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

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 that runs off the likes of these solenoid valve controllers found at https://tameson.com/solenoid-valve-types.html 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 Showa. The 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.

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.

 

 

 

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.

Indian’s New Bagger Cockpit – Powered by the Ride Command System.

 

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR RIDE…with the all new Ride Command System for 2017 Indian Chieftain, Chieftain Limited, Chieftain Elite and Indian Roadmaster.

For those of you who follow my blog, you’ll recall a blog post I did back in early 2015 about the Indian Roadmaster and how much I liked this new touring motorcycle. My only negative on the bike at the time was the lack of a GPS navigation system.

Well, that observation is history as Indian Motorcycle has just introduced a state of the art touchscreen system that comes with GPS and a whole lot more…read on.

Ride Command Technology is now standard equipment on both the 2017 Chieftain and Roadmaster.

Trademarked as the Indian Motorcycle Ride Command System, Indian’s huge 7-inch display is the largest available on a motorcycle today. As you will note in the following photos, the screen is bright with high-resolution and positioned close to the rider…making it easy to read and reach.

 

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Cockpit dashboard is huge! 

The big 7-inch touchscreen offers simple information displays that are easy to see and control. It’s a bright, high resolution, 800 x 480 pixels screen that is even brighter than my Samsung Note 4 screen.

 

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Easy to turn on. Easy to see. Easy to use interface.

The touchscreen is operated by state-of-the-art software. One is able to work the screen via touch with gloves on or off. Yes, the 2017 Chieftain and Roadmaster Ride Command System comes with “glove-touch” technology. Impressive indeed! Also of note is the response/activation time following key-on…10 seconds and screen brightness is on.

 

2017-imc-roadmaster-green-cream-47 640x427 CockPit

 

Pinch-to-zoom technology makes screen management easy.

Managing the large screen display is intuitive and one quickly learns the modes and shortcuts available. The pinch-to-zoom technology works like your smart phone. Navigation around the touchscreen is simple as a result. Your bluetooth-enabled device is easily paired to the Ride Command System for maximum utility and use.

 

2017-imc-roadmaster-green-cream-48640x427 HUGEcockPit

 

You can get lost if you want to…but not with Ride Command.

There is a lot of vehicle information available on the Ride Command System screen. The screen can be customized via eight options that can be used in any combination. The Map/Navigation option is awesome. Best I’ve seen on any motorcycle to date.

The maps show turn by turn with clarity. The system also provides points of interest and a points of interest search capability, address search is accurate, audible route notifications can be activated and the system comes with a compass. A unique screen feature is the showing of a list of nearby gas stations when the low fuel indicator light comes on.

 

2017-imc-roadmaster-green-cream-54 640x427 CockPit

 

My Bottom Line…

Indian’s new cockpit system is in a class of its own. The Ride Command System comes with superb built-in navigation that gives you easy to see turn-by-turn directions. Plus, Ride Command provides all kinds of data such as points of interests. Additionally, there’s a tire pressure monitor, fuel range indicator, miles to the next oil change notice, altitude calculation, average fuel usage, and a Bluetooth connection. This, the “Ride Command Touchscreen” system, is Indian’s best innovation to date. Next phase…add Sirius XM radio to the Ride Commander.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

 

Motorcycle Marc

Chieftain Roadtrip Brand MJB 580x644

 

Click on the following links to get more information on Indian’s

2017 Chieftain

2017 Chieftain Limited

2017 Chieftain Elite

and 2017 Roadmaster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. See footer of this blog/website for more information. “Ride Command” is a trademark of the Indian Motorcycle Company. Chieftain and Roadmaster cockpit images used in this blog post are the property of Indian Motorcycle International, LLC and used with permission. Always wear a helmet. Always pay attention and keep your eyes on the road. Never ride or drive under the influence.

 

Riding Season Has Arrived. You Ready?

RIDING SEASON 2017 – Time to shift gears and start dreaming about all the wonderful miles you will put on your motorcycles this riding season.

