Archive for the ‘Motorcycles’ Category

Thief Hops On Bike At Steele’s, Rides Off

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

If your neighbor came home about a week ago with a new motorcycle, specifically a blue 2007 Yamaha YZF R1, you might be in a position to earn yourself a nice reward. It seems a prospective “buyer” asked to look at one of those at Steele’s Cycles South, 2025 W. Union, and as the sale guy was pulling his hoodie off the “buyer” hopped on and rode away. Good-bye bike.

stolen 2007 Yamaha YZF R-1

Spot this bike and you might earn yourself a reward.

That’s a picture of the actual bike there. Steele’s has posted a notice on Craigslist and elsewhere that they are offering a “substantial” reward information. The theft occurred on March 15.

According to the notice, the bike (last six of vin # 007178) was taken by “a young Hispanic male about five foot nine, 135 pounds believed to own a late model Yamaha R6 and residing in the Englewood/Littleton area.”

Greg Zick, the salesman who was dealing with the guy, said he had been in previously looking at the bike, so he was pretty pleased to see him show up again. The fellow asked to have the bike turned on so he could hear it run, Zick went to pull off his hoodie, and bingo!

Now, my bet is that that bike will never be seen on the road again. If this guy already has a comparable bike, I’ll bet he figured this would be a good way to get an inexpensive parts bike. Some people are just jerks.

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Biker Quote for Today

Squid: The definition of stupid.


Viper Motorcycles Come To Colorado

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

The Viper Diamondback

Interested in picking up a Viper motorcycle? What? You’ve never heard of them? Neither had I, but they will soon be on sale in Glenwood Springs at Aspen Valley Harley-Davidson. So let’s find out a little bit about this outfit.

First off, the Viper Motorcycle Company is not a new company. I’m guessing that fans of expensive custom bikes have been aware of their existence for some time. Call me ignorant. As near as I can tell, they released their first models in 2008. The company is based in Minnesota and built a production plant in Alabama. The first model, the 152-cubic-inch Diamondback, just rolled off the assembly line. And, as you can see from that promo above, they’re claiming it to be the fastest production V-twin super cruiser in the world.

Hey, it’s a nice looking bike. I’ll definitely give them that. Since they’re not ringing on my phone to offer me a test ride I’ll direct you to this ride report in case you want to learn more. And to get the lowdown on features, go here and then click on the “Features” tab.

But anyway, the actual news today is, as I said at the beginning, that they’ve taken on Aspen Valley Harley-Davidson as a dealer. The dealership’s co-owner, Mike Lehman, is also co-owner of MBL Motorsports in Palm Beach, FL, and these are the first two “gold” dealerships that Viper has announced. What that “gold” refers to I don’t know, but they also have what they call “platinum” dealers.

And now you know where you can go buy one.

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Biker Quote for Today

I need MORE CHROME!

MP3: A Three-Wheeled Scooter of the Leaning Variety

Monday, August 1st, 2011

I’ve ridden motorcycle trikes before and I’ve never cared much for them. They don’t lean and they’re too much like driving a car for my taste. So I’ve been very interested for a long time in trying out the Piaggio MP3 scooter, which has three wheels but is not at all the same as a trike in its handling.

Piaggio MP3 above the Coors Brewery in Golden.With abundant thanks to Tai Beldock at Erico Motorsports, I can now report that I have ridden an MP3 and it really is everything I expected it to be.

The difference with an MP3 is what Piaggio calls its “parallelogram suspension.” What they’re saying is that whether you’re leaning into a turn, one wheel’s going into a pothole, or whatever, those two front wheels remain parallel to each other. It’s like having one wheel in front in terms of handling, but two wheels in terms of stability.

That’s not to say that, trike-like, the MP3 won’t fall over; it will. Remember, it handles just like a two-wheeled motorcycle. If you come up to a stop on a regular bike and don’t put your feet down you’d better have exceptionally good balance. Same with the MP3, except that the MP3 has a button you can push at below 5 mph that will lock the fork and keep you upright. The lock disengages as soon as you start rolling again. Still, I found it easier to just treat it like any other bike and put my feet down.

Thanks to the elements I had a good chance to test the MP3′s stability. Going up and down Lookout Mountain there was gravel in many of the curves and having three wheels was very comforting. Later it rained heavily and splashing through puddles and turning on rain-slicked streets the MP3 again felt very secure.

This scoot–and it is a scooter, no gear-shifting going on here–comes in three engine sizes, 250cc, 400cc, and 500cc. While the 250 will theoretically run at interstate speeds, when I tried it I felt best in the right-hand lane. The bigger models do go faster, though not much. The main thing the bigger engines offer is increased acceleration and carrying capacity.

