For me it’s not a big question. I like the wind. However, controlling the wind becomes an obsession for some riders. I’ve had one motorcycle with a fairing on it, and that was the GS 650 my dad purchased in 1982. He bought the aftermarket fairing so I had no vote. It was a stylish medium sized Vetter. It did look good on the bike but as for function, I was not impressed. All it really did was make my vision of the road worse, and if I tried to look over it the wind would try to rip my helmet off. Many years passed and many bikes, but no fairings. Then I did my first cross-country ride and once again wondered if a windscreen would be better than not having one. So I ordered a fork mounted one for my newly acquired GS 850. Sure it broke up the wind, but all it did was move it to different locations. With the windscreen there was an updraft so strong it would lift the visor on my helmet. That was a major distraction, and any distraction on a bike is not good. So off it came. I’m not saying windscreens are not any good, all I’m saying is I don’t like them. I like the looks but not worth the expense or time to me. The wind just doesn’t bother me like it does some riders.
If one buys a modern touring beast like a Harley Electra or Honda Goldwing, or any other, those come with fairings on them and they do practically block 100% of the wind. You could literally read a magazine behind one of those fairings doing 75mph. (Not recommended for obvious reasons) but no wind at all is not riding to me. Like I said before, a windscreen is not for everyone but for some it’s a must. I am not saying don’t use one, all I’m saying is make up your mind by riding with and without. Don’t choose one just because someone says you need it because obviously some of us don’t. Most bikes today are set up to block the wind very well for the rider by design. To me that’s good enough. A low seat and fat frond end tend to channel most of the air around and over the rider, but some does makes it past - and the faster you go - the more wind you will get.
So be a sport for yourself and your peace of mind and ride both ways. Make up your own mind if a windscreen is really all it’s supposed to be. If you end up using a windscreen then at least you use it because you know what it’s like riding distances with or without. I chose without but I also choose cruiser style bikes over others due to that style being the most comfortable for me on long trips. Low and long is how I like my trip bikes. I blame Harley for that even though I have not owned one since 1993. But if you sit up high on your bike, the odds of needing a windscreen go up as well. All a windscreen is, is another piece of gear, a piece of gear we as the riders can decide if we need if we need it or not. The more time you spend on your bike the better, right? So whichever option keeps you out there longer is the best option.
You ride what?
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!
The Wintertime Blues
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!
All Things Thumper
The single (thumper) motorcycle motor. Why would anyone buy a single powered bike? Well for many darn good reasons, such as reliability, simplicity, affordability and tons of torque per horsepower just to mention a few reasons.
Singles were used to power the very first motorcycles, such as Triumph, Harley Davidson and of all other icons of the modern motorcycle. So they are at least 116 years old as a motorcycle motor. That means they have heritage. Which also means they have a rich history powering motorcycles. The thumper is such a good motorcycle motor design it’s still in use today. Why is that? Well let’s discuss that. The majority of motorcycles produced today are small and mid-size single cylinder machines. They are cheap, light and economical. Not to mention they can achieve staggering gas mileage numbers compared to their larger counterparts. Which unintentionally makes them eco smart as well. Even this ancient form of motorcycle propulsion fits into today’s cleaner air, greener seeking society. A hundred years ago who would have thought that was going to happen?
The single comes in many shapes and sizes today from a vertical 650cc to a horizontal 49cc scooter motor. They are used on off road bikes and road going bikes. One might say they are the most widely used motorcycle motor design ever made. Which brings me to this question. Why do Americans prefer big gas sucking V-twins over a good old trusty thumper? Well the largest thumper produced today I believe is 650cc. It is used primarily in Adventure bikes, cross overs and dirt bikes. To my knowledge no one has ever attempted to produce anything larger than 650cc, none that ever went into production that is. I’m certain there is some sort of engineering reasoning for this.
Why do some insist on having at least one thumper powered bike in their collection? Thumpers have been a part of motorcycling since there were motorcycles. They are great fun to ride. They vibrate, cough and spit sometimes but they just keep thumping along. They have a personality all of their own. They also provide a motorcycle with thin profile. The Yamaha SR500, One of the most beloved thumpers in modern history, is highly sought after these days for its drop dead gorgeous looks and its ability to be customized into a café style bike brat bike, chopper or bobber.
In my mind the pinnacle for thumpers is the 500cc motor. It’s perfect for most applications. All but touring. However there are those that do tour on 500cc powered bikes. So it’s not like it can’t be done on one. I believe anyone that is new to riding and is looking for a road bike they should start with a 500cc thumper. Unfortunately not many companies produce a 500cc single for the street these days. This makes selection a bit slim. Some examples are the Suzuki s40 650cc, Royal Enfield 500cc bullet, and the Yamaha SR 400. Of course only one of those choices is 500cc but that’s how few in this class that are produced. The good news is a new comer to the motorcycle manufacturing arena has plans to release an entire line of 500cc thumpers. That company would be none other than Cleveland CycleWerks. This means choices will get much better and that has me both excited and happy. However there are many used thumpers out there as well. The Honda Ascot 500 comes to mind. Learning how to ride on a thumper is like learning how to shoot with a .22 rifle. Once you are a pro at the 22 anything else is easy.
Me I have a large displacement twin but I also have my trusty thumper. I think it will always be that way. I take long trips once a year, as in on the road for 2 or more weeks straight but for the most part I just scoot around, Back and forth to work, markets and just riding. One cannot beat a thumper for every day use. They are like a beloved tool, like a favorite old pocket knife. They are the best at what they are intended to do. I recommend that all riders have at least one thumper in their collection, they are really that good.
It's an addiction
The addiction to customizing. First I want to put out there that I own a CCW Heist. I have never ridden or owned any other CCW product therefore my rantings are about my Heist and my Heist alone.
Yep some of us that own CCW motorcycles can’t seem to stop messing with them. It’s either cosmetic upgrades, ergonomic upgrades or performance upgrades. Sadly we are hooked and I’ll admit that description fits me. For me it all started with removal of the evap system. From there, the seat and springs, then the bars and on and on. I’ve been going non-stop every year since 2011 and this year, 2015 is no different. I have to ask myself why do I take a perfectly good motorcycle and mess with it. The answer is simple, or is it. To create a look with no help that I can be proud of. Yet even when I’m proud of my work I seem to change it all again. Maybe it’s the thrill of learning new things and doing something I’ve never done before. I don’t know but what I do know is I keep on doing it.
The exhaust for example, if I can remember correctly has been changed 5 times. Im on my 3rd carb. And third shade of paint. 3rd set of bars, 2nd head light and 3rd set of turn signals and tail light. I’ve gone from a bare bones bobber to a bobber bagger and now in between. It has a hand fitted new rear fender and I'm on my second gas tank and 3rd filler cap. I’ve changed my seat twice, the only thing I have only changed once is the seat springs. I got that one right the first time. I added some handlebar risers and have changed out all the switches on the handle bars. My start button has been relocated and I’ve replaced my horn many times. I’ve upgraded the chain and sprockets and on and on. There always seems to be something I want to do. I gave up a lot of my ideas by buying a bike that can be ridden on a cross country trip realistically and comfortably and can do the “ton” no problem. I have come to realize that my wee bike is designed well for what it’s meant for and nothing more. It’s not a distance cruiser though all day rides are easily done thanks to my springs and seat. It’s a 229cc motorcycle and if one can accept that for what it is, it’s much easier to enjoy what the bike has to offer.
What does the bike have to offer for me? Well I consider myself a self-proclaimed bike nerd when it comes to classics and modern classics. Like most of us we ogle at photos of old Indian chiefs, Scouts and Harley pan heads and knuckles. However, overwhelmingly my favorite classics are the British bikes from post and pre WW2. Anyway my point is I will never be able to afford one of those bikes but I can simulate the experience of owning an old bike like those by owning a Heist. It has a rigid frame, around the same power and around the same top speed. Just for giving me that nostalgic feel is mostly why I enjoy riding her so much. Yes a rigid frame requires some getting used to but once one does come to terms with one it’s a magical experience. One of the other and maybe the biggest reason I keep my Heist is because of the loyal following of these bikes and the close nit group of riders it has introduced me to. The truest bikers I’ve met ride these little bikes. Sure most of us ride other bikes as well but they are not our Heists.
Back to the point, why do we change our bikes so much, because we love them that’s why. CCW made a bold and very brave move back in 2009 and I for one am damn glad they did. CCW for life says it all. So for those that scoff at the small displacement and the fact they are made in China, bugger off. If you don’t like them don’t buy one. So in short I really don’t care why I keep customizing my Heist, it makes me happy and I’m all for happy. So why would I question that?
Well August seems like a long time ago now that its November. Thanksgiving is Thursday so this write up is a bit late. I can make excuses and good ones at that but I'll continue instead. Well this was the year of the new Generation CCW introduction bikes. For those of us that made it to the Homecoming we saw and fondled both models. Those intro models are of course the Gen 2 Misfits. Stan and CCW have out done themselves with both the 250 and later on the 500cc model. Us riders that were there had the privilege of seeing the 500 in person and wow what a machine. (click 'read more' below)
The first shipment associated with the Gen 2 Misfits arrives in January. PIT is projecting these models to sell out extremely fast. Please contact Brett Moorer at PIT Motors Ltd for information associated with the model allocation process. Financing is available !
PIT Motors Ltd
Cleveland CycleWerks Distribution
856 438 6561
The first 50 units to be allocated will receive a complimentary bike cover and battery tender.
CCW has yet again done an amazing job developing a model that will redefine the motorcycle riding experience. Please do not hesitate to enroll in the allocation process as this model IS HOT ! HOT ! HOT ! and the initial supply will not last !!
WE ARE CLEVELAND !!!!!!!!
Welcome to Chop Talk!
We've revived the blog on the new and improved user-friendly version of ccwthariders.com. Look for occasional entries here including news, build info and anything else associated with 2-wheeled fun. Stay tuned!