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Showing posts from January, 2016

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…

Does it matter where stuff is made?

(Originally published on RideApart)
I've become obsessed with the idea of getting an Aerostich Roadcrafter, the famously unsexy safety onesie favored by adventurers and moto-journalists. I mean, just about every two-wheel-loving scribbler out there seems to wear one: John Burns, Jamie Elvidge, Marc Cook, Gabe Ets-Hokin, that guy who goes camping with dogs... 
And since I've been known to describe myself as a moto-journalist –– primarily just to annoy my father –– I feel I should look the part. But also, 'Murica y'all.
Roadcrafter suits are made in the God-blessed United States of USA Land –– specifically Minnesota, where I spent many of my formative years –– and the idea of being able to represent my home country every time I ride hits the semi-illogical pleasure center of my brain where patriotic thoughts are most often stored. Indeed, I think that may be the main reason I want an Aerostich: patriotism.
But I'll admit to being a man of fickle allegiances. I'v…

Good news, bad news: Moto predictions for 2016

(This post was originally published in another form on RideApart)
The good news: We're hitting a renaissance of American motorcycling. There are strong rumors of Indian delivering a bike this year called the Chief Springfield, which will be based on the existing 1811cc V-twin platform. It also seems inevitable that the Scout and Scout Sixty will head in different aesthetic directions.
Meanwhile, Victory has promised a 1200cc liquid-cooled V-twin for 2016. Based on the Combustion and Ignition concepts of last year, the final product will likely disappoint those hoping for the super naked, of which Victory is totally capable—but you know, baby steps. And remember that last year the company also trademarked the name "Victory Charger" for use on an electric bike, which will almost certainly be more than just a rebranded Brammo.
Elsewhere, it seems Harley-Davidson is (slowly) phasing out the Twin Cam 103, and its Street models…

Indian's new Scout Sixty: Who is this for?

(This article was originally published on RideApart)
Less than two months have passed since Indian's new Scout Sixty was unveiled in Milan, and the classically styled modern cruiser has already racked up a fair amount of accolades.
I've yet to ride the bike myself (I'm working on changing that soon), but by the accounts of other motojournalists, the 999-cc Scout Sixty maintains all the positives of the 1131-cc Scout from which it is derived. The Scout Sixty loses a little bit of horsepower to its bigger sibling, as well as a sixth gear, but also sheds $2,300 from its US price tag.
That's no small amount. With the money saved you could spend a full two weeks staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Clute, Texas. Why you would want to do such a thing, I don't know; the point is that you could.
But is that enough? It seems the reason the Scout Sixty is winning so much praise is the simple fact it is, essentially, a Scout. It looks like a Scout, sounds like a Scout, rides…

12 Reasons to ride a motorcycle

We're several days into 2016, but I'm of the mind that a new year doesn't really begin until I buy a new wall calendar. Which won't happen for another week. I'm waiting for shops to lose their nerve and offer discounts.
In the meantime there's plenty of opportunity to make New Year's resolutions. Allow me to suggest one: make this year the one in which you finally get a motorcycle. Or, the year in which you convince someone else to get one. To assist in this, I've listed every reason I can think of to ride a motorcycle.
1) Riding a motorcycle makes you cool Generally we like to hide this fact. But, in many ways, it is at the heart of all other reasons: in some way or another motorcycling will make you cooler than everyone else. And deep in their hearts, everyone else will know it. No, it's not very cool to admit such a thing –– indeed, part of coolness comes from respectfulness toward those who lack the good fortune of being you –– but, that ma…