Road Trip

My roadtrip to Sturgis75. Read about it. Talk about it. Then, ride out to Sturgis76.

Is your motorcycle roadtrip ready?

If your bike has been sitting idle all winter, you’ll want to give it a good check-up to make sure it is ready to take you safely through the riding season. Safety should always be your number one concern so you can avoid getting into an accident. Unfortunately, no matter how safe you’re driving, you can’t prevent other people on the road not following the rules. If you get into an accident while you’re out biking then contact a firm like GJEL California to get legal help. Hopefully, it won’t get to that point though. Let’s run through a quick checklist of items to make sure your motorcycle will be safe, reliable and trouble free.
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Before you and your bike leaves the garage, check the following:

1. Tires and wheels
2. Controls – levers, pedals, cables, hoses
3. Sprockets, chains, or belts
4. Lights – headlight, turn signals
5. Fluids and Filters
6. Battery terminals and charge level
7. Brake pads and rotors
8. Chassis – frame, suspension, shocks
9. Kickstand, center stand
10. Start the engine. Monitor idle speed. Adjust as needed.
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“A good inspection program should uncover more than the immediate black-and-white problems like failed bulbs, punctured tires and missing fasteners. Some components may gradually slide out of spec, and cause smaller problems that the rider may not notice because they happen so gradually.” Click here to read a good article by Cruiser Magazine’s Art Friedman on the subject of motorcycle pre-checks.
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MOTORCYCLE TOURING RELAXES THE SOUL.

There is nothing like exploring the world from the seat of a motorcycle.

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Life’s too short to let your dreams sit idle. Get out and ride this summer.
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I know that many of you who follow my blog posts don’t currently have a motorcycle in your garage but are still nuts about motorcycles and the adventures that come with this great sport. Maybe you’re currently looking at a Honda ruckus for sale and you’re hoping to buy one soon. You might have to save up before you can go out and splurge on a new motorcycle. Saying this though, if you prefer Yamaha Motorcycles for example, but you currently don’t have the funds to call one your own just yet, you can always look into ways of getting finance for this vehicle. You may be driving off with one sooner than you think. Today’s motorcycles are a major investment for sure so I understand.
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Fact is, we only live once… Seriously, if you are thinking about life and adventure on 2-wheels or 3-wheels, you need to check out all the key manufacturers online to determine which bike is right for you. Then, find a local motorcycle dealer to book a test ride. Once you find a bike that feels good, looks good and rides good…put down a deposit, register for a rider training course and spend the riding season chasing freedom.
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Remember, it’s the things you don’t do that you regret the most.
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There are so many great motorcycle brands out there for you to consider. You can buy new or pre-owned to your budget’s content. And, if you want it all…you can even rent a wide variety of motorcycle types from EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals.
RideHarley - Large - Dollarphotoclub_29229149

You don’t need to fork out $25,000 to ride an American Classic this summer. Click image to check out my friends at EagleRider Motorcycle Adventure Rentals.

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Click on the following links to review the websites of today’s top brands. Harley-Davidson, Indian, Victory, Triumph, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Ducati.
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The Bottom Line…

If your are thinking and dreaming about adding a motorcycle to your life this riding season…I say do it. Just do it! It don’t matter whether you buy or rent, just do it…Ride Safe Out There.

LaJolla with the Magnum 300x226

#RideSafeOutThere this riding season. MJB

FYI: The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has excellent motorcycle information for all riders. Check ’em out. Sign up for a Rider Safety Course.

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

Victory Motorcycle Wheels Fall Off At Polaris

END OF THE ROAD FOR VICTORY MOTORCYCLES…An American Motorcycle Company Dies Before Its Time…

Big News! Polaris Industries announces the end of Victory Motorcycles…Got to admit, I did not see this news coming on Monday, January 9, 2017.

I will always remember where I was when I received the official media Press Release via email from Skyya Communications, Polaris’s PR pros. That warm sunny SoCal morning quickly turned cold as I read the announcement…Say what??? Big market cap Polaris Industries, an almost $6.0 billion corporation, could no longer afford to support the Victory Motorcycle brand? Wow, I said to myself as I boarded on a jet plane for a business trip to the east coast. Where’s the “American Muscle” in that newswire?

