MAKE 2020 YOUR BIG ROADTRIP YEAR. START PLANNING NOW. MJB Photo: Oceanside Pier, Oceanside, California

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Some bikers enjoy wintry pleasures. I’m not one of them.

WINTER…Grrr! Winter is in full swing… springtime is not yet in the air but let’s dream a little. Many of my biker friends who live in the great white north

Who says winter riding isn’t fun?

SO, YOU DON’T LIVE IN SOCAL…Just because you don’t live in Southern California, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your beloved motorcycle during winter time. Winter riding done just right. Check

Beaulieu Brothers Ride 2019

WE RIDE THE GASPE PENINSULA… Few things in life get my excitement level up like planning for a big motorcycle roadtrip… Note – Blog Post in progress. — MJB This

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,

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

Explore Cambodia on a motorcycle…Enduro style.

  AMAZING KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA…See this amazing country from the seat of an Enduro Motorcycle.  The Kingdom of Cambodia was a powerful and prosperous empire that flourished and dominated almost

Romania and Eastern Europe on a Motorcycle

  DREAM RIDE ROMANIA! Imagine riding one of the most exciting roads in the world…the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania. The country of Romania in Eastern Europe is home to the

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

Distracted Driving Awareness

WATCH OUT FOR DISTRACTED DRIVERS! 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

Marc’s Magnum Ride to Sturgis75

  STURGIS! The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally…you gotta see it to believe it! Imagine this, Sturgis, South Dakota, a small, quiet mid-western town of 6,500 people, growing to a metropolis of

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.

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THERE’S A HUGE MULTI-PLATE WET CLUTCH IN THIS MOTOR.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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. But yet there are many companies and organizations trying to make the roads safer from distracted driving, especially the likes of different California traffic school options available for those looks for further driving education.

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. If you find yourself in a motorcycle accident, it’s worth contacting Attorney Ray Areshenko at REA Law in Reno, Nevada. This way you can find out if you’re entitled to maximum compensation and claim it.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.

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?

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Distracted Driving Awareness

WATCH OUT FOR DISTRACTED DRIVERS!

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. If you are in need of legal services following your road incident, you could go to the site of Conway injury attorneys at Joye Law firm in South Carolina.

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. If you’ve got a teenager and you’re worried about their safety on the road, get a dash cam from somewhere like Blackbox My Car and make sure they’re driving carefully.

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.

If you are involved in a truck accident caused by drunk driving or a loved one is killed in such an incident, you might want to consider getting in touch with a lawyer.

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!

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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

RIDER SAFETY MATTERS…Special note to those of us lucky enough to ride all year long.

“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 have 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 are a driver that has found yourself in the difficult position of causing a road accident, you could look into contacting someone like Weiland Upton to help you out with your case. As much as some drivers do infuriate me, I guess accidents do happen!

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. This figure should be both shocking and terrifying to any motorcyclist out there. Anyone involved in an accident and who suffers an injury as a result may be looking to find a motorcycle accident lawyer to take on their potential claim.

“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. If you are one such person who has become the victim of an injury, you may want to talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer in Sacramento CA for assistance with you case.

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.

The 2018 Star Venture from Yamaha…smooth runner!

 

BIG NEW BAGGER HITS THE MARKET – I just roadtested the new big luxury bagger from Yamaha Motorcycles. Here are my quick impressions of the Star Venture.

Comfort, convenience and sporty performance…Yes, a big sporty tourer!

The Star Venture comes equipped with with two drive modes. The touring mode gives you a smooth throttle and power response. The sport mode, well you better hang on, it offers  noticeable acceleration delivery and demands you pay attention to handling this big bike  with confidence off the line and around corners.

Seats, backrest and grips come with a heated feature for comfort in colder weather. Front fairing has an electronic, adjustable windscreen of course. Air management around the bike is excellent and made easier with plenty of vents.

These types of luxury baggers are made for comfortable, long-distance two-up riding. I did not test the bike with a passenger but from all I could see, the 17-inch wide passenger seat, backrest and appropriately placed rear floorboards would provide state of the art comfort for a passenger.

