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Unfortunately, recalls happen all the time. No matter how good the motorcycle manufacturer is, things slip through quality inspection at the factory, and motorcycles get recalled to rectify the problem.

The problem lies in the notification of the recall. Usually the manufacturer will contact the press, and sometimes the press will actually print a small story stating models and problem, but often this is not the case.

So in many cases vehicle owners do not know that their motorcycle or ATV has been recalled. And this can be a big, and often dangerous problem.

Robert Guthrie was one of these people. His Kawasaki ATV got recalled because of a problem with the front wheel that could result in the eventual loss of steering control. And that was exaclty what happened to him. He crashed his ATV, resulting in severe and permanent injuries. So he’s seeking $20 Million in damages from Kawasaki in a lawsuit.

Guthrie’s complaint is that Kawasaki was negligent in warning him that his ATV was not longer safe.

And that’s where the problem lies. Manufacturers often rely on the media to warn users, but as far as news goes, it’s just not interesting enough to print.

Manufacturers have enormous databases with the client lists. They send out mailers offering new models and services all the time. But they rarely involve these mailing campaigns for recalls.

And what happens when you sell your vehicle? The manufacturer will not know who has your bike. So the big question is why manufacturers have no access the DMV databases. There they can quickly scan who has what vehicles, and send a mail recalling the vehicle. It would be the safest way of ensuring that all vehicles get recalled. But that takes time & money, and already the manufacturer is out of pocket running a recall of thousands of motorcycles.

In the USA, there is a government web site with all recalls (Recalls.gov), but this means that the owners need to go and check themselves, and not many people will do that. The responsibility lies with the owner in this case, while it’s should be on the manufacturer’s.

But maybe there’s no choice, and it should become mandatory for all manufacturers. If the DMV doesn’t want to hand over the files, then they should do it. It’s safer, and this way anyone who has that model can be ensured that they get a recall notice.

Also, often the manufacturer will know of a problem, but will only recall when things get really bad, preferring to leave things as is.

Source: DealerNews


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Last time we looked at biker specific terms, the lingo used by bikers allowing you not to stand out in a crowd of bikers. But it’s not only this general terms that you’d need to know, but there’s also a bunch of terms related to motorcycles.

Here are several motorcycle-specific terms:

ABSAnti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motorcycle to continue interacting with the road surface as directed by biker steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up (that is, ceasing rotation) and therefore avoiding skidding.

Ape Hangers - Ape hanger handlebars rise far above the mounting location so that the rider must reach up to use them, hence the name. They are popular on chopper motorcycles. They are available in heights up to 20 inches. Some jurisdictions have regulations on how high the handgrips may be above the seat.

Bagger – A motorcycle equipped with saddlebags and other touring amenities.

Beemer – BMW

Rice Burner – Japanese sportsbike

BHP – Brake horse power. A unit of measurement for engine power output.

Blinkers - Turn Signals

Bob, Bobbers, Bobbed or Bobbing – A bobber is a custom motorcycle that usually has had the front fender removed, the rear fender “bobbed” or made smaller, and all superfluous parts removed to make it lighter This was all part of the early customizing done by the returning WWII fighter pilots.

Brake horsepower - Brake horsepower (bhp) is the measure of an engine’s horsepower before the loss in power caused by the gearbox, alternator, differential, water pump, and other auxiliary components such as power steering pump, muffled exhaust system, etc

Cafe Racer – A cafe racer, originally pronounced “kaff racer” is a term used for a type of motorcycle, as well as the motorcyclists who ride them. Both meanings have their roots in the 1960s British Rocker or Ton-up boy subculture, although the type of motorcycles were also common in Italy, France and other European countries. The term refers to a style of motorcycles that were and are used for fast rides from one coffee bar to another.

CC - Cubic centimeters. A 1000cc engine = 1000 cubic centimeters in volume

Center of Gravity – The point in or near a body where the force of gravity appears to act. If a body is balanced at any point on the vertical line through it’s center of gravity, it will remain balanced. The center of an object’s mass.

Chicken Strips – The tread remaining on the sidewalls of a motorcycle. How much of this there is (or isn’t) is how some bikers size each other up. The less chicken strips, the more angle you will have used when taking curves.

Chopper – A chopper is a type of motorcycle that was either modified from an original motorcycle design (“chopped”) or built from scratch to have a hand-crafted appearance. The main features of a chopper that make it stand out are its longer frame design accompanied by a stretch front end, or increased rake angle.

Crotch Rocket – Sports motorcycle

CruiserCruiser is the term for motorcycles that mimic the design style of American machines from the 1930s to the early 1960s, including those made by Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior and Henderson.

Dirt Bike – Off-road motorcycles that are not legal on the street.

Dresser – A motorcycle set up for long distance touring.

Dual Sport - A motorcycle made for both on and off the road travel.

Duc or Duck- A Ducati motorcycle.

EnduroEnduro is a form of motorcycle sportrun on courses that are predominantly off-road. Enduro consists of many different obstacles and challenges

Fairing - The plastic body panels that protect the rider from the wind and rain and from other debris.

Gixer – Suzuki GSXR Series motorcycles

Goose - A Moto Guzzi motorcycle

H.O.G. – Harley Owners Group – but it also relates to the larger Harley models.

Hack – A term for a motorcycle sidecar.

Husky - Husqvarna motorcycle.

Kwak – Kawasaki

Moped – A motorized bicycle, often with pedals still attached for human power assistance, usually legally defined in states and provinces as having fewer than 50cc and not be capable of propelling the moped over 30 MPH (50km/h) on level ground.

MotocrossMotocross is a form of motorcycle racing held on enclosed off road circuits.

Naked Bike - Motorcycles with no or a very small fairing; allowing you to fully see the engine.

OEM – “Original Equipment from Manufacturer,” refering to parts or components.

Pasta Rocket - Italian Sportbike (Ducati, Aprilia, MV Agusta, Benelli).

Pipes – Exhaust System.

Rat Bike – Motorcycles made from several different parts of different motorcycles and kept on the road using as cheap as possible and usually painted matt black. Often dirty and shoddy.

Rev(s) - See Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). A term used to describe how fast an engine is spinning.

RPM – “Revolutions Per Minute “. The number of revolutions the engine makes in a minute.

Rice Rocket - Japanese Sport Motorcycle

Sissy Bar – The backrest put behind the pillion part of the saddle.

Sled - A motorcycle.

Street Fighter - A bare bones sportbike (or any bike that originally had fairings) stripped of all extraneous bodywork. Also called a hooligan bike.

Stock – A motorcycle set up to OEM specifications with no alterations.

Super-motardSupermoto or Supermotard is motorcycle racing on a circuit that alternates between three types of track: flat track, motocross and road racing, using motorcycles designed for that purpose.

