2013 Victory Boardwalk

I got a chance to ride the Victory’s 2013 Boardwalk motorcycle. First things first I have a “Harley-Davidson Brain” but you can’t beat the quality of Victory motorcycles. So I am a fan of most of the Victory motorcycles that are manufactured. I have said this many times if they didn’t make Harley-Davidson motorcycles my ass would be sitting on a Victory motorcycle. I think that the Freedom 106 engine is pretty much bulletproof. But I do have some reservations about their big touring motorcycle. I think I’ll stop here.

Okay, not a big fan of a solid white paint job on a motorcycle. I’m sure the color is not called white it’s probably got some weird name like “Desert White” or “Midnight White.” It sure looked like regular old white to me. I have a Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe with a white and dark blue paint job, although I have on several occasions thought about the logic behind the paint scheme for this motorcycle. Oh, now I remember, I like to wash it a lot.

So it’s not that I don’t like white, it’s I just don’t see an application for solid white paint on a motorcycle. Maybe, the paint was on sale from the manufacturer. From a psychology point of view, the color white projects purity, cleanliness, and neutrality. Are these the traits you want your motorcycle to project?  I didn’t think so!

Nice powerful engine on this motorcycle. The Boardwalk is equipped with Victory’s Freedom 106 engine.  I don’t know much about the Polaris Corporation, but I do know that when they put together an engine, you can’t beat it. The 106 is a 50 degree V-twin with four valves per cylinder. So it’s not going to have any problems breathing. The engine has a wet sump configuration.  Not a big fan of a wet sump without water cooled cylinders. But the upside is this baby holds 5 quarts of oil. That should be enough so the oil can do its primary job. Plus there’s a big oil cooler in the front of the engine near the bottom of the frame. Engine cooling relies on air and oil. A very nice six speed gearbox is incorporated into the engine to make use of the available torque.

Like the adjustable brake lever on the throttle side of the handle bars. Not something that you readily see on cruiser motorcycles. Really a nice touch if you’re one of those people who makes use of the adjustment on the levers. Otherwise, pretty much the same old standard controls on the handlebars. The mirrors are placed nicely and provide a good size picture of what’s going on behind you.

During my demo ride I did encounter some sort of weird feedback on the clutch lever when the motorcycle is in the fifth or sixth gears. During the last bit travel on the clutch lever it would bounce in your hand. I’m pretty sure that that’s not a manufacturer’s defect, probably some sort of a wear problem due to the beatings these demo bikes take.

This motorcycle has tons of chrome. The lower casings on the engine and the frame are not chrome, but pretty much everything else is. I don’t know if I like the Art Deco style turn signals. I prefer a larger turn signal that would leave a larger impression in someone’s brain so they don’t run me over. The handlebars seemed very comfortable to me. I heard other people at the demo ride complaining about them. Victory refers to them as ”beach bars” referencing a trend in older motorcycles.

All of the tactical information such as speed, rpm, gear position and all the other stuff that I can’t remember right now are displayed on the unit. Yep, this is what’s called “real-time” writing. All of this info is being displayed on a single gauge mounted near the center of the handlebars. In the beginning I wasn’t feeling this display set up. But the information is delivered in a format which has grown on me, so I guess I’m feeling it now.

This motorcycle gets up and goes! That’s really the best way to describe it. I think the maximum horsepower and torque occur somewhere around 3200 RPMs. The motorcycle’s gravitational pull on the earth is right around 700 pounds with all the necessary fluids to operate it. So that’s pretty much in the ballpark of its competitors. I’m not completely sure since I don’t have any factual or hard data, but I think it can out run the majority of its competitors.

My favorite personality trait of this motorcycle is the chromed laced wheels. I’m starting to see a trend which causes me a lot of pain. Manufacturers are moving more and more towards either casted or machined rims. Call me old-fashioned, out of date and one foot in the grave, but I like those chrome laced wheels. I feel that the laced wheels are part of the DNA of a true cruiser motorcycle.

If you’re interested in purchasing a cruiser motorcycle I definitely would stop off at a Victory dealer and ask for a test ride. With that said I would also check out the Harley-Davidson, Honda, Triumph, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Indian, BMW, Ducati and Moto Guzzi dealers. It’s important to find out what really moves as opposed to what you have been programmed to think will move you.

 

 

I rode an Indian Motorcycle, or I think I did?

I went to an Indian motorcycle demo ride in Madison Wisconsin a few weeks ago. I’ve been on a lot of demo rides in my time. But this was the most attended one to date. It was jammed! I got to give credit to Polaris for creating that kind of hype around a brand new product. I mean they really did a good job. Even though I registered about a half-hour after the demo ride started I still had to wait two hours to get on and Indian motorcycle.

The one thing that is starting to bother me about the Polaris’s Indian motorcycle brand is its attempt to link it with the Indian motorcycles of the past. According to Wikipedia all production of all Indian motorcycles stopped in 1953. Five years before my introduction to this planet. There have been several attempts to resurrect the Indian brand none have been commercially successful to date.

The Polaris / Indian truck
The Polaris / Indian Demo Truck

There was one individual who used the Indian brand name without actually purchasing the rights to sell minibikes. I guess you can’t blame him for trying. So all I really know in my time on this planet is a bunch of Indian knockoffs and the products produced by Harley-Davidson continuously from 1903. So technically I have no reference of the Indians before 1953 and probably have a bias towards the product in favor of Harley-Davidson.

I know Polaris wants to create street credentials by using the Indian brand so they can go toe to toe with Harley-Davidson brand. So basically that’s where the problem begins for me. On their demo truck they have in big letters”America’s First Motorcycle Company.” It’s their truck so they can write what ever they want on it. But to me it sends the wrong message.

Yep, the original Indian motorcycle company did start manufacturing motorcycles before Harley-Davidson did. Okay, I’m cool with that, if you’re first in line, your first in line. But the idea that some other company can purchase a brand name to link the present and past products is a little bit unnerving and a falsity for me. Sorry, that’s just the way I’m wired.

I don’t want you to leave with the idea that I’m a Polaris hater. I’ve said this over and over on my YouTube channel and previous blogs that if I didn’t own a Harley my ass would be sitting on a Victory. Also, the new Indian motorcycle is way cool to ride so don’t get me wrong about the product. But their marketing ploy seems like shenanigans to me. So I guess I rode an Indian motorcycle, or I think I did?

Your thoughts?

 

 

Where’s my Dealer Network, Dude?

Okay I’m no different than anybody else who likes motorcycles. I don’t know if like is the correct word but I’m going to go with it. I’ve been checking the Internet over and over again to get a glimpse of the new Indian motorcycles. I want a front row seat to the big event. I’ve seen a  few pictures and videos for the ” Thunder Stroke 111 engine.” But I want more, damn it!

So I fired up the old Google search engine today. I typed in “Indian Motorcycles” in the search bar. Right at top of the web page was the link. Polaris is probably dishing out some big monies to Google AdWords for this placement. Clicked on link to the Indian motorcycle homepage and then my life finally became complete.  After staring at the webpage in a comatose state for a few minutes, I’ve come to terms with which Indian motorcycle I’d like to buy. I’m in! Where do I send the check? Do I need to get on waiting list? Hope there’s still some room in the garage. The wife will be so happy to see another motorcycle in the garage.

My choice would be the Indian Chief Classic. No bags or windshield for me. I like the wind in my face!  I guess it would be considered the base model or essentially the cheapest one of the three. It really has a lot of nice features for a base model. Cruise control and anti-lock brakes are nice standard features. It’s listed on the web site for$18,999. That’s in the same ballpark as one of Harley Davidson’s motorcycles. So I guess the price is not too far out of whack. A lot more competitively priced than their previous models.

I would definitely go with the Springfield blue paint job. I’ve never owned a blue motorcycle. Now that I think about it, I’ve never owned a blue anything. It might be time to own something  painted blue. I wonder what the color blue says about me. The blue paint job is going to cost a little extra, but it’s only money. So now my future Indian Chief Classic is $19,399 without taxes and other fees. Blue paint must be really hard to come by. Well I guess it’s still under $20,000.

Up at the top right corner of the Indian Motorcycle web page is the find dealer button. I moved the mouse pointer over it and click! Up pops a map, nice! As I scan the directions looking for the most important piece of data. The distance from our house to the Indian dealer. The dealer is just a little over 60 miles one way. Let’s do some math, 60 miles plus 60 miles equals 120 miles. So the dealer is actually 120 miles away from me. Okay, not the end of the world.

I travel 110 miles round-trip to the dealer that sold and services my Moto Guzzi motorcycle. But Moto Guzzi has no interest in going toe to toe with the Harley-Davidson motorcycle manufacturing machine. Moto Guzzi would be happy to sell a couple hundred extra motorcycles a year. The Indian brand on the other hand would like to go toe to toe with Harley-Davidson. I’m pretty damn sure Polaris knows exactly what they’re up against. I sure as hell hope Polaris isn’t using the ” we will build it and they will buy it” strategy.

I would have thought that Scott Wine, the CEO of Polaris Industries, would have been working to increase their dealer network before they unleashed their new motorcycles. It almost seems like they put the proverbial “cart before the horse.” I know potential buyers are very excited about these motorcycles and most likely thinking “Where’s my dealer network, dude?” I know I sure am.

I sure hope Polaris doesn’t try to put the Indian motorcycles and the Victory motorcycles in the same dealership. I really believe this would dilute the Victory brand which is a really good product. I’ve ridden a lot of Victory motorcycles and if I wasn’t partial to Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles I definitely would have my butt on a Victory motorcycle.

Where I live I could set off a thermonuclear bomb and destroy at least five Harley-Davidson dealerships. Let’s pray that homeland security doesn’t read my blog like everyone else. Having dealerships close by really helps support the brand marketing strategies. Trying to take away market share from Harley-Davidson is going to be an epic battle. All of the current manufacturers have tried and several have failed which cause them to stop participating in this particular market segment. A lot of you haters are not going to like this, but Harley-Davidson kicks ass in this market segment.

I’m going to guess the Polaris dumped a  lot of monies into this Indian Motorcycle venture.  So Scott should’ve been driving around pounding on every potential dealer’s door offering them just about anything they want to get their motorcycles on the dealer’s showroom floors. Without a strong dealer network, I see troubles ahead for the Indian motorcycles. Not everyone is like me willing to drive 120 odd miles to a dealership for particular motorcycle.

Mechanical Poetry!

I got the opportunity to ride Harley Davidson’s Softail Deluxe about ten months ago. I know, I know, little slow on writing about it. I might as well spill the beans right now, get it all the way out, this is my favorite Harley Davidson motorcycle.

It just fits me perfectively, like we we’re made for each other. I’ve ridden this motorcycle about ten times in the last few years. I’m very surprised Harley Davidson hasn’t sent me a bill! Or post a picture of me at the dealerships with a caption under it. Saying something like this, “don’t let this dude pictured above ride anything until he buys something.” I got very close to buy one a few years ago, but I bought a 2010 Yamaha VMax instead. I know, why in the hell did I do that? I like to go fast, really fast. Well I finely pulled the trigger in 2012 and bought one.

My 2012 Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe
My 2012 Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe

Okay back on track. Wildfire Harley Davidson was hosting a demo ride on June 3, 2012.  They had the Harley Davidson factory semitrailer park right out in front of their store. The big rig! A really big billboard! Wildfire Harley Davidson is located in Villa Park Illinois, right on route 64 in the state of ILL.  Wildfire is just a few miles from the Lilac Village. The Lilac Village is where I live with my charming and lovely wife. I need at least one person to read this.

I don’t know how long Wildfire Harley Davidson has been there, but it doesn’t seem that long. I can still remember when there was an empty lot there. The store is humongous, you can probably see it from out-space. It seems like all the new Harley Davidson stores are the size of a mini- Walmart.  Harley Davidson is all about branding their products, nothing like a big store to promote a brand.

