All posts by Bill Whitman

2015 Ride for the Kids Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

Twenty-eight thousand people in the US are living with the diagnosis of a pediatric brain tumor. The Ride for Kids program, a national series of motorcycle rides that supports the work of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, made it their mission to eliminate the challenges of childhood brain tumors by funding medical research and family support programs. Brian Klock of Klock Werks said he felt humbled to be able to help kids and families, and also honored to be paired with “two of the most iconic names in the industry, American Honda and Cycle World.”

“When I was told 13 kids are diagnosed every day, I thought, what can we do to help?” Brian Klock, President and Visionary of Klock Werks said. “Kids are the future of our industry, and of our world, so when you get a chance to help out, you should.”

And that’s exactly what Klock set out to do with the benchmark standard for touring bikes. The new Ride for Kids/Cycle World project bike raffle features a Honda F6B donated by American Honda and customized by Klock Werks. It was on display at the New York International Motorcyle Show December 11th-13th.

“The F6B is a new platform for Honda, designed to bring in a different crowd. It has everything that riders love about a Gold Wing, but is a sportier version of the touring standard.” Klock said. “If you would have told me we could design a windshield to help a Gold Wing handle even better than it already does, I would have doubted it, but when we tested our Flare™ Windshield on it, it did just that! We are really excited to add Honda fitments to the available line of our original Flare™ Windshields, and are proud to be able to showcase our Flare™ along with other custom touches on this project.”

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Klock donated his team’s design and labor time for the F6B project, as well as the original Klock Werks Flare™ Windshield. Other donated parts and accessories include front 180/55-18 and rear tires from Avon Tyres, raked 180 tree kit from Hannigan Motorsports, drink holder, saddlebag trim, floorboards and rear reflector from Kuryakyn, Cerrakote flat black exhaust by Liquid Designz, Mustang seat and backrest pad, Eclipse series “Temper” front wheel from RC Components, SoCal Moto Gear’s HID headlights and smoked mirror turn signals, Monster Oval exhaust system from Vance and Hines, and custom badges and license plate frame, courtesy of XYZ Machine.

“It was great to get our hands on this bike,” Klock said. “We gave the F6B an even thicker look and more attitude with a 180 front tire, along with the rest of these subtle, but custom, touches.”

The winner of this decked-out Honda F6B will be drawn in May 2016. Tickets are available one for $5 or five for $20 at the AIMExpo, the International Motorcycle Shows, the Honda tent in Daytona, the MotoGP in Austin, and The Quail Gathering. They can also be purchased at www.curethekids.org/projectbike.

About Klock Werks

Located in Mitchell, South Dakota, Klock Werks has grown from humble beginnings to a nationally and internationally recognized Brand. Achieving status as “Air Management Experts”, Klock Werks credits this to the success of the original, patented, Flare™ Windshield. Also supplying fenders, handlebars, and other motorcycle parts, Klock Werks proudly leads the industry through innovation in design and quality of materials and fitment. Team Klock Werks has been successful for years designing parts, creating custom motorcycles, and setting records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. You will find motorcycles, family, and faith at the core of Klock Werks, along with a commitment to caring for the needs of enthusiasts around the world who enjoy their products.

Klock Werks Builds A Military Tribute Style Motorcycle

Klock Werks Kustom Cycles is beyond honored and humbled to have the opportunity to partner with Indian Motorcycle on a project that pays tribute to the outstanding service men and women of our country. With an impressive track record of supporting U.S. troops dating back to WWI, Indian Motorcycle has always believed in the importance of standing strong to support the Military.

The 2015 Scout was the perfect platform for Klock Werks to build a military tribute style motorcycle; The USO Scout. The motorcycle has long been a staple in the military ranks as a workhorse, but beyond that and more importantly it helped build the morale of those serving on deployment as a symbol of hope. Hope in one day returning home being reunited with family, friends and a great American motorcycle ride.

“The USO does so much as a non profit for the moral of our troops and entertainment during those long stints away from family, we are proud to give back in such a way that utilizes the talents of our team and a great motorcycle like the Scout”, said Brian Klock, founder of Klock Werks.

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The matte green paint is indicative of a vintage military bike, and was perfectly applied by Brad Smith of The Factory Match. The USO Scout features taillights that are modern street legal reproductions on a custom bracket to mimic the original lights used back in the day.

The saddlebags seen are an Indian Accessory; the “Klassic” seat kit has been custom upholstered using the exact same hides as on the saddlebags. That same leather wraps the base of the Indian quick detach windshield.

The front fender is a Klock Werks “Klassic” design for the new Scout model.

The fork caps and rear shock covers are custom rapid prototype parts designed on Klock Werks Stratasys equipment.

The Indian Chieftain floorboards feature custom Klock Werks designed mounting brackets and hardware.

The luggage rack is a custom one off billet top with metal side plates featuring the USO logo.

The exhaust has been ceramic coated to blend with the frame coloration.

The right side features a “Klassic” round cover with a faux serial number for effect.

The custom gun scabbard mount holds a Thompson sub machine gun with a custom gunstock by Boyds Gunstocks of Mitchell, SD. The USO and Indian logos are both featured in the wood.

“The balance of custom touches and keeping the bike ride able for events was critical. We were not trying to recreate an old bike but rather conjure up images of yesteryear while paying homage to the modern water-cooled powerplant, and innovative design elements”, Brian stated. “Klock Werks team took Indian’s direction and executed a fully functional motorcycle. The talented team from Boyd’s Gunstocks certainly added the frosting to the cake with their efforts. We are fortunate to be able to work with the USO on furthering their cause and be surrounded by the talent in Mitchell, SD.”

Valerie Thompson returns to NHRA drag racing series and land speed racing in 2016

America’s Queen of Speed combines forces with Star Racing and Chris Rivas for 2016 NHRA season

(Scottsdale, AZ) – Nov. 10, 2015 – Seven-time land speed record holder Valerie Thompson plans to compete for a full season of NHRA drag racing next year with a Star Racing built Pro Stock Motorcycle as an independent team owner and driver. Thompson will also continue seeking new land speed racing records with her team’s BMW S 1000 RR at select events in 2016.

In addition with technical support by Star Racing, Thompson’s team will be led by recently appointed crew chief, Chris Rivas. Rivas is a former Pro Stock Motorcycle racer with four NHRA event wins and six land speed racing world records.

“Chris Rivas has been successful in drag racing while setting new land speed records. As a crew chief, he will be one of my biggest assets. He understands the difference between quarter-mile and land speed racing, so he can help our team with everything from bike set-up to my riding technique as I transition back to drag racing,” added Thompson.

Thompson’s motorcycle-racing career began in the All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) where she finished third in the V-Rod Destroyer class in 2007 and was featured in a Super Bowl commercial with Danica Patrick. She also entered several NHRA in 2008 with a best elapsed time 7.05 seconds.

“I have a real passion for land speed racing, but I can’t express how excited I am to return to my ‘racing roots’ with a bike built by George Bryce’s Star Racing team. George and his wife Jackie, operate one of the most successful NHRA Pro Stock motorcycle teams in the history of the sport, so I’m confident we will do well next year,” said Thompson.

“I’m delighted to see Valerie returning to drag racing and thankful she chose Star Racing to help her new team. We are also looking forward to working with Chris Rivas again,” said George Bryce, Star Racing owner.

Thompson formed her own land speed racing team in 2012 and recorded a personal best top speed of 217 mph at the 2014 Texas Mile. This year, Thompson became the first female member of the Colorado Mile 200 MPH Club on her Quicksilver Powersports Lubricants/CTEK BMW Motorrad and is now a member of six-land speed racing 200 MPH Clubs, including the prestigious Bonneville 200 MPH Club. As a result, she is often referred to as “America’s Queen of Speed.”

2014 Harley Davidson CVO Road King.

I need to get this out of the way right now! That tinted or smoked windshield, or whatever the hell it is, has got to go. It really makes the motorcycle look like “crap.” WTF! It invokes anger in me, so much so, I want rip it off with my bare hands. Yep, I have issues. But, doesn’t everyone? Otherwise I’m all good with this motorcycle.

One other thing I’m going to throw out there before you invest too much time reading this: I love Harley Davidson motorcycles. So this isn’t for you if you’re a hater who doesn’t understand the relevance of a Harley Davidson motorcycles. You know who you are! You might want to go to You Tube and watch kitten videos instead of reading this.

That’s right, “love.” I don’t care that they’re not perfect. Also, I know there’s a possibility that my beloved Harley Davidson motorcycle will leave me stranded somewhere. Hopefully, my Harley Davidson won’t strand me during a zombie apocalypse. That would suck big time and that would really piss me off!

Every relationship has its ups and downs, including motorcycle relationships. If I would have wanted a motorcycle that doesn’t break down and would last forever, I would have bought another Honda. I don’t want a perfect relationship. I want a relationship that I can grow from.

Let’s get over this hurdle first. $28,000 for hopped-up Road King? Yep, it seems like a lot of money. But, you’ve got to dig a little deeper to understand the value. This motorcycle comes with a Screaming Eagle twin cam 110 cubic inch engine. You know what they say about engines, “there’s no replacement for displacement.”

This engine produces more horse power and torque than the twin cam 103 engine. So you’ll have that going for you as cruise down the boulevard. Get a few Harley Davidson or S&S catalogs and start collecting the data to convert your 103 cubic inch into a 110 cubic inch engine. Once you do that math, you’ll gladly put your money down on CVO Road King.

The paint jobs on the 2014 Harley Davidson CVO Road King required extra attention to detail to get it right. I’m going to imagine the paint job was done independently of their other models. I’m not big fan green paint jobs on anything except farm tractors. I remember walking up to the motorcycle and thinking to myself, “Green! WTH.”

