Follow Me on Google+

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Moriwaki Trip Report

The trip out was uneventful. I had loaded up my iPod with a combination of music and old radio detective shows that I'm fond of. Put it on shuffle and the miles slide by in a combination of Sarah Borges and Phillip Marlow. A favorite of mine is Candy Matson, a San Francisco PI.

I spent the night in Harrisburg with my friends Karyn & Dave. Dave is writing the definitive book on the history of Maico motorcycles. He's just waiting for the publisher to approve the final draft so it can be published. More on this when it hits the bookstores. Dave has a basement full of Maicos of all sorts including a couple of factory race bikes. He also has one of six existing Maico 125cc road racers. 

I spent the night in a motel and went over to the AMA Museum the next morning. I walked in to see a Bonneville streamliner right in the middle of the display. Did they know I was coming? There was another display of custom jobs by Arlen Ness. They don't do a thing for me, motorcycles are for riding. I actually managed to escape without buying a t-shirt although I did buy raffle tickets for the CB750 and C100 they were giving away.

I picked up the Mighty Moriwaki from Rick and toured his garage. I have to admit that I had never heard of a Bimota CB400F before. Too bad it was Not For Sale! And how many people do you know who have an even half dozen CBX's? There was a nice Ossa 350cc Super Pioneer and several other bikes that were for sale. A cute MR50 that had been redone to look like a miniature '73 CR250 almost came home with me but Rick was waiting to hear from another person that had made an offer. Nice to see some people still have ethics.

I split the ride home by staying with Karyn & Dave again. Dave's friend Dave dropped by and we sat around talking about bikes for a couple of hours. Turns out we knew a lot of the same people and had been to the same places. Small world.

On the way back to CT I hit some heavy snow from Allentown PA to NYC. There were 6-8 cars that went off the road or smashed into the guard rails. I have to admit to a secret satisfaction that they were all 4WD SUV's. Mass and inertia aren't just good ideas, they're the law!

The Mighty Moriwaki is now on display in the front hall where it dwarfs the Dream 50R and looks modern compared to the Combat Wombat. It's cleaned up and ready to go as soon as the roads clear. 1400 miles to get it and worth every one.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Your US Government In Action

I'm still pretty tired from four days on the road to get the Mighty Moriwaki. Full report tomorrow. In the mean time here's another example of the wackiness from our government.

Plans and Instructions

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, marital or familial status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs). Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA Office of Communications at (202) 720-5881 (voice) or (202) 720 7808 (TDD).
I guess this means that you can't discriminate against robins or sparrows.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Off to Ohio

I'm driving to Ohio to pick up my newest racer. The Mighty Moriwaki MH-80R

While I'm there I'll be stopping at the AMA Motorcycle Museum to see what I can see.

See you on Friday when I return.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No Motorcycle Today - But ...

This link from Natalie is hilarious! It has nothing to do with motorcycles but it is too funny to miss. 
What were these people thinking?!?!

These are wedding shower cakes. 
What are friends for? To point out that you shouldn't wear a thong?

Congratulations - Your new kid looks just like ET!

Is there something about football fans that makes them bad spellers?
One too many hits in the backfield?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

American Motorcyclist Magazine

American Motorcyclist Magazine has been described as the AARP For 2-Wheels Magazine. I'm sure that the AARP would be offended by this. One noted speaker, who shall remain anonymous, said that the best part of becoming a life member of the AMA what that you could elect to never get the magazine again! However, it has been showing signs of revival lately and is not nearly as coma inducing as it used to be.

As part of the Google Books program all of the old American Motorcycling/Motorcyclist magazines are now available on-line for free. Whether looking up reviews of bikes from the past, doing research for a restoration, or you're just amused by reading the old ads this is a great place to hang out. They are cataloged in reverse chronological order starting here.

The old issues are lots of fun whether you're new to motorcycling or want a trip down memory lane. If you are not already a member you should consider joining the AMA. We all have our complaints about them but, in the end, they are the main force guarding what little rights we have left. Best of all, they finally got rid of that ugly logo they adopted a couple of years ago and went back to the simple AMA style below.

Friday, February 19, 2010

2010 Honda NT700V vs. Aprilia Mana 850 GT ABS

I am inherently intrigued by the new Honda NT700V. It has the engine from the same family as the Transalp and the Hawk GT, two of my favorite bikes. has just done an excellent review of the NT700V vs the Aprilia Mana 850 GT. They won me over by not complaining about lack of wheelie power or Ricky Racer canyon carving ability. Instead, they invented the term Sport Touring Lite and proceeded to evaluate them on the basis of what they were designed for; commuting and simple touring. Not everyone wants a Concours 1400 or Goldwing to take a weekend trip to the mountains. Certainly nobody wants to take one of those on their daily commute through rush hour traffic.

I rode my Transalp across country a couple of years ago and found that 600cc was more than enough to propel me at any speed I wanted. Kevin took his Transalp from Boston to Alaska to Panama without a problem. For me, light and fun is much better than big and heavy not matter how much hp is involved. YMMV.

The two bikes turned out to be amazingly similar in ride, comfort, and power. The Aprilia has an automatic transmission with a sport option, the Honda has shaft drive, integrated bags, and a better fairing. The Aprilia costs ~$1000 more and the Honda has a better dealer network if you venture across the USA.

Maybe the key idea for these bikes is a return to sanity. Great rides for those of us who have our hormones under control and don't need to prove anything except our love of the highway. Read the article here if you missed the link above.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trip Recorders

This ad just arrived in my mailbox. Everything you wanted to know about all your trips in one place. Which is not an entirely bad idea. When I checked out the Motorcycle Tour Planner I found it to be reasonably well organized for the OC amongst us.