It was beautiful day to ride a motorcycle, couldn’t been a better day. Well maybe, it could have been better. It could have been free Harley Davidson motorcycle day. That would have been much-more-better day. Has there ever been a free Harley Davidson motorcycle day? Hope I didn’t miss that day.  The temperature was somewhere around 70 degrees with a light wind blowing. A few clouds where floating around to keep the direct energy of that big ball of hydrogen off of me.

I rode the model with the two-tone paint job. It was birch white and midnight pearl, a beautiful color scheme to say the least. This color scheme really highlights all the chrome on the motorcycle.  There’s a lot of chrome on this motorcycle. My second choice color scheme would be the Red Sunglo. Red is a very strong color. The color red can symbolize excitement, energy, speed, strength, danger, passion, and aggression. But with all that said you can’t beat the two-tone paint job. I think Harley-Davidson is putting a lot of effort into painting their motorcycles, their just beautiful look at.

All of the other motorcycles that I already own develop more horse power and torque than the new 103B V-twin engine. After riding this motorcycle I’ve got to say that this engine is really smooth. Smooth for a Harley I mean. The 103B engine clocks in at about 68.1 horsepower @ 5000 rpm and 85.2 foot pounds @3600 rpm. But you don’t buy this motorcycle if your main mission is horsepower and torque. Nope, this isn’t a Suzuki GSXR 1000, Yamaha R1 or a Kawasaki Ninja 1000.

This motorcycle is a cruiser and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else but a cruiser. And to be completely truthful it’s the cruiser that all the other manufacturers are trying to emulate. I’m pretty sure you’ve figured this one out already if you know anything about motorcycles. The idea that the other manufacturers are trying to emulate and duplicate the V twin engine in a Harley Davison motorcycle really shows their limited creativity. The sad part is that most of the other manufacturers have failed to make headway in this market and have given up.

So what what’s the attraction? Every time I get on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. I get transported back in time and space. Bam, there I am in Milwaukee Wisconsin. The date is September 8, 1904. I don’t know what time it is because my iPhone won’t time travel with me. I’m sure Steve Jobs had something to do with that shit. You probably need the time travel app which you can purchase at iTunes.

But anyways, I’m looking at couple guys in 10 by 15 foot wood shed assembling the final pieces of a prototype machine or their very first Harley Davidson motorcycle. What could be cooler? You know this is going to sound odd but I’m going to put this moment right up there with assembling the Pyramids. Okay maybe that comparison was a little bit over the top. But really, what could be cooler? I’m going to give you a few minutes to think about this… okay times up. You got any other ideas? Nope, I didn’t think so!

As I’m standing in the shed I’m listening to their conversations about building a motorcycle. I could almost reach out and touch them. Remember I’m time traveling, not stalking. So I start walking around the shed and looking at the motorcycle from every angle. Also, I’m pretty sure they’ll be drinking a few beers while they put this baby together. Come on its Milwaukee Wisconsin for God”s sakes! I’m sure that one of their conversations is probably a spirited argument about who gets ride it first as they put the finishing touches on the motorcycle. I wish I could stay here for a few years, but the machine uses a lot power. Plus, the wife wants me to mow the lawn.

I wonder if those guys in the shed, had any idea they were creating  “Mechanical Poetry.” Their products have carved out a wide grove in the motorcycle landscape. A Grand Canyon size of grove! Sure they have had a few bumps along the way. Like the AMF years and the Great Depression! I don’t know which was worse for the brand.

But their brand has rich history with represents over 110 years of manufacturing a product. Some of the other manufactures have faded away through time, gone forever. But Harley Davidson keeps chugging along. With over 110 years of momentum, what could stop them?

 

 

Bad Motorcycle!

A couple days ago I was at a Harley-Davidson demo ride in Palatine Illinois. The dealer was City Limits Harley-Davidson. I was there for a demo ride. I wanted to ride the Breakout which is a new motorcycle from Harley-Davidson. The Breakout is a brand-new model for this year looks a lot like a modified Softtail was a really wide rear tire and a skinny front tire.

It also has forward foot controls a brand-new speedometer. The key/start switch is located on the left side of the motor. It’s a little lever on top of a little mounting bracket. It’s kind of hard to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Also they put some drag bars on this motorcycle for what reason I don’t know. The seat is very low to the ground which would be perfect for the inseam challenged.

Got to the dealer did my usual drill and I took a walk around video of the motorcycle that I was going to ride. I spent a few minutes chatting with the sales guys at the dealership asking about business and so forth. Then I spent the rest of my time talking to the other riders waiting in line to demo Harley-Davidson motorcycles. There’s always a bunch of characters at a Harley-Davidson demo ride. I think they could actually turn it into a sitcom.

I came across this one kid, I can call him “kid” because I’m twice as old as he is. Damn, it feels weird to write something like that. What the hell am I going to do? That’s my criteria from now on from calling somebody kid. He was looking forward to riding the Harley-Davidson 72. He said he was a little bit nervous because he’s never been to a demo ride before. He also proceeded to tell me that he never rode a Harley before. I told him “clutch, brake and gear changer… same old shenanigans just like on your motorcycle.”

He proceeds to tell me “Oh, I don’t have a motorcycle. I ride my friend’s motorcycle.” I’m thinking to myself, “Cool, riding somebody else’s motorcycle for free. Nice gig if you can get it.” We continue to make small talk about all kinds of things. I thought it was time to ask the most important question that was running through my mind. “How often do you ride your friend’s motorcycle?” I’m expecting 50 to 75 times. He fires back “twice.” The word twice rolls around in my head a few times thinking that maybe I misunderstood him.

My little brain is starting do the math. He had to have a motorcycle to get an Illinois motorcycle driver’s license. Okay, there’s one time he drove a motorcycle. And if you add the other two times, now you have three total times. Then all of a sudden then my brain engaged, there was a loud clunk. Just like a Harley when you put it in gear. It’s sometimes embarrassing when people are standing next to me. It’s a lot like farting, but it comes from my head.

So I ask him, “You must have practiced a lot with a motorcycle before you took your test.” He looks at me shaking his head, kind of proud and tells me. “I rented one. They delivered it to the driver’s facility and I passed the tests the first time without ever driving a motorcycle.” Immediately I’m thinking this kid has got really good hand eye coordination. Because I know that I would’ve been able to accomplish that.

Okay, whom I to judge maybe the kid is gifted or something. He could possibly be a future Moto GP racer or something along those lines. Enough chitchat, time to get back to the main mission to have a good time and ride some Harley-Davidson motorcycles for free. Yeah baby! I told him “give it hell and have a good time.” He smiled and walked away.

I walked up to register to ride on the Breakout and found out due to my lollygagging I had missed the spot and had to wait for the next group. Okay, cool what’s the big deal. I waved to my new friend sitting on a bright yellow Harley-Davidson 72. He waved back. Still had that same smile on his face. Like someone had just pumped some drug into his veins. I’m assuming his high was because he was sitting on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle getting ready to go for a ride.

I backed away to a far corner in the parking lot and thought to myself,  “I’ve never videotaped a group leaving from the beginning of a demo ride.” Yep, it was definitely time to raise the bar at coolcycledudeTV. So there I was videotaping the riders leaving between the cones and thinking to myself I should get an Oscar for this. All the sudden I heard a loud smash and instinctively turned my video recorder in that direction. Like a true journalist.

Well lo and behold the kid had the motorcycle under a car in the parking lot and he was still on the motorcycle. The guys managing the demo ride ran over to him as fast as their feet’s could propel them. I mean I never saw so many fat old guys in Harley clothes moving so fast in my life. It was a good 40 yards from the tractor-trailer to where the kid had put the motorcycle under the car. But they traveled the distance in record time. They were also probably calling Harley-Davidson corporate lawyers during the sprint.

They pulled him out from under the smashed up yellow 72. He didn’t seem to have a scratch on his body which is probably a good thing. He was definitely shaken up and the smile was gone from his face. They took him inside to the dealer probably taking some information from him. I was a bit surprised they didn’t call an ambulance and send him to the hospital just to make sure he didn’t suffer from any internal injuries.

I was sitting on the curve wondering if the demo ride was going to continue when my smiling friend comes up to me and says “that’s a bad motorcycle.” I instantly agreed with him and told him I would stay away from Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He shook his head in agreement and went to his car. What I should’ve told him is that he should stay away from all motorcycles in general.

I guess the lesson I learned from all this is Harley-Davidson Corporation puts itself at great risk by offering these demo rides and I should stay away from bad motorcycles.

Victory for Polaris!

I got a chance to ride Victory’s 8-Ball motorcycle. I was pretty surprised on the overall experience. A matter of fact, I was really surprised. As soon as I hit the start button I knew this motorcycle was for real. I had my doubts that Polaris glued some motorcycle together as fast as they could to try to give Harley-Davidson a run for their money. But it would seem a lot of thought went into building this motorcycle.

I do have one concern and that is the name of the motorcycle. Always thought ”8-Ball” referred to some sort of leisure drug. I myself did not participate in leisure drugs as a wee lad, but I did consume plenty of alcohol to make up the difference. So I would have a better understanding of the term “8-Ball” I fired up Google and found this urban dictionary site. Typed in ”8-Ball” and whammo! I got these two definitions. One eighth of an ounce of cocaine or an Old English 800 malt liquor. Not a single reference to anything to do with motorcycle.

Well I have never attended a school for marketing and I probably would never be hired to market a product. That’s assuming that the company is interested in selling the product. So in reality my opinion means exactly zero. So I’m going to assume that Polaris spent a lot of money determining that ”8-Ball” was a good name for a motorcycle.

Enough talk about marketing a product. I think the major focus or probably were the most R&D was spent was in the engine. This baby has a 50° V twin with four valves per cylinder. Lighter springs, smaller valves, it’s all about moving air through the engine. The brochure says that the engine produces 97 HP at 113 foot-pounds of torque. I could’ve gone on the Internet and did a little research but my wife is continually telling me I have trust issues so I’m going to go with what’s in the brochure.

During my ride I decided to see if this power was actually available. And I can say it definitely was available. So much so that I broke the rear wheel loose on three occasions during my ride. So I decided to quit testing my available power theory before I crashed this motorcycle. Also there was no delay or notification that the power was going to be delivered to the rear wheel. It just happened and you better be ready for it. Not that it was uncontrollable but it definitely was a surprise.

I do have one complaint about the engine and it’s the noise the valve train made. The engine has a single overhead cam that is driven by a chain, no pushrods moving the valves. This may be nitpicking and I’m sure I’m going to catch hell for saying this but I heard a distinct whining from the top of the engine. A matter of fact it reminded me a lot of my 2002 Suzuki 750 GSXR motorcycle. Now this whining wasn’t so deafening that it destroyed the whole experience but it was unexpected for of the twin.

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I own a 2005 Honda VTX 1800 with a very similar valve train system. The only real difference is that the Honda has three valves per cylinder and the Victory has four. The Honda doesn’t produce a whining sound probably because of extra mass of the cylinders because they’re water-cooled. Either way the whining wasn’t the end of the world just seemed a little weird for a V twin.

The victory engine which is called “Freedom 106” is air and oil cooled. I don’t know this for a fact but I’m pretty sure that oil is being sprayed inside of the engine and use as a cooling medium. One thing I’m a little bit leery of is air cooled engines that are wet sump. The oil comes in contact with the majority of the hot surfaces and is always pulling heat away. Getting this hot oil out of the engine seems like a top priority to me. But I’m pretty sure that the engine has been tested over and over again for reliability. Also it holds I believe 5 quarts of oil and it has an oil cooler.

Riding this motorcycle was a lot of fun it was very comfortable all the controls were well positioned and accessible. The seat was about a 25 inches off the ground which is probably good for somebody with short legs. The speedometer had an analog display for speed. Also there was a small rectangle digital display that indicated RPM and gear position. There’s whole bunch of warning indicators on the inner circle of the speedometer. Speedometer looked pretty good on the bike and easy to view while you’re riding the motorcycle.

Plenty of usable power through all six speeds of the transmission. Transmission shifted like a charm neutral was always easy to find. I know sometimes when I get on a new motorcycle I have to play “find neutral”, of course this could also be a lack of foot eye coordination on my part. The motorcycle was very stable at approximately 65 MPH and easy to push through the corners at a relatively high speed. Both the front in the rear brakes responded very well during usage.