All the colors on this planet and they’ve got to use green paint? Really green damn paint! But after a while, the green paint job begins to grow on you. You have two other color choices if you’re not happy with Deep Sherwood Pearl and Galactic Black. Yep, you didn’t think Harley Davidson was going to call paint job regular green did you?

This motorcycle comes with a lot of nice amenities that aren’t incorporated in the regular Harley Davidson Road King. The toe-heal-shifter and the linkage are not standard Harley Davidson issue. The upgraded version looks way cooler. The seat is leather and very comfortable for those long rides. This motorcycle comes with an upgraded exhaust system. The V-twin rumble leaving the exhaust pipe is pretty much standard Harley Davidson issue.

The fancy grips and levers also add to the coolness of the motorcycle. You’ve got LED lights all the way around. I not happy that the passing lights are missing. Not groovy! The 2014 Harley Davidson CVO Road King comes with an upgraded speedometer. The speedometer is programmable for different back ground illumination color options. I sure hope Deep Sherwood Pearl is one of the choices.

The front and rear rims are all chromed up. They really look nice in the whole framework of the motorcycle’s design. This motorcycle comes with Harley Davidson’s Reflex™ Anti-lock Braking System. Also, the brakes are linked. I’m a big fan of linked brakes. I know some people have a problem with the concept. I believe Harley-Davidson’s linked brake system disables when the motorcycle is under a certain speed. The brakes provided plenty of stopping power with no fade.

The clutch is hydraulically assisted with some type of slipper mechanism. A slipper clutch is probably a good idea on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to reduce driveline lash during downshifting. The clutch lever had a really light pull and a good feel to it. The 6-speed gearbox I believe is standard Harley-Davidson issue. The gearbox worked like a charm during my demo ride and finding neutral was a breeze.

The brake and clutch lines are braided stainless. The handlebars are black and not chromed. Also, the front and rear crash bars are black. The rear crash bars are smaller and at the bottom of the saddle bags. It doesn’t look like it provides the same protection as the standard crash bars. The majority handlebar wiring runs through the bars providing a clean look.

This motorcycle is also equipped with electronic cruise control system. It appears to be the same system as the regular Road King. Keyless ignition is standard and so is a factory security system. The saddle bag lids open with touch of one hand. The saddle bag locks are now incorporated in the latches.

During my demo ride the motorcycle felt stable through some pretty demanding curves. I’m going to attribute this to the upgraded touring frame which includes larger front forks. The bearings in the steering head have also been upgraded. The handlebars seem to be lower and wider when compared to the regular Road King. I think the lower and wider handlebars provide the rider with more control when cornering the motorcycle.

There was noticeable difference when I turned the throttle during the demo ride. There’s monstrous low end torque being generated from the twist of the wrist. In theory, the 2014 Harley Davidson CVO Road King produces 118 ft. lbs. of torque at 3750 rpm. There also seems to be a lot less vibration emitting from the 110 engine as compared to the 103 engine. It was a pretty cool day during the demo ride, so I can’t comment on engine heat. But, I’m going with bigger engine more heat produced. That’s just a fact of life with air-cooled engines.

There’s a very big chromed up air cleaner on the right side of the engine. In Harley Davidson’s brochure it’s called the “Heavy Breather.” Yep, that pretty much says it all. The air cleaner is probably instrumental in getting enough air in to the combustion chambers. There’s plenty “Screaming Eagle” badging all over the engine.

Would I buy a 2014 Harley Davidson CVO Road King? Probably not. I’m not one of those guys who customizes his motorcycle. I may buy a few odds and ends, such as bag guards, rear rack or backrest. I’m just not a big fan of billet pieces on a motorcycle. I know all about making it your own, but I’m pretty happy with the way it comes from Harley Davidson. Although, that Screaming Eagle twin cam 110 cubic inch engine is pretty damn sweet.

Instant Bolt-On Style For Harley Davidson’s Softail Slim

Your bike says a lot about you, and having a kustom look that fits your style should be easy to accomplish, and not break the bank. There’s no better way to achieve a kustom look with such ease than replacing the stock fenders on your Softail Slim.

“All Klock Werks Fenders are stamped from 14-guage steel using precision deep-draw stamping technology,” said Brian Klock, president and visionary of Klock Werks. “A consistently smooth and flawless finish, with all the right curves, will give your Softail Slim instant style!”

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Klock Werks is excited to offer the new “Knuckler” style stamped steel front fender for your Softail Slim (will also fit Heritage, Fatboys and any other FLST model except Springer)! This direct bolt-on replacement fender uses stock mounting locations and hardware. After Klock Werks steel fenders are stamped, they are e-coated to prevent rust and corrosion.

From manufacture to paint booth and beyond, Klock Werks Fenders continue to resist rust even after paint. Precision laser cut technology ensures accurate fitment. Our updated take on the classic front fender design will also fit FL Softails with 16”-18” up to 130 mm tire.

