Thursday, March 29, 2007

Broke Down Suzuki Rider

Went with Basil, aka; Broke Down Suzuki Rider, to check out the work he was doing on his bike.

At the end of the riding season last year the old Suzuki had a little leak down in one of the outer cylinders and filled his crankcase with extra fluids.

Suspecting a malfunctioning float BDSR pulled the bank of carbs off and checked the faulty float.

Nothing major seemed to be wrong with the floater other than it and the other three carbs needed a good cleaning.

With the assistance of a Harley rider, whose repair kit contains a hammer and chisel, the cleaning project swung into full gear.

As can happen during minor repairs one of the float posts decided to break under light hammering which initiated a barrage of cuss words.

With the Handyman's Other Secret weapon, J-B Weld, a quick and tardy repair was needed.

I assisted the best I could considering I had to offer sage advice whilst drinking a beer.

But in due time and a couple of beers later the repair was completed and BDSR had the parts back on by the next morning and reports were that It actually sounded and ran better.

Good motorcycle mechanics are not born, they are trained while drinking beer.

Motorcycle Video Clips

Both my wife and I are members of the Polar Bear Grand Tour based in New Jersey. This is our 16th season riding with this motorcycle group and it's also the 29th anniversary of the founding of the group. I happen to be the Webmaster for the Polar Bears and I spend quite a lot of time taking pictures and videos of the various runs.

I'll be featuring these videos in a new feature, Polar Bear Grand Tour - Motorcycle Video Clips. I expect that more motorcycle videos will also be finding their way into this feature in the coming year. For the time being, it's mostly about what I've observed over the past few years as a Polar Bear member.

Take a look at these Motorcycle Video Clips. They're very short. It's too soon to tell whether I want to start featuring motorcycle video clips submitted by visitors.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Old Motorcycles - Picture Gallery

I just released my Old Motorcycles Picture Gallery. This gallery contains pictures and descriptions of motorcycles manufactured up to and including 1953. All motorcycles in the gallery will be at least 50 years old. I'm lumping antique, vintage, and classic motorcycles into this group without regard to the special distinctions that many people may have on what an antique, vintage, or classic motorcycle is. To me, it's any bike more than 50 years old.

Again, I depend on you to help me populate the gallery. Send me a picture and description of your old motorcycle. The submission information is in the Old Motorcycles - Picture Gallery feature.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Not Looking Good

I may be taking the truck to the upcoming swap meet this weekend as it looks like Mom Nature is still not done with dumping on us.
I got to the friendly neighbourhood Wal-Mart on the week-end and picked up a new battery for the bike and installed it. The little Wing was reluctant to start and only wanted to chug on one lung until I drained the carbs down and tried again. And then with a little more persuading it roared to life with a whimper.
I still haven't changed the oil, topped up the fluids or changed gear oil as one look at the weather makes me wonder what the heck is the point when the weather is going to turn extra crappy.
Will the spring weather ever come?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Motorcycle Audio Clips

I have just released my Motorcycle Audio Clips feature. It contains short audio clips of motorcycle engines and exhaust sounds.

I have my own motorcycles in there too as well as some engine sounds submitted by others.

If you like making short audio clips of motorcycle-related sounds, send them to me for inclusion in the feature.

Here are my Motorcycle Audio Clips.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Upcoming Swap Meet

I look forward to this every year, usually lots of bikers and lots of bikers with tables selling biker stuff. How could you not love going to a motorcycle swap meet and browsing for hours.
I just hope the weather is decent so I can ride the motorcycle and not have to take the truck. On the other hand if I took the truck I could haul more biker stuff home.

Honda Recalls 2007 CMX250C for Crankcase Breather Defect

Honda has issued a recall of certain 2007 CMX250C motorcycles.

On certain motorcycles, the crankcase breather separator may be defected. During the molding process, the breather passage may have been blocked by a thin layer of the injected plastic material. This blockage will create a build-up of pressure inside the crankcase and may cause the left side engine seal to be pushed out of position and an oil leak will occur.

6784 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Grinding My Gears

One thing that grinds my gears is motorcycle batteries.

No matter what kind of tender loving care you give them over the winter they always seem to let you down. You can tend them monthly over the winter months keeping them in a cool dry place and sending a small trickle charge into them to keep them topped up and fresh. But in the spring when you need them they are dead as a doorknob.

