Posts Tagged ‘Harley’

April is Motorcycle Helmet Safety month and the supposed start of the riding season in the Northern Hemisphere. So, if your riding season is just beginning or coming to an end you should check your helmet for any issues that could risk your safety.

What do you look for when performing a safety check on your motorcycle helmet? Different manufactures state similar and different things to check, please referrer to your helmets makers directions for the best information.

However, there are some generic checks you can do that will cover many areas to make sure your helmet is still safe. Here are the a few things you need to look for:

1) Is the shell all in one piece? No cracks or splits?

2) Are the straps and connectors in good shape, no adverse wear or tear?

3) The internal padding is connected and stays in place?

4) Remove the padding and check the foam.  Is it dented or have cracks?

5) While looking at the foam, most companies place a sticker printed with the helmet’s birthday. Is it over 5 years old?

6) Does the rest of the internals look in good operating condition?

7) Check the visor for damage that might obscure your vision, can you see clearly?

8) Are the screws or other visor attachments tight?

9) Make sure that insects/creatures are not living in your helmet, see the photos below! (that is a Black Widow Spider)

Checklist item 5 is the 5-year rule.  Most manufactures recommend that after 5 years you replace your helmet.  While the cynical among us will cite the “more money” theory of why they want it replaced there is evidence that the foam lining (the part that does most of the work in a crash) does deteriorate over time. It is your head, so it is your decision to replace or not if everything looks good.

James Madison’s Montpelier

As noted in in Part 1 of this Quarantine Motorcycle Ride series on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway, had to occur over three seasons.  Part 2 Leesburg to Montpelier occurred last summer.

This leg of the ride started on a cool summer morning.  Blue skies, white puffy clouds, and the local weatherman, promised a comfortable day to ride the motorcycle.

Our eyes and the weatherman were right! Our ride on the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited motorcycle was smooth and sweet.  Great tunes and light traffic made this leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway nothing short of great.

This part of the Byway is packed full of sites that just beg to be stopped and explored as this part of Virginia is packed with history and historical sites.

Getting to Montpelier took us past the following historical sites, and these are the major sites. There are many, many smaller sites in each of the towns you pass through.  This leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway can, by itself, could take a week to work your way though.

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park | Nova Parks

George C. Marshall’s Home

President’s Monroe’s Oak Hill

Bull Run Battlefield (1st and 2nd Battle for Manassas)

This section also passes though the Northern Virginia wine and brewery corridor.  For example, there are over a dozen breweries and 30 vineyards in Loudon county alone! Just do not drink and ride, of course!

Of course, the destination of this motorcycle ride was the home of President James Madison’s home Montpelier.  Montpelier was the plantation home of the Madison family, including the fourth President of the United States James Madison and his wife Dolly.

Montpelier is both a National Historic Landmark and part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Completed in 2008 a major restoration (by the National Trust), in part to return the mansion to its original size of 22 rooms.

Archeological investigations provided information on African-American life at the plantation. Philanthropist David Rubenstein funded and enabled the National Trust to restore the slave quarters in the South Yard and open a slavery exhibition, The Mere Distinction of Colour, in 2017.

Getting to Montpelier is a wonderful ride through historic lands.  If you are in the area, on the Journey Thorough Hallowed Ground Byway or not, take the time to stop.

ijustwant2ride.com

Up Shift – The State of Montana is now the third state to have legal motorcycle lane-filtering. 

Motorcyclists in the Big Sky State can overtake slow or stopped traffic by filtering between the lanes of traffic. But they have to stay at 20 MPH or below while doing so.

My Take – While I tremendously applaud the efforts of the motorcycle community in Montana for making this happen, was there much need for it? There are so few people in Montana how often will conditions allow lane-filtering?

ON THE PLUS SIDE…Other, vastly more populated, states (Oregon and Virginia for example) are also looking at legalization of motorcycle lane-filtering. Maybe the momentum is building for more states to pass the law.

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Up Shift – Harley Davidson my soon offer a bolt on supercharger for its V-Twin motorcycles. Cycle World is reporting that the Motor Company is working on the supercharger as part of it’s Screamin’ Eagle performance line. If you are not familiar with the Screamin’ Eagle line it is their in-house performance division that develops products (cams, exhausts, engines, etc.) to “hop-up” your motorcycle horsepower and torque. 

My Take – With the retraction going on at Harley Davidson I am a bit surprised with this development.  Harley has killed many new bikes designs, dropped out of racing and closed production lines so this new part is more the exception along the lines of the Pan American adventure motorcycle.

It will be interesting to see if it makes it into the parts catalog.

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Up Shift – Over the last few years American Flat Track racing has made quite a comeback, at least until Covid.  With the racing season to start soon Royal Enfield is joining the series with a factory sponsored team.

Johnny Lewis will be riding for Royal Enfield and the company is expecting good things to come from their involvement with American Flat Track.

My Take – This is great for the sport! More factory team involved means a greater chance for success.  But with American Flat Track on NBC and tape delayed how many fans are going to get to see Johnny and the other racers.

I don’t think that I am to different from the other fans in that if I know the outcome I am not going to watch the event.

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Ride on, Ride Safe

The Born Free Motorcycle Show is one of the best chopper jamborees around.  It always gets the coolest and craziest choppers to attend and show off. DicE Magazine covered the show and produced a “Coffee Table” picture book all about the bikes at the show.  

At 300 pages of the coolest motorcycles, choppers, bobbers, racing and culture pictures the book is fun to flip through.  The creativity of some of the builders is hard to believe.

This book will grace my coffee table for quite a while.

Downshift – Realignment in the Motorcycle industry.

Suzuki – Suzuki Motor of America has announced a restructuring of US operations. Suzuki Motorcycles/ATV and the Marine Division will be split into separate companies on April 1st, 2021.

The motorcycle company will be headquartered in California, the marine company in Florida.

Kawasaki – Kawasaki Heavy Industries will spin off the motorcycle and “rolling stock (trains)” divisions as part of a major restructuring as the company faces a $47 million-dollar operating loss.

Hashimoto Yasuhiko stated that he hopes the motorcycle division will continue to build the brand and revitalize the market through collaboration with other companies.

Ducati – Volkswagen is again looking to sell Ducati and is hosting preliminary talks with potential bidders.  It appears that they are packaging Lamborghini and Ducati for a sell off.  Selling them together or separately is still unknown

Sources are reporting that the sale process may begin in early 2021. VW has not officially confirmed this activity.

Harley Davidson – Has dropped several new products, their new street fighter “The Bronx” for example, closed plants and most recently begin the process to pull out of India. Although now they are using Hero as a distribution partner in India and, in one article, will allow Hero to brand some of their motorcycles as Harley Davidson.

Harley also just pulled out of all factory sponsored racing.

This is all part of their new “re-wired” restructuring plan. 

My take – There is a major shift going on in the world of motorcycling and not for the better. 

Long term I feel that their will be a shrinking of manufacturing not all makers will survive. Governments around the world are pushing for all vehicles to go electric, but battery range for motorcycles just are not anywhere near comparable with fossil fuel engines.

Tie that with the Vision Zero desire to eliminate traffic deaths, which would require the removal of motorcycles from the road, and the on-coming autonomous vehicle revolution … can motorcycles survive?

So, I do not have a lot of hope for long term viability of motorcycling. Sigh.

But, there are a few good signs. Norton and BSA are going to make motorcycle again and both in Britian!

Reply to this post and tell me I am wrong.

Have a motorcycle enthusiast (aka Crazy Biker) on your naughty or nice list?  Here are 9 gift giving ideas to make their 2020 holiday a little bit better.

9. A New Motorcycle Jacket – All equipment gets old and needs to be replaced. Look at the condition of your crazy biker’s jacket does it need to be replaced?  I have been using the Viking Cycle Enforcer Motorcycle Jacket for a couple years now and I am quite happy with it.  Check out my review of this jacket.

8. Motorcycle Art – Ran across this a few months ago on Amazon…your rider’s name spelled out, in pictures of motorcycle parts.  I do not own this, but I might just get one from myself. Check out Personalized Motorcycle Name Art – Harley, Indian, and Honda on Amazon

7. New tie-down straps – Another piece of equipment that gets old, but one that is especially important if your crazy biker tows or hauls their bike(s).  Steal a glance at their current straps, look worn or about to be worn out, get them a new set.

6. Custom Dynamic Motorcycle Lights – Custom Dynamic makes SUPER bright, eye catching lighting for motorcycles.  I have several sets on my bike and wish I had more! In particular, look at the ProBeam LED Motorcycle Turn Signals

ijustwant2ride

These turn signal lights are really DIY

If I could get a commission on every purchase of Custom Dynamic lights I have influenced, I would never have to pay for this website again.

5. A Gift Card – from their favorite local dealership.  That way they can pick out what they want!

4.  New Motorcycle Gloves – Is your crazy biker’s glove a bet nasty? Now is the time to gift them a new pair. Some consideration, vented for warm weather or waterproof for the rainy day?  Or heated for the cold months?

3. Battery Tender – Winter is here in the northern hemisphere. This gift will help your crazy biker be ready to roll the first chance they get. No recommendation, they are almost all good. Just make sure you get the right connection for their motorcycle.

2. A Branded Hat – cause, you know, helmet hair!

1. Membership in the AMA – That is the American Motorcycle Association.  Membership not only gets discounts on products it also includes emergency towing. The AMA is the largest, but not the only, lobbyist group protecting your right to ride.

Ride On, Ride Safe

Be aware that this motorcycle recall list is for the United States, there is no way I could cover the entire world. But in the world of global manufacturing, if a motorcycle is being recalled in one country there is a good chance it is under recall in others. Also, this should not be considered a definitive list, check for yourself if you have any questions.

If you are US based use the NHTSA website http://www.safercar.gov. Enter your VIN number to see if your motorcycle is affected by the recall.

If you are based outside the USA, use the appropriate website to locate recalls that may impact you.

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Manufacturer Zero Motorcycles Inc.

Components ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

Summary: Zero Motorcycle Inc. (Zero) is recalling certain 2021 SR, S, DSR, DS, FX, and FXS motorcycles. The DC-DC converter has an insufficient power output margin to operate the anti-lock braking system (ABS), instruments, lights, indicators, and any accessories that are connected to the accessory outlet at once.

Remedy: Zero will notify owners, and dealers will replace the DC-DC converter, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin November 2, 2020. Owners may contact Zero customer service at 1-888-841-8085. Zero’s number for this recall is SV-ZMC-021-019.

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Manufacturer Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Components ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

Summary: Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Harley-Davidson) is recalling certain 2020 LiveWire (ELW) motorcycles. The electric vehicle powertrain may unexpectedly shut down and not restart, due to a software issue in the Onboard Charging (OBC) system.

Remedy: Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will update the OBC software, free of charge. The recall began October 19, 2020. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0176.

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Manufacturer Piaggio Group Americas. Inc.

Components SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

Summary: Piaggio Group Americas. Inc. (Piaggio) is recalling certain 2020-2021 Vespa GTS 300 and GTV 300 scooters. Improperly galvanized brake pipe terminals can result in excessive front and/or rear brake levers travel during braking.

Remedy: Piaggio will notify owners, and dealers will test the O-Ring, replace the brake fluid and bleed the brake system, or replace the brake pipes based on the vehicle’s age, free of charge. The recall began October 21, 2020. Owners may contact Piaggio customer service at 1-212-380-4433. Piaggio’s number for this recall is PP2ZZQ2003_GTS/GTV.

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Manufacturer Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

Components VISIBILITY

Summary: Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA (Yamaha) is recalling certain 2015-2020 YZF-R3, 2020 MT03 and 2018-2020 XMAX scooters. Condensation or other contaminates may adhere to the rear reflector lens reducing its effectiveness.

Remedy: Yamaha will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear reflector, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in October 2020. Owners may contact Yamaha customer service at 1-888-266-3085. Yamaha’s number for this recall is 990139.

Ride On – Ride Safe

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We pulled out of our driveway on a cool, crisp Friday morning for a long weekend motorcycle ride.  By cool & crisp I mean 51 degrees Fahrenheit, a little less with wind chill, of course. We knew it was going to be at least that or a bit less on Skyline Drive.

We had decked ourselves out in appropriate clothing and closed the vents of the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited, so the chill was not very noticeable. Otherwise, the sun was out with blue sky all about and traffic out of town was quite light.

It took us about an hour to get from home to the northern terminus of Skyline Drive in Front Royal, Virginia. I really think that the state could do a bit better job of signage to get people to the park.  I knew where it was but, until you are right upon it the signs are few and far between.

A lot of motorcycles on the road!

Once we were on Skyline Drive the cool air got a bit cooler! There was nearly a 10-degree difference from the valley to the top of the mountain.  While we did notice it, and I turned on the heated grips, the motorcycle seemed to love the cool air and purred as it rolled up, down and around the ridge.

The leaves had not yet started to change colors or drop from the trees, but the greens were awesome to view. I do have another complaint, maybe it is a by-product of Covid 2020 but several of the overlooks really did not overlook.  The trees and bush build up limited the view on some of the stops.   Only a minor disappointment as the day was so nice!

We reached the southern terminus of the parkway late afternoon and headed to our hotel in Charlottesville, VA. The next day we went to some local site like Monticello. Our return tip was via the American BywayJourney Through Hallowed Ground Byway”, which will be documented on another post.

It was our anniversary by the way!

Skyline Drive by motorcycle really shows that the adage “Riding in car is like watching a movie. Riding on a motorcycle is like being in the movie” is absolutely true.

If you live on the east coast this ride needs to be on your bucket list.

Ride On, Ride Safe

We know that in a car or on a motorcycle we will get a tailgater, sometimes several in a single day.  It sucks, but it is going to happen.  So, what is a safe riding motorcyclist to do?

Below are 9 tips on how to deal with tailgating while on your ride. These tips may help you minimize your risk from the tailgating jerk. The #1 tip is, from my personal perspective, the most important to keep you safe.

9. Flash your taillights – A quick blip of your lights might get their attention on just how close they are to you.  Make sure this is just enough to flash your lights, do not slow down as they may not be paying attention. 

8. Draw more attention to your rear end – Consider adding a device to your motorcycle to case your taillights to flash multiple times.  I use a product from Custom Dynamics to draw attention to my rear end. I have received many comments from riders and drivers that have said hey can really see my lights. There is a video at the link that will show you how the different ways the unit flashes.

custom dynamics

7. Check to see if you are the problem – Are you moving with the surrounding traffic?  Are you at the speed limit?  If you are riding your motorcycle to slow for the traffic around you, look for a different route where you will be safe.

6. Move to be seen – We all know that drivers cannot see you even if they see you.  Move from your current wheel track to the other and then back.  Changing your lane position might get their attention and back off.

5. Increase your following distance – Give a bit greater space to the vehicle in front of you.  The idea is not to aggravate your tailgater but to give you and the tailgater more room to slow down or come to a stop.

4. Do not ride faster – Speeding up will not get the tailgater to stop.  They will just ride your tail faster.  You might get a temporary respite but if they tailgated you before they will again. Trying to appease the tailgater, like trying to appease anyone, just does not work.  Ride your ride.

3. Let them pass – If they are tailgating in order make a pass at the first opportunity, let them.  If you have been in a slow zone and now you are in faster zone, let them go by, don’t speed up!

2. Pull over – Find a safe place to move your motorcycle off the road and let them by.  Make sure to signal early your intent, use both your lights and arm signals. It will only be a few minutes before you catch up to them as they are tailgating the next guy.

1. Do NOT get ANGERY –  If you get mad you may not be paying attention to your situation. Stay cool and safe!

Have any tips of your own? Put them in the comments below!

Ride On, Ride Safe

I really enjoyed the films “Long way Down” and “Long Way Round”. The movies chronicled Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor motorcycle adventures.

If you did not know there is a new one which follows them from Patagonia, Argentina 13,000 miles to Los Angeles in the US. This time they ditched their BMW motorcycles for the new electric Harley Davidson “Live Wire”.

The Live Wire motorcycles were modified for off-road use and their trip was supported by all-electric Rivian trucks. These trucks were more proto-type then production according to the trailer.

Long Way Up is coming out on Apple TV. Sigh I don’t have Apple TV so I will have to wait until it comes out on another service as I am not spending any more money on TV.