Okay, the only complaint I have about this motorcycle is that my hands went numb. Now this hasn’t happened in a long time to me. I could attribute this to a poor circulatory system, but my hands have not fallen asleep on any other motorcycle that I’ve ridden lately. So I’m going with it’s not me. This is usually easily corrected by either changing the position of the handlebars or putting some material in the handlebars to dampen the effects of the vibration.

Well I guess I would call this a “Victory for Polaris.” This baby ain’t too shabby. I’m pretty sure shabby is not a technical term.

 

 

Motorcycle Show Baby!

Well, I went to the International Motorcycle Show last weekend, in Rosemont IL. Yep, I sure could use another motorcycle. What the hell! What’s one more motorcycle in the garage really going to affect anything? Somehow after saying that, I just heard my wife inside my brain telling me “You can only ride one at a time.” Well, duh, everyone knows that. I still don’t understand what she’s trying to tell me.

I broke the plane of the atrium right around 8:45 o’clock in the am. Bam, there it was! Looking down from the escalator there was a humongous line of people waiting to get in. And there was another long line of people waiting to buy tickets. This is not what I remember from past motorcycle shows. A lot of times when I got there early in the morning I felt like the Omega Man. Omega Man is a movie that Charlton Heston starred in some 30 odd years ago. He would walk the streets and not see a single soul. You might want to go to Wikipedia to figure out what the hell I’m talking about.

I realize that in the past five years or so, the motorcycle industry has taken a savage beating. I don’t know if beating is the correct word, probably an all-out ass kicking. Things have been very tough for the motorcycle industry. They had to condense the number of models they have offered in the past. Eliminate models with sub-par sales history. Create all new strategies to capture market share. Also, I think people need to realize that the United States is pretty much topped out or leveled off on the number of motorcycles that will be purchased in the future. The new emerging markets such as India, China and South America will be the customers of the future.

Many motorcycle manufacturers are focusing on these new customers. The manufacturers are adjusting their models to meet the demographics and requirements of their new customers. Honda motorcycle Corporation is a prime example. They are currently manufacturing lower cc sport models that can be sold in other countries. Kawasaki has also jumped on the bandwagon with one of their products. There’s also some chatter that Harley-Davidson may soon be gluing together a product in India. This motorcycle will in no way be a relative of the products that they currently manufacturing in the USA.

Okay, enough about the woes of the motorcycle industry. It’s time to talk about my experience at the show. Well, first off as I step down the stairway into the main show floor, I was greeted by the Progressive Insurance Company’s army of people handing out their promotional bags. They have been there the last five years or possibly longer. I don’t know about you, but every time I got a quote from Progressive, they’re always higher than the current insurance company that I have. I guess if they quit handing out those damn bags their rates might be cheaper. Yeah, I took a few of those bags, got a trunk full of them from the last five years. Need something to carry the groceries home in.

This year, Progressive had a really nice display that took up a considerable amount of space. One part of their show floor area was set up so you could get your picture taken on a motorcycle. I was somewhat surprised because the motorcycle in the picture was a Yamaha. Not that I have anything against Yamaha motorcycles, I’ve got one, I just thought another brand might have been cooler. Yep, I thought about waiting in line to get my picture taken on a motorcycle. But then it dawned on me they were not just taking pictures, but they were mining for data. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any more people calling me or sending me crap in the mail.

First stop, the Ducati display! I have a thing for Italian motorcycles. But once I got near their floor space, I couldn’t get near a motorcycle. It was like some sort of choreographed dance where they would hop off one motorcycle on to the next. The people jumping from one motorcycle to the next almost looked like they were in some sort of trance. I tried to determine where the entry point was so they could somehow participate in this dance, but I didn’t see an opening. So I watched from the sidelines. Their area was jammed with people. Last year I had the opportunity to ride the Diavel. I really liked that motorcycle. It is really a genuine anomaly as a new motorcycle product. I’ve got my ride posted on YouTube if you want to check it out.

Explaining the Ducati Diavel experience is hard. So I’m going to leave you with this. This is going to be a hard visualization but I’m going to give it a shot. Imagine a Harley-Davidson Road King classic had sex with a Suzuki GSX R 1000, the offspring would be the Diavel. I told you it was going to be tough to visualize. After making a few laps around the show floor, I returned back to the Ducati area and the dance was still going on, lucky them.

There was a brand new vendor this year! KTM showed up with their very fancy display. In actuality, it looks like a folding shipping container. But it really turned out to be a nice display. It was orange, white and very shiny. I’m no expert in marketing, but I think the color orange really perpetuates a brand. All of the other manufacturers have used this color from time to time, but KTM is in love with orange.

 

While I was walking around I started talking to this lady and she told me the whole reason she came to the show was because of KTM’s display. As we continued to talk, I found out that she rode a motocross motorcycle. “Two-stroke, four-strokes have no balls,” she blurts out. “Okay, cool,” I responded quickly so she didn’t realize she just put my brain at a dead stop. I was still processing the “no balls” part of her statement. Well I don’t know for sure, but I believe it’s the first time a woman has told me something has “no balls.”

My brain finally reengaged and I asked more about her motocross adventures. She talked about her broken arm, broken legs and a broken hip during her not yet finished racing career. She even told me about some techniques that she used to cut the corners as fast as possible. Now I didn’t want to break eye contact during our communication, but I started to scan her physically. I’m not completely sure since she was in “really good shape,” but I don’t think she was too far from my age bracket.

I think I was in love. A woman who races motocross motorcycles and is not afraid to break a few bones. Did I mention that she was in “really good shape” and uses the phrase “no balls.” Almost a match made in heaven, whatever in the hell that means. But then it dawned on me that I was married and a horrible vision went through my head. My wife was on some sort of elevated platform giving me the thumbs down as I asked her if I could keep my motorcycles during our divorce procedures. Love can be fleeting sometimes. We exchanged the final niceties and broke away on our separate life paths.

Whether you know this or not, Polaris industries now own both Victory and Indian motorcycle brands. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with. And you know who they are gunning for. Polaris makes some sort of utility vehicles as their major bread and butter. I don’t know much about what Polaris manufacturers outside of their motorcycle offerings, I guess I should have done a little research.

Apparently Polaris has monies to invest in their motorcycle endeavors. The Indian booth was a vaudeville show. A lot of effort and planning went into pushing and presenting their product at the show. During their presentations they were giving away all kinds of stuff which included shirts, hats, key chains and so forth. Coolcycledude got a free education at this booth. He learned (sorry about the third party speak) that if you give stuff away, you will put people in front of your booth.

One of the cool giveaways was that they had apps for the iPhone and Android phones. I have an iPhone, so I downloaded it right away. It’s pretty cool using it to promote their product right to your mobile device, but one part of the app is really cool. You twist your phone like a throttle and it makes the sound of the engines used in their motorcycles. So once you show your motorcycle friends, they’ll have to have it, too. Nice strategy to put their product in your face and the face of other motorcyclists.

So I walked around the show a little bit wiggling my iPhone near my ear so I could hear the engine noises with a smile on my face. Yep, I’m easily entertained. Okay, so we have the Polaris /Indian marketing campaign that was a warp 10. But there are only a few Indian models available. I am kind of surprised they didn’t try to introduce some new product. But I guess they’re trying to bring something back from the dead and I guess that takes a lot of work.

I also moseyed on over to the Victory show space. They also had some sort of entertainment going on, but nowhere near the magnitude of the Indian area. Last year, I also got a chance to ride all of their models and I thought they were very competitive products. Nice fit and finish, paint jobs and quality materials used in their construction. I myself am a Harley-Davidson man. But I do appreciate that Polaris industries is going to put the pressure on Harley-Davidson to raise the bar a little.

Of course I hit the Harley-Davidson area and was immediately immersed in an ocean of people wearing promotional products, including myself. Yep I’ve got a closet full of their outfits, too. I’m sure the other manufacturers look at the brand loyalty that Harley-Davidson has generated over the years and just drool.

But Harley-Davidson is on top of their game and they had a display where a potential customer could actually operate one of their motorcycles. This was the second year in a row that Harley did this. Again I’m no expert in marketing, but I cannot think of a better way to get potential customers on their motorcycles. And as I watched the people get on the motorcycle and a smile immediately flashed across their face imprinting a life experience that will not leave their brain until they start getting Alzheimer’s disease.

You know what they say “monkey see monkey do.” I still cannot understand why the other manufacturers do not have the same set up at the show. It just boggles my mind. Maybe they’re concerned about insurance or potential liabilities. Or possibly there other constraints at the facility that limit the amount of displays like the one Harley-Davidson has. I don’t know, but I definitely would be paying some people off so I could be doing the same thing to get customers.

Right around 11 o’clock the place got really jammed. I thought I was waiting in line to go to the washroom at Wrigley Field during the seventh inning stretch. I mean I’ve never seen so many people at this motorcycle show before. I’ve probably got around 25 years under my belt attending this show. I really hope this is a sign of the future for the motorcycle industry to prosper in the up and coming years. I don’t know what the official attendance was, but I’m going to guess that it was up from the last year.

Okay, this thing is getting too damn long, so it’s time to end it. You know I once had a rhetoric teacher tell me that I write too much. How in the hell are you supposed to interpret what that means? I guess I better get back on track. The usual suspects were all at the show such as Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Zero and BMW. Also, a first for me, I met up with one of my Twitter motorcycle people and that was very cool. I sometimes wonder who’s on the other end of their Twitter handles in my Twitter stream.

Thanks for reading my blog! Check out my YouTube channel!

It ain’t Shakespeare, Bullet to the Head movie review.

Just saw the movie ”Bullet to the Head” the other night with the wife at the show. I was afraid that while I was watching this movie I was going to have to put a bullet in my head. I realized right off the bat I wasn’t going to see Shakespeare. But then the inner voices started talking to me, “Hey, Cool Cycle Dude, you sat through all of those Rocky, Rambo and Expendables movies, there’s no way this could kill you.” “Yep, you’re right,” I told my inner voices. Even my inner voices talk to me in the third-party. So, I guess I’m drawn to the flame like a moth.

But here I am writing this with no foreign materials in my brain. I actually sat through the whole movie without getting up to go to the washroom. This is a really big deal for me. I just didn’t want to miss what was going to get blown up or who was killed next. I use my bladder as the meter to determine whether or not a movie is watchable.

Okay, let’s talk about the obvious first. Sylvester Stallone is in really good shape for a 60-something-year-old dude. That’s a fact, I can only hope that I somehow manage to maintain half of his physical prowess. I’m going downhill fast. Good thing they stopped making Twinkies. I’m not really a big fan of Twinkies anyhow. I’m pretty sure that’s one of the “signals” that you have become an adult is when you stop eating Twinkies. Actually what parent would be stuffing Twinkies down their kids’ throats considering they have a five-year shelf life?

Stallone did a lot of mumbling and there were several times when I asked the wife, “What the hell did he say?” For a while I thought maybe there was some sort of new language that he was developing. I’m going to give you a Stallone fact. Part of his face was paralyzed during birth because of complications. He had to be removed using forceps which caused the nerve damage. So the next time I see a Rocky / Rambo / Expendables / whatever-the-hell’s-next movie, I will have more compassion for the way he speaks.

There were some things in the movie that were technically correct. Like one scene in the movie where the bad guys are trying to ventilate Stallone’s character’s house with bullets. The bad guys actually had two hands on their fully automatic assault weapons. I don’t know how many of you have actually fired an assault weapon in full auto. But it’s almost impossible to hit anything if you don’t have two hands on the weapon.

There were other scenes in the movie where they had to use weapons in close quarters combat situations. The weapon for close quarters combat is a pistol not an assault rifle. It was sort of cartoonish because they had to just about always empty the clip into their opponent. Even though one or two rounds to the bad guys chest would have done it. I guess they wanted to make sure that the bad guy was double dead.

And, of course, you had plenty of fisticuffs, knife fights and something brand new and exciting, ax fighting. At the start of the ax fighting, Stallone’s character says, “Are we Vikings now?” There were several scenes with this type of banter to keep you involved in the movie. Also they tugged a little bit on your emotions when Stallone’s character offspring gets kidnapped. I started to cry uncontrollably at this point and told my wife to hold me.

A lot of things got blown up in this movie. Also, Stallone’s character had no problem whatsoever blowing up his own personal possessions. He blew up his car and his house. I’m pretty sure that’s going to raise his insurance premiums. That makes these types of movies even more exciting. You know you’re going to see the bad guys and their stuff gets blown up. But it’s definitely a plus when the good guy starts blowing his stuff up, too. Boom! Boom! Boom! Baby! I’m not one to try to predict the future, but I think we’re going to see Bullet to the Head 2.

I would recommend this movie if you need some mindless escapist entertainment. And like I said in the beginning, it ain’t Shakespeare. Thanks for reading my blog. Checkout my You Tube Channel

The Sky is Falling?

I just saw the new James Bond movie “Sky Fall” or whatever in the hell it was called. I pretty much knew I didn’t like this movie because my behind started to get sore during the process of watching it. This pain is probably the lack of blood flow or possible nerve damage who knows? But still, that’s pretty much how I measure whether I like a movie or not. If I start to feel pain in my behind it’s over. I know it seems odd to measure a movie ability to entertain using my ass but it seems to work every time. So the ass-o-meter registered double suck for this movie.The ass-o-meter is also good for testing motorcycle seats, but that’s another story.

I’d also like to point this out, there were a lot of women at this movie. Of course these women were in groups from 2 to 4. Just like when they go to the bathroom. I was somewhat surprising to me because I assumed being James Bond is every male’s fantasy. Yes, there were a few groups of guys. But I would have to guess it was predominantly groups of women.

This would be a good time to point out that I really don’t have a fantasy of being James Bond. Being James Bond looks like you have to do a lot of running, swimming, shooting, and a lot of other things that require substantial energy. Also it appears that he is unable to form a lasting relationship with females. Even though it appears James Bond has multiple partners it just seems they don’t work out. It would also appear that most of his short term girlfriends end up getting killed. This is not a life I would ever pursue in reality so definitely wouldn’t be a fantasy for me.

But I realize these James Bond movies are really just fantasies to remove most men from their mundane and trifle existence on this planet. So I guess the question is what are these groups of women doing at this movie? Well here goes my theory. I’m going to guess that these women take Daniel Craig’s head and post it on their husbands or boyfriends head so they too can live in a fantasy world. Yep I’m going to say that some level every woman in the theater wanted “to do” Daniel Craig. Well I guess if I were a woman I would be banging Daniel Craig in my fantasy world too. Just to be clear here coolcycledude is not a women. Nor does coolcycledude have fantasies about banging Daniel Craig. All clear now? Are we good to go?

But still, let’s go over Daniel’s attributes. He’s British, women like that! He’s got that accent that would set him apart from us regular Joe’s in United States. He dresses very nice in this movie.  Imagine if James Bond ran around in sweats pants and a Chicago Bear’s jersey with Brian Urlacher’s number on it. Good old number 54! He has kept himself in very good shape as opposed to most of us who are wearing Urlacher’s jersey. And my number one reason is he has a gun. I know what you’re saying ”women really don’t like guns.” Well I beg to differ the gun represents power and women like power. Okay now I can be officially labeled as a sexes pig.

Enough of my pointless and unfounded theories, it’s time to enhance your life with my review of the contents of this movie. Well here we go! It seems as though MI6 carries the information about their secret agents in a laptop that the hard drive can be easily ripped out. And I do mean ripped out of. It almost looks like the bad guy used a chainsaw or an axe to open up the back of the laptop. You think he would’ve been a little more sophisticated, maybe using a screwdriver, a pair of pliers or some other device that any geek at Best Buy would have.

This is a very small part of the movie, but I really had problems with it. I mean really, you have a laptop floating around with information about the members of your secret organization. I know there a lot of governmental cutbacks in defense spending, but come on give me a break. But coolcycledude “the data on the hard drive is encrypted.” I often wonder why data is actually encrypted when just about in every case the code can be broken to gain access to the data. Let’s hope that this is a trend that only occurs in movies.So this is the catalyst that starts this movie in motion.

Okay so you’re a bad guy and now you have this this hard disk with a now defunct encrypted system. So what do you do with this information?Sell it to the highest bidder?Roundup your bad guy friends and eliminate each one of these agents one by one. Or the most obvious choice is that you post them on YouTube. Yep, that’s exactly what the bad guy does. He exposes the MI6 agents on YouTube, right along with Carrie the fluffy kitty.I can honestly say that was one of the stupidest things I’ve seen in a movie. I assume it was all about brand placement.

The biggest problem I have with this movie is there are very few gadgets. I really don’t care if my wife is thinking about “banging” Daniel throughout the whole movie. I can live with that. What I can’t live with is not enough gadgets in a James bond movie. Really, what the hell is the sense of going to a James Bond movie where there are no gadgets? Also the gadgets that were used had alternative meanings as far as I was concerned. Let’s take for instance James Bond’s pistol the Walter PPK . The pistol was encoded so that he was the only one who could shoot it. In my opinion this has the overtone of gun control all over it. I’m serious, why did in a just have a commercial in the middle of this movie blasting the NRA.

The other gadget if you can call it a gadget. It was a small transmitter looking thing with some bullshit antenna that you would have to pull out. Think about that a device that sends a radio signal that you have to pull out the antenna. Every cell phone that I have see for the last 20 years has no antenna to pullout. So James Bond’s gadget has antenna that you have to pull out so it works. Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

But they did incorporate the Austin Marten BD5 that was used in few other James Bond movies. In case you don’t remember that car it was the one with the ejector passenger seat. If you think about it that had be one of the coolest scenes in any movie to date. James Bond press the ejector button and the bad guy flew out of the sunroof. I’m sure that everyone who saw that immediately had their own application in mind. It also had machine guns that extended from the front of the vehicle. There were a few other cool things on that car but they don’t come to mind.

And last but not least. We had in this movie the shootout at the “Ok Corral” scene. I would surmise from this movie that shotguns are more powerful than fully automatic assault weapons. This is just me thinking out loud but I would prefer the assault weapon myself. So let me go into detail here there are 20 guys with assault weapons and a helicopter with a mini gun hanging out the side of it and all the bad guys get killed. Right, I know its James Bond, but 20 to 2 ratio.

During the “Ok Corral” scene they sort of mixed in a little bit of the “Home Alone” movies. They constructed a bunch of goofy booby-traps inside of the house. But none of them involved a gum wrapper which somewhat surprising.  But this movie kind of turned James Bond into James MacGyver. I personally am not interested in a Bond / MacGyver character.

Okay enough of the negativity. There was about 15 minutes of “way cool” in this movie. James Bond had a chase scene where he rode a motorcycle. That’s right 15 minutes of motorcycle riding. In truly James Bond fashion! They were riding the motorcycles on the roofs of buildings no less. I did notice that the motorcycle had changed in a few of the shots so they didn’t use the same one in all the shots. At this point who cares, I got to watch motorcycles for 15 minutes riding around on roofs of buildings.

 

I would like you thank you very much for taking your time to read my blog.

2013 Harley Davidson VRod Demo Ride

I got the chance to go to a Harley-Davidson demo ride at Chi-Town Harley-Davidson in Tinley Park Illinois. (About 50 miles from the Lilac Vilage, what can I say, I love riding other peoples motorcycles.) It was during the summer, yeah I know, I’m on top of things. It was a beautiful day, a little bit on the warm side. But otherwise, it was a really beautiful day. One of the motorcycles I got to ride was the 10th anniversary edition of the VRod. Talk about a motorcycle that was loaded with chrome and a lot of shiny stuff, this baby just about blinded me. I really thought about getting one of these and bring it home but I knew this would be the motorcycle that would end my marriage. I’ve got four motorcycles already, I really don’t have a good argument for a fifth motorcycle yet. If you do, please email it to me. I know all you guys out there run your homes and you should probably keep telling yourself that too. Because living in an imaginary-land is a lot better than living in reality-land.

The first thing I noticed about the motorcycle is that it reminded me of a piece of art. I’m talking about hanging on the wall art. Even though I’ve taken very few art classes I know a piece of art when I see it. Looking at the way all of the parts fit together and the way they were installed on this motorcycle just gave it an unbelievable look. After thinking about it, kind of reminds me of a Rolex watch. Even though I’ve never owned a Rolex watch, I’ve seen enough of them in magazines ads. A Rolex watch was the first thing that came to my mind while I was looking at the VRod. I can’t figure out why I made the correlation between a Rolex watch and the Harley-Davidson V Rod. It just happened!

This is the second time I’ve ridden the V Rod. The first time I rode it I didn’t like it. The second time I rode it I sort of fell in love with it. This is probably going to sounds odd but the seat, yes the seat, was a big factor for me. I guess it’s kind of funny how my rear end pretty much dictates whether or not I like a motorcycle. I’m pretty sure this thought process is age related.

It has been said that the brain is the biggest sex organ. So with that said, I guess my ass is the biggest motorcycle loving organ. I can’t believe I just wrote “motorcycle loving organ.” Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about either. I’m sure at one time or another you have sat on a motorcycle and thought to yourself “this seat blows.” How was the “Dip-Shit” who designed this thing? Personal note, that was a first for me, I put “Dip-Shit” in a complete sentence. It is a very vulgar phrase, but it has impact.

The seat on the other models had a piece that protruded from the rear of the seat that pressed on my lower back. This piece made it really uncomfortable for me to ride the VRod. Now that I think about it why would you want to put something on the back of the seat that hits you when you accelerate? What were they thinking at the Harley factory when they put the seat on? You know, they’re doing wacky weed.

Okay it was time to bring this baby to life. The switch to turn it on is not on the center of the tank like the other Harleys, but on the side. So I reached over turned the switch and then turned the key. Hit the start button and it came to life. But it was not what I had expected or remembered, I detected very little vibration. Was the engine running? I looked at the tachometer, yes this motorcycle has a tachometer. The needle was hovering right around 1000 RPM. I turned the throttle expecting some form of increased vibration, or noise of some type. Nothing! I leaned over the right side of the motorcycle tank and turned the throttle again and I was hoping to hear some internal engine noises such as the valve train lash, gears clicking away, clutch chatter or anything. All I heard was the rumble from the exhaust system. I guess it sounds like a Rolex watch too!

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs you know that I have a thing for analog gauges. I don’t know if a “thing” describes my relationship with analog gauges or clocks as they are called in the UK. I’m still fishing for that UK audience. I don’t know about you but when I see digital gauges it reminds me of the cheapest Timex watch that you can buy at Walmart. It just looks like crap to me. I seem to have some sort of watched thing going on here. I really think that analog gauges give a motorcycle class.

Then there was a call from the guy running these rides that he needed to talk to us. He barks “front and center!” What the hell, am I in the USMC again? I turned off the engine walked over to hear his presentation. This was probably one of the weirdest presentations I have ever heard in my life. The guy that was running the demo rides turned to the other guy next him and said and I quote “don’t do like this asshole did and crash the motorcycle you’re riding.” I guess there’s something to be said about going right to the point of an idea or concept. Also, after hearing this speech you now have some incentive not to crash the motorcycle you’re riding. You sure as hell don’t want to be labeled as the other asshole during the next presentation. That was pretty much it, went back to our motorcycles started them up and waited for the signal to go.

Pulled in the clutch, knocked into gear with my foot, let the clutch out and turned the throttle and off I went. The steering was a little weird at low speed which probably was from the rake of the forks. Somewhat touchy and I was constantly correcting the steering. But once I got this baby rolling the problem went away.

As always I would like to thank you for reading my blog. It means a lot to me and my dogs. My dogs continually tell me that I have a career in writing a blog. I guess that’s much better than them telling me who to kill. (Now go look at the videos!) Hurry before my dogs change their minds.

 

 

Motorcycle conversation and a whole lot more!