Beaulieu Brothers 2019...Riding out all the way to Perce Rock on Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula...Fun times along the Atlantic Coast roads.

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The Big BBR 2019 Roadtrip

Beaulieu Brothers Ride to the Atlantic Ocean… Few things in life get my excitement level up like planning for a big motorcycle roadtrip… Note – Blog Post in progress. —

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The Big BBR 2019 Roadtrip

Beaulieu Brothers Ride to the Atlantic Ocean…

Few things in life get my excitement level up like planning for a big motorcycle roadtrip…

Note – Blog Post in progress. — MJB

This year’s BBR will have us cover just over 5,000 miles beginning in upstate New York then heading to the tip of eastern Canada then back into New England USA and with a final leg way up north in northern Ontario.

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Day 1 – We meet up in Niagara Falls/Buffalo, New York

Located 17 miles norhtwest of Buffalo, NY, the three Niagara Falls straddle the international border between the province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are on the American side. The Horseshoe Falls lie right on the border with Canada and the U.S.

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Off to visit a sister in Ottawa, Ontario.

Few things bring back childhood memories like our Mom’s french meat pie known in French as “tourtiere”. Sister Rose inherited our Mom’s great cooking skill and makes the perfect French Tourtiere for us during our stop-over at her home in Ottawa.

Canada’s Capital City, Ottawa, sits on the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario and borders with Gatineau, Quebec. The city was founded as ByTown in 1826.

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On to Quebec City to visit another sister.

La Belle Ville de Quebec…one of the oldest cities in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Note the towering Chateau Frontenac in background. Mainly all French speaking, the city was founded on July 3, 1608 by French Explorer, Samuel de Champlain.

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Riding towards Canada’s Atlantic Coast…the incredible beauty of the Gaspe Peninsula.

On the way via Route 132 which tracks south of the massive St. Lawrence River, we’ll make stops in the St. Eusebe-Cabano area to visit family members.

View of Perce Rock from Rt 132. Quebec, Canada
Located on the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

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Once around the Gaspe Peninsula, we’ll head to visit yet another sister in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada lies in the center of the Maritime Provinces. It was founded in 1766 by Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants from Philadelphia, USA.

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The spectacular Cabot Trail ride…

One of the most scenic drives on the planet. Especially amazing from the seat of a motorcycle.
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

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After cruising around Cape Breton, we’ll ride through Nova Scotia towards Saint John, New Brunswick…where two more sisters will get to feed us. 🙂

Saint John, New Brunswick is located on the Bay of Fundy. It is the oldest incorporated city in Canada (1785). French Explorer, Samuel de Champlain, landed here on June 24, 1604.

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Back into the USA – New England region to visit family.

Lawrence, MA originally settled in 1655, is about 15 miles from Lowell, MA. The city is located on the Merrimack River.

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The last leg of BBR2019 will have us heading north into logging country.

After enjoying the company of our cousins around Lawrence, MA, we’ll ride out through New Hampshire and Vermont back into Canada looking to head north on Provincial Highway 17 towards our home town of Chapleau in northern Ontario.

Heading to bush country for the Island Lake Lumbercamp Kids Reunion…
Watch out for moose in northern Ontario.

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Long live the Beaulieu Brothers Rides…

Time sure flies…Brother Roch and me first rode the Cabot Trail back 18 years ago in 2002. He on a 2001 Yamaha Star Cruiser and me on my 1999 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide.

Ride Safe Out There, 

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Marc & Roch Beaulieu


Beaulieu Brothers, Marc (59) & Roch (57). We’ve been riding motorcycles and exploring everywhere since our early teens growing up in the Island Lake Lumber Camp
in northern Ontario, Canada.

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle evangelist, an industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

Review: Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 Motor

UPDATE2: Hi Friends…I just turned over 41,000 miles on my 2014 Indian Chieftain…planning to add another 7,000 miles or so in 2019. Engine is running flawless. I will keep you updated. — Motorcycle Marc.  05/22/2019

UPDATE1: THUNDER STROKE 116ci Stage 3 Big Bore Kit available for 2017 and later Indian Thunder Stroke motors. Selling for $1,999,99. 

This takes your current Thunder Stroke 111ci to a whopping 116ci (1901cc).

The powerplant pros at Indian Motorcycles say the new kit will deliver 20% more horsepower and 15% more torque…all without sacrificing engine reliability. Of course, dealer installation cost is required and for an extra mandatory $1,500 or so depending on your dealer, you’ll need to upgrade to a Stage 1 Exhaust, Air Cleaner and Exhaust Tips. Total estimated cost for your extra 20% horsepower = $3.499.99. 

116ci = 1901cc…this brings to life big time power! PhotoCredit: Indian Motorcycles

Special Note: This big bore kit will not work on pre-2017 Indian Thunder Stroke engines or with Stock Exhaust or Stock Intake . It also will not work with Stage 2 Cam motors. Installation does not void warranty according to Indian Motorcycles. This Stage 3 Kit meets EPA and CARB emission limits but “Non-competition street use may violate federal noise limits” so double check your options with your Indian dealer. Click TS116 for more information. See “Comments” section at the end of this post for fan feedback.

Below is my original post on the TS111 published in August of 2016.

INDIAN’S THUNDER STROKE MOTOR – The Thunder Stroke 111 has been on the market since 2014 so I figured it’s time to take a closer look at this VTwin engine.

The TS111 resembles the Indian Chief motor look of the 40s and early 50s. It’s a nice piece of modern mechanical engineering. It’s about as far advanced as one can take the traditional air-cooled, internal combustion V-Twin engine.

At 111 cubic inches, this 49-degree V-Twin motor (1811cc) puts out an estimated 78 hp @ 4510 rpm and pushes out a whopping 119.2 ft-lbs of torque according to data from the Indian Motor Company. For those of you not familiar with these types of gearhead stats, you can use the term “torque monster” with confidence to describe it.

Old-style classic inspiration

Looking at the early Indian Chief motors, it is easy to see the retro-look resemblance. I personally like the big slanted fins, the fat pushrod tubes, tapered cylinders and downtube exhaust pipes design of that 1940s era.

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EARLY INDIAN CHIEF ENGINE. Circa. 1940s, early 1950s.

Let’s look inside…

I was able to take some nice cut-away photos of the Thunder Stroke 111 while visiting the Indian Motor Company booth in Sturgis this past August 2015. Additionally, the good folks at Indian Motorcycles sent me some of their CAD design images so that I could share an insiders view of the engine with all my blog fans and followers.

TS111 - Full-LefttSide-View-591x480-
THERE’S A HUGE MULTI-PLATE WET CLUTCH IN THIS MOTOR.

Cool CAD designs. I’ve added some tech notes for reference.

0-CAD TS111 -A - 401X398

It’s not often you get to see what the engineers saw on their computer screens when they were designing this motor.

Imagine their excitement when asked to take a clean sheet of paper/screen and come up with a modern air-cooled V-Twin for new Indian motorcycles back in 2011. Oh, and it’s got to ready for testing and production in 24 months.

The Thunder Stroke is a fuel-injected 4-stroke 49 degree V-Twin engine with serious displacement at 111 cubic inches (1811cc).

The engine has a forged single-pin transverse crankshaft that transfers power from the big pistons (3.89 in./101 mm) during their their big 4.45 in/113 mm stroke.

Note the 2-valves per cylinder shown in the diagrams here and the three camshafts driving the parallel pushrods which in turn, bring the hydraulic lifters to life. We’re talking a really cramped mechanical design around them three camshafts.

The 111 is the most innovative interpretation of a V-Twin motor I seen in years.

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As you can see in this post, the motor design of Indian’s Thunder Stroke is modern and innovative.

Big kudos to the engineers at Polaris’s Indian brand for bringing this new V-Twin to market I say.

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Durability and Reliability…tested for over 1,000,000 miles according to the factory.

As indicated earlier in this post, the Thunder Stroke’s monster displacement of 111 cubic inches (1811 cc) is said to deliver 119 ft-lb of torque. The engine tops out at 5500 rpm, and delivers its power through a six-speed overdrive transmission. Compression ratio is high for your basic air and oil cooled engine at 9.5:1.

The new design, which has undergone over one million miles of testing, has a forged single-pin transverse crankshaft to transfer power from the 3.89-in diameter pistons during their 4.45-in stroke.

Full RightSide View 542x480
NOTE THE HELICAL TEETH GEARS ON LEFT SIDE. The right side lower casting area houses the primary drive and 3-camshafts.

The TS111 is an overhead valve engine, with two valves per cylinder controlled by a triple camshaft driving parallel pushrods which activate hydraulic lifters. Yes, you read correctly…this motor has three cams that drive four pushrods that open and close two intake and exhaust valves per head.

As you can see, the design is rather cramped near the crankshaft. The motor has big cylinder outlines and multi-directional cooling fins to optimize engine cooling.

RightSide-Gears-Full-500x480a
PUSHRODS AND LIFTERS IN THE CYLINDER CUT-OUT.

The engine is connected to a six-speed overdrive constant-mesh transmission. Sixth gear turns 3.37 times faster than first gear, leading to an easily controllable transmission that will allow a rider to remain within the power band of the engine under most riding conditions. The clutch is a multiple-plate wet design to provide smooth clutch action without undue slippage.

See the following interesting YouTube videos for additional perspective.

Indian’s introduction video…check out this video

Here’s a factory look from the team at MotoGraphic.

Rider feedback.

My recent social media call for riders with 50,000+ miles on the Thunder Stroke 111 did not uncover such a riding pro but I did find one happy owner with just over 37,000 miles. Here is his quote:

“I have put 37,209 miles on Chieftain #873 since January of ’14 and it has been utterly reliable. I just returned from a month-long ramble across the country of over 4,000 miles, in all kinds of weather and extreme temperatures; I never once had any concern about making it home. I’ve had no clacking, no belt problems, no oil leaks, no rough running. I have put two front and three rear tires on it. Problems, such as they have been, are mostly little electronic glitches in the bike’s sophisticated electronics suite. I’ve replaced three headlight bulbs (commonly available H-4s). It has been the best bike, of many, that I have ever owned. That has been my experience with Chieftain #873.” — Randall… Source: Indian Motorcycle Forum – IndianMotorcycles.net

The Bottom Line.

There’s no doubt this is one powerful, sweet motorcycle engine…a real good looker. It even looks good in a naked Indian Chief frame as shown in my Sturgis Rally photo below.

TS111 IN FRAME MJB PIC dots protect innocents Sturgis
THE 111 FITS REAL TIGHT INSIDE THE INDIAN CHIEF FRAME. FYI: Black dots in image to protect the innocent Sturgis Rally partiers visiting the Indian Motorcycle booth.

The Thunder Stroke is a modern version of a truly classic motor. Only time and hundreds of thousands of road miles will tell if this motor has true reliability and staying power. My motorbike experience tells me that the odds of having a superior, long-lasting motor here with the TS111 are very good. Only time and millions of riding miles will tell.

Best I can tell, the Thunder Stroke 111 engine is the new standard for V-Twin motors on the market today.

Motorcycle Marc

HOOVER DAM PIC Victory 314x183
Ride Safe Out There. — Motorcycle Marc

Note to Indian Motorcycle Co. 

I gotta ask the creative minds at Indian Motorcycles.

Could an innovative, water-cooled crankshaft in-line four be coming in the future?

Stay tuned folks. My bet is that more innovation and excitement will be coming from the Polaris motorcycle companies in the future.

Note: Engine photos taken during my 2015 visit to the Indian Motorcycles display in Sturgis, South Dakota. CAD images and Classic Indian Chief images from Indian Motorcycles’ PR Pros. Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. See footer of this blog/website for more information. Ride Safe Out There.

Dust off your ride…Spring is just around the corner.

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Hey, your ride has been sitting idle all winter…You are suffering from a serious case of Parked Motorcycle Syndrome (PMS).

Frankly, many of you are darn right sick of winter and are itching to get out and ride. I want you to know I understand. I feel your pain.

I too, before I moved to America’s Finest City, San Diego in southern California, suffered the hell of PMS so I want to help get you get ready for the upcoming riding season.

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Here’s my almost world famous springtime motorcycle preparation ritual. Feel free to share it with your friends.

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My favorite 6-pack...Stone IPA.
My Mancave Favorite…Stone IPA

Step 1: Warm up your garage. Get a six pack of your favorite beer and some non-scratching cleaning cloths.

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Step 2: Take the cover off of your motorcycle.

Get your 1st beer and sit and admire your bike for about 30 minutes.

You may even sit on the bike to get a feel for it’s fine contours and comfortable seat.

You don’t want to rush this springtime cleaning ritual. Go slow…enjoy the moment. Ignore the cold winds and snow covered roads out there. Relax!

Now, sitting on your bike, grab the handlebars gently. Make believe for a moment that you are on your first roadtrip. Dream of riding into Monument Valley, Utah for example.

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Monument Valley, Utah, USA

Step 3: Clean your motorbike from front to back, top to bottom. Get it shining like new. Be gentle as your cleaning actions caress all around the painted areas. Use easy, soft strokes around the LED lights and cables. Say nice things to your bike. Admire it. Thank it for the freedom, confidence and the coolness factor it brings to your life.

Step 4: Get your 2nd beer. Review the following checklist as you admire your clean motorcycle and prepare to get your bike ready.

