Rick’s Gentleman’s Express Blog

Motorcycle news and opinion

Archive for April, 2011

One-armed akimbo

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Originally posted on the old Gentleman’s Express forum and recycled here…Rick

I have noticed more and more people riding around with their left hand on their hip.

This used to be the exclusive domain of wannabe hard-core cruiser riders. You know the type: trying very hard to look like riding is a very casual thing for them due to their total of — what? — six months riding experience on their new male enhancement device. It reaches ridiculous extremes on cruisers with highway pegs, as the tough-guy poser struggles to accelerate with both feet on the highway pegs and left hand jauntily resting on hip or thigh, forcing him into an awkward forward lean reminiscent of a guy with his leg in a cast sitting on a toilet and forcing a difficult bowel movement.

The “casual look” has crossed over to sport bike punks who try to simulate a one-armed push-up while struggling not to smack their face into the triple clamp at any sudden bump or throttle chop.

I’m waiting for my first spotting of one-armed dirt bike riding. Motocross riders are, after all, the original show-offs.

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April 30th, 2011 at 10:14 am

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RIP Buell

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Originally posted on the old Gentleman’s Express forum Sat Dec 05, 2009

I was saddened to read about the death of Buell motorcycles. Erik Buell has to be more loyal to Harley than any Harley rider. He worked for them as a young engineer. He stuck with their old world engines in his otherwise state-of-the-art motorcycle chassis. He sold out to them just over ten years ago and now he says he still wants to continue working with them after they pull the plug on his namesake company.

I participated in a couple of Harley demo rides over the years, but never got a chance to ride a Buell. All I read about them kept returning to the main issue: the slow-revving, pushrod, air-cooled Sportster engine.

Apparently, Erik Buell is going into racing. Too bad he didn’t go to work for a sport bike manufacturer decades ago.

The question remains, with Buell gone, what happens to MV Agusta?

Originally posted on the old Gentleman’s Express forum Sun Apr 11, 2010

Further on this sad story is the news that BRP tried to buy Buell from Harley but was turned down. It would seem like a natural with Bombardier’s Rotax plant already making the (finally) modern engines for Buell’s newest sport bikes.

Harley is a company that has twice purchased Italian bike makers and then done nothing with them. Here was a chance for them to do something nice for Erik Buell after his years of devotion to their air-cooled pushrod v-twins. It seems Harley would rather sell all the tooling and dump on a loyal supporter than to let a Canadian company show them how to do it right.


Of course we now know what happened to Harley’s latest foray into Italian sport bikes…Rick

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April 30th, 2011 at 10:11 am

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City pegs

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This item was originally posted on this site’s forum and is being recycled here

I was driving home from work the other day and let a couple of guys on Harley’s in front of me when traffic in their lane was blocked by some emergency vehicles. I had to chuckle over their riding style. Despite the fact that we were on a busy four-lane city street near midday, both guys were riding with their ankles slung over their highway pegs. From my vantage point directly behind them their boots formed a pair of V’s — like someone passed out on their back, or perhaps laying on a slab in a morgue.

Both bikes were equipped with what looked like perfectly serviceable and much more comfortable foot-boards, but they went unused. When any braking or shifting had to be done, feet went down to the controls and then immediately back up over the highway pegs. It was pretty comical to watch in stop and go traffic.

I was reminded of a Harley road test I read in Rider magazine many years ago. The author was eavesdropping on a couple of kids looking over a Harley parked at the curb. One of the kids asked the other:

“How come there are three sets of foot-pegs?”

His buddy replied:

“The ones at the back are for the passenger. The ones in the middle are for the driver, and the ones at the front are for when you want to look way-rad and bitchin’.'”

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April 17th, 2011 at 11:46 am

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Giving up street riding?

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This item originally appeared in this site’s forum and is being recycled here.

A phone call I got a week or so ago got me thinking.

I have been advertising my bike for sale and got a call from a guy from Grand Bend, Ontario. (Nice talking to you Stu). The caller sounded like he was my age and had been riding for a while. He said he was looking for a project bike to build up as a bracket racer to be run at the local dragstrip.

He had been running a 6-cylinder CBX Honda. When I asked how he got started drag racing, he said that the admission for racers was less than for spectators. When I commented that it was better to ride in than walk in he corrected me, saying he trailered his bikes in to the strip.

I remembered a discussion on another forum about riders who had given up street riding because it was too dangerous and rode their sport bikes only on track days. I thought about friends that have dirt bikes and ATV’s that are ridden only off-road. I thought about snowmobiles and even completely different toys like my brother-in-law’s Laser boat that he trailers to races all over the east coast. What about all the pristine restored vintage bikes that are trailered to meets and then just tooled around the site?

Could it come to that for me? Could any motorcycle I own become just a “recreational vehicle”, trailered to a track, dragstrip or trail? Will I still be a “real” motorcyclist if I never ride on the street?

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April 17th, 2011 at 11:39 am

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