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Showing posts from August, 2015

2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 – Ride Review

Photos by Megan Harris

"I've had a look at this motorcycle of yours whilst you were having your supper," my wife's grandmother says upon my return from the pub.
Grandma, as she allows me to call her, is upper-middle class and English to the core. She is naturally wary of Americans and has been known to suddenly burst out laughing at the idea of my being able to make a living writing about motorcycles. Add to this the fact she is somewhat deaf, a condition not helped by my natural Texas mumble, and it's easy to see why she and I don't chat a lot. When my wife is around, Grandma prefers to deal with me in third-person terms: "Now then, Jenny, does Chris want tea?"

My wife isn't around this time, though. I've ridden the 2017 Triumph Bonneville T100 down to Devon on my own, staying the night, so I can get meet photographer Megan at the beach the next morning before tourists arrive. Without my wife as interpreter, Grandma and Grandad (who is also…

Gear review: Suzuki Tank Bag

Here's the thing about a tank bag –– any tank bag: once you get one, you will find it extremely difficult to live without. That's something to consider very seriously; there is no turning back. They are that useful: gear so incredibly essential you will wonder how you ever got by without it. 
Ostensibly, the Suzuki V-Strom tankring tank bag is an official accessory item for use with both the V-Strom 1000 and the V-Strom 650. But I'll let you in on a secret: this is, in fact, a SW-Motech Quick Lock EVO City bag that's been given Suzuki branding. 
And that's a good thing. A very good thing. Because SW-Motech gear is top-of-the-line stuff. Made of 1680D ballistic nylon, it is rugged as hell. Holding 11 liters of stuff and expandable to 15 liters, the bag has one main compartment and three smaller external pockets –– one in the front (i.e., facing the rider) and one on each side.
On my recent European trip, the (expanded) main compartment was enough to hold: –– Two ba…

Ride Review: Indian Scout

"It reminds me of bikes from the 70s," says a leather-vested balding man also test-riding the new Indian Scout. "I mean, it just feels like those bikes, you know?"
I don't know. But from his enthusiasm I take this comparison to be positive. You can see it in his eyes; some part of him is back in another place, another time. The Scout is transporting him to that wonderful period of a man's life when girls were so easy to get that you didn't even care.
Some of us have never actually experienced that period in our lives, but as time puts more distance between the present and the past we start to think we did. Or that we could have. Especially if we had been riding around on a Scout.

I will credit the Scout that much. Deep within my soul I feel that if I had been riding this bike in my early 20s I would have had to fight girls off with a stick. The bike is nothing short of amazing. And that's an important thing to note in this review: I think the Scout…

Is Belfer for real? Thoughts on the future of EBR

I watched a lot of professional wrestling when I was a kid. This was during the dying of the light for wrestling territories. Down in Texas it was all about World Class Championship Wrestling. I remember, too, watching Mid-South and a fledgling World Championship Wrestling. When my family moved to Minnesota I got to see the American Wrestling Association in its final two years. I never watched WWF; I didn't like it.
The common thread in the wrestling I liked was that it was based in the Southern or Central parts of the United States. In those wrestling promotions (and in my wider Texas-born world), people from the East Coast were always bad guys. They were condescending, arrogant, unethical, smarmy –– always trying to trick you. These themes still run as subtext in American country music, but in the unfettered days before cable TV dominance (and, later, the internet), they were rife in the South. 
As a result, oh my goodness did I hate the East Coast. I hated it in the pure and u…

Europe 2015 pt. VI: Penarth to the Black Forest

If you haven't already seen from my Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or G+ feeds, RideApart has published the first part of my road trip to Italy.
I have visions of one day going back and writing up an extended version of the whole trip, but, honestly that sort of thing might bore you to tears. There are times when the editorial confines of professional writing are of benefit to the reader.

I'm working on a second part at the moment and that will be published on RideApart soon. As is always the case when I link to stories I've written on RideApart, if you have any comments please make them there. That way the site editors will be duped into thinking I'm brilliant and that I'm worth what they pay me.

Scooter Bob and I go to Aberystwyth

Recently I've had the privilege of hosting Scooter Bob, who you can read about here. We went on two little adventures together before he carried on with his world travelling. Here's the first of those:

Hey, Chris, I've been thinking...
Yeah, Scooter Bob? What about?
Well, you know, I don't want to sound ungrateful... I mean, I appreciate your letting me stay at your place for so long and keeping the fridge stocked in beer and everything... but, well, since I'm a wooden scooter I don't really drink beer. Or anything else for that matter. And I'm not really a homebody, either. I'm a travelling sort, Chris, and I'd really like to do something.
Like what, SB?
Like go somewhere. We're here in Wales, aren't there any interesting places to go?
Sure. Loads. Arguably, Wales is home to the best motorcycling roads south of Hadrian's Wall.
OK, that sounds like my sort of thing. Let's explore some of those roads!
Good idea, SB. We'll head up to …

Popular posts from this blog

Ride review: Harley-Davidson XL 883 L (aka Sportster SuperLow)

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is like riding a tractor.
That's the criticism so consistently levied against Harley-Davidson motorcycles: that there is something agrarian to the experience. And I can now say from personal experience that all those critics are right. But I can also say those critics are leaving out a key piece of information, which is this:
It's a tractor that hurtles forward with roller-coaster intensity, a tractor that goes really fast, a tractor that makes you feel like Brock Lesnar in a children's ball pit. A tractor from the Land of Bad-Ass, with which you can sow the seeds of awesomeness.
But let me back up a bit...
A few days ago, I decided to take the day off, solely for the purpose of getting a chance to ride around and finally make use of the free breakfast coupon sent to me by Thunder Road. As I was gearing up, I suddenly decided that since I was already heading west, I might as well push a few miles further and che…

Ride review: Yamaha XV950 / Star Bolt

Imitation, Charles Caleb Colton famously noted, is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's true, the flattery the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 receives from Yamaha's XV950 is enough to make one blush. Put the two bikes side by side, and the inspiration for the latter is undeniable. Yamaha claims its bike has a "new neo retro Japanese look," but that's clearly just nonsense –– lorem ipsom that was used instead of "totally looks like a Harley-Davidson Iron 883."
Certainly the XV950 –– known as the Star Bolt in the United States –– isn't the first example of a Japanese OEM adhering faithfully to the styling cues of America's best-known motorcycle manufacturer. The orthodox members of the Church of Jesus Harley Latter-day Davidson write these bikes off as "wannabes," and tend to be pretty dismissive of anyone who would dare consider purchasing one. But I'm going to commit blasphemy here and tell you that the XV950 is unquestionably the …

Ride review: Triumph Bonneville

"OK," I said. "I want one." "Well, you know, maybe you should ask your wife first." "She loves Triumphs," I said. "Still, Chris. You should give it a think. Go home, discuss it with your wife, give yourself a chance to think clearly. After all, this is one of Triumph's most popular models; there's plenty of stock available."
The voice of reason in that conversation was Drew, the salesman at Bevan Motorcycles. He was doing his best to talk some sense into me after my test ride of the 2014 Triumph Bonneville. I was wild-eyed and yammering like a teenage boy who has touched boobies for the first time. This, my friends, is what the Bonneville does to you. It is an instantly rideable, instantly enjoyable, instantly lovable motorcycle that surprises you in just how good a simple motorcycle can be.

The Bonneville, of course, is a storied machine that's been around in one form or another for 55 years. It is a classic. Partially b…