him off with a towel from the bathroom, and since I was soaked, I hung my jacket up to drip dry in the bathroom like I have so many times over the years.

I decided to leave it there and just take the bike home – I could clean up my gear tomorrow after it was dry, right?

Wrong.

That young couple came home that night, unexpectedly, and recognized my jacket and figured out what had happened. Since it was too late to call, the wife, all of 22 years old, figured that she’d do me a favor and help my jacket along – she put it in the dryer.

She put my soaking wet leather jacket in the dryer.

On high.

For an hour.

The next morning, her husband called me to explain how his wife had “helped” me out. I could hear her sobbing in the background and I knew that my jacket was now rawhide.

To say it was “stiff as a board” is an understatement. It was like a mummified corpse.

I took it to a leather store I knew did a lot of custom work. They said it was dead. I tried to revive it with neatsfoot and mink oil.

Fox Creek Leather Grayson Motorcycle Jacket

Nope.

Dead.

Six years of bugs, dirt, oil and grease and thousands of miles of road, all gone.

I needed a new jacket.

Fortunately, the couple that cooked my coat offered to pay for a new one and that was the day I got the email about Fox Creek Leather being available again. So yesterday, I placed my order for the Fox Creek Leather Grayson Jacket and they will have it to me in another two days.

Rain, the neighbors, and nervous little dogs be damned.

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Got Riders? Getting the Next Generation in the Saddle https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/got-riders-getting-the-next-generation-in-the-saddle/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/got-riders-getting-the-next-generation-in-the-saddle/#respond Fri, 02 Jun 2017 03:34:04 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4295 A couple of weeks ago, Harley Davidson released their first quarter financial results and, as usual, it makes for some interesting reading. Now, we’ve talked about profit centers in this column before, but what was really interesting isn’t that profits...

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A couple of weeks ago, Harley Davidson released their first quarter financial results and, as usual, it makes for some interesting reading. Now, we’ve talked about profit centers in this column before, but what was really interesting isn’t that profits stayed virtually the same for H-D versus the first quarter last year, but that they actually shipped nearly 13,000 fewer bikes.

Do the math with me – 13,000 fewer bikes, the shuttering of Victory Motorcycles last fall, and troubled sales for many of the one-off builders.

Add those up and you get what I think might be an industry that is in trouble. Why?

Look at us! We’re getting older. Some of us are still shockingly good looking, but we’re older and despite deep pockets, the idea of tying up thousands of dollars in a weekend cruiser is one that more and more folks can’t stomach – at least not when that carries with it what amounts to a nice car payment.

Now, this isn’t about “how can we save the industry” but it is about why the industry seems to collectively forget about new riders.
It’s a marketing term called “cost of acquisition” and that means what it takes to turn an individual into a buyer.

Got Riders - Getting the Next Generation in the Saddle

It takes a lot of money. It takes an alignment with the buyer – their dreams, visions, goals, and lifestyle.

In short – there are a lot of young people that would rather drive a hybrid than a hog. Why? You name it – electric gadgetry, some sort of strange desire to be on the cutting edge of technology, the overall usefulness of the vehicle for their lives, and the inability of many young people to be able to work on the machines they own.

And one other thing that nobody will say – an identity crisis among young men. They are told that they have to share their feelings, any opinion contrary to theirs should be welcomed, and that having a belief structure that runs counter to popular culture is somehow wrong. Nobody wants to say it, but being masculine in this day and age carries with it negative stereotypes, no matter who you are.

Heck, in the U.S. Presidential campaign last year, a lot of these folks were simply called names – “a basket of deplorables” – and how has anyone been converted to the other side by being called names?

And when you have a bike – especially a big American-made V-Twin – you are making a statement, loud and clear, “I’m different.” Silly as it is to say, the stereotype for a biker is now one that represents a conservative point of view and guess what? Those aren’t fashionable right now.

The challenges that Harley faces – and the entire industry – is one of identity for the next generation. Getting new riders in the saddle and onto the sales purchase agreement is the only thing that is going to change the sales trends in North America and for all of us who love the sound of a V-Twin, our responsibility to this sport we love is to make sure that the next generation is ready to put on the chaps and boots and not slip into their skinny jeans with a Frappuccino.

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Will Any of the Sons of Anarchy Spinoffs Ever Get Moving? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/will-any-of-the-sons-of-anarchy-spinoffs-ever-get-moving/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/will-any-of-the-sons-of-anarchy-spinoffs-ever-get-moving/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 14:13:42 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4290 Like an awfully large part of the population, I enjoyed Sons of Anarchy when it was on. Sure, it got violent, it got over the top, I thought it was a pretty good portrayal, not of motorcycle gangs, but of...

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Like an awfully large part of the population, I enjoyed Sons of Anarchy when it was on. Sure, it got violent, it got over the top, I thought it was a pretty good portrayal, not of motorcycle gangs, but of certain types of personalities who just happened to ride. It was, if you really think about it and go down the rabbit hole a bit, Hamlet on a V-twin.

Now, Shakespeare notwithstanding, I do miss the show and for the last three years since it went off the air, we’ve consistently heard rumblings of spinoffs and prequels and knockoffs.

Sons of Anarchy Sequel

Hell, I’ve even talked about some of these right here in this column.

Every few months or so, an article pops up with what, ultimately, proves to be a rumor or an idea that simply gets passed around as fact and then quietly goes away. Consistently, though, for the last few months, the rumor mill seems to have gotten their collective story straight and it appears that FX is moving forward with a sequel to Sons of Anarchy.

Now, the official word is that the series is still in development but will focus on the Mayans MC after Jax’s death.

Who’s in it?

Well, we know that the pilot has cast Andrea Londo and Edward James Olmos (you know, the Captain from the Miami Vice television show). Additionally, Sarah Bolger (Into the Badlands) is set as one of the leads opposite JD Pardo, playing Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes as a prospect in the Mayan MC charter on the California/Mexico border. Bolger will play Emily, the beautiful “guera” next door and childhood sweetheart of EZ. The word around the campfire is that Bolger and Pardo grow apart as they grow up and Bolger’s character marries into money and wealth.

Sons of Anarchy Sequel 2

What happens then?

No idea.

What does it have to do with bikes and the Mayans?

No idea.

What I do know is that whoever is in charge of this project – some have said it would be Kurt Sutter – a plus since he directed the original series – but variously, it’s been mentioned that he would only be the executive producer and the day-to-day could go to a lesser known name.

Who knows? The more you chase these threads, the less you find out. On the other hand, what we are sure of is that right now, FX has only ordered a pilot show be done, so it’s likely that this first installment will be a good one, even if it is only a one-trick pony. The hardest part of the project is undoubtedly how you can create a story based in the world of SAMCRO and not trip over yourself in all the threads that might have been started in this or that episode. As much as I look forward to it, I admit, it can’t be easy to build in the shadow of Sons of Anarchy – between the slowly growing violence of Jax’ life through the years up to the final episode, creating another story in that little universe that doesn’t collapse under its own weight is going to be hard.

The one thing we don’t – and can’t have – is a bland rewrite of SOA with a Latino flare. I don’t think that Sutter would stoop to that, but based on his body of work outside of the SOA world – The Bastard Executioner, for example – I have to be honest – it could be a toss-up.

Personally, I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

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Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/just-because-you-can-doesnt-mean-you-should-2/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/just-because-you-can-doesnt-mean-you-should-2/#respond Thu, 11 May 2017 03:06:45 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4286 Last weekend, as I usually do, I rolled the bike out of the garage and pointed it down the road. No real plans, just a need to get out of the house and burn some fossil fuels. A couple of...

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Last weekend, as I usually do, I rolled the bike out of the garage and pointed it down the road. No real plans, just a need to get out of the house and burn some fossil fuels. A couple of hours later, in a small town that was slowly dying as the population moved off to better options and fewer people in the community, I pulled over for some gas, a cold drink and a smoke for lunch.

Once I fueled up, I pulled the Sportster over to the side of the store, lit up a smoke, and took a long pull from the Coke I’d bought.

The funny thing about these small towns – they all look alike. A dried up old commercial area, one “good” gas station, two bad ones, and a whole bunch of closed up storefronts. The people I’ve met in towns like these over the years have almost always been friendly and accepting, even though they know that the place is going down the tubes.

I guess they have better things to do than to worry about me.

Anyhow, about four puffs into my cigarette, a county sheriff’s car pulls up with what has to have been the oldest law enforcement officer in the state at the wheel and he gives me a long stare through the windshield, then gets out.

I was looking at the archetype of every small-town law enforcement officer that we’ve ever seen in the movies: mirrored sunglasses, crisply pressed shirt and trousers, and this guy still carried a revolver.

I felt like I’d slipped back to my childhood, except he was driving a new Charger.

I soon found out that this gentleman was the Sheriff and had been since 1984. It turns out that he had worked for one of the men that had been responsible for getting me into the Academy 25 years ago and while we’d never met, we knew a lot of people from that time. Then the questions started about the bike – what was it, how long had I been riding, you know the standards that we all get.

And then I found out something about this old man – I’d seen he had a helluva limp when he got out of the patrol car – he’d been a rider, too, forty years ago. Motorcycle cop in a big city for two years before, you guessed it, a bad crash in a high-speed pursuit.

“What’d that look like, Sheriff?” I asked.

“Well, I had that damn Kawasaki wound out running down in the warehouse district chasing this old heroin dealer and waiting on the patrol units to get there when another car pulled out in front of me. I had time to realize that I could swerve and miss them and maybe hold the bike up but I didn’t see the loading ramp that I swerved into. It was a damned nice flight, though.”

Kawasaki Motorcycle Police Bike

He’d flown something approaching 20 feet off the ground and nearly 100 feet before he and the bike separated, crashing him into the metal siding of another warehouse left foot first.

Of the 206 bones in the human body, he’d broken 47.

He was in the hospital nearly seven months before they got him back to something resembling human and in the process, his left leg, broken in 28 places, ended up about three inches shorter than the right one.

After that, he’d jockeyed a desk for a few years while he learned how to walk again and then returned back to his hometown – the one we were standing in – and been elected even with the physical limitations he’d had.

Did he ever ride again?

“No, I figured that I used up all my luck that night and that the Good Lord didn’t need me to go pushing it any more. Just because I can don’t mean I should.” He took a long look at my bike, toed the bell on the front of the frame, and said, “keep it between the ditches and have a good day, son.”

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Spring is Finally Here for the Rest of You Guys! https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/spring-is-finally-here-for-the-rest-of-you-guys/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/spring-is-finally-here-for-the-rest-of-you-guys/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:54:56 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4270 Well it was bound to happen and it did. My old buddy from Elk Mountain, Wyoming called me and had finally had some weather worth riding in. At 7,000 feet, his place sits pretty high and Spring comes late in...

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Well it was bound to happen and it did. My old buddy from Elk Mountain, Wyoming called me and had finally had some weather worth riding in. At 7,000 feet, his place sits pretty high and Spring comes late in those mountains, but they’d gotten up to 66 degrees last weekend and he’d drug the ‘Glide out and put some miles on it.

As you guys up north are finally rescuing bikes from garages and basements and sheds all over the North Country, I wanted to share a little nugget that I recently learned from my insurance company.

You need to sit down with your insurance guy soon.

Allstate-Insurance-Biker-Agents

See, insurance, even if you never use it, goes up a little bit each year. It’s like an excuse from your first wife – “I only gained five pounds this year…”

Yeah, but after ten years, that is a lot of extra cushion…

I bet you’ve got some cushion in your motorcycle coverage, too, especially if you’ve had the policy for a few years.

So here’s what you do… go to some big carrier online and get a quote for the same coverage you have now. Make a note of the quote and then call up your regular guy and say something to the tune of, “Why am I paying X for insurance from you and company Y says they can get me the same coverage for Z?”

What’s going to happen then is that your insurance guy is going to get diarrhea of the mouth and start giving you tons of reasons, thoughts, and excuses and then, ultimately, cave in and give you a better deal, especially if you have multiple policies with that carrier or company. There’s a reason for this, too. The reason is simple – People are creatures of habit and when we find a deal we like, we stick with it. Insurance carriers know that and they plan on a certain percentage of their customers not paying attention to the premiums while they slip in a few extra dollars here and there.

It’s just business, nothing more. I don’t even get mad at my insurance agent anymore, I just call him a few choice adjectives and then we get the policy right and I go on about my day and he about his.

No harm, no foul.

So now that you have the bike all ready for the weather and the weather all ready for the ride, let’s take care of the insurance on the ride and make it a great season for all of us.

Oh, and one last thing – if your insurance guy doesn’t want to play ball, that’s okay – there are thousands of companies out there that are ready to take care of you and your needs, whether that is multiple policies, one lone policy, or anything in between. Remember, the best insurance policy you will ever buy for your bike is the one you don’t need!

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A Different Type of Sunrise Service https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/a-different-type-of-sunrise-service/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/a-different-type-of-sunrise-service/#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 18:08:57 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4263 So this last weekend, the 2 or so billion Christians in the world celebrated Easter in a lot of different ways. Especially popular in my part of the country – the Bible Belt – is the Sunrise Service. For those...

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So this last weekend, the 2 or so billion Christians in the world celebrated Easter in a lot of different ways. Especially popular in my part of the country – the Bible Belt – is the Sunrise Service.

For those of you that don’t have this particular institution as a part of your religious lexicon, that means getting up a couple of hours before dawn and then going to an outdoor church service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus with the dawning of the new day on Easter Sunday. If you have women in the family, they are still dressed in their Sunday best, just a lot earlier (hence the “couple of hours” before sunrise…).

A Different Type of Sunrise Service

After that, you are able to get back to your regularly scheduled Sunday or, for the more devout, you go to regular scheduled service and then off to eat a big meal and enjoy some family time watching kids looking for Easter eggs and such.

Most of that isn’t an option for me and with the Old Lady out of town traveling again and most of my regular riding buds relegated to family duty, I decided to go on my own little adventure.

I got up early enough to wake up the chickens, turned the old Sportster southeast, and headed for the beach an hour away.

No, I wasn’t going for an early-morning swim in the Atlantic, I figured I’d see Easter of 2017 start as the day grew out of the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, since I live in the boondocks with plenty of wildlife around, I usually don’t like riding the backroads in the dark since there are plenty of deer and other stuff to get into the road and then give you an opportunity for a brake check (and yes, I have encountered cows in the road one foggy night while jockeying my way home). Nonetheless, I made it to Tybee Island with no drama as the first tendrils of dawn were beginning to show in the eastern sky.

I wish that I could tell you that riding down to the beach to watch the sunrise on Easter Sunday came with some sort of clear sign that I was living right (or wrong), but it didn’t. I saw a few groups of churchgoers seeking the Son that morning, but my sky stayed simply blue with the early Spring sunshine pouring into it. No flaming crosses signifying that life was good or bad greeted me. No angelic voices singing praises and except for a few seagulls protesting my presence, the wind was the only thing I heard.

Whatever I prayed for was heard by the wind and the sky and when it was time to leave and go back home, I can’t tell you that anything had radically changed in my outlook on life, but there on that semi-deserted beach on Easter Sunday, I couldn’t help but think that, for just a few minutes, I had everything I needed and a clear connection to ask for anything I wanted. I shook the sand of my old engineer boots and threw my legs over the seat and as the old Harley motor turned over, with the sun warming my back, I was sure that whatever I needed was going to be there for me.

I hope you get that same feeling every time you get on the bike, too.

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Getting Your Ride Ready for the Road https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/getting-your-ride-ready-for-the-road/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/getting-your-ride-ready-for-the-road/#respond Fri, 07 Apr 2017 02:50:04 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4235 So here we are, it’s time to drag the bike out and you haven’t done anything that you said you would. You filled up the tank and slammed it in the garage where it’s been lying buried under a tarp...

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So here we are, it’s time to drag the bike out and you haven’t done anything that you said you would. You filled up the tank and slammed it in the garage where it’s been lying buried under a tarp since the end of October and now the weather has warmed up and you’re itching to get it on the road.

Well, for those of you who are slacking, you need to check all the stuff that we’ve talked about time and again – tires, oil, plugs, filters, brakes and fuel.

For the rest of you that are at the front of the class, you put everything away properly and now you’re looking at a dusty bike that you aren’t really happy with. In this case, an air compressor is your friend and if you can simply blow it all off, you’re in the clear before you actually go back and get everything cleaned up. Otherwise, that’s the extent of your needs.

Now, there are a few of us who, for a variety of reasons, might want to completely detail your bike before you get it out on the road and I’m going to share some ideas for getting the hog back out of the garage and make it look better without spending an entire day on it.

Getting Your Ride Ready for the Road

If you have a dirty engine in that dirty bike, you’ve got some options. Lots of chrome means you’ll be better off with a milder cleaner – think of the stuff that probably lives under your kitchen sink. Requisition an old sponge with the worn out scotch brite pad on the back and let it rip. When it’s time to polish the chrome, track down a high quality product that has stood the test of time like Mother’s or Turtle Wax, a few old towels, and a case of elbow grease and get busy.

If you are like me and fundamentally a lazy individual, then try this one – warm the engine up for a few minutes – not scalding hot – but at least warm. Using the spray can engine cleaner that is on sale at your local auto parts store, hose everything down. Crack open an oat soda. Smoke a cigarette. Wait five more minutes and get the garden hose and then spray the dirt away. Keep spraying. Once you’ve gotten into all the nooks and crannies, then let the heat in the motor case dry the engine and then, fire it up again and repeat the process … but instead of hosing, you want to insert another step – scrub the engine down with a soft scrub brush that has bristles at least 2 inches long.

Wait another five minutes, despite how hard that will be. Now re-hose the engine and you are ready to get rolling on making your bike pretty.

You’ve got a clean engine and what you actually need to do is to start polishing shiny stuff. Bear in mind that this process can be repeated on nearly every surface – I wouldn’t hit leather and the seat, but you get the idea. Yes, you can overdo it and screw up electronics if you get overzealous, so show some restraint in respect to the electrical systems on newer bikes – consider yourself warned.

For the most part, though, you can’t screw this up. Be smart, think about the actions you’re taking, and bring your elbow grease. The end result after just a couple of hours? A shiny bike that is ready for Spring.

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H-D Screamin’ Eagle Team Has Made it Back… https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/h-d-screamin-eagle-team-has-made-it-back/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/h-d-screamin-eagle-team-has-made-it-back/#respond Thu, 30 Mar 2017 23:53:02 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4230 A million years ago, when my Uncle Jack sold cars in Atlanta, he would always joke around about the selling of cars in the early days of NASCAR – “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” and by the time I...

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A million years ago, when my Uncle Jack sold cars in Atlanta, he would always joke around about the selling of cars in the early days of NASCAR – “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” and by the time I came along, NASCAR had turned into a commercial sport and I pretty much quit watching it or taking an interest in it when they took the door handles off the cars. But back in the day? If you had a quarter mile factory-sponsored car or a stock car that won, you sold that same car at the dealership and fans could buy it.

So these days, I take a dim view of “stock” car racing and factory teams in any race event, but I still have a soft spot for motorcycle racing.

Sure, these are fully custom one-offs, but you can at least see a resemblance to the bike sitting in the dealership … the stuff may not be cheap, but an intrepid backyard mechanic can still make an awfully fast bike using some of the same recipes that factory teams are cooking with. I’ve done it and I’d expect that you know a few folks who have done it, too.

Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the Gatornationals was held in Gainesville, Florida and once the street cars were done, I pretty much tuned out until the bikes showed up. What happened? Team Harley showed up in force. Now, truth be told, the same sort of drama that shows up in every bike race showed up in Gainesville that weekend – folks jumping the light, breakdowns, and all the assorted carnage that befalls any motor that is running on the ragged edge of its capabilities, but I can’t argue that Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec had their equipment tuned in.

These teammates met in the final round where Krawiec rode to a 6.763 to hold off Hines but the good news is that during the day, both riders had ETs in the 6.7 range and there’s something magical about running a quarter mile in that amount of time on anything … it is damn fast.

H-D Screamin’ Eagle Team Has Made it Back

From time to time in these pages, you guys have seen how Harley has won or lost on what is really luck – a bad reaction, a mechanical issue, and last year’s final is a great example of that. Who’s the best rider on the race circuit when it comes to running a quarter mile? They’re all pretty damn good, but I’ll have to say that any man who willingly gets on a bike to flirt with the 200 mph barrier has got stones aplenty. In fact, interestingly enough, Eddie Krawiec’s first round win was an ugly one – turning in a 6.88 ET and nearly losing control.

The bike veered towards the centerline and, to quote Krawiec, “I was leaning pretty hard and when you do that, the front tire washes out and starts to skid. These bikes tend to do that once in a while. It’s a scary deal but you have to stay with it. If you roll off the throttle, the bike will stand up and at that point, it might dart left or right and then you’ve got a real problem.”

Meanwhile, mortals like us worry about a tar snake in the road…

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The Trouble With Cheap Bikes https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/the-trouble-with-cheap-bikes/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/the-trouble-with-cheap-bikes/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 04:56:14 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4224 In the continuing saga of my Harley flip, and if, for some reason, you can’t remember my story from last week, then here it is: Found a cheap Harley, bought a cheap Harley, getting ready to sell a cheap Harley...

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In the continuing saga of my Harley flip, and if, for some reason, you can’t remember my story from last week, then here it is: Found a cheap Harley, bought a cheap Harley, getting ready to sell a cheap Harley for more than I bought it for.

This thing is a time capsule.

24 years old and I’m the third owner. Factory everything and I have all the maintenance records since it was purchased. Build sheet, invoice, everything. The factory paint is still about 90%, the seat and the bags are worn but not torn, and even the suspect wiring from the early nineties is nowhere near as sketchy as some that I’ve seen.

It’s an easy $10,000 here on the regional level and in some markets, substantially more, and I’m into it for less than $2K. And I could damn sure use an extra $8,000.

The Trouble With Cheap Bikes

Runs good, stops good, the blowby that I’d noticed on the first drive has gone away (I’ve put about 500 miles on it this week) and it doesn’t leak or burn oil. This thing is a survivor and what should be an easy decision to make – sell it and laugh all the way to the bank – is one of the toughest I’ve ever had.

This bike is not going to lose any value if I keep it stock and document the work I’ve done to it and just taking care of it for the next decade and riding it occasionally will mean that I have a Harley that will do something that none of the ones I’ve ever owned will do – appreciate in value.

The other factor when you start to think about owning a classic vehicle is “where do you put it” and unfortunately, I’ve got plenty of room in the shop. Since my primary ride, as you folks know, is a 1994, I’ve got the knowledge and the tools necessary to work on this pig and my big plan – buy and flip – is really backfiring on me.

The only thing wrong with this bike was deferred maintenance, and it is no longer deferred.

The other deciding factor that you often have to think about in making a decision like this is the Old Lady, and she simply stated “I don’t care one way or the other.”

So it comes down to this: I can think of a lot of reasons to not sell this bike and to keep it around. It’s never been wrecked, I have full documentation on it, and they aren’t making any more of them. At the same time, I’ve got a place to store it and it will only continue to go up in value.

At the very least, I’m going to sit on it for awhile and try to figure out what to do. There are some big rallies coming up in the coming months where I can easily get my money back, so who knows. The one thing I’ve learned about flipping Harleys? It’s like dating a fat girl – don’t do it because you never know when you’ll fall in love…

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Flipping an Older Harley Davidson Sportster 883 https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/flipping-an-older-harley-davidson-sportster-883/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/flipping-an-older-harley-davidson-sportster-883/#respond Wed, 15 Mar 2017 03:30:55 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4217 Over the years, I’ve shared a lot of restoration ideas for you guys and the latest scheme was the Cushman Truckster. That didn’t work out, but it sure sounded like fun. Unfortunately, I suffer from scanning the online classified like...

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Over the years, I’ve shared a lot of restoration ideas for you guys and the latest scheme was the Cushman Truckster. That didn’t work out, but it sure sounded like fun.

Unfortunately, I suffer from scanning the online classified like Craigslist for stuff like old cars and bikes to play with and, from time to time, there are still deals to be had. Over the last year, I talked about getting new folks into the sport by resurrecting older Japanese bikes, cutting down beaters into Café racers and Bobbers, and, in general, frittering away what little money I have on projects that will barely recoup.

But this time, I scored fast and I scored deep.

The ad simply said “Harley Sporster” – the misspelling is correct – they couldn’t spell “Sportster.” Attached to it was a grainy photo of an older H-D Sportster with the 883 motor and those magical words I love to read… “Ran when parked.”

Flipping an Older Harley Davidson Sportster 883

I called the guy and he was home and home wasn’t but about 30 miles from mine, so I fired up the diesel, tossed in some tie down straps, and grabbed some of my “chi-don-no” money (as in, “She don’t know I have any”) and was out the door.

The guy was, surprisingly, younger than me and in good health and had just outgrown the bike. Wife, kids, busy job climbing the corporate ladder. He’d parked the bike in 2013 and was the second owner of the 1993 Turquoise blue Harley and he’d always had the maintenance done at the dealership. Even better? He had all the maintenance records since the bike was purchased new in the Spring of 1993!

The problems, as I could see, were the usual – dry rotted tires and fuel lines, the fuel in the tank and the carb was turning to varnish, and the battery was deader than easy credit. The seat was in decent shape and the bags on it needed some attention. The motor turned over, the spark plugs looked good, and the oil in the crankcase was still clean, just old. He wanted $1800.

Now, normally, I’d put up a fight and try to haggle a little bit, but the entire time I was talking to the guy, I kept thinking that I had everything this bike needed sitting in my shop. Tires, fuel line, even a kit for the carb. Out of pocket was going to be a battery and, since it was a 1993, probably building some jumpers for the crummy wiring used in those models.

I told him I was going to buy it, but only had $1,000 on me – could he hold it overnight, I’d cash a check in the morning and pick it up the next afternoon?

The next day, I paid the man, loaded it up, he signed the title, and I had a project bike worth playing with. When I got home, the Old Lady peered out the door, rolled her eyes, and shook her head. Most of that evening was spent in the garage or the driveway, pressure washing the bike, pulling off pieces that needed to be replaced, and rummaging around through my inventory of stuff to see what I needed.

Last Saturday I fired the motor for the first time and tuned the old S&S Super E I’d rebuilt and even though all the chrome wasn’t polished out, I took it down the road. The used tires I’d tossed on were worn, but it accelerated like it should, the brakes stopped it like it should, and, for a 24-year-old bike with 15,000 miles on the clock and a tiny bit of blowby in the rings, it ran awfully smooth.

My total cost, outside of the time I’d spent in the garage? $1,956 US. There’s one problem, though, and I’ll tell you about that next time…

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Sportster Gas Tank Repair with a Rattlecan Paint Job https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/sportster-gas-tank-repair-with-a-rattlecan-paint-job/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/sportster-gas-tank-repair-with-a-rattlecan-paint-job/#respond Wed, 08 Mar 2017 05:49:08 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4214 So last weekend, a buddy of mine called me on the phone losing his mind about his gas tank. He’d taken the bike out from under the cover and there, for everyone to see, was a fist-sized dent on the...

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So last weekend, a buddy of mine called me on the phone losing his mind about his gas tank. He’d taken the bike out from under the cover and there, for everyone to see, was a fist-sized dent on the left hand side of his tank. What was worse? It had been there awhile – and not from his doing.

He’s at least the third owner of his bike – a ten-year-old Sportster – and in looking at the damage, it appears that somebody, sometime, dropped something heavy on it or smacked it with a bat. It would also seem that they didn’t do a great job with the Bondo and the filler prep and at some point over the winter, the cold managed to “pop” an edge off of it and allow it to drop out.

Sportster Gas Tank Repair with a Rattlecan Paint Job

It was sitting there, pretty as you please, on the floor.

Now, we both know that fitting a new tank to an older bike is not rocket science, but he didn’t have the money to drop on a new tank and, even worse, he’s the guy that gets the stealership to change the oil.

Once I got him calmed down, I told him that I’d ride over and take a look and tell him the best course of action.
Well, guess what?

It cost him $36.82 to fix the tank with a little guidance from yours truly. No air compressor, no sprayer; just some rattle can paint and a little elbow grease – which is free. The dealership would have easily been 10X that.

We started off with dropping the tank – disconnect the lines, unscrew the cap and fasteners that hold that in place, then physically unbolt the tank from the frame. Obviously, you need to empty the tank and let it vent to the atmosphere – we’re going to be making some sparks (potentially) and there’s no sense in losing your eyebrows. Since the tank was about 10 years old, once we got the fuel out of it, we cleaned it out and flushed it with lacquer thinner and let that get good and dry.

Next, we sanded with an aggressive grit – either 80 or 150 – to get all the loose Bondo and filler out of the crevices. The idea here is to get down to clean metal that will actually let the filler “grip” it and the last thing you want is a mirror finish. Obviously, we did have the tank vent and filler area taped off to keep dust and debris out of it – we still flushed it out thoroughly when we were done.

We ended up taking off paint about an inch or two from the “good” area around the dent and feathering that edge. As you get down from the metal to the primer to the actual paint, you’ll see fine lines – this is where you need to use a finer and finer grit to make that edge seamless. We worked up to 1000 grit – and remember – the rule is no more of a grit jump than 100-200 at a time.

With that done, we wiped down the tank with wax and grease remover, let that dry, and mixed up a batch of filler.

Now, we put a good coating of filler on the tank in the “hole” (which was only about 3/8 inch deep at its deepest – more ugly than anything) and slathered it on to cure. We let that get nearly dry and used a “cheese comb” to get the shape that we wanted. Once the Bondo reached full cure, we started shaping with 220 grit. There were some low spots, so we mixed up another batch – it’s always better to mix three or four small batches instead of one giant gob – adhesion is much better. In the end, we needed four smaller batches and with an hour or so of sanding and shaping, we had the shape we needed.

Now came the hard part… we had to set the tank to the side for the night to reach full cure. Sure, you can jump right in after an hour or two, but in my experience, I like to let it sit for overnight. I find that my work is better.
The next day, we finish sanded up to 400 on the filler and got our tank primered. Since Chuck’s tank was black, any spots were going to stand out like a sore thumb, so we spent a good deal of time on shaping and staring at it from every angle.

The result? It sure looked good in primer. We actually used rattle-can Duplicolor – a basecoat/clearcoat system that the local autoparts stores carry. A can of each got us great coverage – about 6 coats of each, wiped down with a tack cloth between coats – and then it was time to do something else hard…

Chuck had to set the tank aside to dry and let the clearcoat harden.

Since it was rattle-can paint and clearcoat, it is going to take about 7-10 days before he’s able to buff it out. As it sits right now, it looks really good, but it has some orange peel that should come right out with polishing and buffing.
Even better? Chuck isn’t out $400.

In most cases, motorcycles aren’t rocket science and because they are smaller and easier to work on than a car, you can absolutely do a lot of work on them yourself. As we are all getting ready for the riding season, I’m willing to bet that quite a few of you guys are going to uncover some damage when you take the bike out – don’t be scared to do it yourself and save some real money!

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A Facebook Event Page for Biker Charities https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/a-facebook-event-page-for-biker-charities/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/a-facebook-event-page-for-biker-charities/#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2017 05:31:33 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4209 In the last post, I told you guys about the Boozefighters Club in Southern California and how the club had burned down. Even worse, that they did a ton of charity work and when the clubhouse went, a load of...

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In the last post, I told you guys about the Boozefighters Club in Southern California and how the club had burned down. Even worse, that they did a ton of charity work and when the clubhouse went, a load of their charity donations went up in smoke, too.

That got me to thinking (never a good thing) and largely out of curiosity, I started looking up motorcycle charities on the computer. And damn near nothing showed up.

I got a few hits on the national level – the Templar Knights Club actually has a page up about charity rides and there is a ton of stuff out there for small clubs who are riding for this charity or that charity, but there isn’t a whole lot out there.

And that sucks – if you don’t know the name of the charity or the run you want to make, the only way to hear about it is word of mouth?

Most of us know about the National Motorcycle Safety Fund but it is a charitable organization to keep us safe, not help others. Another organization – Motorcycle Charity Associates, Inc. showed up, but the page was down. So why isn’t somebody collating data like this? For years, we’ve been trying to spread the good news about what bikers are doing and railing against stupidity on bikes – why do we make it harder for others to see the good work we’re doing?

Here’s the deal – I’m going to list the handful of charities that I found in my searches – and bear in mind, these are national searches. If you look up by region, maybe you’ll have better luck than I did. Nevertheless, I’m going to list a few that I could find and then we’re going to open it up to you guys.

Ultimately, The Bikers’ Den is going to have a dedicated events section on their Facebook Page just for charities, my hope is that we’ll all get better PR on the work that we do.

The Bikers' Den Facebook Page for Biker Charities

As for right now, here’s the list. Some of these may not “seem” like biker charities and I get it, but they either have a great reputation in the community or they are dedicated to our lifestyle.

  • Rolling Thunder Charities
  • Tour of Honor
  • Ride For Kids
  • Bikers Against Child Abuse
  • Motorcycle Riders Foundation

What really gets under my skin is that – again – we do so much great work and one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. At the same time, I can’t tell you the number of pages that I’ve visited to check out a charity and the page is dead. If you have a site about your charity, then keep the page up and running!

So with that in mind, send us your charities and let’s get some more press for the good work that we do. At the same time, let’s get some more people to your events and rides and get the word out for more participation. Click Here or message us on Facebook to send us your events and we will post them to The Bikers’ Den Facebook Page in our Events Section.

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Bad Press or No Press… It Never Changes https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-clubs/bad-press-or-no-press-it-never-changes/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-clubs/bad-press-or-no-press-it-never-changes/#respond Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:16:38 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4205 Here we go again. No matter what we do as bikers, the world sees us all as 1 percenters. Criminals, thugs, drug dealers, or deviants. Last year, there was plenty of coverage for the bad apples in the news when...

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Here we go again. No matter what we do as bikers, the world sees us all as 1 percenters. Criminals, thugs, drug dealers, or deviants. Last year, there was plenty of coverage for the bad apples in the news when some dummies shot up a show in Colorado, but the other day, a club in California lost their clubhouse in a fire. You may not be able to dig the story up, but I finally did.

They used the facility to assemble toys for needy kids as part of their charity. National news? Nope. Regional news? Barely.

Brian Trum, a member of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club in Southern California says the club uses the space to assemble and store bikes for their annual ‘Christmas With Kids’ bike giveaway. That particular chapter has been around over 70 years before the fire. And that, apparently isn’t newsworthy.

And that pisses me off. The club has started a GoFundMe page to get the charity back on its feet, but the real problem is that the mainstream doesn’t give a damn.

BFMC Chapter 3 San Diego Help Fund

That needs to change. I mean, we get plenty of bad news in the press, but when bikers get together to do something more responsible than the average taxpayer, nobody says a word? Why is that? If we’d been talking about a group that dressed up like fuzzy little animals and line danced, the world would’ve stopped and we’d have had CNN, Fox, and every other major media outfit knocking down the door to interview members and the kids they’ve helped.

In reality. though, the fact that we’ve got a “gang” of “scary” bikers with nicknames must mean they are a bunch of radicals. Nevermind the truth that they are just taxpayers who give a damn about the community, nevermind that these are guys that take time and money from their own family to better someone else’s.

One of the things I’m going to work on this Spring is to try to collate a list of Biker-funded charities around North America. Don’t worry, as I get it all put into a file, I’ll make sure that we post that up here on the blog, but if the rest of the world won’t pay attention to us, we’ll just take a cue from the bumper sticker – Loud pipes save lives. I guess we need to get louder – and what better place to discuss motorcycle charities than from the pulpit we have here?

I guess the time has come to simply keep it in the family.

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Cushman Truckster – A Different Type of V-Twin Project https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/cushman-truckster-a-different-type-of-v-twin-project/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/cushman-truckster-a-different-type-of-v-twin-project/#respond Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:37:13 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4202 So for the most part, I keep my other hobbies out of The Bikers’ Den, but over the years, I’ve let on that I spend a little time restoring stuff that isn’t just bikes. My Texas Dually Project is nearly finished...

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So for the most part, I keep my other hobbies out of The Bikers’ Den, but over the years, I’ve let on that I spend a little time restoring stuff that isn’t just bikes. My Texas Dually Project is nearly finished and like any red-blooded American, I have a few things that go bang around the house.

Where I usually get into trouble is when I don’t have something to work on. The Old Lady absolutely hates it when I get done with one project because she knows that I’m going to drag something else back home to tinker with. Fortunately, I usually have enough to do where it is limited to the stuff I have laying around already. As we all know, an old Harley can keep you busy and an older Chevy truck with a Detroit will keep you busy.

So it was the other day when an old swamper I know that lives waaaay back on the highlands just north of the Okeefenokee Swamp here in Georgia called me and told me to come help him get an old V-Twin running, I changed my plans for the weekend and rode on down to see him. It wasn’t what I thought.

James had bought an old Cushman Truckster – the kind that meter maids in the city used to drive around and pass out parking tickets with. It was technically a V-Twin, but Onan-built with a whopping 22 horse motor and enough rat turds in it to suggest it hadn’t been properly cared for in a while.

Cushman Truckster - A Different Type of V-Twin Project

But it was cool. Three speed manual, High and Low range, steel cab and a bed that might have been 3 feet by 4 feet. The gauge package had both a tachometer and a very optimistic speedometer with 60 mph (96 kph) as the top speed. What really got me was how simple the whole drivetrain was and how it certainly seemed that there was a lot more power that could be realized from such a basic engine. The hour meter on the dash showed just shy of 2000 and the date stamped on the identification tag was 8/74.

