As a motorcycle rider, of course I am aware of other riders. And to be honest, I often wonder why other riders choose the bikes they ride. The obvious answer is that we all have different tastes, likes and dislikes. Take me for instance, I'm a pretty hard customer to please but this is not about me.
There are sport bike riders, adventure bike riders, cruiser riders, chopper riders and other riders, but why? What is the draw to say sport bikes? Is it the speed? I don’t know. But I do know that the ones that ride them are very proud to do so, and they love their bikes just like the rest of us.
I don’t know about other parts of the world, but there are definitely devoted brand riders in the US. Harley riders come to mind. Yet there are others that will only own a Honda. There is nothing at all wrong with that but I prefer trying out new things. I base my opinion about motorcycles using just a few things. Form, function and quality. By quality I mean made out of a metal of some sort. I'm old fashioned so plastic still means less quality to be. Yet there are good arguments for plastic parts. They are cheap to fix if the bike is dropped or wrecked, and that is a good point. Yet my argument is they are also cheaper to produce, so why do plastic covered bikes cost so much? This has always confused me. But I digress.
From what I can remember over the years Harley Davidson is the most preferred brand of motorcycle in the U.S. since the late 80s or so. Not so much prior to that. Yet they have always had a devout following. Growing up in the 70s, I was all about Japanese bikes and of course British bikes. I've owned a few Harley’s in my time but don’t now. I'm sure there is a reason for this, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. Oh, cost - thats definitely one big one. Even today I own 3 motorcycles all from different manufacturers but all exquisite at what they were designed to do. One is a Cleveland CycleWerks, one is a Suzuki and one is a Triumph. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to own a Triumph, Triumphs were my dream bikes. Them and Norton. As I said earlier I have had a few Harley’s and that is where I got my taste for a cruiser style motorcycle. I like the way they ride and are very comfortable in my opinion. So several years ago I found out they were still producing Triumph motorcycles, and they were supposed to be very reliable bikes. The old ones not so much. Which is why the Japanese ruled supreme in bike sales in the 70s. So me being me, I researched this newer Triumph motorcycle company, and the more I read the more I knew I wanted one.
Now I own a Triumph cruiser and it's better than what I had imagined. Back to the point. We all have different tastes in bikes, brands and styles. The point is we shouldn’t care what others ride as long as we ride. All motorcycles are cool. None are better than the other and these days they are expensive so I suppose quality is what is most important. With that said, all bikes are made very well these days so one is not better than the other, reliability-wise. So let's get out there and ride our bikes of choice, and treat other riders with the respect they deserve - whether some return that favor or not. We are in this together so lets treat one another as such. Keep the rubber parts down and be safe this spring!
Among all the bickering and political turmoil is us riders. Most of us could care less about who is saying what about whom. All we care about is that one adds on or of the improvement we want before the spring riding season begins. Some of us have our bikes in pieces doing a good inspection, while others have theirs in the garage hooked up to the battery maintainer. With all that is going on one thing is most pressing on my mind, and that is Winter and the lack of riding days.
It happens every year and it seems I'd be used to it by now, but it only seems to get worse. Worse as in harder to deal with. Sure I can take a nice spin when the sun is out and the roads are dry, but the cold keeps me from truly enjoying the experience. So like many of us I try to use the winter months for maintenance and customizing, hoping that the changes I make will suit me come Spring.
I have 3 good bikes, and one would think that would keep me busy, but over the years I have become efficient. And now 3 take up as much time as one used to in the winter. My CCW Heist is most pressing. It still needs a proper throttle cable and a good test ride and carb tune. That will have to wait. The holidays tend to eat up the bike parts fund. I did however get my center stand in the mail from Australia for the Triumph. It’s all installed and works great. I am a huge advocate for center stands. They make life much easier for maintenance on the road and in general. If you have a chain or belt drive bike, and you don’t have a center stand and can get one - do it. Yes, Harley does make center stands for their bikes. As does Triumph. Why bikes don’t come with them much these days is beyond me.
Winter is also a time for reflection and preparation for the riding season ahead. Most of us have at least one annual ride, and we do everything we can to be there. For me its the 2 week trip on the Triumph and the CCW Homecoming. These things require planning and money, so now is the time to get into the saving money mode. This year will be just the second annual CCW Homecoming and my first long trip on the Bonneville. I’m not worried about the Bonneville, it’s been thoroughly tested over the past several months and will do quite well on a long trip. I’ve made a few modifications as I felt necassary. I installed handle bar risers, the center stand and of course a device charger. So it should be all set except for the large luggage box I have yet to order. I must say my America has surpassed my expectations for comfort, power and highway speed traveling.
August is the month for the CCW Homecoming. August seems like a long way off but it will be here quicker than I think. The CCW Homecoming is hands down my favorite group get together. Last year was awesome and then some. How many motorcycle companies invite the customers to come hang out and ride at the company factory? Well CCW does, and it's well worth the time and effort to get there. So if you couldn’t make it last year - try to be there this year.
So I do have a few things left that need to be completed, but I’ll get them done. I'll day-dream of long rides and burger stops, and do what tinkering needs to be done until the 2016 riding season begins. With all that said, take the time to do the maintenance on your ride. It’s as important as the gear you wear. Here’s to the successful 2015 riding season and an even better 2016 riding season. Maybe I’ll see you out there. Come on, spring!