On the other hand friends who put their bike away for for the winter with nary a thought to their battery, dig them out in the spring and after a quick charge are on their way.

Seems like the meaner and nastier that you treat them the better they work.

Batteries!, you can't live with them and you can't ride without them.

Looks like I am going shopping.

Antique Motorcycle Ads Gallery

One of my forum members, MadMichael, has a collection of antique motorcycle advertisements that appeared in magazines many years ago. These ads are pretty interesting and reflect the times they appeared. You'll find ads from WWI and WWII.

The prices were very low in those days as you'll see. There are many Harley-Davidson ads, a few Indian ads and then some ads for obscure makes. Take a look at my Antique Motorcycle Ads Gallery.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Twiddling My Thumbs

Dragged the bike out of its winter storage last Saturday and started doing some of the prep work for the upcoming riding season.
Removed the seat and gas tank to access the radiator cap and topped off the coolant. Bike need a new battery this year so didn't get it started yet to warm up the oil and do an oil change.
One of the features of the old Silverwing is that I can have a passenger seat in place or the trunk. The past year I had the seat in place and used the trunk relocation kit but this year have changed the bike back into its solo seat configuration. I don't need the rear seat for extra storage space when I am pulling my cargo trailer but without the trailer it is a great place to put a duffel bag which can substitute as a back rest.
Saturday was a warm day and it felt good to get out and fiddle around with the bike but as it turned out the weather turned colder the next day and then snowed again.
The next few days are supposed to be warm enough to melt the remaining snow pack and my riding may resume by the end of the month.
The roads are clear enough to ride on but the alley behind the house is still full of ice and snow and the driveway is a mess of mud and ice. So my motorcycle and myself are still being held hostage by the elements.
No use being in a hurry can't do much till the snow and mud clears but at least I can go out to the shop and check things over and make sure everything is in order for the upcoming riding year.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

BMW 101 for Cagers

Just saw this posting on the BMWBMW forum. Apparently, some people still don't know that BMW makes motorcycles, even though BMW started making motorcycles in 1923, long before they started making cars. Be sure to check out my BMW and a Quiz Too for some history about BMW and a short quiz.

Here's an excerpt from the posting:

"While stopped at a traffic light on the Reston Parkway a woman, driving a BMW 7 series car, puts her window down and shouts at me: Something like this;

Woman: You should remove those stickers

Me: What stickers?

Woman: Those BMW stickers. Everyone knows BMW does not make motorcycles. How dare you put those on..."

Read the rest of the posting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Motorcycle Road Tests Index

Most riders want to be pointed to articles about a particular bike to find out what professional testers think of the bike. Since the motorcycle magazines tend to take a very long time to get a test published, more and more riders are turning to the Internet for bike evaluations. Many of the motorcycle electronic magazines listed on the Motorcycle Views site do give these more timely reviews.

The problem still is finding out if a particular bike has been tested, what magazine or electronic magazine it's in and the date of the publication. Often members of motorcycle forums post messages asking if anyone has seen a road test for such-and-such a bike. There is no simple index of these road tests.

To provide a means for these road tests to be indexed, I have created an index on the Motorcycle Views site called Motorcycle Road Tests Index. This feature lists the various motorcycle makes and models alphabetically on an index page. Clicking on the model of interest takes you to a separate page of information about that bike. This information includes the motorcycle magazine containing the test and the month and year of publication. Information is given so you can order back copies of the magazine. If any electronic magazine articles have been found for the same model, they are also listed.

So far, I have listed tests for 2006 models and for some 2007 models. I have a few more to add for 2007 to catch up with what has already been published. 43 tests are in the index at this writing.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Women on Motorcycles - Best Pictures for 2005-2006

The Women on Motorcycles gallery displays pictures of women riders and their motorcycles. This gallery has proved an inspiration for many women thinking about learning to ride a motorcycle.

When women see women riders from all walks of life enjoying the sport and recommending it to other women, they often are engendered with the spirit to give motorcycling a try.

The top women on motorcycles pictures were picked from pictures submitted in 2005-2006. Women were chosen for a variety of reasons. I looked at each picture, read each description, and picked those pictures that held my interest. There's a mix of women and motorcycles here that should give you an understanding of how deep the motorcycling experience is for women these days. Check out Women on Motorcycles - Best Pics for 2005-2006.

If you're a woman thinking about riding, be sure to also view our current Women on Motorcycles Gallery for inspiring testimonials from women riders and to see how diverse the population of women riders is.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ural Recalls Motorcycles for Improperly Installed Wheel Bearings

Ural has issued a recall of certain 2006 Gear-Up, Patrol, Raven, and Tourist motorcycles.

On certain motorcycles, the wheel bearings may have been improperly installed at the factory. This can cause loose wheels or wheel lock up increasing the risk of a crash.

33 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Friday, March 16, 2007

21 Years of Honda Shadow - A Gallery

Honda began selling the Shadow motorcycle in 1983. It has continued in production ever since.

We present here a look at Honda Shadow models from the first model in 1983 to the year 2003 as provided in pictures submitted by visitors to the site. A gallery called "21 Years of Shadow: A Gallery" is provided that gives a picture and description for each model for each year from 1983 to 2003.

The gallery still has some models not represented. If you own one of these models, send me a picture and description of your bike and I'll include it in 21 Years of Honda Shadow: A Gallery.

Green Rider, Not Beer

Beer and biking don't seem to mix well as I found out when I was a green rider.

Before I became a motorcycle owner I had the opportunity to ride a friends bike as we had made a temporary trade as he needed four wheels for a bit and I got the chance to ride his bike.

The bike was a 500cc Suzuki, mid sixties vintage and was my first time up and solo on a motorcycle.

No electric starter just a kick starter to bring the Suzuki to life but one had to remember to first turn the ignition key to the on position before attempting to kick start it.
On one occasion of meeting some friends in the saloon and downing a few quarts, we all departed together and they lingered as I donned my helmet astride the big Suzuki. In a vain attempt of trying to show my worldliness of all things motorcycle, I started to kick the beast over.
I kicked and kicked and kicked some more to no avail, the bike would not roar to life. Burning, swearing and sweating out the beer as I kicked my friends looked slightly bemused and wondered if I knew what I was doing.
When I did figure out to turn the ignition key to the on position the warming glow of the beer had worn off to be replaced by deep feelings of stupidity. Bikes and beer do not mix.
Not having learned my lesson yet, on a later occasion I consumed large volumes of lager and with my intelligence level on overdrive I reasoned since it was only a few blocks home I could make it safely.
Being extra cautious and alert to the consequences that I would pay if stopped by the police I proceeded with caution, obeyed every rule of the road and made it back to my apartment parking spot safely.
As I pulled into the parking spot I was congratulating myself on a job well done and as I slowly came to a stop I only missed one small step in the proper operation of a two wheeled vehicle.
When I came to the stop I had forgotten to put my feet on the ground and over I went.
As I lay on the ground with the bike laying on my leg thoughts of stupidity once again entered my thoughts. I crawled out from under the bike, set it upright on its side stand and retired for the evening.
In the cold light of day the damage was not as bad as I thought and only had to replace the signal light and the handlebars, my attitude and intelligence on the other hand needed a major overhaul.
When I am out biking now I still stop on occasion for a beer, but just one, bikes and beer really do not mix that well.
Happy St Patricks Day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

One-Stop Motorcycle Page

I've just created a One-Stop Motorcycle Page for the Motorcycle Views site. It contains links to information that riders seem to want to know. That information is all over the site so I've culled the major stuff onto this One-Stop page.

You should be able to find almost anything about motorcycles by looking at the Main Menu on Motorcycle Views. Subjects are arranged on the left while the most requested items are explicitly listed on the right side. Even the top 10 most popular articles are shown in a special box at the top.

However, there are some items that keep being requested over and over. Those items will be found on this One-Stop Motorcycle page.

Monday, March 12, 2007

It's a Two-Way Street

Over the past eight years I've written a lot about motorcycles both on the old site and on the Motorcycle Views site, forum, newsletter, and this blog. However, writing can be like riding down a one-way street. I want it to be like riding down a two-way street being able to see my readers waving at me on their oncoming motorcycles. I want to be able to stop at a watering hole and get feedback on what I'm doing right and wrong and have riders submit articles, pictures, comments, and discussions to help the total site grow. I need submissions.

This is not a site in a vacuum. Never was before and won't be in the future. It's a site that depends on you.

At yesterday's Polar Bear run, I had several people come up to me and talk about this new site. They liked it better than the old site. It still has much of the old content but it's much simpler to navigate and is not cluttered with ads. It was nice to hear people talk about the new site in such glowing terms. However, success of the new site depends basically on three things: Search engine placement, User Submissions, and forum growth.

Search engine placement is a complicated process. I'm doing about all I can to foster this process. However, search result ranking often depends on having other sites linking to a site. That proves that the site is important enough to others that many other sites want to link to it. It seems to have the effect of raising a site's ranking in the search results. So, if you happen to have a motorcycle site and like what you see here on Motorcycle Views, consider linking to the main site. As always, I will provide a link back to your site as I always did on the old site.

I have seven items on my Submissions page. These include User Reviews, Motorcycle Pictures, Tattoos, Haiku Poems, Forum Participation, Newsletter Subscription, and Blog Comments. Take a look at my Submissions page to see where you can contribute most to the growth of the site. Nearly eight years of doing this has made it readily apparent to me that "It all depends on you." I enjoy reading the submissions and processing them to appear on the site. Help me out by writing a great user review of your own bike, submitting a picture of you with your bike, showing me your motorcycle-related tat, writing a simple haiku, becoming active on my forum -- it's FUN, subscribing to my newsletter, and commenting on this blog. What could be easier?

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

March Motorcycle Madness

The picture above shows how close I am to the riding season. It will be another two weeks of melting before it will be safe enough to go out on the roads here in Alberta. While others in warmer climes are already out and riding all I can do is move some snow in the hopes of moving my bike out of storage and into the shop for its spring tune-up and oil change.
This is the part of the year I dislike the most and envy the riders who keep their bike in their living rooms. I could have had all the spring work and cleaning done on the bike and be raring to go when the streets were safe but I have to wait.
I hate the month of March.
It comes along every year showing promise of the spring to come and tempts us northern riders with some sunny warm days and the start of the snow melt. But it just don't melt fast enough.
Sure the days get longer and the melting begins but just when our hopes are lifted into thinking of an early spring, winter will come roaring back to kick us in the pants.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Wild Hogs - Motorcycle Movie Review

I finally got around to finding time to go see the new motorcycle movie: Wild Hogs. I'm not one for going to a movie when it first opens, especially one that has been so hyped on TV. So I waited until the first snowstorm after the opening and my wife and I joined maybe 10 other people for a Wednesday afternoon showing.

It was pretty good. Not Academy Award material but a nice way to spend a snowy afternoon.

Here's my review of Wild Hogs.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Don't Twist My Throttle

It sure seems funny to me that owners, of Harley Davidson motorcycles who seem to suffer at the hands of their mechanics the most, are the first to taunt the riders of Asian made motorcycles with "Jap Crap".

Every year I take a glance at the tires, check the fluid levels, charge the battery and I am off and riding. No parts shimmy and shake off, no puddles of icky black fluids appear under the machine, just smooth rides with quick throttle response and a trouble free ride.
Often times when I take off on a road trip with my 26 year old Honda I will pass unfortunate Harley riders who are stopped beside the road peering vainly into the bowels of their V-twin engine.
Don't get me wrong, I think Harley Davidson makes wonderful machines, they just haven't got it down to a science yet like the Asians. Harleys make a wonderful bike with a wonderfull throaty sound, until they poke the guts out of their mufflers with a crow bar, the chrome, leather and finish look good until they start adding oodles of tassels and studs, the riders dress in everything branded with the HD logo including their underwear, but for the love of mechanics could they please get that thing to stop trying to shake itself to bits.
Apparently the V-twin configuration of their engines that makes that distinctive and lovely sound is what sets up the un-godly vibrations that rattle teeth, bone and sends parts scurrying off to the road below.
Another thing that chaffs me in a literal way is that when I buy a bike I am not trying to buy a lifestyle. Being perceived as a non-conforming bad-ass biker while dressing like I belong to an exclusive club of boomers is silly. I already have a conformist lifestyle and like to travel with reliable transportation under my butt.
All bikes have some faults or shortcomings but while Harley riders are waiting at the dealerships for their repairs, us Jap crappers will be putting on the miles and doing some trouble free riding.
Feel free to pile on or defend your ride in the comments below, but please no profanity.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Korean Motorcycle Invasion

The Koreans more than the Chinese are making faster inroads to the American market with the Hyosung 650cc models that rival or try to duplicate existing models. Like they did in the auto market they are bringing in bikes way under the market value.

