Archive for the ‘Motorcycle TV’ Category

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A feature length documentary released in 2019 covering the “contemporary motorcycle culture”. The film attempts, and I think accomplishes, to show how individualism is embedded into our culture. “This is not a film about motorcycles, its about motorcycle people.”

This was a very ambitious undertaking. According to their website they interviewed nearly 300 custom motorcycle builders, riders, racers, artists, etc. from the US, Japan, Europe, Australia, and Africa. They also talked with representatives from Harley Davidson, BMW, Yamaha, Ducati and Royal Enfield. ON TOP of all that how about attending events at the Bike Shed in London and Paris, The Trip Out, The Brooklyn Invitational, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, Dirt Quake, Snow Quake, Mama Tried, and Mooneyes among many others.

So, with all that, is this motorcycle film any good, is it worth your time? Yes and yes. Theob 1 only negative was that they had so much content that some will think it is a bit too long at 2 hours. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun to watch and it will be on my winter 2020 motorcycle movie list! I like the interviews and discussion around why people are doing the things they are doing. I really loved seeing myself or someone I know in nearly every person they talked with.

I do have one additional negative; they went back to one guy multiple times who did nothing but lambast people who “customize” via bolt on and manufactures who sell limited addition motorcycle. That guy really pissed me off. Not all of us are a wiz welders and have hundreds of hours to create our personal masterpieces.

I am giving this film 5 stars. I know some will think that this is a bit long, but I enjoyed seeing that motorcycle people, around the world, are pretty much the same. The “Oil in the Blood” documentary is available on Apple, Google, Amazon and other streaming services.

5 star

Bennett's War

It is not very often that we get to see a movie about motorcycle culture on the big screen, Bennett’s War is the first in several years. I went to see this film at our local theater, going in with the premise that this was based on a true story, it wasn’t. No big deal, my assumption on that.

Bennett’s War story opens with two soldiers parachuting into an unknown location along with a couple crates. Turns out there are, what appears to be electric, adventure style, motorcycles in the crates. They had me hooked right there, fictional as hell, but hooked.

Soon Bennett is seriously wounded rescuing his buddy, while riding the motorcycle, by an explosive boobytrap. Waking up in the hospital the doctors tell him that is injury is so bad he is going to be medically retired and will never ride again.

HA! We know that won’t happen!

Soon he is at home and learns dad is going to lose the farm and he goes back to racing to Bennett's warearn the money to save it. From this point on there was lots of race footage, from Glen Helen Motocross track, that look spectacular at times and bit hokey at times, BUT well done.

If you had told me that Hallmark had made this film, it did have the romance and family tension they are known for, I would have believed you no questions asked. Turns out that his film was financed by Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil Motocross fame! In this age of a downturn in motorcycling I salute Mr. Lucas for putting his money into his passion!

Ok it may be formulaic and predictable but it is also fun. At no time did I go moto-snob and feel like I needed to go pifffffttt. I am giving the Bennett’s War 4 stars and a job well done. Recommend that you go see it while it is on the big screen, it will not be the same on TV.

4 out 5 stars

 

 

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The Flying Dutchman is a touching story about how Jonathan Helmuth created an extraordinary experience for a man that had been friend, mentor and large part of his life. His friend Daryl Zook is going blind, and Jonathan wants to fulfill Daryl’s desire to take a 3000 mile motorcycle trip from Daryl’s home in Indiana to the Pacific Northwest coast. Daryl is more than a “bit” curmudgeonly and this leads to some humorous moments as well as some not so humorous.  The film is available on Amazon Prime.

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Jonathan has a motorcycle built for the trip by then newly established Janus Motorcycle company. A small bike with sidecar is prepared for their trip by Janus. There is an untold story in this film about the Janus Motorcycle, which I will get to below, which basically “blows up” not long into the trip. Jonathan and Daryl change up the original plans and find a new used motorcycle to finish the trip.

They do make it to the coast, still friends! The film was not about the motorcycles but about their friendship and the underpinning of their lives.

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The story, photography and reason for the trip make this a fun film to watch. There are several cringe worthy moments (Daryl being the curmudgeon), the lack of trip preparation (proper motorcycle, good rain gear?) and that story of the Janus motorcycle is missing are reasons why I cannot give it 5 stars.

4 out 5 stars

Now for the Janus Motorcycle story, this being a motorcycle blog…. My immediate take away was two fold 1) that motorcycle looked WAY to small to mount a sidecar 2) why use such a small manufacturer vice one that has a national footprint? I did not really get an answer to the latter question, other than my guess that they may have been going cheap and Janus was willing to help. I did find an answer to the first take away.

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Janus Halcyon 250

Not only was that a small bike, it was a “tiny” bike! It was a 50cc 2-stroke pulling a sidecar, 2 grown men and some stuff. I am sure you are thinking the same thing I am… recipe for disaster, or “What was Janus thinking?” Well it appears that the, then 2-man shop, was thinking we want the coverage and we are aware of the risk. They warned Jon that the motorcycle was not the best solution for this adventure especially in that they only had weeks to get the bike and sidecar operational. The following quote from their website proves the old saying regarding hindsight….