And who amongst us has meant to write down all sorts of bits of info and never gotten around to it. Or, worse, written it down only to misplace the slip of paper. Things that can not be found in a timely manner might as well not exist!

While I haven't held one of these in my hands it appears from the examples on the website that it is well thought out and covers most of the things you would want to know and remember. The price might seem to be a sticking point for some but might be worth it for those who could use a bit of structure in their lives. Only you and your credit card can know the answer to that one.

For myself I have been using Rite-In-The-Rain notebooks as journals for my trips. These are not cheap either but they are waterproof, tear proof, and almost indestructible. They have different page patterns that I use for trip notes, diagrams, and writing the odd thought along the way.
Shirt Pocket Journal 3X5 Rite in the Rain - 9201-KIT (Binder, Pen, Assorted Loose Leaf, Reference Cards, Cover) GreenRite in the Rain All - Weather Pen #37 (Black Ink Fine Point)
There are quite a few sizes and styles from small pocket notebooks to ring binders. Over time I've settled on the 4 5/8x7" loose leaf binder that lets me add pages and take them out after a trip. The cordura cover zips up to keep everything together and hold receipts and cards I pick up along the way. The whole thing fits nicely into my tank bag for easy access and keeps my Space Pen handy. It writes in the rain too.

The all-in-one Tour Planner or the roll-your-own notebook. Your choice. What do you use?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Race Seminar Review

About two dozen people showed up for Carl McAllister's riding seminar at MotoConsult last Saturday.

Carl started with the basics, how to prep your bike. It's amazing how many people who think they're great riders just jump on their bike, time and again, without checking the little things that make a big difference.
  • Tire pressure, even a couple of pounds off can have a big affect on cornering and braking. 
  • Oil level, when was the last time you checked yours? 
  • Steering head bearings, even the slightest amount of play can throw you on the ground when you get out on the edge.
  • Brake lever and pedal. Are they adjusted to fit the way you ride? Or are they still at the factory one-size-fits-all setting?

He then went over body position on the bike on the straight and in the curves. Of particular interest was his comments on the transitions between the different phases. For instance, instead of going straight from the tucked position down the straight to the knee out position in the corner Carl inserted the butt back position to help braking.
  1. Tuck behind the fairing down the straight
  2. Butt up and back to shift weight away from the front wheel to enhance braking at the end of the straight. Reason: The weight is going to end up on the front wheel anyway but by moving back you keep the suspension compression to a minimum to prepare for the corner. Subtle but effective.
  3. Then, slide out and over to bring the bike around in the corner.
Little things like this shave quarter seconds off of laps and make the difference between winners and also rans.

In the Question and Answer period that followed the inevitable "What should I do to my engine to go faster?" question was asked. Proving that he really knows what he is talking about, Carl answered, "Leave it alone!"

To go faster Carl advised:
  1. Check your bike over carefully and make sure everything is as it should be. Knowing that the bike is ready inspires confidence and confidence makes you go faster.
  2. Check your tires. New tires will have better grip and feedback than the ones you probably have on there now.
  3. Get your suspension upgraded. Better compliance with the road or track will give the tires a better grip and the rider better feedback
  4. Go to a track school. No matter how good you think you are, you could be better.
  5. Only then start to think about more power. You are probably not using all that you have now except on a straight road. Anybody can twist the throttle when the bike is straight up and down, the difference between winners and losers comes in the corners.
 Finally, Ben was kind enough to provide pizza and drinks for all of the attendees. Yumm! It was time well spent and I'm looking forward to the next one. I'll make sure to post the date and time here so stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Prince of Darkness

For the masochistic amoungst us here is a tribute to The Prince of Darkness.

  • Not many people know that Triumph attempted to market a computer. Why did they stop? They could not find a way to get it to leak oil!
  • A BSA doesn´t leak oil, it marks it´s territory. 
  • Did you hear about the man whose Norton didn't leak oil?
    The factory took it backand worked on it until it did.
  • Did you hear the one about the guy that peeked into a Land Rover and asked the owner "How can you tell one switch from another at night? They all look the same. "
    He replied, "It does not matter which one you use, nothing happens !"
  • The Lucas motto: "Get home before dark."
  • Lucas is the patent holder for the short circuit.
  • Lucas - Inventor of the first intermittent wiper.
  • Lucas - Inventor of the self-dimming headlamp.
  • The three position Lucas switch - Dim, Flicker and Off.
  • The Original Anti-Theft Device - Lucas Electrics.
  • Lucas is an acronym for Loose Unsoldered Connections and Splices
  • Lucas systems actually uses AC current; it just has a random frequency.
  • "I have had a Lucas pacemaker for years and have never had any trou..."
  • If Lucas made guns, wars would not start.
  • A friend of mine told everybody he never had any electric problems with his Lucas equipment. Today he lives in the countryside, in a large manor with lots of friendly servants around him and an occasional ice cold shower...
  • Back in the 70's, Lucas decided to diversify its product line and began manufacturing vacuum cleaners. It was the only product they offered which did not suck.
  • Q: Why do the British drink warm beer?
    A: Because Lucas makes their refrigerators
  • Alexander Graham Bell invented the Telephone.Thomas Edison invented the Light Bulb. Joseph Lucas invented the Short Circuit.
  • Recommended procedure before taking on a repair of Lucas equipment: Check the position of the stars, kill a chicken and walk three times clockwise around your car chanting: "Oh mighty Prince of Darkness protect your unworthy servant.."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Anti-Valentine Movies

Just because I'm being lazy this morning here are my top 5 Anti-Valentine / Bad Date movies. Feel free to post your nominations in the Comments section.

The War of the Roses Kill Bill - Volume One
Kill Bill - Volume Two The Shining (Two-Disc Special Edition) 
Prizzi's Honor Body Heat (Deluxe Edition)