Now, I’m not about to go adding a scooter to my garage any time soon, but presumably decades in the future these big bikes I ride now are going to be a bit much for me. A lot of guys I know say they figure someday they’ll have a trike. Not me. Come that time I’d rather move down to something lighter, whether it’s a motorcycle or a scooter. And the MP3, or whatever like it is on the market at that point, would definitely be an option I would consider. Meanwhile, for anyone today who finds the stability of three wheels appealing, the MP3 is definitely something I would suggest looking at.

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Biker Quote for Today

I am in the relentless pursuit of 6th gear. I keep trying and it still isn’t there.

The Progress of Electric Motorcycles

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Stunt rider circles Hooters girls

It was cold, and later it got wet, but I went over to the Fay Myers spring Open House Saturday as planned, to enjoy the show and ride some Zero motorcycles. It was worth it.

The stunt riders did the sort of stunts that by now I’ve seen many times, so even though I can’t come close to doing what they do it’s just not that big a thrill. However, there was a guy doing trials demos and he was definitely impressive. I want to see more of that.

My main reason for going was to demo ride some Zero electric motorcycles. I rode a few about a year ago and the improvements in that year are amazing. Last year we stayed in a parking lot and considering the capabilities of the machines, that was adequate. This year we got out on the street and that just had to be. There’s no way you can experience the power of the new S (street) and DS (dual sport) Zeros in a parking lot. They go fast!

And the Zero guys tell me they also go farther. I can’t wait to see what electrics can do in five years.

So I chatted with a couple of the Zero guys a bit and they filled me in on where things are headed. I asked first if Zero is planning to offer bikes with gears, as Brammo is now doing. There are issues with that, I was told. Adding gears would add weight, which is something they definitely don’t want to do until battery power is better. And I haven’t checked this out so it’s just hearsay, but they guy told me they recently had a race where the new Zeros outran the new geared Brammo. So why add gears?

The Zero SHe also told me that in this race they were competing against gas-powered bikes and the electrics just smoked the gas bikes. Even giving them a head start–I can’t remember how much, three minutes?–he said the electrics all overtook the gassers by the third lap.

One of the bikes I rode was the Zero XU, which in truth seems to be pretty much a scooter. It doesn’t have the power or range of the S and DS and is only intended for running around town. So I asked if Zero was considering selling a scooter. The issue there, I was told, is that it costs in terms of design, production lines, and warehouse space every time you add a new model. There’s a lot the company would like to do but until they can ramp up sales significantly those things are just not going to happen.

One aspect of doing this demoing at Fay Myers is that Zero is looking to sign up dealers to carry their bikes. They’re especially interested in the Colorado market because of the terrific tax credits this state offers for electric vehicles. The highest price Zero is the DS, which has an MSRP of $10,495. With state and federal tax credits, we can buy them here for $5,395. With that bike’s improvements, that’s something worth considering, especially since operating the thing costs about a penny a mile in electricity. How does that measure up to your $3.67 a gallon gas?

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Biker Quote for Today

If loud pipes save lives imagine what learning to ride that thing would do!!!

Not the Big-Time Harley Guys I Thought

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

I want this motorcycle (he said)

We all have misconceptions about those things we know little of. Me, I don’t know a lot about Southern motorcyclists so I have what are probably a lot of wrong ideas. I seem to have cleared up one of them, though.

I’m down in South Carolina right now visiting my mother, and over the weekend I went to the Progressive International Motorcycle Show. The show itself was no big deal; kind of a disappointment actually. What surprised me was the parking lots.

Never having ridden a motorcycle in the South, or very much east of the Mississippi River, I had the idea that nearly all these old southern boys would be sitting astride Harleys. I’m not sure why I had that idea, but I did.

Well guess what? Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure there were a lot of Harleys in the parking lot of the show, but it was amazing how many other bikes there were. Unlike big events in Colorado where, unless it’s a brand event such as a BMW rally, Harleys outnumber everything else combined, it wasn’t so here. In fact, while I have no hard numbers, I’d estimate that there were no more than 20 percent Harleys and the rest was everything else.

For one, there were just a ton of sport bikes. Maybe this has to do with how popular racing is in the South. Not too many Harley baggers to be found in the races, except perhaps some Sportsters.

But even for the baggers I saw a lot of Gold Wings, Stars, BMWs, FJRs, you name it. Plus plenty of dual-sport bikes, which makes sense when you figure all the great unpaved roads there are around here. Kind of like in Colorado.