“In the end, if there was a mistake it was certainly ours in allowing one of our 50cc Halcyons to be selected as a candidate for such a journey, especially with a sidecar. We did not have the foresight to see that we would be the one to lose the most from the film. While the documentary spends little time on the Janus and the strength of the story lies in the character of Daryl and Jon’s desire to create a perfect bonding experience, it proved for us to be nothing more than a great way to immortalize a naive decision on our part.”  You can read the entire Janus Post here.

I have never seen, let alone ridden, a Janus Motorcycle but I hope, someday, that I could get a chance. They currently produce 3 models all 250cc (lesson learned? LOL) each starting at just under $7,000US. Of the three I really like the looks of the Halcyon, it gives that throwback to the 1920s early 1930s vibe, but their scrambler and café race are eye catching as well.

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This year’s list of the best motorcycle movies to watch during the winter season has a few films I recommend last year (always ready for a good visit) and some new ones.

While they will not replace the wind in your face, they might help take the edge off.

Many of these films/shows are available on streaming services like NetFlix, Amazon Prime.  Just do a search to find out if you have access.  The title is linked to their IMDB page.

SIT STAY RIDE – The Story of America’s Sidecar Dogs is a delightful and inspiring documentary film about motorcyclists and their beloved canine co-pilots.”  My wife and I were very pleasantly surprised with Sit Stay Ride.  Not only was it well shot it was well told story.  It was also quite inspiring, to the point that Debbie stated, “almost makes me want to go buy a sidecar”. You can read my review of the film here.

Best Bar In America – In this film the motorcycle should have gotten a best supporting actor award. The film uses a vintage BMW sidecar motorcycle throughout the show as a character playing a role. The basic plot of this motorcycle movie is that the owner is riding his motorcycle to every bar in the western United States in order to write a book about the best bar in America. You can read my full review of the film here.

The Ride: London to Beijing – Following Guinness Motorcycle Endurance World Record hold Kevin Sanders as he leads a group of ordinary riders on a (13,000 miles) trip from London to Beijing. Generally following the Silk Road, they are impacted by snow, ice, altitude sickness and political upheaval during their run through 20+ countries. Yes, this is reality TV but it is a real group of riders from the UK, US and Poland with a broad range of adventure motorcycle skills. You can read my full review of the film here.

Globeriders Iceland Adventure a Motorcycle Tour of Iceland  –  (No IMDB entry) This is NOT one of those typical helmet cam “adventure” video’s.  These guys had an actual camera man as part of the team. The star of the show were not the riders or the bikes it was Iceland itself. You can read my full review here.

21 Days Under the Sky – Four friends riding old school Harley Davidson choppers across America and the fun, trouble and adventure they find.  By old school I mean vintage Sportsters, Shovel and Knucklehead motorcycles. Their bikes have small tanks and more than a few break downs during their cross-country trip. You can read my review of the film here.

Wild Hogs – John Travolta, Tim Allen, William Macey and Martin Lawrence… do I need to say more. Campy fun about friends riding cross country!

Long Way Round – This is a 7 show TV mini-series so either spread it out over multiple days or binge it all at one time. Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s around the world adventure trek.

Long Way Down – Again McGegor and Borman but this time they travel from the North of Scotland, down through Europe, into Africa, finally winding up in Cape Town, South Africa. Not as good as Long Way Round in IMHO but worth a watch on a snowy day.

Being Evel – “A generation of Americans grew up worshipping self-styled hero Evel Knievel–watching him every Saturday on Wide World of Sports and buying his Ideal toys. But few knew the incredible and often complex aspects of his epic life, which, like his jumps, was sometimes glorious and sometimes disastrous.” You can read my review of the film here.

Do you have a motorcycle movie to suggest for the list…. add it in comments!!


In this film the motorcycle should have gotten a best supporting actor award. Currently showing on Amazon Prime, “The Best Bar In America” uses a vintage BMW sidecar motorcycle throughout the show as a character playing a role.

You can watch the trailer here.

The basic plot of this motorcycle movie is that the owner is riding his motorcycle to every bar in the western United States in order to write a book about the best bar in America. Along the way he loses his wife, drinks too much, makes a new best friend, loses the best friend, loses the book deal, finds new love and rides his motorcycle.

From the opening scene to near the end of movie the motorcycle has a place. Called worthless, a stinking machine and a NAZI PoS as well as other terms of endearment, it is a central plot device that helps hold the movie together. I am not sure that this film would be as good as it is if it were not for the vintage motorcycle.