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Motorcycle Marc’s Mechanical Preparation Checklist:

  1. Battery – Luckily, you had it on trickle charge all winter so good to go?
  2. Fluids – Check for stale gas, oils and coolants. Change as needed.
  3. Cables & Controls – Check brakes, clutch, throttle cables and grips.
  4. Brakes – Any leaks? Check fluid level. Press levers for operation.
  5. Tires – Wear and tear, note cracks and double-check air pressure.
  6. Riding Gear – Clean helmets, goggles, leathers, boots and riding attire.
  7. Lights – headlights, brake lights and turn-signals.

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Step 5: Let’s get into some detail…OK, go ahead and get your 3rd beer before we get started.

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OK, crack open that 3rd beer. We are getting into some key details now.

Check your gas tank and your gas.
Stale gasoline in your tank will ruin your first ride and your day. Unless you filled your tank to the max when you stored your bike…I highly recommend you drain the tank and fill it with clean, high-test fuel before you hit the road.

Double-check your tires and tire pressure.
Don’t screw around with your tires. Always run your ride with good quality rubber. Inspect your wheels for wear, cracks, and worn tread to determine if it’s time to get them replaced. Winter storage can cause flat spots. Flats spots will make your bike hard to handle.

Brakes…double-check your brakes. Get your 4th beer, pour it gently into your favorite craftbeer glass as you ponder…will my brakes be OK?

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Look closely for any damage, excessive wear or deep scratches on the brake pads and lines. Also, test both your front and back brakes to ensure they’re working properly. If you hear any pad squealing or scraping, get your bike to a dealership for a double-check. You may need new pads before taking off on your first summer roadtrip.


The Perfect Mancave…workshop tools, storage, repair lift, benches, beer fridge.
This is a motorcycle lovers shop. I love my mancave!

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Step 6: Riding Gear: Now, for the enjoyment of your…5th beer…Let’s check out your riding gear.


Riding gear is so important folks. Have your got your GPS navigation system ready? Check your helmet for cracks, dents and deep scratches. How’s your helmet lining? Manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every five years whether you see visible damage or not and I follow their advice. You should too.

Try on your riding apparel…leathers, gloves, boots and rain gear to make sure they fit properly. Replace what is needed.

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Finally, it’s time to finish off that 6-pack.

Want a new motorcycle to ride this summer or maybe a second bike to add to your garage before the riding season begins? Consider a basic bagger.

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My suggestions…a used Roadking or the new 2019 Electra Glide Standard…both from the Motor Company, Harley-Davidson.

In my experience, any Roadking with less than 15,000 miles on it is basically new in my book and will cost you about $14,000 or less. A new 2019 Roadking will cost your around $19,300 MSRP plus various dealer fees and charges. That’s $24,000 out the dealership door in most parts of the U.S. Click on the image below to review the 2019 Roadking described on the Harley-Davidson website. A truly nice ride.

HAVE FUN OUT THERE THIS RIDING SEASON. RIDE SAFE!
2017 Harley-Davidson Roadking. Courtesy of San DiegoHD

Then, there’s the new 2019 Electra Glide Standard from Harley-Davidson. Super cool, no fluff, a totally pure, great handling roadtrip bagger. My perfect type of ride as I don’t like gadgets and dashboard distractions on my rides. Click on the image below for details…a great value at MSRP $18,999 I tell yas.

The Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard…the perfect, no-fluff bagger for roadtrips. Loved by purest bikers like me. In Southern California, you’ll find the best deals on this new ride at San Diego Harley-Davidson…Tell ’em Motorcycle Marc sent ya.
Photo: HD Media

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Special Last Minute NotePlease inspect your motorcycle before that first spring ride. Look for any loose wires, bolts, connections and mechanical problems before starting your bike. Double check tire pressure. Review any notes you may of made before putting your bike up for the winter.

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Ride Safe Out There…

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Motorcycle Marc

Thank you for reading my blog.
Lots of great riding adventures coming in 2019.

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About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle evangelist, an industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

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FYI – THERE’S NO FAKE NEWS ON MY BLOG…IT’S ALL REAL.

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made. I have not been paid for my opinion in this blog post.

Motorcycle Sales – How can manufacturers and dealers recruit more riders?

AN INDUSTRY IN TRANSITION – The motorcycle business…manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and after-market players are all struggling according to recent media reports and various financial reports. Future sales forecasts by the big manufacturers (OEMs) are weak. So, what’s a motorbike manufacturer and their distributors to do? Here are my thoughts…

Sales Basic#1 – Target the already licensed population.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there are near 8 million Americans who have a motorcycle license but don’t own a bike.

In California alone, the country’s largest motorcycle market, there are more licensed motorcyclists without a motorcycle than there are licensed riders who currently own one. According to a 2014 Motorcycle Industry Counsel Survey, 1.7 million Californians held licenses to operate motorcycles but only 847,937 motorcycles were registered in the state. I suspect a similar correlation exists today in 2018.

Think about this for a moment…8,000,000 licensed-qualified prospects want to ride and the industry is struggling to sell them bikes? Basic observation: The industry’s traditional marketing and sales model is obviously outdated and nowhere near as effective as it should be given the pool of ready-to-ride licensed holders.

OEMs are making great bikes that people want to ride but they are perceived as just too expensive so are avoided. There’s a reason we’re all asking how much is a second hand motorbike worth? I agree the price to ride value equation has gotten out of whack but I believe the real problem is bad communication from OEMs and dealerships on the value of motorcycle ownership.

Goal: Identify the licensees by zip code, create campaigns to show them some love, provide attractive reasons to motivate them to visit dealerships and twist some throttle.

Sales Basic #2 – Go International faster!

Today’s marketplace is worldwide and the OEMs know it. Harley-Davidson executed against its long-term objective to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally in 2017 adding 57 new international dealer points. The company also maintained its number one 601+cc motorcycle market share position in countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia and India for 2017.

Marketing Basics #1 – Manufacturers…suggest you all give serious consideration to the following actions.

> Strategy – Re-think your overall marketing strategy. Adopt an “experience marketing” mindset.

OEMs have got to do more to increase awareness of the motorcycling experience.

A more robust and effective media advertising and rider engagement strategy is required by manufacturers. One that compliments and enhances the marketing efforts of their dealers. There’s so much excitement and fun to motorcycles! Every facet of the rider experience is amazing in my book and that has got to be better communicated to a wider group of aspiring riders.

When was the last time you saw a 30 second TV commercial showing a group of riders enjoying a ride together down a scenic mountain road or parking their motorcycles in front of their favorite breakfast diner on a weekend morning?

> Invest in “Experience Marketing”.

