A big reason we enjoy riding is that there’s little that comes between the rider and the road. You’re not smoking a cigarette or drinking coffee or listening to the radio, you’re focused on the road. Even something like using a GPS is something I do only reluctantly, because there’s no way to enjoy your ride while you’re trying to follow one of these things on crowded US roads. So why would you want to use your smartphone for your ride? I had given up on using riding apps, but then the good folks at Eat Sleep Ride sent me this one and it gave me THREE really good reasons to use this app while riding: 1) Safety, 2) Ride data, 3) Keeping on top of fellow riders in group rides. Check it out… Continue Reading »
People have been talking about heads up displays on motorcycle helmets for as long as I can remember: It would be nice to see what’s going on behind you, and it would be nice to be able to get GPS data and info like your current speed and the distance to your next turn… Basic information that we take for granted in a car, but are really impossible to gather safely from a motorcycle’s instrument panel. The technology has been available for a while, but no one has been able to put together a viable package that is cost effective and usable on an actual motorcycle. Which brings us to the Skully: an Android powered helmet with voice control, GPS, and a rear view camera. Will this be the one? Check it out at www.skullyhelmets.com and tell me what you think.
If you want a sport riding jacket you go to Alpinestars and Dainese… If you want more colorful options, Icon has some great stuff too with looser cuts. But if you want a leather jacket with classic looks that will look normal when you’re off the bike, there’s really only one brand you need to know: Roland Sands. Google it. These are really top quality jackets, with so many styles that you won’t wind up buying the same jacket as your your other biker buddies. They have a looser cut (for accommodating normal sized beer guts) unlike most of the Alpinestars gear, and they do not come with armor (that I’m aware of), but that’s not bad considering the price points for these jackets…anyway once you’ve had a few different kind of jackets, you tend to have a preference for certain kinds of armor, so you can fit your own.
This is FYI, I’m not trying to sell you anything… But before you put down a few bills on a jacket at a dealer, you might want to check one of these out.
I was hoping that the chatter about the incident a couple of weekends ago on the West Side would die down, but it seems like more people are just hearing about it and wonder what I think (not that my opinion matters any more than yours, it doesn’t). So here it is: 1) I think no one deserves to be run over and have both legs and spine crushed under an SUV. Unless he was pointing a gun at you and your family, basic human decency commands “thou shalt not crush people with your big ass car.” 2) But considering the circumstances of the event, how many of these guys were basically acting like hoodlums (instead of just going out and enjoying their ride) it’s understandable that the SUV driver freaked out. “Understandable” means I can see what went through his fear addled brain, it doesn’t mean I think what he did was right. 3) I think that this motorcycle club that was involved in the incident gives sportbikers a bad name. If you though police harassed sportbikes in the past, well they now have even more reason to do so. 4) Only a complete idiot brake checks a car for being a bad driver while riding a motorcycle. Brake checking anyone is a stupid idea, but anyone who does that on a motorcycle in front of a “bad driver” might just deserve what happens to him moments later…
Anyway, that’s just my opinion. I haven’t watched all the videos that are out there of the people involved (some of you have). And I don’t think I’m a judge in these matters… I don’t really understand large groups of bikers riding out anyway – dude if you want to hang out with your friends all day, get a van… but if you want to RIDE then two or three bikes will make it out of the city faster than a couple dozen bikes going at the same time. So what you YOU think? Share the wealth in the comments section.
PS – the video above is obviously not from this incident, if you haven’t seen the video everyone is talking about, check it out after the jump… Continue Reading »
So here’s the video you haven’t seen from this past weekend… Outlaws on motorcycles…raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Going for a ride and having bbq. Because…why not? Some twistier roads would have been nice, but if you’re out riding in the city on a Saturday, this is the way to do it.
[Sorry for being out of touch lately, work and my 18 month old daughter are kicking my a**.]
Riding a motorcycle in NY is amazing. No, it’s not as good as riding on the West Coast; you won’t need knee pucks on any of the roads around the city. You won’t even need a lot of power, or fancy tires, just a comfortable ride that fits you. But there are a couple of things that make it more difficult to ride around NY. One, lane splitting is not allowed, so if you’re sitting frozen traffic technically you’re not allowed to ride around the gridlocked cars to get to your destination. This adds to the risk of riding a motorcycle because motorcycles in lanes are more likely to get struck by inattentive drivers from behind; also it adds to pollution and since cars are not supposed to pass motorcycles either, it adds to traffic as well. Two, my second beef has to do with motorcycle parking. You can park at a muni-meter and pay for it, but since there’s no way to keep the muni-receipt on the bike, you have to just wait to get a ticket and mail in your receipt. Every. Single. Day. So many bikers just park and take their license plate with them, but this also comes with problems (See previous post!). So what can we do about these things other than beat our chests and complain? Well… I don’t know, but for a start we can sign a petition to have these things changed. After all, we are (supposed to be) a free democratic (or representative) society. So we can use our voice to make the city a little better:
And I’m not talking about the World Series or Broadway shows… It’s that time of year when all the heads of police departments and the traffic enforcement departments send their minions out to blitz bikes parked on the street. If you park chained to something on the sidewalk, this is the one (or two) time(s) of year when they’ll go cut your chains and tow your bike. If you park legally on the street without a license plate (for you outside NY, there are actually good reasons for doing so), you will also get towed and ticketed, and maybe even incur some damage in the process. One City Biker, Dmitry had his bike towed for being parked without a license plate. When he asked why his bike was towed, the response he got was because a vehicle parked without a license plate is considered “abandoned.” But doing a bit of research, Dmitry found that actually a vehicle has to be parked for more than six hours without a license plate to be considered abandoned; he was parked for only a short time. But as we all know governments are way too busy protecting us to worry about something stupid like the law…pshaw, like anyone actually cares about that stuff. So watch out how you park, especially for the next couple of weeks! Cheers!
My life got better when I got a bike with a plastic tank cover. Magnetic tanks bags are a problem, yes, but that’s a small price to pay for never having to worry about handlebar dents. But if you are in the metal tank world, you don’t have to bondo and paint every ding. The best way is what they do here to the hood of this Porsche. I heard about shops that did this back in the 80′s, and it was always considered the “black art” of body shops. Being able to manipulate the metal instead of banging on it, a skilled craftsman can “push” out a dent without doing more damage that requires bondo and paint. I’ve never seen anyone do it up close until this – so if you’re interested check it out.
Bikes that are close to ten years old might be cheap to buy, and look like they’re in good condition, but you need to factor in the cost of servicing: valve clearance check (around $600), fork seals (around $300), clutch (around $300), brake piston seals (I have no idea how much but I bet it’s a couple of $$), etc. Many used bike asking prices have risen in the past few years – probably the result of higher Japanese bike prices since the tsunami and earthquakes have taken its toll on production output a couple of years ago. A 2002 Ninja 250, that I gladly recommended buying ten years ago was going for $1700; today you can find he same bike with an asking price of $1900 on CL. That would still be an okay price for fun zippy transportation if you didn’t need to have the valves checked and the forks rebuilt on an 11 year old bike. For $2800 plus tax (the actual cost if you bought that old Ninja 250), plus maybe a new chain, sprockets, brakes, and tires… You’re paying close to $4k. You can buy a NEWER Ninja 300 for around that price, or at least a good condition 2011. So just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s a bargain.