Trials Bike – For competition over radical, rough terrain. Trials motorcycles are designed to be extremely light, minimalist off-road specialties with low gear ratios, high ground clearance and a control layout suited for a standing rider .

Trike – A three-wheeled motorcycle with no sidecar.

Trumpet – Triumph motorcycle.

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You may be a newbie, or a veteran biker, but what’s for sure, our hobby and transportation means is full of jargon. Some terms are a must to know, some are for insiders, but it makes sense to know a few of them.

When frequenting other bikers, it’s good to know a few terms, so here are a few of them. We’ve divided them up in General Terms and Motorcycle Specific ones. Next article is about the motorcycle specific ones.

General Terms

1%er – A biker belonging to an outlaw motorcycle club, like the Hells Angels. The term was coined by the AMA, when they mentioned that these biker gangs represented 1% of the biker population. You will find a “1%” patch often on their vests.

Ape HangersApe hanger handlebars rise far above the mounting location so that the rider must reach up to use them, hence the name. They are popular on choppers. They are available in heights up to 20 inches. Some jurisdictions have regulations on how high the handgrips may be above the seat.

Apex – the line a motorcycle must take in order to minimize the time taken to complete a curve.

Armor – The reinforced parts of your riding gear, often found in motorcycle jackets and trousers. Armor can be made out of different materials, like Kevlar, Foam or plastic, and can often be removed.

ATGATT – All The Gear, All The Time, meaning you should always wear all your protective clothing, no matter when you ride. ATGATT Gear means helmet, gloves, vest, trousers and boots.

BAMBI – Born Again Motorbiker, a biker who having reached middle age, starts riding again after years of not riding.

Belly-Shover – A motorcycle racer who, because of the forward position on a sports bike, has the belly on the fuel tank.

Big Slab – A highway or motorway.

Brain Bucket – A helmet

Bubble Gum Machine – The signal that there is police up ahead. The signal is accomplished by patting the top of your helmet several times so that opposing bikers can see they are riding towards a police trap.

Burnout – By holding the front brake and accelerating, the rear wheel of the bike will start spinning and burning rubber, hence the burnout.

Cage – A car or SUV

Cager – Someone who drives a car.

Century – 100 mph

Doughnut – A burnout done while the front wheel stays in place, and the motorcycle turns 360% on the front wheel, making a complete circle.

Do-Rag – A cloth covering the biker’s head and forehead, avoiding sweat in the eyes and helmet hair. Often used by non-bikers as fashion. Examples

Duck Walking – Sitting on your motorcycle, and pushing it with your feet, usually done when parking your bike, or moving forwards a few feet (like at a gas station).

Eating Asphalt – Crashing your bike

Gearhead – Someone who is very interested and passionate about mechanical objects, like cars and motorcycles.

Hammer Down – Accelerate very quickly.

Heat – The police

Highsider – Being ejected from your motorcycle while riding, above the motorcycle.

Iron Butt – An association that promotes and holds rallies aimed at travelling very long distances. The shortest distance, the Saddle Sore, is 1,000 miles in 24 hours, the longest, the Bun Burner Gold is 1,500 miles in one day. The Iron Butt Rally is 10 days riding 1,000 miles each day.

Lid – A helmet

Lowsider – A motorcycle crash with the bike falling sideways and the biker ejected sideways.

Monkey Butt – When riding for hours on end, your rear end becomes uncomfortable and becomes sore, often the result of chafing.

Newbie – A beginner.

Organ Donor – A biker who rides without a helmet, or rides likes a squid.

Patches – Emblems and symbols sewn on biker jackets and shirts, displaying an affiliation, a club, a brand, or anything that is special to the biker. 1%-ers will always have several patches on their jackets.

Pillion – A passenger on the motorcycle.

PMS – Parked Motorcycle Syndrome, usually the result of not being able to ride in the winter.

Poker Run – A motorcycle run involving usually five stops where you get a card. At the end of the run, the biker with the best hand wins the run. Often used in charity runs.

Popping The Clutch – Letting go of the clutch rapidly, making it possible for the motorcycle to accelerate very quickly.

Poser – A wannabe biker, or a biker with all the gear, shiny and new, but rarely rides. Usually found at motorcycle shows with very low mileage full-chrome motorcycles.

Pucker factor – A very close call when riding.

Ride Captain – The leader of a motorcycle rider-out. The ride captain opens the ride, and is up front.

Ride Lieutenant – An experienced riders who rides as last in a ride-out, making sure that every thing goes according to plan with all the other bikers.

Road Rash – Marks from the asphalt left on your body after you have been thrown off your motorcycle, highside or lowside, a skidded alongside the road.

RUB – Rich Urban Biker, a biker who rides an expensive motorcycle only on the weekend, and never very far. Often RUBs are Posers.

Safety Nazi – A person who rides in absolutely full safety gear, often to an extreme, obeys every law, and wants all others to do the same.

Two Up – Riding with a pillion.

Stoppie – Stopping a motorcycle by pulling only the front brake, resulting in the rear wheel lifting off the ground. Often used in stunts.

Squid – A biker who rides with no protection, and rides very dangerously.

Tank Slapper – A high speed wobble resulting in the handlebars banging against the sides of the fuel tank. Usually an extreme Pucker factor.

Twisties – A part of a road that has many curves, turns and bends. Twisties are very much sought after when riding a motorcycle.

Wannabe – A person who wants to be a real biker, who dresses like one, who tries to behave like one, but probably only drives a SUV or a moped.

Wave – A greeting between bikers on the road, involving raising a hand, usually below the handlebars. The Wave is done to bikers on the opposite direction.

Wheelie – Sudden acceleration and slight pulling of the handlebar (unless your bike has enough torque to do it by itself), resulting in the front wheel of the motorcycle moving up in the air, and riding on the rear wheel alone.

Whoops – An obstacle section on a dirt track that has rows of mounds, requiring expertise to ride within a race.

Wrench – A mechanic.

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As we’ve mentioned in our previous article, there are a couple of things a biker needs to have. It’s not just about buying a motorcycle, and possibly some proper clothes, but there are elementary things you need to function as a biker.

If you are lucky enough to have your own garage, then there are a couple of items you will really need, and some that would be nice to have. They will not cost you an arm and a leg, but having them will make your life so much easier, meaning you will be able to get your motorcycle up and running, enjoying your rides.


The already mentioned (see previous article) HD-40 oil and duct tape, two indispensable “tools” of the trade. Also put a window cleaner spray and some paper towels (best is a kitchen roll) to clean your helmet.

If your motorcycle has a chain (in other words not a belt or shaft drive), you’ll need chain lube. You can get them in nice & easy sprays.

Bugs are bad for your bike, so get a bug cleaner, usually a spray. Make sure you have a proper soft cleaning cloth, preferably a microfiber one. Some cloths may scratch your bike, so make sure you get a good one.