OEMs and dealerships need to begin proactively championing motorcycling as part of the great outdoors that can be enjoyed by the entire family. The kids overtime, with early exposure to positive motorcycle experiences, will themselves likely be buyers of bikes as they get older and introduce the sport to their children. I highly recommend OEMs at least double their marketing and sales budgets to promote motorcycling as a recreational outdoor experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

> Positioning & Promotion – The open road…guess what, it still matters.

Exploration, travel and adventure is part of the human experience in all age groups. Millennials love travel and adventure. There’s no better way to experience the rawness of it all than from the seat of a motorcycle.

Get on the open road this summer…Explore America on two or three wheels. Click image for the Top 15 motorcycle roads in the U.S..

> Influence Marketing 101 – Get your lobbyists to “lobby” harder and faster.

Lobbyists play a major role in an organized attempt to influence legislators. Every topic from transportation infrastructure and planning to making lands available for enduro riding to keeping the EPA off our backs are areas lobbyists can help the motorcycle industry. Can anyone even name an OEM lobbyist?

Imagine if you will, a strong motorcycle lobby at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC?

> Influence Marketing 102 – Lobby aggressively against distracted driving.

How much time, money and effort are OEMs allocating to curtailing this dangerous cager habit? I believe the distracted driver epidemic is scaring away a significant amount of new riders from enjoying the great sport of motorcycling? Best I can tell, OEMs have had their heads in the sand on this issue.

Because motorcycles are wide open, we riders find ourselves at an increased risk of injury in the event of an accident…that risk is compounded significantly when you add distracted drivers. What are OEMs doing about distracted driving? Does anyone know? Please add your info in the comments section at the end of this post.

Manufacturing Basic #1 – OEMs must decrease manufacturing costs!

MSRPs are too high for today’s and tomorrow’s financially challenged prospect customer. Keep increasing MSRPs annually and you will lose more potential riders to other recreational alternatives. Basic observation: Your operating cost structure is contributing, even killing local dealership sales before bikes even hit the dealer’s showroom floor. Simplify your offerings…decrease complexity…Do what you must to reposition your costs. Only a minority of potential riders want technical dashboard complexity, Picasso caliber paint work and/or opera level speakers, let alone pay for it. Many just want to ride quality motorcycles.

Motorcycle Dealers – My 2-cents advice for you.

> Training – Review your customer experience training budgets.

Are they realistic or even sufficient to develop a more customer sensitive motorcycle dealership visit experience.

I have visited hundreds of motorcycle and powersports dealership in many different parts of the world during my riding lifetime. Today, I rarely go on rides without making a stop or two at dealerships. Some visits are pleasant some not so much. For example:

Basic dealership visitor etiquette, such as just being polite and offering a welcoming smile, seems to occur only 50% of the time. While powersports dealership employee attitudes have come a long way over the years, still too many exhibit a negative/bad attitude in my opinion. It’s as if they don’t understand the impact of great customer experiences on their employer’s bottom line.

I admire motorcycle dealers like San Diego Harley-Davidson and motorcycle repair shops like Ron Bishop Motorcycles in Escondido, California. They take customer satisfaction very seriously, and invest in well-trained team members. From all I’ve seen and have experienced, they commonly go beyond just “satisfying” customers. They actually go all out to make potential customers feel at home when visiting their businesses. They even thank people for “dropping by” and visiting.

Still, as they say, you’re only as good as your last customer facing performance. In a world of online reviews and social media, the only way to grow profitably is to consistently exceed the expectations of all customers — men, women, minorities. Dealerships won’t be selling many motorcycles, services and accessories for long if they don’t.

Declutter your Showrooms

Simpler with more space between bikes is key. If a customer or prospect can’t walk between your motorcycles, put up the kickstand and sit happily on your inventory then your bikes are too close together.

Clean up your showrooms and every corner of your dealership…some recent powersports dealerships I’ve seen are messy looking and darn right unattractive. Remember, the whole family needs to be made to feel welcome and “part of the family”.

The dealership motorcycle showroom lineup…works for experienced motorbike pros like me…the new rider? Feels intimidated with so much choice. ImageSource: SDHD

> Diversity & Inclusion

Motorcycle dealerships, especially powersports-oriented dealers, must develop new marketing and sales approaches that will attract women and minority riders. There’s simply too much business opportunity with these two groups to not make them a developmental priority going forward.

The Bottom Line

There are an estimated 9.0 million motorcycles registered in the U.S. today, according to the Statistical Portal. The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that the percentage of U.S. households with at least one bike has settled around 6.8% since 2008. Harley-Davidson wants to add 2.0 million new riders over the next decade…what do the other OEMs want to do?

OEMs have a responsibility to elevate the visibility of riding. They have the responsibility for working hand-in-hand with their dealers to create family-friendly riding opportunities. They have a responsibility to train their dealers to be more customer friendly. They have the responsibility to promote safe riding conditions on streets, roads and highways everywhere. They have a responsibility to lower manufacturing costs so that they can bring bikes to market that people can justify buying.

Dealers have the responsibility for bringing the fun back into buying new motorcycles. Yes, OEMs and dealerships…The future of motorcycling is in your hands.

Me, I will continue to promote the great sport of motorcycling with my thousands of social media followers in the hopes that someone somewhere will be inspired to get on a bike and ride.

Ride Safe Out There…

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle evangelist, an industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

Motorcycles are still cool so why is the industry hurting?

WHERE ARE THE NEW RIDERS? Motorcycle sales are down, motorcyclists are getting older, and people have all kinds of non-motorcycle related pursuits fighting for their hard-earned, after-tax dollars. Industry distributors, suppliers and after-market players are all struggling according to numerous media reports and a review of various OEM financial reports. Future sales forecasts by the big manufacturers are weak. Many are working towards lower inventories to ensure they are not producing more bikes than their “current” marketplace can support. So, what’s up?

Here’s my 2-cents on this issue…

The 45+ Demographic –  As is the case with many expensive recreational product offerings such as ATVs, RVs, side-by-sides, boats and motorcycles, personal income levels and interest rates play a huge role in customer demand. In other words, you got to be able to afford your recreational pursuits.

The American Motorcyclist Association indicates the average age of today’s motorcycle rider is 48. Nearly 40% of motorcycles in the U.S. have owners in the 50+ age range. Average household income of a motorcycle owner is above $85,000. This is $30,000 higher than the average household income of $55,000 in the U.S. Basic observation: A disappearing pool of customers (with the money to buy their ever increasingly expensive products) is clearly evident to OEMs and has been so for the past decade.  Despite the evidence, OEMs have been slow to control their selling costs and even more slow to invest in developing other target demographics such as women riders and minorities.

The Aging Rider – Baby Boomer on 2 wheels. – Almost singularly drove the success of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s…but today, they are “aging out” of the motorcycle marketplace.