Except it didn’t run. No problem getting the motor to turn over, but between rodent-chewed wires and questionable gasoline and funk in the carb, I didn’t hold out much hope for the little trike. So we dug in, started running jumpers all over, filing points, and rigging up a cheater tank of fuel. The funny thing was that the carb looked more like something you’d see on a push mower than on a “big” engine and after it was liberally blown out and cleaned, we cobbled together something that resembled seals (okay, o-rings) and we started getting somewhere.

It turned over. And over. It chuffed and coughed, it sputtered, and along about 4:30, after nearly 8 hours, it gagged into life. Since the front tire didn’t hold air, there was no victory drive, but some judicious cross-referencing online showed us that a slightly larger tire still in production will work.

Where’s the problem, you ask? Well, by the time I got home, I realized that something like that would be perfect at a fraction of the cost of a new ATV or Quad, and given how small the footprint was, it would be a cinch to work on in the shop – Hell, it’s hardly bigger than my bike. The real problem, though, is that it would fit on my single axle trailer with no problem and at the same time, I could load the bike in the bed of the truck.

Perfect for a Bike Week setup. And perfect to get my butt into hot water with The Boss Lady.

Digging around in the Cushman also revealed that a bigger carburetor would be easy to adapt to the manifold (and I still have two in the shop) and it’d be easy to bend up a set of pipes for new exhausts. A little hotter spark, more fuel, and more air would quickly push 22 horses to … oh, I don’t know, 30?

So even though “riding season” never really stops here in south Georgia, I’m now looking for an old meter maid Cushman. Or one of the four-wheeled ones from the golf courses. Over the last few nights, when the Old Lady has gone on to bed, I’ve found myself looking through the online classifieds, not for a steal on an old bike, but for a steal on another V-Twin. We’ll call it a Spring Project if I can find one. Why buy when you can build?

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Everything Your Biker Heart Desires… Well Almost https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/everything-your-biker-heart-desires-well-almost/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/everything-your-biker-heart-desires-well-almost/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:51:23 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4197 Now I know that plenty of you guys are stuck in the cold and the snow and really jonesing for a few hours in the saddle. Even if there isn’t any snow, the cold is enough to turn even the...

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Now I know that plenty of you guys are stuck in the cold and the snow and really jonesing for a few hours in the saddle. Even if there isn’t any snow, the cold is enough to turn even the most insulated butt into a popsicle and that means short rides.

On the other hand, I had a bit of 70-degree weather last weekend and made the most of it. Not a long ride, but an exciting one.

152 miles into it, the bike shut down. Plenty of fuel on the gauge, perfect oil pressure, no reason for it to not work, but it died deader than easy credit on the side of Highway 280 near the Alabama state line. No cell phone reception. Not a lot of traffic. Damn.

Starter whirred fine, got the engine to sputter and not catch. On a whim, I pulled the gas cap. Empty.

Somehow, after all the tinkering and fussing over electrical stuff over the years, the sending unit finally gave up the ghost. (That night, the ohmmeter verified – DOA). Damn.

So I got to take a walk. A couple of miles of road under my old engineer boots brought me to a ramshackle trailer and outbuildings set back from the road. There was an old man sitting on the front porch and I hailed him from the road. Walking into the yard, we exchanged pleasantries and I explained my problem.

Everything Your Biker Heart Desires - Well Almost

He drawled out an answer so thick in “Southernese” that I had to strain to understand it and then the old coot let loose a brown stream of Levi Garret into the dust of the yard. He started to laugh.

Then he cut his old squirrel shooter’s eyes at me and said, “Son, I got 300 gallons of diesel fuel, a freezer full o’ venison, a chicken in the pot fer ma dinnah, and a new razor blade. I got everything yer heart desires, but I ain’t got no gasoline.”

Every internal combustion engine he owned – truck, tractor, combine, and even forklift – ran on diesel.
An hour later, the old boy dropped me off in front of my bike with a quart mason jar of gas he’d driven me down to the local store to “fetch” and we said our goodbyes. I poured it in, primed the system, and the old Sportster turned right over.

The old man, “Jeremiah Leonidas Vines, but call me J. L.” looked on with something approaching admiration. He let out a chuckle, kicked a rock, and said that when he’d been stationed in France as a young man, he’d ridden a breakdown-prone Triumph before cycling back to the States in 1962. More than once, he’d been stuck out in the boondocks and had to hitch a ride back to base. He’d never thought about a motorcycle again and couldn’t fathom why anyone would want one, but he hadn’t forgotten what it was like to be stuck…

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How is H-D Selling Fewer Bikes & Making More Money? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/how-is-h-d-selling-fewer-bikes-making-more-money/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/how-is-h-d-selling-fewer-bikes-making-more-money/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 15:11:28 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4192 One of the things that I always enjoy as a holdover from my years in an office is reading financials. I certainly don’t have a portfolio worth bragging about (the old lady does, though), but trying to read between the...

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One of the things that I always enjoy as a holdover from my years in an office is reading financials. I certainly don’t have a portfolio worth bragging about (the old lady does, though), but trying to read between the lines is always fun. As a writer, I also like to read the “spin” that companies put on results.

It’s like trying to decide which side of the litter box is cleanest.

Nonetheless, as a stockholder of Harley Davidson, reading 2016’s results that were released ten days ago is pretty telling.
Harley made more money.

Harley sold fewer bikes. How’s that work? Simple, the bikes cost more to buy and less to build, and when you factor in that they brought out a new engine platform for the big bikes, then you’ve got to wonder – where’s the money coming from?
How does it cost less?

Harley Davidson Financials - Making Money

We’ve seen Harley trimming the fat from production in recent years – with the layoffs and consolidations on production – and H-D appears to be losing money by the bucketful in Latin America, but guess where Harley is really ginning the revenue?
Financial Services.

Yep. Harley Davidson is a bank of sorts. In house financing. Sneaky and effective, why go to your lender when you can stay in-house and make it a one-stop shop right in the stealership? Perfect.

Even better? With the stated goal from Harley Corporate and Matt Levatich, president and chief executive officer, of, “[The] long-term strategy is all about growing ridership in the U.S., growing reach and impact internationally, and growing share and profit in every market we serve. Our goal over the next 10 years is to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders worldwide.”
In short, it’s a near-perfect strategy. They build bikes that cost more, then finance those in-house, then have the benefit of interest payments made on the cost of the more expensive product over the entire life of the loan. If the buyer defaults, they can simply resell in-house.

It’s a license to print money and with Indian as the only real contender for a title in America now, how can Harley not win the battle of the American V-Twin no matter how good or bad it is?

Personally, I find it fascinating. The power to win used to rest in the overall product quality and now it rests in the ability to sell that product and create more income from that sale. If you thought Harley represented heritage and tradition, you weren’t wrong, but this truly is a big business now and with the ability to control both product and finance, Harley really is poised for greatness again.

It’s going to be a very interesting scene to watch unfold as the 2017 riding season begins to open in the coming weeks.

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So If You Simply Have To Ride This Winter… https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/so-if-you-simply-have-to-ride-this-winter/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/so-if-you-simply-have-to-ride-this-winter/#respond Thu, 02 Feb 2017 19:39:14 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4188 I get it. You’ve been cooped up for what feels like months and the bike is sitting, clean, set and ready to go and Spring seems years away. For folks that don’t have the benefit of warmer winter weather like...

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I get it. You’ve been cooped up for what feels like months and the bike is sitting, clean, set and ready to go and Spring seems years away. For folks that don’t have the benefit of warmer winter weather like me (I had to swat a damn mosquito the other day – in January!) there is hope that you can squeeze in a ride even in the depths of winter. How? Well, a few things have to go your way – it needs to be at least marginally warm and the roads need to be clear of pesky things like black ice, but it is doable … here’s how.

Riding Your Motorcycle in Winter

Bundle Up – this means far more than just strapping on your leather. At the very least, you need to understand the effects not of the ambient temperature, but the wind chill at your riding speed. Guess what? It’s probably well below zero. That means that you can quickly become hypothermic and that can lead to decisions that are just as bad as if you had downed a few shots before riding (remember Jack London’s “To Build a Fire”? All the guy really has to do is get a fire going, but he’s too cold to think straight. Spoiler alert – he dies.)

You not only need to protect your core temperature, but also your extremities. This is a matter of life and death, but with some creativity and really good riding gloves, you can do it.

Fuel up – You, not your bike. Since you will be operating at really low temperatures (that wind chill thing again), you need to give your body some fuel to burn. Think carbohydrates for that, but also some protein for the longer haul. It may seem like a great idea to pound down coffee or hot tea, but the overall effects of the caffeine will be to increase bloodflow to the skin – much like alcohol – and that can lead to your warmth wicking away. Obviously, doing a few belts of booze isn’t a smart idea anytime, but even less so when the mercury dips.

An Iron Butt will give you an Icy Butt – In extreme cold, nobody is going to call you a wuss for taking a few extra stops to get warmed up. The real problem with hypothermia is that you often don’t see it coming until it is too late – the road vibration can mask just how cold you truly are and when it finally dawns on you that you’re in trouble, you aren’t making smart decisions. Stopping every half hour or so to warm up is a lot smarter than sliding into a snowbank to be found in three months.

Stay hydrated – It seems counter intuitive, but in really cold conditions, you need to replace fluids just as if it were much warmer. Sure, you’re not sweating, but the simple fact is that your body is using water to keep your metabolism up and creating warmth.

When the temperature dips to freezing, don’t ride if it’s raining. Nobody likes it when it’s warm, and because of the potential for icy conditions to follow any type of water on the pavement, don’t do it. More importantly, even a light mist can magnify the effects of the cold when your clothes start to get damp. Pick a better day, no matter how bad you’re Jonesing to get on the scoot.

There’s a ton of bolt on stuff you can strap on the bike if you want to be super hard core, but the fact of the matter is that riding in the cold – the real cold – really does suck. On the other hand, sometimes you just want to get out.

It can be done, but just be smart and think through how you’re going to pull it off. Thirty eight degrees (Fahrenheit) is cold weather, and when you bump up the wind chill and add in some humidity, it very quickly becomes a negative number when you’re on the road. If you have to do it, though, maybe think about heading South!

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Victory is Lost! Polaris Shuts Down Motorcycle Operations https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/victory-is-lost-polaris-shuts-down-their-motorcycle-line/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/victory-is-lost-polaris-shuts-down-their-motorcycle-line/#respond Thu, 26 Jan 2017 15:49:24 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4184 Every once in a while, you get surprised. That may not happen as often as it used to for a lot of us, but I was unpleasantly surprised when I opened up the paper the other day to find that...

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Every once in a while, you get surprised. That may not happen as often as it used to for a lot of us, but I was unpleasantly surprised when I opened up the paper the other day to find that Polaris was shutting down operations of its Victory motorcycle line “effective immediately.”

Polaris Shutting Down Victory Motorcycle Operations

THAT one kinda came out of left field.

Honestly, Victory got a lot of high marks in a lot of areas – and I believe that Harley Davidson directly contributed to Victory building what is, from the factory, a better bike.

Polaris listened to what Harley did wrong and they got it right with Victory – and beat H-D on price; along with reliability, quality, and, in many cases, style. I know words like “style” and “good looking” are subjective, but I always thought the Victory bikes showed just a little more flair. When Victory opened up for business at Spirit Lake in 1998, how many of you guys had seen teal or red used on a Harley? Damn near everything out of Milwaukee was black and chrome unless you promised them your first child.

Nope, Victory brought a much-needed shot of something different to the American V-twin scene – something that hadn’t rolled out of Japan but at the same time offered a real value to guys who wanted American made quality that didn’t cost as much as a sensible four-door car.

Remember, too, that in 1998, when Victory opened its doors, Harley was riding high. Pretty good quality from a historic standpoint, the engineering was good, the powerplants were strong, and Victory still competed with and in some cases, beat out Mother Davidson. All that is going away, though

Polaris is going to concentrate on the Indian lineup and continue to build on the reputation they have as a cruiser line and in keeping with the “heritage” idea.

Not to play Monday-morning quarterback, but couldn’t Polaris simply have pulled a strategy from General Motors circa 1980 and simplified the powerplants across both lines, standardized basic parts, and run both companies? A Chevy Camaro and a Pontiac Trans Am were essentially the same beast from about 1982 on and I’d say they had a pretty good run for the next generation. And who decided that baggers that look like Art Deco pieces are what riders want? I’ve ridden them and I like them, but I will always like the feel and look of a more aggressive bike without quite so much sculpting.

I’d really like to know how this strategy plays out in the long run, though. In the coming years, as older riders get, well, older, the buying decisions fall to the next generation and I wonder, based on what I see younger riders choosing, how their likes and dislikes will affect Indian’s styling cues. When I was a younger man, I liked to go fast (come to think of it, I still do) but I also still love the feel of a “stripped” bike that can get up and move. To me, everything with full fenders and fairings was a GoldWing.

In this whole deal, the real losers are us, as consumers. With Victory, riders could purchase a solid bike with plenty of motor (the Victory Octane) and still make it out of the dealership for less than ten grand. I know, you can still do that with Indian and the Scout 60, but not with the same performance.

And that’s too bad.

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Cleaning Your Leather Motorcycle Gear https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/cleaning-leather-motorcycle-gear/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/cleaning-leather-motorcycle-gear/#respond Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:09:14 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4178 You’re not fooling anybody. You’ve polished every inch of chrome on the bike, you’ve checked the battery 12 times, you even cranked the engine over a few times “just to see”. In all honesty, your bike hasn’t been this clean...

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You’re not fooling anybody. You’ve polished every inch of chrome on the bike, you’ve checked the battery 12 times, you even cranked the engine over a few times “just to see”.

In all honesty, your bike hasn’t been this clean since, well, last year at this time.

And you’re running out of stuff to do. You blew through all the gift cards for new gear and go-fast stuff and have already screwed it on and adjusted it. You know what you haven’t done? Cleaned your leathers.

Cleaning Your Motorcycle Leathers

They still smell like old football cleats. And, for some reason, cheese.

So, short of springing for new leather, what are your options to not only keep your riding leathers in good shape, but also to make sure they last longer?

Now, in this case, I’m only talking about the gear you strap on and actually wear – saddlebags, boots, and seats are a whole different ballgame since they are a much thicker leather … and if we have time, I’ll come back to them.

Nope, right now I’m just talking about your jacket, vest, your chaps, or, if you’re old school, your pants. You wear them every damn where and if your friends are really your friends, they will tell you they smell.

So what can you do about it?

Start with a clean slate. Have your leather professionally cleaned now. Sure, it’ll cost you a few bucks, but you’ll get out all the funkiness and grime – in the actual leather and the liner that you don’t want anyway.

After that, the path gets a lot easier. You’ll want to start with a high-quality leather cleaner and apply that per the directions on the bottle to all your leather, then wipe it off and buff it. With that done, the next step is critical – you need to apply a conditioner to that leather. No matter how good the cleaner is, it will still strip out some of the oils that occur in the leather – the conditioner helps to add those back in.

Again, follow the directions!

For those of us who live where it gets and stays hot for months on end, another great addition is a product to “de-salt” the perspiration that you’ve sweat into the jacket and pants. In many cases, this is really the culprit in why your jacket falls apart and the lining gets ratty.

In some cases, you can simply spray the product on and be done with it, in others, you “wash” the lining to remove the salt. Obviously, this needs to be the first step in your overall leather care, but some of your guys in Canada are lucky – it’s just hard to sweat when the temperature is 60 degrees.

The key part of this process is that you have to do this on a regular basis. If you ride a lot (like me), you probably need to be doing this at least every couple of weeks. A lot of riders can get by with a good once-a-month cleaning, but you really do have to do it.
Please… tailgunning behind a guy that smells really sucks.

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Grading My 2016 Motorcycle Resolutions https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/grading-my-2016-motorcycle-resolutions/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/grading-my-2016-motorcycle-resolutions/#respond Wed, 11 Jan 2017 19:50:55 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4174 So here we are, in the “blahs” of January. Snow is actually in my forecast here in the south and for once, it is too cold to ride. With the beginning of a New Year, we’ve all made some resolutions,...

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So here we are, in the “blahs” of January. Snow is actually in my forecast here in the south and for once, it is too cold to ride. With the beginning of a New Year, we’ve all made some resolutions, and I figured I’d go back and check on mine from last year.

In all, I put in just over 16,000 miles on the bike – so I actually kept my resolution to go at least 15,000. Check.

I didn’t take the long way trip down 278 and make it to Mardis Gras – I was putting in a new engine. Fail.

Grading My 2016 Motorcycle Resolutions

I’m not in the Wisconsin Motorcycle Memorial Park, but I didn’t ride there like I promised. Check? Fail? I’m not sure how I feel about that…

I did teach about a dozen or so new or very inexperienced riders the rules of the road, but so far, none of them has ponied up and bought a bike.

I did not have a need to replace my leather. Check.

I didn’t singe off my eyebrows. Check.

This one wasn’t on the list, but I did make the trip to Sturgis on the Sportster. (It may not be a “check” but it was damn sure fun!)
How about you guys? There were so many things going on throughout the year that a lot of our resolutions that don’t have to do with health, wealth, or family get lost pretty quickly, but did you budget some time in your own life to get your butt on the bike?

You need to. We only go around this place one time and nobody sits around wishing they spent more time at the office. Make this the year that you need five oil changes!

As for me? I’m going to stick with another 15,000 miles and really try for Mardi Gras this year. I still think it would be a great ride if the weather is solid. I still want to teach more young riders that there is a lot of fun to be had when you are on the back of a bike and can truly respect and appreciate it. I still don’t want to be enshrined in Wisconsin.

And I still want to have a great time with the men and women that I ride with and enjoy the company of – whether on the side of the road smoking lunch, rolling down a two lane blacktop enjoying the view, or just waving to as they pass me by on their own trip. Crotch rocket, cruiser, or overloaded touring special, you guys are all my brothers and sisters and I hope we all keep our commitments.

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You Just Had to See These “Special Riders” https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/you-just-had-to-see-these-special-riders/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/you-just-had-to-see-these-special-riders/#respond Tue, 27 Dec 2016 17:04:03 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4170 So I had to take a long trip yesterday on business that didn’t involve my bike and despite the weather, I still saw a fair amount of guys out riding. Bundled up, facemasks, you know the look. And then I...

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So I had to take a long trip yesterday on business that didn’t involve my bike and despite the weather, I still saw a fair amount of guys out riding. Bundled up, facemasks, you know the look.

And then I started seeing some special riders.

Guy on a Goldwing in a head-to-boot orange jumpsuit. Just a straight up orange jumpsuit with no other adornments. Think of the one they give you when you end up in jail for the night. He was even rocking orange gloves and a black beanie and looked about as strange as anyone could possibly look in that circumstance. I’m not sure if he’s just made bail, escaped, or was trying to make a statement.

I was perplexed.

Another hundred miles down the road and I saw Santa Claus on an older ‘glide. Full outfit – white gloves, red velvet suit, black boots, big beard and he even had the hat on under the beanie. Kids were freaking out on the highway, I assure you.

It just so happened that he ended up pulling into the gas station that I was fueling up in and this guy was a mess. He stayed in character the whole time, filled up his tank and dodged my questions about his bike and everything else. He had literally become Santa with the exception that he smoked Marlboros (although I noticed they were lights, not cowboy killers). He was asking me what I wanted for Christmas, telling me he was taking the weekend off to blow off a little steam since he had to work next weekend and everything was going fine with him, the missus, and the elves.

After about four minutes, I started to think the dude had lost his cabbage.

Flash forward a couple hours, and the next place I stopped had a really old couple on another Goldwing and they looked to be a very long eighty years old. Full leather, full helmets, towing a little trailer (what is it about Goldwing owners and little trailers?) and they were going to see their kids in Florida for the week. They’d left Tennessee that morning and were going to stay the night in Gainesville, Florida before they finished the drive to Winter Park the next day. The best thing? He had only started riding when he turned 70.

You Just Had to See These Special Riders

When it comes to bikers, I meet a lot of characters on the road. Cool, quirky, mean, nasty, fun, funny, and usually just “normal”. Yesterday took the cake, though. I ran into some crazy folks at Sturgis – but I expected that – we’re all together and a few of us are bound to be a little weird. On the road, though? Usually you see one nutcase out of 100.

I guess the odds were in my favor.

Get your resolutions ready next week, though, because I’m going to go through mine for the year and see how I actually scored… and get ready for 2017!

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Christmas Shopping – Biker Style https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/christmas-shopping-biker-style/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/christmas-shopping-biker-style/#respond Thu, 22 Dec 2016 16:55:40 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4167 Well, even here in the south we’re in a deep freeze. Yesterday, the high never got above 38 degrees and I’ll tell you, driving the old diesel was a relief. It may not be anything like what some of you...

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Well, even here in the south we’re in a deep freeze. Yesterday, the high never got above 38 degrees and I’ll tell you, driving the old diesel was a relief. It may not be anything like what some of you guys are used to north of the border, but we truly don’t have the gear to take cold temperatures mixed with a little humidity.

Not at all.

So look, the simple matter is that for a lot of us, this has been a tough year financially and, for ALL of us men, we aren’t done shopping for Christmas yet.

Christmas Shopping - Biker Style

Most of us haven’t started yet.

Here’s the deal – for the road family, give them easy the easy stuff: tobacco and alcohol.

For the extended family – give them gift cards.

For the seat warmer – give her lingerie and reservations to a posh hotel in the Spring.

For the kids – give them either a gift card to the video game place or a gift card to the speed shop for the car their building (or, if you’ve raised them right, the bike).

After that, you just buy a bunch of greeting cards and you’re done.

Couldn’t be simpler and if you take your time, it will take you all of two hours to handle everybody on the list.

Now, because most of us with bikes fall into the “hard to shop for” category, here’s what you do – drop the hints that a gift card is the best thing for you since you’re so picky, then you can go log in and get what you need. Go fast goodies, gear, alcohol and tobacco.
You know, the necessities.

If you time it just right, you can even use those gift cards to pay for the old lady’s hotel room in the Spring. See how this all works out? No fuss, no muss.

All over social media, I see people freaking out about buying the perfect gift and I just don’t get it. They talk about how ugly the sweater was that Grandma knitted for them and then complain when Grandma decides to hit them with an Amazon gift card. Fruitcakes! Take the card and get the stuff you need and never look back.

When my grandmother was alive, I wished she gave me a set of headers for my truck when I was a kid, but she didn’t. She spent the same money, but got me other “stuff”.

Stuff that never got used.

Stuff that got thrown away or outgrown before it was worn out.

I’m telling you, lose the stress and let them get what they need. I mean, think how hard it would be to pick out the right riding jacket to someone who doesn’t ride? Black? Fringe? Buckles? Zippers? Tight cut or a looser fit?

No matter what, though, enjoy this season and the family you have, no matter whether they are blood or bond.

Merry Christmas.

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Everything is Gone – The Tragedy of Wildfires https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/everything-gone-tragedy-wildfires/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/everything-gone-tragedy-wildfires/#respond Thu, 15 Dec 2016 16:49:12 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4163 This Spring I wrote about the wildfires that were ravaging northern Alberta and while my friends up North were dealing with all of that tragedy, I remember thinking how rare wildfires are here in the southern United States. Oh, we...

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This Spring I wrote about the wildfires that were ravaging northern Alberta and while my friends up North were dealing with all of that tragedy, I remember thinking how rare wildfires are here in the southern United States. Oh, we get the occasional brush fire that takes out a few acres, maybe a structure fire because my countrymen don’t know how to use a space heater, but for the most part, we simply don’t have the big fires you see out in the much more arid West or on the prairies.

Everything is gone - the Tragedy of Wildfires

That’s changed a lot in the last month due to the dry weather that has gripped us for the last two months. Nearly a million acres through Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee have burned in the last month, culminating in the disaster we saw last week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Plenty of us in the biking world know the Smokey Mountain resort town – we’ve driven countless thousands of miles on the winding mountain roads found throughout the area and we’ve drank many a beer to wash out the dust while we stayed in the cabins on the slopes around the scenic little town.

A lot of that is gone now. Ten days ago, I took a ride up to North Georgia to see the leaves changing (yes, they are just now getting really pretty down here) and it was terrible. Smoke filled the picturesque hollows that I usually could pull over and gaze out at – and the fires that caused it? Scores of miles away. In fact, at my home, some 200 miles from the area had smoke clogging the air when the jet stream shifted that week. In the ensuing days, the fires got worse and the other day, a fire set by man and spurred by wind killed at least 13 people and decimated the area in and around Gatlinburg.

For a lot of us who ride down here, the entire area represents some of the finest riding in the Eastern United States. Whether you are riding the Dragon’s Tail or drinking a beer at Scatterbrains, we all know those roads as well as the ones in our own town – we’ve seen them in every season and weather condition (and yes, my dumb ass did get caught in a freak snow storm up there in, I think, the early Spring of ’99 – not fun).

I’m sure that the town will be rebuilt, just as we drug New Orleans back out of the swamp after Katrina, just as the citizens of Fort McMurray are rebuilding even now. In the end, the roads we ride continue to exist in our imaginations, crisscrossing and interweaving into the shrouds that make up our lives. If we can learn anything from these disasters, it’s that this life and these things are all fleeting and tomorrow is not promised. Seize the day you have today. Drink the beer, eat the cookie, date the stripper.

And make sure you look good doing it.

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When will us Bikers Learn? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/when-will-us-bikers-learn/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/when-will-us-bikers-learn/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:14:55 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4159 Last week, like the good boy I am, I got the whole family cleaned up and went to visit my parents for the Thanksgiving holiday (Yeah, we have it a little later than our Canadian friends). We ate too much,...

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Last week, like the good boy I am, I got the whole family cleaned up and went to visit my parents for the Thanksgiving holiday (Yeah, we have it a little later than our Canadian friends). We ate too much, we laughed, and when the feast was finally done and the second piece of pie consumed with a cup of coffee and an after-dinner smoke accomplished on the back porch with my Dad, I sauntered into the living room and took a look at the local paper.

Idiot bikers made the paper again.

This time, it was a punk on a crotch rocket and a suspended license.

He’d picked up his girlfriend (why is that we in the cruiser world have “old ladies” and the sport bike guys have “girlfriends”?) and while riding on the interstate highway, she fell off the bike and was struck by a car following them.

This took place in another state than the one I live in and it doesn’t require riders to have on a helmet. Neither the man or the woman was wearing a helmet.

What got to me about the whole thing was that the guy had a history of traffic violations on the bike and was driving on a suspended license. What’s worse, the girl’s mother said that “he was always real careful when she rode with him.”

When will us Bikers Learn

Nonsense.

Nobody is perfect, but when you decide to put a passenger on your bike, you just shouldered the most awesome responsibility since parenthood. And he failed miserably and a girl died because of it. If you can’t take care of yourself on a bike (and having a suspended license and multiple traffic citations is, to me, indicative of that fact) then take an Uber. How many times do we have to see this stuff, guys? How many of us have to get scraped off the pavement before we wake up and realize that the motorists aren’t paying attention and we aren’t either? If I see one more 55 year old man pound down a few beers at the pub and then get on his bike to wobble home I’m going to have an aneurism.

And yet we let our buddies do it every weekend. This guy didn’t kill just his girlfriend, he got lazy. He didn’t pay attention. He didn’t teach her how to be a good passenger. Hell, maybe he didn’t know how to be a good rider, either, I mean, the stretch of road they were on is straight – no curves and smooth pavement. You have to work to lose control – and I’ve ridden it dozens if not hundreds of times over the years.

The end result? A family that goes into the holidays without the daughter they raised. A kid that will probably do some time for being an idiot and will never be able to live down the fact that he killed his girlfriend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we can be Billy Bad Ass and all pretend we’re Brando in The Wild One, but we’re not. We have jobs, mortgages, and a responsibility to police ourselves. You know when you’ve been drinking. You know if you can handle a passenger. You know when you can hot dog and when to be straight.

Quit pretending that you can if you can’t and keep the shiny side up. And when you see your boy doing something stupid, tell him get his head in the game. The stakes are just too high to screw around. We may not all be good enough to be the tailgunner, but we can all be better than we are.

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Winterizing Your Bike the Right Way https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/winterizing-your-bike-the-right-way/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/winterizing-your-bike-the-right-way/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 21:44:11 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4156 Now, we’ve certainly discussed winterizing your ride time and again, but as that magical time of year draws near (and already has for some of you) I wanted to add in a little final thought about the whole thing. Now...

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Now, we’ve certainly discussed winterizing your ride time and again, but as that magical time of year draws near (and already has for some of you) I wanted to add in a little final thought about the whole thing.

Now that we’re about to be suffocated with Christmas Carols and holiday cheer, make a different kind of list to check twice.

In fact, if you are stubbornly still riding and have winterizing on your “to-do” list in the next week or so, do yourself a quick favor on the last ride of the season.

Make a list.

winterizing-your-bike-the-right-way

All the deferred maintenance, any upgrades you’ve been thinking about, and any items that you’d really like to change out over the winter. In fact, when you take that last ride (and yes, it needs to be a “real” ride – up to operating temps, through the full range of speed, sharp turns, traffic, etc…) take note of any of the subtle handling cues that you might have overlooked in your haste to lay down some miles.

Is it pulling under hard braking? How are the tires wearing? What kind of fuel efficiency are you getting? Is there a stumble under hard throttle? All of it.

Because, you see, right now, you’re at the top of your riding game. You are “tuned in” to how the bike actually performs since you’ve been riding for months. When you haul it out of storage in the Spring, you are going to be rusty and focused less on the feel of the bike and more on the feel of how your butt hurts after an hour.

So you take that list and now, in the coming months, you can address it all over the winter and when it’s time to saddle up and ride next year, you’ll have all those little things addressed.

And you won’t forget them. How many times have we all noticed something on a ride, made that mental note to correct it when we got home, and promptly forgotten about it until the next tim? Think about the windshield wipers on your car (or the washer fluid in the reservoir!) … do you change them out or fill it up when the sun is out? Nope. There you are, changing out your wipers in the rain and the snow in the parking lot of the auto parts store. Cold, wet, and miserable – and probably dressed too nicely for maintenance.

So take some time this week and make your list – even if you aren’t going to be able to get out and ride to verify. It should at least be fresh in your mind and these are exactly the things that you need to work on this winter after the bike is put up.

Oh, and one more thing – if you have already put your bike up and did not take the time to have detail-cleaned it, then get your butt out in that garage and start shining. All that chrome isn’t going to polish itself and don’t even get me on the subject of bright aluminum. I have worked out that it takes two old t-shirts, a toothbrush, and two hours to get all the shiny stuff on my bike polished and protected. Your mileage may vary.

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Harley Davidson Screamin’ Eagles… Lose? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/harley-davidson-screamin-eagles-lose/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/harley-davidson-screamin-eagles-lose/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:59:27 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4152 Well, well, well. Here we are at the end of the motorcycle drag racing year and as usual, Harley was in the hunt. Specifically, Andrew Hines and Ed Krawiec were in the hunt with the bikes that Mother Davidson has...

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Well, well, well. Here we are at the end of the motorcycle drag racing year and as usual, Harley was in the hunt.

Specifically, Andrew Hines and Ed Krawiec were in the hunt with the bikes that Mother Davidson has helped them to ride to victory again this year. Personally, I’m convinced that you could put Hines on a moped and he would figure out how to win. I think Kraweic might feel the same way, since he was quoted as saying, “Andrew and I will push each other to the very last win light. We are going to try and make it tough on each other, because if it’s tough on us it’s even tougher on the competition. Whoever comes out champion this year is going to earn it.”

Harley Davidson Screamin Eagles Lose

The downside, of course, is that Matt Smith, on his Victory Gunner, took Kraweic to task and soundly beat him in the second round – beating him on the skid pad despite running a slower time (192 mph versus 195). The final round versus Angelle Sampey was far from riveting – Sampey jumped the line and was DQ’ed so Smith’s final run “only” ran 117 mph.

In the end, brand loyalties aside, it was refreshing to see Smith conquer some serious issues this year – little asides that added up to a tough year for the Vicotry team. On the other hand, the fact that Smith won three rounds due to two jumped lights and technically only raced one time simply points to the fact that anyone can win when the stars and planets line up.

What does this mean for Harley-Davidson? Well, if we look to the 1960’s and the early days of NASCAR, a win on Sunday meant sales on Monday. Today, that doesn’t hold nearly as true, but no matter how good the Screamin’ Eagle team did, the world championship is not in Milwaukee. Even worse? It’s right down the street, comparatively speaking, in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

Given the significant price differences between the Victory bikes and the equivalent Harley Davidson, I think that it is telling that the Victory Team took the title home. This is not so much the story of a David versus a Goliath, given the size of the Polaris Corporation that really drives Victory bikes, but there is no doubt that the upstart did create an upset.

Seems like we keep talking about that on these pages…

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Motorcycle Battery Storage Tips https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/motorcycle-battery-storage-tips/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/motorcycle-battery-storage-tips/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2016 16:10:50 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4144 By now, almost everybody knows that I live way down south in the United States where “cold” is very relative and I have the luxury of riding year ‘round. On the other hand, just about ALL of you guys live...

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By now, almost everybody knows that I live way down south in the United States where “cold” is very relative and I have the luxury of riding year ‘round. On the other hand, just about ALL of you guys live north of me and for most of you, that means that you have winterized your bike and resigned yourself to just look at it, order goodies from The Biker’s Den, and wait until Spring.

That being said, every year, I get the debate about how to store a motorcycle battery. Hooked up? On a charger? Unhooked? In the house? In the garage?

Motorcycle Battery Storage Tips

Every year, we also hear the same answers… so depending on where you are in the north, here are some tips for storing your battery and not dealing with too much drama when it comes to firing it up for the Spring.

For starters, pun definitely intended, we can all probably agree to unhook at the very minimum the negative cable from the battery. Doing this opens up the circuit and will essentially stop voltage loss in the short term.

Overachievers, though, usually unhook both posts and remove the battery from the bike. Some will store it in the house, others will insist that the risk of hydrogen gas is too high so they’ll leave it in the garage or shed. In either instance, this simple action should be all that you need for a while.

Now, here is where two parties really diverge in their techniques. There is a group that feels that the battery should be hooked to a trickle charger all winter. Having seen perfectly good batteries “boiled off” by a malfunctioning charger, I can’t say that is the best policy. Instead, I’d hook up a charger at about the halfway point of the winter, charge the battery, install the battery, then start and run the bike for a half an hour. For those worried about using up any fuel treatments, of course you want to top the tank back off, but this “mid-winter” start may be effective at cleaning out any condensation in the fuel line (since fuel floats on water) and providing some lubrication to the top end of the motor. If you can run the bike through the gears on a dry, salt-free road for 5 minutes, so much the better.

Then, unhook the battery, take it back out, check your fuel, and put everything back the way you had it. No fuss, no muss, and you got a quick ride in.
When springtime rolls around, you’ll do the same thing with the charger and you should be good to go. In fact, you may be a little ahead, since you were able to get some lubrication into the top of the crankcase early and may not need to spend as much time pre-lubing the motor before firing it over.
In some cases, of course, your battery just isn’t going to make it. No sweat, just replace it and get on down the road. Make this the year of the easy Spring and let’s look forward to a great riding season.

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Just Some Thoughts on the American Election https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/just-some-thoughts-on-the-american-election/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/just-some-thoughts-on-the-american-election/#respond Fri, 11 Nov 2016 16:45:40 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4140 Well, as much as I hate to discuss politics, I would like to say a few words about the election here in America. I know a lot of our regular readers are Canadian, but news of Donald Trump’s win in...

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Well, as much as I hate to discuss politics, I would like to say a few words about the election here in America. I know a lot of our regular readers are Canadian, but news of Donald Trump’s win in his bid for the U.S. presidency is potentially world shaping, so here goes…

What does it all actually mean?

For those of you north of the border, it probably means a little different version of business as usual. Almost certainly, it means a relaxed U.S. outlook towards fossil fuels and how they are transported, refined, and eventually sold. In other words, good news for western Canada.

Just Some Thoughts on the American Election

Additionally, Trump in the White House most certainly means more emphasis inside the American borders and in our economy. I believe the years of the United States being the world police are now over and everything that I’ve seen points in the direction of the U.S. worrying more about our own economy and those of our trading partners than whether this third-world nation or that one did something objectionable. The end result? This country is going to build stuff and sell stuff. The promise of more manufacturing staying in the United States will also mean the need for raw materials and so-called “second tier” manufacturers that supply to American factories will ultimately mean that global manufacturers will be called on to supply more goods to what I hope is a more robust middle class that has struggled the last decade worldwide.

Of some interest to all of North America is how will President Trump treat NAFTA? A generation ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement was enacted by then-President Clinton, and unfortunately, seated Presidents have the power to manage trade without any Congressional input. While I don’t see NAFTA getting gutted, I can certainly see where certain manufacturing practices – notably those that were shifted to Mexico due to labor costs – being taxed heavily, potentially putting the onus back on American companies to keep such assembly in-house.

More than once as a candidate, Trump discussed immigration and closed borders, and a version of that is likely. Should Canada welcome refugees from the Middle East, don’t think that they will be leaving your Commonwealth to come to ours. For the foreseeable future, I believe that our new leader will adopt very strict standards on any immigration, be that from Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

…And then there’s this … More than a few of my countrymen have stated on no uncertain terms that should Donald Trump win the election, they would be moving to Canada. Should you encounter one of these expatriates, please understand that they are seemingly fragile creatures that may not understand your ways as they turned their backs on their homeland. Many of them seem to be rather a bit spineless and their hybrid cars may struggle as the weather cools. Have patience with them, because their feelings are easily bruised and as wonderful as my Canadian friends have always been, the coming wave of former Americans seeking shelter in your country are quite liberal and very adept at spending your money for their benefit.

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Fun Times Resurrecting an Ancient Import Motorcycle https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/fun-times-resurrecting-an-ancient-import-motorcycle/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/fun-times-resurrecting-an-ancient-import-motorcycle/#respond Mon, 07 Nov 2016 16:05:46 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4128 So last weekend I had a chance to help a buddy of mine resurrect a seemingly ancient Kawasaki that had been sitting in a shed for 22 years. It had not been “put away” for long term storage, it had...

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So last weekend I had a chance to help a buddy of mine resurrect a seemingly ancient Kawasaki that had been sitting in a shed for 22 years.

It had not been “put away” for long term storage, it had been parked, literally. Gas tank was about 3/8 full of nastiness, oil in the crankcase looked like old axle grease. The air filter was a mess of cobwebs, dirt dobber nests were all around the engine, and both tires were dry rotted and, of course, flat.

Restoring an Ancient Kawasaki Motorcycle

As it was, the old bike dated from the early 1980s and we are slowly figuring out what it was, but it would appear to be a KZ 700. The good news? Everything was there. It was, really, a time capsule straight from 1994. 13,918 original miles and parked for a young man to go off to war. That young man came home and had no desire to ride so it had simply sat in his parents’ barn for the next two decades. When the man’s father died, he rediscovered the bike (who forgets they own a bike?) and simply put the carcass on Craigslist.

My buddy picked it up for $350 under the assumption that it “ran when parked.”

So what did we actually do? Well, drained everything and flushed it out, pulled the plugs and rolled the engine over and surprisingly, after filling the crankcase with diesel and letting that sit Saturday night, we reflushed the case, pulled the plugs, cobbled together the wiring to get some spark and changed out the battery, the old bike had compression readings that were awfully nice. Every cylinder came back over 120 psi.

We knew we had a runner, so we kept at it.

The biggest challenge was, as always, the fuel system. We ran pure Seafoam through the system manually while the engine was filled with diesel and the funk that came out Sunday morning looked more like something that a sick zombie passes than what could possibly be created in an internal combustion engine, but the air we put in the tires Saturday to roll it onto the trailer was still in the bike Sunday so we stayed optimistic.

New oil, new gas, new plugs, new filters, new lube in the gearbox, new(er) battery. Fire! The old motor rolled over and sputtered. We looked at each other. A big stupid grin broke out on both of our faces.

Keeping at it, we pulled apart the fuel system and started making progress. Tiny bits of funkiness lay in the needles and the bowls, such as they are, held a collection of dusty varnish, even with the fuel treatments.

A run to the store to buy some new fuel line and smoke a cigarette (downwind of the gas tank) and we rolled it over again. It caught, sputtered, ran for a 4 count, and died again. Over the course of the next two hours, we reset timing, pulled the fuel system apart two more times, and realized that the electrical lighting had been chewed up by some rodent, but by four o’clock Sunday afternoon, we had a bike that idled on its own and revved with minimal stumble.
Mark gingerly sat on it and took it for a low speed ride down his street.

The total bill for all this? A hair over $450 for the bike and all the new stuff and a weekend well spent.

The plan from here? Mark is going to restore this one (he had built a café racer/bobber off of a GPX1100 last year that is his daily driver) and he figures that so few of these bikes survived that saving any of them in any kind of shape is a fun time.

I’d have to agree.

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Hearing Damage from Loud Motorcycle Pipes or Wind Noise? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/hearing-damage-from-loud-motorcycle-pipes-or-wind-noise/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/hearing-damage-from-loud-motorcycle-pipes-or-wind-noise/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2016 22:47:31 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4124 Well, it was bound to happen and I guess it did. After three decades in and around motors and motorcycles and nearly four around firearms, I’ve officially lost some hearing. How’d it happen? Honestly, I’m not sure. When it came...

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Well, it was bound to happen and I guess it did. After three decades in and around motors and motorcycles and nearly four around firearms, I’ve officially lost some hearing.

How’d it happen? Honestly, I’m not sure. When it came to firearms training, I was always the guy wearing hearing protection on the range. Nevertheless, after a visit to the ear doctor this last week, I have lost about 20% in one ear and 25% in the other.

The culprit? Ironically, the Doc said it wasn’t years of no mufflers and open headers, it was probably wind. Loud pipes may save lives, but it appears that the wind can mess you up.

Wind?

Hearing Damage from Loud Motorcycle Pipes or Wind Noise

Yep. According to the good doctor, once you’re on the bike and cruising at normal speed, the wind noise actually can get up past 100 decibels and that level sustained for over an hour can impact your hearing.

So, in disbelief, I went home and got on the computer to learn more (partly because I didn’t believe him and partly because my Dad has lost most of the hearing in one ear and I don’t want to be like that).

Yep. Wind noise on a bike can be over 100 db – the equivalent of a really loud nightclub and that means you could lose some of what you had when you got there.
So what are some common sounds and just how loud are they?

Shotgun blast – 130
Thunderclap – 120
Jet engine flyover – 105
Motorcycle at idle – 91
Race car at idle (open headers) – 93
Diesel truck at 40mph – 84
Refrigerator running – 40
“Normal” conversation – 55-60
Leaves rustling – 20
Sneaking into your parents’ house when you were a kid and had been out past curfew drinking – 6

Since we can’t really make wind noise go away while we are on a bike, what are we supposed to do? Well, whether you think it’s cool or not, I’ve started using earplugs. In my case, the same ones that I’ve used for shooting, just the simple foam ones and there are tons of different types on the market. My doctor offered to make me a set custom-fit from a mold of my ears for about $100, but I figured that I’d lose those pretty quickly.

Nope, I just raided the range bag and have started using a $5 set of push-ins and you know what?

I’m actually finding that I can concentrate better on the road without the noise distractions. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Sheesh – that’s all in your head!”

Well, yeah. It is and it may be, but the reality is that after a few rides with these things in place, I notice that the when I get off the bike, I don’t feel as fatigued and my head seems to be clearer.

Here’s the bigger point – I know that my hearing has been lost. I know it isn’t going to grow back. I don’t want to lose any more, so I’m going to be experimenting for the next few months to see what earplugs work best. If all the research that I’ve seen is true – and at this point I don’t think that it isn’t – then all of us are going to need to take a hard look at how we protect our hearing just like we concern ourselves with our heads, our vision, and our hides.

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Enough About H-D, What About the Other Guys? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/enough-about-h-d-what-about-the-other-guys/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/enough-about-h-d-what-about-the-other-guys/#respond Fri, 28 Oct 2016 15:01:29 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4120 Alright, far from just picking on the corporate talking heads at Harley-Davidson, I figured I’d pick on a few of the other big companies that build big cruisers overseas. I’m not talking about small shops that are just really just...

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Alright, far from just picking on the corporate talking heads at Harley-Davidson, I figured I’d pick on a few of the other big companies that build big cruisers overseas. I’m not talking about small shops that are just really just one-offs of Harley and their overall production and market saturation is really dependent on Harley to set the bar. No, I’m talking the bigger players in the market.

Polaris, who owns Victory and Indian is doing a nice job, but they are limited in scope because they are only selling in North America. On the other hand, they delivered something approaching 17,000 Harley look-alikes last year – nothing to sneeze at, especially when you consider the price point they sell at is generally lower than H-D.

Worldwide? Let’s start with Honda. Internationally, they total sales from 2016 compared to the same time last year? Down less than 500 bikes. In 2015, the last year (obviously) that cumulative data was available saw Honda up 9.4% in North America and double digit gains in Asia and Europe. They may build ugly bikes, but they obviously know how to sell them.

BMW is still sucking wind after their 2008 meltdown and higher end brands that actually go fast, like Ducati, are stealing market share in the European homeland. BMW’s quality has sucked for a long time (and is, fractionally, worse than Harley’s) and the high price of replacement parts and extremely expensive factory-trained labor has stymied the brand around the world. The result? BMW sells enough cars to continue to weather the storm if their bikes struggle.

Enough about H-D What about the Other Guys

Yamaha is still out there, along with Kawasaki, and you have to add them together with Honda to scrape past Harley’s North American market share (35%). The one thing that these guys have going for them? They are more than motorcycle companies. Collectively, they build everything. That gives them R and D budgets, discretionary budgets for market study, and advertising. Harley Davidson? They’ve got brand down pat, but they have to constantly try to keep up with innovations that cost in a market that thrives on “throw away” marketing. Let’s face it, people don’t work on things anymore, they just buy another one. When was the last time you saw a television repair shop? Let’s face it, we live in a world that says “don’t repair it, just trade it in.”

…And that’s the real problem for Harley, I think. They’ve made their bones by building stuff that the average guy could fix. (Especially if you had a panhead – that meant “had to fix”.) I mean, nobody collects 1970’s Honda bikes. If we look at consumer goods manufacture worldwide, quality is still pretty high.

The downside is that the costs of good materials continues to climb and the buyer’s willingness to spend is often dictated by the final price. If price point is an issue, then the only way to lower an item’s overall cost is by cutting the labor budget. Guess who costs more – an item made by organized labor in the US or by a free market, non-union shop? I hope that Harley can reach a younger market that is willing to pay more for better quality, but I thought that about many companies (and buyers) many times over the years. Unfortunately, I think too many people want cheap stuff that is “almost as good” versus the real thing. If that trend continues, we will see the end of Harley as a major company in the years to come.

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Is Harley-Davidson on the Financial Comeback Trail? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/is-harley-davidson-on-the-financial-comeback-trail/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/is-harley-davidson-on-the-financial-comeback-trail/#respond Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:25:24 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4117 Now, I’ve been called a lot of things over the years, most of them unpleasant. More than a few times, depending on what exactly it was that I said, people have told me that I’m biased, ignorant, and some more...

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Now, I’ve been called a lot of things over the years, most of them unpleasant. More than a few times, depending on what exactly it was that I said, people have told me that I’m biased, ignorant, and some more colorful things that you can’t repeat in polite company.

A few folks have, from time to time, taken exception to the fact that with my dusty old business degree and some time spent in bureaucratic management positions I have learned to read between the lines.

Case in point – some people took me to task because I said that Harley was struggling this year and their argument was “they can’t be, they just introduced a new engine platform!”

Someone else thought that I was “picking on” Mother Davidson when I pointed out that the first losers of the “Milwaukee Eight” were the factory workers who were laid off a week later.

So now that Harley has released third quarter earnings and the brokers are singing about how H-D is on the comeback trail, I have to disagree. The number of new bikes registered this year in North America has dropped nearly 6% since a year ago (which only means that there are fewer new bikes hitting the street). More importantly, the number of Harleys that went out of the showroom this year versus last year was down 7.1% in North America.

Harley-Davidson on the Financial Comeback Trail

Now, we could play Devil’s advocate and say that folks are holding on to their bike to trade up to the new powertrain in the 2017 year, and that could be true, but the facts that we can’t avoid are that the base group that H-D puts its money towards – Baby Boomers – are getting older and the next Generation – mine – is still raising kids and has a house payment and less discretionary income. My question is why the focus on all the bigger bikes and not the entry level ones? There’s where the market is right now. Retired dudes don’t have many more purchases in them. Twenty-somethings? They have a lifetime of purchases and they can be brand loyal. Think about it – a 25-year-old either has an iPhone or an Android. They don’t switch back and forth – one or the other.

Taking that to its logical extreme, Harley would do well to follow Apple’s marketing model and branding – people lining up for a new phone that does exactly what the old phone did is a pretty good deal!

Matt Levatich, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, did come out in the earnings report and give us his spin, “We continue to effectively navigate a fiercely competitive environment and an ongoing weak U.S. industry. We are pleased with the positive results and the enthusiasm we’ve seen for our Model Year 2017 motorcycles, featuring the new Milwaukee-Eight engine. We are confident that the entire line-up will drive retail sales growth for the remainder of 2016 and position us well heading into the spring riding season next year.”

Sounds too good to be true, but I hope they are able to pull out of this tailspin.

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Own a Motorcycle? Add a Multimeter to Your Toolbox https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/own-a-motorcycle-add-a-multimeter-to-your-toolbox/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/own-a-motorcycle-add-a-multimeter-to-your-toolbox/#respond Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:16:20 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4113 Now that life is getting back to something approaching normal here, let me tell you about my latest escapade chasing electrical gremlins – and how they could sneak up on you, too. Most of you guys may remember that I’ve...

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Now that life is getting back to something approaching normal here, let me tell you about my latest escapade chasing electrical gremlins – and how they could sneak up on you, too.

Most of you guys may remember that I’ve got a 1994 Sportster that has been running an upgraded wiring harness from a DOA 1995. To be honest, I did the work so long ago, I can’t tell you the ins and outs of the swap, but suffice to say, it hasn’t ever been “stock” but it has always been better than the original.

A couple of weeks ago, after navigating a particularly rough patch of road, I noticed that the left turn signal wasn’t working. I made a mental note to change out the bulb and later that day, swapped it out when I got home. Since I was in a hurry, I didn’t check my work and went on into the house.

STUPID.

Next time I was on the scoot, guess what? No turn signal.

Checked the seating of the bulb and it still didn’t work. My next thought led me to grounds. Nope. All good.

I snatched up the multimeter and checked the “new” bulb and it was fine. Checked for power at the switch. Got it. Checked for continuity at the plug. Got it. Checked the continuity at the ground. Got it.

Frustrated, I started tugging on wires.

Bingo! The ground continuity disappeared.

Now, some of you guys are going to proclaim that I was using those silly little butt connectors and the wire pulled out. Nope – every connection on this bike is soldered and sealed with heat shrink.

Over the years, though, the solder joint failed. What people smarter than me call a “cold solder joint.” The result was sporadic connection and over the years, it just finally gave out. I took a couple of minutes and re-soldered the connection, put some new heat shrink on it, and it was good as new.

The downside was that I started thinking – a dangerous thing for me – and the next night, I took my trusty multimeter and began checking for voltage drop across circuits on the bike. The result was pretty astounding – I found five different spots that were in danger of failing… and one was the headlight circuit. All of them bad solder joints. Now, I’ll take a connection that lasts – literally – for decades, but it opened my eyes to the fact that stuff we’ve “fixed” can still go bad.

Own a Motorcycle - Add a Multimeter to Your Toolbox

The moral of the story? For an hour of your time and a $20 multimeter from the store, you can find issues in the electricals before they are issues. With so many newer bikes depending more on a healthy electrical system to run stuff that bikes have never had before, this might be a critical part of your winterizing process this year.

So what exactly is the problem? Simple – electronics rely on a certain amount of voltage to run them. If they have a “bad” ground, poor connection, or corrosion, this increases the resistance of the circuit and may lead to a blown fuse, fusible link, or tripping breaker. And you sitting on the side of the road cussing.

Take an hour and check out the system, clean your grounds and add a healthy shot of dielectric grease to conenctions. Remember, if your bike shows up at the stealership, they are going to charge you by the hour to track down the problem – or worse, throw parts at it until it works right.

Neither is easy on your checkbook.

Keep the shiny side up!

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Some Things to Truly Be Thankful For https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/some-things-to-really-be-thankful-for-bikers-den-blog/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/some-things-to-really-be-thankful-for-bikers-den-blog/#respond Fri, 14 Oct 2016 21:42:26 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4110 Just a newsflash… I know that the lion’s share of our readership is north of the border, and with that, I want to wish you guys a belated Thanksgiving. While my Canadian friends were giving thanks for the blessings they...

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Just a newsflash… I know that the lion’s share of our readership is north of the border, and with that, I want to wish you guys a belated Thanksgiving. While my Canadian friends were giving thanks for the blessings they have, I had a Thanksgiving of my own here in the last week.

You see, Hurricane Matthew hit my world.

More importantly, Hurricane Matthew hit everything that I love.

My parents live on the coast of Georgia.

My old lady’s parents live on the coast of South Carolina.

My daughter lives in Miami.

My home is less than an hour from the Atlantic Ocean.

Yet despite the worst hurricane to hit the area in decades, the only damage that the people that I care about had was some water in my father-in-law’s car.

So this week, I celebrated my own Thanksgiving of sorts. Oh, sure, we had some branches down in the yard, some bushes got torn up, but the things that are really important? Every one was spared. If that isn’t a reason to give thanks, I don’t know what is.

Let me tell you, though, having seen the devastation that is present all around me – hundreds of trees down, many homes damaged, roofs torn off, lives lost or ruined, I can deal with having to clean up a few sticks.

Here’s what I want you to do – make sure that the people that are really important to you know how important they are. Your wife, your kids, your folks … even the guys that you ride with.

Cause you never know when that day is going to come.

Plenty of us take life for granted and getting out on the road is a release from the silliness of day to day. Hell, a lot of us like the added challenge of riding a bike and the feeling of being in the scenery instead of just looking at it through the windows. We’ve all seen the thrill-seekers on crotch rockets jockeying through traffic at twice the speed limit, but I’m not talking about adrenaline junkies – I’m talking about just drinking in all that life has to give you.

Thank the God of your own understanding that he, or she, or it, gave you the chance to wake up today and take another breath.

Be happy for the annoyance of paying the power bill – folks in Haiti don’t even have a glass of water to drink.

Some Things to Truly Be Thankful For - The Bikers Den Blog

Be thankful that you have the chance to enjoy a day off – plenty of folks wish they could have a job to even go to.

And thank the Good Lord that he saw fit to introduce the Davidson brothers to William Harley…

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The Art of Cornering on a Big Bike https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/the-art-of-cornering-on-a-big-motorcycle/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/the-art-of-cornering-on-a-big-motorcycle/#respond Tue, 11 Oct 2016 17:08:46 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4106 Now that Fall is here and we begin our own little migration to the switchbacked mountain roads to look at leaves but really, we just want to corner aggressively and have a fun day, we need to talk about something....

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Now that Fall is here and we begin our own little migration to the switchbacked mountain roads to look at leaves but really, we just want to corner aggressively and have a fun day, we need to talk about something.

Plenty of newer riders have no idea how to corner aggressively in a big V-twin. Don’t believe me? Look at the bottom of the pipes on nearly every rider’s first big bike and you’ll see evidence of it – scuffed chrome and maybe even a bent exhaust, foot pegs chewed up a little, and even, in one notable case I saw this summer, a folded license plate (admittedly, it was a custom bracket that sat low on the rear fender).

Cornering on a Big Motorcycle

Too many new riders end up driving like Miss Daisy into corners because they don’t acknowledge that the bike they’ve moved up to weighs 200 more pounds and has a longer wheelbase. Additionally, the foot pedals are further forward on cruisers than on many bikes, and that has a tendency to throw some new riders. After all, it feels “weird” at first.

With that said, here are a few things to corner better in a bigger bike:

The sound of the foot pegs hitting asphalt is not as bad as you might think. This does mean that you are nearing the edge of the performance window. News flash – you shouldn’t be hitting them as you go into the corner, but rather, at least the halfway point. This is why you downshift! By using a lower gear, you negate the need for braking as much, thus not compressing the suspension and further reducing the clearance of the bike.

Just like we all learned when driving a car, looking where we want to the vehicle to go in a corner will take us there. On a cruiser, this means making a much wider arc with a sharper entry into the corner. The wide arc allows us to come out of the turn near the center line (but still well on our side of the line!). Keep the turns smooth so you don’t further load the suspension at the wrong time.

If you have an adjustable suspension setup, make sure the bike is riding high on it. Don’t load down with weight or, even worse, for looks. Remember that applying the brakes makes the bike sit even lower – and if that last inch is applied at the wrong time, you are in trouble. When you apply the front brakes, remember that the forks will compress in the front and the rear will extend, thus changing some geometry. Get all your braking out of the way before the bike is into the corner, then use the engine to control speed.

Speaking of controlling engine speed, remember as you accelerate, you lift the suspension. Expect to be cornering while accelerating (if only a little), so here is where gear selection is critical before you need to accelerate.

Last but not least, you need to shift your weight. No, you’re not laying a knee out there – it is a cruiser. You are, however, adjusting your body position forward and to the inside. The result will not be dramatic, but just a few pounds put into the right place will make each corner a lot more fun and give you vital inches of clearance as the suspension loads and unloads based on where you physically are on the bike.

Now, that’s not “it” – you can’t teach feel, and these maneuvers are very much about feel. What this can do is to give those riders who are using straight-lining it a better chance to handle those beautiful country roads bathed in Fall foliage. No matter what you do, paying attention is the first step on any ride.

Keep the shiny side up!

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What to do During the Winter? Get Your Motorcycle Ready for Spring! https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/what-to-do-during-the-winter-get-your-motorcycle-ready-for-spring/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/what-to-do-during-the-winter-get-your-motorcycle-ready-for-spring/#respond Wed, 05 Oct 2016 16:21:01 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4099 Well, for the first time this riding season, the threat of snow is tickling the higher elevations in parts of Wyoming and Nevada and it was noticeably less hot (as opposed to “cooler”) here in South Georgia this morning. Guess...

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Well, for the first time this riding season, the threat of snow is tickling the higher elevations in parts of Wyoming and Nevada and it was noticeably less hot (as opposed to “cooler”) here in South Georgia this morning. Guess what? While you’re reading this, somebody is thinking about putting up their bike for the winter.

I know, I know, sacrilege, but we all eventually have to do it, if only for maintenance. Since I have to rail every Spring about “getting ready”, let’s talk about some of the stuff that I hear every Spring from riders that you ought to actually do this winter to be a better rider when the season opens back up…

Fixing Your Motorcycle During Winter

Fix your junk! Seriously. If you’ve been limping something along, now is the time to get it addressed. Especially since shops are going to really be slow in the coming months. Sure, they’ll get some “winterizing” business, but bigger jobs? Few and far between. If you’ve been thinking about that engine build, go-fast parts that mean cracking into the crankcase, or painting the frame, then get it in the shop now, not in January. The other benefit? Getting it in early might get you some freebies – like winterizing and tuning – if you are having to do some costly work.

Stay in shape. What? Yes. Every year, we hear the same old story “been a while since I rode this thing.” How about getting some exercise, especially in your core, but also your upper body. Don’t have time for the gym? Pushups, sit ups, and a host of other exercises can be done right there at the house. Another upside? Your leathers will still fit next year.

Take a class. Yep. I said it. Whether you take a riding class at the local dealership (even if it’s not a -Gasp!- Harley dealership). Sometimes taking a basic rider’s course can be a great reminder of how traffic laws actually work. I did that when my kids were learning to drive and you know what? I realized that the concept of “right-of-way” was one that most of the drivers in my town didn’t understand when it came to turning. I saw the same thing happen when I taught firearm safety years ago – the old guys were the ones that forgot stuff.

Plot next year. I know that sounds silly, but if you remember, I had some very distinct goals that I wanted to do this season while riding. Sturgis and at least 15,000 miles. Guess what? I haven’t gotten to the 15K mark yet, but I’ve had a great time this season, even with all the engine drama from this Spring. Think about what you’d like to do next year – and how you’ll spend the time you have on your bike and when you have that goal, you have something to look forward to.

No doubt that every season has different things that we like to do in it. It’s hard for me to not watch some college football on Saturdays this time of year, and with Hockey season, I know plenty of folks that are ready to yell at the television screen at night. No matter, by keeping a few things straight in your riding hobby, you can be ready year ‘round, even if the roads are icy and the weather doesn’t cooperate.

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Give Your Motorcycle a New Look with Plasti-Dip https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/give-motorcycle-new-look-plasti-dip/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/give-motorcycle-new-look-plasti-dip/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:02:35 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4094 Alright guys, I’ve got a little idea for some of you. As we start to look at putting our bikes up for the winter, a lot of us start thinking about go-fast goodies and bolt-ons to increase performance and add...

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Alright guys, I’ve got a little idea for some of you. As we start to look at putting our bikes up for the winter, a lot of us start thinking about go-fast goodies and bolt-ons to increase performance and add a little custom flair. Some of us will be thinking about this from a pure performance point of view, and others will be pondering just giving an older bike a “new” look.

As much as I like my bike to look good, I’m resolutely in the group that performance trumps looks in many cases. Simply put, I want it to work better than before and how that makes it look is secondary.

I also am not too keen on changing out a part to simply have the same performance and a different look. I’ve run S and S air cleaners for a long time, and the simple fact is that pretty much all of them look the same. Enter Plasti-Dip.

Plasti Dip Harley Davidson Motorcycle

Now, for those of you who just recoiled, don’t worry, I didn’t Plasti-Dip my air cleaner. On the other hand, I’ve done it to some little parts like the battery box and I gotta say, I like it.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Plasti-Dip is essentially a “plastic” paint. If you’ve ever held a pair of insulated Channel Locks, the handles feel a lot like Plasti-Dip, and it comes in an Aerosol can that you literally spray on like spray paint. The good news is that you can peel it off easily with your hands when you decide that the color or the look isn’t really your cup of tea.

As popular as “flat” paint jobs are right now, the idea of rattle-canning an old bike is actually kind of a fun one, especially when you consider the cost of stripping a bike down at the shop, all the prep work, and actually shooting the frame. Suddenly, a $10 can of paint and some masking tape seem like a fun winter project.

I’ve seen some pretty cool designs done on gas tanks, air cleaners, sissy bars, rims, and fenders and fairings over the last summer and to tell the truth, if you are more performance oriented, then it may make sense to look at this as a fun little project to change things up without dumping loads of cash into a go-fast bolt on … especially if you already have your bike dialed in perfectly – or the bank still owns more of it than you do.

For what it’s worth, though, understand that this stuff is not Kevlar-tough. You literally peel it off. I know a couple of dimmer bulbs did it in the fender wells of cars and then wondered why it chipped when hit with all the stuff that tires throw out. If you wanted to get a contrast under the fender, I would absolutely go with a truck-style spray-in bedliner product like Herculiner, then paint the top coat the color you want. Whichever way you go, the nice part is that you added a little touch to make it your own and didn’t have to rely on some expert to do it for you … or pay them!

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Dirt Road Detours – Handling Off Pavement Motorcycle Rides https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/dirt-road-detours-handling-off-pavement-motorcycle-rides/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/dirt-road-detours-handling-off-pavement-motorcycle-rides/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 16:38:55 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4091 Well, here we are again. Autumn is almost officially here, or will be probably the day you read this, and while we’ve had some great weather to ride down in the Deep South, my local road department has taken it...

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Well, here we are again. Autumn is almost officially here, or will be probably the day you read this, and while we’ve had some great weather to ride down in the Deep South, my local road department has taken it upon themselves to re-pave the road that runs in front of the house.

Now, bear in mind that there is no alternate road for me to sneak out on – I’m in the country. Seven miles either way before you cut anything that isn’t a dirt road or a driveway. So for the past week, I’ve had to deal with ridges, gravel, cold patch, and even a few exposed potholes as they dug out the old and put in the new.

What’d that do? It reminded me that there are still plenty of rough roads “out there” and with so many of us traveling to enjoy autumn leaves and Fall weather, I figured a quick review might be in order.

Dirt Road Detours - Handling Off Pavement Motorcycle Rides

First of all, if you’re traveling in the country down a dirt road that you don’t know too well, or even if it’s the interstate for that matter, don’t be the guy that decides to run ninety miles per hour (144 KPH for my friends North of the border). Slow down a little. Enjoy the ride… But at the same time you’re enjoying that ride, be aware of what’s coming up for you. Not just a turn in the road, but potholes, tar and wildlife including rodents, snakes, deer, moose and for those of you in the South, alligators (shredded tires). Every one of them can grab you and toss you into the emergency room. To put it simply – enjoy the view, but pay attention.

Another little nugget is to think about how much throttle you actually have to apply and how much the surface will take. Guess what? Sandy or gravelly pavement is not going to hold the torque that even a small engine will put out. Since it is not putting the power to the ground, you’re not in control. Guess who just laid down the bike? (This was how I had my first “soft” lay down two decades ago).

If you had to have the cool hardtail bar hopper but got wrangled into a longer ride, you really need to look at the smoothness of the road, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bar hoppers “hop” straight off the pavement when they hit a pothole. There are some days that riding tailgunner can suck, and when it’s amateur hour on a ride, you definitely see some crazy s@#t.

Last but not least, put the right amount of air in your tires. I think I’ve talked about this enough but I still see people lowering pressure for a softer ride, running older tires past their primes, and flogging their bike with tires that were never built with racing or hard use in mind. It’s simple – look at the sidewall, inflate to the proper pressure. It will cost you a quarter at the gas station and you’ll be riding the way you’re supposed to be, not the way that you were told anecdotally by your best friends’ buddies’ cousin who worked at a bike shop in the 1970s.

Whatever you do, pay attention and keep the shiny side up!

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Care and Feeding of Your Motorcycle Motor https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/care-and-feeding-of-your-motorcycle-motor/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/care-and-feeding-of-your-motorcycle-motor/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:10:01 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4084 In the last two weeks, I’ve had a couple of chances to buy some old bike parts and in all three of the situations, what would have been a great engine was ruined by doing the wrong thing. Simply put,...

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In the last two weeks, I’ve had a couple of chances to buy some old bike parts and in all three of the situations, what would have been a great engine was ruined by doing the wrong thing.

Simply put, the owners didn’t think about how to store an engine for long-term survivability and in so doing, they killed the motor.

Taking Care of and Storing Your Motorcycle Engine

So let’s talk about that a little bit today, since the time is rapidly approaching when a lot of us will be putting up bikes for the winter…

First of all, there are a couple of ways to take that phrase. “Putting it up for the winter” means different things in different places. My buddy in north Alberta won’t see his bike again until May at the earliest. Down here in the South, “winter storage” means I parked in the garage for a week.

So if you are going to be hiding your bike for the winter (and I’ll be doing an article on that later in October), let’s just look at the engine. You need to use a fuel additive, at the very least, in your gasoline. For at least two tanks prior to mothballing your scoot, run pure gas – no ethanol – through it.

Now, there are as many fuel stabilizers on the market as you care to use, so find the one you really like and mix it up in the last tank of the year. I’ve come to the realization, after many years, that no matter what I do – tank full or tank empty – I’ll still have to start by cleaning the fuel system the next year, but I really think that draining the gas tank invites corrosion into the tank, the jets of the carb, and the bowls. On the other hand, gasoline turns into varnish if left to sit for long periods, so you kind of have to pick your poison.

Now, let’s talk about the real reason for this article – long term engine health. If the three motors I looked at had simply been left together, they would probably have lived. Instead, well-meaning owners removed sparkplugs and oil and left the engine to rot. Dust, dirt, insects, and corrosion ruined them in the ensuing years.

If you are going to put up an engine, leave it whole! Better yet, fill the crankcase completely with diesel to keep seals lubricated and rings “unstuck”. The best part? Unlike regular motor oil, diesel doesn’t “sludge”. When the time comes to reactivate that motor, drain the crankcase, fill it with oil, and turn it over a few times to build oil pressure.

And yes, I know of one Chevy 302 Z28 motor that was taken care of in its original crate from the factory in 1969 until it was sold in the late 1990s, just like this. It works, and it works well. If you are deploying for the service or just aren’t sure when you’ll be getting the bike out again – and it will be awhile – then think about how you can protect the engine, please! I may thank you for it years from now.

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Where Were You? 15th Anniversary of 9/11 https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/where-were-you-15th-anniversary-of-9-11/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/where-were-you-15th-anniversary-of-9-11/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2016 15:48:33 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4079 Hard to believe that 15 years ago our lives here in the Western world were changed forever by a few extremists and a misguided view of our freedoms. September 11, 2001, everything changed. Like Kennedy’s assassination a generation before, we...

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Hard to believe that 15 years ago our lives here in the Western world were changed forever by a few extremists and a misguided view of our freedoms.

September 11, 2001, everything changed. Like Kennedy’s assassination a generation before, we will all remember where we were on that day. In the end, for a lot of us, it was the end of our belief that all we’d done for better or worse in the Middle East was “over there”. Suddenly, their wars, their religions, and their crap was right here, in our face. Today, we look at the refugee situation not as friendly allies and with welcoming arms, but instead as cautious folks, wondering what’s next.

15th Anniversary of 9-11

So no matter where you were that terrible day, remember the unselfish call of duty that led firefighters, police, and other first responders to dash into crippled buildings without fear. Remember how countries forgot politics for at least a little while and united to help the fallen. Remember how citizens rallied around one another to make sure that anyone who needed resources would be given them.

No matter what, our lives were all changed that day. I know that many of you guys are north of the border in Canada and were not directly impacted by the events of 9-11, but it still impacted the entire economy and the foreign policy for years to come. You gave sons, daughters, and fathers and mothers to the fight against extremism in the ensuing years, and I honor that, too.

So this year, on the fifteenth anniversary of the attacks on the United States, hug those you care about. Look fondly on the flag that you defend – and that defends you – and remember that no matter how well you treat others, at some point, there are those who would dearly love to hurt you because of the beliefs that you have. At some point in every life will come a time to defend what you hold dear, and know that it is simply a part of the process of life and of being a citizen.

I pray that we need never go through this sort of thing again, but I know from experience that when we do, great countries and peoples such as us will stand up and get counted – and defend our lands against those who would attempt to subvert our lives and beliefs.

God Bless those who defended us in the past and those who will do it again today.

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The Milwaukee Eight’s First Victims https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/milwaukee-eights-first-victims/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/milwaukee-eights-first-victims/#respond Wed, 07 Sep 2016 17:16:22 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4076 A couple of posts ago, I wrote about the new Harley Milwaukee Eight engine and how it was a “clean sheet” engine that Mother Davidson was going to be rolling out in their big bikes in 2017. It’s not without...

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A couple of posts ago, I wrote about the new Harley Milwaukee Eight engine and how it was a “clean sheet” engine that Mother Davidson was going to be rolling out in their big bikes in 2017. It’s not without a little irony that on the heels of that announcement, Harley casually dropped the news that they were laying off over 100 workers in their York, Pennsylvania facility.

For those not in the know, of course, York is where they build Touring, Softail, CVO and Trike models … the very same platforms that the Milwaukee Eight is slotted to be installed in in the 2017 model year bikes – due out this month.

the-milwaukee-eights-first-victims-new-harley-engine-update

More than a little ironic, I think, when you look at it. Of course, Mother Davidson had to readjust this year’s projections after the second quarter, but the rosy outlook they promised with the introduction of the new engines is not the same that they are employing when they are speaking of laying off employees. I guess it just depends on which press release you read.

Now, lest it be said that the two aren’t related. With a new powerplant, it very well may be that Harley really is running leaner when it comes to the actual labor pool that they need to deploy the Big Eight successfully. In the last decade, though, the fact is that York has been downsized again and again – from 2,000 employees down now to less than 950 (before this round of layoffs). Obviously, the sheer volume of computerization in machining and assembly does reduce the amount of skilled “hands on” labor needed to build a bike that has more computers than carburetors, but we’ve seen this happen time and again in North American manufacturing.

I guess the real irony is that the York plant is one that features Harley’s “Steel Toe” tour for enthusiasts to come and actually get out on the factory floor, especially in the finishing areas where the bikes are actually being assembled. From what I understand the tour is great, but I would suspect that the pall hanging over the folks that work in the plant might be a little bit of a downer for tourists in the next few weeks.

It’s the way of things, I know. Most of us won’t – or can’t – pay for one-off or bespoken goods, so any manufacturer has to look through ways to keep union labor happy and production costs down. Certainly the fact that bike emissions are tightening up is a huge reason for the launch of the new platform, and “clean” assembly and “zero waste” design is the most efficient way to build a product. I just hate that we, the end user, are the ones that inadvertently cause this. Our use of resources, our cost and value beliefs, and where we decide to spend our discretionary income are all factors that both brought out the new engine and put skilled workers out of hard-won jobs at one of the great American companies. Progress cuts both ways, I guess.

I sure hope that we like the engine.

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Labor Day Doldrums – End of Riding Season Draws Near https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/labor-day-doldrums-another-riding-season-nears-end/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/labor-day-doldrums-another-riding-season-nears-end/#respond Sat, 03 Sep 2016 21:30:36 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4069 Well, as I’m writing this, the remains of Hurricane Hermine are rolling across South Georgia and my game plan for a speedy escape this evening and a couple days on the bike are somewhat stymied. Not to worry, though, I’ll...

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Well, as I’m writing this, the remains of Hurricane Hermine are rolling across South Georgia and my game plan for a speedy escape this evening and a couple days on the bike are somewhat stymied. Not to worry, though, I’ll be on it by Labor Day at the latest – it just depends on if there is any storm drama in this neck of the woods.

The really sad part in all this is that for a lot of us, Labor Day marks the unofficial last days of summer – especially the further north you go. The one guy I know up north in Boyle, Alberta (Canada) has already put up his bike and is more worried about hunting season than getting the last few miles in. Down here, riders are more concerned about college football season than poker runs and planning tailgate parties that involve recreational vehicles instead of bikes.

Labor Day Doldrums - Goodbye to Another Riding Season

This time of year makes me feel like the last guy at the bar on a Tuesday night.

On the other hand, a lot of the really good days for riding here in the southern latitudes are just getting started. If this fall goes as most of them do, we won’t have a freeze until late October and the foliage will be amazing in that third and fourth week. You can finally wear all your leathers and not bake up like a pot roast while taking in some really beautiful countryside.

More importantly, it seems like the best days are always just ahead. Looking out of the office window at the torrential downpour, it’s hard to get excited over Labor Day or even going out to the store for those smokes that I forgot to buy last night on my way home. For those guys too far north to be able to get more than a few more weeks out of this season, the best news is that the chance to handle all the upgrades and goodies you’ve been bookmarking online is coming – deferred maintenance, go-fast stuff, and shiny bolt-ons are right around the corner for you.

Whatever Labor Day weekend means for you, a day with the family cooking out in the backyard, the end of summer, or the start of Fall, I hope that you can get the same feeling that it gives me – the best rides are still ahead of all of us.

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The Other News You Won’t Hear From Milwaukee… https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/news-wont-hear-milwaukee/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/news-wont-hear-milwaukee/#respond Fri, 02 Sep 2016 15:28:18 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4066 Earlier this week we talked about the new engines that Harley-Davidson will be dropping into their touring bikes and a few CVO chassis’, and with the unrest in Milwaukee over the police, another, quieter story came slipping out. The United...

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Earlier this week we talked about the new engines that Harley-Davidson will be dropping into their touring bikes and a few CVO chassis’, and with the unrest in Milwaukee over the police, another, quieter story came slipping out.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, one of those pesky watchdog groups that seem to stir up trouble and aggravation everywhere they go, has bullied H-D into buying back and destroying the so-called “Super Tuners” they sold through the dealerships.

Harley Davidson Fined by EPA for Screaming Eagle Super Tuners

“This settlement immediately stops the sale of illegal aftermarket defeat devices used on public roads that threaten the air we breathe,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a news release. “Harley-Davidson is taking important steps to buy back the ‘super tuners’ from their dealers and destroy them, while funding projects to mitigate the pollution they caused.”

Give me a freakin’ break!

Harley sold these as “race only” tuners and clearly marketed them as such. You want to tune the bike for a race, you tune it for a race. Not a Sunday drive. This is like blaming my computer for a misspelled werd. Dumb.

I did really like what Ed Moreland, Harley-Davidson’s government affairs director, said in a statement: “This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition.” The cost to not admit any guilt? 15 million U.S.
Fifteen Million Dollars.

To not be guilty of doing something that to many of us are already trying to do in our driveways and garages week in and week out – make the bike faster.

Meanwhile, the very lawnmowers that cut grass for the EPA don’t have emissions controls, just burning raw fuel and spewing out hydrocarbons. Millions of VW diesels can’t pass emissions, but we’ll chase down an American company that clearly marketed the product for race use only. It boils down to blackmail on the part of the EPA, and it is absolute nonsense.

All the same, I can go to Google and buy any tuner I like as a private citizen from anywhere from $100-$500 and as long as I can plug in, I can either build the tune I want or buy them right there on the open market – and I guarantee that they aren’t emissions friendly. Clearly this is another case of “follow the money” on the part of the EPA and for one, I’m pissed.

The bottom line is this – we have a responsibility to the environment, no doubt, but fining a company for selling a product under strict circumstances and those circumstances are circumvented by the end user is ludicrous. If my Smith and Wesson pistol is stolen and then used in a crime, suing Smith and Wesson for the actions of a third party (illegal) user is far from any legal culpability that I can follow. More importantly, why not go after a larger polluter who is truly causing issues in the environment? How many bikes were really impacted and how many miles of pollutants were actually ridden? I bet that figure is just a tiny percentage of the total miles driven by vehicles that cannot pass emissions at all, or have had those systems tampered with or removed completely.

Utter silliness.

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I Coulda Had a Big Eight https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/i-coulda-had-a-big-eight/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/i-coulda-had-a-big-eight/#respond Mon, 29 Aug 2016 15:50:43 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4062 Sorry for the bad pun from 1970’s advertising, but just last week, Harley Davidson finally owned up to the worst-kept secret in company history. They’ve got a new engine. Not to worry, it’s still a V-Twin, but the new “Big...

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Sorry for the bad pun from 1970’s advertising, but just last week, Harley Davidson finally owned up to the worst-kept secret in company history.

They’ve got a new engine.

Not to worry, it’s still a V-Twin, but the new “Big Eight” or “Milwaukee Eight” has taken a step in a different direction from the past – this one has four valves per cylinder. This represents a step in the right direction, as far as I’m concerned, because eventually, this technology is going to have to show up in more bikes – due to emissions standards that are getting tighter and tighter for any internal combustion engine.

Harley Davidson Milwaukee Eight - I Coulda Had a Big Eight

Now, I haven’t seen the engine, but I’ve heard whispers about it for the last year or so in the industry. Here’s the scoop as I understand it:

There will be two versions introduced in the 2017 model year – one a 107 cubic incher and the other a 110. These two powerplants will be restricted to use in the big touring bikes as per the so-called Project Rushmore initiative and a few stray Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) models –– namely the CVO Limited and CVO Street Glide.

At the same time that the Big Eight is getting set to be placed into these bigger bikes, one of the nice things that I see from all this is a new heat management strategy to keep these motors – and the riders on top of them – a little cooler in the summer heat. What does that actually mean? H-D is a little vague on the details, but I’m gonna read between the lines and say that this is not only a part of rider comfort, but another consideration for future emissions regulation. We’ve seen cars get cooler and cooler “operating temperatures” for combustion, and I can guess that we’ll see the same from Mother Davidson.

It makes sense to me, though, because Harley’s do have a signature sound (as Kawasaki learned two decades ago) and that signature sound comes as a result of the motor design. The word on the street is that Harley designed this motor as a clean sheet design like they did for the Evolution platform four decades ago.

One interesting thing that they have built into this new motor is an entire new counterbalance system to cancel out more vibration at idle and highway speeds, while “retaining the classic feel of a Harley V-Twin engine while being very smooth at highway speeds.” I don’t even know what that means. I will say that the difference between a touring bike and a regular cruiser has always been night and day, and as much as my old bike vibrates, any reduction is good reduction.

What does this all mean? For crotchety old guys like me, it means higher maintenance and more trips to the dealer to get little things fixed. For the average rider who just wants to hop on and take a trip, it’s probably a great platform. The best news is that the folks in Milwaukee are looking at the heritage of the brand and striving to keep that alive in the face of ever-tightening emissions expectations.

As of this writing, dealerships are expecting the first actual models with these powerplants to be on the showrooms in late September. I can’t wait to take a walk around one.

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Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 – Part 6 – 7mm Socket https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-to-sturgis-diary-2016-part-6-7mm-socket/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-to-sturgis-diary-2016-part-6-7mm-socket/#respond Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:30:28 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4058 It was bound to happen, and it did. Riding down some forgotten two lane blacktop in south Nebraska, I came up on a fellow Harley rider broke down. Barfly was his name, and like me, he’d been riding for the...

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It was bound to happen, and it did. Riding down some forgotten two lane blacktop in south Nebraska, I came up on a fellow Harley rider broke down.

Barfly was his name, and like me, he’d been riding for the better part of his life. He’d gone a lot of different ways than me – he actually used his college degree and owned a successful accounting firm in eastern Oklahoma. He’s a belt-and-suspenders type of guy and actually had everything he needed to make the fix on his bike except for one thing…

A 7 millimeter socket.

At some point since his 1999 had left Milwaukee, some poor soul had changed out a fuel line with some box-store hose clamp… with no screw slot and, of all things, metric. Guess which line ruptured on Barfly’s three day ride?

Yep. Guess what part he didn’t pack?

Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 - Part 6

Yep. And it wasn’t for a lack of trying – Barfly had a full set of SAE stuff crammed down in his saddlebags. He had wire, tape, zip ties, even an extra plug and plug wires. Screwdrivers, Torx heads, Allen heads, you name it. Hell, he even had an extra coil.

Just no socket that fit this silly little hose clamp with slightly rounded edges.

We dug around in my kit for about three minutes, came up with the socket that we needed, and had his motor running fine in all of ten minutes. He decided that a hose clamp that fit his bike was smarter than one that didn’t fit his tools, so I swapped him one of mine in 3/8 inch.

Let me tell you, he was so well prepared, he even had a little GoJo to clean his hands and a clean towel to wipe them off.

We set there for a few minutes after the fix was in, smoking lunch and shooting the bull, and I’d told him all about Sturgis last week and my crazy idea of riding from South Georgia to South Dakota and back and he thought that was a dandy idea. He’s actually clocked nearly 8,000 miles this year and is somewhere over 200,000 for life and was as staunchly independent of a rider as I’ve ever met. No desire to ride with a club, no desire to be the tailgunner on a run.

He just wanted to get out of the office on Friday and ride any weekend he could. No wife, kids grown up and gone to West Texas and Utah, and until hunting season started in a few months, nothing else he’d rather do.

God bless him.

We exchanged phone numbers on that lonely stretch of state highway, knowing that more than likely, we’d never meet again, but for a few minutes, we were friends.

That’s what riding is all about. Some version of that exchange of help and friendship has gone on as long as men have traveled – whether they were traders on the Silk Road, sailors in the Atlantic, cowboys in the Old West, or old bikers on a two lane blacktop.

And that is what makes it so cool – that connection.

It’s hard to quantify that in today’s overconnected age – too many think only in terms of social media posts and online connections. In the end, riding comes down to a quiet society of guys that love to raise a little Hell but, deep down, they would give you the shirt off your back if you needed it.

Or a 7 millimeter socket.

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Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 – Part 5 https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-sturgis-diary-2016-part-5/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-sturgis-diary-2016-part-5/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2016 16:23:42 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4055 Well, Sturgis is in the books for another year. I had a helluva good time, met some old friends that I hadn’t seen in years, made some new ones that I probably won’t see for a few more, and now...

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Well, Sturgis is in the books for another year. I had a helluva good time, met some old friends that I hadn’t seen in years, made some new ones that I probably won’t see for a few more, and now am taking the scenic route back from South Dakota to Georgia.

What do I think about the 76th Anniversary of Sturgis in 2016? The word around town was that the numbers were way down from last year, which is really no surprise – everybody loves a “75th” anniversary, “76” is sort of just another year. Personally, I liked that the traffic, as bad as it was, was better than I expected.

What was it like?

Well, that’s kinda hard to describe. If you’ve ever been to a concert like The Grateful Dead, you know that it is a whole lot different from, say, Barry Manilow. You get immersed in Sturgis – the people you meet all speak “motorcycle” and are as comfortable discussing cam grinds as they are discussing helmet legislation in the Provinces. Of course there are bad apples in every crowd. I saw enough dummies doing silly crap to keep me busy ranting for a year.

riding to sturgis diary 2016 - part 5

But overall, there were some great concerts and some beautiful bikes. The fact that most of them showed up on trailers isn’t important, what is important is that so many folks turned out to share our love of all things on two wheels.

Could I get nitpicky? You all know that I can, but the fact of the matter is that even if you just came to Sturgis to look at cool bikes and kick up your heels a little, maybe blow off some steam and get away from the corporate crunch, it was a great time. Will I be back? Of course. I know I must be getting old, because I’ve ridden through the Black Hills many times over the years, and as much of an experience as it is, I know there are just as good places on the East Coast – and in your neck of the woods, too.

Honestly, next time I go, I may just fly there, rent a car, and enjoy the whole scene without trying to figure out all the logistics of how to get me, a bike, and some clean underwear all the way across the country. In reality, I actually spent very little time on my bike for the last week. Sure, running around back and forth, but really, I’ve driven less than 200 miles all week. So while it is a cool “bucket list” thing to tell all the posers at the rally that I drove a heavily modified Sportster 1800 miles to come to Sturgis, in the end, I don’t need to impress anybody. I’ll save that for the wannabes in their barhoppers that trailered the whole way.

Personally, I’ve got enough of an iron butt to last for three years as of right now.

The bottom line is that Sturgis any year is a great time and THE place to go at least once if you are a real fan of two wheels. I’ve seen some bikes this week that are truly works of art, I’ve seen some that have been built with every material known to man, and others that were built to run as comfortably as anything ever designed. All in all, it was an amazing time and YOU need to be there next year.

Now I gotta go and drive home.

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Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 – Part 4 – Sturgis To-Do’s https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-sturgis-diary-2016-part-4/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-sturgis-diary-2016-part-4/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2016 15:01:56 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4051 Alright, I’ve been in town for two days and it is insane. One thing is for sure, rallies like this will make you fat! I swear, every time I turn around, somebody has a breakfast, a concession stand, or an...

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Alright, I’ve been in town for two days and it is insane. One thing is for sure, rallies like this will make you fat! I swear, every time I turn around, somebody has a breakfast, a concession stand, or an excuse to get something to snack on.

Maybe that’s why there are so many fat folks here.

The next thing I’d have to say is that the music is great. I missed Willie the other night but caught a little of David Allen Coe. A couple of the guys that I had a beer with the other night had seen Kid Rock and said he was great. More importantly, there have been a bunch of really good no-names. Folks that you’ve never heard of playing and they are doing it up really nice.

riding to sturgis diary 2016 - what to do

On the other hand, for those of you who hated that the old Full Throttle burned down, they actually set up an outdoor bar in the old parking lot, but the new one is awesome!

It’s built on 550 acres where the old Broken Spoke was and it is simply insane whether you are just looking at it or inside. I knew what I was looking at and still am not sure of all that I saw. I still remember the old one, and all the junk that was inside of course is lost, but whatever you thought of Michael moving the location, I really agree with it. He’s got tons of space, tons more outside, and, let’s face it, this is a bucket-list item for any rider.

Simply put, if you come to Sturgis, you end up at the Full Throttle. Now, going forward, I’m sure it will be a little bit like New Orleans and Mardis Gras. You either went before or after Hurricane Katrina hit the city, and no matter how good the new version is, old timers like me will still complain that it is not as good as it once was.

Personally? I like the new version – its bigger, better, and a lot more friendly for what they do best at Full Throttle – have fun and put on some great shows. Now, I’m sure that they still have a ton of kinks to work out, but if they keep going the way they are, then it will be an amazing venue for years to come – just like the last one.

So what’s next on the list? I can’t even keep up with who’s playing where tonight and as usual, the age gap is really prevalent here. I mean, I know that it takes some coin to get here, but there are an awful lot of older folks. Probably two-to-one baby boomers to the under forty crowd.

All I know is that you can still get here and take part in Sturgis 2016, and if you haven’t ever been before, then you really have to. It’s in the low eighties, no humidity, and everything you need to finish your bike is being sold here.

And I know that UPS will let you ship it all home.

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Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 – Part 3 – Prius Punk Payback https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-to-sturgis-diary-2016-part-3-prius-punk-payback/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-to-sturgis-diary-2016-part-3-prius-punk-payback/#respond Thu, 11 Aug 2016 14:37:29 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4048 You know, I’ve been keeping a little diary of this road trip from South Georgia to South Dakota and trying to share a little bit of the journey and, with the exception of the heat and the traffic in Atlanta,...

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You know, I’ve been keeping a little diary of this road trip from South Georgia to South Dakota and trying to share a little bit of the journey and, with the exception of the heat and the traffic in Atlanta, Georgia and a suicidal bluejay in Missouri, it’s been a fun ride. Sure, I’m a little tired of the drive, but I’ve seen some beautiful country and the bike has run amazingly well and gotten great mileage as I’ve climbed in elevation – remember, I live near sea level and South Dakota is like, 3,000 feet higher than that.

It’s been an awesome ride.

But this morning there had to be that one jackass.

I’m not going to say where I was, because too many times, we have a tendency to judge based on location rather than the individual, which is ironic, considering how this fool talked to me.

I was drinking coffee outside a little gas station, minding my business and listening to a voicemail from, of all things, my Mother, and this kid (alright, twenty-something), starts riling on me about how I am part of the problem. I’m a rich white guy who is burning valuable fossil fuels to go to a bike rally and act 20 again and how many thousands of dollars have I wasted on my bike when nobody else can ride with me and … yada yada yada…

Riding to Sturgis Diary - Part 3

I really wanted to throat-punch this guy, but somewhere in my mind, the voice of my old NCO, Sgt. Kirby came out and said, “talk, don’t beat”…
So I talked.

I told the kid that I’ve owned this bike for nearly two decades, rebuilt it with my own hands three times, and that since it left Milwaukee in 1994, it was feeding American families. It helped pay the bills of the men who built it, it helped pay the bills of the men who delivered it and sold it, it has helped pay the bills of the dozens of experts who built the speed parts on it over the years.

Ironically, it keeps my bills down because I don’t have to drive a less fuel efficient vehicle to run around town and grab a gallon of milk or a carton of smokes.

Then I turned to him and his little hybrid bubble of a car and asked him – “How much did it cost to have that car shipped over here from Japan? How fuel efficient was the diesel engine in the ship? Those batteries that occasionally run your car – how long will they last and then, how will you recycle that material into a viable consumer product? At some point, in just a few years, the technology that runs your vehicle will be obsolete and you’ll either have to try to pawn that car off on someone dumber than you or take a huge financial loss – and yet this bike, that is probably older than you, will still have every part needed to service it available on the market.“

“But more importantly, kid, know that when I was your age, I wasn’t out bitching about the system or consumer goods, I stood up and defended this country in little crummy places like Panama and Columbia and Kuwait before you were a spark in your Daddy’s eye. And when I was done with that, I came back to fight on the homefront – trying to make the streets in America safe against the drug dealers and the gangsters in crappy neighborhoods all over the South. I did all that so that you can run your mouth and hide under the freedom of the very flag that protects you and keeps me from skull dragging you through this parking lot. So while I am white and I am rich, that has nothing to do with you or my bike. Now either leave me alone or come and do something about the consumer excess that you seem so worried about.”

He threw out a few select phrases that I couldn’t quite make out and then retreated to his little Toyota and sped off.

Me? I finished drinking my coffee and smoking my breakfast and got on the road for the last push to Sturgis. Ironically, the little punk was pulled over by the local cops on the side of the road…

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Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 – Part 2 https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-to-sturgis-diary-2016-part-2/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-to-sturgis-diary-2016-part-2/#respond Mon, 08 Aug 2016 13:48:04 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4044 Alright campers, the other day, I told you how I’m driving to Sturgis and, just like I said, I made it to Nashville with no issues. Oh, I hit the usual traffic in Atlanta, which if you know anything about...

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Alright campers, the other day, I told you how I’m driving to Sturgis and, just like I said, I made it to Nashville with no issues. Oh, I hit the usual traffic in Atlanta, which if you know anything about Atlanta, Georgia, you know that traffic there is bad any day that ends in “y”.

The biggest problem was that stop and go traffic is tough on air-cooled engines when the weather is near 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so I pulled over, got a Coke and a smile, and smoked my lunch. Once I was through Atlanta, no problems.

Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 - Part 2

No, the real problem was that somewhere near Joplin, Missouri, I hit a bird.

Let me explain.

I think it was a bluejay flew across the road and I smacked his ass doing about 65 miles per hour.

He hit me nearly square in the chest and about knocked me off the bike. Knocked the breath out of me and the bike got a little wobbly, but I made it to the side of the road with no issues for a smoke and I picked feathers out of my jacket for the next twenty minutes (I had it partially unzipped to give me some ventilation). Now, a few hours later, there is a blob-shaped (Or bird shaped?) bruise forming on my chest as I write this. It felt like I’d been beaned by a fastball in the big leagues.

Now, I know that this critter couldn’t have weighed four ounces, but I was leaned up like some brand new rider, stretching my back, and out of nowhere, here comes the suicidal bird. I’ve come close to hitting lots of stuff, and I even seem to recall smacking some small bird at low speed back in the day, but let me tell you what, friends and neighbors, hitting a bird at highway speed will really test your mettle.

It hurts like a sumbitch.

It hurt so bad I needed two cigarettes to get back on the bike.

So now I’m sitting in a cheap hotel not far from Omaha with an ice bag on my chest and trying to decide on taking the day off tomorrow or pushing through. The good news is that I know I didn’t crunch anything, but deep breathing – like that first drag on a cigarette with your coffee in the morning? Nope.

Nope, nope, nope.

That hurts.

The best part, though, is that I’m only a day’s ride from Sturgis and I’ll be there early enough to grab a little R and R and catch a couple of days of good sleep before things really get rolling on Main Street. Another thing I’m looking forward to seeing is the H-D Rally Point – 11,000 square feet to commemorate the brand and, of course, the new version of Full Throttle. I may go to my grave thinking the fire was a little suspicious, but from what I’ve seen, it is awesome.

I can’t wait.

I’ll give you a full report back on everything, including my wildlife adventures, but I’m looking forward to getting there.

Ride safe, guys… and I’ll tell you everything that you need to know as next week happens!

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Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 – Part 1 – Riding My Bike to Trailer Week https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-to-sturgis-diary-2016-part-1-riding-my-bike-to-trailer-week/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-events/riding-to-sturgis-diary-2016-part-1-riding-my-bike-to-trailer-week/#respond Fri, 05 Aug 2016 15:39:15 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4040 Well, I figured I’d go ahead and document my ride to Sturgis this year, especially since I’ve gotten the crazy idea to drive it on my bike. For the four of you that regularly read my column, you know that...

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Well, I figured I’d go ahead and document my ride to Sturgis this year, especially since I’ve gotten the crazy idea to drive it on my bike. For the four of you that regularly read my column, you know that it’s a long ride – about 1,750 miles, and that I’ve shipped all my “vacation” crap by UPS and will catch up with it when I get there.

Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016

I’m actually carrying just some basic tools with me, along with a couple of changes of clothes. The biggest challenge? Weather. It’s hotter than Hell here and that leads to some pretty harsh storms in the late afternoon. Thunder and lightning I can handle, but torrential rain? Nope.

Those guys in the cars can’t handle it and while I’d like to think that I’m bullet-proof, I know that I’m not sedan-proof. My goal is to actually make the ride in three days – Nashville on day one, Omaha day two, and then get into Rapid City at the end of day three. That’s where I shipped my junk to, so I’ll stay there for the night and have a little time to enjoy before the festivities really get rolling on August 8th.

So what have I done to get the Sportster ready for this ride? Well, you know that I’m rolling on a newer engine with full synthetics in it, and I’ve rebuilt or serviced everything else in the drivetrain. I have no qualms about the tranny or the clutch holding, and the brakes are in great shape. I put on new rubber a few weeks ago, so that should be good, too. My only real fear in all this is what could break that I didn’t already think about.

We’ve all been there when some silly-assed thing like a cotter pin walks out and we are stuck trying to cobble something together on the roadside (Pro tip – I’ve got a little prescription container filled with oddball cotter pins, grease fittings, and some braided stainless wire in case that happens … it just sits there in the bottom of the saddlebags). If all else fails, I’ve got a cell phone and a credit card. I’ll rent a U-Haul and drag the bike to Sturgis. I’m not missing it again.

I may or may not ever drive to it again on a bike, but I’m not missing it again.

For the most part, though, I feel that there is no reason that the bike can’t make it and the iron butt of the driver should still be there when its all over. Besides, anybody can trailer a bar hopper to Sturgis and make it look fantastic. I’m going to go, bugs and all, and have a great time.

To be continued…

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No Hauling, I’m Riding to Sturgis this Year https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/no-hauling-im-riding-to-sturgis-this-year/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/no-hauling-im-riding-to-sturgis-this-year/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 15:06:56 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4037 Way back at the first of the year, I told you guys that I was going to clock 15,000 miles this year and that I was going to ride to Sturgis this year. The way the year started, I wondered...

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Way back at the first of the year, I told you guys that I was going to clock 15,000 miles this year and that I was going to ride to Sturgis this year. The way the year started, I wondered if that was actually going to work – losing a motor does tend to slow down your ability to ride. With my recent trips to Texas and Florida, though, I’m actually ahead of schedule and Sturgis is going to put me way above where I thought I’d be this time of year…

Riding to Sturgis 2016

What? You think that me buying a tow rig was going to make me miss – or not go – to Sturgis on the back of my bike?

I am. But a journey of nearly two thousand miles starts with one thought: What the hell do I pack? Tools, clothes, miscellaneous gear – I’ve been trying to figure all that out for a couple of weeks, and I hit on a pretty interesting solution.

I’m going to ship most of my crap by UPS.

Not really that much, but I honestly can’t take too many pairs of clean underwear in my saddlebags and I’m too old to wear dirty clothes like some 20 year old Bernie Sanders supporter.

I’ll have my tool roll and enough clothes for the three days I’ll be driving, then pick up my UPS box at the UPS Store and have everything I need. No trailer, no RV, no nonsense.

I think it’s ingenious. More importantly, shipping the stuff I need will cost me about $30 versus taking the bike in tow and running two thousand miles feeding a diesel. Even better? I don’t have to be “that guy” that we all secretly dislike – the one that owns a bike but doesn’t ride it except on sunny days and had the shop do all the work. He couldn’t tune a carb if he had the manual and a six foot toolbox.

Nope, I’ll be there, dirty bike, clean clothes, and more money to spend. When everything closes down, I’ll ship it all back home, along with anything that I “had” to buy and saddle up for the ride home. I’ve got a few old friends that I can spend the night with along the way, so the party won’t really stop on the way home, either.

Of course, the real question is what do you actually need to bring on a bike trip that damn near crosses the country? Looking back on my ride to Texas earlier this month, not much. I mean, I brought a socket set, a selection of screw drivers and such, but I figured if I have a catastrophic issue, no tool is really going to solve the problem. I did determine that my tires weren’t up to par for another long jaunt, so I’ve fixed that, and I’ll probably toss a couple of carb pieces in my tool kit – but only because I have them. After all, I’m not going on safari, I’m going for a bike ride.

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Buying New Tires for Your Motorcycle https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/buying-new-tires-motorcycle/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/buying-new-tires-motorcycle/#respond Tue, 26 Jul 2016 15:08:31 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4033 Well fellas, for any of you that ride more than trailer, Sturgis is almost on top of us. Even if you have a trailer queen, you still want to look good and run smooth, and that all starts with tires....

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Well fellas, for any of you that ride more than trailer, Sturgis is almost on top of us. Even if you have a trailer queen, you still want to look good and run smooth, and that all starts with tires.

I’d noticed that the tires on the Sportster were getting a little thin, so I’ve been doing a ton of comparison shopping online the last two weeks and there are some absolute steals to be had if you can mount the rubber yourself or can get “friend” prices from your local shop.

shopping for motorcycle tires

Do yourself a favor, though – check with the shop before you roll up expecting them to slap new feet on your bike. Some guys will take exception to you trying to “better deal” them from an online vendor and what seemed like a great deal will get quickly washed away by “environmental charges” and labor that is higher than if you had bought the tires there.

Personally, I can’t blame those guys – it is kind of a slap in their face that you are trying to save thirty or forty bucks on what is really a long-term investment in your safety.

On the other hand, if you have all the goodies to do it yourself, shop online and save some bread! At the minimum, you’ll need the usual hand tools and, of course, a way to get the old tire off and mount the new tire. An air tank is another obvious piece that you’ll need, but more than a few tires have been pumped up with the old fashioned hand operated pump.

So what are the criticals that you have to keep in mind when it comes to tires? The first one is how big can you go on your current wheel. Keep in mind that bigger is not always better, but within reason, going up a size or two is not a problem. You may have some minor speedometer issues, but, of course, you’ll have the look you want. The best part of all of this is that 95%of what you need to know about your bike’s tires is already on your tires, and the rest can be found with some basic searching online. Checking out your tire’s sidewall will give you the size, the manufacturer, and the date the tires were built. Scanning the internet will likely tell you what the biggest tires you can fit will be.

While you’re shopping for those deals, though, you not only need to keep size in mind, but even more importantly is if the tires you’re looking at are bias ply or radial.

That is critical.

This is a direct reflection of how the tires are built – and affects how the tires will “feel” and more importantly, handle. Years of seat-of-the-pants driving has taught me that bias-plys give a softer ride and last longer, but will absolutely follow the road – if you frequently ride poor roads, bias-plys will “pull” you into cracks, crevices, and grooves much easier that the same tires built as radials.

Radial, on the other hand, have stiffer ride characteristics and offer more traction. Personally, the added safety margin of a radial tire, given the myriad of roads that I ride make my decision to have radial front and back. Bear in mind that there are still plenty of manufacturers that slap bias-plys on from the factory, but if you’ve ever had sudden lane change from bias-plys deciding you needed to be four feet to the left right then, my guess is that you’ll be buying radials after you clean out your pants.

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Let the Dallas Tragedy be the Last Divisive Act in this Land https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/let-the-dallas-tragedy-be-the-last-divisive-act-in-this-land/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/let-the-dallas-tragedy-be-the-last-divisive-act-in-this-land/#respond Sat, 09 Jul 2016 22:57:01 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4025 As I was sitting down to write this, the tragic news of the killing of five Dallas, Texas police officers and the wounding of 7 more is still playing over the news. As some of you that read regularly will...

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As I was sitting down to write this, the tragic news of the killing of five Dallas, Texas police officers and the wounding of 7 more is still playing over the news. As some of you that read regularly will remember, I was driving through Dallas three days ago on my way back from picking up my new truck – and it makes me sick to my stomach as a former LEO that this crap is going on. I don’t give a damn about agendas – there is no rational reason to take a human life, especially of those men and women who are sworn to defend our lives and property.

Let the Dallas Tragedy be the Last Divisive Act in this Land

Last week we spent time here in the U.S. celebrating the heroes of the American Revolution and how they stood up to a tyrannical government bent on their destruction. Today we ask for more heroes – in the government, the media, and all of society – to stand up and be counted. To stand firm and not blame guns, not blame groups, and not blame one another, but to bring this nation back to a place where it belongs – as the shining star of liberty for all men and women in the world. Not for majorities, not for minorities, not for the criminal or the cop, but for all of us.

Every single one. Only by standing together will we ever begin to heal these types of wounds – those of Orlando, Chattanooga, San Bernadino, and now Dallas are far too fresh. This is a time to put our differences out there to be discussed rationally, not apologetically. To own our responsibilities to ourselves and our families, to our laws and those who enforce them.

This is the time for leadership, not partisanship, and I want all of you guys who read this speak out to your representatives, local, state, and national, and demand that the dialogue be professional, courteous, and solution based – no matter where you live. We don’t need knee-jerk actions, we need to address the why, not the how. We need to seek answers in why families have failed to create young men and women that value human life. Why we have disenfranchised an entire generation of young people to the point that they feel the only way they can succeed is to be handed everything. Why we have empowered a group of politicians that incite not solutions but political soccer balls that they will continue to kick down the road without answer – all the while taking from the previous generations the things their predecessors promised and now will not deliver.

Let the tragic deaths of these heroes in Dallas be the last divisive act in this land – let Freedom ring again with modern heroes, not martyrs, who solve society’s troubles with actions, not poetry, and stimulate conversation, not discord.

Our prayers are with all members of the law enforcement community. May God keep you safe, and we thank you for your service.

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The Making of a Motorcycle Trailer Queen https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/making-motorcycle-trailer-queen/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/making-motorcycle-trailer-queen/#respond Mon, 04 Jul 2016 15:19:05 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4019 Okay, maybe I’m getting old, but it occurred to me, sitting under a bridge the other day, waiting out a storm, that sometimes, it may just be smarter to haul my bike to some of the places that I usually...

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Okay, maybe I’m getting old, but it occurred to me, sitting under a bridge the other day, waiting out a storm, that sometimes, it may just be smarter to haul my bike to some of the places that I usually take it. I’ve had a few hair-raising moments in heavy traffic over the years, and quite frankly, when it’s 100 degrees here in the Deep South, leather is pretty damn hot.

I look over at the cage drivers in their air conditioned boxes and think that it might be nice to have climate control once in a while.

So I’ve started looking for a newer truck to haul the scoot around once in awhile. The old Dodge has gone away, so the stable of vehicles that can haul the bike – or anything else – is a little thin right now.

Hauling a Motorcycle in a Truck

Blasphemous, I know, but I-95 is scary at times – especially after the wreck I saw there three weeks ago.

With all that said, I know that Detroit wants too damn much for a new truck, and Japan is proud of their prices, too.

For you guys up in the rust belt where the roads get salted in the winter, you guys are fighting a losing battle with used trucks, too. I’ve seen the rot that salt causes in just a few years, and I’ll never understand how you can deal with that effectively.

Enter Google search.

I found a sweet extra cab dually in my price range with all the bells and whistles that I wanted.

Four wheel drive for hauling firewood out. A/C and cruise control for when I need to not sweat my ass off. Dually for hauling the camper. Long bed for the toolbox and the bike. Automatic transmission.

Perfect.

The problem? It’s in El Paso, Texas. Exactly 1,440 miles from my house.

The seller has sent me all the videos of the truck. I asked for and the Carfax came back clean, so guess who is going to be iron butting to Texas in two days?
This guy.

The seller thought I was crazy when I made him the offer and told him I’d ride over there on my bike to pick it up and give him a cashier’s check. I told him that I’d need a place to load my bike in it – and if he could pick up a couple of small things for me at the local parts store.

I’ll pick it up on July 1, get the title, load up the bike, and drive back to Georgia.

I just hope the truck runs as good as the bike.

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Hardtail Motorcycles – Not Just for Iron Butts https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/hardtail-motorcycles-not-just-for-iron-butts/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/hardtail-motorcycles-not-just-for-iron-butts/#respond Tue, 28 Jun 2016 20:22:39 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4016 So last week a buddy of mine across state lines called me up and had just dropped a wad on a new old bike. Actually, it was a really old, beat up one that he’d found in the classifieds –...

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So last week a buddy of mine across state lines called me up and had just dropped a wad on a new old bike.

Actually, it was a really old, beat up one that he’d found in the classifieds – he showed me the ad – “Old Harley-Davidson. Needs work but engine turns over and chrome and paint are in decent shape. $6500. Call …”

What he found when he pulled up to the old man’s house was an untitled early sixties hardtail that was covered in dust and grime (which probably did protect the paint and chrome) showing 34,521 miles on the odometer.

True to the ad, the engine did turn over, the seat was torn and the springs in the seat were pretty well shot.

He offered the old man $4,000 cash right there and loaded it into the trailer.

Bastard.

That got me to thinking, though, so I rode over to his house to see the new bike and in less than 48 hours, he had torn it down and gotten it running. Sort of. The carb was leaking like a sieve, the seat was covered by an old t-shirt, and the tires were only holding about 10 psi.

Hardtail Motorcycles - Not Just for Iron Butts

But it went down the driveway.

By the time I was putting this article to post, my buddy had sent me a video (and threatened to load it onto Youtube – I’ll keep you posted) where he’d gotten the carb rebuilt and the handful of springs for the seat were in transit to his house. Seat was at the upholsterer and was supposed to be ready by the time you read this. The gas tank was being boiled out at the radiator shop and the shop felt that they could save the paint on the tank to preserve the bike as a survivor.

The worst part is that the wiring harness, as little as it is, was in great shape. He’s got plug wires ordered and with the new battery, new lubricants in the gearboxes and crankcase, and some new spark plugs, he’s into a classic Harley for a little over five grand.

Makes me want to throw up.

But all this got me thinking – how many of us would choose a hardtail? Sure, I know that plenty are built as bar hoppers, but taking that down the back roads (or even the “good” roads around here) is supposed to rattle your kidneys loose, especially if you put on some long trips.

But I figure for $5,000, I could take that chance. Look for a complete ride report in the near future once he gets the bike on the road and we’ll find out just how good old iron can be!

Keep the shiny side up.

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Hey Harley Davidson, How Much is Too Much? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/hey-harley-davidson-how-much-is-too-much/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/hey-harley-davidson-how-much-is-too-much/#respond Fri, 24 Jun 2016 20:01:35 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4011 One of the great things about having a well-connected and independently wealthy old lady who owns a technology company is that I get invited along on some great business trips. It is tough, but I manage to look pretty for...

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One of the great things about having a well-connected and independently wealthy old lady who owns a technology company is that I get invited along on some great business trips. It is tough, but I manage to look pretty for the job and try to hide the fact that my fingernails have some grease under them and I don’t regularly shave. Last week, I got the chance to go to the Bahamas and hang out in a client’s “guest house” for a few days while she was doing work and that was when I discovered that the island of Grand Bahama, which takes up less space than the county that I live in, has not one, but two Harley dealerships.

Harley Davidson Bahamas

Now bear in mind that I didn’t see any Harleys on the road – a bunch of scooters, one four wheeler, and an ancient Jap bike that looked like it was either about to die or had just been brought back. It was somewhere between going and gone. But not one modern bike and none bearing the H-D badge.

The real humor, though, was the fact that neither of these dealerships had more than 6 bikes on display. The walls were lined with merchandise, though, dozens of styles of shirts, riding gear, leather (in the tropics?), you name it. If you could stamp a “Harley-Davidson” on it, they sold it.

Except for bikes. Even though the display models were all new, they were obviously not going anywhere. Hell, the dealerships didn’t even have a proper parking lot and certainly didn’t have a place to try to take a test drive.

Now, some of you guys might throw out the idea that the exchange rate is such that it’s a great play for the tourist trade, but that actually doesn’t work in the Bahamas – their dollar has the same value as the American dollar – a true 1-1 exchange.

Nope, these dealerships were more like a big t-shirt stand that had a few extras. I didn’t dare to ask the guy what he rode, but I did note that there were no bikes in the parking lot. I’m also not even sure that he would have known how to sell a bike if I could have bought one or if anybody could have fixed one if I needed service. Even more importantly, given that the Bahamas use the English road rules – driving on the left hand side of the road, I’m not sure I would’ve been comfortable driving a car, much less a bike on them. To add insult to injury, given the driving skills I saw displayed on the Bahamian roads, I would’ve felt comfortable driving a D-9 Caterpillar, but nothing much smaller.

These cats were crazy. The one (and I do mean ONE) sane cabdriver was driving slowly because he had lost fourth gear and this had to stay in third … at all speeds. This while he was singing Gospel tunes under his breath.

It was awesome – as long as you didn’t need to buy parts for your bike.

On the other hand, I have to give it to whomever put those two stores there – they knew that we, as Harley fans – like to spend money, and if we’re someplace cool, we want a t-shirt from that dealership.

So while they couldn’t have fixed my bike if I needed it, they sure took my credit card for the three shirts I bought.

Keep the shiny side up and if you find yourself in Freeport, check out the Harley dealership with the smallest selection of bikes on the planet.

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Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/just-because-you-can-doesnt-mean-you-should/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/just-because-you-can-doesnt-mean-you-should/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2016 22:57:33 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4007 U.S. Interstate 95 forms a long black ribbon of highway from Miami, Florida to the Canadian border between Houlton, Maine, Woodstock and New Brunswick. Travelers can access any major city on the Eastern seaboard and because of that, it is...

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U.S. Interstate 95 forms a long black ribbon of highway from Miami, Florida to the Canadian border between Houlton, Maine, Woodstock and New Brunswick. Travelers can access any major city on the Eastern seaboard and because of that, it is the favorite of long-haul truckers, tourists, snowbirds, and every-damn-body trying to get to Florida.

motorcycle accident on Interstate 95

I was one of those folks last week, planning to escape the US for a week or so at a client’s guest house in the Bahamas. I had only to drive to Jacksonville, Florida and hop on a plane, and the rest was smooth sailing. As I crossed the St. Mary’s river, forming the border between the states of Georgia and Florida, Interstate 95 turned into a parking lot. All four lanes southbound were blocked, so I kicked over into the breakdown lane on the old Sportster and eased along to keep the motor from overheating. As I crept up the road, the Florida Highway Patrol was directing traffic into the opposite breakdown lane and I could slowly make out the carnage.

What was left of the bike was unrecognizable – the fairing was in one lane, broken bits nearly unrecognizable scattered for hundred of yards down four lanes of highway – and the Honda Civic crushed under the guardrail was not much better. Two ambulances sat ominously on the side on the road – lights and flashers on, and no first responders moving fast. That told me that no one made it out of this wreck alive. Since I still have the benefit of LEO credentials from my service a lifetime ago, I dropped the kickstand and asked one of the troopers on the scene what had happened.

He explained, once he saw I was ex-law enforcement, that the driver of the bike had, once he crossed into Florida, attempted to take off his helmet while driving approximately 75 miles per hour. (Florida has no helmet law). Somehow, the wind caught his lid and caused him to overcompensate for the move and he laid the bike down. The kid driving the Civic behind him was texting and never saw the cyclist until he hit him. That kid lost control and put the car into a high-speed skid and was killed when his car hit the guardrail. His passenger died while the EMTs were trying to cut him out of the car.

Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.

Whose fault was it? Ultimately, one of our own, too busy trying to be cool and not safe, caused the deaths of himself and two kids in a car. I looked it up a few days later, and he left a wife and two children behind him. The kids in the car left parents, siblings, and their whole life in front of them on that long stretch of interstate late that afternoon – all because of a single decision. Loud pipes didn’t save anybody. Nine hundred pounds of big bike went unnoticed, and what one rider thought was going to be a great weekend turned into his last ride.

Be careful, guys, because in the end, the only controls we can exert in our world are our own.

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Why Ride Factory? Rebuild Your Own Motorcycle https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/why-ride-factory-rebuild-your-own-motorcycle/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/why-ride-factory-rebuild-your-own-motorcycle/#respond Tue, 14 Jun 2016 16:40:22 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4003 So I’ve got a question. Do all of us riding Mother Davidson’s finest shrink from a little work in the garage? I think that it is pretty well documented that I love to wrench on my bike and I know...

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So I’ve got a question. Do all of us riding Mother Davidson’s finest shrink from a little work in the garage? I think that it is pretty well documented that I love to wrench on my bike and I know that plenty of other folks out there do, too.

Why Ride a Factory when you can Rebuild Your Own Motorcycle

So why do I see so many stock bikes while I’m riding?

I mean, you dropped $20,000 to ride a corporate cookie cutter with a few dealer-installed gizmos? Why? Think back to The Wild One in 1953 – a whole lot of guys that give the impression that they can fix any issue that arises and nowadays, we have riders that are worried about a summer rainstorm. Sheesh.

So if you’ve ever thought that you might just like to ride something that exudes a little more personality than your factory bike without calling up Jesse James or firing up the torch, then put on your thinking cap! You can build a bike in your garage. Period.

If I can find a complete wiring harness for a 41 year old bike on eBay in two days, then you can probably find a few bits that will let your newer bike reflect you. We already looked at how to make the seat more comfy, but 90% of the stuff that makes bikes more useful to individuals is nuts-and-bolts stuff that will magically show up at your door – with instructions on installation and, in many cases, enough YouTube videos to satisfy every question you could have.

Why not? Don’t give me that crap about resale value – your bike depreciated the minute you signed the note on it.

Money is an issue, of course, but realistically, there are tons of small things that you can do to make that bike a reflection of your personality. Even as mundane as pinstriping on the tank or a tiny bit on the frame.

How about instead of chrome, you tossed in a little rattle-can spray paint to that battery box? (especially if you have an older bike that has a funky looking box). No offense to chrome, but I have a lot of love for a hidden bit of color. Toss in some different color lights in the gauge package to give you a red or blue backlighting. Total cost? $4.00 and 10 minutes? The look Different and understated. The odds of you screwing it up? Slim.

All I’m asking is that we reach back into our heritage as tinkerers and strive to let some of that come out in how we express ourselves today as riders. If we all wanted to look alike, we’d simply drive a beige Ford Taurus or a Toyota Camry.

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Biker Diet – Ride More, Eat and Drink Less https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/biker-diet-ride-more-eat-and-drink-less/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/biker-diet-ride-more-eat-and-drink-less/#respond Thu, 09 Jun 2016 19:31:58 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=4000 Okay, I’m just gonna put this out there. Now, that’s not to say that we are perfect, but in the 1594 miles I rode in the last two weeks, I saw one seat warmer that looked good. One. And honestly,...

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Okay, I’m just gonna put this out there. Now, that’s not to say that we are perfect, but in the 1594 miles I rode in the last two weeks, I saw one seat warmer that looked good. One. And honestly, she wasn’t so much good looking as just considerably smaller than all the other ones I saw.

Biker Diet Ride More Eat and Drink Less

On the other hand, I can’t really comment on how the riders looked, but I’d say that most of us could lose 20 pounds and not miss it, but … damn. I know that I’ve written about how we as a group aren’t getting any younger, but that is unavoidable. Being a blob on the bike is. Putting two blobs on a bike is just asking for that poor drivetrain to struggle!

All of this is really kind of counterintuitive, too. You can’t eat on a bike. You can’t easily drink on a bike – maybe a big touring job you can sort of make do, but nobody is pounding down 44 ounces of refreshment on a road trip – but for the most part, all the stuff that is making us fat is not done on a bike.

So it would seem that the cure is simple – ride more, eat and drink less. Quit being a waxer and be more of a rider. Learn more about how to handle a little adversity on the road and less about using ranch dressing as a condiment.

With all that in mind, how many of you guys are going to take your scoot to work on June 16th this year (National Ride Your Bike to Work Day) and I challenge you all to get out the bike and ride it even if (gasp!) there is a cloud in the sky!

There’s an upside to the idea of getting in shape and riding more- you’ll feel better and probably live longer.

That means more time to ride because you are around to actually get on the bike rather than riding that handicapped trike at the grocery store in your leathers. (don’t try it, the battery will die).

One last thought for all you garage junkies – chances are if you look good and your old lady looks good, you might get lucky more often.

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Harley Davidson is Getting Bigger? And Better! https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/harley-davidson-getting-bigger-better/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/harley-davidson-getting-bigger-better/#respond Mon, 30 May 2016 22:34:19 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3996 Okay, I’m not a stock and bonds kind of guy. I’ve got a working knowledge of it, but it is far from my specialty. But a few weeks ago, Harley Davidson released its first quarter results and they were somewhat...

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Okay, I’m not a stock and bonds kind of guy. I’ve got a working knowledge of it, but it is far from my specialty. But a few weeks ago, Harley Davidson released its first quarter results and they were somewhat enlightening.

2016 Harley Davidson Motorcycles - Bigger and Better

H-D sold 83,000 bikes in the first quarter.

H-D saw the biggest increase in sales in Canada.

Internationally, H-D saw improved sales in nearly every market.

H-D actually made less money than they did the year before.

All that makes me smile. Why? Because it tells me that not only is Harley looking to expand internationally, they are also looking at building riders, not profits.

We’ve seen that trend reflected in some of the offerings from Mother Davidson in the last few years and I for one am glad for it. I’ve talked about it over and over again with riders and from this page – Harley Davidson has to get younger riders or all the old timers will die off and leave nobody left to buy bikes.

Let’s face it, the baby boomers are buying their last bikes and my generation still has one or two left in us, but those younger riders still have a lifetime of riding in them – and buying – if you can get them to have brand loyalty. And that is exactly what Harley is doing.

Now, the real irony is that this strategy is really just a remix of the one that really saved the company in the early 1980’s. They embraced Japanese design and workmanship and finally built a bike that didn’t “need” a tool kit just to ride on the weekend. Say what you want about the Evolution motor, but that entire design was done to boost the quality in workmanship to those levels that, at the time, were only expected from the Japanese builders.

Now, 35 years later, Harley is finally taking the battle offshore and to a more international conversation about brand.

I love it! For those of you that can’t remember those heady days of the early Evo motors, suffice to say that H-D put all their resources into quality and came out on top against their Japanese competition. Will we see more of that in the future?

I’m willing to bet on it, despite my quiet dislike of some of the quality-control and planned obsolescence that I see in the current offerings. I think that we are all watching a very interesting power play from H-D and the real fun will be not in how riders are attracted in North America, but how riders are attracted around the world to a brand that is a legend.

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Limited Edition Carbon Feather Light Beanie Helmets https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-helmets/limited-edition-carbon-feather-light-beanie-helmets/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-helmets/limited-edition-carbon-feather-light-beanie-helmets/#respond Thu, 26 May 2016 16:59:26 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3993  

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Rejoice! Ride to Work Day is Almost Here https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/rejoice-ride-to-work-day-is-almost-here/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/rejoice-ride-to-work-day-is-almost-here/#respond Thu, 26 May 2016 16:06:40 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3989 Ride To Work Day is Almost Here! Alright fellow motorcycle enthusiasts, June is almost here (holy crap!) and one of the best parts about June is that “Ride Your Motorcycle To Work Day” is going to be here on June 20....

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Ride To Work Day is Almost Here! Alright fellow motorcycle enthusiasts, June is almost here (holy crap!) and one of the best parts about June is that “Ride Your Motorcycle To Work Day” is going to be here on June 20.

Ride to Work Day 2016 is Almost Here

So that means put up the leathers, get on the suit and tie, and cruise on in … and parking will even be easier. Now, this has been going on for a few years now (since 1992!), and every rider, from scooters to hogs is encouraged to ride in to work on their trusty steed, but what a great way to impact our presence to others.

As with years past, the whole idea is to remind folks of five basic things:

  • The number of motorcyclists to the general public and to politicians.
  • That motorcyclists are from all occupations and all walks of life.
  • That motorcyclists can reduce traffic and parking congestion in large cities.
  • That motorcycles are for transportation as well as recreation.
  • That motorcycling is a social good.

Simple as that. We’re all out here and 99% of us are the “good guys”. More importantly, we all have a role to play in society and while we may have fun, we’re also just like that guy in the Honda. Well… maybe not just like him.

So I’ve told you guys this so that you can get organized and make it an even bigger day by bringing that into the previous weekend – get some rides together, maybe a charity run, something; to accentuate the ideas that RYMTW is bringing up.

Need an idea? I actually just heard this one from a longtime friend of mine on the West Coast – do a run and a cookout at the nursing home. Sound insane? Not at all! For some reason (the folks can’t hear?), the old folks at the nursing home loved it. A local group got together and did a cookout for the families and friends of the patients at the home and then had a little bike show. Had the VFW there, the Boy Scouts, even a couple of local churches chipped in and helped feed the crowd.

Who wins in that deal? Everybody!

So quit sniffing fumes and start thinking how you can impact your community right now and leverage that into a neat, low cost event that helps right there where you live and at the same time, gives you a great excuse to … well … party in a positive light.

Ride to Work Day  June 20, 2016

Now, getting back to the original idea before I had you out barbecuing at the old folks home, you can find out more about Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Day at www.ridetowork.org – they’ve been doing it for a while and they have some great stuff that I know you’ll like to see and do.

Keep the shiny side up!

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Motorcycling A Rich Man’s Game? It Doesn’t Have to Be https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/motorcycling-a-rich-mans-game-it-doesnt-have-to-be/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/motorcycling-a-rich-mans-game-it-doesnt-have-to-be/#respond Tue, 17 May 2016 16:23:20 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3985 Last weekend was the kind of weekend that everybody thinks of when they picture a weekend. Not too much to do around the house, not a lot of humidity, no mosquitoes, and some 2 inch thick ribeyes waiting for the...

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Last weekend was the kind of weekend that everybody thinks of when they picture a weekend. Not too much to do around the house, not a lot of humidity, no mosquitoes, and some 2 inch thick ribeyes waiting for the grill to heat up.

Yep, you guessed it – I got out the bike and took a three hour tour through a quiet part of the state with little traffic and no drama. Sitting at a gas station in Ty-Ty, Georgia and smoking my lunch, a younger guy (who drove up in a $50,000 diesel pickup) commented on my bike and the weather and stated how he’d love to have an old Harley but they were “too expensive” and “just for rich guys.”

I smiled at him, told him they sure could be if you wanted it that way, and then told him that I could buy my bike ten times over for what he paid for his truck, but expensive is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

Buy a Used Motorcycle to Get You in the Game

But it got me to thinking. Folks say that golf is a rich man’s sport, too, but if you really want to, you can learn to play on an old set of clubs and learn a lot about it before you spend thousands. Why are motorcycles – especially cruisers – any different?

I chewed on that idea on the way home and then decided that I’d do a little shopping in Craigslist around the different small cities in the southern U.S. and guess what? There are a lot of cheap, old bikes out there. A whole lot.

Are they sexy bikes? Not really – a 1980 Kawasaki, 1982 Honda, 1985 Honda, and an ancient Yamaha, but they were all under $350. Not one of them ran, but in my phone calls to the owners, they all acknowledged that the bikes had just been sitting due to a variety of reasons – none of them mechanical.

So I’d guess that for the price of a carb rebuild, some new fuel lines, and a battery, you could get into one of these bikes for $500 if you did the work yourself. Of course, that would require some sweat equity out of you, and you’d have to Google a bunch of stuff instead of playing on Facebook, but if you really wanted a starter bike, they are out there.

The good news? Those old Japanese bikes run forever and parts are still pretty easy to find, if you know where to look and you are strong in the ways of Google.

Now, $500 is a lot of money to some people – or the car payment this month. What’s important? That part is up to you. Personally, I think that most of us can learn how to handle all the basic maintenance on a bike right there in our own driveways and realize that the dealership has been screwing us for a while. Of course, with a newer bike with computer gizmos, you might be stuck with the stealership, but oil changes? Spark plugs? Filters?

Come on! You can get in the “game” and learn a lot, and if you don’t like it, you can get out by selling the bike for a least what you have in it. For those of us with all the bike we need and a garage full of tools, this also gives us the chance to put a new rider on one for them to “check it out” and see if the $25,000 bike is the one they really want to sign up for and buy.

Plus you get to get dirty in the garage, and what’s wrong with that. That, my friends, is most definitely NOT a rich man’s sport.

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Call to Bikers – Ideas for Helping Victims of the Fort McMurray Fire https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/call-to-bikers-ideas-for-helping-victims-of-the-fort-mcmurray-fire/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/call-to-bikers-ideas-for-helping-victims-of-the-fort-mcmurray-fire/#respond Fri, 13 May 2016 20:18:13 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3979 Alright, guys. Let’s face facts. We’re bikers. A lot of us get on the bike and pretend to be rebels, but for most of us “99 percenters”, we’ve got a mortgage, kids, debt, and real jobs.   Hell, I’ve got...

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Alright, guys. Let’s face facts. We’re bikers. A lot of us get on the bike and pretend to be rebels, but for most of us “99 percenters”, we’ve got a mortgage, kids, debt, and real jobs.   Hell, I’ve got all of that but a real job – but I do remember what that feels like.

Nearly every month in the riding season, we go off on long treks and poker runs for charities (last year I did something like 2400 miles worth), so now I’m asking all of you readers to step up.

As most of you guys probably noticed, an entire town in northern Alberta was evacuated and something approaching 2,400 homes and structures were destroyed. Fort McMurray, in the last two weeks, has simply ceased to exist due to mandatory evacuation. Now, since The Bikers’ Den is just a few hours away, I’m reaching out to all of you guys in the area to see how we might be able to help to take care some of these good folks that have lost everything.

Motorcycle Charity Ride for Fort McMurray Fire Victims

In case you’ve been under a rock, here’s some quick stats I pulled off the web about the impact of the fire – so far – remember, this S.O.B. is still burning as I write this!

  • 2,400 structures burned
  • 400,000 acres burned (for us in the States, that’s half the size of Rhode Island)
  • 100,000 citizens evacuated
  • One quarter of Canada’s oil production, which is already struggling, has been halted due to this fire.
  • The current estimated cost to fix all the damage is hovering around $9 billion Canadian.

The best news, though still tragic, is that as of right now, there have only been two casualties and only a moderate number of injuries. But thousands of lives have been changed. So here’s what I want you guys to do…

Put your thinking caps on and figure out the best ways that we, as a community, can help to raise money or resources for these folks. Water, clothes, money, whatever, and let’s ride out and be the sort of positive role models that I’m seemingly forever trying to find in our world. Reach out to your clubs, chapters, the dealerships, wherever and let’s get a plan to help these folks that were already struggling with a piss-poor economy and not a lot of help from the East coast!

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Uh-Oh! Motorcycle Fender Bender How-To https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/uh-oh-motorcycle-fender-bender-how-to/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/uh-oh-motorcycle-fender-bender-how-to/#respond Sun, 08 May 2016 23:17:48 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3973 Howdy, boys and girls. Now that virtually all of us are out on the road, the sad truth is that some of us are going to have a little fender bender. A slow lay down, a knockover in the parking...

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Howdy, boys and girls. Now that virtually all of us are out on the road, the sad truth is that some of us are going to have a little fender bender. A slow lay down, a knockover in the parking lot, something is going to happen.  In fact, we talked about this in answering a related question on Quora a while ago and while careful riders don’t get in as much trouble, sooner or later, it is liable to find you. On the off-chance that it does, there’s a couple of things that you need to remember to do – and to not do – if you have an accident involving your bike.

What to do motorcycle fender bender accident

First of all, be DOT-legal. Look, you can be Billy Bad-ass all you want, but if you’re riding a machine that wouldn’t have been safe in The Road Warrior, then expect that the police report is not going to be as favorable to you as it is to the other guy. Of course, if you’re wearing a non-DOT helmet, in some places this could put you at fault no matter what the other guy did.

Next, this is just like if you are in a car, basic Insurance 101 stuff. Don’t say anything was your fault and make sure the law gets there for an accident report. Guess who gets to determine fault? The Police! Wait it out, get the report, and let them make the determination. You may actually be at fault, but the other driver could be driving on a suspended license, drunk, or any number of other things that ends skewing the determination of fault. Keep your mouth shut.

Once the police get there, get an accident (or incident) report. Under no circumstances should you and the other driver just walk away as friends and forget about the incident. The problem with bikes is that they are pretty fragile critters and the wrong tap in the wrong place can cause tires to track wrong, vibration at high speeds, and all sort of other nasty stuff that you can’t see or feel when it’s laying on the ground. If you don’t have a report, guess who pays for it? You do, big boy. (I learned this the hard way in about 1997 in my first lay-down at low speed!) This leads to our next point… just as importantly, get yourself checked out. The bike isn’t going anywhere, so you need to get yourself checked out by paramedics, especially if you laid the bike down at any speed. When you have the adrenaline dump due to a wreck, you literally cannot feel pain, so those minor bumps and bruises could be the harbingers of much bigger issues. The ambulance is there, anyhow- make sure you’re alright. Everything else can wait.

Lastly, don’t be like everybody else and jump into a long call with your insurer. Plenty of proactive folks want to get on the phone right away and call the insurance company to talk about the accident they just had. I get it – thee insurance company can tell you about a wrecker for the vehicle and start the claim process. Guess what? You can do that at any time. The best idea is to call them after you’ve had a chance to get the accident report and get all the adrenaline out of your system – and maybe even checked on some points of your coverage with an attorney. In many states and provinces, if you aren’t at fault, you don’t have to deal with your insurance company right away (if at all), so why give them the chance to raise your rates?

In the end, the nature of the motorcycle game is that some of us are going to have a wreck. Most of us will be fine and just pick up the pieces and go on about our lives. Some of us will be injured and a few of us will die. That’s not being morbid, that’s just the odd’s we all live by. The difference for some of us will be how we have approached our own safety and how we handle any issues that arise from a great cruise.

Be safe out there!

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Using Baby Shampoo to Wash Smelly Motorcycle Helmets https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/using-baby-shampoo-to-wash-smelly-motorcycle-helmets/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/using-baby-shampoo-to-wash-smelly-motorcycle-helmets/#respond Tue, 03 May 2016 19:52:42 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3969 Okay, so this is going to sound pretty self-deprecating. My old helmet stank. You know? The one that got liberated on the college campus two weeks ago? Yeah. It really must’ve smelled awful, because my new one WSB Beanie smells...

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Okay, so this is going to sound pretty self-deprecating. My old helmet stank. You know? The one that got liberated on the college campus two weeks ago? Yeah. It really must’ve smelled awful, because my new one WSB Beanie smells amazing. I mean, it stands to reason, we sweat when we ride and our heads simply can’t get that much ventilation, so we end up with the cranial version of swamp ass … except we wash out clothes and leave the smell to fester in our helmets. That got me thinking that a fellow could wash his helmet out pretty easily and not tear up the liner and not smell years of sweat and grime every time he plopped the lid on his head.

motorcycle-helmet-liner-washing

My ex-wife used to accuse me of not paying very good attention, so it must be true.

Anyhow, I did a random sampling of helmets this week, and 7 out of 10 of you have smelly helmets. Even you bald guys…

So what’s a rider to do? Wash the damn thing! I never thought about it before, but in the name of science, I grabbed an old helmet from the back of the garage – a full face one, if that let’s you date it, and went to work. Some of the lining snaps out, put a lot of it is pretty stuck in, so I scoured up some Johnson and Johnson Baby shampoo, figuring that it would be easier on the lining, and went to work. The cheekpieces and such that just snapped out, I put in the washing machine and ran through on a “delicate” cycle (pun intended!) and they came out great and air-dried them with the rest of the helmet when I was done.

For the rest of the helmet, I filled up a tub of warm water and added in the shampoo, then submerged the helmet in it. Squished soap around in the lining and agitated it for about five minutes – just like hair – then I rinsed it out. And rinsed it out. And rinsed it out again. (Where the Hell are all these bubbles coming from?)

Finally, I got all the shampoo residue out of the helmet and wrung out all the water that I could and then set the helmet on the back porch to dry in the sun. It actually seemed to dry faster with the lining down – no doubt because gravity was drawing some water down out of the helmet and the heat was forcing some evaporation inside the helmet which went out through the vents.

The end result? This thing smells amazing! It pretty much took all day to dry, but for those of you who are trying to “weather” another summer with a rancid beanie on and using all the same old tricks – bandanas, wraps, baldness, etc… – this is a great way to easily take care of a piece of gear we all have to have and never really notice.

Now, I need to see how many miles I can put on the new beanie before it needs to get the oil changed.

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Thanks for Stealing my Beanie Helmet, Jerk! https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/thanks-for-stealing-my-beanie-helmet-jerk/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/thanks-for-stealing-my-beanie-helmet-jerk/#respond Sun, 24 Apr 2016 21:51:51 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3964 Okay, this is ludicrous. I had to meet with the Associate Dean of a local university this morning – I’m talking to him about some different courses that the school is offering to the blue collar guys – and while...

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Okay, this is ludicrous. I had to meet with the Associate Dean of a local university this morning – I’m talking to him about some different courses that the school is offering to the blue collar guys – and while I was there, some sum-bitch stole my lid off my bike.

I mean, who wants a used beanie?

I literally was in Scott’s office for an hour and when I came out, no hat on the bike.

Stolen Beanie Motorcycle Helmet

I even convinced myself that I had taken it into his office, went up, asked him, retraced my steps, no helmet. Obviously, some little #@&% took my beanie off my bike for no other reason than to steal something. Unbelievable.

The worst part was that I couldn’t very well leave, so I had to call campus security, then a buddy of mine who rides for the Sheriff’s office to get a lid, then, two hours later, I finally get home. Insane.

The one bit of good news is that I was parked in such a way as to be visible to the campus’s security cameras, so maybe – just maybe – they can figure out who it was.

I’m still amazed. I’ve been riding nearly 25 years and this is the first time anything stupid like that has happened. I mean, sure, if I was in a big city, I wouldn’t have left my helmet on the bike. But here in a little town with low crime? On a Monday morning?

I guess I’m old-fashioned. I just don’t think about taking stuff that isn’t mine – especially if I have no need for it. I know for a fact that there is nobody riding a cruiser on campus – the handful of riders there are all on crotch rockets and I’ve talked to most of them over the last few years. That means that nobody that would have been there would have a “need” for a beanie. Those guys are all full-face guys.

The way I see it was that some little jackass saw the beanie and thought it’d be cool to pilfer it. The worst part is that I know it is just going to get thrown away and never used – probably have beers served in it a time or two, then get tossed.

Duh-mazing. First they want to run us off the road, now we aren’t even safe parked! It’s enough to make me want to buy an SUV. On the bright side, I already ordered a new WSB Helmet from The Bikers’ Den before I sat down to write this, so I guess I can break in the new engine and a new skid-lid this Spring.

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Fun Times at “Bear on the Square Festival” in Dahlonega, Georgia https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/fun-times-at-bear-on-the-square-festival-in-dahlonega-georgia/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/fun-times-at-bear-on-the-square-festival-in-dahlonega-georgia/#respond Thu, 21 Apr 2016 20:07:58 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3961 Last weekend, I took the Sportster on our maiden voyage. Sure, I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles on this bike over the years, killed it few times, rebuilt it, flogged it at the track, and damn near blew it...

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Last weekend, I took the Sportster on our maiden voyage. Sure, I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles on this bike over the years, killed it few times, rebuilt it, flogged it at the track, and damn near blew it up (along with myself), but this was the maiden voyage with the new motor.

It was freakin’ awesome.

Mileage was better, performance was exceptional, and the seat rode better than it used to. I ended up going to Dahlonega, Georgia and the “Bear on the Square” festival and all told, put nearly 800 miles on the new engine with no hiccups. I’m making up for lost time!

Bear on the Square Festival

Yeah – when my buddies told me about it, I thought it was “Bare in the Square”, but it wasn’t. Bunch of mountain bluegrass style music and crafts, chill crowd, and awesome twists and turns on those mountain roads.

The bike handled it all with no drama at all.

What’s funny, though, is that last week, I guess, I mentioned that New York City is having all kinds of drama with dirt bikes on the roads, and I saw a slew of them up in the mountain roads this weekend.

…And every rider was obeying the law on the road. Yeah, I know they were technically breaking it by being on the road in a vehicle not designed for it, but nobody was hot-dogging, no “gangs” of riders picking on car drivers, no dummies slinging around hairpin turns.

At least, not these guys.

The only real schnooks I saw were the rich biker types that drove up for the day from the city. You know the type – he bought the bike, then learned to ride? He had somebody else detail the bike. The fair-weather guys were the ones acting up – and they were all old enough to know better.

But overall, they even acted pretty well and they are the ones that make me the most nervous.

The really good news, though, was that my bike played nice all weekend. I was ready, too – I had tucked about every item that I thought could help me out in the saddlebags, but never needed to even open that side.

That makes for a great weekend. For all you guys that are still trying to get your scoot out on the road, step up! Take a day, any day, and get out there.

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Over 1000 NYC Motorcycles & ATVs Seized in NYC https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/more-biker-boneheads-in-the-news/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/more-biker-boneheads-in-the-news/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 00:46:34 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3954 I may be the only guy in the world that will acknowledge that he watched Jackie Chan’s movie years ago “Rumble in the Bronx”, but I do remember that the movie seemed to have a number of dirt bikes in...

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I may be the only guy in the world that will acknowledge that he watched Jackie Chan’s movie years ago “Rumble in the Bronx”, but I do remember that the movie seemed to have a number of dirt bikes in it and I also remember thinking that dirt bikes in New York City didn’t seem to be that authentic.

I was wrong.

According to a report out last week in the New York Post, the NYPD has seized hundreds of illegal off-road bikes and quads in the city and will be having a televised “crush in” of them all at some point this Spring.

New York Motorcycle & ATV Seizures

I gotta tell you – the “Clue-o-meter” is reading zero on this one. Why on earth have a dirt bike in the Big Apple? Where in the world do you keep it? I wouldn’t leave a cup of coffee on the street in New York, much less a motorcycle of any vintage, and yet there are actually safe places to squirrel away a bike or a quad?

By embracing the power of Google, I was able to determine that apparently, these illegal bikes have a nearly cult-like following in New York and actually are channeling some of their inner “Rumble in the Bronx” gangster-wannabees by being employed to do all manner of illicit activities and speed off into the city. Aside from the purse-snatching and smash-and-grab stuff, the real problem is that the riders get in traffic and start hot-dogging and trying to stunt ride and that just makes matters worse.

The really bad part of this is that the NYPD is going to crush the stuff. Down where I live in the southern U.S., we’d happily pay for some discounted off-road bikes, and all my back-country friends would love a cheaper quad to go in the woods. I’m still not clear on how all this off-road stuff got into New York in the first place and what you are supposed to do with them in New York. My recollection of NYC is that there is too much traffic already and no amount of enjoyment has ever been had by sitting on an air-cooled bike in a traffic jam.

Maybe that’s what turned these drivers to a life of crime?

It could be me, but a review of the pictures of the illegal bikes that were seized showed a lot of street bikes that very well may no longer be legal, but sure did look pretty good. That’s a shame, since there are plenty of riders in the rest of the world that know how to ride them and would enjoy.

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“No Test Rides” Work Around? Advice for Buying a Motorcycle https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/no-test-rides-work-around-advice-buying-motorcycle/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/no-test-rides-work-around-advice-buying-motorcycle/#respond Mon, 11 Apr 2016 03:33:18 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3950 So, you are a young rider or a new rider and you are looking to buy a new bike. Maybe you have an older bike that you want to trade in and with the sheer volume of bikes out there,...

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So, you are a young rider or a new rider and you are looking to buy a new bike. Maybe you have an older bike that you want to trade in and with the sheer volume of bikes out there, you are trying to figure out what to get. You’ve looked around to try to find a friend that has one or somewhere that you could rent that bike and there isn’t one available.

“No Test Rides” Work Around? Advice for Buying a Motorcycle

Then you try to test drive a new one and the “stealership” says no. How the Hell are you supposed to learn what you like and don’t like about a bike if you can’t take it for a test drive? You can’t.

Simply put, to many bikes have been laid down on test drives and most dealerships won’t do test drives. Call it liability issues, call it profit issues, call it whatever you want, you aren’t going to spend the day tooling around on four or five different bikes just to see how they feel.

So if you don’t want to take a $15,000 gamble on how a new bike feels, what do you do? For starters, you need to be “googling” like crazy. Bear in mind that some reviews are going to be shills for the dealer or model, but if somebody is really reaming out the bike on the internet, then they are obviously not happy. Some manufacturers you just know are going to have their issues – BMW is widely acknowledged as having numerous minor issues and service problems (and Harley recently has had its minor annoyances) and that can tell you loads about the quality of the manufacturer.

But what about how the bike actually feels when you’re riding it?

Yeah, you and I both know that until you can feel how the suspension rebounds, how it corners, how it accelerates and stops; you can never get the feel of a bike sitting on it in the showroom.Here’s the deal – getting around the “no test drive” nonsense at a lot of dealerships is as simple as this: it takes some time. You need to go there this weekend, sit on a bunch and figure out which ones have the options you want – fit, feel, seat, bags, etc. Sit on a bunch and take notes. Do this at any dealer that you’d like – Harley, Victory, Indian, Kawasaki, wherever.

Here’s the deal – getting around the “no test drive” nonsense at a lot of dealerships is as simple as this: it takes some time. You need to go there this weekend, sit on a bunch and figure out which ones have the options you want – fit, feel, seat, bags, etc. Sit on a bunch and take notes. Do this at any dealer that you’d like – Harley, Victory, Indian, Kawasaki, wherever.Take those notes next week and get on the computer and learn everything you can about those bikes – maintenance, issues, service life, etc…

Take those notes next week and get on the computer and learn everything you can about those bikes – maintenance, issues, service life, etc…

When you do that, you’ll cross a bunch off the list. Maybe most of them. Next weekend, take your top three and go back to the dealership and start haggling. If you can ride your own bike up there, do so … it will lend some credence to the fact that you actually can ride. If you are really serious, the dealership in most cases will be able to arrange a test ride based on your willingness to buy (read that as you have filled out the paperwork to buy the bike “subject-to” the test ride).

Simply put, they want to know that you are really intent about buying and not just window-shopping. These days, to buy new, you have to pay to win. Good luck!

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Sportster Rebuild Project – Final Verdict https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/sportster-rebuild-project-final-verdict/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/sportster-rebuild-project-final-verdict/#respond Thu, 24 Mar 2016 22:49:56 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3945 Brothers, if spring isn’t here for most of us, it’s right around the corner and I know my friends in the Provinces are itching to get going. Make it happen, captain! All you folks that have been following my Sportster...

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Brothers, if spring isn’t here for most of us, it’s right around the corner and I know my friends in the Provinces are itching to get going.

Make it happen, captain!

All you folks that have been following my Sportster rebuild have probably noticed that I haven’t had the dyno numbers yet. I was planning on pulling 90 horses out of that regular “small” block Evo. Well, as promised, I did dyno it on March 5 and with a lot of tinkering…

The best pull was 87 horses at just shy of 6000 rpm. The Mikuni dumps a lot of fuel and the new heads just eat it up. Throttle response with the valve job and cams is extremely crisp, economy (whoever worries about that on a bike) seems to be a little better – which I chalk up to better flow through the SuperTrapp, and drivability … that most ethereal thing when it comes to a scoot … well, let’s just say I’m still getting used to how fast it reacts.

This thing is fast.

Harley Davidson Sportster Rebuild

Really fast. Like sub-5 seconds 0-60 fast. I’ve tried to keep my hand out of the throttle until we get everything fully tuned and the old hotrodder in me wants to keep torqueing stuff on the engine, but once I get 1000 miles on it, I’m going to run it for a quarter time that I’m willing to bet will be a lot closer to 12 than 13.

So what is the final verdict? I was able to upgrade this bike to a newer and more efficient engine making more power and torque for a hair less than $3500 US. Given the fact that the current numbers from the dyno session give me comparable power to the big-engined newer Sportsters and keep older, more driveway-friendly electrical and fuel management systems in place that I can actually work on means that maintenance costs will be lower longer term.

And I still don’t have a payment on it.

Should you consider a project like this? If you have some mechanical ability and resources, Hell yeah! The Evo-engined Harleys can make great numbers, have tons of aftermarket goodies, and are reliable as a brick. What’s not to like? The best part is that the systems in them are, for the most part, easy to understand – tuning a carburetor is tuning a carburetor, no matter whether it’s a Holley Double-Pumper or a Mikuni.

Think about it like this – Joe Sixpack doesn’t know a new bike from a late model but even your six year old knows what a Harley sounds like and looks like. Old iron can make some great power and not cost a fortune to achieve, so why not think about tweaking your own? Just don’t do it right now – it’s Spring and it’s time to ride!

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Getting Yourself Ready for the Riding Season https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/getting-ready-spring-riding/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/getting-ready-spring-riding/#respond Tue, 22 Mar 2016 21:26:04 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3942 Here we go! Spring is so close that I can smell it and for all of us who are starting to get an itchy throttle hand, I have to talk about what we’re looking forward to.For those of you who...

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Here we go! Spring is so close that I can smell it and for all of us who are starting to get an itchy throttle hand, I have to talk about what we’re looking forward to.For those of you who have followed the blog, the Sportster is up and running and I’ll have all the news on it in the blog this week. More importantly, today, let’s talk about getting your bike ready for Spring. Now, I’ve done plenty of articles on winterizing your bike  and a couple on getting your bike ready for Spring, but let’s talk about the most important component of a motorcycle – the loose nut behind the handlebars.

Get Yourself Ready for Spring Riding

First off – even though you say you’re “ready” to get on the bike, are you really? A winter of driving a 3 ton SUV with snow tires does things to reaction time and attention span. At the same time, are you physically ready, too? Are you carrying a little extra weight making the leathers a little restrictive? Now is the time to figure that out and a few extra pounds can be shed a lot easier than 30. Spend some time being realistic about how much “ass time” you can really handle in the saddle of your bike before you decide to ride across the state the first time you fire up that V-twin.Next, but just as important, is how does your gear look? Did you just toss it in the closet last fall or pack it away carefully? More than a few posers don’t take care of the leather and find out the hard way in the Spring that wet leather rots in the moist environment of a bad pack job. If you didn’t do it last fall now might be a great time to have all your riding leather dry cleaned (I know, sounds silly, but it truly can make your stuff look like new and last seemingly forever. I have a pair of chaps that is well into its second decade and has survived one slow lay down simply because a.) I bought the best I could afford and b.) I’ve taken great care of them). Bite the bullet and get the leather cleaned by a pro while you’re getting the bike ready.

Next, but just as important, is how does your gear look? Did you just toss it in the closet last fall or pack it away carefully? More than a few posers don’t take care of the leather and find out the hard way in the Spring that wet leather rots in the moist environment of a bad pack job. If you didn’t do it last fall now might be a great time to have all your riding leather dry cleaned (I know, sounds silly, but it truly can make your stuff look like new and last seemingly forever. I have a pair of chaps that is well into its second decade and has survived one slow lay down simply because a.) I bought the best I could afford and b.) I’ve taken great care of them). Bite the bullet and get the leather cleaned by a pro while you’re getting the bike ready.Of course, you may find that some gear has disappeared or storage was unkind to it (I had a mouse’s nest in one of my gloves one winter – looked, smelled , and felt awful). Go ahead and get the new stuff ordered before everybody else realizes that they need it too. (link to jackets/etc…) And of course, if you decided to grow out your hair from that buzzcut you’ve worn since high school, you need to check that your skid lid still fits right. When I cut off my long hair (think James Hetfield from Metallica circa 1992), I found out that my beanie suddenly didn’t fit tight and kept lifting off at any speed over 45 mph.

Of course, you may find that some gear has disappeared or storage was unkind to it (I had a mouse’s nest in one of my gloves one winter – looked, smelled , and felt awful). Go ahead and get the new stuff ordered before everybody else realizes that they need it too. (link to jackets/etc…) And of course, if you decided to grow out your hair from that buzzcut you’ve worn since high school, you need to check that your skid lid still fits right. When I cut off my long hair (think James Hetfield from Metallica circa 1992), I found out that my beanie suddenly didn’t fit tight and kept lifting off at any speed over 45 mph.Take the next few weeks to get “fit” to ride –get a little exercise, check your hand-eye coordination, and make sure all your gear and accessories fit right and do what they are designed to do. I know that the snow is still melting in some places and over on the left coast, they are still getting socked, but the Spring is coming, I promise.

Take the next few weeks to get “fit” to ride –get a little exercise, check your hand-eye coordination, and make sure all your gear and accessories fit right and do what they are designed to do. I know that the snow is still melting in some places and over on the left coast, they are still getting socked, but the Spring is coming, I promise.

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It’s Alive! Sportster Project Fires Up https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/its-alive-sportster-project-fires-up/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/its-alive-sportster-project-fires-up/#respond Mon, 29 Feb 2016 19:11:13 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3921 It’s Alive! The Evo fired up and made noise today! After nearly 6 weeks of drama and a lot of late nights in the garage … and a little cussing … I got the Sportster to fire up and idle...

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It’s Alive! The Evo fired up and made noise today! After nearly 6 weeks of drama and a lot of late nights in the garage … and a little cussing … I got the Sportster to fire up and idle smoothly. Now, there is still a ton of work to do since I have damn near everything taken off the bike, but the heavy lifting is done. Even more importantly, it’s going to be fairly warm and clear here this weekend, so I can get everything cleaned up and reinstalled for my testing on the road.

Now even though the machining is done, I’ve still got a ton of tuning, and based on how that new Mikuni bogged down when I bumped the throttle past 1/4, we might have some work cut out for us. Even more so, since I have a date with the dyno on March 5. A friend of mine who has built more engines than Honda is letting me use his shop for an afternoon and I’m really trying to pull 90 horses from this build.

I know, I know. That’s a power trip out of an 883, but I had a dyno’d 78 in the last engine and I’ve got more fuel and better flow through the heads now along with more compression – and the SuperTrapp should be good for a few extra ponies, too.

Right now some of you guys are looking at me like I’m speaking Japanese, and maybe I am. Nobody needs a bike that pulls that kind of power. 55 miles per hour is still the law on most of the roads I ride, and higher compression means that I really have to be careful of the timing and fuel quality.

Harley Sportster Project - Its Alive

But right now, let’s remember how it feels to open up that throttle on an empty road, no matter what kind of bike you ride. Feel the wind add a little lift to your helmet? Hear the exhaust echo through the hills? Here it “pop” down when you come off of a bunch of throttle and just let the bike slow down on its own? I’m writing that now, but feeling it when I look out in the garage and see my bike and the possibility of all the new roads it will take me down again.

Suddenly, all the time and money don’t seem that important to me and getting back to those days on a bike, with the sun warming the leather and the feel of the best motorcycle I can build sitting under me? Well, that’s why we all ride.

Spring is coming, my friends, and for all of us, that’s enough to know and be thankful for.

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Steps to Reduce the Risk of Injury While Riding https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/steps-to-reduce-the-risk-of-injury-while-riding/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/steps-to-reduce-the-risk-of-injury-while-riding/#respond Fri, 26 Feb 2016 05:55:14 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3916 The following question was recently asked on Quora.com and we thought we’d add our 2 cents to some already good answers… Read Bikers' Den's answer to What steps can you take to reduce the risk of being injured while riding...

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The following question was recently asked on Quora.com and we thought we’d add our 2 cents to some already good answers…

Read Bikers' Den's answer to What steps can you take to reduce the risk of being injured while riding a motorcycle? on Quora

Let’s start with some basics – I don’t believe that motorcycles are any more likely to be involved in a wreck than any other vehicle. Truth be told, I think bikers are less likely to be involved in an accident because we know that any accident can be fatal. Of course, the smartest place for a new rider to start is to know how to ride – either a safety course from a dealership, a mentor who can show you the ropes, or just using common sense and asking questions.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, how do you keep the shiny side up? After two decades on a bike, I’ve got some opinions:

  • Wear some armor. For the cruiser set, this invariably means black leather and for the crotch-rocket guys, this means everything from Kevlar and Cordura to brightly hued leather in every color of the rainbow. The end result is the same – if you hit the pavement at any speed, your clothing gets torn up, not you. “Road rash” is not fun to look at, much less experience. This also extends to helmets and gloves, but everybody has an opinion on them. Mine is simply to make sure that you have great ones. Bear in mind that riding boots are meant to do this too – so ditch the wingtips that you wear to the office and get high quality boots. Anybody wearing flip flops on a bike should be locked in the trunk of a Honda.
  • Keep your head on a swivel. About a hundred years ago, my high school football coach taught me to constantly be on the lookout for chances to level players on the opposite team. He termed it “head on a swivel” and the idea is that you were always looking around you to see what the other team was doing and to keep you from getting waylaid by them. It’s the same on a bike – you need to constantly be observing traffic on the road – is somebody merging with no blinker? Are they trying to eat lunch and talk on the phone while steering with their legs? Are they going far above or below the posted speed limit? Are you?
  • Weather the storm. Don’t try to prove your testicular fortitude by riding in inclement weather. Remember, you only have two tires on the ground, and effectively one brake. Anything that reduces your ability to observe your surroundings (rain, wind, poor lighting, etc…) can be catastrophic. If you have to ride at night, see my next point.
  • Pick your route carefully. Most of us as bikers like the idea of being “in” the place we’re riding rather than observing it through the windows of the car. The easy answer to picking your route carefully is to stay off the interstate and stick to the backroads and highways. Not so fast – I can’t count the number of times that I have been bounced around by frost heave or potholes that I didn’t see until the last second – and if I hadn’t really been focused, it could have been disastrous. Being off the beaten path also means you may have to deal with wildlife – and even though it’s funny to me now, pegging a Blue Jay at 55 miles per hour was a truly painful experience for me as a young rider – and damn near knocked me off the bike. I wore a bird-shaped bruise on my chest for three weeks and picked feathers out of my jacket for months afterwards.
  • Keep your nose clean. I shouldn’t even have to say this, but if you even think you should have a few beers (or anything else) and then take a ride, you should be in the trunk of that Honda I mentioned earlier. Any sort of distraction can cause issues, even listening to the radio, and if your sense of balance is the only thing keeping you and 800 pounds of bike upright, then you need all the help you can get. I don’t want you looking for the iPod buttons when you should be noticing the teen driver texting in the next lane.

Reduce the risk of injury while riding a motorcycle

Let’s face it, this isn’t rocket science, but a bike does demand more from a rider than a car. For many “average” riders, they simply don’t have the windshield time to know how to handle any given situation, so they need to be more focused on the task at hand. I could pilot my old Ford Police Interceptor past 110 mph in a pursuit, report on the radio, drink coffee and eat a pastry all at the same time. Motorcycles demand more and we have to give it to them or they can take everything away.

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Brad Pitt to Star in an SOA prequel? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/brad-pitt-to-star-in-an-soa-prequel/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/brad-pitt-to-star-in-an-soa-prequel/#respond Tue, 23 Feb 2016 21:19:20 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3908 Alright! Enough already! Ever since Sons of Anarchy (SOA) went off the air in December on 2014, folks have been clamoring for more. Prequel, sequel, lost editions, spin-offs – nobody cares, as long as Kurt Sutter does something that ties...

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Alright! Enough already! Ever since Sons of Anarchy (SOA) went off the air in December on 2014, folks have been clamoring for more. Prequel, sequel, lost editions, spin-offs – nobody cares, as long as Kurt Sutter does something that ties directly to SOA (I know, the whole Mayans thing is cool, but plenty of folks want straight up SOA stuff, too).

New Sons of Anarchy Prequel starring Brad Pitt

I mean, some of these fans would be good with an SOA cookbook, but for the rest of us, the idea of learning a little more about how it all got started, or at least some of the cool stuff that we think might have happened back in the day – that just gets us hot and bothered.

Well, it seems that it might be even better than what we could ever have hoped for, because if the rumors are true (and they appear to be), Brad Pitt will be the guy playing a young John Teller. Brad Pitt.

Brad Pitt to star in SOA spinoff

Now, some of you guys will think that maybe that’s just weird. Personally, the idea of Pitt playing Teller as a young man just back from Vietnam and trying to sort out all that has happened to him and his country and the wild days of the 70’s?

You guys know me – I’ll watch it just because I love the bikes from that time (although I don’t like the reliability). I can’t think of a better actor to bring a time and a place – and a character to life than a dynamic actor like Brad Pitt. He can bring the grit that Teller has, he can bring the emotion of that entire decade and creation story to life.

If you aren’t chomping at the bit for this, you either can’t be satisfied or you have your head in outer space. The best part is that Kurt has apparently been thinking through all this and figured out that by choosing the really early time and formation of the club, he doesn’t disturb the story that we’ve all learned. He’s able to write it purely as he doesn’t have anything screwing up the story because it’s too lose to all the “facts” we SOA junkies have memorized.

The downside? Nobody seems to be really clear on when this might actually hit and be available. Now I know that we will keep our ears to the ground and let you know, but if you hear something that we didn’t, let us know and we’ll track it down and let everybody else know.

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Answer to Quora Biker Question – Do All Motorcyclists Really Go Down? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/do-all-motorcyclists-really-go-down/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/do-all-motorcyclists-really-go-down/#respond Mon, 15 Feb 2016 08:17:10 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3900 We thought it was time to take another stab at answering a motorcycle related question on the “Question/Answer” site Quora.com. We considered answering some mechanical type issues or first time rider questions when we came across this one and couldn’t...

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We thought it was time to take another stab at answering a motorcycle related question on the “Question/Answer” site Quora.com. We considered answering some mechanical type issues or first time rider questions when we came across this one and couldn’t resist. We’d love to hear what you think so please don’t hesitate to add your comments.

Read Bikers' Den's answer to Do all motorcyclists really "go down"? on Quora

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Sportster Engine Build – Continued https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/sportster-engine-build/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/sportster-engine-build/#respond Mon, 08 Feb 2016 08:30:42 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3893 Alright! Nobody did anything stupid in the world of motorcycles and Social Media so I can talk about my Sportster engine build! For starters, understand that I am modifying a bike that has been in a state of continuous modification...

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Alright! Nobody did anything stupid in the world of motorcycles and Social Media so I can talk about my Sportster engine build!

For starters, understand that I am modifying a bike that has been in a state of continuous modification for the better part of two decades. Longtime readers know that even though this is a ’94, I pinch-hit the wiring harness from a ’95 into it.

That being said, this is far from a normal bike.

So ordering go-fast goodies is a bit of a chore – I have to remember what the original motor was, what the second motor was, what the new harness is, and what I did in that new harness.

Needless to say, my list of manuals for this swap and build is extensive. Between Clymer and Mother Davidson, I bet I have $200 in well-thumbed performance manuals sitting in the garage (here’s a hint – buy them used online – you’ll save a fortune).

The good news is that the block that I blew up was already pretty hot. It still had the 1212 small fin conversion moons ago, so I already had a chassis that was ready for this rebuild. I’d also long ago heated up the ignition to make use of a previous “head job” that I got, so I wasn’t worried on that part.

The new goodies, though, are a NOS set of Andrews N4s that I got mislabeled at a show some years back – it pays to know what the other guy thinks they are selling. Somebody put them in a “stock” box and this guy sold them as “stock” H-D cams.

Since I scored this long block used on the cheap, too, I put the real money into some bolt-ons – although I am having the heads reworked by a friend of mine that has some real knowledge of making Stage 3 power out of the Evo motor. Whether you like it or not, I bought the bullet (not bit) and ordered a Mikuni 42 and sold the old S & S. I’ve run the S & S for eons on a few bikes – largely because I was told to. So I’ll see how the Mikuni runs with that extra “oomph”. Yeah, it’s a $400 gamble, but why not? You only get so many fast bikes before you get stuck in the nursing home, so in 20 years, will I miss that $400? Not one bit.

Sportster Engine Build

Lastly, I’m also going to slip on a SuperTrapp 2 into 1 instead of the old open design I had. Call me crazy, but I really want to see how good they are. Stepping up to the Mikuni, though, I know that I need it.

Now I just need to get it all built and installed and get my big behind back on the road. While you guys up North are stuck with snow, we had thunderstorms and tornadoes last night. Having a bike in pieces and parts in my garage made it hard to get anything else undercover, so I decided, in the midst of 50 mph winds, that I will be back on the road, tested, dyno’ed, and tuned, by March 1.

I gotta get to work!

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Colorado Shooting Stains Biker Reputations Even More https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/colorado-shooting-stains-biker-reputations-even-more/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/colorado-shooting-stains-biker-reputations-even-more/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:07:34 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3890 Well, here we go. I was all set to share my shopping list of stuff for the new Evo for the Sportster – and the garage is getting full of boxes and the block is back from the machine shop… and...

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Well, here we go. I was all set to share my shopping list of stuff for the new Evo for the Sportster – and the garage is getting full of boxes and the block is back from the machine shop… and some idiots had to go and get in a gun and knife fight at a bike show in Denver.

The other day, at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado some bike club members in leather decided that stabbing each other and a gunfight was a great thing to do at a motorcycle expo.

In Denver.

Colorado Shooting Stains Biker Reputations Even More

Denver!

Marijuana is legal there! Why fight? Did somebody eat the last oreo?

Come on, guys! This wasn’t a sit-down between gangs like in Waco last spring – this was some idiots trying to kill each other in public.

We gotta do better.

As a guy who always carries at least a pocketknife and usually a concealed pistol, I can only think of a handful of times that I have ever pulled Colonel Colt’s Equalizer out in 20 years. Never in a crowded place. Never without fear for my life. Never where innocent folks could get hurt or killed.

Yet here we have some deranged fools thinking they are the new version of the Sons of Anarchy, making mess of a show and making us all look like fools.

I said it last spring and I’ll say it again: This makes all of us criminals. When you leave the bar after one beer, you are now going to be profiled. If you aren’t wearing a DOT helmet, you are going to get ticketed. These guys in Denver just made us all one-percenters and we didn’t do anything.

Bastards.

Do I know the whole story? Nope. But I know that there were kids there. Parents. Grandparents. Taxpayers. Probably a preacher or two as well.

All in the same gang now.

All for what I’ll bet we find out was a trivial affront to a misguided ego.

Last week, you may remember I wrote about that jackass from Texas that could care less if you, as a motorcycle enthusiast, live or die? Yeah. Guess what he’s thinking? “Told you they’re all vermin!”

How many other folks made that determination because we “look” scary? Now we are, too.

All you guys that want to ride through Colorado this year on the way to Sturgis or just take an amazing trip through beautiful country? Keep your nose clean. The cops are going to be on you and it appears that our own folks will be, too.

Now, if everybody can stay calm for a week, I’ll be able to give you the details on the Stage 3 build I’m doing on the Evolution. The only parts I still need to be delivered are the Rivera clutch and I’m hoping that the heads will be done this week. If not, I can still start putting everything together and I’m aiming to get 100 horses out of it. As light as this bike is, it is going to scream.

Keep the chrome side up-

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Bigger is Better Mentality a Danger to Bikers https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/bigger-is-better-mentality-a-danger-to-bikers/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/bigger-is-better-mentality-a-danger-to-bikers/#respond Sat, 30 Jan 2016 04:16:11 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3887 Well, with the demise of the Evo in my bike, I had planned on writing a little bit of what I was going to build into the new engine. Right now, I have a slew of parts on order and,...

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Well, with the demise of the Evo in my bike, I had planned on writing a little bit of what I was going to build into the new engine. Right now, I have a slew of parts on order and, as these project go, this one has started to suffer a little “scope creep” since I was able to score a bunch of free shipping.

Yeah. I’m easy to upsell.

Well, that’s what I was going to do, until a friend of mine in Baton Rouge posted a link to the International Brotherhood of Motorcycle Riders page on Facebook.

Now, I can’t confirm if this was real (I hope not) or just a troll online, but one “Clifford Gibson” of Odessa Texas posted on Facebook last year (yeah, I know I’m behind) a long rant that really just comes down to this:

“I do NOT care about bikers lives,” (yes, he did not use correct punctuation) is just one of the highlights that Mr. Gibson rants about. He goes on to imply that bikers aren’t smart enough to choose a bigger vehicle with a higher survivability rating in a crash – somehow we should all trade in our bikes and get large SUVs. Dirtbag.

Bigger is Better Mentality a Danger to Bikers

Guys, be careful out there.

This is the same idiocy that will kill too many of us this year. This idea that somehow because you have a bigger car, you are less culpable in an accident. In all the hundreds of thousands of miles I have logged in a car or a bike, I have never once seen a biker reading the morning paper, texting, or talking on a phone. I daresay that bikers are the more responsible drivers, since we know how high the stakes are for us in a crash. Whether you hit a Smartcar or a semi, if you go chrome-down on the highway, bikers don’t walk away.

I’m willing to bet, though, that when 80,000 pounds of dump truck is bearing down on this piece of **** on the highway, he gets all bent out of shape and screams offense at the big guy in the road.

I know most of us have our bikes up for the winter, and now I do, too, but guys, please, please, please – watch out. To have somebody willingly post this kind of childish rhetoric online – where it lives forever – is a threat, plain and simple. I guess I have to ask, when this schnook actually does kill a rider, what defense does he give? Now we know his true colors, so to me, it ceases to be vehicular manslaughter and goes straight to murder.

And the voting public could care less – about a dead rider or about this guy’s hatred of our way of life.

Ride smart, keep it out of the ditches, and keep your head on a swivel.

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Decisions After Blowing Up the Harley https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/decisions-after-blowing-up-the-harley/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/decisions-after-blowing-up-the-harley/#respond Sun, 17 Jan 2016 18:52:31 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3883 Well, fellas, it’s time for some new goodies. I kinda blew up the Harley. Actually, I blew a chunk out of the block when I wound out third. 94,378 miles and nearly three quarts of oil down the drain. So now I...

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Well, fellas, it’s time for some new goodies. I kinda blew up the Harley. Actually, I blew a chunk out of the block when I wound out third. 94,378 miles and nearly three quarts of oil down the drain.

So now I have to figure out if it makes more sense to scrap the whole thing and find a new project for the next few months. Really, though, since I know every inch of this bike after all these years, I’m seriously considering building a monster V-twin and massaging that one into my frame.

Come to think of it, my occasional riding buddy does have a 90 Evolution motor sitting in his barn. He laid it down with no insurance with 8900 miles. He made it out with just a little rash, but the bike skidded 125 feet and stopped in a diner wall. In a diner wall!

Harley Davidson Shovelhead Engine

I guess the good news is that I was only 14 miles from the house when the motor ka-boomed. Yeah, I’ve been tearing through every go-fast website looking at my options and looking at an awful lot of what the old lady calls “bike porn” – no, not Easyrider, get your head out of the gutter – and at the same time, that test ride on the Chieftain last week keeps coming back to me.

Did I taunt the Harley gods, and this is how they smite me? I’ve never dished on H-D – except when I tell the truth, but I really don’t want to rip this bike apart to put a motor in it and I want a bike payment like I want to zip my manhood up in my pants. Either way, it sucks.

So for all you out there stuck in the snow, I now know what it feels like to not be able to hop on my bike whenever the urge strikes. I’m going to get my ass in a seat soon, but what it will be is anybody’d guess. I’m still going to do 15,000 miles this year like I said, but there may be a lot more “shakedown” miles locally than going all over the southern U.S.

And then again, I might find a shovelhead in a barn next week.

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2016 Indian Chieftain – Fusing Classic Style with Modern Innovation https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/2016-indian-chieftain-fusing-classic-style-with-modern-innovation/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/2016-indian-chieftain-fusing-classic-style-with-modern-innovation/#respond Tue, 12 Jan 2016 16:03:47 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3878 I think everybody, by now, knows that I like old stuff. Old bikes that you can actually fix in your driveway. Old houses that have some history and craftsmanship in them. I love old guns made between World Wars. In...

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I think everybody, by now, knows that I like old stuff. Old bikes that you can actually fix in your driveway. Old houses that have some history and craftsmanship in them. I love old guns made between World Wars. In every industry, there is a period when labor costs and material costs hit a perfect balance and the craftsmanship produced then is amazing.

When it comes to bikes, and V-Twins especially, most of us want to think that period was in the fifties or sixties. No way. Jump on a scoot from those days and you are going to be tinkering at some point in your ride. Personally, that period for Harley didn’t really show up until the Evo motors of the eighties and nineties and the wiring harness after ’94.

So as much as it hurt to do it, I checked out and took an Indian Chieftain for a spin last week. Brand new. Big. Fast. And it could not only haul ass, it could haul all the stuff you’d need for a weekend. First impression? I like baggers but really don’t want one, but this was an amazingly well built bike. Indian got the styling cues right in this one – balanced fenders, the headdress logo on the tank, and the War Bonnet emblem on the front fender pay tribute to its predecessors. The Chieftain’s thunderous V-Twin does likewise as the design of its fins and parallel pushrod tubes were borrowed from Chiefs of the early 1940s.

Indian Chieftain 2016

It really was styling cues like that which caught my eye – it looks like an old bike. Turns out, though, it has a host of new goodies – power windscreen that raises and lowers at the push of a button, cruise control, saddlebags that lock remotely, keyless ignition and ABS. Yes, Indian has done a bang-up job of finding the happy median between old and new.

The nice thing was that, for a touring bike, everything felt right. The seat, the acceleration (Indian claims a 5.3 second 0-60 mph and I’d believe it), the positioning of all the controls. The front fairing not only looks slick, it shields riders well. The solo seat from the Indian accessories catalog is shaped sound and supports riders with no pressure points. The floorboards are long so you can shift your feet around on those occasions when fatigue does settle in and the riding position is open and relaxed for a six-foot-tall rider. The suspension set up also makes long stints in the saddle that much easier. Though it runs a single shock on the rear, the ride is smooth and rebound feels ideal. The pneumatic rear is preload adjustable but requires a hand pump and the removal of the left side cover below the seat to access the air fitting above the fuse box.

The best part? While I was running it, hustling through some of the tighter bends in the road the Chieftain required constant input at the handlebars to keep it on the desired line. Not every rider wants that, but to me, that is what makes a bike an experience. If you want a car, get one. I still didn’t have to put any real effort into initiating a turn because the front fairing doesn’t inhibit steering despite being fork-mounted and cornering clearance is fairly ample. With a little pressure on the rear brake and just the right amount of friction on the clutch, the big bike is manageable at low speeds. Its center of gravity sits low thanks in part to a laden 26-inch seat height. Add in the fact that the seat is fairly slim where it meets the tank and planting two-feet firmly on the ground is a fuss-free affair.

Simply put, this is a really well designed bike. Am I going to trade in my old Evo-powered Harley? Nope. But for a computer bike with all the gizmos, this one is worth a look. Especially if you can’t ride yours right now.

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Ashes and Ashpalt – A Biker Novel by Trevor Halloway https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/ashes-and-ashpalt-a-biker-novel-by-trevor-halloway/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/ashes-and-ashpalt-a-biker-novel-by-trevor-halloway/#respond Tue, 05 Jan 2016 05:08:38 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3872 Though banned in parts of Portland, “Ashes and Asphalt” is still riding strong. Follow along estranged brothers, Mike and Kyle Byrne, as they carry their dad’s ashes 2,000 miles to Sturgis. Available in e-Book and paperback

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Though banned in parts of Portland, “Ashes and Asphalt” is still riding strong. Follow along estranged brothers, Mike and Kyle Byrne, as they carry their dad’s ashes 2,000 miles to Sturgis.

Ashes and Ashphalt
Available in e-Book and paperback

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2016 Motorcycle Resolutions https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/2016-motorcycle-resolutions/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/2016-motorcycle-resolutions/#respond Sat, 02 Jan 2016 19:03:24 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3866 Here we go! New Year, new resolutions, and I’ve decided to write two sets of them. The first is that standard crap – lose weight, make more money, save more of the money I make and invest it intelligently… yada,...

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Here we go! New Year, new resolutions, and I’ve decided to write two sets of them. The first is that standard crap – lose weight, make more money, save more of the money I make and invest it intelligently… yada, yada, yada.

2016 Motorcycle New Years Resolutions

The fun one, though, is all the stuff I’m going to do that is motorcycle related (and I got a bunch of gift cards that I managed to activate and will spend on biker gear). Anyhow – here’s my 2016 Motorcycle Resolutions:

  • Log 15,000 miles on the Sportster this year. (2015 I got 12,732)
  • Keep the dirty parts cleaner – and facing down.
  • Road trip to the Wisconsin Motorcycle Memorial Park, but not join the club.
  • Teach 5 young people to ride.
  • Ride US 278 from one end to the other, then turn south and head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in New Orleans on February 9. If the weather holds!
  • Keep my eyebrows (readers will remember that I had the chance to blow them off about halfway through 2015)
  • Not develop the need to replace my leather.

How about you guys? I know a bunch of ya’ll are up to your asses in snow, but now is the time to plan all those cool road trips in the spring and summer. Trade in some of those gift cards for gear and get your scoot ready, because it is going to be time to ride soon enough. No sense in trying to figure it out then, figure it out now and make the plans, that way, you know exactly who to blame when those plans get screwed.
Keep the shiny side up guys! Happy New Year!

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MMA Fighter Adam Sandoval is Scootin’ America https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/mma-fighter-adam-sandoval-is-scootin-america/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/mma-fighter-adam-sandoval-is-scootin-america/#respond Mon, 28 Dec 2015 20:04:19 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3863 Well, here we are, beginning of 2016, and half the continent is freezing and the other half is 75 degrees. Down here in the southern U.S., we are enjoying some amazing weather – and some bad rain – and I...

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Well, here we are, beginning of 2016, and half the continent is freezing and the other half is 75 degrees. Down here in the southern U.S., we are enjoying some amazing weather – and some bad rain – and I still haven’t put the bike up. Of course, looking at the weather, it appears that I may not be riding this weekend since it may actually get into the mid-forties, but I can’t complain.

The best part of this weird weather is that there is a young man doing a lot of good on a bike and he has trekked thousands of miles for a great cause. Adam Sandoval is an MMA fighter who is visiting every Harley dealership in the Lower 48 states. On a Harley. With a Chihuahua named Scooter riding with him. If I hadn’t seen it, I would’ve thought it was crazy.

MMA Fighter Adam Sandoval  is Scootin' America

Now, I have to say this, every now and again, I’ll see somebody riding with a dog. Not common, but not uncommon either. But these two have logged something like 50,000 miles together. Seeing a guy that looks like he just mopped the floor with five guys and a 7 pound dog peeking out of a bag on the luggage rack is a sight you won’t soon forget.

I caught up with Adam and Scooter at the Harley dealership in Greenville, South Carolina the other day, and it was great. The refreshing part is that Adam and Scooter are raising money for United States soldiers that have fallen in the service of their country. For a veteran, this would be a noble cause, but Adam is doing this precisely because he isn’t a vet – he’s proud to be able to give back to the men and women who make his freedom possible every day.

That is a truly noble thing, and I was proud to meet him and ride a couple of miles with him. As we go forward into 2016, let’s all see how we can give something back to our community and our countries. I know I don’t usually link to other sites in these blogs, but this was a really cool thing that this young man is doing, so for more information, check it out at Scootin America. Who knows, maybe it will give you guys a great idea. I mean, spending a year on a bike traveling is a pretty cool idea.

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Honoring Fallen Bikers through Charity Toy Runs https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/3858/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/3858/#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2015 18:20:07 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3858 So Happy Harleydays! As we close out the year, I want to talk about one simple thing – how are we seen in our community? Two weeks ago, I took a long weekend to do a run in St. Pete,...

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So Happy Harleydays! As we close out the year, I want to talk about one simple thing – how are we seen in our community?

Two weeks ago, I took a long weekend to do a run in St. Pete, Florida – especially since the weather here in the southern U.S. has been amazing. This was the Jim Rosenkrans Memorial Toy Run on the west coast of Florida and it was awesome – it was a little wet, but it made a ton of a difference in a lot of kids’ lives. I want to thank ALL the clubs that turned out – and all the independents (like me!) who drove out to do it.

Jim Rosenkrans Memorial Bike Run

It was a great year and we hope to have another one next year. We had a lot of feedback that the run was much slower this year. For safety reasons, the parade procession was paced slower because of wet roads.

I also want to thank everybody in that part of the world like:

  • All the Law Enforcement Officers who helped escort the ride.
  • The St. Pete and Lealman Fire Departments for helping to lead and trail the ride.
  • The local celebrities Dave McKay and Jen Holloway for promoting the event.
  • Mike from MnM BBQ for putting out some great food for a lot of people!
  • Tony from Full Throttle for covering the event.
  • The city of St. Petersburg and the Mayor’s Office for all their hard work on permitting and organizing.
  • The FLGC HOG Chapter who handled registration and parking.
  • The school volunteers that helped out with so much.
  • All the great and generous sponsors.
  • And of course, all the generous people who donated and participated in the run.

Now, the next weekend, Tallahassee Florida had a run with 500 bikes that did the same thing.

Want I need you guys out there to do – since I know that this is a tradition among bikers – is to get the media involved in these sort of things. Those folks are still talking about Waco from this Spring, but they don’t seem to show up when we do something that is a whole lot more characteristic of what the 99% do! I don’t care if you are in snow up to the tops of your chaps! Get out there and let people know that we are a great force for helping folks and even if we dress in black leather and can’t spell muffler, we have a soft spot for the people in the towns and cities we call home.

So have a Merry Christmas, get some gear for the bike, and be visible!

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Rise of the Concept Motorcycles https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/rise-of-the-concept-motorcycles/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/rise-of-the-concept-motorcycles/#respond Sat, 12 Dec 2015 04:31:02 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3855 You guys know I’m old-fashioned. Old bike. Old(er) guy. I like stuff that I can understand because that means I can likely fix it. Computers are not always my friend, although they make me my living. Stuff controlled by a...

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You guys know I’m old-fashioned. Old bike. Old(er) guy. I like stuff that I can understand because that means I can likely fix it. Computers are not always my friend, although they make me my living. Stuff controlled by a computer on a bike makes even less sense to me and just seems like a reason to have to take your ride to the dealership.

The other thing that I can’t stand is bikes that look purpose built and really are just relabeled factory junk. Adding plastic fairings doesn’t make it a cruiser or “old school”. It makes it plastic. Add that to the fact that I really have never liked the bikes that BMW builds and it is even harder for me to acknowledge that they have introduced a great concept, a purpose-built bike that is not a re-badged, plasticized model.

Now, these days, any activity pursued by two or more people gets labeled as a “sport,” and everyday we see new activities and hardware added to the mix. The “X Games” caliber rider is just the guy that can use this. Professional riders have taken elements that are widely regarded as dangerous and unnecessary on the road, and moved them to a closed-circuit, or otherwise controlled environment, where they belong. These intrepid riders have taken raw shenanigannery and honed it to an art form all its own. Now usually, stunt bikes are relatively stock off road machines with customized additions such as extra footpegs, engine guards (for obvious reasons) and unique features such as a 12- o’clock bar for some of the more extreme (read: vertical) maneuvers. However, since they aren’t purpose-built in a factory, bike-building ability is part of the overall skillset for the sport.

BMW Motorrad G310 Concept Motorcycle

Enter the G 310, a concept stunt bike built by BMW Motorrad that is meant to go straight from showroom to event with a minimum of mechanical dickering. This bike comes stripped, with no turn signals or lights of any sort, or even a license plate holder, so not only is it built for a specific purpose, it’s no good for any sort of (legal) road transportation. Before you read that as a negative, bear in mind that all of BMW’s resources went into handling stunts, with nothing wasted on any sort of non-essential bits and bobs. The result: we have the opposite of a Jack-of-all-trades, a purpose-built master of one particular style of riding.

The nature of stunt riding requires a balance of power, handling and well, balance. Brute power takes a backseat to manageable output and weight considerations, and so the engine is rather small at, I deduced, only 310 cc. This strikes a balance (that word again) between engine weight and grunt, ensuring enough power to handle the weight, with no weight wasted on excess power. Engine and chassis controls also got the stunt bike treatment with a lockable throttle for hands-off tricks, and special brakes on the rear. Dual rear calipers grip the same rotor, and while one caliper operates normally off the foot pedal, the other caliper operates off the left-hand brake lever nestled in next to the clutch lever so you can maintain front-wheel control when it’s time for a feet-off stunt.

I don’t personally know one individual that might need to own this bike, but it is nice to see that a manufacturer (even with a poor service record) is looking out for the guys in the sport out on the edge. Imagine if Mother Davidson purpose-built a stripped-down no-frills bike? They could even call it the stripper! Basic wiring, big engine, easy-to tune carb setup, and comfortable seat? Wait. Isn’t that what a bike should be?

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Serious Savings on a Serious Motorcycle Audio System https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/serious-savings-on-a-serious-motorcycle-audio-system/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/serious-savings-on-a-serious-motorcycle-audio-system/#respond Sat, 12 Dec 2015 03:52:09 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3847 No seriously! Visit SharkMotorcycleAudio.com for a serious price reduction on a 4 ch 1400 watt motorcycle audio system. You don’t need to be an audiophile and spend thousands of dollars on getting great sound during your ride… seriously.

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No seriously! Visit SharkMotorcycleAudio.com for a serious price reduction on a 4 ch 1400 watt motorcycle audio system. You don’t need to be an audiophile and spend thousands of dollars on getting great sound during your ride… seriously.

Shark 1000 Motorcycle Audio System

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Boo Hoo, Sad Tips for Storing your Motorcycle for Winter https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/boo-hoo-sad-tips-for-storing-your-motorcycle-for-winter/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/boo-hoo-sad-tips-for-storing-your-motorcycle-for-winter/#respond Tue, 01 Dec 2015 22:57:06 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3843 Sadly, if you live in an area where you can’t ride year-round it’s important to prepare for the winter months by having a proper storage space for your motorcycle. While it is highly recommended you put your bike into a...

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Sadly, if you live in an area where you can’t ride year-round it’s important to prepare for the winter months by having a proper storage space for your motorcycle. While it is highly recommended you put your bike into a storage facility, garage or shed if it’s going to be sitting for a few weeks or more in cold conditions, you can also consider getting a motorcycle cover or pop up sheltered.

Storing Your Motorcycle for the Winter

Perform all of the regular checks and winterizing tasks before you cover your motorcycle or pull it into a garage or storage space:

  • Change the oil.
  • Remove the battery and give the bike a final wash to prevent any chemicals or corrosive materials from resting on the bike as it sits.
  • Add fuel stabilizer and run the bike to prevent corrosion in the tank
  • If you plan on leaving your bike for six months or more you may also want to remove the fuel and use fogging oil to prevent the tank from rusting.
  • Keep your tires protected. Putting your bike on a stand or at least taking some of the pressure off of your tires if they are going to be sitting for a few weeks will help to prevent flats. If you have to set your bike on its tires consider rotating them every few weeks through the winter months.
  • Tying down a cover if you plan on keeping your bike outside is also very important to preventing the rain and elements from getting to it.
  • If your only option is to store your bike outside you should consider securing it with a lock and chain or potentially putting it in a place near your house where it is concealed and blocked from the elements and from view.

Use these tips to improve your winter motorcycle storage techniques and make riding in the spring that much easier.

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Sneakily Treat Yourself to Biker Gear this Shopping Season https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/sneakily-treat-yourself-to-biker-gear-this-shopping-season/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/sneakily-treat-yourself-to-biker-gear-this-shopping-season/#respond Sun, 29 Nov 2015 09:13:48 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3840 Well here we are – the silly season is upon us, half the country is snowed under, and chances are, your Fantasy Team is sucking wind. Now’s the time to get excited! See, for one, Mother Davidson won 1-2 at...

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Well here we are – the silly season is upon us, half the country is snowed under, and chances are, your Fantasy Team is sucking wind.

Now’s the time to get excited! See, for one, Mother Davidson won 1-2 at the NHRA Worlds a few weeks ago, with Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle riders Ed Krawiec and Andrew Hines closing out the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship as winners and world champions. Krawiec rode his Harley-Davidson V-Rod motorcycle to victory in the Pro Stock Motorcycle Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., and Hines successfully defended his NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle title and secured his fifth career world championship in the class.

But that’s not why you should be excited. See, because its cold, because the bike is put away, now is the time to strike! Your significant other will never suspect that you are secretly stockpiling bike goodies this time of year! Here’s how it works:

You want to start by buying a few legitimate gifts for the family – all online. Get them shipped to the house. Make sure you aren’t the one that carries them in the house. Instruct a junior family member to just put any boxes addressed to you into your closet or the garage and tell you when you get home.

Biker Gear for Christmas

Now, after a week or so of this – and remember – we need to be dealing with large boxes here. We want the kiddos to struggle to moving these boxes. That’s when you strike! Pull up BikersDen.com and order whatever you need. When the gear gets to your house, the kids will have given up trying to guess what it is and just pile it in with the rest of the stuff. When the time comes to wrap it all up, you can just quietly slip your new gear into a safe place – say under the tarp covering your ride, and wrap up the presents for everybody else.

Another handy trick is to order bike gear for your family in your size. My ex-wife hated the chaps that I bought her, but it turns out that they were just my size. Must’ve been a mispick at the warehouse, because I’m sure I had ordered her some stuff from Victoria’s Secret. When my son turned 3, I went ahead and got him involved in riding, but the beanie that I got him was a little too big, so I kept it for a few years until he grew into it. Looks like it’ll be a perfect fit now that he’s almost 17. And I got free shipping!

This is the time of year for strategy, and I want you to know that I’m here if you need it. I’ll try to post a few more ideas for you as we get closer to Christmas, but the UPS truck just pulled up across the street.

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Preventable Wreck Takes the Life of a Lifelong Biker Buddy https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/preventable-wreck-takes-the-life-of-a-lifelong-biker-buddy/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/preventable-wreck-takes-the-life-of-a-lifelong-biker-buddy/#respond Fri, 13 Nov 2015 03:50:44 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3784 I know that I’ve been writing this gig for a few months now, and I love it. I get to talk about the stuff that I really enjoy – playing on the old Sportster, riding all over, and offering up...

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I know that I’ve been writing this gig for a few months now, and I love it. I get to talk about the stuff that I really enjoy – playing on the old Sportster, riding all over, and offering up an opinion whether ya’ll asked for it or not.

This morning, though, I want to take a few minutes to ask you guys to give a moment of silence to an old partner who I rode with more than a few miles. Scott was killed early this morning on an interstate outside of Atlanta. He was 51, married, father of three, and a Helluva guy.

Brothers Forever - Fallen Bikers

The motorist that struck him? A kid in a Honda. Cited for speeding and a laundry list of things wrong with his “Rice Rod” – exhaust, emissions, failure to maintain lane, window tint. I guess they’ll get around to vehicular manslaughter soon enough. I spoke to Scott’s widow an hour or so ago, and there just aren’t things that you can say.

What I can tell you guys, though, is that we’ve all lost friends – we may joke around that marriage and family has ruined many a good biker, but the tragedy of losing riding buddies to a wreck is something that plenty of us know too much about. If you lost somebody, I feel your pain.

If you haven’t, know that someday, you might, so when you’re out, having a good time, tell those guys that you really enjoy their company, hell, tell your wife and kids you love them, too, because none of us is guaranteed a tomorrow.

Ride safe. Be safe. Watch out for the ones that aren’t watching out for you.

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Unexpected Drag Race on a Saturday Ride https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/unexpected-drag-race-on-a-saturday-ride/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/unexpected-drag-race-on-a-saturday-ride/#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2015 06:46:04 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3780 You know the best thing about riding a bike in the fall is the weather – it feels great, the leaves are changing and putting on a great show, and usually I run into some great new friends while I’m...

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You know the best thing about riding a bike in the fall is the weather – it feels great, the leaves are changing and putting on a great show, and usually I run into some great new friends while I’m out on a cruise, even as an independent. Last weekend was a great version of that – I took the old Harley Sportster out and got north of the rain that was coming across South Georgia and took a ride up through Knoxville and then Sunday rolled back down through the Carolinas.

Gorgeous. Stunning. And just really fun. But the most memorable part had to be in Madisonville, Tennessee that Saturday afternoon.

Tennessee-highway-111-spencer-tn1

Now, anybody that knows Madisonville knows it has been a speed trap forever. Four lanes coming through the town, limited access, and 35 miles per hour all the way through. Anyone who has driven that particular stretch also knows that you are very inclined to open it up as soon as you get through town – and while I was sitting on the side of the road at a gas station, I watched a young guy on a crotch rocket pull up to a stop light, rev up to 8,000 a few times, look around, and then hunker down and get ready to launch.

Neither he nor I noticed a primer black Chevy II, maybe a ’65, that was beside him.

Now, had our young crotch rocket rider opted for something bigger than a 600 cc motor, I don’t think this would be a story. But when the light turned green, lemme tell you, the guy in the Chevy dropped the clutch and unleashed something that had to be way past 400 horses and a lot of boost and absolutely smoked this guy on the bike.

Let’s go over that again. The car smoked the bike. Badly.

Now, I’m sure that we’ve all gotten shut down in something, but the idea of looking for a race and then getting outrun by something that didn’t even register as a race – that’s a bad feeling. This kid – and I’m sure he was a kid – got railroaded by the ultimate sleeper. Not a new supercar, not a ‘Vette. A primer black 50 year old Chevy with a lot of rocket fuel under it. I loved it.

I can’t condone it, but it was fun watching a real life David and Goliath beat it out for a streetlight drag race in broad daylight. No money, no talk, just mash the pedal and go. But getting nailed by a sleeper? Awesome.

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Online Motorcycle Insurance Quote – Fast and Easy https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/online-motorcycle-insurance-quote-fast-and-easy/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/online-motorcycle-insurance-quote-fast-and-easy/#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2015 06:29:24 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3777 Are you ready for some great news? No, the shovelhead isn’t coming back. A new Sons of Anarchy is not being filmed. But news you can actually use? We’ve got it here. No, The Bikers’ Den has finally gotten one...

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Are you ready for some great news? No, the shovelhead isn’t coming back. A new Sons of Anarchy is not being filmed. But news you can actually use? We’ve got it here. No, The Bikers’ Den has finally gotten one step closer to being the place to handle all things bike related, and we are proud to be able to help you with Allstate motorcycle insurance.

No matter who is covering you now, take ten minutes and click here to find out just how big the savings they can get for you. Of course, the best part is that you’re going to save enough to get some accessories, and I wonder what you spend that coin on? Hmmm…

We’ve long been looking to find the right partner to be able to help our riders the insurance they need, and Allstate brings decades of experience to the table for you.

Motorcycle-Insurance-Get-a-Quote-Today

At the Biker’s Den, we were impressed with the amount of knowledge that Allstate has about our world, and we were just as impressed by some of the sick bikes their guys are riding, so we knew they would have what it takes to help you out. Don’t believe us? Check out the page we just finished up – you can click through to get a quote from there, too – all the while checking out the great pieces they offer for riders.

Of course, some of you guys may already have Allstate policies – after all, they are easier the most recognized insurance company out there, but seriously – check them out right here for a quote – it’s gonna be the best ten minutes you can spend off your bike today. Well, at least on your computer.

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Motorcycle Chain Bracelets https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/womens-motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-chain-bracelets/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/womens-motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-chain-bracelets/#respond Wed, 04 Nov 2015 15:43:15 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3772 The bike chain bracelets come in many different colors and if you like bling then bling is available. The metal is one hundred percent stainless steel and very durable. The color on the stainless steel is on strong. Many people...

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The bike chain bracelets come in many different colors and if you like bling then bling is available. The metal is one hundred percent stainless steel and very durable. The color on the stainless steel is on strong. Many people I speak to love the pink and black bracelet with the crystals. There is also the pink and black with crystals. Some people do not like the crystals so I have seen these woman’s biker bracelets without the crystals.

Motorcycle Chain Bracelets

Many of these colors can represent something depending on what you like or are into. Like sports or school colors and especially the color of your motorcycle. If someone is not into color and just likes plain jewelry there is also the silver woman’s biker bracelet with crystals or without crystals. It is great to have so many colors and options as this makes it easier for me to decide what I want and like. This is also a great gift for someone as these are a hot item everywhere. There are also a few different sizes depending on one’s wrist size or just how someone wants the woman’s biker bracelet to fit on them. Some like the bracelets to fit snug and some like the woman’s biker bracelet to hang off the wrist. There is also extensions so if you want to wear one color snug and one day looser you have the option on that one woman’s biker bracelet. These woman’s biker bracelets range from one half inch, one inch and three quarter inches in size. The crystals lay in the center of the colors to make this woman’s biker bracelet just pop out.

These woman’s biker bracelets are a conversation piece for sure. Everyone always ask me about my woman’s biker bracelet when they see me wear it. The teal bracelet is also a hot piece of jewelry to wear out. These are durable and I wear my woman’s biker bracelet on the bike while I am driving or if I am on the back of the bike. My woman’s biker bracelet doesn’t ruin or fall off. The clasp is on securely. I had my woman’s biker bracelet for almost two years and I love it and it still looks great. This is also a perfect gift for someone and many people get matching bracelets as I have seen people together just out and they all have the same one on.

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Benefits of Horsehide Leather Motorcycle Gear https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/benefits-of-horsehide-leather-motorcycle-gear/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/benefits-of-horsehide-leather-motorcycle-gear/#respond Fri, 30 Oct 2015 16:32:23 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3768 You know that the Biker’s Den has always striven to bring you access to the best gear out there – we put it all under one roof so that you can check out, test out, and buy the right gear...

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You know that the Biker’s Den has always striven to bring you access to the best gear out there – we put it all under one roof so that you can check out, test out, and buy the right gear for you. Right then. Timing is everything. In life, in engines, and in love. We talked about this a few weeks ago.

You guys might have noticed that it’s getting a little cooler on your rides, and maybe you’ve taken the bike out to look at some leaves and some panoramic vistas and felt that chill as the sun sets behind the mountain.Horsehide Motorcycle Vests and Jackets by Hillside USA

Maybe you noticed that after a few years of sun, sweat, and rain, your leather is a little “gamy”. And maybe it’s time to commit to great leather – like Hillside USA and their Horsehide collection.

This is leather that’s really tougher than leather – horsehide has been recognized for centuries for how well it wears and how it is one of the few types of leather that is naturally waterproof. This is top-shelf material, and Biker’s Den is proud to feature it… check out our selection of Horsehide Motorcycle Gear to see for yourself.

Of course, the best part is that all Hillside USA’s gear carries a full warranty for as long as you own it. Simply the best!

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Harley Davidson Contending for Pro Stock Championship https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/harley-davidson-contending-for-pro-stock-championship/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/harley-davidson-contending-for-pro-stock-championship/#respond Fri, 30 Oct 2015 00:22:16 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3764 Well, fellow Harley riders, as shocking as it may be, Mother Davidson is building fast bikes. Not for us, mind you, but true drag bikes that are actually contenders for championships. I didn’t think that old H-D had it in them...

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Well, fellow Harley riders, as shocking as it may be, Mother Davidson is building fast bikes. Not for us, mind you, but true drag bikes that are actually contenders for championships.

I didn’t think that old H-D had it in them anymore! The real irony is that H-D got back into the running because Suzuki quit building bikes that run straight and I think, deep down, that Buell just cannot spend like Harley.

Harley Davidson Contending for Pro Stock Championship

Right now, Andrew Hines and Ed Krawiec, who raced a Harley-Davidson V-Rod motorcycle to the final round of Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations and now lies just 21 points out of first place to Hines in the Countdown standings with two races left in the season. Krawiec took advantage of a first-round loss by the Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader, Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines. Hines, the defending class champion, still leads the Pro Stock motorcycle class with 2,412 points. Krawiec now is in second with 2,391 points.

The real fun is that this will pretty much be about who the better rider is – both bikes are going to be 98% the same, no matter what the press releases tell you. And that will be the other fun part – Harley Corporate will have no choice but to have to spin one of their team’s loss. Both of these guys are great riders and deserve to win – really – that’s the part that really sucks about this – either one of these guys is better than any rider we are apt to know.

“Great preparation and consistent performance wins championships,” said Krawiec, a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, “and it looks like it’s going to go down to the wire for the title this year. I think I’ve got the team and Harley-Davidson bike to win it all.”

The fifth round of the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship starts October 29 at the 15th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Nothing more American than racing an iconic bike near an American city known for zaniness at a track sponsored by a Japanese auto maker that builds an awful lot of their vehicles in the Heartland.
It’s gonna be crazy and I can’t wait to see what really happens as the standings and the bikes really make it through the weather and the heat – relative though it is out there – of Las Vegas in the Fall.

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Winterizing Your Bike – Motorcycle Maintenance Tips https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/winterizing-your-bike-motorcycle-maintenance-tips/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/winterizing-your-bike-motorcycle-maintenance-tips/#respond Sat, 10 Oct 2015 03:00:22 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3351 Okay, NOBODY is going to want to hear this, but I ride all year round. Any given day down here in the southern US can be a great day to ride, but for a bunch of the guys that read...

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Okay, NOBODY is going to want to hear this, but I ride all year round. Any given day down here in the southern US can be a great day to ride, but for a bunch of the guys that read this, your time is coming.

Yeah. You’re gonna have to get your bike ready for the cold and –most likely – put it up for a few months. I know, I know, right now it’s beautiful weather. In less than a month, though, guess what? Snow. Cold. Frozen tundra. No matter how hard core you think you are, I’m willing to bet that you put the bike away for a while and lower yourself to ride in something that has climate control.

Winterize Your Motorcycle - Motorcycle Maintenance Tips

So let’s spend a few minutes – and later an afternoon – getting you and your bike ready for the winter. I’m not saying to do it this weekend, but why not get the stuff you need so that you are able to when its time. Here’s my list for you-

Depending on what kind of motorcycle you ride there may be different things that will need to be addressed, but there is some general wisdom on how get it ready to be stored for the winter. Your main enemy during winter storage is damaging moisture, so most of our winterizing efforts will be aimed at keeping that away from your bike. In addition, you need to show some attention to your fuel system, battery, tires, and all your moving parts as well.

The biggest step is not to defer anything! If you need brakes – schedule it now – why get put off in the Spring when every biker in the world is trying to fix all the stuff they put off in the fall? Plenty of shops are going to have some winter specials – and that can make things like brakes and fuel systems even easier to manage – and afford!

1) Wash that thing!
Washing your bike when nobody will see it for a few months anyway can be a drag, but giving your bike a thorough cleaning before storage is important; letting bug guts or water spots sit on your paint can corrode the finish permanently. Wash your bike and dry it completely to get all the moisture off the surfaces (an electric leaf blower is a great way to get all the nooks and crannies really dry.) Add a coat of wax, which will act as a barrier against moisture and rust. Finally, spray exposed metal surface with WD-40 to displace all moisture and to give them a protective coating against corrosion.

2) Change Oil and Filter
Change your oil and filter. It’s better for your lubrication system to have fresh oil sitting in it for several months than to have used, broken down oil in it, not to mention the last thing you’ll want to do when riding season begins is change the oil before you can go ride. Using a winter weight oil like 5W30 can help it start up easier come spring time as well.
If you’re going to be storing your bike for a long time (4-6 months or more) you will want to protect your engine’s internals against moisture by coating them lightly with oil. You may not be able to see it with your naked eye, but the cold winter air is perfect for moisture to gather in your engine and cause rust to form on your pistons and cylinder walls.
In order to do this, remove the spark plugs and put a little squirt (about a tablespoon) of engine oil into the holes, then turn your engine over a few times to coat the cylinder walls by spinning the rear wheel with the bike in gear. Once everything is coated, replace the spark plugs.

3) Lube Moving Parts
Keeping moving parts lubed during the winter will help keep moisture from building up on them and causing any rusting or binding. Any part of your motorcycle that needs to be lubed at any point should be lubed again before storage. Some parts to check are: chain drive, cables, controls, fork surfaces, and any other pivot points.

4) Prep Fuel System
Gas tanks have a tendency to rust when not in use, and untreated pump gas breaks down and becomes gummy over time. To prevent rusting and make sure your fuel is ready to run after a few months in storage, you’ll want to fill your tank completely with fuel treated with a product like Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer.
On your last ride of the season, stop in at the gas station nearest to where you will be storing your bike and add the proper amount of fuel stabilizer, then top off the tank. A full tank will keep moisture from building up on the tank walls, and adding the stabilizer before the short ride home will help mix the gas and stabilizer together and run it through your fuel system before storage. Depending on your induction setup, you may find that draining the bowls of the carb(s) and flushing them out with the lube of choice is a good way to protect those surfaces and keep varnish from forming in the carb.

5) Safeguard Battery
Batteries have a tendency to self-discharge when sitting over time, especially when they remain hooked up to the bike. Normally you should pull the battery from the bike for storage, but with a trickle charger you can also connect the tender with the battery left in the bike. Before doing this, make sure the electrodes are clean and corrosion free; if necessary, clean them off and give them a light coating of grease.

6) Protect Tires
If your tires are let sit in the same position all winter long, they could develop flat spots. Keeping the tires off of the ground will prevent this, so if you have motorcycle stands, put the bike up on them for storage. If you don’t have stands, try to get at least the rear tire off the ground, or you can rotate your tires by rolling your motorcycle slightly every few weeks. If you need to leave your tires down on concrete, put a piece of carpet or plywood under them to keep any moisture from seeping into them.

7) Check Coolant/Anti-freeze
If you’ll be storing your bike somewhere that gets below freezing, make sure you have adequate levels of anti-freeze in your coolant system. This is very important; if you run straight water in your coolant system and it freezes, you could come back to a cracked head in the spring!

8) Plug Out Pests
Mice and other rodents are notorious for hiding from the cold inside exhaust pipes and making homes out of air filters. You can simply stuff your air intake and the ends of your exhaust with some plastic bags, but use bright colored bags or tie something to them so you don’t forget take them out when you fire up the bike!

9) Keep it Covered
With your motorcycle fully prepped for winter, invest in a proper motorcycle cover. A quality motorcycle cover will not only keep dust off the bike, but will keep the moisture out so it doesn’t get trapped underneath it and create corrosion or rust. If you’re storing it outside, be sure to get a cover with tie downs to prevent it from blowing loose in wind. If you’re storing it inside you’re in much better shape, but you should still use a cover to prevent dust from building up on it.

By spending a little time and thinking through what needs to be done, you can do all this late one afternoon and then, tearfully, put your ride up for the winter. I’ll think of you when I fire up for a ride down the coast in December.

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Proud to Promote American Made Hillside USA Motorcycle Leathers https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/proud-to-promote-american-made-hillside-usa-motorcycle-leathers/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/proud-to-promote-american-made-hillside-usa-motorcycle-leathers/#respond Thu, 08 Oct 2015 02:15:53 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3343 Timing is everything. In life, in engines, and in love. The Biker’s Den has some great timing. You guys might have noticed that it’s getting a little cooler on your rides, and maybe you’ve taken the bike out to look...

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Timing is everything. In life, in engines, and in love. The Biker’s Den has some great timing.

You guys might have noticed that it’s getting a little cooler on your rides, and maybe you’ve taken the bike out to look at some leaves and some panoramic vistas and felt that chill as the sun sets behind the mountain.

Maybe you noticed that after a few years of sun, sweat, and rain, your leather is a little “gamy”. You know, smells funny? Maybe even has a little scarring from a soft landing? Maybe you aren’t quite a size Large anymore? Or maybe you are ready to commit and get some real leathers, instead of wearing that old, ripped bomber jacket.

Timing, brother. The Biker’s Den has it.

Now, as the weather is turning cold, Biker’s Den is pleased to announce that we are now partnering up with Hillside USA Leather. This is the real deal – anything leather that you would wear on a bike, Hillside USA makes.

Hillside USA American Made Leather Motorcycle Gear

  • Vests for men and women – and I’m talking pages of styles and colors. From traditional to wild, black to yellow. Real thick, real supple American-made leather.
  • Jackets? Check.
  • Chaps? Check.
  • Women’s gear that looks as good as she does? Oh yeah.

You want to know how good Hillside USA’s gear is? It comes with a lifetime guarantee. If that is not putting your money where your mouth is, I don’t know what is. So as you saddle up to ride these last few weekends before the snow flies, check out the styles that Biker’s Den is hooking you up with through Hillside USA and know that the best you can get is all right here in the ‘Den.

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Easy Upgrades to Your Motorcycle Can Make You Safer https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/easy-upgrades-to-your-motorcycle-can-make-you-safer/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/easy-upgrades-to-your-motorcycle-can-make-you-safer/#respond Wed, 30 Sep 2015 21:35:48 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3340 Alright guys and gals, we’re really getting into the last month before its time to put up the bikes for the winter. Are you making the most of these last weekends of good cruising? Of course, down South, we can...

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Alright guys and gals, we’re really getting into the last month before its time to put up the bikes for the winter. Are you making the most of these last weekends of good cruising?

Of course, down South, we can usually ride year-round, but it’s gonna get a little chilly in the next 60 days. While the leaves change, there are some great cruises to take, and don’t forget – with all the dummies in cars gawking at leaves, watch out for them, too.

Small Upgrades to your Motorcycle Can Make You Safer

The next piece is what have you got slated for your bike when you put it up over the winter?

Pipes? Paint? Wiring? New S and S setup? Fix that annoying little leak?

I have a question for you…

Have you thought about upgrading the lights?

Yeah – the headlights, taillights, blinkers? Get them brighter and make you more visible to the drivers around you?

I did it last week – except for the blinkers – I’ll have to add a resistor in to the harness to allow the LEDs to work, but the difference is noticeably brighter. Is it safer? That depends, as always, on who is seeing me. The teenager texting? The old guy going 37 in a 55? The drunk swerving?

Probably not.

But to the regular driver – the one that I might avoid? I hope they will see me a little better.

In the end, what I did is cheap insurance that may only help in my little head under my beanie, but confidence on a bike is

All I know is that when I saw the difference, I felt that I had made some small, tangible improvement right there in the driveway that may, just may save me. Total cost? About $39 US. Took me about half an hour.

As you get ready to spend some garage time as winter creeps into our days, make improvements that are really improvements. Better light, bigger brakes, safer helmet. Then worry about going fast.

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The NightRage Backpack – Stay Seen and Carry Stuff While You Ride https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/the-nightrage-backpack-stay-seen-and-carry-stuff-while-you-ride/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/the-nightrage-backpack-stay-seen-and-carry-stuff-while-you-ride/#respond Wed, 23 Sep 2015 23:15:36 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3335 If it’s got two wheels, you can bet I will ride it. I love everything about riding from the adrenaline rush to the satisfaction I get from installing a new part. It started with mountain biking, then I moved on...

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If it’s got two wheels, you can bet I will ride it. I love everything about riding from the adrenaline rush to the satisfaction I get from installing a new part. It started with mountain biking, then I moved on to the sleek simplicity of fixed gears and finally graduated to motorcycles. Riding isn’t just a way to get from point A to point B. It’s an experience that you just can’t get any other way. Before I was into riding, I’d scoff at book titles like “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”

You need to pay close attention to everything, improvising with the flow of traffic, anticipating every nook and cranny of the road as the wind whips in your face. All the incredible moments brought from riding isn’t without its drawbacks. Having a sweet engine and lower visibility than other vehicles makes for a deadly combo. According the US Federal Government motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to get in an accident than cars.

Perhaps the element of danger is what really makes it more rewarding, after all they say death is the spice of life. Us bikers like things extra spicy.

Riding at Night

I have to work during the day (unfortunately). This leaves me little time to cruise around on my bike when the sun is up. I am usually taking rides at night. There are some inherent risks for bikers at night.

Generally motorcycles and bicycles are much less visible than cars. I don’t have the luxury of a two ton steel frame protecting me from any accidents while I’m on the road so I make sure to take all the safety measures I can. According to US DOT 60% of all motorcycle accidents occur at night, with 45% of those occurring between 5pm and 12am. During these hours streets are poorly lit, and bicyclists and motorcyclists alike are tough to see. This is usually my peak riding time. For these reasons I always make it a point to become more visible.

The NightRage Backpack

Once you have a motorcycle or bicycle, the next thing you need to do is get the right gear. You have to be economic when you ride a bike, because there’s not a whole lot you can carry, even with saddlebags. You need a place to keep your phone, tools, spare tubes and personal items like clothes or laptops. I’m always on the hunt for gear that is not only cool to look at but it also functions.

The NightRage Backpack was created by Underground Technology (UT) specifically to increase rider visibility. This backpack is a life saver for someone like me. It’s great for bicycle riders or motorcyclists. It come with bright neon looking lights that come in green, blue or red to maximize visibility. I’ve tested this backpack in all sorts of conditions and it holds up like a champ. The backpack with lights is water resistant and has three different settings: strobe, flash and always on. Other vehicles can see the lights from around a half mile away.

NightRage Motorcycle Backpack

I don’t feel dorky when I use this bag like some of the other safety gear I’ve had in the past. Inside it’s got sleeve for a laptop, pockets to put small items like keys and your wallet, as well as a hard shell to keep your stuff safe. The Night Rage backpack lets me rage on in comfort. It gets the job done in style for anyone on two wheels.

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5 Tips for Selling Your Motorcycle Online https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/5-tips-for-selling-your-motorcycle-online/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/5-tips-for-selling-your-motorcycle-online/#respond Tue, 22 Sep 2015 23:54:16 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3323 It’s time to sell and we all want to know how to make the experience not only profitable, but pleasurable. Most of us know the basics of taking photos and writing a description that paints a pretty picture of the...

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It’s time to sell and we all want to know how to make the experience not only profitable, but pleasurable. Most of us know the basics of taking photos and writing a description that paints a pretty picture of the bike we love. But there is also more to know in terms of keeping up with the technology that not only helps find the right buyer, but helps keep the seller safe as well. Here is a story from a guy whose company sees the inner workings of over 5,000 buy/sell transactions per year, and he wants to help you be a happy seller.

Sell your Motorcycle

5 tips for selling your bike online

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End of a Sturgis Icon – Full Throttle Saloon R.I.P. https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/end-of-a-sturgis-icon-full-throttle-saloon-r-i-p/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/end-of-a-sturgis-icon-full-throttle-saloon-r-i-p/#respond Fri, 18 Sep 2015 19:57:38 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3318 You know, it’s been a tough year to ride a bike. Ten million degrees this summer, one percenters shooting each other in Waco this spring, and when we all relaxed at Sturgis 75, little did we know that the Full...

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You know, it’s been a tough year to ride a bike. Ten million degrees this summer, one percenters shooting each other in Waco this spring, and when we all relaxed at Sturgis 75, little did we know that the Full Throttle was getting ready to check out.

Yep. Maybe you heard, maybe you didn’t, but after a million-strong turnout in Sturgis, the Full Throttle Saloon –the world’s largest biker bar – burned to the ground the night of September 7-8.

Full Throttle Saloon

Rest in peace.

The Full Throttle Saloon wasn’t just a joint like Scatterbrains in North Carolina – or some shady looking joint on the side of the road that had seen better days. Started in 1999 by Michael Ballard, it was more like a compound that could count on 15,000 visitors per night during the Sturgis rally. It had a distillery — where 500 gallons of grain alcohol, unfortunately, fueled the flames. It had a wine bar for reasons I’ve never understood – although with all the old guys hauling custom bikes around and not riding them I guess I get it – and zip lines and a donkey mascot that begs the question “What?”

Full Throttle Saloon Fire

“The Full Throttle is the number one blue collar biker bar in the United States,” owner Michael Ballard wrote on the bar’s Web site. “Everyone is welcome, but it’s well known that factory workers, construction workers and any kind of guy who busts his ass and saves his money all year is gonna be welcome at the Throttle.”

All of us as riders probably suffered through watching at least one episode of the reality show that was spawned to detail the Throttle, but it was always a freak show, no matter when you tuned in or dropped in… boobs, midgets, crazy tattoos, weird hats, awesome concerts and a little bit of everything else mixed in along with the personal drama that goes with reality television

Forty-five firefighters, however, couldn’t prevent flames from destroying the landmark. A lack of fire hydrants also complicated efforts — water had to be hauled in.

“We tried making access through the west side walk-in doors, but they were locked,” Shawn Barrows, Sturgis’s assistant fire chief, told local newspapers. “We came around to the front-side garage doors on the north side of the building and cut a hole in it to make entry to the building.”

While it is a shame that the Throttle went up, it’ll be interesting to see what caused it and how Ballard either rebuilds or walks away. My money says the next version will be even more over the top than the one I remember from my last trip there in 2009.

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Evolution of Motorcycles – Bigger, Heavier, Better? https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/evolution-of-motorcycles-bigger-heavier-better/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/evolution-of-motorcycles-bigger-heavier-better/#respond Sun, 13 Sep 2015 16:08:35 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3315 Okay, okay, okay… Everybody knows that I ride a reasonably old Harley. A few of you know that a couple episodes ago, I talked about the new Harleys that Ma Davidson is putting out there, and last time, I talked...

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Okay, okay, okay… Everybody knows that I ride a reasonably old Harley. A few of you know that a couple episodes ago, I talked about the new Harleys that Ma Davidson is putting out there, and last time, I talked about getting some new blood out there on the road.

I’m going to keep branching out and talk about the rumors on the new Honda Goldwing. Simply put, the word around the campfire is that Honda is redesigning their big touring bike, and again, they are pushing the limits on what a motorcycle is. Now, by the time you get a Goldwing all decked out, you are somewhere north of $25 large, and there is no dismissing the fact that it is a heck of a touring platform and has been for years. But the Honda folks are supposedly stretching the suspension and indications are that the next-generation Wing will ditch its conventional forks in favor of a leading-link suspension design intended to cope better with the bike’s massive weight – the Goldwing tips the scales about 125 pounds heavier than a Road King before you add the overweight old guy.

Evolution of Bigger and Heavier Motorcycles

The suspension design is unlike anything I’ve seen before, combining elements of the sort of leading-link layout seen on some scooters with a single, wishbone-operated shock positioned like that on a BMW Telelever fork. BMW? What!

Sounds terrifying.

I’m guessing that by the time you add a 250 pound biker, his or her seat warmer, and 1,000 pounds of bike, this is going to be some really complicated linkage that Honda is putting out there, and the ride isn’t going to be exponentially smoother. And you sure as Hell aren’t going to do anything to it in the driveway.

And that brings me to my real point… Why?

We are riding bikes here.

We are in the weather. No A/C. No heat. No windshield wiper. For all intents and purposes, if you wreck, you die. How smooth of a ride can you really get and does it matter?

Not that I’m saying I want a hardtail, not at all, but geez, we’re trying to make a motorcycle do stuff that half of the cars out there can’t do! And when has following BMW ever been a good idea? The only place you can consistently find a BMW motorcycle running well is at the service center or the dealership.

The real bone I have to pick – and it is with every bike manufacturer out there, and us- because we’re the dummies who keep buying this stuff – is what is the real improvement? I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the need for a lot of this junk on a bike.

Take the Evo motors – we finally figured out that they can run well, they just need a few driveway tweaks. You could stab that into nearly any modern chassis Harley built and, if you ungraded the electrical system, you had a bulletproof bike that was ready to chrome out and actually run for awhile with limited maintenance. You had Japanese reliability with an American made V-twin.

Somehow, and I don’t know where, we got convinced that it wasn’t enough. Time to trade it in and take back paper on a bike you didn’t own – and as they got technologically challenging – you can’t work on them now. Forget about the 1970’s era tool roll, brother, you’d better pack a laptop and hope you have Google.

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Guide to Fixing Paint Scratches on Your Motorcycle https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/guide-to-fixing-paint-scratches-on-your-motorcycle/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/guide-to-fixing-paint-scratches-on-your-motorcycle/#respond Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:34:48 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3310 The paint and bodywork of a motorcycle can make all the difference in its overall look and appearance which is why people are willing to spend thousands on re-sprays in order to restore their motorcycle’s paintwork back to its original...

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The paint and bodywork of a motorcycle can make all the difference in its overall look and appearance which is why people are willing to spend thousands on re-sprays in order to restore their motorcycle’s paintwork back to its original best. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, sometimes scratches to the paint work on your motorcycle are beyond your control and are unavoidable as a result. One of the main culprits when it comes to paint scratches are loose stone chippings hitting your vehicle as you’re driving.

motorcycle paint repair

Supermarkets are another culprit, or rather, careless shoppers opening their car doors too hard into yours, or bumping your vehicle with their shopping trollies.

Whatever the reasons for your motorcycle’s paintwork becoming scratched, if it is bothering you, rather than spending hundreds, possibly even thousands on a small touch up, you can carry out the repair yourself. Here’s how:

Find the right paint – Before you even think about trying to spray your motorcycle yourself, first off you will need to find the right colour paint that matches your vehicle colour perfectly. It’s no good just shopping for a “red” paint as there are many different shades of red you will have to choose from. If you’re unsure, take your vehicle in to a specialist and ask them to find a paint or identify the exact colour for you.

Use an artist’s brush and test the paint – Next up, use a small artist’s brush and test the paint on a part of your vehicle not visible to the naked eye, a wheel arch for example. Testing a small area will let you know for sure whether or not the colour does indeed match the bodywork.

Clean the damaged area – If you’re happy that the colour matches, clean the damaged and scratched area thoroughly using warm soapy water. Rinse well, and then ensure you dry the area carefully. Ensure that the area is clean and completely dry before you move onto the next step.

Degrease – After ensuring the bodywork is dry, which should take at least three hours to be sure, spray some degreaser onto an old rag and rub the area to remove any grease or old wax or polish.

Sand down the scratch – Next, using a fine sandpaper, carefully smooth and sand down the scratched area of your vehicle.

Apply primer – If there is any metal bodywork exposed, apply a primer. Don’t spray it, instead, dip a cotton bud into the primer and use it like a paint brush as it will be a little fiddly. Again, leave to dry for 2 – 3 hours.

Paint – Now that the surface is clean, primed, sanded, and dry, it’s time to add the paint. Using a small paintbrush, apply a small amount, using fine and gentle strokes until the scratch is filled in. You will need two or three coats but make sure each coat is dry before applying the next.

Sand and level the scratch before buffing – Using 2000 grit paper and a sanding block, carefully level the scratch before buffing the entire area with a thorough polish.

Once you have got your bike back to looking fresh, you’d be wise to invest in a paint protection kit from 3dom wraps to protect your motorcycle from any further damage.

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Viking Bags’ Labor Day Sale Doesn’t Signal the End of the Riding Season https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/viking-bags-labor-day-sale-doesnt-signal-the-end-of-the-riding-season/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/viking-bags-labor-day-sale-doesnt-signal-the-end-of-the-riding-season/#respond Tue, 01 Sep 2015 04:51:33 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3305 Labor Day has unofficially been the end of the summer for as long as we can remember…yet, most of us will still have plenty of riding days well into the fall. If you’re lucky enough to be able to ride...

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Labor Day has unofficially been the end of the summer for as long as we can remember…yet, most of us will still have plenty of riding days well into the fall. If you’re lucky enough to be able to ride year round or at least into the fall, we’ve got a great promotion for you! Here’s our last big sale before the end of the summer…enjoy!

Labor-Day-2015-Viking-Motorcycle-Bags-Sale

Coupon Code: LABOR15
Discount: 15 %

Click Now to Save on Viking Bags

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Injecting Youth into the Motorcycle Rally / Biker Scene https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/injecting-youth-into-the-motorcycle-rally-biker-scene/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/injecting-youth-into-the-motorcycle-rally-biker-scene/#respond Tue, 01 Sep 2015 01:56:29 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3300 Guess what? It’s almost Fall. Kids back to school. Football season. Long rides to look at the leaves down winding mountain roads. I can’t wait. Down here in the South, I’m sick of bugs, humidity, and million degree days. The...

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Guess what? It’s almost Fall.

Kids back to school. Football season. Long rides to look at the leaves down winding mountain roads.

I can’t wait.

Down here in the South, I’m sick of bugs, humidity, and million degree days. The idea of a day in the 70s is the best thought I’ve had in months.

So who are you riding with when you take that trip? The little woman? Your buddy Spider? (Is it me or does everybody have a “Spider” in their riding circle?) Some guys that you barely know? Have you made any new riders?

Have you spent any time talking to folks about riding? What about the younger crowd?

Ever thought about going down to the local tech school and giving a talk to some of the local students about what it takes to keep a V-twin running? Tuning carbs? Hell, just the parts of a motorcycle and what the difference is between a ‘Glide and a Sportster?

Harley does this with a variety of courses, but what about just getting out –you were going to do it anyway – and talking to prospective riders and young folks about what it means to enjoy owning and riding a bike.

So why not get out there and be involved? Mother Davidson is reaching out – hell – they have a whole series of bikes marketed to younger riders, so get out and talk to people.

Injecting Youth into the Biker Scene

Why do this? Well, for one, all the pictures I saw of Sturgis showed an awfully old group of folks. I know that being able to take off a week and travel across the country really only comes at a certain point in a person’s financials, but jeez! I wasn’t sure if I was looking at a bike rally or a nursing home. We need some youth! If for no other reason than to make sure the wet t-shirt contests are not terrible!

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Newest WSB Helmets are Slimmer than Ever – Introducing the Micro-Slim https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-helmets/newest-wsb-helmets-are-slimmer-than-ever-introducing-the-micro-slim/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-helmets/newest-wsb-helmets-are-slimmer-than-ever-introducing-the-micro-slim/#respond Sat, 29 Aug 2015 06:27:17 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3296 Look – We’re not gonna tell you that your helmet sucks. If you live in a state that mandates that you have to wear a brain bucket, and you aren’t going to be an organ donor, you have to wear...

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Look – We’re not gonna tell you that your helmet sucks. If you live in a state that mandates that you have to wear a brain bucket, and you aren’t going to be an organ donor, you have to wear one.

Glad you are.

But you don’t have to wear that mixing bowl. What? Are you going off to fight on the Western Front?

Times and materials have changed, and while you may like rocking the Easy Rider look, you don’t have to.

Lift your head up and try out our newest line – WSB’s Micro-Slim Beanies. They are, literally, the smallest and lightest DOT certified shortys you can buy.

New Micro Slim Motorcycle Helmet

How’d they do it? Simple. They made a helmet out of 2015 materials, not 1945. Unlike other helmets that give you that bobbleheaded look, these lids cover everything needed and –using those materials we just talked about – meet the DOT standards. WSB has been leading the charge to keep build it right the first time and actually test how these act in a crash. What do you know? When you redesign it, you don’t need a bunch of padding and heavy shells to get protected, you just need to build it right.

WSB builds it right.

Not only did they design the mushroom out, they designed a much better ratchet fastener in. No more goofing around with D-rings like you just stepped out of 1978. No more football helmets. No more fake helmets with illegal stickers. No more helmets trying to lift off when you’re up at highway speeds. These sit thin because they are thin. Thin and tough.

No more worrying about your lid or the head that’s in it.

Check out the WSB Micro-Slims and we guarantee that they are the best you’ve ever put on. You aren’t going to find lighter or smaller. Period.

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Introducing the New Micro Slim Motorcycle Helmet https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-helmets/introducing-the-new-micro-slim-motorcycle-helmet/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-gear/motorcycle-helmets/introducing-the-new-micro-slim-motorcycle-helmet/#respond Fri, 28 Aug 2015 03:46:33 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3290 WSB Inc just released a new line of beanie helmets that combine two of our most popular helmets into one kick ass helmet! We just received our new Micro SLIM Helmets in. What WSB accomplished was combine two of their most popular helmets...

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WSB Inc just released a new line of beanie helmets that combine two of our most popular helmets into one kick ass helmet! We just received our new Micro SLIM Helmets in. What WSB accomplished was combine two of their most popular helmets into one amazing style. The dropdown style of the SOA helmet combined with the extreme comfort of our original beanie that started it all! Now, you’re getting VIP first access at these new helmets so grab yours quick before they’re gone, quantities are limited.

The Micro Slim Motorcycle Helmet

The Micro Slim DOT Beanie Helmet – Flat Black No Peak
$109.99

 

Get Your New Micro Slim Helmet Now

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2016 Harley Davidson’s Designed with More Power https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/2016-harley-davidsons-designed-with-more-power/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-industry/2016-harley-davidsons-designed-with-more-power/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:50:55 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3282 This just in – the 2016 Harleys are going to have more guts in them. Harley just announced that the Fat Boy, Slim, and Softail models will get the new HO Twin 103 – that’s the best piece of news...

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This just in – the 2016 Harleys are going to have more guts in them. Harley just announced that the Fat Boy, Slim, and Softail models will get the new HO Twin 103 – that’s the best piece of news I’ve read since my divorce was finalized.

2016 Harley Davidson TwinCam 103 VTwin Engine

The Softails will all get an upgrade to the High Output Twin Cam 103 engines, previously available only in Harley’s larger touring bikes, as will all the Dyna models except the Street Bob. The new engines will give a noticeable horsepower and torque boost, and H-D also announced that the new Fatboy S and Softail Slim S will get the Twin Cam 110 engine from the CVO line. That ought to bring a smile to your face.

Now, if I weren’t so cynical, I would have to say that Mother Davidson is feeling a little nervous about how Indian and some of the smaller builders are nibbling sales away from them. I’ll be the first to say that with these bigger engines, H-D could really ice down a victory – pardon the pun – if they would lose that silly 2 piece crankshaft, 100 year-old connecting rod technology, and make the chain bulletproof.

“People have been asking for more power,” said Harley’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer. He continued by saying that the 2015 introduction of the Street 500 and 750 machines had helped the company continue to dominate the U.S. motorcycle market, and to increase the brand’s popularity among consumers who are new to it — particularly to a younger, more urban consumer than has been attracted to Harley in the past.

Harley, Richer added, is now the No. 1 seller, in terms of new motorcycle registrations, to young adults, women, African Americans and Latinos — groups that Harley includes in its “outreach” program to target new riders.

“We’re reaching new consumers and building relevance with them,” Richer said. “We’re seeing a lot of first-time Harley riders coming through the door.”

Now, the really good news, for you guys and gals out there who have been saving your nickels and dimes and Home Equity Lines-of-Credit is that these new bikes are for sale as of now, so your dealership is going to be able to get them when you are ready.

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Doug Danger’s 22 Car Jump at Sturgis 2015 https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/doug-dangers-22-car-jump-at-sturgis-2015/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/doug-dangers-22-car-jump-at-sturgis-2015/#respond Tue, 18 Aug 2015 17:29:31 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3278 Alright, so did everybody survive Sturgis? I know a bunch of you guys went, and I really would’ve liked to, it just isn’t in the cards this year. So what is all the gossip? See some T and A? Drink...

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Alright, so did everybody survive Sturgis? I know a bunch of you guys went, and I really would’ve liked to, it just isn’t in the cards this year. So what is all the gossip? See some T and A? Drink some brews? Eat some free grub?

Did you see Doug Danger and the 22 car jump?

I know that I can’t do it on a dirt bike or a Harley, but, I’m sorry. I still haven’t drank enough Kool-aid to think that he was riding a bike set up just like Evel Knievel’s 1972 Harley XR750. No way.

Now, I never wish ill on another person, but I think I’m just too old to believe that our good friends at the Chip are going to let stunt riders and patrons get rubbed out due to a mistake. It is just bad for business.

In fact, the word around the campfire is that he had made that jump dozens of times. He went a whole lot longer in 1999, I think, but he did it on a dirt bike.

So for the sake of research, of course, I dug around the virtual world and found a few versions of Evel’s jump in 1972 and compared them to Doug’s jump in 2015.

Evil Knievel Harley Davidson Motorcycle

Same distance?

Check.

Same style of ramps? Sure looked like it.

Height?

Looked about right.

Overall weight of the rig and the guy driving it?

My guess is they were within a 24-pack of the same.

But there is no way, based on the way the suspension bounces in the 1972 jump, that Doug was running anything resembling a stock shock system. My guess? A high dollar custom valved system that would pass the “smell test” of the usual guys lingering around and the photo-shoots, but internally, that suspension simply had to have been gone through and built – not rebuilt – by real pros.

Now, I’m not saying that what he did wasn’t amazing.

I know I sure as Hell can’t do it.

But if you are selling it as one thing and it really isn’t, then call it something else and hype it as such. The folks at the Buffalo Chip always put on a good time, and there was no need to bring Evel’s miss into this. What really gets me is that we keep putting out for fakery. “We” act like we think tough bikers are supposed to act, run around chasing chicks half our age, drink too much and try to be “rebels” and pay with our Gold Card. We seem to listen to anything in our community and think it’s the gospel, even though we have learned to doubt every other source of media.

Gimme a break. I love riding, but I’m tired of everybody building the same trailer bikes or making the same comments on every custom job out there. Doug is a hell of a rider, the Chip is an awesome venue, and 1972 Harley’s are really cool. Let’s just leave it at that and have a good time. Nobody was in any danger that day, it was a heck of a jump, but don’t tell me that bike was stock.

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Motorcyclists Also Need to be Aware of Non-Motorized 2-Wheelers https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/motorcyclists-also-need-to-be-aware-of-non-motorized-2-wheelers/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/motorcyclists-also-need-to-be-aware-of-non-motorized-2-wheelers/#respond Mon, 10 Aug 2015 02:24:56 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3273 How are you! Are you in Sturgis? Are you mad you’re not? Damn I know I am! Instead, I’m sitting here, chained to the keyboard and sweating like crazy with the heat. You know, last month, I talked a bit...

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How are you! Are you in Sturgis? Are you mad you’re not?

Damn I know I am!

Instead, I’m sitting here, chained to the keyboard and sweating like crazy with the heat.

You know, last month, I talked a bit about safety and being smart when it comes to things like maintenance – yes, my eyebrows are growing back, but I want to talk about crazy for a second.

 

motorcycle bicycle

A couple of weekends ago, I had the chance to take a ride up into the North Georgia mountains – not a long hop for me, but a solid day trip. I had told a friend that I was going and his reaction was that he would meet me there at a certain time.

This guy lives in 8 hours from there.

When I pointed out that the math did not work out well, his reaction was that he had done a lot of law enforcement training for the state and if he got pulled over, he probably knew the cop and he wouldn’t get a ticket.

Brilliant.

Go 95 on the interstate and the only issue he thinks he’s going to have is the police officer he’s going to meet?

WRONG LOGIC!

Go 95 on the interstate and the most likely problem you’re going to have is getting stuck in the bumper of the driver that says he didn’t see you. Loud pipes may save lives, but darting in and out of traffic will make you a statistic.

Now, the good news in this story is that my buddy didn’t get the chance to show up – his wife had other plans for him that day, and he ended up handling “honey-do’s” instead of his Buell.

My real problem came while I was up there and I had to deal with idiots.

There happens to be a really beautiful lake up there that has a state highway wrapping around nearly half of it. Some nice curves and some beautiful views, and it looks like the place God got His ideas for Lake Tahoe. As I was motoring around there two Sundays ago, I learned (again) that if you give a man a ten speed bike and some compression shorts, he can’t hear.

There I was, loping along in third, in that sweet spot before you really put the power down and lugging the motor, and out of nowhere comes Johnny Rocket on his pedal-powered bicycle, doing thirty-five in the middle of the lane.

Now, I know all of us two-wheelers are targets, but this guy is occupying the road just like a motorized vehicle, no brake lights, no helmet, no leather, earbuds in (!) and, as we started up the next hill, he didn’t pull to the side!

Right in the middle of the lane, doing ten miles per hour.

Double yellow line, curve ahead, and I’m thinking to myself “this guy’s asking to get a Darwin Award or he’s trying to help somebody else get one.”

And no horn can reach him, because he’s rockin’ out to his iPod.

Idiots.

My choice was simple – blow by the guy in a blaze of hydrocarbons or wait quietly to see what comes around the corner.

And that was when three kids in a Honda made the decision for me.

They whipped around the corner coming towards us – mostly in my lane – driver using a cell phone and going at least fifty.

At the next good place to stop, I pulled the bike over and had to get a smoke. I noticed that my hand holding that lighter quivered a little when I stuck the flint.

Be safe out there. It appears the idiots are everywhere.

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Protecting Your Ducati From The Elements https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/protecting-your-ducati-from-the-elements/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/protecting-your-ducati-from-the-elements/#respond Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:46:42 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3267 Whether you have the latest 1299 Panigale or one of Ducati’s older Terblanche-designed models, you should still consider yourself a very lucky rider. Many people dream of owning one of Italy’s hottest sportbikes, but, judging from how few we actually...

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Whether you have the latest 1299 Panigale or one of Ducati’s older Terblanche-designed models, you should still consider yourself a very lucky rider. Many people dream of owning one of Italy’s hottest sportbikes, but, judging from how few we actually see on the roads, not very many riders get to achieve that goal.

Protecting Your Ducati from the Elements

Ducati’s are special and should be treated as such. Given the proper care and maintenance, they will last a lifetime and become a cherished heirloom to be passed down to the next generation.

How can we protect them and keep them looking beautiful so the next generation will truly appreciate these spectacular bikes? Two words, paint protection.

Protecting your Ducati’s paint is an important part of motorcycle ownership if you want your prized ride to look as good as the day it was built. The roadways have different ideas for your paint and to avoid your paint looking old before its time, you have to understand what you are up against.

First off, you have stone chips

Every day that you ride your motorcycle down the road, you are subjecting it to tiny chips in its paint from stones thrown up off of the road. Take a close look at the lower portion of your Ducati’s bodywork and you might seem some stone chips already.

A good paint protection film will protect your painted surfaces from these chips which will cause your paint to flake and the underlying material to corrode.

Next up, scratches and scuffs

These can come from almost anywhere; your riding boots, a dropped set of keys or just brushing up against something in the garage. With nothing to protect the paint, these scratches and scuffs will show up leaving your paint job looking pretty beat up. Using paint protection film will give your Ducati and extra layer of “skin” that will take the scratches and almost heal itself to keep your paint looking shiny and new again.

Finally, we have road tar

That black “goop” that seems to stick to everything and is a bear to remove. No matter where you live, there is always going to be road construction and, in many places, they use a lot of tar to patch potholes, pavement cracks and any other damage to the roadways.

When fresh, this tar will stick to your Ducati’s paint causing fading, flaking and corrosion; not a pretty site. Again, paint protection film to the rescue. The film will act as a protective barrier keeping tar away from your paint and saving you hundred’s, even thousands, over the price of a new paint job.

The best way to protect yourself from all of these elements is to buy a paint protection film kit for your bike, available at the www.3domwraps.com store.

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POOF! No Eyebrows… How I Learned that Gas Vapors are not a Good Thing https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/poof-no-eyebrows-how-i-learned-that-gas-vapors-are-not-a-good-thing/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-parts-tools/poof-no-eyebrows-how-i-learned-that-gas-vapors-are-not-a-good-thing/#respond Thu, 16 Jul 2015 22:11:52 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3263 It started out as a simple project… I knew I had a lifter making a little noise in the Sportster, so I figured I might fool around with it a little and fix it.  Since it’s hydraulic, I knew it...

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It started out as a simple project… I knew I had a lifter making a little noise in the Sportster, so I figured I might fool around with it a little and fix it.  Since it’s hydraulic, I knew it didn’t need any adjustment, so why not take a Saturday afternoon and get it right?

Harley Davidson Sportster Motor

While I was in there, why not just disconnect a few pieces, get them cleaned up, adjusted, and reinstalled?  No biggie, right?

Four hours later, with parts scattered around on the floor of the shop, the workbench, the seat, and some fasteners in my pocket, I lit up a smoke, peaked down into the bowels of my old friend the Evolution motor, and …

A tiny piece of chafed wiring rubbed against the frame (bear in mind that I am the guy that upgraded all the wiring on this ’92 to a largely custom but post ’94 harness), a spark arc’ed out and lit some tiny bit of vapor from the Mikuni or gas line or something and I had my head in what was a small but vigorous little fireball.

Poof!  No Eyebrows.

Thank God I had on glasses (although they were not safety glasses).

I lost a little hair off the top, singed my eyebrows, and cussed for about ten minutes, but I was not hurt.  I decided I’d had enough for the day so I shut it down and finished my work on the bike the next morning.

When I went to light a new cigarette (in all the excitement, I had dropped mine), I noticed my hands were a little shaky.

Now, I know some of you guys are going to say that the cherry on that butt lit off the vapors, but I have the piece of wire that arced – it’s sitting right here on my desk.

So to all you guys that love to get out and wrench on your rides, I can’t stress it enough… wear your safety gear.  We get all caught up in leather, helmets, gloves, etc for the ride … but we forget that accidents are just that – unplanned events … and can happen in the shop just as easily as on the road.  I’m just glad it didn’t get the beard.   If I inspected my bike a little better each month while cleaning it, I may have caught this short before I looked like some weird gang member.

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Planning to “Easy Rider” Across the Country and Need Suggestions https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/planning-to-easy-rider-across-the-country-and-need-suggestions/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/planning-to-easy-rider-across-the-country-and-need-suggestions/#respond Wed, 08 Jul 2015 01:16:17 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3255 Howdy boys and girls! Here we are, halfway through the summer, and less than a month to Sturgis 2015. Plenty of you guys have made plans to ride out for the 75th anniversary (It starts August 3 and runs through...

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Howdy boys and girls!

Here we are, halfway through the summer, and less than a month to Sturgis 2015. Plenty of you guys have made plans to ride out for the 75th anniversary (It starts August 3 and runs through the 9th), but some of us, like me, burned up all of our vacation time already (and I really can’t afford to drive out this year).

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2015

Have you checked out all the day trips that are out there? No matter where you are in North America, there are some great weekend rides for you. About a month ago, one of the local clubs that treats independents more like prospects made the trip north to run the Tail of the Dragon in Deals Gap on U.S 129, and they had a great time. Nobody laid anything down and the tool boxes never came out of the chase van.So what can we do in the meantime?

One word of caution to those of you who live in the flatlands – if you don’t know how to run a curve, you need to figure it out before you challenge it!

But the run I’m looking forward to is that in two weeks, five of us are taking four days to ride the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi. Now, for those of you who don’t know it, it’s nearly five hundred miles of US highway, and it is easily one of the oldest roadways in North America. It began as a migratory path for wild creatures, and then became an early trade route for the Native Americans and European explorers. The present route follows nearly 8,000 years of history and winds easily through three U.S. states. It is a beautiful ride that I haven’t taken in nearly 15 years – the last time I was on it, I was jockeying a crotch rocket and too dumb to enjoy the beauty of the area.

So I’m gonna open up and ask you guys, what are the best regional rides for you guys? I know plenty of beautiful places that I want to ride – and I’m trying to figure out how to “Easy Rider” across the country next year. If it doesn’t fit in my saddle bags, it isn’t going. Let me know in the comments section and let’s see who’s got some ideas for my month off next year.

Easy Rider Across Country

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Featured Bikers with Big Hearts: “Gunny” https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/featured-bikers-with-big-hearts-gunny/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/featured-bikers-with-big-hearts-gunny/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:29:19 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3252 I want to tell you guys a story that happened last weekend. I was out on my old Sportster, riding in west Georgia, and, rolling down Highway 27 south, and I saw an absolutely terrible looking Geo Metro on the side...

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I want to tell you guys a story that happened last weekend. I was out on my old Sportster, riding in west Georgia, and, rolling down Highway 27 south, and I saw an absolutely terrible looking Geo Metro on the side of the road. Nothing exciting about that, because this thing looked like it shouldn’t have even made it to the road. What was amazing was that it had the hood up, and a guy clad in leather peeking around under it, cell phone on his ear, while a young woman and two toddlers sat in the car.

bikers with big hearts

Since it was in a pretty low-visibility section of the highway, I had slowed way down, and that was when I noticed an awfully shiny Electra Glide with Arkansas plates pulled up beside it with an easy $10,000 worth of chrome “goodies” on it. Now, since I love bikes and telling you guys about them, and this looked like a good story, I pulled over and kicked down.

One of the toddlers was actually a little old lady that looked worse than the Geo. The young woman was her granddaughter, and the real toddler was her great-granddaughter. The biker on the Glide? Just a random guy who saw somebody in trouble and pulled over to help. He was actually on the phone with the young woman’s husband who was trying to get a ride to come out there.

Our big mean biker? The only name I got out of him was Gunny, but he had seen the family stopped on the side of the road and offered to help. He’d called the lady’s husband (the family didn’t have much money, much less any minutes on their cell phone so Gunny had used his phone to call the husband’s job) and he had told him what the issue was most likely – apparently this Geo loved to cook relays- and said he’d be able to get out there within an hour.

All this had taken place in the ten minutes before I’d gotten there. Gunny started poking around under the hood, moved the unused A/C system relay – the compressor was dead, anyhow- to the ignition and got them started up. He didn’t ask, he just did. He called the husband back and let him know that his family was on their way and what relays he had swapped around, and then he told the ladies to get back in the car and he’d follow them back to town where the husband was going to be.

Since I wasn’t in a hurry, I told Gunny I’d follow along, too. When we got to town – or what passes for it in that part of South Georgia, they pulled over at a gas station to wait on the husband, and since he still wasn’t there, Gunny bought the family a round of cold drinks and waited for the young man to get there.

I had to ask why Gunny was doing this, and all he would say was that his own rule was that if he saw a family or a lady broken down, he’d pull over, try to use what tools he had in his kit to get them back on the way, and if not, make sure somebody was coming for them. And he would stay until they were safe.

I pressed him for a “why” and all he would say is to smile and say “why not?”

So Gunny, thanks for being a great citizen, and to all you guys and gals reading this, think about what you did to help somebody this week. And make sure it’s enough.

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Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Day https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/ride-your-motorcycle-to-work-day/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/ride-your-motorcycle-to-work-day/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 20:29:21 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3247 Okay, I need you guys to be paying attention! Monday, June the 15th, get that hog or cruiser out of the garage and take it to work.  Yes, brave the weather, traffic, bugs, whatever and come out for Ride Your...

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Okay, I need you guys to be paying attention!

Monday, June the 15th, get that hog or cruiser out of the garage and take it to work.  Yes, brave the weather, traffic, bugs, whatever and come out for Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Day.

Ride Your Motorcycle to Work

Yep.  This has been going on since the Nineties, but I just found out about it two years ago.  The guy that came up with this way back in ’92, Fred Rau, was the editor for the old Road Rider magazine.  He thought that it was a great idea to demonstrate-

  • The number of motorcyclists to the general public and to politicians.
  • That motorcyclists are from all occupations and all walks of life.
  • That motorcyclists can reduce traffic and parking congestion in large cities.
  • That motorcycles are for transportation as well as recreation.
  • That motorcycling is a social good.

The first annual Ride to Work Day event was proposed in Road Rider magazine (now titled Motorcycle Consumer News) in the May 1992 issue. Here’s what Fred Rau had to say in that  “Ride to Work” editorial: “You may remember several months ago when Bob Carpenter, commenting in his ‘Two Up’ column, mentioned how neat he thought it would be if there was one day a year when everyone who owned a motorcycle used it to ride to work. That comment was prompted by a T-shirt produced by Aerostich RiderWear that simply said, ‘Work To Ride, Ride To Work.’ Everyone seemed to think that a national ‘Ride To Work’ day was one heck of a good idea.”

From what I was able to learn, the original date was in July, but starting in 2008, they switched it to mid-June.  (Like I need an excuse to smell unburned hydrocarbons).  This is a great way, especially given some of the silliness that our way of life has dealt with in the last month, to show that we really are a large group, but more importantly, we are everybody.  Loud pipes may save lives, but showing our numbers is just a great idea.

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Protect Your Bike’s Paint the Easy Way https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/protect-your-bikes-paint-the-easy-way/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/protect-your-bikes-paint-the-easy-way/#respond Thu, 04 Jun 2015 22:52:48 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3244 Riding season is and, if you are like most motorcyclists, you are probably out in the garage cleaning, polishing and preparing your ride for the coming summer months. Try as hard as you may, don’t despair if you can’t get...

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Riding season is and, if you are like most motorcyclists, you are probably out in the garage cleaning, polishing and preparing your ride for the coming summer months. Try as hard as you may, don’t despair if you can’t get your paint looking as good as it did when your motorcycle was new, or even as good as it looked last year for that matter.

Motorcycle Paint Protection

Let’s face it, our paint doesn’t hold up very well when it is subjected to bug splatter, stones and sand debris from the roadside or anything else that nature has to throw at it. No, our paint will usually deteriorate over time and lose that showroom shine that you originally fell in love with.

Does that mean that you should never buy a brand new motorcycle so you don’t know what you’re missing? Of course not, it just means that you should start taking some precautionary steps now to protect your motorcycle’s paint later on.

Short of washing and waxing it after every ride or just leaving it parked in your garage and never riding it, the one best, most effective way to protect your bike’s paint is to use a paint protection product like Ventureshield to keep your motorcycle paint looking like new.

Is Ventureshield Right for Your Ride?

Motorcycle paint protection comes in the form of a clear vinyl which, after applied to motorcycles, will protect them from the elements as well as wear and tear. Motorcycle paint protection, and Ventureshield especially, will help keep your paint looking new and fresh.

Why would you want that since you are the only one looking at it and you barely do that when riding? Paint protection is not just for looks or the aesthetics of your bike; paint protection will also help your motorcycle hold its value better bringing in more money when you sell or trade it in.

Let’s take a quick look at the paint protection process used by shops all around the world to protect their customers’ motorcycles, cars, trucks and other off road vehicles. This is the same process used to treat high end sports cars and luxury automobiles and it can help keep your paint looking like new as well.

Firstly, the vehicle has to be clean and the paint in good shape. Any dirt, debris and wax will need to be stripped of the vehicle so the new Ventureshield film will adhere properly.

Next, professional technicians will carefully apply the paint protection film making sure it provides ample coverage, is trimmed properly and is free of any bubbles or other matter that could affect its protective properties.

Finally, the motorcycle is washed thoroughly and the paint protection coating is checked and re-checked ensuring that it meets customers’ standards. That’s it; now your motorcycle is ready to ride on down the road, but now it has a layer of durable paint protection that is virtually unnoticeable.

Here are some benefits of using a product like Ventureshield over a cheap imitation:

  • Ventureshield is Virtually Invisible
  • You Can Wash & Wax As Usual
  • Ventureshield Won’t Harm Factory Paint
  • Ventureshield Can Be Safely Removed
  • Ventureshield Doesn’t Peel, Crack or Fade
  • Ventureshield is Better Than 3M Scotchguard

Ventureshield and other paint protection film products like it, are easy to care for and your motorcycle can be washed and waxed just as you have always done.

When the paint protection film becomes old and damaged (which will take quite some time) or you just want to remove it, the film is easily removed leaving no trace of it on your bike. What could be better than that? A way to protect your motorcycle’s paint that is affordable and reliable and that can be removed any time.

Now that you see what proper paint protection can mean for your motorcycle and you have read all of the benefits of Ventureshield, what are you waiting for? You can buy a wide range of products to protect your bike from 3DomWraps motorcycle paint protection store for much less than a repair would cost. Alternatively, protect your motorcycle’s paint by bringing it in for a paint protection service today and don’t miss a minute of this year’s riding time.

So the next time you see an unpaved road between you and your destination, don’t cringe and just ride on through knowing that your paint is protected by the bets product in the industry, Ventureshield.

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A Biker’s Image – Based on Perception or Reality? https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/a-bikers-image-based-on-perception-or-reality/ https://blog.bikersden.com/biker-lifestyle/a-bikers-image-based-on-perception-or-reality/#respond Sun, 24 May 2015 20:29:21 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3240 Hey guys, Hope the ride is smooth and the sun is warm. I debated about this piece for the last week, but we have to talk about it. Waco. Bike Gangs. Our image. I know and you know that 99%...

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Hey guys,

Hope the ride is smooth and the sun is warm.

I debated about this piece for the last week, but we have to talk about it.

Waco.

Bike Gangs.

Our image.

Biker Image - Waco Texas Shooting

I know and you know that 99% of riders aren’t involved in organized crime. We have jobs, mortgages, investments, and no criminal record. So why aren’t more of us talking or acting about the positive things that we, as riders, are doing? Why are we trying to look like outlaws when we are accountants from 9-5 Monday through Friday?

One thing that I haven’t seen in all the reporting on the events at Twin Peaks in Waco is how many regular and independent riders were there? How can we let those folks in the SUV know that we aren’t all a bunch of hopped-up felons?

Even before Marlon Brando got on that 1953 Triumph in The Wild One, we, as riders, had an image problem. Hell, the idea of freedom as something you can live, instead of just talk about, is part of the appeal of riding. The downside? We get on our leather, fire up our cruisers with a ton of chrome, open pipes, throttling up through the neighborhood, at the streetlight we dump the clutch and roar off in a cloud of hydrocarbons … since we aren’t running emissions controls like every car built since about 1971.

No lie, I love all of that. There is nothing like taking off the beanie when I cross into Florida on a long weekend, feeling the eyes of people on you as you run down a curvy road or rumble into a parking lot. It says, “I’m a little different”.

The problem? We all look the same, and a lot of us act the same. Drinking beer at a joint with waitresses half our age who are wearing shorts two sizes too tight. Getting loud, being disrespectful. I’ve been riding a long time, and for me, I choose being independent precisely because I don’t want to have to conform to some silly group of rules that seems to absolve me of being respectful. I know guys that won’t talk to a guy because he has a Honda instead of a Harley. I know Harley guys that won’t talk to guys that have a bone-stock bike and not some crazy one-off that’s chopped.

The real losers in this gunfight among “bikers” in a beer joint in Waco is every one of us that rides. We’ve spent the last 25 years polishing an image of freedom and a sort of simple, cowboy value system, then some yahoos that look just like us go and set us back fifty years. You can bet that every poker run in Texas for the next three years is going to be chock full of undercover police and sting operations. Think you won’t be profiled in Texas? Think again. You can expect to be hassled every time you post up for a drink. Wanna smoke a cigarette in the parking lot? Better pay attention to where you through that butt. Think you can go have one beer and then ride that Super Glide home? Think again. You’re on the side of the road getting a sobriety test and having your life story checked out. So here’s my rant: Let’s all do better. Open up our eyes to all those folks that we cut off, that we rev up, and that we blow past on a double yellow line. They already don’t care about us, and now, they are sure that instead of us being “outlaws” we are all a bunch of gangsters.

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For the Ultimate Adventure, Consider a Motorcycle Tour in Thailand https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-routes/for-the-ultimate-adventure-consider-a-motorcycle-tour-in-thailand/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-routes/for-the-ultimate-adventure-consider-a-motorcycle-tour-in-thailand/#respond Tue, 05 May 2015 21:04:16 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3235 Are you looking for a unique way to explore the Asian country of Thailand? Do you enjoy thrill seeking, beautiful views, and soaking in the glorious abandonment of an open road? South Thailand Motorbikes offers a variety of touring packages...

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Are you looking for a unique way to explore the Asian country of Thailand? Do you enjoy thrill seeking, beautiful views, and soaking in the glorious abandonment of an open road? South Thailand Motorbikes offers a variety of touring packages that are not only adventurous, but a phenomenal way to experience the landscape and culture of breathtaking Thailand. Visitors can choose from 7, 10, 15, or single day explorations, and for the ultimate experience, South Thailand Motorbikes features an all-inclusive touring schedule that visits some of the most pristine destinations in the country.

Motorcycle Thailand

The single day tour offered by South Thailand Motorbikes includes a loop through the Khao Sok National Park. This day trip offers guests a myriad of different views and exposure to various towns and villages.

The seven day excursion features a drive through a National Park, an infamous ride on a ferry boat, various stops near renowned beaches and resorts. Tourists will have the option to experience exotic wildlife, exciting nightlife, and exhilarating activities like kayaking and rafting.

The ten day motorbike trip highlights some of the lesser known, but equally stunning, destinations in Thailand. Riders will experience a variety of historic landmarks, temples, shrines, exclusive beaches, and delectable cuisine. With pristine landscapes, alluring scenery, and a very friendly culture, this tour is certainly a top contending option.

The fifteen day tour is the longest of all the vacation experiences offered by South Thailand Motorbikes. This adventure, primarily geared toward experienced riders, features destinations in popular tourist towns as well as quaint villages. Riders will truly experience a plethora of cultural and informational education about the great country of Thailand. Waterfalls, tigers, museums, rock climbing, parasailing, and nightclubs are just a sampling of the experiences that one might have on this extravagant tour.

These traditional motorbike tours include overnight accommodations, scooter or motorbike rental and fuel, refreshments, and a tour guide that will advise, direct, and present the various alluring characteristics of Thailand to you and your group-mates.

Perhaps you are seeking a worry free experience that not only includes the amenities from the tours described above, but also takes the liberty of planning and organizing daily meals. If so, the all inclusive tour is perfect for you. This particular adventure features pristine destinations and luxurious stopping points. Guests will enjoy beaches, waterfalls, mountains, temples, resorts, and spectacular dining options.

Regardless of the touring package that you choose, South Thailand Motorbikes offers excellent hospitality and an unforgettable experience.

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Buying a Salvage Title Motorcycle at an Online Auction https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/buying-a-salvage-title-motorcycle-at-an-online-auction/ https://blog.bikersden.com/motorcycle-tips/buying-a-salvage-title-motorcycle-at-an-online-auction/#respond Thu, 23 Apr 2015 05:11:34 +0000 https://blog.bikersden.com/?p=3230 Few things are as great as riding a bike on the open road. The wind, the speeds, the general thrill of it all is enough to get anyone excited. What could be more exciting than that? Well, buying a motorcycle...

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Few things are as great as riding a bike on the open road. The wind, the speeds, the general thrill of it all is enough to get anyone excited. What could be more exciting than that? Well, buying a motorcycle at auction for up to 70% off, that’s what. Buying a salvage title motorcycle at an online auction whether to ride in it’s current state or to use for parts can be a great way to save money. It can also be a convenient way to lose a lot of money if a buyer isn’t careful. But no worries! Below are some tips brought to you by BidNDrive.com to get a buyer started in this seemingly intimidating market.

 

Buying a motorcycle at auction

 

  • Have a Plan

The first thing a buyer should do before hitting the online auctions is write a specific list of exactly what they are looking for and the price they’re willing to pay. Because the Internet has people from all over selling all kinds of bikes, it could be easy to lose focus and end up buying the wrong thing. A buyer searching for parts should take the time to write down the parts they’re looking for, which models they’re compatible with, and budget them to start. For example, sometimes a nut or a bolt can fit one kind of bike and only one, making all the difference in the world in terms of price. And speaking of price…

 

  • Know the Value!

The Kelley Blue Book is quite possibly the most popular and concise guide for determining the value of a vehicle. It’s a thorough and seemingly exhaustive guide of almost every make and model under the sun, which makes it hard to believe that it’s not the only resource available.  When searching for a salvage titled motorcycle, buyers can learn about the market by checking motorcycle forums, local classifieds such as craigslist or even a newspaper. These resources can prove more useful in terms of what people are commonly asking for and paying for every day.

 

  • Don’t Forget About Labor Costs!

One would think that most buyers shopping for a salvageable motorcycle or parts would have access to a proper mechanic or are savvy about repairs themselves. Surprisingly, this simply isn’t the case – there’s a movement out there of do-it-yourselfers that feel they are capable of putting in the repairs themselves. Confidence is certainly admirable but it’s probably better to have a trusted mechanic standing by. Whether it’s a bike that is described as a drivable vehicle that’s been repaired or a moving pile of parts that can be reused, a proper mechanic can usually look at a listing and weigh in whether or not it’s a good value or give an estimated quote of what it would take to actually perform the repair. Sure the parts could be cheap, but a buyer wouldn’t want to learn after buying that they have to shell out hundreds if not thousands to a mechanic for repair. The goal is to save money after all.

 

  • Don’t Forget the Shipping Costs!

Another often-overlooked aspect of buying a motorcycle at an online auction is the cost of shipping. Where is the bike coming from? Is the shipping method insured? Can the seller provide a proper tracking number? Will it arrive dismantled in a large package or delivered via freight? Ordering a vehicle online isn’t like buying a toaster off online. There are plenty of logistics that go with shipping something so large. A buyer should feel confident to ask all of these questions and more before even placing a bid. It also helps to verify their claimed prices through their chosen delivery service to make sure the seller isn’t price gouging in the shipping.

 

  • Prepare Yourself For Government Hoops

As with any vehicle, a motorcycle that has been stamped with a salvage title will need proper documentation, insurance etc. However, unlike a regular vehicle, salvage titled vehicles can require a lot more work before it can even hit the road. Of course laws and fees will vary from state to state but it’s good to know what you’re in for. For starters, a vehicle with a salvage title could require a specific kind of insurance – usually total coverage. If this still doesn’t seem like an urgent enough step, let’s put it this way: The DMV in California requires that bikes labeled as salvage vehicles go through a variety of inspections. Moreover, buyers are required to provide extensive documentation of repairs, ownership history, vehicle history, and of course proof of insurance. Check your local DMV for more information.

 

  • Be Prepared to Shop Around

Buying a motorcycle at an online vehicle auction can take some shopping around. It’s an extensive process for plenty of room for trial and error. But despite the frustrations, it’s definitely