You Got to Be Kidding Me!

How Triumph Makes the Rocket III

Posted in The Intrawebs, Two Wheels by Stacy McMahon on October 23, 2008

via‘s new blog, The Sidecar, here’s a funny “documentary” of how the largest-displacement production bike comes to life. I especially like the handling system!



Posted in Two Wheels by Stacy McMahon on October 3, 2008

The good: Honda is bringing the radical new DN-01 to the states for ’09 afterall.

The bad: still weighs a ton and makes do with the old 3-valve Transalp motor

The ugly: MSRP is $15k

Guess I’ll be sticking with the BV200 awhile longer…

The ultimate space cruiser

The ultimate space cruiser

Motorcycling Is In My Blood

Posted in Two Wheels by Stacy McMahon on August 26, 2008

Who knew? A couple years ago while visiting my folks, I was looking through an old photo album and saw some pics of a guy on an old-style motorcycle. It turned out this was my maternal grandfather, who was a newspaperman in the UP during the Depression. Looks like he had a bit of misspent youth to his name as well:

The pics didn’t come with any info on the ride, so I had to Google things like “classic motorcycle”, and had a hard time coming up with anything. Then by chance the other day I saw a reference to Excelsior, and the “X” logo on the gas tank just like on Grampa’s bike. After some more research it looks like his poison was a 1920 Excelsior 20r, with a 1,000cc v-twin. In its day it was the equivalent of an Indian, or (later) Norton or Vincent. Grampa Bolger had good taste — I wonder what he’d think of my Bandit, or the BV

Another Electric Bike

Posted in Electric Vehicles, Going Green, Two Wheels by Stacy McMahon on August 20, 2008

Today’s theme is apparently reposting AutoblogGreen’s posts, but hey they’re on a roll…

This one is about the second US company – after Brammo, which is already in production with their Enertia model – that’s developing a 100mph electric motorcycle based on the Ducati SS900. The 900 is probably just a development mule that won’t share much with the production model, but Dominic Yoney’s riding impression is encouraging:

The guest rider found the torque to be mule-strong and unrelenting while the throttle stayed smooth and precise. No shifting was required as he quickly brought it up to the shy side of 100 mph, and then, with the help of some Brembo hardware, back down into legal range again.

Considering all but one of the current-production electric bikes are bicycles with a hill-assist feature, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this development!

Road Rage

Posted in DCinites, Four Wheels, Guns, Sociology, Two Wheels, Ungeheuer by Stacy McMahon on August 7, 2008

So in all my years living in the hustle-and-bustle city, I never had anyone get nutty on the roads — at least not in my presence. Though I was present for the guy that shut down the DC area with his “I’m going to jump, I’m not kidding!” act on the Wilson Bridge. The police eventually shot him off the bridge, because you can only take so much bad traffic before someone snaps!

Well since moving to the tranquil ‘burbs last winter, I’ve had not one but two incidents of traffic-related craziness personally involving me:

1.) About three weeks ago, I’m at the head of the line in a left turn lane. The moment the light turns, the lady behind me leans on her horn (yep, one of those). It had been a crappy day and I was in a bad mood so I flipped her off as I drove away. You guessed it — the little old lady from Pasadena (well, more like the middle-aged DINK from Burke) chased me to the carside-to-go window, blocked me in and got out of her car to come over and yell at me. Apparently not in too much of a hurry to take time out for all that — and with the carside waitress as a witness, no less.

2.) This afternoon I was practicing one of the perks of motorcycling — using the shoulder to “extend” the turning lane so I don’t have to wait two extra cycles of the light to get into my neighborhood. I hear someone tapping their horn at me as I go by, think nothing of it. As I pause at the foot of my driveway to trigger the garage door, I hear …the same horn again. It’s a gold Chevy Cavalier with a blond guy behind the wheel. He slows down as he passes by, then makes a U-turn and comes by again, still honking.

Two observations. First, where the f–k did I move to?? Second, what kind of idiot chases down a random vehicle that, for all they know, is piloted by a heavily-armed psycho? Or a perfectly normal human who will react accordingly to such a threatening gesture… just something to keep in mind.

Hornet 1000?

Posted in Two Wheels by Stacy McMahon on June 14, 2007

Honda introduced their new Hornet 600 in Europe last year. It’s a little “Japanese-looking” for my taste, but I like the up-to-date injected motor and under-engine exhaust. I’m a fan of naked bikes partly for the easy maintenance (don’t have to take a bunch of plastic off it just to change the oil) and partly for the standard riding position. I don’t know how some guys ride around all day long on crotch-rockets, but I hope their insurance covers the chiropractor.

Anyway, speculation is apparently that Honda might cough up a new Hornet next year with a version of the CBR1000/Fireblade 1,000cc motor. Cool, and Dirck Edge even serves it up with some game optimism:

If the bike materializes, it will likely be introduced this Fall at a European motorcycle show. It is impossible to speculate whether the bike will be available on the U.S. market.

No it isn’t. I can tell you right now that it won’t be. The old Hornet 600, as cheap as an Italian-built bike could possibly be (old F3 motor, no suspension adjustment, no fancy features) sold so slowly in the US that it was only imported in alternate years. We haven’t seen the new one at all, and I would bet money that the Hornet 1000 won’t show up either. Motorcycling in the US is about toys. Big, bad Harley-style cruisers for the middle-aged boomers and flashy sportbikes for the 20-somethings.

Oh well.

Decisions, Decisions…

Posted in Economics, Social Life, Two Wheels by Stacy McMahon on September 11, 2006

Camping this weekend reminded me how much I love camping (thanks, Clint and Carolyn!) but driving out there reminded me that I miss motorcycling. I still own a bike but, it isn’t running very well right now and I don’t trust it when I have someplace I need to be. I want to replace it, but the available choices just aren’t that interesting. Or I should say, not that practical. Yes, a motorcycle can be practical. But a crotchrocket generally isn’t, especially the newer ones that are a bellypan away from being track-ready. The kind of motorcycle I want would weigh 450 lbs or less, be able to take a passenger and sidecases, and have an upright riding position that won’t cause shoulder cramps and CTS after a couple hours.

While bikes like that are everywhere in Europe, they are few and far between in the US market, aside from a couple of very expensive BMWs and the Suzuki V-Stroms which are too big for us short guys. What does get imported over here are so-called “naked bikes”; crotchrockets without bodywork or any kind of windscreen at all. As near as I can tell, that’s because the magazines over here constantly drool over the European “streetfighter” scene, but the bikes themselves didn’t and don’t sell well in the states. On the other hand, there’s a very active long-range touring scene whose members are inconoclastic, affluent and open-minded about the bikes they ride. That group would eat up the bikes linked above, but since they’re essentially ignored by the press, they don’t get the chance. And I end up looking at scooters to accomplish the mission I have in mind. Anyone want to grey-market me a Honda CBF1000 (and somehow magically get rid of the VAT that puts it in BMW price territory)?