So I stand corrected. Now I wonder what other misconceptions I have about Southern riders. Probably what I need to do is spend a few weeks riding through this part of the country. That would be nice. I just need to fit it into my schedule; that’s always the hard part. Maybe next year.

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Biker Quote for Today

Don’t die wondering, die wandering.

Guest Post: Have You Ever Thought About Becoming a Motorcycle Mechanic?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

OK, I don’t make a regular practice of it, but I was actually approached twice recently about running guest posts here. The first had to do with motorcycle insurance and this second one is about a career as a motorcycle mechanic. I just want to note that I’m not getting anything for running these, and I wouldn’t run them if I didn’t think they contained information that might be useful to readers. I’m assuming there won’t be any more any time soon.

Have You Ever Thought About Becoming a Motorcycle Mechanic?

Which state has the highest concentration of its work force in the motorcycle mechanics field? If you think it’s Wyoming, you’re correct! Fortunately, there are plenty of job opportunities across the country for qualified motorcycle mechanics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 18,800 motorcycle mechanics in the United States in 2008. However, only 5 of them knew what they were doing! Just kidding, of course. But nevertheless, there is some demand out there for well-trained, knowledgeable, hard-working mechanics.

The median wage for motorcycle mechanics in 2008 was $15.08 per hour. The highest paid 10 percent earned over $24.27 per hour. The lowest paid 10 percent made less than $9.76 per hour. With any luck, you’ll be at the higher end of this range if you decide to enter this field.

Dealerships typically pay the most and employ the largest number of motorcycle mechanics. Some of the higher-paying jobs require the skills necessary to install the newest specialized components and computerized equipment on high-end bikes.

Due to harsh winter weather conditions, location matters for steady employment. Even the courageous moped crowd finds alternative forms of transportation during the winter.

Here’s a list of the metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of motorcycle mechanics:

  • Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Florida
  • Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Winchester Virginia-West Virginia
  • Yuma, Arizona
  • Altoona, Pennsylvania

Here are the top paying states for motorcycle mechanics along with their average annual salaries:

  • California: $41,590
  • Maryland: $39,940
  • Connecticut: $38,860
  • Nevada: $38,630
  • Massachusetts: $38,470


Employment Outlook

The number of people riding motorcycles has steadily increased in recent years, leading to a greater demand for motorcycle technicians. Most of the new jobs will continue to be in the motorcycle dealer sector. The increasing complexity of motorcycles will also provide job opportunities for specialists in independent repair shops.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 9 percent employment growth for motorcycle mechanics from 2008 to 2018. Job prospects should be good for people who have formal training.

Besides repairing and restoring motorcycles, some motorcycle mechanics also work on mopeds, motor scooters, all-terrain vehicles, and dirt bikes. And no, mechanics that work on mopeds are not necessarily wimps. Some motorcycle mechanics also make minor body repairs. Besides repair work, many mechanics add aftermarket components and make modifications to meet an owner’s appetite for speed.

A growing number of mechanics graduate from accredited motorcycle postsecondary degree programs. Many employers prefer these mechanics due to their advanced knowledge. These folks also require less on-the-job training.

Career Options

According to the book “Best Jobs for the 21st Century” (by Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin), motorcycle mechanic ranked 493 out of the Best 500 Jobs Overall. Whoever put together that list probably wears an ascot, because some of the higher ranking jobs seem EXTREMELY boring.

Motorcycle dealerships: Motorcycle mechanics working at dealerships usually need specialized training from a formal education program. However, some dealers do provide on-the-job training. Steady pay and dependable hours are additional benefits of working for a dealership.

Repair shops: Secondary education, such as an associate’s degree or diploma in motorcycle mechanics, makes it easier to find employment at repair shops. However, apprenticeships are also common. Typically, large shops provide better benefits than small shops.

Self-employment: An associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate can help a self-employed mechanic attract customers.

MotorcycleIndustryJobs has a web page with an extensive amount of job listings. Check it out to get a better idea of what’s out there.

Education

Associate’s of Applied Science degrees in motorcycle service technology are available, as are diplomas and certification courses. These education programs can last anywhere from six months to two years. Some of them include an apprenticeship as a requirement for graduation. Any one of these programs can really enhance a resume.

Professional certification is available through motorcycle manufacturers. This training is provided by technical schools. Some of these schools have partnered with motorcycle manufacturers to provide training for specific brands of motorcycles. Some schools allow you to specialize in Harley-Davidson, European, or Asian motorcycles.

Motorcycle mechanics who perform warranty work for insurance companies or manufacturers usually need to complete courses offered by motorcycle manufacturers. Enginecycle.com has an extensive list of schools that offer motorcycle technician training.

Harley-Davidson

By the way, William Harley and Arthur Davidson first built motorcycles for the public in 1903 in a 10×15 foot wooden shed. Harley-Davidson Motor Company was scrawled on the door. That’s just another lesson that proves that even the most successful people in our country have to start somewhere.

Harley-Davidson mechanics need a formal education in core motorcycle mechanics. The company has partnerships with several colleges to provide specific training for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. These schools are as follows:

  • Pittsburgh State University (Kansas)
  • Fort Scott Community College (Kansas)
  • Lake Washington Tech (Washington State)
  • Central Carolina Community College (North Carolina)
  • Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (Arizona and Florida)

If you want to work on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, then try getting an internship with a participating Harley-Davidson dealer.

Technician and related jobs at Harley-Davidson dealerships include:

  • Service staff
  • Service technician
  • Service technician expert
  • Master service technician
  • Service writer
  • Master of service technology
  • Shop foreman

Harley-Davidson technicians can find job opportunities at dealerships, with race teams, and at shops that restore old bikes.

By the way, Harley-Davidson no longer uses the term “mechanic.” They instead go with “Harley-Davidson technician.”

If you decide to enroll in a motorcycle education program, do thorough research on the schools you’re considering. Ask representatives of local motorcycle dealerships and repair shops which schools they recommend. Admissions representatives at private, technical schools are usually sales people, so make sure they provide actual data to support any claims about employment for their graduates.

Brady Daniels writes about a variety of topics related to motorcycles for Motorcycle Insurance Quote.

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Biker Quote for Today

Above Ground, and on a Harley, Life is Good!!


Wanting a New Motorcycle

Monday, July 26th, 2010

We just got back from our annual OFMC motorcycle trip and already the musical chairs have started. With our group up to 10 guys now, it seems like every year someone shows up on a new bike.

Motorcycles at the Snake River CanyonLast year it was Dennis, having traded his Gold Wing in on a new Harley Street Glide. This year Brett sold his Fat Boy to his brother Matt and got himself a new Street Glide almost just like Dennis’s. And Matt came along for the first time, the new kid, on what is now his Fat Boy.

Already now we know there will be at least two people on new bikes next year. During this year’s trip Bill and Friggs swapped bikes a couple times so Friggs could get a taste of Bill’s Fat Boy. You see, Bill is very interested in a new Harley Ultra and meanwhile, Friggs has decided it is time to move up from his old Virago. So Friggs will buy Bill’s Fat Boy and Bill will get his Ultra.

Incidentally, that will move our group one further into the Harley column. Just a few years ago we went out with nine guys and among them were five Hondas, one Yamaha, and three Harleys. With Bill and Friggs dealing it would line up for next year at three Hondas, one Kawasaki, and six Harleys.

Except that may not be the line-up. John has also made up his mind that the time has come to replace his 16-year-old Honda Shadow. And he, too, had been seriously eyeing the Harleys all these other guys are riding. However, to my surprise, he told me the last day of the trip that he had been cured of his Harley envy. It seems he talked with some of the Harley guys and was aghast at the cost of the regular service requirements to maintain the warranty, as well as Dennis’s remark to Friggs that the new handlebars Friggs wants for the Fat Boy will run him about $800.

Mind you now, John has an almost totally stock Shadow and it has been pretty nearly everything he has wanted. He has never been in the position of spending money on his bike. I agreed with him that the Harley prices seem pretty high but when I bought my Kawasaki Concours the first thing I did was put on risers to bring the grips 3 inches closer to me, at a cost of $300. And then I added a backrest for Judy so she feels more secure on behind me, also at a cost of $300. Harley gear may be more expensive but all motorcycle gear is pricey.

So it looks like John will be on a new bike next year but at this point he doesn’t know what it will be. I’m betting it’s a Gold Wing.

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Biker Quote for Today

Remember, only you can convince yourself to ride a wheelie on a Bagger!

Now I See Why Randy Loves Triumphs

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

That’s my friend Randy there in the photo, on his first bike, back when we both had dark hair and more of it. He still has that Triumph Bonneville, although it’s in pieces stashed in boxes around his house. Today he rides a Bonneville T100.

Randy on his first BonnevilleSo it was Randy who tipped me off that Northern Colorado Euro Motorcycles would have a truck in from Triumph offering demo rides last weekend. I took a ride to take some rides.

Cutting right to the heart of the matter, I loved the Bonnevilles I rode. Yeah, I rode two of them. The basic Bonny was the first one I rode and then I rode three cruisers, the America, the Thunderbird, and the Speedmaster, in that order. While I liked the Speedmaster best of those three, none of them matched the Bonneville, in my opinion, so I rode another Bonneville, the T100 this time, like Randy’s.

I’m not going to repeat my discussion of each of these bikes, you can read that on Examiner, but I’m sold on the Bonny. It was light, agile, powerful, and a whole lot of fun.

Thanks for the heads-up, Randy.

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Biker Quote for Today

Aging and still riding is like the talking dog. It does not matter how well the dog talks but rather that the dog talks at all.

Riding Zeros and Old Motorcycles

Monday, May 24th, 2010

A very busy weekend, what with all the motorcycle riding I had to do. This is a dirty job and . . . oh yeah, you probably don’t want to hear it. OK, it’s a sweet job.

Zero electric motorcyclesOn Saturday, as I said I would, I went to test ride Zero electric motorcycles. Local Zero rep Chuck Pratt and a bunch of folks from the home office were on hand with a variety of bikes, offering test rides to all comers.

It was an absurdly windy day and there was no dirt to test ride the dirt bikes in, but it was still enough to get a feel for what an electric motorcycle is like. After being reassured that the thing really is running, as you sit there without holding a clutch in, squeezing brakes, or anything else, you twist the throttle and by golly you take off!

I’ll be giving a full report on Examiner.com about the Zeros, and I’ll come back here and link to that report once it’s up, but there’s one extremely interesting thing I want to share with you here. If you live in Colorado, you can have a Zero S (street) or DS (dual sport) for an incredible price.

They are listed at about $10,000 but thanks to state and federal tax credits for purchases of electric vehicles, a Colorado resident can ride off with one for only $5,100. That’s mostly thanks to the Colorado tax credit, which is the largest offered anywhere in the country. If I had room to park a third bike, and a normal job that actually paid real money, I’d be a fish on the line for them to reel in. You might want to consider it.

Old Bike Ride 8

Old Bike Ride 8Sunday was a whole other gig. Working through Norton Colorado, a group of local Norton owners, Bob Ohman put together this eighth annual ride of old bikes. The loosely structured–and completely unenforced, as far as I could tell, but who cares?–rules were you needed to be riding a bike at least 25 years old or be at least 65 years old yourself. I rode my 1980 Honda CB750 Custom.

This was a ride the way things used to be before lawsuit-happy Americans ruined things for themselves and others: no riding fee, no liability waiver–just come and join the gang and go for nice ride on a terrific day for riding. And there were Ducatis, Hondas, Nortons, BSAs, Yamahas, Harleys, at least one Laverda, and a bunch of others. Oh yeah, an Indian or two.

Heading out, the first thing we did was ride to the top of Lookout Mountain and then stop near Buffalo Bill’s grave for more schmoozing and oogling of old iron. Then back down the hill and up Clear Creek Canyon to the Peak to Peak Highway, and north to the Millsite Inn, outside of Ward, a popular biker stop.

After lunch and more oogling it was pick-your-own-route back to Golden and regroup, or head on home. Other than being more chilly than expected up on the Peak to Peak, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to ride and it was a lot of fun. Last Sunday in May; put it on your calendar for next year.

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Biker Quote for Today

I may be a poor rider, but my bike sure is SLOW.

Ready to Ride Some Zeros

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Hot diggity, I’ve been waiting for this. Come Saturday I’m going to finally get the opportunity to test ride some Zero electric motorcycles.

Zero electric motorcycleI first started trying a couple months ago to set something up so I could see what these new-fangled electrics are like. Well, the day is nearly here. And you can bet I’ll have plenty to say afterward. Stay tuned.

I’m counting on getting to ride all four of the 2010 models, but that may depend on how many other people are there with the same intentions. Zero currently sells these four:

  • Zero MX is a motocross bike, set up for the track and for jumps
  • Zero X is a dirt bike, for trails and technical stuff
  • Zero S is a street bike
  • Zero DS is a dual sport bike

The one thing I’m wondering about is if we’ll get a chance to actually ride the dirt-oriented bikes in dirt. This event is taking place at a parking lot and if all we get to do is ride the dirt bikes around on the pavement that won’t be truly satisfying. Who knows. I guess I will come Saturday. And you will soon afterward.

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Biker Quote for Today

Loud pipes risk rights!