Tag Archives: motorcycles

Helite Turtle Airbag Vest Hi-Viz

I’m no longer indestructible! Technically, I was never indestructible, but I was really proficient at bad judgement. I can remember back in the day when I used to ride my Harley-Davidson Sportster wearing my Van Halen T-shirt, and a pair of shorts, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a pair of gym shoes. Oh, let’s not forget I was wearing headphones connected to my Sony Walkman. A little history lesson here, a Sony Walkman was this gizmo that you put a cassette tape in it. This cassette tape had audible information on it to play through headphones. These were very dark days, way before iTunes showed up.

Back on track. Yup, nothing but safety first back in the day. Nowhere, in my motorcycling outfit collection, was a helmet, a leather coat, a pair of gloves, reinforce jeans or a pair of boots. I’m trying to remember, I think bought a helmet, but never used it. I think it was still in the box when I gave it away.

Of course, now, I’m at a different place in life. I am amazed every day that this biological machinery which enables my consciousness is still operating at my age. They’re very few things in my realm that are as old as I am. For example, we don’t own a sixty-year-old car. The useful life of my toothbrush, computer, motorcycles and so forth are fraction of my current age.

There are times when I look at my hand and move my fingers back and forth. During this little weird exercise. I can stop thinking about all of the biological systems that have been replaced, repaired and whatever else is going on in my body during my time on this planet.

My main goal when riding motorcycle now is to decrease chances of injury. Over the years I have slowly incorporated more and more motorcycle safety gear. 2005 was ground zero for my safety gear enhancement mode. I no longer just looked at the price of the equipment. Nor do I search out one particular brand. I actually spend a lot time research each piece of motorcycle safety equipment.

In 2008, I bought a Honda Goldwing with an air-bag. It made the cost of the motorcycle about $2,500 more, but I figured it added another level of safety. Of course, I caught a lot of shit from my motorcycle tribe for riding around on a motorcycle with an air-bag.  My Goldwing is almost ten years old now, so now that air-bag has cost me about $250 per year so far. Except, this year the air-bag was replaced under a massive recall by Honda. Ruh-Roh, more math, a new equation! It’s your turn to figure out the cost per year. Give it hell.

Motorcycling is high risk endeavor. It’s a risk-taking behavior. People who ride motorcycles are engaging in an activity that has the potential to be harmful. You may think you have the ability avoid the dangers through your motorcycle riding prowess. Or you might think, making the exhaust system on your motorcycle as loud as possible will fend off the “cagers.”  Well, I say good luck with that! Me, I’m going to pack on the safety gear.

I’ve decided to purchase a radical piece of motorcycle safety gear. The Turtle Airbag Vest is a relativity new product. Here’s a link to their website Helite, you can get all the nuts and bolts stuff from them. Yup, I’m one lazy-ass-blogger, back on track! I’ve been reading about this technology for two years. Read about all of the iterations before it was brought to market place. Collect as much data as I could about the effectiveness of the product. The data can from the manufacturers and not from any governing body.I’d better throw this out there before someone gets the wrong idea or tries to sue me. I do not believe that my safety gear will keep me from getting hurt. But, I do know the outcome will be much better than if I was wearing my long-gone trusty Van Halen T-shirt.

ZROCK

ZROCK is an online radio station for motorcycle enthusiasts across the USA. And ZROCK plays some of the best rock music you’ll ever hear, stretching from the ’60s to now! ZROCK is all about motorcycle rider lifestyles and anything to do with motorcycles.

Plus there’s unique reports from motorcycle events throughout the USA and globally. Get daily reports from the road of the CROSS EGYPT CHALLENGE, SCMA’s 3 FLAGS CLASSIC and others.

Through-out the day you’ll hear:

AMERICAN BIKER MINUTE with Jeff Ryan – Our coverage is comprehensive, including all aspects of riding, and branded machines.

PAUL SHAFFER’S DAY IN ROCK – This segment illustrates the daily history of rock according to long-time David Letterman musical director and sidekick Paul Shaffer.

MOTORCYCLE EVENTS – Michael Town (AKA The Hound Dog) sniffs out the latest events from Motorcycle Clubs throughout the USA.