There was one quick scene where the starting sequence was laid out, open petcock, little twist of throttle, a couple short strokes of the kicker, another twist of the throttle and then big kick…just like any kick start bike of that age, you have to know how to stroke it to lite it up. That one scene summed up both the leads relationship with the motorcycle and why he was struggling in life; both require a lot of work to keep running.

All in all this was an enjoyable movie. I recommend it as a good movie for lovers of motorcycles. I am giving it 4 Stars.

4 Stars

Currently on Amazon Prime, we get to follow Guinness Motorcycle Endurance World Record hold Kevin Sanders lead a group of ordinary riders on a 21,000 Kilometer (13,000 miles) trip from London to Beijing.

Divided into six thirty minute “shows” we follow this group from their initial meet and skills evaluation all the way to Beijing.  Yes, this is reality TV but it is a real group of riders from the UK, US and Poland with a broad range of adventure motorcycle skills.

Generally following the Silk Road, they are impacted by snow, ice, altitude sickness and political upheaval during there run though 20+ countries. The cinemaphotography is spectacular through out and more so as they pass though the Mount Everest Base Camp.  

Once on the road, nothing seemed contrived as you would expect of many reality TV shows. While the show focused on those riders with large personalities it is not unexpected, you could tell that these were real people, including the one motorcycle abusing twit that broke his bike.

I give this motorcycle TV show a 5 out of 5 because it isenjoyable, I binge watched the whole thing. Also, it is quite likely that this will be on my top shows to watch thiswinter.  Oh, it was producedby Cambridge Filmworks.

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The DawgHouse Motorcycle Radio…The #1 Motorcycle Show in the US

The Sons Of Anarchy spinoff The Mayans debuts tonight! We watch it and give our first thoughts!!

Is Phil a Watergate burglar?

Silly Season News.

Flat Track crowns a Champion.

Lots of racing coming up!

 

Click hear to listen to the show!!!

 

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After being off the air for a few years the American Choppers motorcycle TV show is back on the air. Discovery Channel has brought the Teutul’s back for another run Monday’s at 10PM EST.

If you liked it in the past I think you will like it now. If you did not like it in the past, then I don’t think you will change your mind. This time around, in addition to the shop hijinks, there is a focus on Senior and Junior trying to rebuild their relationship. Scripted or not your call.

As far as the motorcycle builds go, not much has changed…which is a bit disappointing, hardtail and pro stock bikes. The closest they come to something out of the norm was an ethanol (E85) bike. But, Paul Jr. used a standard engine just tuning it to be able to use the fuel. With all the angst out there about ethanol in motorcycles this would have been a great time to do more. Just my 2 cents.

BUT, here is the crux of my problem, and it is not with the show, if you want more motorcycle TV then you need to watch (or record) the show. Without ratings American Choppers will not last and Discovery and other channels will not invest in more motorcycle themed shows.

I for one want more motorcycle TV and, at least once a month, I search the TV listings for motorcycle themed shows. Whether or not I am interested in those shows I set the DVR to record those shows to at least give them a small boost.

Soooo, like it or not please give American Choppers a chance if not for that show but those motorcycle shows we don’t even know about yet by watching/recording.

Fuel for a Rant! Motorcycles and the EPA.

motorcycle vacation new england

 

100 evel

Evel moments before the crash landing at Caesars Palace.

The History Channel is planning 100 documentary shows portraying major events and figures of the last 100 years. The show is called “History 100” and one of the first will be Evel Knievel.

Nitro Circus Moto Mayhem - Geneva 2015

This show will be a three-hour event that not only covers the life of Evel Knievel but will also include the recreation of three of Evel’s most iconic events in three hours.  Travis Pastrana will attempt to break Evel’s record by jumping over 50 cars, followed by 14 buses and then the Caesar’s Palace jump.

Of course Travis will have the benefit of modern motorcycle technology in attempting 100 scoutthis fearsome task.  By using the Indian FTR750 he will have a significant advantage that Evel never did.

The show will debut on Sunday the 8th of July so have your TV sets on or your DVR set.  Get the popcorn and set back for some interesting entertainment.

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This is NOT one of those typical helmet cam “adventure” video’s.  These guys had an actual camera man as part of the team.  Due to this fact the Globeriders Iceland Adventure a Motorcycle Tour of Iceland video is a lot better than most.   

I enjoyed the show.  It was quite well constructed and organized.  The editing and sound was good.  The star of the show were not the riders or the bikes it was Iceland itself. It was a lot of fun to watch them interact with the terrain and some of the Icelandic population.

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While I am not fully invested into doing the adventure biking “thing”, I prefer paved road trips, I am quite enamored with the concept.  The thought of getting a bike of this style and heading out to the off roads is quite appealing.

But for now, I have added Iceland’s Ring Road to my bucket list of rides. 

The Globeriders have documented many other exotic rides beyond the Iceland adventure.  They also host tours to these interesting locals. Check out their website here if so inclined.  

I watched this show via Amazon Prime and give it 4 Stars.

4 out 5 stars