Things have been pretty dead around here lately. And by "dead" I mean "wet." It has been raining nonstop for weeks. On top of that, it's been cold and I've been working long hours, which means the only free time I have is at night. So, I haven't ridden much.
I feel the need to try to assert my non-wussyness by pointing out that I am willing to ride in the dark and rain and cold -- I have before and most certainly will again. But when the purpose of a ride is simply to get out and clear your head, those conditions aren't ideal.
As a result of this stagnation I've been living vicariously through the internet, consuming just about every motorcycle-related thing I can. To make myself feel I haven't wasted my time in this, I've decided to share a few of the things I've found most interesting in the past week:
+ The reviews are out for the new Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and the basic consensus is: "meh." In my own daydreaming look at middleweight ADV bikes I questioned whether the Big Strom would really be £3,000 more of a bike than the 650cc version and it appears the answer is no. Here are reviews from:
+ VisorDown had a funny little piece on why being a motorcyclist may not make you as sexy as you'd like to think. Somewhere in the back of my head I seem to remember RideApart doing something slightly similar not too long ago. So, it seems the appropriation of content goes both ways. (RideApart has on at least three occasions taken a VisorDown story and claimed it as their own) But I like this piece if not simply for the line "you’ve probably got a network of undesirable mates... called ‘Turnip’, ‘Ped-Boy’ or ‘Keith’."
+ Allegedly a number of protests took place around the world in objection to Australia's VLAD act, which extends pretty stiff penalties for associating with undesirable types like Turnip, Ped-Boy and Keith. Exactly how VLAD (a) is implemented is tricky to determine, but the general feeling is that it could be used to prevent motorcycle dudes from hanging out with motorcycle dudes. If I'm honest, I don't quite see how it does this, unless you are keen to commit crimes with said motorcycle dudes.
+ Harley-Davidson is making its demographic target clear by setting its sights on X Games fans, last week proclaiming a desire to see motorcycle ice racing added as an X Games sport. This is a gimmick, obviously. Harley-Davidson doesn't care about ice racing; a Harley, with its excessive weight, would be pretty far down the list of things you'd want in actual ice racing. But HD does care about the X Games audience. You'll remember that Victory has forayed into the same demographic territory with the Ride and Seek series. In my own opinion, I feel Victory's demographic pandering worked a little better. Their efforts are spoiled only by the facts that:
a) Victory bikes are ungodly expensive
b) Victory insists on having R. Lee Ermey as a spokesperson. Because nothing says "hip and different" like a 70-year-old Marine who does cartoon voiceovers.
+ The UK's National Motorcycle Museum has announced plans to add a 250-room hotel to its facilities. This is uninteresting but for the revelation that there is such a thing as the National Motorcycle Museum. I had no idea. A road trip shall be planned.
+ Meanwhile, electric motorcycle maker Brammo has announced it's going to try its luck in the notoriously stuck-in-the-past UK market. This, despite the fact that Zero gave up on us in late 2013. Britons are very sceptical of electric anything, and this is reinforced by our substandard charging network; the whole of Wales has just three charging stations, according to this map. Additionally the bikes are frustratingly expensive.
+ Staying in Britannia for one more item, the UK's Motorcycle Action Group recently went on record in stating that it still objects to the country's 40-year-old helmet law. Because I'm so pro-helmet I can't help but feel it's a totally pointless fight, but you have to respect the fact that Lembit Opik seems better able to state the philosophical argument against helmets than his American counterparts. I like the fact that he describes it as a "symbolic test of liberty." It sounds a whole lot more sane to say: "Look, we realise this is a silly issue and, in fact, we think helmets are a good idea, but we're concerned about principle," instead of the usual American line of: "No helmet because freedom!"
|Picture provided by Michael Padway & Associates.|
+ I'll bet there are people who know all the motorcycle hand signals by heart and take a certain authoritarian pleasure in using them. They probably seek out group rides solely for the purpose of being able to use hand signals. These are people with whom I am unlikely to get along.
+ Because I often find myself leaning toward sport tourers I thought this Cycle World piece was interesting. I just wish sport tourers looked cooler.
+ And speaking of bikes I want, the Triumph Bonneville has long been toward the top of my list. I've often thought about booking a test ride, just to get a sense of the bike in person, but have been afraid that if I did such a thing I would end up buying one right there and then. It appears that fellow moto-blogger Sash has also recently been bitten by the Bonnie bug pretty severely. Because I love that bike and I'd love to read about anyone's adventures on it, I am doing what I can to push her to get one. Head over to her blog and do the same.