The Star Venture even comes with a reverse gear for parking ease and convenience. Yamaha’s “Sure-Park” system makes for easy maneuvering even when this 963 pounder  is fully loaded.

 

There’s a new bagger in town…the 2018 Yamaha Star Venture. You got to give it a go. Photo Credit: Yamaha Motorcycles

 

Dashboard infotainment system delivers everything you need.

The Star Venture’s infotainment system is full of logically organized features including GPS navigation, a communications suite, audio package, vehicle health control info, external device connectors and there’s even a CB radio option. All key features are easily readable on a 7-inch, color LCD screen and managed effortlessly from the easy touch handlebar-controlled command center. This said, there are a ton of options here and it would likely take me thousands of miles to master it all. Click here for more information.

 

Big dashboard of the Star Venture. Easy to read 7-inch screen. Easy access to controls.

 

1854cc V-Twin motor offers excellent power…126 pound-feet of power.

Yamaha has done a great job with this all newly designed 1,854cc (113ci) motor. It’s a 48 degree V-Twin that sounds really tight and smooth. In fact, it’s actually a very quiet motor given the power it puts out. Literally, little to no mechanical engine noise. Superb engineering I must say.

The engine is pushed forward through a 6-speed transmission which gear shifts real smooth and is specifically designed for long-distance touring. A compact oil-cooler directly in front of the motor, inside the down tubes, attempts to keep the Star Venture’s V-Twin  engine temperature cool.

Engine exhaust sound is nice and throaty…delivered via two twin mufflers.

 

Yamaha has developed a really nice big V-Twin motor for the Star Venture. 1,854cc (113ci and 126 lb-ft of torque). Photo Credit: Yamaha Motorcycles

 

Engine air-cooling ducts…they’re huge!

The two huge vertical air-cooling ducts don’t seem to fit the otherwise cool and sporty look of this bagger. In fact, I am not a fan of ’em. While they might be successful in directing air towards cooling the engine and even parts of the rider, they are too big and bulky looking for my tastes.

 

Vertical air-cooling ducts straddling each side of the Star Venture’s front end…are HUGE! And, I’m not so sure they were effective in re-directing heat. This is a V-Twin afterall and it throws off quite a bit of heat.

 

Lots of storage space…

You can easily store two full-face helmets with lots of room to spare in the top trunk. The top trunk, saddlebags and fairing compartments hold more stuff than the new 2018 Goldwing which offers only 29.1 gallons (110 liters) of storage space according to recent press releases.

 

37.3 gallons (141.2 liters) of volume across the saddlebags, trunk and fairing compartments. All storage locks electronically.

 

My Bottom Line

All things considered, this is a very impressive long-distance tourer offering excellent, sporty handling characteristics. Acceleration is quick. The chassis is stable and very responsive. Shifting was easy no matter the gear. Comfort…may be the best seat to handlebar configuration in its class.

I was not impressed with the bike’s engine heat management set up. The engine runs hot in my opinion. In fact, it reminds me of the engine heat issue I had on my original 2004 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide.

Custom cool look-wise…the vertical air ducts are too big…they just don’t look good in my opinion. And, I’m not sure they even work as designed for air control and direction around that big V-Twin engine. But hey, I would not hold this against the Star Venture. It’s a heck of a luxury bagger for the money.

The Star Venture offers a Transcontinental Option Package that comes with special features such as LED fog lamps, additional storage compartments for the passenger and an alarmed security system and more. For an extra $2,000 you get an impressive array of additional upgrades.

My bottom line, the Yamaha Star Venture offers a lot of bagger advantages for its MSRP price range of $24,999 – $26,999. You got to try it.

The 2018 Star Venture. A good-lookin’ bagger from Yamaha Motorcycles. Suggest streamlining/downsizing the vertical air ducts up front to make next year’s model custom-cool looking. Click image for more information from Yamaha Motors. Photo Credit: Yamaha Motorcycles

 

 

Ride Safe Out There.

Thank you for reading my blog folks. — MJB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.