Product Sticker Shock – It’s no wonder first-time buyers and young people aren’t buying a lot of new motorcycles. Many are loaded with college debt and/or  automobile debt and/or raising young families. In California and other expensive states, a good number of the under 35 crowd can barely afford to leave the comfort of their family’s homes.

OEMs have failed to address the economic reality plaguing this demographic. Best I can tell, young people actually like the idea of participating in adventures and going on roadtrips but view bikes as too expensive a vehicle for it.

Remember the simple minibikes of the 60s & 70s? You could buy them for less than $250 from the Sears Catalog. These bikes got a lot of us riding early.

Not building new motorcycles that young people can afford has been a clear strategic miss by the OEMs in my opinion. For example, the Harley-Davidson Street 500 MSRP is $6,899 plus an estimated 25% for various state and dealerhip charges. Now, your talking almost $9,000 out the dealership door.

Indian’s new Scout Sixty is a really cool ride but at MSRP $8,999 plus an estimated 25% of OEM “disclaimer” fees and you are now looking at $11,249 out the door.

Yamaha Cruisers don’t fare much better with the Bolt Cruiser MSRP at $7,999 + 25% = $10,000.

2018 HD Street 500 – nice bike! First time buyers and young buyers on my blog tell me they would see this Street 500 as much nicer at $6,899 out the dealership door instead of $6,899 MSRP plus various fees. ImageSource: HDMedia

Just 1 in 5 new motorcycle purchases (only 20%) are coming from first-time bike buyers according to marketing expert, Brandon Gaille. Basic observation: Smart competitors have taken notice. Sources tell me that India’s Royal Enfield is getting ready to launch new U.S. bikes in the 500cc and 750cc range for under $7,900 out the door by 2019. Japan’s world famous Honda Super Cub, with engines at 50cc and 110cc, is being launched now in Japan for an out the door price estimated to be $2,500. A U.S. and Canada introduction is expected for 2019.

Used MotorcyclesThe real price to ride value today…comes from used motorcycles. Bikes are so well built that one can consider any pre-owned motorcycle with less than 10,000 miles and less than 10 years old basically like new in my opinion. Riders are saving thousands of dollars by buying good used bikes from Motorcycle Trader, EBay and other sources.

And, for all those fortunate few that can afford/want to pay $40,000 to $50,000 for a new, top of the line Tourer, there’s as many potential such buyers chosing to hang back waiting for a pre-owned, low-mileage Tourer selling for $22,000 to $29,000. Basic observation: Dealers need to display more used bikes up front as viable ride options…don’t hide them in the back of the showroom as outcasts. I’m hearing used bikes are selling so you might as well prioritize them for sale on the showroom floor.

Industry Leadership – Looking around the motorcycle industry, OEM leadership is predominantly male. One is hard-pressed to find many female executives among the C-suite decision-making ranks. So it’s no surprise that female riders have not received top level support from OEMs and their distributors. Key point – The industry cannot hope to capture the hearts and minds of new riders without more diversity in its leadership ranks.

The Motorcycle Industry C-Suite…a male dominated business looking for ways to attract more female riders and other enthusiasts? Clearly, the industry requires new thinking from women and minorities to lead tomorrow’s new sales success.The motorcycle business cannot afford to favor one group over another going forward.

Depending on which statistics you look at, women riders make up between 9% and 14% of the motorcycling population. Gen X women, those born between 1961 and 1981 are currently between 30 and 55 years of age. They appear to be well educated, more confident, more independent and many have good paying jobs. Yes, they got debt and other obligations but so does everyone in this demographic age group.

As a business person, it seems odd to me that women and minorities are so under-represented across the sport of motorcycling given how long motorcycles have been around.

Also, women continue to be promoted not as serious riders and/or passengers but mainly as sexy ornaments to motorcycles and the motorcycle lifestyle. This is a clear marketing target customer miss by OEMs in my opinion given today’s business climate of diversity, inclusion and harrassment. Basic observation: Diversity and inclusion of women and minorities matters. Big time support and respect is a must going forward if OEMs have any hope in developing this major, important group of future riders.

Marketing as a Discipline – does not appear to be a strong, well-funded business competence amongst OEMs. Basic observation: Where are the powerful, executive level, revenue-driving, motorcycle-riding CMOs leading the charge on “experience marketing” initiatives?

Marketing as an Investment – There appears to be enthusiasm for various motorcycle racing segments, a few celebrity endorsements, some money to assist local dealership promotions but little investment by OEMs in the creation of new rider engagements and experiences. The industry’s use of the broad media overall seems to be inadequate for more demand creation. When was the last time you saw a cool television commercial showing a happy motorcycling family outing, for example.

OEM BizTip – It’s all about the customer…not the dealers, not the suppliers, not even the shareholders. Motorcycle manufacturers must build affordable bikes for a broader spectrum of the population in order to re-energize sales.

Basic observation: OEMs need to pivot and invest in more “experience marketing” strategies and plans that are totally customer specific…not dealership specific or feel good engineering specific. OEMs and dealerships need to move beyond Saturday morning coffee and donuts and/or bikini-clad babes washing bikes to attract new riders. It’s about the experience around “the ride” for everyone!

New Rider Prospects – They’re everywhere! Yes! The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there are near 8 million Americans who have a motorcycle license but don’t own a bike. Where are the sophisticated marketing campaigns and initiatives aimed at converting these 8 million motorcycle-licensed holders that don’t own a bike?

In California, the country’s largest motorcycle market, there are more licensed motorcyclists without a motorcycle than there are licensed riders who currently own one. According to a 2014 Motorcycle Industry Counsel Survey, 1.7 million Californians held licenses to operate motorcycles but only 847,937 motorcycles were registered in the state. I suspect a similar correlation exists today in 2018.

Think about this for a moment…millions of licensed-qualified prospects want to ride and the industry is struggling to sell them bikes? Basic observation: The industry’s traditional marketing and sales model is obviously outdated and nowhere near as effective as it should be…My spin on it…OEMs are making great bikes that people want to ride but they are just too expensive given the weak marketing communication efforts around their overall value. In other words, they have allowed the price-to-ride-value equation to get out of whack.

International Sales – are in motion by OEMs in the U.S.. –  Global sales will play a major role in the financial success of American motorcycle manufacturers if they are able to adapt and build for the international rider. Basic Observation: Dramatically increase your efforts here to optimize your profits and shareholder value.

The Bottom Line

There are an estimated 9.0 million motorcycles registered in the U.S. today, according to the Statistical Portal. The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that the percentage of U.S. households with at least one bike has settled around 6.8% since 2008. Harley-Davidson wants to add 2.0 million new riders over the next decade…what do the other OEMs want to do?

While the industry and and its participants may rise and fall together, I’m placing the responsibility for the industry’s success today and in the future 100% on the OEMs and their current distribution model. Like many traditional business models, they must change and significantly improved the customer experience to ensure a profitable future in the U.S. and abroad.

OEMs have a responsibility for elevating the visibility of riding. They have the responsibility for working hand-in-hand with their dealers to create family-friendly riding opportunities.  They have a responsibility to train their dealers to be more customer friendly. They have the responsibility to promote safe riding conditions on streets, roads and highways everywhere. They have a responsibility to lower manufacturing costs so that they can bring bikes to market that people can justify buying.

Dealers have the responsibility for bringing the fun back into buying new motorcycles. Yes, OEMs and dealerships…The future of motorcycling is in your hands.

Rode out from San Diego, CA to Monument Valley, Utah in 2016…660 miles one way just for the fun of it. – June 2016

Me, I will continue to promote the great sport of motorcycling with my thousands of social media followers in the hopes that someone somewhere will be inspired to get on a bike and ride.

Coming soon…In Part 2 of this topic, I will provide my 2-cent advice on how motorcycle manufacturers, dealerships and others…can get back on track towards recruiting more riders and selling more bikes. Stay tuned…

Ride Safe Out There,

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About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle evangelist, an industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of tens of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

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About Give-A-Shift – The Future of Motorcycling – Roundtable Discussion  This initiative is being championed by motorcycle industry pro, Robert Pandya. I got to give credit where credit is due…his document inspired me to write this blog post. Mr. Pandya recently brought together a number of key motorcycle advocates and industry participants to discuss the realities impacting today’s motorcycle industry. The resulting roundtable report offers some good thoughts and ideas. Click here to read it or click on the Give-A-Shift Banner located in the right side banners of this blog.

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

Who says winter riding isn’t fun?

Just because you don’t live in SoCal, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your beloved motorcycle during winter time.

Ice Time Wheelie

Ice Time Wheelie. Source: BlogTrackDayCoUK

Winter Time Fun on one wheel.

Winter Time Fun on one wheel. Source: PBnation.com

Winter riding done just right. Check out the video here.

Winter motorcycle ride (and crash) in a snow storm riding home…ouch! But one hell of a ride…? Click here to experience riding on snow-filled, icy roads. And you thought your commute was bad.

Winter Fun

Winter and motorcycles… it can be depressing for us bikers. That’s why I live in SoCal. Click here for the video of the sad winter biker.

Ride Safe Out There. May spring time riding weather come your way soon.

Motorcycle Marc

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

 

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement is ever intended. See footer area of this website for more information.

Distracted Drivers…ready to snuff you out.

“Motorcycling…is not of itself, inherently dangerous. Riding a motorcycle is however, extremely unforgiving of inattention, ignorance, incompetence or stupidity.” Not sure who came up with the above quote and observation but I gotta tell yas…after 45 years of motorcycle riding experience, I could not of said it better myself. Unfortunately, we must add an additional warning to this observation today. No matter how good and safe a rider you are, there’s a distracted driver out there who could snuff you out. If you’re wanting to protect yourself and others against these distracted drivers, crashes and accidents in general, investing in a dashboard camera for your car will help you prove you’re in the right or wrong at the time of the accident, you may want to look into blackboxmycar.com. If you have been in a motorcycle or a motor vehicle accident, be sure to start looking for solicitors as there are many around to help cater to your needs, MRH Solicitors is one of many that you could look into. Read on… Nearly 80% of crashes believed to be caused by distracted drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the accident event. Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities such as cell phone use and drowsiness.” – Source: American Motorcyclist Association

Distracted drivers are everywhere. Be extra careful when riding your motorcycle. Distracted drivers are everywhere. Fact is, this dangerous practice seems to be getting worse every year. Government bureaucrats have been slow to act on prevention. $161 fine for distracted driving infractions is a joke in California for example. California’s, “It’s not worth it”, campaign is actually not worth it from all I’ve seen as there appears to be little change to cell phone use while driving. Yes, there are all kinds of feel good press releases from Sacramento…I read them but let’s be honest…one cannot get on any highway today without seeing driver cell phone use in action. Want to know more about distracted driving legislation in your state? Follow the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for updates. Everyone at the NCSL talks about distracted driving being a major traffic safety issue but what are they really doing about it? Where’s Goofy Flo and Gecko The Reptilian Mascot regarding this important issue? Surprisingly, the automobile insurance industry hasn’t done all that much beyond providing basic tips to policyholders. Some have gone all out to create “Don’t Drive Distracted” contests for teenagers. Other insurers provide informative “Cell Phone Safety Tips“. Where’s the multi-million dollar advertising campaigns talking about doubling auto insurance premiums for those who get caught driving while distracted? Could Flo be secretly supporting America’s conversion to driverless cars so that drivers can sit back and text away? Or, how about working to legislate an industry wide insurance contract clause that says that any claim payment due as a result of an at-fault distracted driving crash will be shared 50/50 by the policyholding driver and the insurance company? Think this would change driver behavior?

AMA PHOTO 403x368

The American Motorcyclist Association is doing all they can to combat distracted driving. Click banner for more info.

Note to employers…have you heard of “vicarious responsibility”? Under the doctrine of vicarious responsibility, employers may be held legally accountable for the negligent acts of employees committed in the course of employment. Employers may also be found negligent if they fail to put in place a policy for the safe use of cellphones. Yes, your company could be held liable for accidents caused by your employees while driving and conducting work-related conversations on cellphones, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The Bottom Line Distracted drivers are unable to focus their full attention on the road. As noted earlier, they are the leading cause of most crashes per the NHTSA. They are a menace to themselves, their passengers, other drivers and killers of motorcyclists. Only you can prevent motorcycle accidents so look out for the distracted driver. He/she has become a total threat to our beloved sport of motorcycling. At least if we do fall victim to the total negligence of another driver, we have access to legal recourse to bring them to justice and to recover compensation – more at hamptonlaw.com. Me, I gave up riding motorcycles during commute hours years ago as I witnessed the driving while distracted epidemic take hold. The riding risk-to-reward ratio during commute times is simply not “worth it” to me. Ride Safe Out There. Motorcycle Marc
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Thank you for reading my blog.

P.S. Please consider taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider course that is appropriate for your riding skill level. Whether beginner or experienced, the Foundation has a rider safety course for you. Note: Copyrights and trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. See footer of this blog/website for more information.

Motorcycles – Winter Storage Prep

WELCOME TO WINTER – Said no motorcycle rider ever!

 

I grew up in the lumbercamp country of Northern Canada where winters were long, brutal and just plain nasty.

As kids, we basically froze our butts off most days from October to May. To make matters worse, we could not ride motorcycles for that 8 month period…Yes, I hated winter in northern Ontario and it hated me. I therefore set my sights lazer-beam style on southern California and got here legally at the age of 33. I’ve been riding whenever I want ever since.

 

Quick stop on Del Mar Beach in sunny San Diego, California. Winter riding the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special. On loan from SDHD.

 

For those of you riders bound by ice, snow and sleet, I suggest you read this post and follow the storage tips my brother and I learned during those long, cold and dark Canadian winters. Read on…   

           

Clean your bike. Lubricate metal surfaces.

Dirt will begin to corrode and damage metal surfaces if left on your bike for long periods of time. Make sure to clean your bike before putting it in storage.

Have a chain? Lubricate it. Lubricate all moving parts such as cables. Make sure you also lubricate the underside of the frame and engine. This will take care of any rust exposed by scratches.  

 

Check your tires. Prepare them for storage. 

Prepare your tires by taking out any moisture that may be in them. Simply deflate your tires and then inflate them with clean compressed air. It helps if you have your own compressor.

If at all possible, consider elevating your bike so both tires are not under any load. Use blocks under the frame instead of bottle jacks or motorcycle lift. Lifts and jacks have been known to lose pressure and fail under prolonged period of load time. Double-check your bike to make sure it is secure.

 

Change your oil and add a quality fuel stabilizer.

Scooters need love and protection too.

Scooters need love and protection too.

This step is really important. Residual fuel and contamitants in the gas and oil can oxidize over the winter months and ruin your engine prematurely. 

Change your oil to remove all the dirt and particles. Put in a good fuel stabilizer and run it through your engine for about 10 minutes. 

 

 

 

Prep the battery. Buy a quality charger.

I recommend disconnecting and removing your battery from your bike for the winter. Clean the battery cables and battery post connections. Once cleaned, put a fine film of grease on the posts to seal and protect them. Simply remove the grease next spring.

CTEK Battery Chargers…top quality product for sure.

Double-check your battery for cracks and damage. I like battery tenders since they don’t overcharge your battery.  Simply hook up a specialized and quality battery charger and let it do its thing all winter long.  

My battery charger of choice is made by CTEK.

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Park it and Cover It.

The type of cover you use to protect your motorcycle while it is in storage matters. You’ll want to select a mildew resistant cover.

Also, it’s a good idea to cover the openings of your exhaust pipes unless you want to deal with rodent nests in the spring. This actually happened to me one winter while my Yamaha 125 was stored in an outdoor shed. It was quite the furry blowout when the bike was first started in the spring.  

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Review your insurance policy. 

Some insurance companies offer reduced rates for motorcycles that are stored during the winter months. Check with your insurance agent for specific details. 

Collision coverage can make up anywhere from 22% to 35% of your annual premium so savings can be significant. You can delete the collision coverage if you feel that your bike is stored in a very safe location and is surely not to be exposed to the possibility of any collision.(i.e. your teenager running their car into your bike while stored in the garage.) This is not an option for everyone but sure is worth considering.   

Soon...it will be summer...Oh, how I love summer time.

Oh, how I love summer all year long and being able to ride whenever I want.

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The Bottom Line 

Gearing down for winter can be an emotional experience for bikers who live in cold climates. Spring time is always around the corner they say. Protect your motorcycle right and it will be ready for that first ride in the spring. Also, remember to double check and clean your leathers, gloves and helmet. 

If you live in the cold, wintery parts of this world, you gotta follow the motorcycle storage suggestions above. Me, I live in sunny southern California so I’m riding this weekend.

Special Note: Please inspect your motorcycle before that first spring ride. Look for any loose wires, bolts, connections and mechanical problems before starting your bike. Double check tire pressure. Review any notes you may of made before putting your bike up for the winter.

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Ride Safe Out There.

 

MJB July 2015 - 336x336

Remember, keep that battery charged up all winter long. – Motorcycle Marc

 

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About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

The Amazing Yamaha VMax.

 

MOTORCYCLE MARC’S CUSTOM 2007 Yamaha VMax

Hey, got to give credit where credit is due…the Yamaha VMax is one hell of a motorbike. Here’s an update on my MadMaxVMax.

 

Before the Ape Hanger Bars…My MadMax VMaxBobberLo Project…lowered 2″ with Progressive springs and shocks. New Delkevic Mufflers and Pipes…great sound! Added 14 inch forward brake and gear change controls. Cut off front fender for a clean bobber look. Added engine T-Boost with switch…opens at 3,000 rpm, 6,000 rpm or you can keep it turned off…Added custom LED taillight. New Dunlop fatties front and rear.

 

Added 12 inch Ape Hangers for additional bobber-style coolness. (El Diablo Brand Bars) Click image to view additional details on eBay…

 

Here’s what I’ve done to this cool ride…

Superb condition, runs smooth, looks great, handles great, full of power with the classic and famous 1200cc VMax motor. Maintained perfectly, upgraded where needed and comes with top-grade accessories. Shines like new.

Custom Notes:
12 inch, 7/8 Ape Hangers (El Diablo Brand)
Delkevic Mufflers & Pipes for awesome sound
Billet Aluminum Forward Controls – 14 inches forward (FC9 Refined Cycle Brand)
Lowered 2 inches front & back with Progressive Springs & Shocks
K&N Air Filter
T-Boost Instal with Switch – kicks in at 3,000 rpm, 6,000 rpm or keep it off. Your choice.
Custom LED Rear Taillight
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Maintenance Notes:
Hydraulic clutch system flushed
Rebuilt clutch master cylinder
New braided steel clutch hose
New steering head bearings
New Fork Seals
New Temperature Sensor
Cooling system flushed
New Dunlop Tires front & rear
Recent Carb Clean, replaced O-Rings and Needle Valve
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Condition Overall:
Excellent showroom custom style. Cool flames on faux-tank, comfortable forward foot controls, 12 inch Ape Hangers improve handling compared to short OEM bars in my opinion. Bike serviced regularly per OEM shop manual. Garage kept. Never dropped or in any accidents.

Super cool red flames design on the faux gas tank. Added modern K&N Air Filter.

 

Even the dashboard looks cool on my VMAX.

 

Introduced in 1985, I’ve wanted to own this first generation muscle-bobber for years. The VMAX became a “cult bike” right from the start and I joined that cult.

 

A real creative muscle bike original…my buddy’s OEM 1985 Yamaha VMax. Click image to review one of the first media articles on this amazing bike. #TopSpeedReview

 

The Second Generation VMAX…introduced in 2010…BIG MadMax-style of a bike.

The 2016 Yamaha VMax included major upgrades and improvements…making it even more kick-ass powerful. FYI – the VMax bikes are not for amateur riders. These bikes are serious muscle bikes. Read up on this ride from #TopSpeedReview. PhotoSource: YamahaMotorcycles

 

The Bottom Line.

My 2007 Yamaha VMax bike has been a labor of love…a dream bike for me. The first generation VMax from 1985 to 2009 was a true rider’s ride. A motorcyclist’s dream of a powerhouse with a 1200cc motor kicking out some 130+ horsepower. I hope you too can enjoy this motorcycle as much as I have had...#RideSafeOutThere. 

 

Motorcycle Marc’s 2007 Custom Yamaha VMax…a 1200cc powerhouse of a cool bobber-style ride. Click image to see more info on eBay…it’s for sale for only $5,000 U.S.

 

Ride Safe Out There

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

Harley-Davidson’s Workhorse Bagger – The Electra Glide Ultra

 

THE ELECTRA GLIDE…ONE OF MY FAVORITE BIKES — Back in 2004, I bought a brand new Electra Glide Classic from San Diego Harley-Davidson. Me and “the Glide” as I named it, have explored a lot of North America over the years. No problem rain or shine, wind or hail, hot or cold…My experienced conclusion, the Electra Glide model is one heck of a reliable workhorse touring machine.

 

BBR2005 – California’s Sierra Mountains Ride.. On my 2004 FLHTC.

 

Forward to 2017, Christmas Week, in the dead of winter in San Diego, California. My brother, Roch Beaulieu, the other half of the Beaulieu Brothers Ride Team, and I picked up an Electra Glide Ultra from Eagle Rider Motorcycle Rentals located at San Diego Harley-Davidson. We purchased the “other rider” insurance option from Eagle Rider so that we could both ride this Ultra throughout San Diego county for several days.

Riding conditions: 75 degrees Fahrenheit, sunny blue skies, little to no wind, curvy back country roads and miles on SoCal’s famous freeways. Darn near perfect riding conditions.

 

Here are our riding observations.

 

Early morning pickup of the 2017 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra at the EagleRider Rental location at San Diego Harley-Davidson – Morena location.

 

The Milwaukee Eight Engine – 107ci of power pleasure.

There’s a lot of power out of this 1754cc motor. It’s perfect for two-up riding no matter the highway terrain and it’s a really cool-running/heat managing motor. Throttle response is crisp and acceleration is quick. No problem passing or getting out of traffic trouble with this powerplant.

The 6-speed transmission is smooth and easy. And, unlike many other brands, you can actually find Neutral with just a minor flick of the big toe.

I wrote about the new Milwaukee Eight motor when it first came to the market in late 2016…click here for a quick review of that post. I was very impressed with the motor then and continue to consider it one of the best V-Twin engines on the market today.

 

The 107ci Milwaukee Eight engine powering the Electra Glide Ultra, with its Six Speed transmission, is impressive on many fronts. PhotoSource: HDmedia

 

Handling, Control and Comfort

Suspension on the 2017 Ultra is tight and solid making the handling of this 894 pound bagger relatively easy for the experienced rider. As noted earlier, there’s a lot of passing power. The front and rear suspension is very responsive. Braking from the ABS Brembo brakes offers superior stopping control.

The two-up seat has a deep bucket and narrow neck saddle to provide rider back support and a wide passenger area with back and armrests for comfort on longer rides. We did note that the seating position and leg room was comfortable for six footers like us but found the rider’s saddle a little too deep and ball-crunching-tight-fitting for our big biker butts.

The Batwing fairing and fairing leg protectors offered excellent protection from wind and flying road grit. The lower fairings are vented which provided us with welcomed cooling during our sunny rides.

The TourPak offers plenty of cargo space. In fact, cargo capacity is one of the largest available on any Tourer at 4.7 cubic feet (133.1 liters, 35.2 U.S. gallons). You can easily fit two full-face helmets, chaps, jackets and more in the trunk and saddlebags. This is a big deal for long-distance adventure road warriors like my brother and me. The new Honda Goldwing for example, offers only 110.0 liters of cargo space (29.1 U.S. gallons, 3.9 cubic feet) according to press reports.

 

Blue skies and warm weather by 10:00 am on December 27th…roadtesting the Ultra near the mountain town of Julian, California. Perfect riding day in San Diego County…in winter!

 

Dashboard View and Usability

We’ve always liked the clean, easy-to-see dashboard design of Harley-Davidson’s Batwing fairing with one exception…the standard 4.3 inch touchscreen.

There’s an optional 6.5 inch touchscreen available and we recommend you request this option in order to more easily view all the excellent screen features. The infotainment system, BOOM Box included, is impressive in its overall offering but we both found the standard touchscreen just a tad too small.

 

Dashboard design is clean but do note the standard-sized touch-screen on this rental…go for the larger option for more ease of use we say.

 

The Harley-Davidson Ultra —it’s a Classic alright.

I’ve been riding and owning Harley’s since the mid 1980s. Yes, a lot of competition has come and gone over the years and yes, they are expensive out the dealership door given all the many riding options and financial challenges/responsibilities facing riders today. However, there’s never been a better built, better handling and more powerful Harley-Davidson ride out there. You can even get a 114ci or 117ci if you so desire. Click on the image below for more information.

 

2018 Electra Glide Ultra Classic – Click image for more info on this FLHTCU model. PhotoSource: HDmedia

 

The Bottom Line

The Electra Glide Ultra is your classic Harley-Davidson touring motorcycle…lots of power, great handling and beautiful looks fender to fender. At MSRP $24,249 for the new 2018 model, it offers one of the best overall price-out-the-door to ride experience values on the market.

The Ultra is appropriately named…it is an ultra comfortable, fully-loaded Tourer. One of the best handling big bikes on the road today and perfect for racking up the miles. Make sure you ride one soon.

 

Ride Safe Out There,

Beaulieu Brothers…we ride! Photo: Del Mar, California – BBR2017 – December 26, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals

EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals is the world’s largest motorcycle rental company renting an estimated 100,000 motorcycles per year. The company has rental offices in 68 cities around the world. EagleRider formed a new partnership with Harley-Davidson Motorcycles in 2017. The new arrangement prioritizes the rental of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and offers rental pickup and drop-off points at some of Harley’s 700+ dealerships.

Consider joining Club EagleRider to access special riding deals and other membership advantages. Note that Motorcycle Marc’s Blog has an affiliated relationship with EagleRider where commission may be paid on motorcycle rentals.

About Harley-Davidson in San Diego, California

SDHD began operations in 1915. New York Myke Shelby bought the dealership in 1993 and over the years, turned it into one of the top rider destinations in southern California. Today, Ty Miller & and NY Myke’s daughter, Jen Milller, run the place keeping customers at the forefront of everything they do. Under their leadership, SDHD has become one of the biggest, baddest and best Harley-Davidson dealerships in the world.

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.