SIX SECOND REVIEWS – What can you do with six seconds?  Mr. MovieFone answers that question with Six Second Reviews!

PHONE CHECKS – Inciting hilarity with every incoming phone call, Clairissa Jenkins takes phone pranks to the next level.

AMERICAN TATTOO – Friday Jones has worked with wide-ranging clients from Oscar winners to heads of state, Grammy artists to captains of new industry.

ROAD TRIPPIN’ – Discover some of the best rides from around the globe.

ATM – ALL THINGS MOTORCYCLE – including motorcycle reviews, latest motorcycle Gear and Great Road Trips exclusively from Coolcycledude Bill Whitman.

ZROCK is on-air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is totally accessible while you are on the move. Download our free custom app on your phone or listen via your computer, internet radio or smart TV.

ZROCK can be heard on iTunes and Tunein.com or simply visit http://www.zrock.us to listen live

ZROCK is based in Los Angeles, California and is owned by Talking Dog Media Inc.

 

Kill Kill Kill!

Yep, that white stuff is on the ground again. It happens every year about this time. Depression sets in immediately. I am separated from My Mechanical Friends who are in motorcycle purgatory for the next 4 to 5 months. One of MMFs in our garage and the other three are in storage facilities. Yep, that’s right I refer to my motorcycles as “My Mechanical Friends.” I like to use the acronym “MMF” on a regular basis.

So I ask myself these life questions every year at this time. Why does the earth have to be tilted? Why can’t it be straight up and down? Why can’t the sun step up the fusion process in the winter months? Why can’t it snow in Arizona for a couple of years? Where in the hell is my Scooby Doo lunchbox from second grade? Why did I waste so much time watching the “Lost” television series?

Gone but not forgotten MMF.
Gone but not forgotten MMF.

I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t I live somewhere where it’s warmer? Ah, to live in California, Texas, Arizona, Florida or Arkansas. I could ride 10 to 12 months out of the year. Coolcycledude even got the wife’s okay, she said “go ahead and move.” Good thing coolcycledude is fluent in woman / wife speak. “Go ahead and move” really means “I dare you.”

Well, either way the snow, cold and ice will be here to stay in the state of ILL for a while. Damn! I’m not very happy about that either. Angry might be a better term. I could read a few books. Maybe, I could spend some time learning how to use damn cable remote. Of course there’s always solving some of the world’s problems. But that’s not going to happen! Nope,no,no way. I need to release my pain. So the only thing left to do is KILL KILL KILL!!!! Let carnage begin!

That’s right my winter nights will be spent killing, playing the guitar, eating and going to the gym. Yep, pretty much in that exact order. It couldn’t be a better time for destroying my newly digitized enemies with the release of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. Time to blow some shit up! Boom Boom Baby Boom!

I’ll be sending my virtual enemies to that great digital void one after another. Their memory locations are overwritten as I slaughter them one by one. Their existence will only last milliseconds as I scatter their pixelated parts in every direction on the LED screen.

I’m a Video Game Psychopath. I sure sound dangerous. That’s because I am. Very very dangerous! In the digital realm I have no empathy or remorse for my actions or my digital victims. I’m a biological killing machine in the land of ones and zeros. I don’t care about leader boards or rankings. The only thing that matters to me is to eliminate my rendered enemies by any means available.

I love the sound of rounds leaving the barrel of my virtual AK-47 in my headphones. The flash on the screen from when I detonate the C4 attached to my enemies tanks sending them back to the hard drive in pieces. As I progress through the games levels the console’s BIOS system starts expand the available memory to create a digital burial ground for my enemies.

Those video game developers spend thousands of hours writing software routines to give my enemies artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, yep that’s going to work against me. Wrong! Those AI subroutines only delay my enemies’ trip back to the RAM. Let them write all they want.

I have an evil CPU installed on my motherboard. The evil CPU has its own instruction set. These instructions include “head-shot bitch”,”kill streak” and “triple kill.” The software programmers just can’t create the “Video Game Psychopath” subroutine. Maybe, when Sony introduces the PS25 they might have a chance.

I know what you’re thinking. Coolcycledude you need help and there’s too much violence in the world already, why are you playing those damn video games. And my answer is “because the only place where I like to see violence is the digital realm.” Ride your motorcycle if you can and be safe!

More Harley-Davidson Antifreeze Please!

The end of days must be close at hand. Harley-Davidson has introduced two new models for 2014 that have water-cooled engines. I’m not talking about the VRods  with the Porsche engines either. I’m referring to a new 103 engine design. So don’t bother replying and tell me” coolcycledude the VRods have water-cooled engines, you dummy!” Yep, I know that already. Already wrote about the VRod . Checkout my past blog post.  Already rode the VRod a few times. I’m in the loop don’t you worry.

Water cooled engine is a little miss leading. HD is not running water through the cylinder jackets. Only the exhaust area on the cylinder heads has water removing that horse power robbing heat energy from the engine. This isn’t a new idea either. Moto Guzzi does a similar thing using engine oil instead of water. But generally the Moto Guzzi engine holds considerably more oil than the HD’s engine.

But either way this is paradigm shift for Harley Davidson. Harley-Davidson is probably under a lot of pressure from the EPA to meet elevated emission requirements here in the United States. Harley-Davidson also wants to sell their motorcycles in the European countries. The EU in some cases has stricter standards and is not interested in any compromises.

Without a doubt this is a very risky move for HD. This adjustment is almost like tampering with the filling material inside of Twinkies. Lucky for Twinkies somethings don’t have to be changed. But sometime you have to change to remain competitive. Really, Harley Davidson doesn’t have choice!  Without change there’s no opportunity for growth or expansion. I’m going to guess that non-Harley riders / owners will start to take look at these new models with renewed interest because of this modification.

I got a chance to ride a 2014 Ultra Limited a few days ago. The ambiance of motorcycle seemed the same as the previous year. Also, you had to look pretty damn hard to determine if the engine was water-cooled or not. I’m sure HD designed it that way. The new GPS / radio / iPhone control unit is way beyond cool. It’s a milestone for technology incorporated into motorcycle. I think I’m going have to buy one of these motorcycles! Of course, that’s if it’s okay with the wife.

Also,the brakes have a advanced linking system. The reason I use the term advanced, is because under a certain speed the brakes operate independent of each other. From what the salesman told me at the Harley dealer above 25 mph the brakes are linked.I’m a big fan of link brakes I know a lot of people complain about it they say that it’s dangerous on roads that have gravel or other loose materials on them. I’ve been able to manage my link breaks on all surfaces without sliding my Honda Goldwing across the pavement for years now.Harley is also decided to beef up the front forks to increase ride stability.

The only thing that I’m worried about is that Harley Davidson is starting  to “Hondaize”  their motorcycle’s engines. I own a 2012 Softail Deluxe with the 103 B engine. I love the characteristics of air-cooled V-twin with two valves per cylinder. For me it’s not about power or speed. It’s about the journey. But with that said, I can’t be afraid of change. So if HD is going to start water cooling their future engines to stay competitive,  I’m on that bus baby!

I’m sure the Harley-Davidson purists are already mounting a campaign to rectify this tampering with their sacred V twin engines. I know they’re still pissed off about removal of the carburetor. I’m pretty sure some cars are going to be turned over and set on fire in front of Harley-Davidson’s corporate office.

So hopefully next year I’ll be saying “more Harley-Davidson antifreeze please” to the parts person at my local HD dealer.

 

 

 

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!

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.

 

 

Rode a Battery Powered Motorcycle and Chicks Dig Me Now!

Before you read any farther, I think I need to clear up the title of this blog a little bit first. This needs to be made perfectly clear. Chicks have always dug coolcycledude. Yep, I’m a chick magnet. I guess the truth be told I’m a super conductor chick magnet.  The title of this blog was just a cheap ploy to get you to read it, sorry. You have no idea how low I will stoop to get you to read my blogs.

This last summer I got the opportunity to ride an electric motorcycle. Electric motorcycle, sounds a little bit weird doesn’t it.  Now that I think about it, it was weird.  That’s right a motorcycle that didn’t use any gasoline for fuel. No internal combustion engine, clutch or gearbox. A motorcycle from the future! This would be one of motorcycles that you would say “where in hell do you put the fuel in. Then someone tells you “it doesn’t use gasoline, it uses a battery for fuel.”

Not the plastic ones you rode as kid. With the plastic tires or wheels. I guess you wouldn’t call them tires so I guess wheels are a better term. You know what I’m talking about, remember how cool you looked on it. You were cruising up and down the sidewalk in front of your parent’s house at about 2 to 3 MPH. It seemed pretty dam fast at time. That baby was powered by one of those flashlight lantern batteries with those little springy things at the top. You had 6 Volts of massive power to cruise up and down the block.

I must say it was odd to ride a motorcycle without the pulse of an internal combustion engine between my legs. Instead there was the wine of an electric motor. During the ride I found myself trying to shift gears with my foot out of force of habit. Even though there wasn’t any shift lever or clutch lever. I can remember one time during the ride actually looking down thinking maybe the gear lever had fallen off like on my old Harley sportster. Yep, I owned a Harley sportster during the AMF years and there was no Loctite. Can you see this picture?

That’s right coolcycledude is all about saving the planet. The coolcycledude is a tree huger! Sorry third party speak, trying to build a brand. I don’t want to get rid of all the icebergs so polar bears will have a place to do polar bear stuff. What in the hell are polar bears during on icebergs anyway. But with all that said I do have problems with electric a vehicles that need to recharge their batteries. I think one of the things people forget is that you are just pushing the carbon monoxide production down the chain to a power plant. Imagine if we all decided to get electric cars. One day we wake up just like the Borg and decide to drive electric cars, motorcycles, boats and so forth. The “Borg” was a Star Trek reference sorry about that. Think about the amount of energy that would then be required from our power generating facilities.

I can hear what you are thinking right now “coolcycledude you dummy, we could use solar cells and wind turbines to power our electric vehicles.” Well only thing I have a say is good luck with that and put down the wacky weed. Solar and wind turbines produce about 2% of our energy needs.

I was somewhat surprised on the ability of this electric motorcycle to accelerate. I was expecting a lot slower response than I actually got. But the reality is this motorcycle had some get up and go and it. Riding it felt like I was on a motocross bike. It had a very light feeling to the steering. This motorcycle would probably be a great intro motorcycle to someone just getting started. There are no gears to shift, clutch to operate just turn the throttle and work brakes. It’s just that simple to operate.

I’m not going to go into the technical stuff on this motorcycle I would recommend that you go to  Zero’s website (Link, go ahead click) for that information. I would recommend that you at least schedule a test ride on this motorcycle because there’s a possibility that it may fit your driving style. Please check out my videos on YouTube about riding this motorcycle. The first one being a walk around (Link, go ahead click) then my riding experience part one (Link, go ahead click) and part two (Link, go ahead click).

I would like to thank you very much for taking your time to read my little blog. And if you have a chance please sign up so you can receive e-mail updates when I write another blog. Also don’t forget to follow me on twitter @coolcycledude. Thanks again for reading my little blog.

Another trip around the sun.

I rode my Honda VTX 1800 for the last time today for this season. Put the fuel stabilizer in the tank and a fill-up with petrol.  You’re probably thinking to yourself “what the hell is petrol?” It’s what the chaps across the pond call fuel. I’m trying to expand my readership in the UK. Back on track! Off I went for a nice three-hour ride to work the fuel stabilizer through the system. Yep, she’s done for the season. That’s right “She.” She doesn’t have a name yet. I’m still thinking about that. Goodbye my fake Harley until next summer. I sometimes refer to Honda VTX 1800 as my fake Harley. The final wash, the removal of the battery, roll her in the corner and putting on the cover is all that’s left to do.

The snow, ice and cold weather are approaching fast and will soon over take the landscape here in the state of ILL (Illinois). No place for a motorcycle or for me for that matter. The snow is painful and a telling reminder that another year has gone by for me and the motorcycle. Another trip around the sun almost completed for both of us. Another segment of my timeline in this universe is gone. Everything has beginning and end time line in case you don’t understand what I’m talking about. If you still don’t get the idea, email me and I will send you picture.

I put about 4,000 miles on the digital odometer this season. Digital odometer! Man things have changed since my first motorcycle. This gives me a total of around 12,000 miles so far on that fancy digital odometer. Not a lot of miles for a six-year old motorcycle, but the miles were spent doing something that I like to do. Like is probably the wrong word. It just doesn’t define how I feel about ride a motorcycle. I’m worried a little bit that the word addiction might be a better choice. High on motorcycles. Is that possible?

This year was different from the last five years. I worked two full-time jobs during that time and I was numb or at some level of zombie most of the time. Okay, quick break from the main idea here. I used the word “zombie” to catch the younger crowd. They seem to be spending a lot time watching zombie programs. I don’t get this zombie craze, but I’m trying to create a connection with people in all age groups. Sorry for the delay, back on track, again. I finally retired from one of them. That was the plan! I just have a regular job where I go in and come home without any worries of what goes on when I leave. Working two jobs has interfered with my ability to absorb and interact with the life experiences around me. Did I mention the zombie bit?

Riding the VTX 1800 and the other motorcycles that I own was almost like a brand new experience for me this summer. Almost like I just picked them up from the dealer and was on the very first ride home. A sort of a rebirth for me.  I’ve got to stop here for a second, hang on, trying to picture in my mind this whole rebirth thing. Hmm, not a pretty picture. Okay, let’ try this. A revitalization of my passion for riding motorcycles.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog. One of two things is going to happen now. You’ll unfollow me as fast as you can or maybe you’ll start your very own blog. A word of caution if you unfollow me I will find you! Oh, I’m off my meds and the voices in my head are getting louder.  Just want to make that clear before you doing anything rash. Please check out my YouTube channel coolcycledude Also you can follow me on twitter @coolcycledude

Running with the pack

Got a chance to take a nice long ride on my Honda VTX 1800 last weekend.  Spent about 7.5 hours traveling across the state of Illinois. Or the state of ILL as I like to call it. Stopped a few times to fill up the fuel tank and leave some fluids.  Didn’t stop to eat anything, kept riding. I rode with some members from the Jersey Pine Cruisers.  They’re located in Des Plaines Illinois. A lot of Goldwing riders, but anyone with a motorcycle is allowed to join in on the rides. Certainly they are a cast of characters, no doubt about that.

My VTX is about 6 years old now, almost one dog year.  Honda stopped making the 1800cc version of the VTX in  2008. Although, they’re still making the 1300 cc version of the VTX. This motorcycle was Honda’s first salvo at trying to increase their market share in the cruiser market. This is a very completive sector of the overall motorcycles market. In reality this was a pretty lofty goal to try to gain market share in this sector.

Honda was aiming to take away from Harley Davidson. Like I said, a pretty lofty goal to say the least. Harley Davidson really has lock on this market. They should. They have created a culture that has crossed race, gender, age and just about every other barrier known to the human race.  Maybe, Harley Davidson should be given a grant from the Federal Government to solve world peace. Just an idea, couldn’t hurt.

Back on track, my ride on my VTX 1800. This motorcycle seems to fit me like glove. Not like the OJ glove either. It’s like the motorcycle and I are like Lego blocks. I just snap in and go. Lego blocks are those things you played with as a kid and step on as an adult. Looking down at your foot right now and thinking “Shit, I haven’t stepped on one of those damn things in a long time.”

There was a time when my VTX 1800 was more of a torture device then a motorcycle. Couldn’t ride it to long before I had a lot pain, everywhere. I rode it for about 2 years before I decided to change the seat. I just had to get rid of the stock seat. Replaced it with a Mustang seat.  The funny part about this is how quickly the new seat changed my riding experience. They first thing that went through my mind was, “Why in the hell did wait so long to do this?” Old dog, new tricks would be the correct answer.

It was perfect day to ride a motorcycle. Not hot or windy, just a beautiful day. One day that I will remember for a very long time. Pushing my motorcycle through the turns. Cracking the throttle full open to hear the engine roar. Watching the gas tank shake as the RPMs increase. Seeing the digital speedometer display 90 MPH and thinking to myself “Man, this is just too fun!”

Only downside was I couldn’t stop to take any pictures or videos. Had the digital camera and the Flip video camera with me. These guys don’t like to stop for anything but fuel. Saw a lot of things that I would have liked to take pictures or video of. Oh well, one day I will make the trip by myself. But still I’ve got the mental pictures and videos in my brain. Plenty of space in there. Just worried about the refresh rate.

Thank you very much for reading my blog post. Please checkout my You Tube channel coolcycledude and follow me on twitter @coolcycledude. Enjoy your life and be safe.

No Moto Guzzi For Me!

I finally got to ride a Moto Guzzi. Sort of a life long dream for me to ride this brand of motorcycle. Was really looking forward to it. This was supposed to be one those moments in my life. I hate to use this analogy, but I will any way. It’s like losing your virginity with someone  is one of those moments. Losing it by yourself doesn’t count by the way. I don’t care what they told you. Those are one of the moments we’re taking about here. Hopefully it lasted longer than a minute for you. Oh, don’t you pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about either. I have one word to describe this losing my virginity-like moment: primitive.  That’s right, primitive. I thought for a moment that I had slipped back into time and was riding my very first mini-bike.

Before I go to far into this blog I need to frame a few things. The motorcycle had 16,000 miles or 26,000 kilometers on it. There was oil seeping from bottom of the cylinder and the tires needed to be replaced. Also, there’s possibility that I have been spoiled because I ride mostly Japanese motorcycles. Just in case you don’t know it, I can hear what you are thinking. “Coolcycledude, you suck, you loser. Why don’t you own a Harley Davidson?” I can answer that. Yes, I sure can. I did own a Harley Davidson during the AMF years. Enough said!

Well, let’s start with problem number one. When I used the center stand, the foot peg smashes into my calf. Ouch! I tried three different approaches to keep from hitting my leg. Still ouch! Even though I like the idea of a center stand, I don’t like the one on this bike. Just to make sure that there wasn’t something wrong with me, I had the shop owner put the motorcycle on the center stand. From the other side of the motorcycle, I saw the look on his face that said “ouch!” This stand punishes you when you use it.

This is my own personal bias but I don’t like motorcycles with dry clutches, never have, never will. They’re noisy making that clanging racket. Like something is lose or about ready to fall off. When you are in neutral or pull in the clutch lever the clanging starts. It’s on the loud side. Dry clutches never seem to grab just right always very very touchy. Tough to use in stop and go traffic. You might as well get off the motorcycle and push it in these situations. The clutch lever pull was very light so that wasn’t a problem.

Engine vibration, oh, I mean whole motorcycle vibration. Don’t bother trying to use the mirrors anywhere from 2,000 to 4,500 rpms. Looking at the mirror during those RPMs was like watching a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Things in the mirrors were moving side to side, up and down, all over the place. You couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on behind you. The foot pegs vibrated like they were connected directly to the engine. The whole motorcycle vibrated like on of those beds you put a quarter in. It might be more money now, it has been a long while since I’ve been on one of those.

Steering the motorcycle didn’t seem right either. As the turns got tighter, it got harder to turn the handle bars. It was like driving  a “Total Work Gym” or what ever in hell that thing is called. You know, the thing that Chuck Norris pushes late at night. I didn’t try to lean the motorcycle into the corners. The feedback seemed delayed or something. It reminded me of driving a  snow sled on ice. I think the engine is mounted too high in the frame. This raises the center of gravity. Gives it an old feeling in the corners.

Okay, let’s talk about the good. I liked the instrument cluster, really liked the analog  gauges. The seat was nice and comfortable. It comes with Belimo brakes and they work well. That was pretty much it.

Let me make a prediction, Moto Guzzi will never advertise on my blog or website. I would not buy this motorcycle, period. But that doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t. Riding a motorcycle is a very enjoyable experience and everyone has different tastes. Thank you very much for reading my blog. Oh, by the way I’m still trying to get you paid when you read my blogs.