Motorcycle Views Newsletter

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Buell Recalls 2008 1125R for Transmission Defect

Buell has issued a recall of certain 2008 1125R motorcycles.

These vehicles can experience 5th gear galling on the clutch shaft due to lack of lubrication. This condition can allow the gear to seize to the shaft, resulting in rear wheel lock-up. This could result in a crash, which could cause injury or death to the rider.

1579 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

2008 Can-Am Spyder Roadster Road Test

On the Motorcycle Views Forum there has been a discussion of the Can-Am™ Spyder™ Roadster. This is a so-called reverse trike with two wheels in front driven by one wheel in the back. I decided that I would test ride a Spyder™ at Americade 2008 at Roaring Brook Ranch (RBR) and report on it here.

The Spyder is made by a Canadian company, Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. (BRP), located in Quebec. Another of their products is the Ski-Doo® snowmobile. In fact, I had commented before in the forum discussion that the Spyder looks strangely like a snowmobile.

The Spyder was launched in February, 2007 and has managed to strike a chord in many riders. It appeals to riders wanting to go to a trike but wanting more power, traction, and sportiness.

I hadn't realized just how devoted to safety the Spyder is. It has a Vehicle Stability System (VSS) that includes an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), a Traction Control System (TCS), and a Stability Control System (SCS) all integrated to keep the Spyder flat footed and stable at all times. They make you watch a video before you go out for the demo ride that demonstrates the VSS. It's a system you can't turn off. However, for purposes of the video, they did turn off the system and then ran through some cornering and swerving maneuvers -- some in the rain. For the most part, these non-VSS maneuvers resulted in disastrous results with wheels coming completely off the road and the rider having little chance to stay in his lane. When the VSS was re-activated, the performance was rock solid with the rider in no trouble at any time.

The riders' meeting held before the demo ride was a complete run-through of all the controls with special emphasis on how the Spyder steers. It may be a motorcycle but it does not countersteer. No push-right go-right for this baby. You have to steer it like a car, except it doesn't have a steering wheel. It steers using the standard handlebars. Now this requires a temporary rewiring of your brain to make steering the Spyder work. I know from experience that you have to reprogram yourself to go from a two-wheeler to a three-wheeler. Otherwise, the first time you have to make a quick correction to avoid another vehicle, you'll think countersteering instead of steering. That usually takes you right into the object you're trying to avoid.

The Spyder also uses a variable power steering system. At low speeds, it provides more power to help you turn the handlebars. As speed increases, the power effect diminishes so you have near normal road feel.

They also require that you pass a simple road test before you join the group to go out for the demo ride. You have to pull forward and swerve around a traffic cone either right or left depending on a direction indicated. You had to then stop next to the stop sign stationed there and then pull forward and swerve around the next cone and stop. Then this was repeated one more time until you could pull forward and join the group. They just wanted to make sure you knew how to steer the Spyder.

Also, as part of the riders' meeting, the complete safety card was covered. This card is built into the top of the dash. You pull it out to read it and we were read every word on the card. One of the last words on the card was how you start the Spyder. If you only know how motorcycles start, you might never figure out how this thing starts. Most everything in the start up procedure is the same as a motorcycle except you need to release the side emergency hand brake and then press the "M" button on the dash to start the machine. There is an initial system start up process that you view on the dash.

There is no front brake lever. All brakes are controlled by a right foot brake.

The engine is a Rotax® 990cc, liquid cooled 106 hp V-twin.

I found myself slumped slightly forward in the seat. I understand that there are some accessories that allow for a more straight up seating position.

As we traveled in a group around the interior road at RBR, we were encouraged to steer right and then left to move the bike back and forth across the road much like the Indy cars do to warm up their tires. Our purpose, again, was to get used to the steering before we hit the highway.

On the last stretch of interior road there is a particularly bad, uneven, section that I always have trouble with when I ride my traditional trike. With my trike, I feel every bump and jolt, some very violently. With the Spyder, I felt only a very smooth ride even though I was weaving across the road and hitting every bump with force. I was impressed with the ride.

When we hit the highway, the speeds quickly rose to 45-55 mph on a two-lane road. I was soon aware that the high speed power steering was just a bit too fast for me. I wasn't getting the road feel I had expected. I guess one could get used to it though.

The Spyder handled very well. I did feel that I was sitting a little high on the machine. I also had a very low windshield. I'd call it a fly screen. Twice at speed I was hit smack in the middle of the face shield on my full face helmet by a large bug. On my own Gold Wing trike with the standard windshield, that never happens to me. I found out later that taller windshields are available.

The gas tank for the Spyder is under the seat. You have to release the seat and it rises up so you can reach the filler.

There is a storage compartment in the front. It opens forward to contain two full size helmets with a little room left over. The headlight hits the top of the opened compartment and shines down so you can see inside. Handy.

There is a full-gear reverse on the bike activated by a lever on the left handlebar grip.

The Spyder sells for $15,000-$17,000 depending on who you talk to.

With the popularity of the Spyder, I'm told that a touring model is being planned. When I was at Tour-Expo, the vendor area of Americade, I noticed a Spyder in the Corbin area. It had a tall windshield, hard saddlebags and other storage areas, and a two-person Corbin seat. I thought I was looking at the new Spyder Touring model. When I asked the Corbin rep, he said, "Nope, it's our accessories all integrated together to turn the bike into a tourer." Once again, Corbin was ahead of the curve. See Corbin website. They even give a demo that shows how I got hit by the bees.

At the end of the demo ride, the Can-Am folks take your picture as you sit on a Spyder and make it available to you in two days on the Internet. Here's my picture. Note the slightly forward riding position.

While waiting for my Spyder demo ride, I took a short video of another returning Spyder demo ride group as they sped by me on the corkscrew road leading to the Spyder demo area.




Most everyone taking the demo seemed very impressed with the Spyder, as was I.

See Americade 2008 - Day 7 for all the rest of my activities on the day I rode the Spyder.

My complete activities for Americade 2008 may be found on Americade Motorcycle Rally Day-by-Day Blog for 2008.

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Little Miss Bobber and CaptBlack


Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery.

See Little Miss Bobber on her 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Bobber and CaptBlack on his 1991 Honda ST1100.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Consumer Reports and Motorcycles

Well, I've been a subscriber to Consumer Reports (CR) for longer than I can remember. I even pay for subscriptions for my three adult children. Today, I saw that CR is now possibly getting into the business of evaluating entry-level motorcycles and scooters.

Here's an excerpt from an article Motorists Move to Scooters and Motorcycles to Save from the Consumer Reports Blog:


    "Consumer Reports is researching this segment and is looking into developing a test protocol to evaluate scooters and entry-level motorcycles. We approach these products with grave concern for rider safety and caution readers against a hasty decision to move to two-wheeled transportation without proper training and safety gear."


Motorcycles and Consumer Reports. I can hardly believe it, but I'm happy at the same time. Let's hope they spend lots of time talking about Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) training and wearing proper apparel. We certainly don't want a whole new segment of riders who are only riding to save on gas money.

Trials Motorcycle Invades British Mansion

Well, since this video is making the rounds, I thought I might as well show it here too.

If you've seen motorcycle trials riders before, this may not seem so unusual but the setting is. Dougie Lampkin, 12 times world trials champion, invades a British mansion on his bike and proceeds to take it room to room, even up a spiral staircase. The occupants, with British aplomb, barely notice he's there even when the engine comes right next to their heads.

Obviously, a bit of planning was necessary here. Dougie did scout the place beforehand and plan a route that he could get through.

Certainly an entertaining video that I recommend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2008 Vectrix All-Electric Maxi-Scooter Road Test

This is a review of the 2008 Vectrix All-Electric Maxi-Scooter. It's based on a demo ride I recently took at Americade 2008. The Vectrix is made by Vectrix Corp. a company started in Europe in 1996 and now expanded into the USA.

If you remember the futuristic vehicles on the Jetson's TV show, you'll feel right at home on the Vectrix. This is a Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV). It uses no gas and no oil.

It looks like a regular size motor scooter. It's designed with safety in mind. To start the machine, you raise the kickstand, turn on the ignition, squeeze the left hand brake and the right hand brake and then you notice that the instrument panel comes alive as it performs an initial system check. Finally, you see a big GO appear on the panel and a number indicator that counts down the miles before the battery needs to be recharged. So far, you have heard no sound at all.

The scooter will go up to 62 mph and has a range somewhere between 50-60 miles depending on how hard you ride it and how steep the terrain is. It has a 30 inch seat height. It takes 3-5 hours to recharge the batteries.

I went out with a group for the demo ride. I was riding behind the leader. Now, I have been riding a trike for over eight years and haven't ridden much on two-wheels so I wasn't too sure about taking this demo in the first place.

In order to get out to the highway, we had to go up the corkscrew drive at Roaring Brook Ranch (RBR), follow it around through the other demo areas and then head down the exit drive to the highway.

The corkscrew drive is one on which you do not stop. You have to keep going or risk a pileup behind you as other riders also try to stop. Fortunately, there are Americade volunteers with Walkie Talkies stationed on the curves to keep you going.

Anyway, I whipped the Vectrix out of its display area hearing only a slight electric motor sound, went up the hill, around a quick uphill left followed by a quick uphill right followed by a sweeping left that led around the property. The scooter responded beautifully with no hesitation. I just couldn't hear much running -- just the faint whining electric motor sound.

When the leader pulled up to the stop sign at the highway, I realized that I also needed to stop. Stopping the Vectrix is done in one of two ways. You can use the left and right handlebar brakes or you can forget about the brakes and use regenerative braking. We were told to use the regenerative braking. To make it work, you twist the throttle away from you and magically, the scooter slows down. It is engine braking that serves the purpose of also charging the batteries. This regenerative effect extends your range by up to 12%. After awhile, you forget about the regular brakes and simply twist the throttle toward you to speed up, and away from you to slow down. Neat!

When I realized I needed to stop that first time, I stopped way back and put my feet down. Then I realized I needed to be closer so I had to move closer to the stop sign. There was a cop there directing traffic. The leader pulled out on the cop's signal and I followed up the hill. The Vectrix shot ahead like a rocket as I caught up with the leader.

We proceeded to take a series of tight uphill and downhill twisties. I was leaning the bike quite a lot on the corners. Trikes don't lean so I had to remember what vehicle I was riding.

I didn't have to concern myself with shifting. There was none. Basically I just kept leaning the bike as necessary while I used the right throttle grip to either go faster or slower.

There was one thing that annoyed me as we returned to RBR to end the demo. I kept hearing a slight beep-beep-beep sound from somewhere. I must be doing something wrong. When we finally stopped at the Vectrix booth, the leader came over to me and I asked him what that noise was. He reminded me of one of his instructions at our riders' meeting before the demo. "If you forget to turn off the turn signals, it will keep reminding you by a beep-beep-beep sound," he said.

"Oh yeah, now I remember."

The Vectrix is built in a plant in Wroclaw, Poland. The headquarters for the USA is in Middletown, RI. The engineering and test facilities are in New Bedford, MA. A dealer network is now expanding across the USA.

I was told the price was about $11,000 but I saw a range from $8,800 to almost $12,000 from various other sources online.

There also appears to be a 3-wheel version much like the Piaggio MP3 scooter. In fact, there seems to have been some sort of deal whereby Vectrix purchased the rights to the Vespa MP3 design. I didn't see the 3-wheel version mentioned on the website but did see it in this Jay Leno's Garage video where Jay checked out the Vectrix.

The company is heavily promoting the scooter especially to cities that are trying to reduce pollution.

The Vectrix maxi-scooter seems to be filling a need to find a way to replace conventional fossil fueled vehicles. It's attracting buyers who are able to fit its capabilities into their lifestyles.

To attract more customers, the Vectrix probably needs to have a higher top speed to fit freeway conditions and a longer commuting range without recharging. However, the Vectrix is proving popular with those who have seen it and as the price comes down and the speed and range go up, this could be a big winner.

The following is a short video I took of another Vectrix demo group at RBR returning from a demo run. The group is followed by a conventional Harley that's making the sounds you hear near the end of the clip. They are the sounds of gas and oil being depleted while that rider's billfold is getting thinner with each fill up.



See Americade 2008 - Day 7 for all the rest of my activities on the day I rode the Vectrix.

My complete activities for Americade 2008 may be found on Americade Motorcycle Rally Day-by-Day Blog for 2008.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2008 Thoroughbred Stallion Road Test


This is a review of the 2008 Thoroughbred Stallion trike. It's based on a demo ride I recently took at Americade 2008. The Stallion is made by Thoroughbred Motorsports whose parent company is Motor Trike. I currently own two Motor Trikes. I converted my 1998 Gold Wing 1500 to a Motor Trike for my wife in late 1999. I then bought another Gold Wing for myself and converted it a Motor Trike in late 2000. My wife's trike currently has 53,000 miles and mine has 38,000 miles.

After Motor Trike created the Stallion and formed a separate company to manufacture it, we saw it at the Americade rally several consecutive years. It was more of a prototype then. This year the Stallion was at Americade in force. A Stallion fleet was located at Roaring Brook Ranch (RBR) where most of the other demos took place. I decided to take a test ride and convinced my wife to go along and ride pillion.

When we arrived at RBR for the demo, the Stallions were all lined up by the side of the exit road ready to go. They looked very sharp. From the back, they look like small cars but then there is that small roll bar just behind the pillion seat.

It can be a bit of a struggle to get into the Stallion. Our guide was CEO, Jeff Vey, who gave us the tips necessary to easily get in and get seated. Seating is similar to that on a regular motorcycle, with the passenger seated directly behind the rider.

Once inside the Stallion, I didn't feel like I was on a motorcycle anymore. There were no handlebars, only a steering wheel. There was no open space in front of me as in a car. My left leg was on the left side of a raised tunnel where the transmission and drive train was. There was a brake pedal down there. My right leg was on the right side of the tunnel. There was an accelerator down there. On the far right of the cockpit was an automatic shift.

Underneath the sleek body work was a Ford Motor Company supplied 2.3 liter 4-cylinder engine developing 150 hp. All the running gear was Ford. The body, frame, and suspension was Thoroughbred designed, engineered, and manufactured. Since it has three wheels, it's classified as a motorcycle. To add doors and a roof would push it over the edge and turn it into a car, having to then meet all the government standards imposed on cars. This kinda looked like a sports car convertible but in reality it was a more sophisticated motorcycle trike built without the usual motorcycle platform.

The steering wheel column had a place for windshield wiper controls as in a car. For a moment I looked for the wipers but there were none. This is a motorcycle, I reminded myself.

There are two switches that have to be used before you start off. First is an air pressure control that allows you to set the pressure in the Air Lift suspension system to match the load in the Stallion. The other switch controls the brake and accelerator distance away from your feet. Just decide where you want your feet to touch the pedals and push the control until the pedals move towards you the correct amount.

I was told that the power disc brakes can be a bit sensitive and that I should try them a few times before we got on the road so "I wouldn't throw the pillion rider out over my head" -- a bit of Stallion humor I guess, since I had no trouble with the brakes.

There was a slight misty rain as we moved out for the demo ride. We hadn't bothered to put on our rain suits. I had no trouble seeing out the tall wrap-around windshield.

This vehicle also has heat and air conditioning for both rider and passenger but I didn't have time to test either.

There was no problem with the power steering other than it was a little quick at times.

The engine noise was much greater than I'm used to on my Honda Gold Wing Motor Trike. I thought maybe they had a modified muffler but was told later that it was stock.

The transmission has a way of shifting when you least expect it.

On the slick surface it was especially easy to spin the tires when starting off. The rider in front of me did just that on a quick left hand turn from a stop sign. I tried to watch my own performance after that to ease the throttle on gradually. I'm told that the Stallion has almost sports car performance on dry surfaces.

It was easy to drive the Stallion. You can pretty much forget all the controls you have on a motorcycle. The brake pedal controls all the brakes. There is no shifting. Just put it in Drive. There is no clutch. There are no handlebars, just a steering wheel.

I found the side view mirrors to be slightly hidden by the sides of the vehicle. Maybe that could have been adjusted.

The ride was a little rougher than I'm used to with my trike. Again, the air pressure adjustment for the Air Lift suspension might have corrected that.

The trunk capacity was 7 cubic feet, about half of what I have in my 2005 Honda Accord 4-door sedan.

The fuel cell holds 9.5 gallons. The EPA mileage rating is 35 MPG City / 45 MPG Highway.

For the die hard touring motorcyclist, the absence of a CB for group rides is a problem.

My wife once hit the back of her helmet on the roll bar when I started up a bit too quickly.

She did say later that the prospect of having heat and A/C in the Stallion would be a great selling point if she were buying it for herself. She doesn't tolerate heat on hot summer days.

I enjoyed my test ride on the Stallion and so did my wife, Jane.

I did see one Stallion around town and took its picture to show in this review.

The Stallion is being shown across the country in rallies. Check out its rally schedule and go take a demo ride yourself.

The Stallion lists for $32,995. That's comparable to buying a Honda Gold Wing 1800 for $22,000-24,000. and having it converted to a trike for an additional $10,000.

The Stallion is a new kind of motorcycle trike from the same people who continue to bring you the Motor Trike. It's a trike that will appeal to many who don't ride motorcycles at all. Also, licensing requirements may vary depending on where you live.

If you belong to a Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) chapter and want a Stallion, you will find that you suddenly become an associate member since members are supposed to ride Gold Wings or Valkyries. Perhaps if the Stallion really catches on, GWRRA will make an exception.

See Americade 2008 - Day 8 for all the rest of my activities on the day I rode the Stallion.

My complete activities for Americade 2008 may be found on Americade Motorcycle Rally Day-by-Day Blog for 2008.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - TRIX on his BMW K1200LT Trike


Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery.

See TRIX on his 2000 BMW K1200LT trike. There is no female winner this week. Please submit your picture to be considered for Picture of the Week.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

BMW Recalls 2006-2008 R1200 Series Motorcycles for Improper Front Brake Line Routing

BMW has issued a recall of certain 2007-2008 R1200R, 2006-2007 R1200GS and 2007 R1200ST motorcycles.

Due to the current routing of the front brake lines, it is possible that during riding, the brake lines could be under strain. If the vibration/strain is significant, the brake lines could split and start to develop a leak. If the leak became significant, brake fluid could escape. If this happened, the level of fluid in the reservoir of the front brake system could drop. If fluid level drops significantly, the front brakes could fail increasing the risk of a crash.

3248 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Ducati Recalls 2007-2008 1098, 1098S, and 1098 Tricolore for Rear Drive Sprocket Failure

Ducati has issued a recall of certain 2007-2008 1098, 1098S, and 1098 Tricolore motorcycles.

The rear drive sprocket can fail. If the sprocket were to fail while the motorcycle is being driven, it is possible that the motorcycle will experience a sudden loss of power and/or the chain may become entangled with the chassis. This can result in a crash without prior warning.

3614 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Suzuki Recalls 2008 GSX1300R Model for Improper Routing of Ignition Switch Wiring

Suzuki has issued a recall of certain 2008 GSX1300R motorcycles.

Improper routing of the ignition switch wiring harness can cause a bent portion of the wiring harness to flex rather than slide when the handlebar is moved from right to left or left to right. Repeated side-to-side movement of the handlebar, and flexing of the bent portion wiring harness, can eventually cause the ignition switch lead wires to become cut or broken. This can result in intermittent or complete loss of electrical power, which can result in loss of lighting and/or stalling of the engine, increasing the risk of a crash.

9109 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

BMW Recalls 2008 K1200GT and K1200S Models for Front Disc Brake Mounting Problem

BMW has issued a recall of certain 2008 K1200GT and K1200S motorcycles.

The fasteners used to secure the front brake-disc may not be long enough to ensure a secure mounting. Over time, these fasteners could loosen. If that happened, the brake disc would no longer be securely mounted. Failure to observe the following precautions, in conjunction with traffic and road conditions, and the rider's reactions, could increase the risk of a crash.

75 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

BMW Recalls 2007-2008 F800S and F800ST for Fuel Tank Breather Hose Problem

BMW has issued a recall of certain 2007-2008 F800S and F800ST motorcycles.

Due to the routing of the fuel tank breather hose, pressure equalization inside the fuel tank is possible only to a limited extent. Consequently, at high ambient temperatures, the fuel tank can deform. If this happened at the point where the fuel tank is shaped to provide clearance for the rear wheel, then, in combination with a large payload, the bottom of the tank could rub against the rear wheel. If this occurred, it is possible that a leak could develop in the tank. Fuel leakage in the presence of an ignition source could result in a fire.

1980 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

BMW Recalls 2008 K1200GT and K1200S Models for Oil System Problem

BMW has issued a recall of certain 2008 K1200GT and K1200S motorcycles.

A set screw may not have been installed at its specific location within the oil duct. Consequently, an adequate supply of oil may not circulate within the engine. It is possible that connecting rod and crankshaft damage could occur. If this happened, the engine could seize. If the motorcycle was in gear, engine seizing could result in lock-up of the rear tire, increasing the risk of a crash.

39 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Americade 2008 - Pictures


This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

I have finally processed 96 pictures taken throughout the Americade journey. Take a look.

I also promised you road tests for the three demo rides I took. That should be happening within the next week.

Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Americade 2008 - Days 12-14

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

I'm going to describe Day 12, 13, and 14 together. The trip home was a scorcher. The temperatures were in the high 90s and Jane does not tolerate heat.

After the parade, we rode from Lake George to Saratoga Springs (35 miles) without too much discomfort. We found out that our daughter's long driveway was being repaved to fix a drainage problem. That meant we had to park the trikes on the street and carry our "stuff" up to the house. Later we were allowed to park the trikes near the house just before the new section that started at the garage. We covered the trikes with the full covers. Later that day the winds started and blew the cover on my trike completely off onto the ground. That had never happened before. I folded up the cover and used my lightweight black cover which had five tie-down spots and remained in place.

On Day 12, Sunday, we all went to see a movie, Kung Fu Panda, that the grand kids wanted to see. I thought the first 20 minutes was a bit boring but the action started up after that and it got funnier and funnier.

After that Jane and I took our grandson to buy his own birthday present. This was his 10th birthday. He picked out a Wii game.

When we got back to the house, we had supper and our grandson got to choose his favorite meal. We had cake afterwards and he blew out the candles.



Our grandson got a lot of presents and he and his sister, in a remarkable spirit of cooperation, proceeded to work together to build a complicated structure.




On Day 13, Monday, we packed the trikes early and headed to Boonton, NJ to stay the night with our son. The heat was brutal!

We stopped for gas about 120 miles down I87. We also went inside and had a quick lunch and some cool drinks. We had 65 miles to go. The heat got unbearable after we got back on the road.

When we turned off at Boonton we got caught on a street with a fast cycle traffic light. It was letting about five vehicles through and to top that off, there was a crossing guard working both directions at the corner where we wanted to turn. We couldn't figure out why the crossing guard was even there. It was only 12:30. We found out later that the schools had been closed early because of the heat. Jane and I sat there for close to 20 minutes in the 95 degree heat inching along. Over the intercom Jane said, "I'm going to pass out if we don't get moving." When she says that, I know we are in for some troubling times.

We did finally get through that intersection and followed the GPS to our son's house.

We arrived and Jane slumped over the handlebars. I got her a drink of water out of my water bottle. She still wasn't moving very well. I went into the house and yelled for my son's wife. No response. We figured she wasn't home so we went in and made ourselves comfortable. We got some soda out of the refrigerator and some cookies to munch on. We sat at the kitchen table and rambled on for 15 minutes about politics and finally heard my son's wife yelling from far off in the house. I figured that she knew we were there and it would only be a minute or two before she popped in to the kitchen. But time passed.

After a while she did appear and seemed to have just been on the phone with our son. She had found out from him that we would be visiting. She hadn't known we were coming at all.

That evening we all went out to supper and afterwards we went to a place that has indoor batting cages. Our 11-year-old grandson would be practicing for an hour. I had never been to such a place where a machine throws balls at you at whatever speed you program in. Once when my son left the batting cage to speak to another coach, my 5-year-old grandson decided he would operate the machine while his 7-year-old brother batted. I saw the first pitch come sailing by and quickly informed my son what was going on. Both he and the owner of the place were quickly inside the cage to get the 5-year-old off the machine. That was close!

On Day 14, Tuesday, we packed up the trikes again and left Boonton for our destination. The temperature was near 95 degrees as we traveled the last 80 miles. I could tell that Jane wasn't doing well. We arrived home and she was pretty much out of it for the rest of that day and the next day too.

Today, Thursday, she was feeling much better. The heat is not a friend of Jane's. Maybe that's why we enjoy our Polar Bear Grand Tour riding so much in the winter.

Today, I spent most of the day opening our pool. It was a series of problems and right now it looks like I have every tool from my work bench out there.

We're back from Americade. We look forward to next year but hope that it will be cooler. The pool is open and running. Summer is approaching. Jane is feeling good again. That's always my objective.

I'll have one more installment of this blog to show you a set of pictures taken at Americade. I also promised you road tests for the three demo rides I took. That should be happening within the next week.

Pictures to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Americade 2008 - Day 11

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

Saturday was Parade day at Americade. We got up early and loaded the trikes. We would be leaving today after the parade. I moved my trike out to Canada Street and backed it in to the curb so I could later sit on it to view the parade. Actually, I wouldn't be doing much sitting but rather I would be taking more pictures and videos from several positions off the trike.

We walked over to the restaurant that used to be Wegars for our last breakfast this year at Americade. Every time I've gone in there, I've been looking for donuts. They're supposed to sell them. That was my first question. Unfortunately, no donuts today. Maybe next year.

The parade begins at 10 a.m., sweeps down Canada Street to just past Mario's Restaurant, and then makes a 180 degree turn in the street and goes back the other direction. The effect is that you get to see the parade twice and parade participants get to see the parade too.

It gets very quiet just before the beginning of the parade since the side roads are blocked and all traffic stops, except for the parade.

Here are some pictures and videos.

Jane also moved her trike next to mine and relaxes before the parade begins.



I'm on my trike and shortly will be getting off to take pictures and videos.



Police motorcycles start the parade.



The largest group at Americade, the Knights of Fire.



Parade participants have balloons tied to their bikes.



This was a stunt rider in the middle of the parade. There was a special vehicle filming him as he performed at many points in the parade. I wasn't able to catch any video of this. See the official Americade video.



Marriages occur at Americade.



The parade has looped back on itself.



Santa goes to Americade too.



There goes Santa in the other direction.



Parade gridlock.



Coors Light Envy.



Customs make it to Americade as well as touring bikes.



Note: These short videos (less than 15 seconds) may be slow to load. Just let them complete in slow motion and then replay them.

The sound of a fire whistle is heard in the parade. Look at the center of the first few frames of this video to see the stunt rider doing wheelies.

Both sides of the street are filled with the parade in this video.

The music of the parade is heard in this video.

The parade rushes by.

After the parade, we rode up to the Northway and headed south to the Saratoga Springs area where I let the Garmin GPS take over and lead us to our daughter's house via a scenic tree-shaded route. We will be staying there until Monday when we will start the journey back to New Jersey in 96 degree heat. We expect many stops since Jane does not tolerate heat well.

More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Americade 2008 - Day 10

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

On Friday there was a misty rain going on. The TV reported that the Albany area had been hit by severe storms and many people lost power. Not so here although the ground was wet and there were puddles galore.

We decided to take the trikes north to the Lone Bull again for breakfast. When we returned to the motel, our parking space was filled by an SUV. One thing you always try to do is get a room on the ground floor and a parking space just outside the door so you can keep your eye on your bike. When you can't, something seems to be wrong with the universe. The universe was all better at 3 p.m. when the SUV left and I quickly jockeyed the two trikes from their widely separated locations and back into that perfect space.

We reserved our room for next year. Yes, we will be returning for our 16th consecutive year.

We got a reservation at Mario's for 5:30 p.m. It's our favorite place and it's within walking distance. The remaining time was filled by me walking Canada Street again both before Mario's and after Mario's taking pictures and videos. Here they are.

Bikes coming up the hill to near the center of town.



Beach Road poured many walkers onto Canada Street.



Two Boss Hoss motorcycles traveling together.



A couple of sharp motorcycles.



Two trikes with canvas roofs.



And here is a video of these trikes in motion. (This video may load slowly. Let it complete in slow motion and then replay it to see full motion.)

Get ready, get set, GO!



Here's an old Harley-Davidson with a 1938 NY plate. Some old bikes are better preserved than people of the same age.



This couple was just sitting on their bikes watching the street scene -- a popular pastime at Americade.



Parking confusion at Duffy's Tavern and Convenience store, just one block from our motel.



I found this limited edition Suzuki parked three doors down from my room.



There were very few places to sit down, relax, and just watch what was going on. These folks utilized the existing benches, stone walls, and even wooden partitions around flower beds to take a load off their backs, legs, hips, and even knee replacements. I even saw people with folding chairs lined up in front of stores and at curb side.



Also seen at Duffy's were two riding beer coolers using a bar stool for a seat.



I took a video straight across Canada Street as the light changed to green.

You can walk downhill a block toward the lake and get away from the sounds of motorcycles. Here's a video taken as I panned from the lake, past a concert, and up the hill to the motorcycle scene.

More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Americade 2008 - Day 9

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

On Thursday we parked our trikes across the street from the motel and had breakfast where the famous Wegars used to be located. They still have the old player piano there but it's not turned on. The overhead train is totally gone. The food was good anyway, except they ran out of donuts.

We headed out to Tour-Expo. I hadn't been there yet. When we got inside, Jane went one way and I went another. Cell phones would get us back together later.

I walked past the Corbin booth and saw a Spyder all decked out in a touring seat, touring bags, and full fairing. I had heard that a Spyder touring model would soon be introduced and I thought maybe this was it. A few words with one of the reps standing there informed me otherwise. Corbin had accessories to make the Spyder into a tourer. Only about $5000 would do the trick. Corbin was ahead of the curve again.

I stopped in at Cycle Gadgets and picked up a long extension for my camera mount.

Then I turned the corner and strolled over to the Motor Trike area. I wanted to talk to the Motor Trike dealer from New Jersey. I finally found him and explained a problem I was having with my rear trunk. It kept loosening up, was hard to open, and always let rain in. Every time I stopped, the door was ajar and I had to reopen it and then slam it shut, usually skinning my knuckles in the process. Then another rep from Canada came over and offered advice. My explanation of the layout of my trunk hardware was lacking and I really needed to show them the actual trunk.

I walked out to the parking lot and returned to the side gate outside Motor Trike where the two reps examined the situation. The guy from Canada said the latch needed to be repositioned and lubricated. He went looking for tools and a thick washer and returned with some WD-40 as well. In five minutes, he had the trunk working perfectly with an easy open and no leaks. As far as I was concerned, my trip to Americade was worth it just to get this free fix. Thanks Motor Trike.

Also, I told them about the vibration I had been getting. The NJ guy slid under the trike and checked everything out. "No problem," he said as he emerged covered with dirt on the back of his T-shirt and grease on his hands from the trike undercarriage.

I also asked about why the left side rear fender was so close to the tire while the right side was not. Then the rep pointed out that there was an abrasion all the way around the tire where the fender had been rubbing against it. Whoa, we have a problem here. He said he could fix it in his shop in New Jersey by making a simple undercarriage adjustment. I needed to make an appointment when I got back from Americade. Better still, his shop was close by my house.
More problems were being solved by my trip to Americade.

At 3 p.m. we rode down to the Log Jam Restaurant to meet members of our GWRRA chapter who had ridden up for the day. Here are a few pictures.





That evening we walked Canada Street again and I took the following pictures and videos. First off is a bike carrying just about everything needed to go to Americade.



Dogs were everywhere. Some got the royal treatment like this one in his own trailer.



It's a car, no it's a bike, maybe it's a trike. Regardless, it's fun for the Americade scene.



Jane looking at a Spyder decorated with a spider web.









Just enjoying the view on Canada Street. She looked pretty serene.



The cops were giving out parking tickets this year. If you didn't have a PP sticker for $7 or didn't keep feeding the meters, you got one of these.



A block from our motel I saw a 911 memorial bike. It was pretty spectacular.



I also took a short video of Canada Street traffic. (This video loads slowly. Let it complete in slow motion and then replay it to see full motion.)

Finally, I also took a short video of me walking alongside the Canada Street traffic.

More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Americade 2008 - Day 8

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

On Wednesday we had breakfast early at the restaurant located in the motel. The weather was misty rain. We debated whether we should ride to the demo with rain suits on but decided to wait until we got there to decide. We were going to take a demo ride in a Stallion made by Thoroughbred Motorsports. The Stallion was designed by Motor Trike CEO, Jeff Vey. The drive train is made by Ford Motor Company. It has one wheel in front and two wheels behind. It's a trike by definition even though it has a steering wheel, automatic transmission, heat and A/C. Here's my 2008 Thoroughbred Stallion User Review that I did after I returned from Americade.

Just to show the different kinds of riders you see at Americade, I shot this picture while sitting on the porch of a pizza restaurant at noon. You can keep riding even if you are disabled. Just take along a wheelchair.



Our neighbors at the motel were Harley guys. They didn't seem to know much about Americade but they sure knew how to have a good time. Here's Jane posing with one of their Fat Boy motorcycles that they had parked on the porch next to our door to keep it out of the rain.



We rode up to Roaring Brook Ranch (RBR) two-up this evening to attend several seminars. We had a quick supper in the coffee shop before making the short walk to the seminar building. Pete Woodruff was speaking as we entered the room a bit late. We took seats in the back. This was a seminar on triking.

As the hour came to a close more and more people were entering the room and getting seats in anticipation of the seminar by Fred Rau. Fred writes for many motorcycle publications but is most known for his articles in Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN). Currently, Fred is also operating a motorcycle touring service in California.

As usual Fred confessed that he came unprepared to talk but would wing it. The audience didn't seem to care since Fred is usually a pretty funny speaker. He proceeded to place emphasis on his touring service especially personal experiences of the participants. The double room was completely full of people and laughter.

An hour or so after the seminars were over, there was a Balloon Glow. I saw this last year also. Basically it's three hot air balloons that are tethered to the ground with intermittent bursts of flame to light up the balloons. The whole thing has background music and a certain amount of narration by one of the balloon pilots to egg on the balloon keepers to fire up their flames so people can take pictures. Here's a picture of one of the balloons. I also took a short video of all three balloons going strong. (This video loads slowly. Let it complete in slow motion and then replay it to see full motion.)



After the Balloon Glow, we returned to the motel, parked the trike, and walked down Canada Street for a little night life. Here are a few pictures.

I got this picture of a Ward's Riverside motorcycle. Probably bought it right out of the catalog.





More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.