Wax for the bike, wax for the leather. Wax protects your motorcycle from the elements. Rain and sun will slowly deteriorate the metal and leather parts of your bike. Wax your bike at least once a month.

A battery charger will go a long way for making sure you can ride. If you ride everyday, there’s no need, but if there are intervals of several weeks before the bike is fired up, you might want to invest in a trickle charger and hook up your motorcycle every time it gets pulled into the garage.

Not only is a tire pressure gauge essential, but a small electrically powered air compressor is very handy. You can get them relatively cheap, and they will work on 12V, so powered by your motorcycle. Depending on whether you ride alone, with a pillion and/or with cargo, you will need to adjust your tire pressure.

Another essential piece of equipment is a strong light that you can use to inspect your motorcycle. Even if your garage is well lit, you’ll still need to inspect at times the lower parts of your bike, and with a handheld torch, or light, it will make your life so much easier.

And the last item you’ll want in your garage is a motorcycle cover. Just because your bike sleeps in the garage does not mean dust will not get on your ride. So cover it properly. Unless of course you like cleaning your bike (I prefer to ride mine).


If you plan to do maintenance yourself, then you’ll need quite a lot of stuff. Obviously, all the tools to open up your bike and perform open-heart surgery, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, you name it, the list is long. But apart from that, you will be well served with the following:

Gloves. Unless you love scrubbing your hands to clean off the grease, mechanic gloves will save you wear & tear of your hands.

Trays for parts, and trays for oil. If you’re going to change oil, you’ll need to catch the old oil. The parts you take off your bike when working on them should go in a good sized tray, because if you don’t you’ll be spending more time looking for them then actually wrenching.

Good solid shoes. Don’t wrench while wearing flip-flops. You can easily skid and hurt yourself in a garage. You need shoes that are solid, with a good ankle support.

Obviously a motorcycle lift would be great to work on your bike, but that does cost a lot of money. But if you are planing to do a lot of work, it might be a worthwhile investment, since it will make working a lot easier. You can get quite elaborate lifts, but there are simple, manually operated lifts available. It also makes changing tires os much easier.

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Many of us have suffered from PMS – Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. In some areas, the winter has been very harsh, and we have not seen our motorcycles for many months. But now the riding season is there, and we are ready to hit the road.

But before we do, we need to check a few things before firing up the engine. The last thing you want is to start your motorcycle, start riding, and 1 mile further up notice that you have a problem and need to push your bike back into the garage. Not fun, and not necessary if you take a few precautions.


Even if your battery has been hooked up to a trickle charger, or un-hooked, open the filler screws and check the water level, and more importantly, check to see if the plates are straight (plates that have started curving will require you to change the battery).

If your battery was disconnected, top it up with a battery charger. If the water level is low, fill it up with demineralized water.

Oil & Filters

The first thing to check is the engine’s oil and air filter. Your bike has been immobilized for a while, and all oil has gone to the bottom. Start your engine for a few seconds to warm it up and then shut it down. Check the quality of the oil from the dip stick, looking for very small particles embedded in the oil. Best thing you can do if your bike has been out of action for a few months is change the oil and filters. Play it safe.


Many motorcycles when they are stored in a garage are left on their tires. The weight of your bike will be pressing down for months, so you’ll need to inspect if spots & cracks have started to appear in your tires. Today’s tires are very solid, but you never know. A spot (color difference) in your tire can spell disaster when riding.

Make sure your tires are all up to their proper air pressure.


Oil-LeaksCheck below your motorcycle for oil and hydraulic fluid leaks. If you do find some, better find out where it is coming from and fix it.


Turn on the lights and check all of them, including the blinkers. Bulbs can die off when not in use.


Check the tension in your chain. Make sure it’s according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Nuts & Bolts

Its a good idea to go around your bike and tighten all nuts & bolts. It’ s not really necessary, but it’s one of those things that does not cost much time, but can save you a lot of grievance later on.

Zero motorcycle in the sunset

(c) Zero Motorcycles

Now your motorcycle is ready to go out for the first time, but are you? Before you go out, remember that riding a motorcycle requires experience and instinct. This is normally acquired by riding many miles. It’s a good idea to start your first few rides more slowly than you would in mid summer. Take it easy and build up your instincts and traffic sense.

Ride smart, and be safe.

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Most of us like riding our motorcycle, even – or maybe only – on long distances. But sometimes it just can’t be helped, you need to put your motorcycle on a truck and pick it up at another part of the world.

For example, many of us like going to Sturgis, it’s an annual pilgrimage, but the ride takes up way too much time to get there, party, and then go back; it eats away at our holiday time. But arriving at Sturgis without a bike is like attending your Prom Night without a date. And shipping a motorcycle is not limited to Sturgis. There are many good reasons to ship a motorcycle.

But if you are going to ship your precious bike, there are a few things you need to take into account before you do so.

Select The Right Transport Company

Getting the right shipping company is important. Your best bet is using one that someone you know has used. There’s nothing better than using references in selecting a service company, and shipping is no exception.

But maybe you know no one who has shipped a motorcycle before, and you just don’t know where to begin to find a trustworthy shipping company.

No worries, there’s a website that can help you. Uship has not only an exhaustive database of motorcycle shipping companies, but they also have user ratings for each. You can find transport companies in your neck of the woods (USA, Canada, most of Europe, Australia and India), find out for how much they are insured (very important), and what recent customers thought of them.

(c) Heritage Motorcycle Shipping


Get as many quotes as you can handle. It’s the only way of properly judging not only what it will cost you, but more importantly, what the conditions are.

Check very carefully what the conditions are for delays (imagine that you are heading for Sturgis and the bike gets delayed), and also very important, check what is insured (accidents, fires, etc).

If your motorcycle is immobile, in other words, does not work, you will need to tell the shipping company. Many will drive the bike into a truck, and if the bike doesn’t work, it may raise costs.

uShip detailed shipper information

Preparing Your Transport

You’ll need to do a few things before shipping your bike. It is not a simple matter of putting your bike on a truck.


Take plenty of photos of your motorcycle before it gets shipped. Make photos from the sides, front, rear and if at all possible, the lower parts of the bike. Specially if there’s existing damage, like scratches, make photos of them.

Print out the photos, and write out a statement of the state of your motorcycle.

Get It Signed

When the transporter comes to pick up your precious bike, make them sign your statement and photos. This way, if your motorcycle is damaged, you have proof what it looked like before it got mauled.

Check List

Here are the things to do and watch for before the bike gets loaded:

  • Remove all personal stuff from your bike, including what may be in your saddlebags, panniers and top case.
  • Check your tire air pressure and make sure it has a proper pressure.
  • Check if there are any oil or fuel leaks. If there are, make sure you mention it to the transporter.
  • Fold your mirrors inwards
  • If you have an anti-theft alarm, deactivate it
  • Set your gear to neutral


Some companies allow you to ship your motorcycle in a special crate. The advantage of crates, usually a more expensive option, is that your bike is protected from scratches. But to use a crate will mean you will need to drain your fuel tank, and you’ll need to un-hook your battery (you can imagine what happens if the fuel catches fire… you can not move a crate out that quickly from a truck).

