Winter Motorcycle Agenda

I’m usually an all season rider. This winter is being extremely harsh. We just had one of the coldest days we’ve had in three years.

Without being able to even occasionally ride, I’ve decided to catch up on maintenance. I’ve also decided to treat myself to some new accessories. This way my bike will be ready to go for spring.

My to-do list has been (some of it is already done):

  • Oil Change
  • Scheduled Service Check
  • Battery Health (just had to replace)
  • New Accessories
  • Setting up with a quality smart charger
  • Check tire health

You don’t have to forget about your bike during the cold. I don’t. If you give your bike attention during the winter months, your bikes heath and your personal safety for spring riding will be exponentially increased.

If you do need to let it set for awhile, here’s what I would do.

  • Setup your battery with a smart charger.
  • Store your bike in a somewhat heated garage. (At least out of the weather)
  • Drain the gas tank. (or at least use no ethanol fuel for storage, and/or pour in a QUALITY fuel treatment like Startron)
  • Every 2-3 weeks move your bike. (So the tires don’t develop bad spots)
  • I also might occasionally start it and let it idle for awhile (fyi, some bike won’t charge the battery with this kind of idling)
Posted in Motorcycles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Triumph 250s Coming?

Entry-level street bike

Spy, leaked and testing photos indicate that today’s Triumph Motorcycles may enter the 250 market. The direct selling targets appear to be entry level riders and the lower cost Southeast Asia and South America markets. While many on forums are wishing for the nostalgia of the 1950s “Tiger Cub,” it looks like they will be disappointed.

Concept bike


Posted in Motorcycles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Triumph Cruisers for 2014


Thunderbird Commander

Remember those articles about test Triumphs with Harley Davidson parts? Whether or not they’ve influenced Triumph’s new 2014 cruiser models, some new offerings are coming. And unlike BMW’s few try’s at this style of bike, they don’t look embarrassing.

In the North America, cruiser bikes are more than half the market. They’re also good for selling additional accessories. I think it’s also fair to say Europe and other parts of the globe have rediscovered the cruiser. It looks like Triumph Motorcycles is going to be taking this segment somewhat serious.

New for 2014.

  • Thunderbird Commander
  • Thunderbird LT
  • America LT

Quick take on what I’m seeing…

The Thunderbird Commander is like a chromed version of the blacked out Storm. The Storm is a great looking bike. I suspect like the Commander, both will continue to be hamstrung by limited accessories. They’re great bikes to look cool on, but not for extensive touring.


Thunderbird LT

The Thunderbird LT and America LT (light touring) models look like they come ready for day trips. The Thunderbird LT will come with traditional spoke wheels. If you’re unfamiliar with the America, it’s essentially the budget model.

If you want locking luggage options for Triumph’s cruisers, you need to start shopping third party. In my view, without being able to lock something up, they barely qualify as anything “touring” when using OEM accessories. Maybe a day trip, but nothing extensive.

The America is good new riders bike or riders that don’t want something heavy. The Thunderbird will required more than a novice skill level to ride safely. The “Commander” would be my choice out of these new bikes.

Here’s a few of my reference articles.

- EICMA Live – New Triumph Thunderbird LT, Thunderbird Commander showcased

- First look: Triumph’s 2014 Thunderbird Commander and Thunderbird LT

- 2014 Triumph Thunderbird Commander & LT


Posted in Motorcycles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study Finds Riding without a Helmet Leads to Costlier Injury’s

From an article a few months ago, Michigan’s Weakened Helmet Law Leads To Costlier Injury Claims, Study Finds, this should have been an obvious. It shouldn’t have taken a study to prove that crashing on your bike without head protection leads to greater injury! The study stated,

“Weakening the helmet law seems to have made it somewhat more likely that riders will sustain injuries, but the big impact has been on the seriousness of the injuries…”

It was thoughtful in the law change to require medical insurance for an un-helmeted rider, but silly that the minimum is $20,000 in coverage! A serious head injury could require long-term to lifelong care. I’ve seen it and it’s scary to see. Those images in my mind are the one thing that give me pause on riding a motorcycle.

While my intention here is not to skewer the American thought process, I’m baffled by it. I am baffled by American motorcycle riders who sneer at the thought of owning a Keith Code book, much less reading it. I’m baffled by riders who’ve ridden for 20 years, sneer when corrected over their unsafe group riding habits. I’m baffled by experienced riders who don’t care about protecting the delicate brain inside their head. I guess the title of “brain” for some is in name only.  ;-)

Rant over…sheesh.

Posted in Accidents, Motorcycles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A new front in the clone wars…

I believe it’s fair to say Harley-Davidson is the standard setter for cruiser bikes. Asian companies copy them. They’ve made clones for years. Victory tries to outdo them. European companies that take a try at cruisers, like BMW, usually end up producing something that’s just weird.

I’m seeing reports of a new Triumph. I don’t think this is fully confirmed. Let the speculation begin…

A new Triumph?


Posted in Motorcycles, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sport Bike vs. Cruiser Bike Comparison

Posted in Motorcycles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to make motorcycle training better

I must confess I’m done with motorcycle training for a while. I don’t think for good. I now understand why some riders never take a training class. I understand why some disparage training.

A longtime bona-fide rider should be excellent with danger management. A cool head. Their riding style is often technical precision. With that said, I’m stunned with behavior I find in supposedly professional “experts”.

Every year I tried to fit in one training class, but some of the trainers the U.S. Motorcycle Safety Foundation is sanctioning aren’t very good. Nothing is perfect but with all the training happening along with, better bikes, better gear, some of the accident stats aren’t improving.

I believe its motorcycle training that needs to get better, or more accurately the trainers. In the years I’ve been riding and attending training I’ve experienced the following personally or witnessed it happen.

The brand of bike attack

Making disparaging remark towards the brand of motorcycle a student road to class needs to go. Cornering a student and asking, “So, what made you buy foreign?” “Um…I got a good deal on a used first bike?” The response… “I’m a proud union man, and it’s why I ride American.”

The gear attack

Stopping class to make remarks about a student’s gear; with taunts like “I’m a true American” as a reason to not buy foreign gear. It’s especially puzzling when the instructor rode a Honda to class. Most all gear today is made in China.

The “not in my club” attack

There’s all different kinds of riders. There are commuters, thrill seekers, and long distance travelers, etc. I’d place my rider type in the “commuter” category. I’m not into being a gansta.

An instructor giving favoritism to fellow tough guys or tough ex-military should go. Sending a person out with an endorsement and the overconfidence that his “brother” helped him pass the tests may put that rider in danger. Especially if they’re a new rider!

Anger issues

Visible anger issues with the instructor when a student makes his first mistake aren’t healthy for the class. Instructors asking for post class feedback and post training improvements should be charitable with feedback. When an instructor hears something they don’t like or agree with, they corner and verbally attacks the student later. That should go.

Weird gesturing

Don’t do odd and strange out of the norm gestures out on a training range. When an inquiring student asks what’s going on, now were onto the next phase (insert instructor anger issues here.)

Name calling

Calling students stupid, numskull, etc. creates resistance and builds learning barriers. This isn’t a boot camp. Calling competing instructors from other schools incompetent f*cks or other like names is childish.

To you professional “experts” who I looked up too, you ruined my confidence in you…thanks. I’m riding off. I’m done with financially subsidizing this kind of behavior.

Posted in Motorcycles | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment