View from the Talbot-Beaulieu Lakehouse....in the beautiful Muskoka Lakes Region of Ontario, Canada.

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Review: Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 Motor

REPOST DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND…May 28, 2017 – I have been getting a lot of emails on Indian Thunder Stroke motor experiences. Some good, some not so good. Too many for

Inside Harley-Davidson’s All-New Milwaukee-Eight

  LET’S GO INSIDE THAT MOTOR…Harley-Davidson’s new Milwaukee Eight is loaded!   The Milwaukee-Eight (M8) motor is the first all-new engine design since 1998 when the then-exciting Twin Cam 88

Remember the Scramblers? They’re back!

  Yay! The Scramblers are making a comeback… I remember these machines being a ton of fun in their heydays of the 1960s and 70s. Now, it looks like they

Roadtest – Michelin Scorcher 31 Tires

  MOTORCYCLE TIRES – Where the rubber meets the road. Motorcycle tire brands…You name it, I’ve likely spun it over my 45 years of motorcycling. Dunlop, Metzeler, Avon, Shinko, Pirelli,

Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King

  HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING – …one of my favorite baggers. The Road King model was introduced to the Harley-Davidson lineup back in 1994 with the gear-driven, one cam 1340cc Evolution

The Amazing Yamaha VMax.

 

MOTORCYCLE MARC’S CUSTOM JOB…THE VMAX BOBBER LO. 

Hey, I’m working on a cool blog post on the Yamaha VMax…I’m almost done with this custom build then I’m gonna sell her. Next step…need to get some extended cables and add 12 inch Ape Hangers. 

First custom bike aficionado to send me $8,990 via PayPal gets to own this cool VMax Bobber Lo. There’s only 12,000 miles on her. She’s a beauty I tell yas. Send your payment to PayPal.Me/MarcJBeaulieu…Thank  you!

My VMaxBobberLo Project…lowered 2″ with Progressive springs and shocks. New Delkevic Mufflers and Pipes…great sound! Added 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 off…Added custom LED taillight. New Dunlop fatties. Next: adding 12 inch Ape Hangers.

 

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

 

A real creative original…my friend’s 1985 Yamaha VMax.

 

The Second Generation VMax…introduced in 2010.

 

The 2016 Yamaha VMax included major upgrades and improvements.

 

The Bottom Line.

 

Photo Credit: Unfinished Man…Hyper-Modified VMax Project Bike. See the website – www.unfinishedman.com

 

 

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.

Roadtest: Street Glide Special…with Milwaukee Eight Motor

 

STREET GLIDE SPECIAL – There’s a great handling, powerful and sleek lookin’ bagger.

We motorcycle riders live in a great time…There’s an affordability price point for everyone and a riding style design for every 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler out there. The marketplace is flush with pre-owned bikes and the new bikes are technologically outstanding. Choices have never been better. Yes, it’s a wonderful time to be a motorcycle enthusiast/biker.

My latest adventure put me on a new 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special.

 

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Picked up this beauty of a bagger from San Diego Harley-Davidson.

 

Imagine if you will…

…riding a new Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special with a brand new 45-degree V-Twin engine from the Motor Company. The first new engine design since the world famous Twin Cam motor of 1999.

The Milwaukee Eight is the most powerful Harley-Davidson engine ever put out by the craftsmen and craftswomen at the factory. The 107ci Milwaukee Eight motor is one impressive engine as you will see in this post.

P.S. There’s also a 114ci version (1,870cc) but that’s for a CVO model blog post in the future.

 

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Stripped down bagger style. Slammed suspension. Talk about sexy curb appeal! The 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special is one good looker.

 

First things first…let’s talk big new motor.

The Milwaukee Eight is a totally new motor from Harley-Davidson. Here are my observations.

 

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Faster Throttle Response. Faster and super smooth. Quick to the touch with crisp throttle action. Very impressive rev ranges too.

Cooler-running engine. In fact, engine coolness operation exceeded my expectations. Significantly less heat transmitted from the heads and exhaust components. Excellent heat management away from the rider.

More power. 92.5 hp out of the factory!  More torque at 111 ft.pd…10% more torque than the Twin Cam 103 and 110. Displacement is serious at 1,750cc. Lots of power…can easily handle two-up riding.

Better sound. You’ll notice less mechanical noise from the internal components of this new motor and a much crisper, richer exhaust note out of the pipes.

More speed. Harley-Davidson engineers claim 3-bike lengths faster from 0-60, 2-bike lengths quicker in top gear 60-80 mph. I was very impressed by the acceleration and speed of this bagger.

Easy Gear Shiftin’. Smooth gearing, easy shifter feel…And, easy to get into Neutral.

Rubber mounted & counter balanced. Engine vibration is minimal on the Milwaukee Eight but there’s enough to keep the “Harley feel” of vibration alive.

Harley-Davidson uses a single counter-rotating internal balancer that literally cancels 75% of the engine’s primary shake. The genius of HD manufacturing here is that the “Harley shakin'” while subdued, can still be felt…love this!

RPM at idle. This was one of the first things I noticed when I picked up the Street Glide. Idle rpm has been cut from the normal/regular 1000 rpm down to 850 rpm. Makes for less heat at idle.

 

“Overall Feel”. In summary, this is a powerhouse motor. The Milwaukee Eight provides faster throttle response, more torque, better sound, runs cooler and it is smooth…really, really smooth.

 

Chassis, Suspension and Braking Observations

If ever there was a world-class feel to a motorcycle ride, the 2017 Street Glide Special offers it.

Front and rear suspension are all new. Control is felt directly throughout your body no matter the acceleration, speed or road condition. Ride is considered “sporty bagger plush” in my opinion.

Harley-Davidson uses dual bending valve fork technology in the new 49mm forks on this Street Glide. Fork travel is 4.6 inches so there’s plenty of room for the unanticipated pot hole.

The front suspension is by ShowaThe rear suspension features dual shock absorbers with 15% to 30% more pre-load adjustment than on prior Street Glide models. Shocks are hydraulically adjustable with a single knob – no tools necessary.

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Superb Brakes. Harley-Davidson teamed up with Brembo Brakes to bring to life a superb, stopping response experience.

These high-end brakes work excellently in corners and work to help you stop quicker whenever you want to.

The braking system on the Street Glide Special is the best I’ve felt to date from Harley-Davidson. The Brembo calipers, stainless steel discs and braking components are world class. The braking with ABS, is responsive and just plain tight.

 

Overall, the new chassis, suspension design and brakes means better control at low speeds and a better highway grip sensation at higher speeds. Quite the impressive riding technology combination I must say. Very good rider control and very comfortable.

 

Honorable Mention…the InfoSystem…GPS & Boom Box

For those of you that like to listen to music while riding or to follow GPS directions when out on the road, you are gonna like this “Boom Box” infosystem. We are talking big, full color touch screen navigation that is easy to use…big ass speakers for big sound and switches/controls that are located where you intuitively expect them to be.

The music sound system is impressive. In fact, it’s better sounding than my home theater system. The Boom Box Owner’s Manual is a must read however in order to learn how to work it all to your liking.

 

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The 2017 Street Glide Special. Hangin’ by the Beach in Del Mar, California.

 

My bottom line…

Run to your nearest Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Dealer to schedule a test ride. The Street Glide Special is an awesome, hot-rod looking, sporty bagger that handles really well. It’s got massive torque and more power than you expect. If you live in SoCal, visit San Diego Harley-Davidson…they’ll take good care of you.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

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Happy Holidays everyone. – Motorcycle Marc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Harley-Davidson Motor Company – Since 1903, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with cruiser, touring and custom motorcycles, riding experiences, biker events and everything in between. For more information, visit www.h-d.com.

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.

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a just a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following 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. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

The Beaulieu Brothers Ride the American Southwest

 

BEAULIEU BROTHERS RIDE…Big blue skies, breathtaking natural scenery, John Wayne’s wild west and the rich history of Route 66…Read on…

BBR2016 had me riding my Chieftain out of San Diego, California early one Saturday morning back in June…Destination: 375 miles eastward to Phoenix, Arizona to meet up with my brother Rocky.

Rocky had just completed 2,000 miles riding with his wife and friends around Arizona, Utah and Colorado. He and I would start the second leg of our Beaulieu Brothers Ride and explore the American Southwest for another 2,500 miles. His motorbike of choice this year was a new BMW K1600 GTL Tourer from Eagle Rider Motorcycle Rentals.

 

Roch E. Beaulieu – Adventure Rider. The Other Half of the Beaulieu Brothers Rides.

 

I must say that the BMW K 1600 GTL is one high-end, classy touring machine. It comes with a 6-cylinder engine that is all power all the time…160 hp, 129 ft-pd of torque (1649cc)…driven by a 6-speed tranny and shaft drive. This is one smooth, luxury motorcycle. I knew that I would need to push my Indian Chieftain to its upper limits to keep up with my younger brother on this BBR.

 

The ride through northern Arizona

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Arizona is one of America’s most interesting states to explore. The state is best known for the Grand Canyon, the Navajo and Apache Nations, Monument Valley, artsy Sedona and Route 66 lore. We tried to see as much of it as we could on this roadtrip.

Flagstaff, Arizona was founded in 1876. It’s an impressive big pine mountain town on the original Route 66…today known as I-40. The railroad reached Flagstaff in 1881. The Mother Road, as Route 66 is affectionally known, passes right through the center of Flagstaff. Route 66 was 90 years old in 2016. The city takes special pride in its Route 66 heritage.

 

Winslow, Arizona…a Bucket List Item for us

We rode into Winslow, Arizona all excited to experience this historic railroad town on Route 66 made famous by one of our favorite rock bands, The Eagles.

Our first stop was at the Old Trails Museum on Kinsley Avenue. The museum is full of interesting exhibits featuring tales and stories of Indian culture, pioneers and explorers, cowboys and ranchers, traders and includes a full history of the Santa Fe Railroad company.

We then headed for the “corner” in downtown Winslow. In 1949, the daily number of automobiles and motorcycles passing through Winslow averaged 3,800…that’s 3,800 vehicles per day! Most of the vehicles were traveling west to California.

Imagine if you will…the hustle, the excitement of being on Route 66 and the road noise as traveler’s passed through this town. America was on the move after WWII ended and Route 66 was like a dream for many seeking fame and fortune out west.

Route 66 in Winslow, Arizona. Closest thing to Americana we could ever experience. The Eagle’s famous song verse reads; “Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my Lord, in a Flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

 

The Standin’ On The Corner Park is located at the intersection of Kinsley and Second Streets in downtown Winslow.

Takin’ It Easy on the corner in Winslow, AZ

There’s a bronze statue and mural depicting the story behind the famous 1970s Eagles song, “Take It Easy”. The song’s music was written by the late Glenn Frey. The lyrics were written by Jackson Browne. The song’s success literally put Winslow, Arizona on the map.

The park area is paved with inscribed bricks purchased by fans who wanted a permanent place “on the corner”. Look for the Beaulieu Brothers Ride 2016 brick when you visit.

 

The White Mountains of Arizona – Apache Country

The White Mountain Indian Reservation is home to 25 lakes and 400 miles of streams full of rainbow and brown trout. Mount Baldy is the tallest mountain on the reservation at 11,590 feet. It’s a wilderness paradise.

There are over 1,000 campsites for adventurers to enjoy. Hunters love the place. According to one of the roadside plaques, the largest elk ever taken was on White Mountain and 8 of the 10 largest elks listed in the Safari Club International Record Book were taken in Arizona’s White Mountain range.

Growing up in lumber country, we were fascinated by the area’s big logging history and ongoing lumber industry.  The Apache Timber Company, which has the logging rights to the area,  is one of the top 50 lumber companies in the U.S.

Rocky admiring the scenic breathtaking beauty of Arizona’s White Mountains…

 

The Great Monument Valley

Monument Valley extends into both southern Utah and northern Arizona. The valley covers almost 92,000 acres and sits 5,600 feet above sea level.

    “Monument Valley is the place where God put the West.” ~ John Wayne

Known as Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley Park, it’s a truly magical place. The landscape simply overwhelms the senses for both its unique beauty and its vast size. The towering sandstone outcrops are masterpieces towering 400 to 1,000 feet. The formations are simply out of this world.

My Indian Chieftain overlooking the 8th Wonder of the World, Monument Valley.

 

This section of the Navajo Indian Nation contains some of the most picturesque and spectacular scenery in the world. Riding through this special place on a motorcycle puts you in absolute awe of the vastness of this native land.

Near the small village of Mexican Hat, Utah on I-163.

The monolith shaped rock formations stand strong high above the desert floor, the beauty and enormity of the rock pinnacles, spires and buttes blow your mind. The place simply amazes your senses.

Travel Tip: Add Monument Valley to your bucket list. This is one of those regions in the USA you must see before you die.

 

 

Twin Rocks Bluff – unique Utah History

Founded by Mormon pioneers in 1879, the community of Bluff, Utah makes for an interesting stop. We are talking remote and desolate ranching territory just north east of the entrance into Monument Valley. We visited the Twin Rocks Trading Company cafe for breakfast before entering into the Valley.

The Navajo Twin Rocks…The Twin Rocks Trading Post in Bluff Utah offers handcrafted Native American and Southwest art. Good food and good service in the cafe too.

 

John Wayne and Director John Ford made Monument Valley famous.

Legend has it that Ford discovered John Wayne while he was working as a propman around movie sets for then western cowboy star, Tom Mix.

John Ford was a superbly talented film director. He is renowned both for Westerns such as John Wayne’s Stagecoach and The Searchers as well as adaptations of classic 20th-century American novels such as the film, The Grapes of Wrath.

One of my favorite JW mancave posters.

John “Duke” Wayne movies more than any others, have made Monument Valley famous. The “Duke” made five movies there in his lifetime, “Stagecoach” (1939), “Fort Apache” (1948), “Rio Grande” (1950), “The Searchers” (1956) and “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1959).

John Wayne (1907-1979) was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. My movie hero, died of lung cancer in 1979. He is buried at Pacific View Memorial Park, Newport Beach, California. Look for his bronze headstone plaque. He is laid to rest on the grassy slope called the “Bayview Terrace”.

Today, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation is one of America’s most important educational and fund raisers for cancer research.

 

 

Exploring New Mexico

New Mexico has a diverse terrain encompassing the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

 

Nicknamed the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico is known for its gorgeous high desert landscapes, good roads, artist towns and native culture.

Los Alamos is the site of the secret Manhattan Project that developed the world’s first atomic weapon during World War II. Can you imagine living the life of the scientists charged with this world-changing task in the 1940s?

Today, the Los Alamos National Laboratory is a highly secure U.S. government lab that is still responsible for America’s nuclear arsenal.

Taos is one cool town in northern New Mexico’s high desert, bounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and seemingly inhabited by all kinds of artists…you really get the artist colony feel in this town.
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We stayed in Santa Fe for two days using it as a base for our exploration rides in the northern part of the state. Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital, was founded as a Spanish colony in 1610 and is known as the oldest state capital city in the United States. This quaint city sits in the Sangre de Cristo foothills. It’s renowned for its Pueblo-style architecture, fancy upscale spas and as an ultra-exclusive creative arts center.
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The Four Corners Monument

Marker at Four Corners Monument – Border of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico

The Four Corners Monument is located on Native American land off US Highway 160. Both the Navajo and Ute people live in the Four Corners area.

We learned more about Native Americans, their cultures and their way of life while riding in this area.

This region has been home to native peoples for hundreds of years. Archaeologists have recorded numerous ancient Puebloan sites dating prior to AD 1300 throughout the Four Corners area.

 

We stopped for an old style shave at Jeffrey’s Barber Shop near Penasco, New Mexico

 

Took time for a relaxing, old-style shave on the backroads near Taos, New Mexico.

 

Southwest Colorado…simply amazing!

Our BBR adventure for 2016 originally began as a bucket list item to visit the True Grit movie locations to see where the Duke filmed his famous movie scenes.

Much of  the 1969 western movie, “True Grit”, was filmed in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and the movie lead to John Wayne’s only Academy Award. The amazing natural scenery of Colorado’s southwest corner was a huge part of the film so we wanted to capture it all on the seat of our motorcycles. Scheduling issues prevented me from joining Rocky on this segment of BBR2016 so it stays on my bucket list of rides to check off in the future.

 

Until the next BBR…

My brother and me, we love the excitement and family bonding moments of our 2-wheeled adventures. It reminds us of the incredible freedoms we enjoyed growing up riding Enduros/Scramblers in the remote lumbercamps of northern Ontario, Canada during the 1970s. Riding gives us quality time together once a year just to be brothers. Stay tuned for more riding adventures from the Beaulieu Brothers in the future.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

Beaulieu Brothers Marc (57) and Rocky (55). Apache Country, Arizona – June 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a just a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

About Roch E. Beaulieu – Roch E. Beaulieu is one of Ontario, Canada’s top Financial Wealth Management and Retirement Planners. His company, Financial Planning Logic, advises individuals and families in the development of successful retirement income plans and insurance protection plans. – Roch E. Beaulieu (REB) – www.financiallogic.ca

Bonus BBR Photo…Sierra Mountains on the way to Sturgis, South Dakota from San Francisco, California…BBR2001..16 years ago.

BBR2001 – San Francisco, CA to Toronto, Ontario via the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

 

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 and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

 

Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King

 

HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING – …one of my favorite baggers.

The Road King model was introduced to the Harley-Davidson lineup back in 1994 with the gear-driven, one cam 1340cc Evolution V-Twin motor (EVOs). The bike caught my attention immediately as a cool looking combination cruiser and touring machine. It also caught the attention of many Fire Departments and Police Departments all over the world…they love the Road King. It’s a great all-around HOG.

EVO motors were retired in 1998 and the engine went full Twin Cam 88 (1447cc) in 1999 housing two chain-driven cams and two valves per cylinder. In 2000, a 95ci big-bore kit was offered that took displacement to 1550cc…big power for the day.

 

Riders demanded even more power.

Harley-Davidson’s marketing gurus and dealers noticed consumer demand increasing for engine power so they introduced the Twin Cam 96ci (1584cc) in 2004. By 2012, the engine had grown to 103ci with a displacement of 1690cc.

Here we are, 23 years after its introduction and the FLHR Road King motor, the Milwaukee Eight, pushes out 107ci with a whopping displacement of 1746cc. As you’ll note in this blog post, the Road King continues to be one of Harley-Davidson’s classic rides. Read on…

 

Good-lookin’ Harley-Davidson lines and profile come standard with the new 2017 FLHR Road King. This is the FLHR Road King I road tested courtesy of San Diego Harley-Davidson.

 

Truth be known, I’m an old school biker. I love the stripped down, sexy nostalgic style of the Road King touring bagger-cruiser look. It’s a work of classic mechanical art presented with a modern technological touch as far as I’m concerned.

 

The Road King’s stability, smoothness & handling is impressive!

I tend to have a sporty, fun temperament no matter the ride I’m on so stable, smooth handling is what I go for on motorcycles. My body position is typically cruiser-style, straight back up with feet forward. This riding approach fits the Road King perfectly for me. The Harley-Davidson Road King is no crotch rocket but it’s one of the best handling bagger-cruisers on the market today. I’ve ridden Harleys most of my riding career and I got to admit, the Road King is one of my favorite rides.

 

King of the Road…the Harley-Davidson Road King. Powered by the Milwaukee Eight 107ci engine (111.4 ft. lb. & 1746cc). Ride courtesy of San Diego Harley-Davidson. Click image for more information from SDHD on this black Road King.

 

Also for 2017, Harley-Davidson introduced the Road King Special.

This ride is super cool in my opinion. It’s got larger wheels, lower seat and is even 10 pounds lighter. Note the signature new headlight profile.

This is a dark, bad-ass looking Harley. Minimal chrome accentuates can be found around the engine but you have to look hard to see it…Hint: See lower rocker boxes, pushrod tubes and tappet blocks.

 

Just look at this 2017 Road King Special…blacked-out from its front headlight and front forks back to the 107ci Milwaukee Eight engine to the headers and pipes. Note the stripped-down styling, mini-ape handlebars, 19-inch front wheel and stretched saddlebags. Rear wheel is 18 inches compared to 16 inches in the standard FLHR. Seat height is 26.4 inches compared to 28 inches on the standard Road King…It’s a beautifully slammed profile. Photo: HDmedia

 

The Road King is Harley-Davidson’s base level Touring Model (FL).

It’s the perfect motorcycle for motorcycle purists like me. I don’t need a stereo, GPS or any fancy infotainment stuff. My butt and back do appreciate that the 2017 Road King has new and improved front and rear suspension and I just love twisting the throttle on that 111.4 ft. pd of torque out of that Milwaukee Eight motor. And yes, I’ll take a standard FLHR windshield with that ride.

 

San Diego Harley-Davidson has an excellent selection of Road Kings and Road King Specials on their show room floor. Click image to pay them a visit online. Better still, visit one of their showrooms and test ride a Road King for yourself.

 

The Bottom Line

The SDHD Road King road tested for this blog post came powered by the sporty 107ci Milwaukee Eight engine. It’s a powerhouse, high-displacement motor (1746cc) that is quick off the starting line and will even spin the rear tire changing from 1st to 2nd gear should you want it to. It’s one hell of an impressively fast and smooth motor.

The Harley-Davidson Road King (FLHP model) is used by over 3,500 U.S. police and fire departments in 45 countries. If the Road King is good enough for our first responder heroes, it’s good enough for me. Great ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

 

 

FYI – The vivid black Harley-Davidson Road King road tested for this blog post was equipped with a new set of Michelin Scorcher 31 tires. Click banner to read my complete tire test and if you want to save $40 on a new set of Michelin Scorcher tires for your Harley-Davidson, click on the Michelin banner in my post.

 

 

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.

 

Roadtest – Michelin Scorcher 31 Tires

 

MOTORCYCLE TIRES – Where the rubber meets the road.

Motorcycle tire brands…You name it, I’ve likely spun it over my 45 years of motorcycling. Dunlop, Metzeler, Avon, Shinko, Pirelli, Continental and others…all are good. Not all are great. Let me introduce you to a great motorcycle tire, specifically designed for Harley-Davidson motorcycles…the Michelin Scorcher 31 tire.

For this tire review, I connected with the Marketing Pros at Michelin North America and the good folks at San Diego Harley-Davidson to select the best motorcycle for this tire test. With guidance from SDHD’s General Manager, Ty Miller, we agreed that the new 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King would offer the best overall tire test experience.

 

We selected the 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King to test the Michelin Scorcher 31 tires. Road King motorcycle courtesy of San Diego Harley-Davidson. (SDHD). Michelin Scorcher 31 tires courtesy of Michelin North America.

 

The importance of tire design.

Tread design on motorcycle tires is based on the manufacturer’s best estimation of the rubber configuration required for different riding styles and road conditions. For example – Sport Touring, Touring and Cruising motorcycles need special tires that will promote nimble handling on a variety of roads. One needs a totally different tire design for Enduro, Dual-Sport or Off Road Dirt riding.

Look at the unique tread design on the Michelin Scorcher 31 tires.

Note the continuous center-tire groove that runs down the middle of the tire. This groove is matched on each side with straight-line, angled grooves as shown in the photos below.

Rear Tubeless Tire: Michelin Scorcher 31 – 180/65 B16 (81H)

Front Tubeless Tire: Michelin Scorcher 31 – 130/80 B17 (65H)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my take of the Michelin Scorcher 31 tires

Traction & Grip – The SDHD Road King used to test these tires comes powered by the 107ci Milwaukee Eight engine. It’s a powerhouse, high-displacement motor (1746cc) that is quick off the starting line and will even spin the rear tire changing from 1st to 2nd gear should you want it to. Traction and grip are essential safety features for riders under such power. I found the Scorcher 31 tires to be surefooted and planted in both dry and damp road conditions and at different acceleration speeds. These tires are real road huggers.

Stability, Smoothness & Handling – I tend to have a sporty, fun temperament no matter the ride I’m on so stable, smooth handling is what I go for with my motorbikes. My body position is typically cruiser-style, straight back up with feet forward. This riding approach requires that my tires meet the road solid and stable, smooth and sure, with a sensitive lean-the-bike response when I need it. The FLHR Road King is no crotch rocket but it’s one of the best handling bagger-cruisers on the market today. I’ve ridden Harleys mostly equipped with Dunlop and Metzeler tires over the years and must say that the Michelin Scorcher 31 just felt smoother and more road sure to me regardless of road condition or handling challenge.

Tread Wear & Tire Life –  A good sign of a great tire is that it will wear evenly all over its surface. Best I can tell with this Michelin tire design, wear should be evenly distributed throughout the useful life of these tires assuming you avoid under-inflation or over-inflation of your tires. Speaking of “useful tire life”, I have found motorcycle tire life span to top out at five years or 8,500 miles, whichever comes first. You should get new tires when either one of these rules-of-thumb measures occurs.

Tire Construction – Michelin’s rubber pros teamed up with Harley-Davidson engineers to design the Scorcher 31 tires to qualify as original equipment replacement tires for several Harley-Davidson models. The rubber compounds are all new combining durability, grip and tread life.

 

Tire Construction: Tire tread is the most obvious part of tires but what supports that tread is critical to both comfort and safety. The sidewall is where load support and handling characteristics reside. The bead is where the tire mounts to the wheel ensuring a snug, no leakage fit. The backbone of tires, just underneath the tread, is known as the carcass and runs bead to bead. Note the multiple layer construction and carcass cords that run angled side to side. Superior engineering and tire construction. Photo: Michelin North America.

 

Temperature Management – Temperatures during my Michelin Scorcher 31 tire test ranged from 58 degrees fahrenheit during early southern California morning rides to 70 degrees mid-day to 100 degrees hot during a desert run. I experienced no noticeable riding control change during this wide temperature range. This tells me that heat dissipation and tire temperature flexibility works as designed on the Scorcher 31.

Weight Impact Management – I tested the Michelin Scorcher 31 brand as a single, 220 pound six-foot rider, no passenger. The running weight of the Road King is around 814 pounds. Total weight under test conditions was around 1,034 pounds give or take a few donuts. Tire pressure was set 36 to 38 psi in the front and 40 psi in the rear with the front tire pressure adjusted upwards and downwards by a pound or two depending on the temperature of the day.

Overall Value – The Michelin Scorcher tire brand is different. It has been designed specifically for Harley-Davidson motorcycles and delivers a series of benefits as opposed to just offering one or two superior tire traits typical of other motorcycle tire brands. First, the Scorcher 31 is a great handling tire. I felt no skips or slips during my tire test rides. Second, tire contact patch traction was excellent! These tires are real road huggers. Third, the Scorcher 31 offered a really smooth ride no matter how many pot holes or tar cracks I ran over. Fourth, they were quiet…very little road noise regardless of speed from these tires. And last but not least, they offer great value for your hard-earned dollar. Speaking of value, click here for $40 off your next set of new Michelin motorcycle tires.

 

The 2017 FLHR…King of the Road.

Michelin and Harley-Davidson engineers worked together to develop the Scorcher tire line to specifically meet the high performance control and handling demands of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Michelin Scorcher Tires are original equipment and approved replacement tires for V-Rod, Dyna, Sportster and Touring Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and the only original equipment tire for the new Harley-Davidson Street Rod motorcycle.

 

 

Need new motorcycle tires for your Harley-Davidson? Save money here!

Get a $40 rebate from Michelin when you buy a set of new Scorcher Tires. Offer ends July 31, 2017. Click on banner below for details. 

 

 

The Bottom Line

Tires are the most safety-relevant part of your motorcycle. They also help define the style, shape and balance of your motorcycle look and profile. They’re the only link between you and the road so you cannot compromise on quality or fit when it comes to selecting motorcycle tires.

Make sure to match your tire selection to the engine power of your bike. Big displacement motorcycles need superior, high quality tires…great tires. Best I can tell, you and your Harley-Davidson motorcycle will cruise with confidence with Michelin Scorcher 31 tires.

For my dollar and riding style, I recommend this Michelin tire brand for your Harley-Davidson motorcycle…very high quality construction and superior handling characteristics.

Ride Safe Out There…

Thank you for reading my blog folks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Michelin Motorcycle Tires

OFFER ENDS JULY 31, 2017.

Michelin North America is a $10.76 billion dollar company employing 22,000 employees. The company manufactures tires for all kinds of vehicles, including motorcycles. Michelin is known for its extensive research, development and testing engineering competence.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

 

OCTOBER RIDES!: …Keep Your Freedom Alive.

“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.

 

Please! Don’t Text and Drive…Don’t Drink and Ride! Watch Out for Motorcycles.

 

Research from the Ad Council shows that people are convinced that being distracted while driving is dangerous, yet they are still doing it. 

The good folks at the Ad Council are doing all they can to help educate our addicted-to-smartphones population. A big thanks goes to them for their efforts but in the end, it is “you” the driver and rider who needs to take responsibility for your safety and the safety of others on the roads. It is clear by now that no entity, private or public, is able to curtail distracted roadkills in any significant numbers.

Then, there’s the “Buzzed While Driving” crowd…how stupid are these people?

According to the Ad Council, someone is killed every 51 minutes in the U.S due to an alcohol-related car accident.

 

“There’s this incredible feeling you get when riding buzzed…Especially when you crash…such as flesh being torn from your limbs as bones are being broken, crushed and dismembered from your body.” —From the Ride Smart Ride Sober Campaign

 

Start with “The Pledge”…I will not text and drive.

Come on people, we all know that distracted driving is dangerous. So how do we effectively deal with this roadkill habit?

Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Thank you for taking the Pledge. Thank you for refusing to Text and Drive.

 

Hey Drivers…looking twice for motorcyclists is one of the best safety actions you can make while driving your vehicle. 

 

 

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 ride safely and look out for the distracted driver. 

Me, I gave up riding motorcycles during commute hours years ago in southern California 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,

Thank You for reading my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m just a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following 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 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

REPOST DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND…May 28, 2017 – I have been getting a lot of emails on Indian Thunder Stroke motor experiences. Some good, some not so good. Too many for me to handle but I will select a number of them and address them in the comments section at the end of this post as time allows. Here’s 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.

 

720x480 - OldIndianChief - S88A8563

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.

 

0-cad clear pic 425x397

 

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.

Tell ’em Motorcycle Marc Sent Ya…

 

MOTORCYCLE BUYING TIP 4U! When shopping for your next motorcycle, tell the Fit Specialist or Motorcycle SalesPro that I, (MotorcycleMarc – aka: #FitProMarc) sent ya. They’ll take extra special care to make sure you get the motorcycle that’s right for you and your budget. — Motorcycle Marc

 

Special Note: Please consider taking a Rider Safety Course that’s right for your level of riding experience. Motorcycling…is not of itself, inherently dangerous but riding a motorcycle is extremely unforgiving of inattention, ignorance, incompetence or stupidity. Never drink and ride. Always obey speed limits.

P.S. Let me know the outcome of your motorcycle buying experience in the comments section below.  Ride Safe Out There.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m just a moto-blogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

The Moto Guzzi eXperimental 21 Cruiser – aka MGX-21

 

OK, I ADMIT IT! The MGX-21 is one cool looking, even seductive motorcycle.

Moto Guzzi’s Italian heritage goes back to 1921. For years, I thought their motorbikes were just darn right ugly but no more. Just check out the new Moto Guzzi MGX-21 cruiser, courageously branded as the “Flying Fortress”.

 

1400cc Moto Guzzi Engine puts out 89 ft. lb. or torque. It’s an ultra-modern big block motor that is all EU4 Certified and puts out 96.6 hp.

 

The batwing-like design lines give this cruiser-tourer a sleek, futuristic profile that is truly unique in its class. 

 

Big red cylinder heads stand out. The design of the 90 degree transverse V-Twin engine is pure Moto Guzzi. Note the carbon fiber parts throughout the bike’s construction – front fender, fuel tank panels, engine cover and side hardbags.

 

The look of the MGX-21…is brute sexy cool in my view.

Low in back, raised up front with an oversized 21 inch carbon fiber wheel, this is one good looking cruiser. The bike weighs only 751.8 pounds (341 kg). Seat height is 29.1 inches (740 mm).

 

Moto Guzzi has developed a new steering geometry that improves overall balance and ease of riding. Its patented manoeuvring assistance system reduces the tendency of the big 21 inch wheel to “close” in low speeds and high steering angle turns.

 

The electronic engine management system includes full “Ride-by-Wire” acceleration that manages three different engine maps.

We’re talking total rider control here to adapt power and torque to any riding situation…selected right from the handlebar. More information on the three engine maps – Veloce, Turismo and Pioggia will be provided in this blog post once I complete my road test.

 

The MGX-21 is fitted with two-channel ABS and a patented traction control system that can be adjusted to three different settings. Note the bright red Brembo Brake Calipers.

 

 

The Bottom Line coming soon…MSRP = $21,990. I continue to evaluate this new Motto Guzzi ride. In the meantime, click here to see the latest Moto Guzzi website information on this impressive machine. 

 

Ride Safe Out There.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m just a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

About Moto Guzzi Motorcycles – Known as “the Eagle company” by motorcyclists around the world, the legendary Moto Guzzi brand stands for pride and glorious tradition, combined with innovative engine research, Italian style, and chrome that proudly lights up the roads worldwide. The story began in 1921, in Mandello del Lario, Italy, and Moto Guzzi has never stopped since.

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 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.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

 

APRIL – DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH – Riding season is on…

Watch out for distracted drivers…they are everywhere. Nothing is more threatening to us motorcycle riders than the distracted driver who now commonly occupies our streets, roadways and highways. Driving mobile phone users and habitual texters have become a real menace to all motorcycle riders and cagers alike. 3,477 people were killed and over 421,000 injured in 2015, according to the latest government data.

The distracted driver problem is getting worse in my opinion and this deadly practice must simply, somehow, be stopped.

 

TEXTING - 252X367-MJB-05-14-14-iStock_000020486275Small

Menace is defined in Webster’s dictionary as a person or thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat of harm and/or danger. Someone who causes trouble or annoyance…a dangerous or threatening person…”. Yet,  while the dangers of distracted driving, especially texting and driving, are clear, people are still doing it.

Like drugged or drunk drivers, distracted drivers have become a clear and present danger to us all.

I estimate that almost half the drivers I see on California highways seem to be on cell phones, smart phones, texting and/or even checking the internet while driving. It’s a roadway crisis!— MJB

I put tens of thousands of miles on my 2 and 4-wheel vehicles each year and I’m frankly shocked at the number of distracted drivers out there. I even see big rig operators on their cell phones on a regular basis. How insane is this?

Young and old, everyone seems to be doing it! Driver inattention seems to have become a “normal” roadway practice. It’s an addiction as far as I can tell and it appears to be getting worse. According to  New Jersey’s Attorney General’s Office, 53% of crashes in that state labeled “driver inattention” as a contributing factor. Yes, that’s over half of all accidents in Jersey. I suspect this to be a typical statistic in all states across the country.

 

Law Enforcement Cannot Solve The Distracted Driver Problem Without Our Help.

Look-it, I like cops. They do amazing work keeping us safe under the toughest of circumstances. Having them spend valuable life-saving time chasing cell phone use violators is a complete waste of their talent and bravery. Weekend crackdowns, ticket campaigns and checkpoints targeting motorists who are using handheld devices while driving are simply not effective. These actions, while they sound good and even appear worthy, do nothing to curtail this dangerous practice beyond the time period in question.

 

Low-level fines of $100 to $500 on motorists violating the distracted cell phone laws are not working.

Yes, you can add court costs and various fees to increase the penalty but let’s be honest!  These low-level fines have done nothing to stop texting and driving for example. Click here for an example of what I’m talking about…Killer Texter fined only $500!

Now, a $2,500 fine, that’s a meaningful pocketbook pain point. Add loss of a drivers license for 6 to 12 months and you’ll really get people’s attention. And, if you kill someone due to your reckless use of a mobile device while driving, vehicular manslaughter/murder charge at minimum is a must.

Drugged. Drunk. Distracted Drivers…all should be treated as harshly as a DUI sentence in my book. 

 

PLEASE! STOP TEXTING & DRIVING. IT'S JUST NOT WORTH IT!

NICE HIGHWAY SIGN AND THE MESSAGE IS GOOD BUT GUESS WHAT? NO ONE IS READING IT. IT’S JUST NOT WORKING!

 

So, where do we go from here? Here’s my 2-cents.

 

1. I’m no lawyer but I gotta tell yas. Those inflicting pain and misery because of an accident caused by the use of their mobile device need to be at minimum, charged with reckless driving.

Plus, prosecutors should charge offenders with vehicular assault when an accident occurs from such reckless driving. Suspending driving privileges for 12 months should also be part of the legal package.

 

2. Employers must enforce laws that prohibit on-the-job cell phone use while employees are driving on business. Employees should fear the possibility of getting fired should they be caught using their smart phones or laptops while driving on business. In other words, employees engaging in a clearly dangerous workplace behavior and breaking the law should be disciplined…up to and including, being fired for breaking company risk management and safety rules. And, employers, you corporate liability and deep pockets are sure to attract a big lawsuit should one of your employees crash and kill due to being driving distracted on the job.

 

3. Adults need to be better role models to teen drivers. A recent survey, found that 77% of teens say adults tell them not to text and drive yet, do it themselves all the time. Is this nuts or what? Please, it’s time to lead by example people.

 

Better take the pledge before it's to late!

TAKE THE PLEDGE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! Click on image for more information.

4. Take The Pledge.

No text message, email, website or video is worth the risk of endangering my life or the lives of others on the road. I pledge to never text and drive and take action to educate others about the dangers of texting while driving. No text is worth the risk. It can wait!”

I like this attempt by AT&T to get the word out. I have taken the pledge…will you?

 

5. Become an advocate. Yes, you need to get involved. Your safe motoring life actually depends on it. If you’re a motorcyclist, there’s no excuse. You must do something against distracted driving. It is literally a threat to our sport and passion.This problem will not go away on its own…we must all play a part.

 

6. Use advanced technology to prevent texting, emailing, or web access while a vehicle is in motion…any motion.

Best I figure, only widespread use of technology that prevents mobile smart phones from working while inside a vehicle will bring any meaningful solution to this deadly problem.

Texting and driving is now a part of people’s psyche…a bad habit stuck in the consciousness of today’s drivers. While tougher laws and large fines should act as a deterrent for the responsible among us, the irresponsible will continue to use their smart phones while driving and as a result, continue to cause accidents.

 

Phone scrambling technology using GPS to disable texting and/or phone calls while a vehicle is in motion.

The technology is available…we just need laws to implement it. I am now convinced that society has no choice but to vote in the mandatory use of this phone scrambling technology less we want distracted driving accidents to continue to wreck the lives of innocent people. Check out one of the leading companies offering such a product, CogoSense Company.

 

7. Join the American Motorcyclists Association and help them work with the NHTSA.

The AMA has taken on the cause of distracted drivers as well and your AMA membership matters towards moving this cause forward. Click here for the AMA’s latest news item on the issue. Click here for the official statement from the AMA regarding their position on the inattentive operation of vehicles.

 

So, what is the government doing about this distracted driving crisis?

TEXTING KILLS-ISTOCK-209x200 BLOGFOOTER

Click image to access online driver training from the pros at Atlantic Tranining.com.

You need to know that the U.S. Department of Transportation, through the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), is trying to help the cause by leading the effort to stop texting and cell phone use behind the wheel. They have held two national distracted driving summits, banned texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers, encouraged states to adopt tough laws, and launched several campaigns to raise public awareness on the issue.

 

Driver training is a key component…but it’s not enough.

As a motorcyclist, I do appreciate the efforts of the NHTSA but fact is, as you have just read throughout this blog post…we have a long way to go before distracted drivers are stopped from menacing users of our roadways. Check out their website and judge for yourself how the government is assisting the cause. Bottom line, you and me need to get involved and help keep the roads safe. No government body can do it for us.

So, as we enter another exciting season of motorcycling, we should all make sure that we have good health insurance and life insurance since there is surely to be more accidents on the highways and byways of this great land due to distracted drivers. The texting and driving problem is that bad I tell yas. Five seconds and it could all be over.

 

The Bottom Line: Don’t Drive Distracted…ever! If you must use your phone while driving, find a safe place to pull off the road before you make your call or send your text. The life you save may well be your own. 

Ride Safe Out There.

 

Remember, Don't Text & Drive. Be Safe!

    Remember, Don’t Text & Drive. Be Safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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