(c) Quick Crate

Reception of your motorcycle

When you take delivery of your motorcycle, take a detailed inspection of your bike. Even the smallest scratch is going to be expensive to repair, so pay attention.

Any damage, no matter how small, needs to be reported immediately, in writing, to the shipment company.

Enjoy your ride wherever you sent your motorcycle.

Click here to access uShip

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When most bikers are dreaming about riding their motorcycles but can’t because of icy or snowy road conditions, one set of bikers ride. Not only do they ride, but they race.

In a sleepy beach resort town in France, in a town called Le Touquet, once a year the town hosts a beach race for motorcycle. Called the “Le Touquet Enduropale”, the date is always the first weekend in February, typically when France is at its coldest.

Braving icy cold weather, sea and often strong winds, 1100 motorcycles start the race at the same time. 1100 motorcycles thundering along the first part of the race, a 7.5 kilometer long stretch of deep sandy beach, alternated with sea water pockets. The first biker to reach the first curve wins the holeshot, and a purse of €1500. The motorcycle reach speeds of 200 kph (120 mph) in the sand, and usually the holeshot is won by professionals who have adapted a streetbike to the deep sand. These professionals are not expected to finish the race, since their street racebikes are not meant to be able to race the rest of the circuit.

Le Touquet Enduropale Beach race start

Le Touquet Enduropale Beach race start

After the holeshot curve, there is a narrow hill which the riders need to take. Already on its own, the narrow but steep hill with very deep sand is a difficult obstacle to take, but in the first lap, you are competing with 1100 other bikers, most have never ridden in deep sand before. So the traffic jam is so enormous that when the first riders have done a complete lap of the 15 kilometers long circuit (which takes about 10-15 minutes), they often have to wait a few minutes for the traffic to clear. It’s an assured obstacle entertainment.

Le Touquet Enduropale traffic jam on the first hill

Le Touquet Enduropale traffic jam on the first hill

What makes the race the most interesting to watch are the professionals, often big names like David Knight, Cyril Despres (this year’s Dakar winner) and others, needing not to compete with all the curves, hills, jumps and other man-made obstacles, but needing to circumnavigate the Sunday riders. These Sunday riders have often never raced a motorcycle on a beach before, and since it requires a tremendous physical effort, they stop on the circuit to catch their breath, or, as often is the case, crash and fall from their bike. The professionals need to speed past these obstacles at high speeds, sidestepping a fallen rider.

The race is free to the public, and you can see some 300,000 spectators amassed alongside the dunes to see this incredible race.

Competitors and spectators come from all over the world for this race, and during the weekend the village of Le Touquet is turned into one big motorcycle party. With motorcycle shops setting up tents selling you bikerwares, to hot food and drink sold anywhere, live music blasting everywhere, it’s a bit like Sturgis, but in the winter. People pitch up their tents everywhere or just sleep in the streets.

The beach race was dreamt up by Thierry Sabine, the same person who dreamed up the famous Dakar race. For years, famous races like the Dakar and the bicycle race the Tour de France, and the Touquet Enduro were run by the same person and organization, ASO. It is only recently that the Le Touquet Enduropale is run by the French motorcycle federation.

Le Touquet Enduropale Finish

Le Touquet Enduropale Finish

The 2012 edition was won by Jean-Claude Mousse on a Yamaha.

If you are ever in Europe during the first week of February, it’s one event you would have to put in your agenda to see.

Click here to see the Le Touquet web site.

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Last time we looked at what you should be wearing if you wanted to ride your motorcycle in cold weather. No matter what tips below, dressing properly is the most important one. If you do not dress properly, all other winter riding tips are of no use.

Your motorcycle will also need to dress up warmly for a ride in cold weather. You will not need to worry about putting on warm blankets over your bike, but you will need to be careful that your poor ride does not get frostbite.


If you have a water-cooled motorcycle, just like with a car, you will need to put in antifreeze in the radiator. If not, you will have severe problems when you have stopped and the radiator cools down.

Read your motorcycle’s maintenance manual how much, and which kind of antifreeze.


If you are riding on slicks or race tires, forget it. Just do not bother, you might just as well put on ice skates and go to a skating rink, since that is what you will be doing on your motorcycle. Make sure you have at the very least street tires fitted. Knobbies are much better, since they will bite into snow, but obviously studded tires are the best when you have got snow or ice. At the very least, normal street tires will offer better grip and reach operating temperatures much quicker than slicks.


The best oil to use during winter months is a thinner oil. They will improve performance, especially right after starting your bike. Get an oil that is made for winter, but do check your motorcycle manual which ones are recommended by the manufacturer, since not all companies allow a different oil type to be used.

When shopping for oil, make sure the viscosity grade has the letter “W” next to it (e.g. 20W or 30W). The “W” denotes Winter use (source).

Protecting Your Bike

When you say winter and snow, I say salt on the roads. In most parts of the world, when it starts snowing or freezing, salt is sprayed on the roads. It’s great to ride, since the roads are far less slippery, but it does mean that you will get salt on your motorcycle, and that means corrosion. If you want to prevent this, spray some WD-40 oil on all the parts that are exposed to salt & slush, typically below your fairing, forks, engine and mudguards.

When you have finished your ride, wash off the salt from your bike. If you leave it on for the rest of the winter, chances are by spring you will find some rust spots.


It gets dark quickly, and even during daytime, it can get dark, so it’s a very good idea to make sure that your lights are in good working order. Test them out before setting off.

Mirrors (and visor)

Because of big temperature differences, it is wise to spray an anti-fogging spray on your mirrors and helmet visor.


Check the water level of your battery. If it is lower than normal, you might have a leak, and during the winter, that is not a good thing. Top it up, but make sure you close the tops firmly.

If you will be riding with heated gear, make sure your alternator can handle it. Read your motorcycle manual to see how much wattage gets generated. If the sum of what is used by riding (lights and other components) plus your heated gear exceeds the wattage supplied, your battery will run out. On its own, this will not prevent you from riding, but you will not go a long distance, and you will need to recharge your battery when you are home again.


You will need to apply brake grease to your brakes, since sludge and salt will form around the brake pins.

Next, we will look at riding tips.

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Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can not ride your motorcycle, unless you’re living in an area that sees permanent deep frost and deep snow. And even then, depending on your motorcycle, you can still ride, but in this case you’ll need to change the rear tire for a snow track system (like those on tanks), and the front wheel will get some skis.

But if you live in an area where it is cold, rainy and sometimes some snow, you can still ride, but you’ll need to take some precautions.