The GT650R is comparable in looks and performance to other sport bikes in its class yet comes with a price tag that may entice more entry level riders by its price.
The GV650 resembles Harley's V-Rod but can be had for 1/3 the price.
The GT650 is the cheapest of the lot.

To see some of these bikes in action you can go to;
Hyosung Videos

to read some reviews of riders who have bought these bikes go to;

Hyosung Reviews

By my way of thinking the introduction of new models by the Koreans and later by the Chinese should open up the market and inject a little more competition into the motorcycle market. More bikes means more choice and better pricing for first time buyers. Of course with all new entrants into the motorcycle markets the reliability of the bikes and the ability to get replacement parts and service may be dubious for awhile.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Chinese Motorcycle Inovasion

You might not be able to see the stampede of imported bikes heading for the shores of North America yet, but you can certainly hear the rumble as they get closer.
China is now producing 40 per cent of the worlds supply of motorcycles at a gargantuan rate of close to 15 million motorcycles a year.

And their sights are firmly set on the North American market. So far their invasion of the Americas has been limited to ATV's, pocket bikes, mini choppers and smallish dirt bikes but they have been gearing up with cruising and touring models.
Their main focus of manufacture has been up to the 250cc level but have plans to expand into the higher levels with a 1000cc model.
The early models have some concerns about reliability and acquisition of parts but the main selling feature of them is their low price in comparison to domestic or Japanese models some selling for $2,000 less than a comparable established model.
The Chinese have no qualms about cloning or borrowing existing technology and making copies of established bikes such as Harley Davidson and Honda.

The Chinese invasion of motorcycles should glut the market even further thereby lowering the market value for the used motorcycle market where used bikes are commanding almost new price.

Motorcycle Industry Council Comments on Wild Hogs Movie

Wild Hogs, the new movie starring John Travolta and Tim Allen, opens today. I saw a review on TV today that said to forget it. Another review in the paper gave it two stars out of four. So the reviews keep coming in. Of course, the true test is what the fans think and the box office take will be the final test.

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) says, in a release to Business Wire, today that the reviews are mixed. Here's an excerpt:

"We want to give ‘Wild Hogs’ a thumbs-up for inspiring even more Americans to take a look at motorcycling and everything great it has to offer, the sense of freedom it provides, the adventure,” said Tim Buche, president of the MIC. “At the same time, we want to continue to encourage new and returning riders to go about it the right way. After you’ve taken the ride vicariously in the movie theater, enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCourseSM and learn about two-wheeling in the real world."

Read the complete article.

Of course Motorcycle Views wants to encourage everyone thinking about learning to ride a motorcycle to do so but it has to be done right. That doesn't mean running out after seeing a movie like this and buying a new motorcycle and then trying to learn to ride it on your own. Check out my step-by-step procedure to do it right by reading You CAN Ride a Motorcycle.

I also have a Motorcycle Views Forum where you can ask questions about learning to ride and receive answers from our expert riders. Check out the Motorcycle Views Forum.

As I said before in this blog, I will be giving you my review of this movie soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Wild Hogs Suits the Fancy of Bikers

Almost every day there's another story or TV interview about the new motorcycle movie, Wild Hogs. Tomorrow's the opening day for the movie starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, William H. Macy and Martin Lawrence.

Motorcyclists are tough critics of movies that try to explain the biker experience. They are even harder on TV shows that misrepresent motorcycling. However, the early returns from riders who have seen the sneak preview of Wild Hogs have been favorable even to the point of recommending that their buddies go see the movie.

I plan to see the movie and write a review. In the meantime, here's a story by Scott Bowles of USA TODAY that describes a trip up the Pacific Coast Highway with John Travolta, Tim Allen, and William H. Macy as they ride their Harleys in real traffic and encounter real people along the way. The article, From Hollywood to hog-wild, also has a great picture of the four riders.

Also, check out my previous movie review of Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage.