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Showing posts from July, 2015

What it's Like to Crash a Motorcycle

“Damn it. John Burns thinks I’m a dick.”
That was one of the predominant thoughts going through my head as I slid down a Florida highway at 60 mph back in March.
It’s weird how the mind works. Time slows in a crash. Every tiny image burns into memory, so your brain can replay it over and over and over at night for the next who knows how many weeks.
In the moments before I crashed, I was riding the Harley-Davidson Street Rod along County Road 34 in central Florida. I’m not sure which county. The accident report simply records it as “County Code 61,” but the internet can’t agree on which county that is. Maybe I was in Indian River County; maybe I was in Suwannee County; maybe I was in Flagler County; I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter; I was somewhere. The road passing through that somewhere was long and straight – not the sort of place where one usually crashes – and the weather was perfect.

“My God, I am so happy,” I was thinking. “I am so incredibly lucky to be here – to live t…

What I Want: Honda Africa Twin

I've admitted this before: I'm a sucker for good marketing. And the campaign leading up to the imminent return of Honda's legendary Africa Twin motorcycle has been exceptionally good.
Honda clearly, almost overtly, intends to take the crown away from BMW in the adventure-touring category, feeling its Africa Twin has rightful claim to the throne. Certainly the old Dakar-winning XRV-750 was unmatched through much of the 1990s, when it had little competition. But with almost every major manufacturer now offering some sort of adventure variant -- and BMW and KTM having upped the game to exceptional levels (1) -- Honda has a big mountain to climb.
I think they've gone about tackling that mountain the right way, though: slowly, slowly, slowly whetting our appetites over the past year. First, through the unveiling of the mud-covered True Adventure concept, then through a series of sleek, inspiring True Adventure videos on YouTube.
A few stylized photos were released back in …

Ride Review: Indian Chief Vintage

The Indian Chief Vintage is an interesting bike in the sense that it is simultaneously amazing and awful. The good news is that this awful can be fixed with a pair of scissors. The better news is that the awful of which I speak is completely subjective; you may, in fact, love it.
What I'm talking about is leather fringe. It is a prominent feature of the Chief Vintage and I hate it. Apart from one of those Babes Ride Out girls who would do so ironically, I cannot imagine the sort of person who would desire leather fringe on a motorcycle.
I mean, fringe. Leather fringe, for Pete's sake. Fringe.

What weird, fetishist pack of Minnesotans did Indian dig up for a test marketing group that the motorcycle company came away with the belief that bedecking one of their bikes in leather fringe was a good idea?

I don't even...

I think the reason I get so annoyed by the Chief Vintage's fringe is that it is otherwise a pretty fantastic bike. After all, the Chief Vintage is nothing m…