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Showing posts from August, 2015

Gear Review: 55 Collection Hard Jacket

Product: 55 Collection Hard Jacket Made in: Barcelona Cost: €480 (US $510)
It’s likely you’ve never heard of 55 Collection; the Barcelona-based leather goods company is relatively small and has only been on the scene for a few years. So, allow me to introduce you to a company that’s making some of the best-looking and unique motorcycle jackets out there at the moment.

Adopting the “non serviam” nonconformist attitude that seems to run through a lot of Spain’s motorcycling culture (check out the crazy/beautiful custom works of El Solitario MC, for example), 55 Collection’s jackets may split opinion because of the company’s willingness to make jackets that are fashionable – that is to say, jackets that have a strong fashion element. The old dudes will decry hipsterism or some such thing. And indeed, I’ll admit that when company founder Aitor Gonzalez offered me a chance to try out one of his jackets I naturally defaulted to the most conservative of his offeri…

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 …