Rider Journal, April 2019

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Cover of the April 2019 issue of Rider magazine.
Cowl of the April 2019 difficulty of Rider journal.

The Honda NC750X looks like a superb purchase, however I don’t need the foolish DCT. I’ve been driving bikes since 1976. I understand how and prefer to shift. But in addition, I received’t purchase a brand new bike with out ABS! An NC750X with ABS and an ordinary transmission can be an incredible bike so as to add to my secure. If I needed DCT I’d purchase a scooter.

Steve R., by way of e-mail

First off I used to be honored to be chosen because the February Letter of the Month particular person. Secondly, A. C. Reeves’ correction to my letter (Response, April 2019) is totally right. I respect that he learn my letter and respect his accuracy. I quoted the variety of provinces as 11 within the curiosity of effectivity to get to the primary level of my letter. A.C., I might like to ship my VTX to Hawaii for a trip with you. I did test into it and haven’t written it off but. I’d even thought of driving all the foremost islands as soon as the bike is there. So, in correction, I’ve ridden my Honda VTX 1300 to all the U.S. states besides Hawaii and to all of the Canadian provinces and territories besides the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the territory of Nunavut. Really an individual can trip to Labrador by way of the Trans-Labrador Freeway, however at my age of 70 and with out shopping for a distinct motorbike, I in all probability received’t trip that one. I’ll take the ferry. And I perceive Nunavut may be very tough to get to besides by air or possibly in just a few locations by logging street. I plan to assault my Newfoundland and Labrador journey once more in the summertime of 2020. I’ll in all probability trip my Yamaha Enterprise S. The VTX is a bit lengthy within the tooth (137,000 miles). However you by no means know.

Jerry Stevens, Flower Mound, Texas

My first motorbike trip was on a 1968 Honda CB 125, borrowed from a coworker in 1969. I used to be working after faculty at a fuel station inside strolling distance of dwelling. Anytime my co-worker would trip that beautiful blue and white Honda to work, he’d let me take it for a trip. I rode it at any time when I might till I graduated from highschool in 1971, then enlisting within the Air Pressure. I purchased my first motorbike in 1972, a model new Honda CB 350 twin, adopted a yr later by a brand new 1973 Honda CB 350F four-cylinder. What adopted to the current day was a string of Hondas, Kawasakis, Triumphs, Nortons and, lastly, Harleys. And never considered one of them geared up with a windshield, fairing or radio. One factor all of them had in widespread, although, was they have been all interesting to each the attention and the ear. All have been individually recognizable. Personally, I’ve all the time been a minimalist relating to my bikes. Right this moment, I cringe once I hear a motorbike at a stoplight blaring music from its audio system. My opinion till the late 1980s was that anybody paying greater than $2,500 for a brand new motorbike must be examined for sanity. I’ve raised that quantity in the present day to about $eight,000 for a brand new bike, however I digress.

Quick ahead to the current. Over a long time of driving, I’ve witnessed bikes evolve from primary, unrefined mechanical artworks to in the present day’s refined technological marvels. I’ve quietly tolerated the adjustments, some good, till now. Right this moment I learn an article in Rider for a brand new motorbike constructed by Harley-Davidson that ridiculously infringes on the pure core of the motorbike. Initially, upon studying the advert I believed it was a joke. This advert belongs in “Mad Journal,” I believed! My first query to the powers-that-be at H-D is: OMG. Why? I’m speaking about its new electrical mannequin motorbike, embarrassingly named LiveWire. Significantly? Actually? Have H-D’s gross sales numbers plummeted to the purpose that such determined measures as making a carnival novelty like an electric-powered motorbike will truly save its gross sales numbers? Is H-D’s inventory actually pegged at 180 levels?

As an previous man with a Millennial-perceived antiquated imaginative and prescient in direction of the way forward for motorbike constructing, I say this not solely to Harley however to all trendy motorbike producers: STOP THIS MADNESS. PLEASE! JUST STOP IT!!! There are some issues which are simply plain flawed. It’s too late for Harley, the harm to the picture is presumably already achieved, no matter how positively it spins the LiveWire. I might not have bought my present motorbike, a 2006 Dyna Broad Glide, 13 years in the past if it have been a Dyna WideWire. How embarrassing. Twenty years from now I don’t see a used LiveWire being marketed as a Traditional. As for the opposite producers, please, don’t look to the long run propulsion of bikes as being battery-powered; there isn’t a future there. It’s one other horrible tree-hugging thought. It’s not even a good thought. It’s an concept that H-D administration ought to have given its due, then shelved it someplace in a disguised again room underneath lock and key by no means to be found. A battery is for beginning a motorbike engine, not powering it. It’s time for motorbike producers to get again to the bulk section of the market that appreciates motorbike sight and sound, the way in which a motorbike is supposed to be seen and heard. A bike with loads of sincere aesthetics, heaps of actual chrome, actual iron underneath the seat and acquainted particular person exhaust notes that observe them down the street. Sufficient of the carbon fiber, black chrome, amateur-looking plastics and alloy girder frames. Sufficient millennial shopper dart throwing. Get again to pure motorbike constructing fundamentals. It really works. It’s OK, actually.

Donald Herod, by way of e-mail

I’ve learn in a pair cycle mags about how the brand new alcohol fuels will adversely have an effect on bikes. Bikes, greater than vehicles, get put away for lengthy durations of time and alcohol fuels tends to gel over lengthy durations of time. These trendy fuels don’t gel in a single day, do they? When saved for the winter, producers ought to have a method to empty gas with out making it rocket science. It might be a easy matter to design this drain characteristic. We used to have valves for switching to order fuel that would additionally function a drain valves. If we search for options as a substitute of finger pointing, trendy fuels may be handled. Additionally, we will want bigger tanks to cope with the decrease gas mileage trendy fuels are recognized to provide us. I do know we are able to overcome issues equivalent to alcohol gas if we simply give it some thought. I’ve seen extra difficult issues and options in my lifetime.

Marcel Thomas, Hobart, Indiana

I’ve been receiving Riderjournal for a few years and actually get pleasure from it. I first began driving bikes 64 years in the past. I used to be 17 years previous in 1955 and bought a 1949 Harley-Davidson 74. That summer time I did fairly a little bit of driving. I and 4 different guys took a visit to Colorado after which as much as South Dakota by means of the Black Hills. It simply occurred to be the primary a part of August and the Sturgis motorbike rally was occurring. That was fairly an expertise. We knew nothing about Sturgis at the moment. The following yr, 1956, I bought the motorbike so I might buy a brand new automobile, however I by no means forgot the enjoyable I had driving. Then, in September of 1975, I bought a brand new 1976 Harley-Davidson. The vendor had simply gotten new fashions in. The following summer time, my spouse and I began long-distance touring. The following 30 years we took virtually all of our holidays touring on bikes. We had one accident in 1981 and my spouse did get harm fairly dangerous. She had one critical knee damage. She continued to trip till 2005 and stopped as a result of her knee bothers her. I continued driving and, in 2001, I retired and now do rather more driving. I’ve owned 16 bikes and I’m now driving a Cam-Am Spyder. My final three bikes have been 2008, 2012 and 2015 Gold Wings. I’ve owned plenty of Harleys, a number of BMWs and 4 Yamaha Ventures. Final yr I rode my Spyder to the Sturgis rally. I’ve solely missed Sturgis 4 years out of the final 42. Final yr I put 22,000 miles on the Spyder; in the previous few years I’ve been averaging about 30,000 a yr, and I stay in Iowa, so we solely have a couple of seven-to-eight-month driving season. 

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Jerry Mathison, Woodbine, Iowa

Not too long ago I’ve been planning a motorbike journey westward. Beginning at St. Ignace, Michigan, I’ll decide up U.S. Route 2 and trip all the way in which to Seattle. Just a few little facet journeys alongside the way in which will embrace a few of the Canadian provinces and a few nationwide parks. Touring by motorbike is a lot totally different than driving an vehicle. One appears to develop into a part of the pure environment as a substitute of simply viewing it by means of a glass window. The mountains and valleys are increased and deeper, the sting of the street is nearer, the hills are steeper, the curves sharper and the sky clearer.

The journey by means of life is very like this motorbike journey. Metaphorically talking, we’ll all drive by means of it in our personal approach at our personal tempo, every with a distinct route and most popular car, carrying our “baggage” with us. Each mile will deliver with it totally different situations and altering surroundings. Similar to we do once we plan a motorbike journey, we appear to anticipate, or not less than hope, that in life’s journey every part will go good for us on our journey. We’re certain the climate will cooperate completely, the machines can have no mechanical points, the street floor will likely be clean and visitors will likely be gentle. In fact, that’s not normally the case.

As in life, there are not any ensures. We’ll absolutely encounter trials, powerful selections, surprising disappointments, detours, tragedy and sorrow as we journey the street of life. That, partially, is why I’m planning this journey. Three days earlier than Christmas 2015, I awoke to search out my spouse of 22-plus years had unexpectedly died in her sleep. As spring arrived, I used to be reluctant to start out driving once more as my companion would now not be there. After the primary few very brief rides, nevertheless, I started to search out some solace within the journey. Since then I’ve logged many 1000’s of miles, taken a whole bunch of images, seen untold new locations, met quite a few contemporary faces and carried years of recollections with me. Discovering consolation, reminiscing and understanding that my spouse would encourage me to find this nice huge world make the driving expertise even that rather more pleasurable.

I consider I respect life slightly extra nowadays and possibly I understand that every day we’re given is an opportunity to start one other journey on the street we name dwelling. It may need already been stated by another person, however for me I’ll try to stay like in the present day will likely be my final, tomorrow will likely be my best and yesterday can have no regrets. We motorcyclists typically say that “it’s not the vacation spot, it’s the journey.” Maybe that’s as a result of whenever you attain your vacation spot, the journey is over.

If you find yourself in your subsequent journey, should you see me on the street, give me a pleasant wave and I’ll wave again.

Rex Goyer, Sycamore, Ohio

Simply acquired the April difficulty and a few questions come to thoughts. First, on web page 14, in an in any other case glorious article in regards to the improve in girls’s possession of bikes, you state that, “Practically one in 5 motorbike homeowners is now feminine….” This received me to questioning what this lady was earlier than she turned a feminine. Moreover, on web page 65, you misquote the lyrics of the John Denver tune “Nation Roads,” which is a digital anthem right here in West Virginia, inserting the phrase “Pennsylvania” the place “West Virginia” belongs. What Left Coast rock have you ever been dwelling underneath to keep away from understanding this? Did you deliberately need to insult your readers right here within the Mountain State by complicated us with our neighbors to the east? Take me dwelling, Mountain Momma, take me dwelling!

Robert Cissel, someplace in West Virginia

Longtime subscriber, first time author. To Mark: after studying your April difficulty editorial, I turned considerably uneasy as a result of I felt like your time on the helm may be drawing to an in depth, as I’m certain there are various roads you should trip. The one factor I’ve to say is please make sure that the journal doesn’t change! It’s the one moto magazine I at present subscribe to as a result of all of the others have modified their format and are of no curiosity to me. I sit up for your journal each month and I learn each article. Thanks and sustain the great work!

Mark Lipsius, Iowa Metropolis, Iowa

I’ve been having fun with your journal on and off for many years, thanks. The articles have impressed me to proceed driving, which I began on a Honda 50 in 1965 and now at 68 years previous I’m nonetheless going at it. I’ve owned many bikes through the years, all serving totally different functions, from a 1973 BMW /5 “toaster” to proudly owning three bikes now: an ‘81 BMW GS, a 1997 Honda VFR and, what I’m writing about now, a 1975 Honda XL350. I preserve telling myself that I have to pare down but it surely hasn’t occurred as but! Anyway, I observed with nice curiosity the August 2018 Retrospectivearticle in regards to the Yamaha Enduro 500. Query, did the Honda XL 350 have the identical compression launch characteristic?  I’m having a virtually unimaginable time getting the 350 kicked over because it solely has a kick starter. I largely jumpstart it on inclines, although typically I’m on flat terrain in order that doesn’t work. Thanks for any enter and sustain the good journal!

Charlie, Baughman, Arlington, Virginia

As a Rider journal reader and very long time biker, your April Retrospective article actually hit dwelling. I’ve ridden on two wheels for nearly all of my 71 years on this earth. Thoughts you it has solely been the final 55 with a motor between my legs. In that point I’ve owned a wide range of motorized machines. I instructed my then girlfriend and now my spouse of 50 years, that I might all the time have a motorbike, interval. She stated she understood, however I’m not so certain she knew what was in retailer. My first journey was a Travis bike motor mounted to the entrance of my Schwinn. I went by means of not less than 4 tires in a single summer time. After shifting as much as an actual motorbike and going by means of plenty of “repair up specials,” I fell in love with a Honda. In my case, Honda primary was a 1964 Benly or, as some referred to it, a child Dream. My subsequent was a 1969 CB350. That is the place your article introduced again some nice recollections. That 350 was an enormous step up from my 150cc Benly and the earlier proprietor had put 12-inch apes on it, so lastly I used to be cool. All the ribbing I took with the Benly was behind me. I rode that 350 proudly for almost a decade after which, because the final sentence of your article suggests, I purchased a 1978 CB750. Mine was a Okay mannequin in shiny black. And consider it or not, once I purchased my 750, it was thought of a “huge” bike. And in some ways it was…tall, heavy and 4 cylinders caught between your legs. I rode the Okay for almost 20 years till I did the unthinkable. A shiny crimson Yamaha V-Star 1300 sits in my storage now. Forgive me.

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Invoice Peery, Arlington Heights, Illinois

I really like your article April 2019 web page 40 on the “Class-Bending Commuter.” I’m 78 years previous and have 4 bikes, and my latest one is a Honda NC750X DCT that I received final September. I really like this bike; the 2 greatest issues about it are the automated transmission and the entrance brake, which is the most effective one which I’ve ever had. I now have three,700 miles on it. But it surely’s not good. The suspension is just too agency, however with the Air Hawk seat cushion it feels higher. I don’t assume that the 270-degree firing order is a good suggestion, I feel 180 levels is far smother and higher. You must elevate the again seat to place fuel within the small three.7-gallon fuel tank, not a good suggestion when touring with issues tied over it. Small, spherical foot pegs. Little or no engine braking. No oil sight window, an previous fashion dip stick solely, and that is 2019. No freeway pegs or crash bar out there, both Honda or aftermarket. Your article states, “With the DCT you get HSTC and ABS, which applies entrance brake when the rear is utilized.” I’m not certain that this can be a good thought. I’ve all the time recognized if you end up leaning and turning on grime, sand, rocks or mud you do not need to place any stress on the entrance brake, as a result of you’ll go down. However I really like this motorbike.

Rodger Terry, Bethel Island, California

As I learn Clement Salvadori’s article, “Journey? What’s That,” within the April 2019 difficulty, I couldn’t assist however consider an journey I had a number of years in the past. Three driving buddies and I have been following my pre-printed instructions that I obtained off a preferred web site, permitting us to journey a “totally different” path to our vacation spot. We have been all on street-oriented bikes, together with two that have been fairly dear with chrome aplenty. We solely traveled about 100 yards earlier than we realized this new route didn’t meet our regular expectations. The street turned to grime, then turned plagued by fist-sized rocks on the floor, lined with deserted homes with damaged home windows and no signal of civilization. We considered turning again, however determined we might press ahead regardless of me swearing I heard banjo music. After taking greater than an hour to journey a number of miles on this single-lane, muddy street, we ended up on the primary street about 300 yards from the place we began. To this present day, I nonetheless snicker at our mud-splattered avenue bike “journey.” Regardless of our failed journey, it was fairly entertaining and memorable.

Spencer Lewis, by way of e-mail

To the Editor:

My buddy John first handed me a problem of Riderwithin the early 1990s. I’m a author by occupation and a rider by ardour, and immediately I appreciated the journal’s editorial fashion. Clearly, the individuals who put the publication collectively have been riders themselves. Through the years I’ve subscribed to a number of moto mags, however Riderhas all the time been the one which speaks to me.

Practically twenty years in the past, I had an epiphany: “I’m a author and a rider, I ought to write for Rider.” So I seemed up the rules for contributors and made my story pitch to the editor, one Mark Tuttle, Jr. His reply included this key sentence: “We’d be serious about analyzing the article in query on hypothesis.” I submitted my story, it was accepted (!!) and within the years since my work has appeared in Riderdozens of occasions. (It’s laborious to convey how cool that’s.)

Ridercontinues to be my favourite journal, in giant measure as a result of Mark Tuttle’s stamp is on each difficulty. Not too long ago, I met Mark for the primary time and it was like assembly an previous good friend. He’s a motorbike man, similar to the remainder of us. Mark, on behalf of riders and readers in all places, thanks for placing out the most effective motorbike journal on the market, month after month, for 30 years.

Scott ‘Bones’ Williams, Wilbraham, Massachusetts

I all the time learn Riderjournal cowl to cowl, and sit up for the Retrospectivearticle. The April difficulty featured the Honda 350 lineup from the late 1960s on. My first bike was a 1970 CL 350, purchased utilized in 1972. It was used as a commuter car for years, in addition to a “courting” car for just a few months. Even had a critical accident (involving 15 vehicles, 2 semis and one motorcyclist) as soon as. A couple of yr after shopping for it, I received married and the spouse and I used it for almost every part, as 1973 introduced in regards to the first Arab oil embargo and better fuel costs. We glance again on it fondly now, and I want I nonetheless had it. My spouse would ask the grocery retailer clerks to ensure every part slot in two sacks so she might maintain all of it whereas leaning towards the sissy bar on the way in which dwelling. Good recollections.

Loren Stephenson, Sand Springs, Oklahoma

Mark Tuttle’s “Winter Driving Motivation” (One-Monitor Thoughts, March 2019) was a implausible overview of winter gear. One line, although, gave me a superb snicker: “With the precise setup you may be snug in temperatures down into the 30s.” “Winter” positively doesn’t imply the identical factor throughout this continent. Temperatures within the 30s is a pleasant spring day in some locales. A high quality base layer is a should. Electrical gear received’t get you within the saddle, it’ll simply preserve you there longer. Temps within the teenagers with no wind and a sunny sky make for a implausible winter trip! Throw on a snowmobile swimsuit when it actually will get chilly. Name me loopy (or simply name me an Illinoisan) however with the precise setup you may be snug no matter temperature.

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Rob Kirbach, Glen Carbon, Illinois

I began driving bikes in 2006, once I was 54 years previous. Now I’m 67, and I all the time say to myself, “Why did I begin so late?” I’m on my third bike; I’ve owned two Sportsters and now, since I’m older, I purchased a Honda CTX700. The bike is ideal for me: it’s snug and takes the bumps straightforward. I do know I’m in full management. The explanation I’m writing is to inform you that your journal is by far the most effective learn. As a lover of our American historical past, I totally get pleasure from your articles. They get me planning all the great locations I can go to this summer time. My plans are in full swing! 

Henry Siuda, by way of e-mail

That is directed to Jenny Smith, who wrote the overview within the April difficulty on the Honda NC750X. I simply need to make clear one thing. She stated the bike can be a superb tourer on the finish of her article. Does that imply it might be a superb bike to take throughout the nation on lengthy excursions? Or is that for brief excursions? I hope it’s able to longer excursions, as I’ve been contemplating this bike for a while. I’m speaking 400-mile days at occasions. Thanks a lot and love your journal. Finest one on the market and good luck to all of the employees.

Carl Hoobler, Granbury, Texas

As a 25-year-plus reader of your journal, I’m on the flawed facet of 60, and my commuting days have been within the ‘80s and ‘90s on varied UJMs (Common Japanese Bikes). Your overview of the NC750X makes me really feel previous–and slightly in poor health. My admiration for Asian engineering and manufacturing is aware of no bounds, however their frequent foray into cartoonish, pointy plastic design violates my American sense of the motorbike archetype. Now an computerized transmission? I respect the emotional want for youthful engineers to reinvent the wheel, however come on–cease hiding the engine and fuel tank! Then possibly you’ll cease shedding clients to Triumph and Harley. PS: The handlebars look slightly huge for lane splitting.

Don Holmes, Nashville, Tennessee

Don’t know what sort of bike you have been driving whenever you left the petcock on “Prime,” however on my two Suzukis from the 1980s, once I left the petcock on Prime (typically for days), they ran and began with out obvious issues. Nevertheless, the Prime setting faucets gas from the reserve tank, so should you run out of fuel, you actually are out of fuel. I discovered this out the laborious approach. Al Einstein had an incredible expression to cowl this case: “Two issues are infinite: the universe, and human stupidity. And I’m unsure in regards to the universe….” And this was earlier than our present president took workplace!

Randy D., by way of e-mail

Listed here are the bikes I’ve owned, so as (all bought new besides the final one): ’97 BMW R 850 R, ’00 Honda Valkyrie Interstate, ’07 Suzuki Burgman 650 Exec, ’12 Victory Cross Nation Tour, ’08 Suzuki Burgman 650 Exec. My toes have been progressively shifting ahead (nicely, the final three are about the identical). I can solely afford, by way of area and cash, one bike at a time, and as a lot as I really like twisties, I typically do lengthy freeway slogs to get to them (or go to family, or trip to MotoGP races, and many others.). My getting older knees–I’m 71 years previous, I began driving late–simply can’t take being bent again for lengthy durations. And I’m not a fan of freeway pegs for assorted causes. In order that leaves cruiser, or cruiser-ish, bikes. The Huge Burger is particularly good on this respect, as a result of with no controls for them to work your toes are all the time “free to maneuver in regards to the cabin.” And so my longest days have been aboard it. Oh, together with a few “non-sportbike” observe days.

Invoice Pollack, Niskayuna, New York

Was glad to see Rider picked up Ari Henning as a garage-problem guru and, hopefully, full-time author and tester of latest bikes. I attempted duplicating his and Brian Catterson’s abilities on the curves many miles in the past, however no success. We shared some humorous emails, together with one undertaking I feel we have been engaged on on the identical time, 1000’s of miles aside. That was our electrical ‘cycle, powered by a rider carrying a swimsuit fully lined with photo voltaic cells, however alas, rainstorms proved to be a “stunning” failure. Nice occasions studying “Motorcyclist,” regardless that I didn’t all the time agree with “Catman.” That dude, if reduce, would bleed Ducati crimson. All the time turned to the issue column first, then letters and eventually what new crotch rocket Ari was airing out on the time. Glad you’re again, Ari. All the time puzzled the way you and Zack Courts made out on the twin editor factor.  

Ari, should you see Catterson, inform him he’s lodged in my reminiscence banks endlessly. You guys rocked in these loopy, lazy days when bikes seemed like bikes and never Star Wars, or these toys that, if twisted appropriately, make seventeen totally different issues. Yep, nonetheless have my stunning Honda 700SC Nighthawk, 36ok on the clock, new Pirellis on the wheels and seeking to attempt it yet one more summer time–at 83 years younger. Will in all probability be a bit rusty, as a result of I put it up on blocks and drained it to handle my expensive spouse of 62 years earlier than she left me in December.

Ah, the great previous years, her on her brand-new Benelli Cobra 125 café racer that had been juiced up simply sufficient and me astride my new Honda CB160. At 21 and 25, life was very, superb. Since she knew I had spent 15 months laid up from a left flip by a drunk in a Dodge, she’d stated, “You purchase a motorbike and I’m gone.” Hell, I purchased two, the Honda and, as we walked out of the place, the proprietor stated I might take the Benelli and pay him at any time when for 200 payments. I bear in mind her first remark after nailing easy methods to handle the Benelli, “It’s like my previous bicycle, however I don’t should pedal.” Once more, glad to see your identify in print, Ari, and I assume should you keep I’ll re-up Rider once more.

Pete Payne, by way of e-mail


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