Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Social Networking just for Motorcycle Riders

This came in from Marketing Daily; The Motorcycle Industry Council, with support from Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki have created a new social network website just for motorcycle riders. They are not quite completely open for business but it looks good so far. www.rockmoto.com It is still very much in Beta Test mode but looks promising.

With media and music support from the folks at Pandora, this may well be the next best place to listen to music and find your next ride partner. Check it out. It's worth taking a peek.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Marriage by Harley

According to the Hays Daily News, for the first time in Kansas history, a wedding took place at a Harley Davidson dealership. To celebrate their love of motorcycles and riding, Andrew and Dinah Charles were wed at Doerfler Harley-Davidson/Buell in Hays, Kansas. To punctuate the bride's appreciation for all things with two wheels, she didn't walk down the aisle; She rode a white motorcycle!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Motorcycle Industry Council on Ethanol

Recently the Motorcycle Industry Council, American Lung Association, the Sierra Club, the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and many other seemingly diverse groups pushed the US Government for more testing of ethanol. Currently the folks in Washington limit ethanol in fuel mixtures to 10% except for the special 85% flex-fuel.

Ethanol supporters are telling the government that the 10% limit could be extended to 15% and even as high as 30% without causing damage to engines. The Motorcycle Industry Council, with several others are concerned that the blend mixture will change, raising the potential of damaging motorcycle and other small engines. More testing is being performed before further consideration is given.

You can read more here at the Des Moines Register.

HOV Lanes Let Your Two Wheels Move

Except in Florida, that is.

There is a federal law on the books that allows motorcycles to use the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes in all US states that do not specifically disallow it. The feds feel it is safer to keep motorcycles moving, rather than let them suffer the stop & go in the other, non-HOV lanes.

Yet another reason to ride!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to all of those on two wheels or those who dream of being on two wheels. This may not be prime time to be riding but it is a perfect time for giving

While searching for daily things to post here, as the Christmas season approached, there were more and more stories and press releases about how bikers get together and operate toy runs or Santa runs or charity rides to help the unfortunate in this time of giving. I could not post them all, there were simply too many. And to give notice to some and not others, I felt, was not fair.

So, this post goes out to you brave, fearless and altruistic motorcycle riders who participate in these events. May you and your sturdy ride safely complete your mission of giving and cheer in this holiday season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukha, and for those who celebrate other things, Happy Holidays.

-Ride safe through the Season....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Motorcycle Cruises?

A Motorcycle Cruise? According to USA Today, Royal Caribbean offers a rather popular motorcycle themed cruise in the Caribbean where riders actually get to bring their motorcycles on the ship and then ride around some of the Islands

If you dream of riding St. Thomas or Nassau, this may be your best bet.

New Motorcycle Tax in Spain

According to Clutch & Chrome, Spain will soon be raising taxes for vehicles that emit CO2 gas over a certain threshold. This alone would not be an issue since most motorcycles and scooters are teetotalers compared to four wheeled vehicles. What the government in Spain did was to also LOWER the emissions threshold for motorcycles and scooters by 33 to 40%.

According to a European motorcycle industry group, motorcycle and scooter registration has already seen a 25% drop. This new tax may drop it another 15%.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Honda Electric Motorcycle?

Is this where Honda has been spending their money? An electric bike?

According to Motorcycle USA, this new electric motorcycle should be ready for production and in their cycle line-up within two years.

Hopefully their layoffs, cutbacks in their racing involvement, cancellation of their Honda Hoot and questionable customer service will not alienate their customer base, pushing loyal Honda owners to other, lesser known makes of electric bikes.

Special tags for the Blue Ridge Parkway

Just about any motorcycle rider who has had the opportunity to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway will admit that it was a sublime experience. The twisties, the sweepers, the scenery... All there for a rider to experience and enjoy.

According to the Winston-Salem Journal, riders will soon be able to directly support the parkway by signing up for special Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle license plates. The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles teamed up with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to make this a reality. More than 27,000 of these plates have been available for vehicles with four wheels. Now, if you enjoy the Parkway on two wheels, you can directly support it as well.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Harley CEO Calls it Quits

It was recently announced that Harley Davidson CEO, Jim Ziemer will be stepping down in 2009. He will not just leave the company hanging without a CEO, and has offered to stay until someone has been found to fill the position.

Read more about it here, at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

End of the Hoots?

Will the 2008 Honda Hoot in Knoxville, TN be the last one?

According to Road Racing World and other motorcycle publications, American Honda has decided to cancel the 2009 Hoot. Why? According to Honda it is due to 'economic uncertainty.'

The Honda Hoot, at nearly 15 years old, is arguably one of the most popular and well attended national rider get-togethers. When the 'Hoot' first started, it was different. Not only did it appeal to the freedom loving side of riding, but included an aspect left out of other rallies; family fun.

The Honda Hoot broke new ground by making a motorcycle event that was fun, engaging and appropriate for the youngest of kids all the way to the oldest of riders. As Honda abandons this event, hopefully other rally organizers will see this as a huge opportunity in the area of family-friendly motorcycling.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Safety Never Takes a Holiday!

There is never a bad time to not think about motorcycle safety. Well, there may be a few...

Here is a nice short little Public Service Announcement from our fellow riders in Europe.

Metisse Offering Steve McQueen Motorcycles

Metisse Motorcycles recently announced that are building replicas of Steve McQueen's motorcycle, the "Metisse Desert Racer." Metisse is a small motorcycle manufacturer in England, and will soon be selling a small number of these made-to-order bikes.

According to Clutch and Chrome, it will likely be a short run of only 300 bikes. If you are the type of person that simply MUST have one, you should probably hop to it, and contact Metisse.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Viper Motorcycles gets EPA Approval

This coming from Market Watch, Viper Motorcycles is now EPA approved. What does that mean? Well, they are now a certified OEM in all 50 US states. For the folks at Viper, that is one heck of a holiday present!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

J.D. Powers Weighs In on Mototrcycle Satisfaction

Some good news today, J.D. Powers released their eleventh annual study on motorcycle ownership satisfaction. According to this study, ownership satisfaction has risen for the past six years to an all time high.

Here are some highlights:
  • More people are reporting that repairs are done correctly the first time.
  • Engine and transmission satisfaction has improved greatly.
  • Rough paint and engine overheating was noted as a detractor to overall satisfaction.
Browse over here to read more.

Another Tire Manufacturer Has Troubles

According to Market Watch, Cooper Tire will be closing their manufacturing facility in Albany, Georgia. Avon Tyres, a subsidiary of Cooper Tires, makes a range of different motorcycle tires that are marketed globaly. The article does not state whether Avon Tyres would be affected or not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

20% Off London Motorcycle Show Tickets

Are you thinking about going to the 2009 London Motorcycle Show? Well, here is a good deal. 20% off.

This is from the announcement:
Top motorcycle manufacturers appearing at the show include Honda, Ducati, BMW, KTM, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Triumph, Harley-Davidson and Buell. Ducati UK will be displaying their full 2009 line-up and said that they "look forward to once again bringing to the capital the sexiest machines from the world's coolest brand”.

This looks to be an extremely great show. Browse to the MCN Website for details.

Cycle Rental Discounts for AAA Members

According to Market Watch, The AAA/CAA (American Automobile Association & Canadian Automobile Association) have teamed up with Eagle Rider to offer rental discounts!

This is from their Press Release:
LOS ANGELES, CA, Dec 15, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- EagleRider, the world's largest motorcycle rental company, is proud to announce its exclusive partnership with the Automobile Club of America (AAA) and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). AAA/CAA members will now receive discounts at over 58 EagleRider motorcycle rental locations in the United States through AAA's "Show Your Card and Save" discount program.

This new partnership makes EagleRider the exclusive motorcycle rental company for AAA/CAA and their 53 million North American AAA members. Effective December 15, 2008, AAA and CAA members will receive a 12% discount off EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals, 10% off EagleRider apparel and accessories, and $300 off EagleRider certified used motorcycles.

You can read the entire press release by following the Market Watch link above.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

When the Bike is in the Shop...

It happens to all riders at one point in time or another. The bike is in the shop. It does not matter whether you are a great mechanic or don't know a clutch cage from a rat cage... There will be a time when your two wheeled conveyance is laid up.

So while your motorcycle is receiving some tender loving care from the mechanic, what are you going to do? For those of you who don't know, motorcycle repairs are not like car repairs. Most car problems are rectified in typically short order.

Motorcycle repairs can take a while. Three weeks to a month in the shop is not unheard of. So, what are you going to do? Here are some ideas:
  • Read up on motorcycle safety. There is never a bad time to bone-up on emergency manuevers and other safety related things.
  • Take up, or enjoy a hobby. Many motorcycle riders enjoy flying airplanes. That singularity of focus that motorcycle riders possess is identical to that of pilots. Think it is too expensive? Think again. Ultralight flying can be a real kick in the seat and requires a small amount of training.
  • Start writing a blog. That same singularity of focus is a great writing asset. You don't have to be a Hemmingway or Asimov or King or Crichton to write. Just take what is on the inside of that biker brain and let it out. Some great motorcycle blogs are Motorcycle and Scooter Talk at Kano's Coffee House, Cruising Ohio, The Many Thoughts of HarleyGirl, and Rippin Kitten.
  • Do something constructive. If it is warm enough out in the garage, build something. If not, then make some coffee or tea, build a fire in the fireplace and learn to knit. Don't laugh; knitting is a great hand-eye exercise and helps helps keep those digits flexible.
  • Work on that next 'evil' motorcycle adventure. Off road in Baja California? Roughing it in the Northern Canadian Wilderness? Thinking of a little trans-Africa ride? While your bike is being repaired, this might not be a bad time to be planning.
While your motorcycle is getting some nice TLC, don't sit on your duff. Do something!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Honda Pulls Out of 2009 AMA Superbike

It may be the economy. Maybe there are issues with the organizer, Daytona Motorsports Group. Either way, Honda USA has pulled out. From the article on Motorcycle Daily,

Honda maintains it is withdrawing because of tough economic times: "the current economic conditions led us to take this action," plausible given the factory's recent withdrawal from Formula One auto racing. However, Honda will still have factory Supercross and National Motocross teams as well as a presence in MotoGP.

You can read the whole article here at Motorcycle Daily.

Buy a Harley, Get Stock?

Harley Davidson aficionados in Milwaukee are in for a real treat. According to the Business Journal of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Harley-Davidson on the City's north side is giving away 100 shares of Harley stock with every 2008 purchase. If you are in the area and have been looking for a good deal, this may be the one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

100% Tariff on European Motorcycles?

As is typical with the US government starts to get tight, they seem to shoot from the hip. Apparently someone high up the political food chain doesn't like European motorcycles. It has been recommended to President Bush that the US government institute a 100% tariff on all European motorcycles and scooters with 500 cc displacement engines and smaller.

Why? According to the Sport Rider website, it is apparently in retaliation to the European Union's continuing import ban on American beef from cattle that have been treated with growth hormones. Does that make sense? They don't want our beef, so we tariff the hell out of certain motorcycles?

This tariff would include bikes from manufacturers like BMW, Aprilia, KTM, Husaberg, Piaggio, Husqvarna, Montesa, Scorpa, Sherco and Vespa.

Ed Moreland, the American Motorcycle Association's VP for government relations penned a very sharp statement against this sanction. The entire article, Mr. Moreland's letter included, can be read by following the link above to the Sport Rider website.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Suzuki Hayabusa Powering Four Wheels?

According to AutoBlog, Hartly Engineering has managed to build a 140 pound inline four cylinder that produces more than 200 horse power, all based on the Hayabusa powerplant. Availability should be early in 2009. Anyone with evil car, truck, airplane or boat plans??? Get in line!

What are Manufacturers and Dealers Doing Wrong?

According to the 2008 Motorcycle Escaped Shopper Study, by JD Powers, 51% of all new motorcycle shoppers site dealer issues when rejecting a motorcycle brand. 25% of all shoppers mentioned the inability to take test rides, and 7% indicate that was the most influential reason for not purchasing a particular motorcycle brand.

Here are some other interesting tid-bits:
  • 18% didn't buy a certain bike because it wasn't available to the dealer.
  • 28% name price as the most influential reason for rejection.
  • 23% mention high maintenance costs.
  • 84% seriously considered their brand of choice before rejecting it.
  • 75% of existing riders report using their motorcycle more often for commuting to work or school.
This is an interesting study if you like to read of trends and statistics in the motorcycle world. Follow the link at the top of this post to read more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Eastern Kentucky University Goes Vectrix

Please, no Segway jokes. The police force at Eastern Kentucky University has decided to get a Vectrix, all electric motorcycle for patrol duty. They realy do talk it up, and would be interesting to see it in action. Read all about it here, at Eastern Progress Online.

Inexpensive Holiday Farkling?

Are you the kind of motorcycle rider who loves farkles and chrome? You know, those little things that make your ride stand out, be unique... and really cool. Well, Wyked Illuzionz has decided to make this a merrier holiday season for all lovers of farkles.

According to ecommwire,

Wyked Illuzionz is reducing the prices of all motorcycle LED lighting products and lighting accessories on their website by an unprecedented 15%. These products are all professional grade. Wyked Illuzionz sells the same products to their customers that they professionally install. This reduction is applicable to phone-in orders only and will last throughout the month of December.

If you like professional light effects, browse over to the Wyked Illuzionz website.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Trippin' in Australia

Have you ever thought about doing a little riding in the land of kangaroos and the Southern Cross? Well, Robert Upe may only a few hundred kilometers away in New Zealand, but his little writeup about his motorcycle renal and Australia ride is enough to make one want to get their passports up to date.

Honda Layoffs

According to this AP Article, Honda may be feeling some economic pain from the global money pinch. Not only are they pulling out of Formula One racing, but according to Honda spokesman Hideto Maehara, some automotive jobs will be cut in Britain and Japan, and 750 temporary workers in their Japanese facilities, including one motorcycle operation.

UK Sale Slump in November

According to the Motorcycle News website, motorcycle and scooter sales in that part of the world is down 16% as compared to sales this same month last year. Hopefully this is a temporary 'bump in the road.' Read the whole article here at MCN.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Book Day, Sunday.

Some sites have 'Funny Fridays' or 'Manic Mondays' or 'Hump-Day Wednesdays.' Well, here we will have 'Book Day, Sunday.' Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes irreverent, sometimes philosophical, and at times, just plain weird.

Looking for a holiday gift for that motorcycle rider in your life? These items may well be the perfect gifts. No 'hog' rider is complete without a 2009 Harley Davidson calendar.

Believe it or not, winter time provides a great opportunity to fine tune riding skills and keep that twinkle in the eye. Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well is a great book to just sit back and read on those quiet, cold winter afternoons. Any opportunity to improve a person's riding is a good thing.

For the 'gearhead' or 'wrenchbender', there is the Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance. Winter time is perfect for spending quality repair and maintenance time with a motorcycle. This is just right for the beginner and intermediate motorcycle 'wrenchbender.'

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Little Holiday Gift-Giving Warning

Recently a fine article was published on the Gazette Live website with some friendly warnings about purchasing motorcycles as holiday gifts. This really is an important message that should be echoed here in North America as well.

If you are like the other tens of thousands of people out there, and are considering the purchase of a little motorcycle (like the Cheetah Cub pictured here), pocket bike or four wheeled ATV as a gift for someone, please take note. Please make sure the recipient of your generous gift understands the local laws regarding the vehicle given. Many places do not allow unlicensed vehicles on any road. In other areas, they are OK on gravel roads. Please check with your local law authorities if you have any questions. There is only one thing worse than getting a ticket on Christmas for riding that new ATV down Main Street.

That's an accident.

If you are going to give someone a motorcycle or ATV, be sure they have safety gear. This is VERY important. A simple fall off a motorcycle or 15 MPH collision on an ATV can cause serious injury without proper safety gear. A great motorcycle gear guide can be found at Old Guy's Place.

And, last but not least, if the recipient of your gift has never ridden a motorcycle or driven an ATV, consider an additional gift. Training. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers courses for the beginner as well as advanced rider. Check your local ATV dealer or riding club for information on classes and training. And please remember, good training and experience is some of the best protective gear a rider can have.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Scooters Are Coming?

Are scooters the wave of the future? Will Piaggio, Vespa, Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda scooters start taking over the riding world?

Likely not, but many manufacturers are considering the scooter as an entry level two wheeled vehicle. This may not be well accepted by the bulk of US riders who are used to straddling more than 1,000 CCs. But with prices of cars, gas, insurance and maintenance going through the roof, these two wheeled conveyances may be a good way to save some money, be more environmentally friendly and have a little fun while you are at it.

This week, the 28th annual International Motorcycle Show is being held in Long Beach, California. Typically this is a 'power fest' of testosterone driven steel and chrome and rubber. But this year... there is a scooter pavilion.

This is from the Los Angeles Times:
"The three-day event is putting a focus on riders who want to commute on two wheels -- new and returning riders who couldn't care less about the flash and power that have dominated the industry for the past decade.

The added pavilion corrals the growing number of scooters on the market, instead of leaving them scattered throughout the exhibit hall. And new riders also can get help at a more prominent welcome center that provides information about safety classes and local riding clubs."

Read the entire article here at the Los Angeles Times website.

Two wheels is two wheels, whether 50 CC or 1500 CC. Keep the rubber side down, all.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Anyone Missing a Box of Bike Parts?

A suspicious package was found near the Cape Coral, Florida police department Wednesday. The owner of the box could not be located and its contents could not be determined. So... The area was cordoned off and the Lee County Bomb Squad was called.

After neutralizing the package, they discovered it was full of motorcycle parts. The parts have all been collected as evidence and more information about them is being sought. So, if you live near Cape Coral and are missing a box of motorcycle parts, you might want to go claim what is left.

Read the whole thing here, at the news-press.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Traveling on the Cheap

Motorcycle travel is, by its very nature, less expensive than lugging along 3,000 more pounds of vehicle. Going on a 500 mile weekend trip with a bike can save more than $50 over taking a car.

Gas prices and a rumbling recession should be no reason for a motorcyclist to stay at home. How can the determined motorcyclist save money and make their trips less expensive? Here a few hints.

  • When going on a trip that will include an overnight stay, strongly consider camping. There are many places in the United States and Canada where the motorcycle rider can camp very inexpensively. Free camping can also be available with a little planning and research. If you are the daring sort, guerrilla or covert camping may be of interest. There is no planning, just finding a discrete place to put the tent up at the end of the day.
  • If you decide camping isn't for you or you are in a situation where you must stay in a motel, don't stay in a Hilton or Ramada, find an old cheap motel somewhere. Be sure you can park your bike nearby, preferably right in front of your room. There are plenty of good, inexpensive rooms out there. Sometimes you just have to ride around to find them.
  • Then, there are always couches at friends' and relatives' houses. Or arrange for places to stay through couchsurfing.com or posting on craigslist.com It does work.
  • Eating can be expensive if you go to restaurants for every meal. If you must eat out, make it breakfast. Not only can a piping hot breakfast brighten your morning mood, but for the same money you would spend for dinner, you can get a LOT more food. Don't eat breakfast, or for that matter any meal while on your trip, at a fast food restaurant unless necessary. Would you put nasty, unfiltered fuel out of a beer bottle into your $15,000 BMW? Not unless forced, right? Consider the same with the food going into your stomach.
  • If possible, buy your daily food supply at a grocery store, and only buy one day's worth. Think about what your body needs, not what it wants. Simple protein like peanut butter on tortillas with a side of apple slices and carrots may not sound like much but is rather inexpensive and good for you.
  • Don't buy many souvenirs. They are a monetary drain and take up valuable bike space.
There are a lot of websites out there with many more hints and ideas. Whether you are thinking about your next coast to coast ride or just a weekend trip, it pays (or rather can save you money) to do a little research and planning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random Tuesday

Admit it. Once in a while you go to Google, Yahoo or whatever your favorite search engine is, and type random words. Word combinations that should never exist in the entire world come to mind. "Bikini and Antarctica." "Ferret and Football." how about "Cow and Motorcycle?"

Maybe that is what Mike Werner was doing when he discovered a seemingly odd motorcycle sub-culture. Or maybe it is a bovine sub-culture. Well, motorcycles and cows do make for an interesting combination. Mike has more information and pictures on his site.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dulop Cuts Jobs in Tonawanda

According to a recent article in the Buffalo News, Dunlop, manufacturer of automotive and motorcycle tires has cut 147 jobs at its Tonawanda, New York plant. According to the company, motorcycle tire production will not be affected.

It still sucks for those laid off.

The entire article is right here.

Harley XR1200 in the News Again

As a followup to our previous news post, we located a press release from Harley Davidson on the Wall Street Journal MarketWatch website about the XR1200. This model, apparently only intended for the European market will now be launched in 'all markets.' Apparently pressure from Harley fans and owners of competing models gave the folks at Harley Davidson some second thoughts about the marketing for this nifty motorcycle. The list price of this bike is in line with other Harleys but not necessarily for the entry level rider. According to the press release, the XR1200's MSRP will be $10,799 USD.

You can read the press release here, at MarketWatch.