Klock Werks also designed a rear fender for the Softail Slim that flows with the rear fender strut shape of this popular model. Klock Werks Rear Fenders use factory mount hardware and will utilize OEM seat or any direct replacement. The fenders are compatible with 2012-2016 FLS (Softail “SLIM”) and are available in Smooth and Frenched License Plate Pocket versions.

These new fender fitments are available online at www.kustombaggers.com or through your local Drag Specialties Dealer. Remember, painters love Klock Werks sheetmetal, and you will too!

About Klock Werks

Located in Mitchell, South Dakota, Klock Werks has grown from humble beginnings to a nationally and internationally recognized Brand. Achieving status as “Air Management Experts”, Klock Werks credits this to the success of the original, patented, Flare™ Windshield. Also supplying fenders, handlebars, and other motorcycle parts, Klock Werks proudly leads the industry through innovation in design and quality of materials and fitment.

Team Klock Werks has been successful for years designing parts, creating custom motorcycles, and setting records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. You will find motorcycles, family, and faith at the core of Klock Werks, along with a commitment to caring for the needs of enthusiasts around the world who enjoy their products.

Chicagoland Wings!

During the 2015 season I rode with several different motorcycle groups. I guess it’s time to write about my experiences with these groups. I just read an interesting article about USA motorcycle riders’ behavior. 58% of us are what’s referred to as “Lone Wolf Riders.” No groups, no vests and no patches. We just roll our motorcycles out of the garage and go.

First up is the Chicagoland Wings! Here’s a link to their website. http://gwrra-ilz2.com/. Before I write about my experience I’m going to give you the official statement from their website. “We are one of several Illinois Chapters of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association. The world’s largest single-marque social organization for owners and riders of Honda Gold Wing and Valkyrie motorcycles. We are dedicated to our motto, Friends for Fun, Safety and Knowledge. GWRRA members enjoy the freedom of belonging to a not-for-profit, non-religious, and non-political organization.”

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. I don’t own a Honda Gold Wing or a Valkyrie motorcycle. Can I still participate in this group if I don’t own one of these motorcycles? Well, I’m going with yes. Considering fact that I’ve showed up on my Moto Gizzi and other riders at the meetings have different motorcycle brands too. So I’m going to throw this out there, it pretty much looks like if you like to ride a motorcycle you can be a participant in this group.

I am a member of Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA). I own a 2008 Honda Golwing. I’m pretty sure the membership cost me about $45 a year. The GWRRA creates a magazine that they send out periodically. You can get either by mail or an electronic version to read on your iPad or such.

This magazine is filled with useful motorcycle rider information and advertisement specifically targeting Honda Gold Wing motorcycles. There are other benefits to being a member of this organization but I just don’t have in front of me to write about it. Here’s a link to their website so you can get the correct information. http://www.gwrra.org/

Next let’s talk about the meeting logistics. The meetings are held every third Sunday at the Denny’s located at 17 W 660 22nd street, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. The meetings start at about 9 am giving you the opportunity to eat breakfast and hear what’s going on in the group and the parent organization (GWRRA). There is also an opportunity for you to gamble because during the meeting they run a 50-50 ticket raffle.

One of my favorite things about this group is that there are women riders in the group. They’re not just passengers but they ride their own motorcycles. In my opinion this reduces the level of testosterone in the group. Maybe reduces the level of testosterone is the wrong thing to say, let’s just say it dilutes the level of testosterone.

Excessive testosterone and motorcycles leads to bad things. I’ve ridden with several all-male groups and the first two things that go out the window are safety and critical thinking. So anytime I see a group that has women riders I’m in.

Before I go any farther I’d like to nail down the relationships between the different organizations. The Chicagoland wings are a chapter of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association. I believe there is more than one Illinois chapter and the technical name for this chapter is “GWRRA Chapter IL-Z2.” I may have this wrong but I believe you have to be a member of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) in order to participate in a local chapter. Without doing any research I’m going to guess that there are chapters located all over the world.

Okay, who are you riding with in this group? I’m three clicks away from 60 and would consider myself a little bit under the mean average age. I wouldn’t say that I’m an outlier on the Bell curve just a little bit off from the center. I look like I’m in my early forties and sometimes I feel like the “Kid” in the group. But, that’s just me internalizing.

The club president definitely goes out of his way to try to connect with anyone who is new or possibly overwhelmed by this experience their first meeting. This is definitely one of the friendlier groups that I’ve rode with. Example, I’ve been provided with coupons by other members to reduce the cost of my breakfasts on several occasions. I guess this is a small thing, but it’s indicative to the whole culture of the group.

On our last outing we went to Volo Auto Museum located in 27582 Volo Village Rd, Volo, IL . I’ve driven past this place several times, but never stopped in. This particular outing was about a 90 mile round trip I believe. The Volvo Auto Museum is an interesting place for me because it is filled with “muscle cars” from back in the day. I got a chance to reminisce about cars that I always wanted to own.

But true be told, I love my 2015 Honda Accord. I like how every time I get in the driver seat it adjusts to fit me after the wife has just driven it. That is just so “car-gasmic” for me. You can’t beat no key to turn, Bluetooth conductivity, wall-to-wall-air bags and a bunch of technology I don’t know how to use. Muscle cars just don’t seem so cool anymore.

Okay this blog is starting to turn into an episode of the Seinfeld show, a lot about nothing. So improve you social skills and ride with this group!

Be safe, ride your motorcycle, enjoy you life, help those in need, go to pet shelter and try to improve the planet. Oh, one other thing, please checkout all of my media, thanks.

2015 KTM 390 Duke

I’m going to start right here. This motorcycle weighs about 307 pounds without the fluids. The fluids would include oil, fuel and coolant. So let’s add another 20 pounds to be on the safe side. So the approximate weight of this motorcycle ready to ride is 327 pounds. That’s about 100 or so odd pounds heavier than a competitive motocross motorcycle. Eat enough Wheaties you could probably carry this motorcycle around by strapping it on your back.

The liquid cooled single cylinder engine generates about 44 HP. That seems like a lot of power for something that has only 375 cc. My Honda lawnmower has 159 cc and produces 6 HP on a good day. The four valves are controlled by two overhead cams. Yep, this little engine has four valves per cylinder. It’s all about moving gases through the combustion chamber with the least resistance. The engine is equipped with two oil pumps to keep all the moving metal parts nice and slippery. The engine weighs in at 80 pounds, let me guess, without fluids?

I’m a big fan of KTM’s engine design. First off, the outward appearance of the engines looks way mechanical, dude. Like every square inch has something to do with producing more HP. No fancy curves or any intrusion of arties stuff to increase the visual appeal of the engine. This baby is all business! On paper KTM’s engines seems to have a higher power to weight ratio than other manufacturers.

A state of the art injection electronics system keeps the fuel following into the combustion chamber without a hitch. Throttle response is spot on without delays or mishaps. The engine revs up quickly so you better be prepared to use the gearbox. Failure to use the gearbox correctly will introduce you to the rev limiter indicator on the display on a regular basis.

The engine is coupled with a 6-speed gearbox. The clutch is in an oil bath and has multi–plates. No slipper clutch on this baby. The clutch is not hydraulic assisted. But it had a very light pull on the lever. The transmission worked like a charm. The only problem I had was the length of shift lever. Way too short for my size 11 boots. Missed a few shifts because of my boots.

The frame is composed of tubular steel. The frame design looks pretty ridgid with some beautiful welds. The swing-arm is composed of lightweight alloys and is manufactured from some type of die-casting process. If you look closely at the swing-arm, it does look pretty cool with the bracing design. The frame and the rims are painted KTM orange, no big surprise there.

The front forks are inverted with a hefty 43 mm thickness. The suspension duties in the rear are handled by a mono-shock right smack dab in the middle of the swing-arm and the frame. According to KTM, the suspension travel in the front and rear is 6 inches. That seems like a lot of travel to me. It might be a misprint from KTM’s website.

This motorcycle has a pretty big front brake rotor. 300 mm big! The front calliper has four pistons and the rear has one. With this braking configuration, I see a lot of stoppies in the future for this motorcycle. Way cool, ABS is standard! I believe KTM is staying ahead of the curve by putting ABS on this motorcycle. The EU is going to force motorcycle manufacturers to have ABS braking systems future. The EU is going to be a big market for this motorcycle anyway.

The 17 inch rims are a light weight casted alloy material. The rims are equipped road griping Metezeler tires. There’s 110 mm in the front and 150 mm in the rear. This combination should keep this motorcycle well planted on the road regardless of the driving conditions.

The seat is about 31.5 inches off the ground which should be a good fit for a lot of motorcyclists. The seat is pretty damn comfortable for this type of motorcycle. Usually they give you plank with ¼ inch of foam and some cheap vinyl covering. The seat was actually very comfy, not La-Z-Boy comfy, but comfy none the least.

I wasn’t a big fan of the speedometer in the beginning. It looked cheap and out of place. But during the demo ride, I learned to embrace it. It was easy to read in any of the sunlight conditions during that day. I wished the tach portion was a little bit bigger on display.

What was it like to ride the KTM 390 Duke? First off, the motorcycle feels small, almost tiny. I can’t see this motorcycle being a good fit for some over 6 feet in height. The second thing that comes to mind is “fun.” Even though this is not the motorcycle for me, it did hit the “damn cool” level in the motorcycle section of my brain.

During my demo ride, the frame felt rock-solid as I pushed it through the turns. The suspension worked like a charm handling my mass during the ride. I did on one occasion squeeze the front brake lever too much causing the front end to dive. After that, I adjusted how I used the front brake. Every motorcycle has a learning curve. The engine provided plenty of get-up-and–go.