Trap Heat

The most important factor for riding in the cold, is that you need to trap your body heat. Heat tends to dissipate into the cold, and it is difficult to stoke the fire inside your body to replace the lost heat. So the best way is to insulate your body from heat loss.

In the old days, people would wrap old newspapers against their body to trap the heat. Nowadays you will not need to worry about newspaper ink rubbing against your skin, giving you who-knows-what-kind-of-sickness. A microfiber layer against your skin is the first defense layer against the cold. A microfiber T-shirt is great, better yet a long-john made out of microfiber. If you don’t have microfiber, get a good cotton one. A one-piece is better than two, but having one is better than none.

TIP: You need to put on the first layer, the microfiber, when you are warm, not outside in the cold. In that case, all you will be doing is trapping the cold temperature, so defeating the idea of keeping warm. Put on the microfiber when you are warm!

Next you can put on layers of woolen sweaters or cotton or silk shirts. Don’t put on too much, if not you’ll not be able to operate your motorcycle properly. Alternatively, you can get a heated vest. Plug it into your 12V system, and you’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug.

The final layer, your jacket, needs to be totally windproof; leather or nylon will do the trick, and ideally it should be a one-piece suit. If you don’t have a one-piece suit, get one that can be zipped between the pants and jacket. This way, less heat will escape.


Your body extremities will see the fastest heat loss. Feet, hands and very important, your head, will loose heat very fast. It’s important to keep them warm.

Hands: Make sure your gloves are the gauntlet type, i.e., fit over your jacket sleeve. This way, no cold air can come in or out via the top. You might also want to get some silk gloves to wear inside your normal gloves, since they keep the fingers warm & dry. Remember that your hands & fingers are exposed to a very cold air when riding. It’s the reason many all-year riders have heated handlebars, or heated gloves.

TIP: If heated handlebars or gloves are too expensive, consider chemical heat packs.

Feet: Your feet will not be moving much on the motorcycle so they will tend to get cold quickly, but they have a source of natural heating; your motorcycle’s engine (unless you are riding a sports motorcycle).

But you will still need to wear warm socks, preferably with silk under-socks. Make sure your boots are rainproof and do not let wind in (and therefore hot air out). In the worst case scenario, get rain boot covers.

Head: Your head, believe or not, is very important. A head, and therefore brain that is exposed for long periods of time to cold temperatures will not function properly. You will start to loose concentration, and make judgment mistakes; your reaction time will diminish dramatically. At the very least, wear a balaclava, preferably with a silk hood underneath it. An advantage of a balaclava, one that goes up to your nose, is that it will prevent your visor from fogging up, something, no matter how good your visor, will happen in the winter.

Since you will find that cold air will enter your back, get a proper neck warmer that covers your neck, chest and shoulder.

Next we’ll look at what you need to do for your motorcycle in order to ride it in the winter.

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It’s the time of the year every motorcycle rider hates; the time you can not ride anymore. Unless you live in an area where there’s no snow or ice during the winter, you’ve got no other choice but hibernate your bike.

The easiest thing is to leave it in the garage, but you’ll need to do some preventive steps if you want to be able to ride the motorcycle after the winter has melted away.

First of all, if you don’t have a garage, you’ll not want to leave your motorcycle on the road, especially if you live in an area where there is snow and frost. Your bike will not like it. If you do not have a garage, rent some space in a storage area, preferably one that is specialized in winter storage for motorcycles. These places are usually well adapted, and the good ones will assist you in preparing your motorcycle for the winter.

If you have your own garage, there are a couple of things you can do to make your bike hibernate properly:

  1. Service your motorcycle, either yourself or at the dealer. Make sure the oil is changed (leaving old oil in a bike’s engine is not a good idea).
  2. Fill up your fuel tank before storing.
  3. If you have a carburetor, block the fuel flow and start the engine until all the remainder fuel is drained from the fuel line. This way, there will be no fuel in the lines.
  4. Put fuel stabilizer in the fuel tank (if your dealer doesn’t have any, head over to the local marine supply store). No matter how full the tank is, after a while, condensation will form, and that can put a stop to you riding the following season.
  5. Clean your motorcycle throughout. Remove all dirt and grease.
  6. Degrease your chain (if you have one). Put oil (WD-40) on moving parts; joints and spray some inside the exhaust. The WD-40 will repel moisture from forming.
  7. If your garage is not weather-proof, ie, it can get cold and humid, your best bet is to put some Vaseline or other wax based products over your chrome and other noticeable metal bits, including the fuel tank. You can also use a good chrome polish. The last thing you want is to have rust forming on your bike.
  8. Preferably remove your battery, and place it on a dry surface (not the ground). But whether you remove the battery or not, connect a trickle charger to the battery. This will ensure that the battery is fully loaded and in good working condition for the day you fire up the bike again.
  9. If your motorcycle has a center stand, use it. If you really want to, place your bike on blocks. This will relieve pressure from your suspension and tires.
  10. Inflate your tires to the maximum pressure. It is going to get cold in your garage, so there’s no worry that the tire will inflate any further.
  11. If you live in an area where it really gets cold, make sure you have put anti-freeze in the radiator (that is, if you have one).
  12. Put a cover over your motorcycle. Do not put some plastic wrap, or anything but a special motorcycle cover, since proper covers allow the bike to “breath”, making sure humidity evaporates.

It sound like a lot of work, but it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes maximum, and this way when the riding season starts again, you can go straight for the ride instead of having to bring it to the dealer.

Your motorcycle will thank you.

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Motorcycles are a general concept, but within the motorcycle models, there are different categories. Race or supersport, custom, trial, trail, dual-purpose, enduro, motocross are the most common. But at the last Toyko Motor Show, a new breed of motorcycle was introduced.

Yamaha show their latest concept, the XTW250 RYOKU motorcycle (link). From a first look, it appears to be a motorcycle straight out of a cartoon. All it needs is its own character.

The XTW250 RYOKU concept is a cross between the Yamaha XT250 and the dual-purpose TX225, but modified to carry heavy loads. The closest this bike comes to something we all know in the car world, is the SUV, or more like a HUMMER.



The concept motorcycle has a very fat tire in the rear, and even the front tire is not as narrow as its “parent” counterparts. The fuel tank is low to the ground, implying a low center of gravity, enabling you to carry heavy loads and still maintain a good control over the motorcycle.

Throw in the rather large cargo rack at the back, and you’ve got a motorcycle that will be an enormous hit in Asia.

Asian Motorcycle Carrying Cargo

Asian Motorcycle Carrying Cargo

Motorcycles will carry anything in Asia, and most of them are low displacement engines. A 250cc engine, rugged, able to carry heavy loads and still maintain control should go down well in those parts of the world. The only question will be the price. The only other real “SUV” on the market today is the Rokon, but that motorcycle is a two-wheel drive and is very expensive.

But will we see this motorcycle appear in the North American or European markets? Time will tell, but I doubt it.

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Many of us do not have the luxury of going to a store to purchase a helmet. Either the stores are too far away, or shopping for a specific brand can take a lot of store visits. But on the other hand, fitting a helmet is easier and you know immediately if you have got the right one. However, shopping on the internet has many other advantages; it saves money (just for the travel alone) and a lot of time, plus you have much more choice.

But you’ll need to get the right size helmet. You do not want the hassle to have to return the helmet because the size is wrong, so let’s get it right.

Follow the red line

The process is quite easy, but there are a few hints that will make this go smoother:

  1. Use a piece of string long enough, or if you have one, a measure tape (the soft kind tailors use)
  2. Roll the string (or tape) around your head, some ½ inch (10 mm) above your eye brows, and keep the string at the widest part of your head. If at all possible, ask someone to do this for you.
  3. If you are using a measure tape, write down the length, if not use a ruler to measure the length of string.
  4. For a best possible result, repeat the process once or twice to get a good average.
  5. Next wait a day or two, and repeat the process. This is because a head expands and contracts slightly depending on heat or cold.
  6. Look at the results, and take the largest measure.
  7. A good and responsible web site will be featuring the size charts of that manufacturer (manufacturers have different charts). Take your measure and take the one that is the closest to your, always making sure you round off the result upwards,
  8. Order your helmet

Once you have gotten your new helmet just make sure it fits snugly, that there is some movement, but that it is not tight. You should be able to move the helmet with your hand, but only slightly. Too tight is not good, and too loose neither. That’s why it is important to follow the steps above.

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As with most things, the technology involved in building motorcycles has improved. Today’s motorcycles are bigger and faster than ever before. If you have deep pockets, very deep pockets, you can even design your idea of a dream machine. Most of these high end motorcycles will sell for anywhere from $100,000 to over a half of a million dollars.

While there have been motorcycles that have sold for a lot more, over $600,000, those were usually collectors items and sold for so much due to their uniqueness. Bikes such as the 1915 Cyclone sold for $520,000 at auction. More recently the Vincent Black Lightning was put up for auction and was expected to sell for over $600,000. The bikes are basically works of art and one of a kind. The bikes on this list, however, aren’t one of a kind. They are production bikes that anyone can purchase if they have enough money.

When it comes to the top 3 most expensive production motorcycles there seems to be general agreement to what they are: Ecosse Titanium Series, Dodge Tomahawk, and the MTT Turbine Superbike. While there are some who say that the Dodge Tomahawk is not actually a motorcycle due to it’s unique four wheel design, there are also many people who argue that the overall design is still that of a motorcycle, regardless of the way the wheels are configured. It doesn’t matter which school of thought you belong to, it’s still a really cool looking vehicle!

Here is a little more information on each of our top 3 most expensive motorcycle contenders:

1) If you’ve got an extra $550,000 just burning a hole in your pocket you might want to check out the Dodge Tomahawk. This very limited production bike (so far only 10 have been made) is not street legal and may not even be a motorcycle, you can decide that for yourself. But it is a very unique looking bike and it is fast. This will definitely be one of those things that is more status symbol than mode of transportation.

Dodge Tomahawk

Dodge Tomahawk

Here are the vitals for the Tomahawk:

V 10 4 stroke, 500 hp @ 5600 RPM, 525.5 ft lbs of torque @ 4200RPM, liquid cooled, 2 speed gearbox, maximum RPM 6000, Total weight 1,500 lbs., 3″ ground clearance, 76″ wheel base, monocoque central engined stressed member frame, double disc front and rear brakes, top speed 300 MPH, 0 – 62 in 2.5 seconds, 3.25 fuel tank capacity.

2) If you have a more modest budget, say around $275,000 you can pick up your very own Ecosse Titanium Series. While almost 300 grand may seem like a lot of money for a motorcycle, you’ll be glad to know that they’ll also throw in a custom made titanium watch with every purchase! The production will be limited to 10 so you’d better hurry. This motorcycle was dreamed up by American Donald Atchison and is the first bike to sport an all titanium frame.

Ecosse Titanium

Ecosse Titanium

Here’s all the information you need to know before you run out and pick one up:

The engine is an Ecosse/Engenuity Racing 2150 cc polished Billet aluminum 45 degree American twin-cam V-Twin, 210 ft./lbs of torque, 6 speed close ration transmission with final overdrive gear, all titanium frame, ISR custom radial braking system, 440 lbs., 60.5″ wheelbase, 12 adjustable position foot peg, with rider specific adjusted suspension when you pick up your bike.

3) And if you have more common sense than money, the MTT Turbine Superbike might be just the ticket. Priced at ‘only’ $185,000 it’s the budget friendly option of the top three. The worlds only turbine powered motorcycle has been featured often in the media and most memorably in the movie “Torque”. The Superbike holds two Guinness World Records.

MTT Turbine Superbike

MTT Turbine Superbike

Here’s all you need to know about the Superbike:

Rolls Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine engine, 320 hp @ 52,000 RPM, 425 ft/lbs. of torque @ 2,000 RPM, 2 speed automatic transmission, aluminum alloy frame, 500 lbs, carbon fiber fairings, custom colors available, diesel and kerosene fuels, 8.5 gal fuel capacity, 1.5 gal reserve tank capacity, 17″ carbon fiber wheels, 68″ wheel base, 3×320 mm floating system 4 piston caliper brakes, rear mounted camera with LCD color monitor in dash.

So there you have it, your next years Birthday Wish List! Not many of us will ever be able to afford any of these bikes, but they’re still fun to look at and marvel at. And who knows, maybe some day you’ll win the lottery and if you do you’ll know just what you want to buy with your money!

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Motorcycle Trip

For those who believe the descent from the peaks of Lake Tahoe and Donner Pass (CA) to Sacramento is a smooth one, think again. One hundred miles is a short ride, yes, but dropping nearly 8,000 feet is not.

It was in the low 40s when I departed Lake Tahoe, bitterly windy, and bits of snow still clung in the shadows under the pines and the peaks in the distance. The road, littered with sand and other debris as winter approached, required intense concentration. In the high altitude, my poor carbureted bike – I call her Molinara – had a painfully-low idle devoid of horespower. I lean on the throttle, and she barely responds. I looked forward to the increasing temperatures, but I did not adequately anticipate their abrupt arrival.

I began that one hundred mile downhill ride fully bundled, miserably cold, and with every bit of exposed skin covered with some form of protective gear.

Half an hour later, steering with one hand, I was flipping open visors, unzipping vents, loosening cold weather gear, and sweating. The only one enjoying the ride was Molinara, who saw a quick restoration of her torque and a robust roar in her pipes. She was happy, but I was not.

Baking in the now-70s temperatures, I pulled over outside of Sacramento to start peeling off layers and switching to lighter weight motorcycle gloves. There, parked conspicuously on the shoulder of a highway entrance ramp, I made a number of wardrobe adjustments.

As I stowed my gear, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) car tore past me, tires smoking, engine protesting, and disappeared onto the highway. Whomever he was chasing was going to be disappointed when he quickly overtook them. Another good reason to abide by the law. But strangely, another CHP patrol car pulled up behind me not five minutes later. Scrambling out of his car, the officer strode towards me severely.

“Have you seen anybody driving crazy here recently. Spinning their tires or something?” he demanded.

Yes I had, I told him, but it was another patrol car – no doubt responding to a call. Hearing my response, he started giggling.

“Yeah, that was me; I was bored. You gotta practice that stuff, you know?”

Over the next ten minutes, he tried to recruit me to CHP, talked about his time in the Marines (he and I were both infantry), and insisted that I use his name if I apply. If I make it, he gets a week’s vacation as a reward. I told him I’d consider it.

As we both readied to leave, he told me to be safe, watch my speed, and if I wanted, I could tail behind him for a bit. It sounded like a license to exceed the speed limit, so I quickly agreed.

He did at least fifteen over, and I followed directly behind him. Getting bored of it, I guess, he turned on his lights and pulled over somebody doing merely ten over. Popping an ugly, left-handed salute towards me, he grinned, and I kept going – fifteen over. Later that day, having arrived in the Bay area, I climbed off of Molinara, thanked her for safely carrying me more than 5,500 miles from one side of the continent to the other, and gave her a kiss. The other, I told her, I would save for when she got me back home.

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Silver City New Mexico
Silver City, New Mexico

When I enlisted in the Marine Corps Infantry, I was surprised with the responses I received when others learned the news. Most, probably envisioning me marching away to war, expressed concern for my safety, a handful indicated they were proud of me, and the vast majority tried to relate: “hey, I have a cousin in the Army. He says he likes it, I guess.” A few, however, blurted that I was going to get myself killed. Thankfully, that reaction (a disconcerting one) was rare. But when I purchased a motorcycle, it was the norm.

 “So you just got a motorcycle, huh? Well, you’re gonna crash and die.”

 An incredible number also felt compelled to tell me about specific incidents where that had happened, too. It was always somebody distant to them, like the husband of a cousin’s neighbor’s niece. Invariably, something horrible had taken place. That, too, was disconcerting. It was always bad news…

  “You got a motorcycle? Yeah, I just had a patient who ground his entire lower body to a nub when he skidded off his bike doing 100mph on a back road. Have fun riding.”

 “You got a motorcycle? Our prayer requests in Bible study yesterday were for the surviving family of a man killed when he was riding his motorcycle on his farm.”

 “Motorcycle, huh…..you ever seen that video of Evil Knievel hitting the pavement after his jump? I think he broke every bone in his body – at least twice. It was heinous. He looked like a rag doll.”

 “Yeah, my cousin bought a bike, but he crashed it on his first ride and now he’s in a wheelchair.”

 “One of the neighbor’s kids used to ride, but then he wrapped himself around a tree and died. I think he was about 20.”

 “Well, bikes are neat, but I’m too afraid to ride. I’m terrified that somebody will open a car door and I’ll go flying off. Have you seen that movie where there’s this scene….the guy landed in an intersection and got run over. It was pretty cool. But I don’t want to ride a bike, though. Too risky.”

I even had one person offer to pay me NOT to purchase a motorcycle. Naturally, I declined.

 Yes, it may be dangerous, but so is life itself. Besides which, there are number of measures one can easily take to mitigate the risks – beginning with a motorcycle safety course, leathers, and a motorcycle helmet. Furthermore, most other risks can be drastically reduced if riders set aside their pride, ignore the compulsion to exceed the speed limit, and simply enjoy the road. That you have a bike – a sleek, powerful beast with lots of shiny parts – is showing off enough. Respect it, be hyper-vigilant, and you’ll be just fine. You have a greater risk of injury riding a horse (according to the Hughston Sports Medicine Foundation).

In looking back on the whole ordeal, I’ve reached the conclusion that the first thing that comes to mind with a non-rider is the dangers of motorcycling. Thus, that’s what comes out of their mouths. For a rider, however, is the freedom, the road, the roar of the pipes inside your helmet, and the known fact that people in their boring little cars are staring at you with envy. All their kids are waving, too, much to the horror of their mothers. Maybe everybody’s a killjoy because they’re jealous that I’m going to have a lot of fun and they’re not. 

And here’s the best part: Now only two years after purchasing my first motorcycle, nearly every person who said something negative about riding has since gone riding with me and thoroughly enjoyed it – to include the person who offered to pay me to not buy the bike. At least one has purchased a bike of his own, and several more have expressed interest in buying them in the future. I win, folks. Well, motorcycles win. (I will note that one passenger kept peering over my shoulder to monitor the speedometer, but I think she still had fun.)

 There’s something about a motorcycle that’s almost universally appealing. Something about the way it hugs the road in curves and bolts up the long inclines that cars struggle to climb. Or the deep rumble as you cut through tunnels and under overpasses. Maybe it’s the subtle statement that, “I can go fast if I want to, but I’m happy just relishing the ride.” All you naysayers, we’ll win you over yet. And then, we’ll see you out there on a bike of your own. You can’t help it; it’s just fun.
About Ben Shaw, the author

Motorcycle Trip Planning-To Plan or Not To

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Motorcycle Trip Planning
For those of you planning a lengthy motorcycle trip, my advice is to quit planning immediately. Planning means stating your intentions. And that means the gods of fortune are alerted to the fact you have hopes of doing something, at which point they unite against you to ensure that plenty of things go wrong. Two years ago, when I began arranging a multi-state ride, I knew none of this and planned carefully. Catching me totally unaware, the fortune gods ruined me.

Prior to embarking on a long ride far from home, it seems logical that you should turn in your bike for a thorough servicing. Take every precaution to ensure that your bike won’t leave you stranded, irritated, and walking from the Middle of Nowhere to Somewhere. Or worse. In my case, Molinara – yes, she has a name – received valve adjustments, fluid servicing, new brakes, and a new rear tire. The bill, of course, was astronomical. But, we can’t place a price on safety, right?

When the repairs were complete – and only a few days prior to my much anticipated departure – I had a friend drive me to the dealer to pick up the bike. I left like a bat out of hell, leaving my friend to drive back at a more reasonable, responsible speed.

26.5 miles later, roaring along swimmingly at 70mph on the highway, I heard a loud ping, a crash, and suddenly the bike sounded like it was on the verge of death. To my credit, I didn’t panic and do something novice. Instead, I simply pulled over, discovered my PIPES missing from the mid-joint back, and an enormous gouge torn out of my new rear tire. My pipes, by the way, were a quarter behind me in the ditch, severely dented, scratched, and at that moment searing a char mark into the grass. Despite being livid, I was thankful that my friend would be along shortly to spot me on the shoulder and help me out.

Completely ignoring me, he drove right by. Use a cell phone? No way. He never turns his on. He might have to actually TALK to somebody, you see. So, I called the dealer (who was now closed), informed them that I was standing on the side of the road with a broken bike, and that it was entirely their fault. That done, I limped the bike to a nearby exit, found a Waffle House, and sulked.

To my surprise, the manager called me back fairly promptly and announced that a vehicle had been dispatched to deliver me a loaner bike from their floor, and take mine back for repairs. They even paid for my Waffle House lunch.

But the loaner, of course, was tiny. And I’m 6ft 3in tall. I’ve listed the pro’s and con’s below:
Disadvantages of the loaner bike:

1. No windshield – and my friend called me a weenie for objecting
2. I ate bugs on the way home – I want to see HIM eat bugs
3. Smaller
4. Not loud and attention-getting
5. No saddlebags
6. It’s not my bike

Advantages of the loaner bike:

1. Um, it’s not my bike (ride hard)
2. I got home safely
3. It’s black
4. It’s better than walking, which isn’t cool at all

My Bike
Ben's Bike

Loaner bike
Loaner Bike

To shorten a very long story, the dealer discovered that they had failed to properly reattach my pipes after their work. The tire was replaced, the bike fixed, and returned to me – still broken and lathered in grease marks. So I took it back, and they fixed it again (meanwhile, I’m leaving in a couple days). Then my brand new sissy bar bag broke some buckles. Then it rained. Then I finally left – and was immediately rained on. And then, a state later, Molinara broke again, leaving me stranded, and sleeping overnight on a concrete stoop outside another dealer’s repair shop. And the next morning I was almost mugged in a gas station bathroom. Then, I tried something different.

Quite simply, I stopped planning. I would go where the road took me, stop when locals insisted there was something to see, and not stick to any schedule whatsoever. And you know, it worked perfectly. The next 13,000 miles were completely disaster free.

Don’t plan, folks. Sneak up on your trip and surprise it. The gods of fortune will never know what hit them.

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Ben Shaw -Jafrum's Motorcycle Blog Writer
Ben Shaw has been a rider since August 2007, when, freshly returned from multiple combat tours with the US Marines in Iraq, he purchased a Yamaha Virago 250. Ten days later, dissatisfied with its small size, he purchased an 1100.

In 2008, Shaw rode cross-country, expecting to cover 5,500 miles in roughly a month. Four and a half months and 9,500 photographs later, he returned – having ridden 13,500 miles. Since then, he has undertaken several shorter rides, and looks forward to available time to cross the United States on a northern route.

Shaw’s experience with riding is that there is danger, beautiful scenery, long, low curves through beautiful countryside, and a profusion of interesting people met along the way – often just as savory or unbelievable as the ride itself. The most important thing about biking, thus, is being simply curious about everything. Without fail, schedules never work, the weather never cooperates, weird and amazing people abound, but it all becomes the stuff of stories riders will tell for years to come. As any rider knows, strange things always happen on the road.

Shaw currently resides in Virginia, and works as a combat journalist and veteran advocacy writer.

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This year if you want to give a great gift to the biker on your list and you have either really deep pockets or you just love them a whole bunch and you want to really splurge, there are many gifts you can choose from. I’ve compiled a short list of some great gift ideas that are $100 or more. Check it out and find the perfect gift for your favorite biker.

1. Motorcycle Helmets. This one item is too important to not be at the top of any gift list. A good helmet is literally the difference between life and death. Helmets come in various styles and prices but make sure to get one that is DOT approved. Helmets can be as inexpensive as less than $100 all the way up to over $800.

2. Leathers. A set of leathers can consist of pants and a motorcycle jacket or it can be more racing oriented with protection sewn in at the most vulnerable spots like the elbows, shoulders, and knees. No matter which option you choose this is a great choice for anyone who is an avid rider. It will keep them safe and they can look cool at the same time!

3. Motorcycle luggage. You have quite a few choices when it comes to luggage for your bike. You can get saddlebags that hang over the back fender, these can be permanently attached or just slung under the back seat and easily taken off when you need to. Or you can get sissy bar bags that mount right on your sissy bar. And last, but not least, you can get tank bags…pretty self explanatory! They come in either leather or man made materials and the prices can vary significantly depending on what type you get, but for a whole set you will most likely spend over $100.

If you’re making your list and checking it twice you might want to add some of these items to it. Of course, there are many other great gift ideas for the rider in your life, but hopefully you can use this list as a starting point. No matter what item (s) you choose, the biker in your life will love you for it!

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For three years, documentary filmmaker Bengt Löfgren, followed the riders, mechanics and fans in the glorious world of Ice Speedway. Icy Riders is a film about dreams, ambition and aging during what might become the last season of the legendary ice speedway rider Posa Serenius. The result became a warm and intimate road movie that rolls from rural Sweden to freezing cold Siberia. Brought to you by the folks at One World Studios Ltd. in association with Tussilago Films.

Runtime: over 2 hours!
Filed under best Motorcycle DVD, best motorcycle movie category.

Available at choppertown.com

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If you’re looking for a great gift for the biker on your Christmas list, no gift says ‘I love you’ more than safety gear. Making sure they are safe when they ride will give both of you peace of mind and it will make a great gift. 

Here is a list of the best safety gear that you can get the biker in your life. This equipment ranges in price from $20 all the way up to hundreds of dollars so there’s something for every price range. 

1. First things first, protect the head. Buying a top quality DOT certified motorcycle helmet will help keep your loved one safe. Helmets come in many different styles from half, to German, to full face. Prices will range anywhere from around $60 all the way up to several hundred dollars. 

2. To make sure your favorite biker keeps all their skin where it’s supposed to be, buy them a nice leather motorcycle jacket. A top quality leather jacket made with heavy duty leather will keep them safe in the event they take a spill, and if they don’t take a spill they’ll look really cool! Prices range from a few hundred dollars all the way up to $600. 

3. Boots. There are many styles of motorcycle boots. Some look like ‘motorcycle boots’ while others have a more everyday kind of style. To be an effective safety precaution make sure whatever boots you buy are of heavy duty construction, come up over the ankle, and are properly sized. Boots will cost anywhere from around $60 all the way up to $215. 

4. Gloves. A good fitting pair of heavy leather gloves can provide warmth as well as safety. Gloves come in many styles and a good pair of motorcycle gloves can run from around $20 all they way up to about $152 for heated leather gloves. 

Giving a gift is a great way to show someone you care about them. When you give the gift of safety to your favorite biker you are really letting them know how much you care. I hope this list helps give you some ideas of gifts for the biker in your life. 

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