Overall, the motorcycle is a very attractive package. In my mind, this motorcycle is about three notches above entry level. The power-to-weight ratio is pretty high for an entry level motorcycle. Using KTM’s tag line, this motorcycle is “ready to race.”

There’s also a restricted version of this motorcycle to comply with the UK’s A2 driver’s license category. In the UK, new riders have HP restrictions on their motorcycles. In the good old USA, a new rider can go directly to a 200 HP machine. Yeah baby!

Also, I’d like to thank KTM and Motorcycle Center for hosting this demo ride. Motorcycle Center is located Villa Park IL and they are KTM dealership.

2014 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring Almost Got Deported!

It was Sunday morning and I was slipping on my motorcycle boots getting ready for a ride. With my boots on I headed down the hallway trying not to step on our dog. Molly is our Golden Retriever who loves to lie on tile floor in the hallway to the garage. I give her a quick pet and carefully step over her trying not to wake her. Once I’m on the other side of our 80 pound fuzzy bumpy roadblock I headed for the door into the garage. I quickly passed through the door into the garage.

I pretty much had my heart set on riding the Moto Guzzi that morning. I started transferring all of motorcycle stuff from the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited’s saddle bags to the Moto Guzzi’s saddle bags. Once everything was transferred I got on the Moto Guzzi and rolled it to middle of the garage. I got off the motorcycle to press the garage door opener button on the control unit mounted on the wall in the garage. Up goes the garage door. I walked back over to the motorcycle.

I turned the key in the ignition switch and pressed the start button. The next thing I know all hell was breaking loose with my trusted Italian best buddy in the garage. The engine started “surging” as though it was trying to dissemble itself. Not groovy! No way dude! I didn’t wait for the pistons to come flying out of the engine. I hit the kill switch and turned the key to off position to end the suffering.

It was so loud that the wife came into garage from the second floor to see if I was okay. I was fine but my Italian best buddy was not. I put the kill switch to on position then I turned the ignition switch to the on position and looked at the speedometer. It had the word “service” in the LCD display. “No shit, no fucking shit” I thought to myself. One other weird thing, the emergency flasher LED was lit on the speedometer, too.

Did I bump the emergency flasher switch near the handgrip? Pressed the emergency flasher switch a few times and no change. WTF! Italian piece of crap, double WTF! I turned the ignition switch to the off position. Waited a few minutes and started the motorcycle again. The engine was now running like it normally did, yeah! I looked at the speedometer and the word “service” was still in the LCD display and the emergency flasher LED was lit on the speedometer. Triple WTF!

Okay, Kelly Blue Book and NADA here I come. How much can I get for Italian best ex-buddy? Maybe, I’ll trade this sucker in for a Honda? Or maybe, it’s time to deport my Moto Guzzi! Nope, that isn’t going to happen. Owning a Moto Guzzi is all about a test of wills. You’re thrown into an epic battle that you must win at all costs. Once the Moto Guzzi sees the fear in your eyes, you’re screwed.

Well, knowledge is power, so off to the Google I go. I typed in my sad story on the computer and boom, there it is. Some other owner had the same problem as me. This dude is the “man” and he understands inner workings of Moto Guzzi motorcycles. As I read his post, it all becomes clears to me. My Italian best buddy has a sensor problem. I now realize that I need professional help to win this war.

I picked up the phone and called Jim at Rose Farm Classics in Woodstock Illinois. After speaking with Jim, he tells me to bring the motorcycle in on Monday. Jim’s shop is about 50 miles from my house. So I ask Jim “Do you think it will make it?” He responds, “I guess we will find out.” Note to self, don’t ask Jim to predict the future again. So Monday morning rolls around and off I go at 4:30 am to beat the traffic.

I arrived at his shop around 6:30 am. Right around 7:00 am Jim shows up. We pushed my Moto Guzzi into his shop to the lift and up it goes. He connects his computer to my Moto Guzzi’s computer and tells me the throttle position sensor had an error. I ask him, “Should it be replaced?” He responds, “Nope,” and follows up with “I’m going to upgrade the software.” He then tells me this should solve my sensor error problem.

I asked Jim if he can do the 6,000 mile service with 5,000 miles on the motorcycle. He says “Sure, but I’ll still need to come back at 6,000 miles so he can reset the computer.” Okay, fine, I’m here, let’s get it done. I wish I could tell you what was done on 6,000 mile service. I can’t, Jim has a really nice leather couch in the showroom. The next thing I know it’s 11:30 am and I’m waking up from a nap on the couch.

I got up off of the couch, walked into the shop and asked Jim if we’re all good, he responded “Yep.” We rolled my Italian best buddy out of the shop. I turned the ignition switch on and up pops Veloce in LCD display. The emergency flasher LED was no longer lit on the speedometer either. Yeah! Veloce is an Italian word which means fast, quick, and speedy. I now have my motorcycle in the sport mode and I hope it’s ready to roll. I hit start button and my Moto Guzzi comes to life. Sweet!

Yep, my Moto Guzzi will remain in the USA in the garage with dual citizenship for now!

2015 Indian Chief Classic’s first 200 mile trip!

This is going be a continuing series about how my 2015 Indian Chief Classic performs and my experience of owning it. I’m not going to bullshit you about anything about this motorcycle. I don’t work for Indian. I’m just another motorcycle consumer like you. If something sucks, you’re going know about it. I’ll deal with facts, figures and my opinion.

Last Sunday, I rode with the Lilac Village War Lords. Nope, not true, sorry. Sounds pretty cool, though, say it with me “Lilac Village War Lords.” The truth is I rode with the Jersey Pine Cruisers. The Jersey Pine Cruiser’s home base is in Mount Prospect Illinois.We rode into the fine state of Wisconsin around the Lake Geneva area.

Okay back on track! I need to have the pre-load adjusted on the rear shock. I’ve got a feeling that motorcycle comes from the factory for someone south of 200 pounds. Well, guess what, I’m north of 200 pounds. So during the ride, my spinal cord got adjusted, a few times. I’m hoping that there’s going to be aftermarket air-shock available soon.

It was a 90 degree day. Good day to see if that big V-twin gets hot between my legs. Guess what? It does! But, it seems to be concentrated on the right side. I saw that coming, not a big deal. Just the nature of the beast. If you want a cooler running engine, then get one that’s water-cooled. I will say this, my old Harley-Davidson 2012 Softail Deluxe would roast both legs, medium well!

The transmission works like a charm. No bouncing back and forth from first to second trying to find neutral. My 2014 Harley Davidson Road King on occasion likes to play “find neutral if you can.” No sponge gears either! What’s a sponge gear? Let’s use my 2014 Moto Guzzi California Touring as an example. Sometimes when I down-shift, it feels like I’m stepping on a sponge. There’s some resistance, but nothing happens. When I feel the “sponge gear” coming on, I up-shift and then down-shift again. It’s all good. It adds some spice to my life.

The engine develops a lot of useful torque. I find myself lazily going through the gears. There have been times when I should have down-shifted, but I didn’t. The engine doesn’t complain by the usual methods. It’s almost like you only need the transmission to get the motorcycle moving. After that, it’s pretty much like an automatic with a few adjustments now and then.

I really don’t feel this motorcycle is drag strip material. It’s new and I haven’t put it through its paces yet, but you can tell. I’m good with that, too. I’m going to guess it’s all about the mass your trying to propel. Send this motorcycle to Weight Watchers for a few months and you’ll have different story to tell.

I can set my helmet on the seat with the engine running. If I try the same feat with my Road King, Ultra Limited or the Moto Guzzi I’d be picking up my helmet off of the ground in seconds. Engine vibrations are kept under control. So if you’re dead set on shaking handlebars, mirrors, floorboards and fuel tanks you’re out of luck.

I read that some people complained about the distance from the handgrips to the levers. I have a normal size hand and didn’t have a problem operating the levers. By normal, I mean I am unable to palm a basketball. The brakes have a really good feel to them. It would appear they provide more than enough stopping power.

I guess my brain is starting to attenuate out the engine noise. It just doesn’t bother me anymore… nor does the rattling coming from the fuel tank area that I once heard in the distant past.

2015 Victory Magnum

A 100 watt stereo! Damn! Not 50 or 75, but 100 motorcycle shaking watts. That’s a lot of wattage in your cottage. It’s hard for me to imagine that 100 W stereo provides manufacturers with leverage to sell their motorcycles. Okay, before I sell my next motorcycle, it’s going put a really big stereo system on it. It would appear that I know absolutely nothing about marketing motorcycles.

The Magnum is powered by Victory’s 106 freedom engine. This engine is pretty much distributed through their whole line of motorcycles. It’s an air/oil cooled 50 ° V twin with a displacement just north of 1700 cc. There are four valves per cylinder to keep the gases flowing freely through the cylinders. Single overhead cam configuration is used to put the valves in play. The cam shaft is driven by a chain, no pushrods in this engine. The engine holds 5 quarts of oil and has a wet sump design.

The engine is fuel injected with 45 mm dual throttle bodies. The engine is also nicely chromed up so you better leave the dealer with some chrome polish. There’s also a counterbalancing device spinning around inside the engine. So if you’re looking for the Harley-Davidson or Moto Guzzi engine experience, you’re out of luck.

There’s an oil cooler neatly tucked away on the two forward frame down tubes. The oil cooler is also hidden by some painted plastic shroud that adds to the aesthetic qualities of the motorcycle.

I once had a Victory motorcycle owner look me in the eye and tell me that the Freedom 106 engine does not produce any heat. I thought to myself, “This is a wonderful story and maybe they shouldn’t legalize drugs.” We really need to bring back the dinosaurs to thin the gene pool a little bit. I’m sorry, but some people have just got to go! The engine produces approximately 87 HP at 5200 RPM and 95 foot-pounds of torque at 3100 RPM. Oh yeah, for the record, the Freedom 106 engine does produce heat! They all do. Get over it.

The engine is coupled with a six-speed no-hassle gearbox. No battle to find neutral or problems missing a shift. I do have one complaint. Where in hell is the toe-heal-shifter? What’s the deal here? Haven’t motorcycle manufacturers figured out that when you install floorboards on a motorcycle it is just natural to put on a toe- heal- shifter arrangement. The exhaust plumbing is neatly routed to both sides of the rear wheel and provides you with an opportunity to polish a lot more chrome.

This motorcycle comes with two disk brakes in the front and one in the rear. All three brake rotors are 300 mm. The front calipers have four pistons and the rear calipers have two pistons. The brake should provide plenty of force to reduce the momentum of this 760 pound motorcycle. The model I drove had ABS, which is an option. I didn’t feel any pulsing through the foot or hand control, so I guess Victory has that nailed. In 2016, the EU will require all newly manufactured motorcycles to have ABS on them. I’m going to guess that American manufacturers will follow suit and make ABS standard on their motorcycles.

The factory custom paint is stunning. The design or the presentation of the motorcycle gives you some sort of modern Art Deco interpretation. No dull curves just a lot of straight lines. The seat is around 26 inches off the ground giving the inseam challenged access to a nice bagger. Wheelbase is around 67 inches to make sure this motorcycle will run in a straight line at high speeds. The motorcycle looks large from ground level, but it pretty much falls in line with the other cruisers out there.

I hope Victory didn’t reduce the travel and the rear shock absorber to lower the back end of the motorcycle. I’m a firm believer the more travel on the shock absorber, the better the ride. But I’m going to guess Victory has done something to reconfigure the frame geometry so the comfortable ride is not lost. The rear wheel is only 16 inches so that should help in slamming the backend.

The front wheel on the other hand is 21 inches. I have no idea what the craze is with these big front wheels. I’m going have to do some research to figure out how it affects the steering geometry. But it seems to be the craze. I guess the guys who created those plastic tricycles that were referred to as “Big Wheels” when I was a kid were way ahead of their time.

The bags are cavernous so we can pretty much bring all your worldly possessions with you. The release button to open the bags is simple to use. The bags are also lockable. I guess the one problem that I have with Victory’s big configuration is the lack of metal to protect them. I don’t see any possible way of connecting some sort of guards that wraparound the bags to protect them from scuffs and scrapes. Call me paranoid, but both my Harley-Davidson’s have bag guards wrapped around the rear bags.

I rode the model with the mini ape hanger bars. Not really a big fan of ape hangers, but they were mini ape hangers, so I was going to give them a try. I guess my problem with ape hanger bars is I don’t feel I have enough control over the motorcycle. As I started out on the demo ride, I thought to myself this was a bad idea. But as the motorcycle moved down the road, I got more accustomed to manipulating the steering through the mini ape hangers. Would these be my bars of choice? Nope!

The lights are LEDs all-round the motorcycle. I’m a big fan of LED lights. I own a 2014 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited equipped with a LED head and passing lights. At night it doesn’t just light up the roadway, it lights entire landscape. I hope in the future other manufacturers step-up to the plate and add LED lighting systems to their motorcycles.

Riding this motorcycle is way cool. Everyone will be looking at the paint job on this motorcycle. So if you need to get noticed, this is the motorcycle for you. You’ve got a nice rumble coming from the exhaust pipes. Plenty of get up and go so you can leave the stop lights like a “Boss.” The motorcycle has pretty good clearance on the floorboards and feels balanced when turning. So when the need arises, you can push this motorcycle through the turns like Valentio Rossi. Don’t try dragging your knee though, that’s not going to go well for you.

If you buy this motorcycle, you’d have largest front wheel on a production motorcycle. The brakes have a good feel to them all way through their actuation. Turning the throttle provides a nice analog feel from the engine. The seat is comfy and should fend off butt pain on long rides. Crank the stereo and you could be a roving DJ as you travel down boulevard. You would be “The Man” or “The Woman” on this motorcycle. That’s a fact, jack!

The only real complaint I have about Victory baggers and touring motorcycles is they seem plasticized. So you’re probably asking what the hell is plasticized. We’ll let me give you another example. I have a 2008 Honda Goldwing which is completely covered in plastic. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a metal frame under all that plastic. Or has Honda somehow figured out how to embed titanium in plastic. Call me old-fashioned, but I guess I just got to see some metal tubing somewhere on the motorcycle.

Oh, sorry one other compliant. Where in the hell is the FOB? Who wants to put a key in and turn it on a $23,000 motorcycle? Not me, call me a lazy American! Harley Davidson, Indian and Ducati have FOBs. What’s the deal, Victory? At this point in my life, I have been FOB-o-tized. That’s right FOB-o-tized, no damn turn keys for me jack! You can get carpal tunnel from that key turning stuff.

The big question is would I own a 2015 Victory Magnum if my wife would let me? The answer is” Hell Yeah.”