My history with Victory

As a long time friend and supporter of Victory motorcycles, the announcement both surprised and saddened me. What a shame I pondered as I looked out the airplane window…what the hell happened I wondered? How could such a supposedly powerful big enterprise like Polaris Industries give up on a true American brand after only 18 years in the marketplace?

My 2014 Victory High-Ball…best bar-hoppin’ fun bike ever. Click image to read my original blog post on this cool ride.

The making of an American motorcycle brand

In order to make sense of why Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO, Scott Wine, President of Motorcycles, Steve Menneto, and the Polaris Board of Directors decided to drop the Victory brand, one must get some perspective and context around what could lead to such a big, brand-killing, strategically-relevant, and future corporate brand positioning decision.

Remember back almost two decades to 1998, Victory was the motorcycle that was going to be the biker’s alternative to market leader, Harley-Davidson.

Victory’s first motorcycle, the V92C, was lauded as the new exciting American-made motorcycle that riders could fall in love with. The press loved it! Polaris championed it. And so began the building of a loyal fan base of Victory owners.

Market excitement for the new motorcycle company jumped exponentially when Arlen Ness Motorcycles of Dublin, CA signed on as a Victory dealership in 1999. The legendary Arlen Ness and his son, Cory, added huge credibility and brand relevancy to America’s new motorcycle company. They also signed on as styling consultants and as accessories supplier to Victory and in 2004, the Nesses created a cool series of sleek looking limited-edition Ness Signature Victory models. A third generation Ness, Zach, even got into the act joining the company after college and championed his own Zach Ness Signature Vegas model in 2011. The Ness family collaboration with the Victory team looked like a match made in motorcycle heaven from all I could see.

2008 was a big year with the introduction of the Freedom 106 V-twin.

I first learned about the new Freedom 106 motor during the summer of 2008 when the Victory Vision demo rides arrived at Ness Motorcycles. Victory added this industry-leading powerplant to the Hammers and Vegas models a year later.

By 2013, every Victory model sported the Freedom 106ci V-Twin motor. I loved the power, the acceleration and the look of this engine and, I loved the fact that its 1,731cc became viewed by Harley-Davidson as a serious contender with all its power and torque.

106 cubic inches of Modern American Muscle. Click motor image for a series of excellent YouTube videos on this engine. Image Source: Victory Press

In 2015, I was fortunate to hook up with then External Relations Manager for Polaris Motorcycles, Robert Pandya. Robert put me in the saddle of a new Victory Magnum for a major roadtest across half the country that would lead me to the 75th Anniversary of Sturgis…and, what an amazing ride it was from San Diego, California to Sturgis, South Dakota.

I made it a point to visit over 10 Polaris/Victory dealers along the way so that I could get a feel for the excitement around the new Victory bikes and to admire the inventory on their showroom floors. The bike ran smooth and cool. It handled really well even as I rode half the trip through heavy rain, thunder and lightning. I will never forget that ride. It is important for me to say though, that no matter where you’re riding your bike, and how perfect you may think the bike is, you need to have a local specialist lawyer in mind in case an accident happens, like this motorcycle lawyer in Austin.

On my way to Sturgis75. Devils Tower, Wyoming. 2015 Victory Magnum. Click image to read my blog post on this great ride.

The world of big money and big company decisions.

Polaris Industries (NYSE: PII) is a giant powersports company. The company had a market cap of $5.8 billion at November 2016. For perspective and comparison, competitor Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) has a market cap of $10.6 billion. Other competitors of note are Thor Industries (NYSE: THO) which had a market cap of $4.3 billion and Brunswick Industries (NYSE: BC) also around $4.3 billion in 2016.

In 2015, the recreational vehicles segment accounted for a whopping 78.6% of total company sales according to information available from Polaris Investor Relations. Motorcycles generated only 14.8% of total sales. Looking at motorcycle sales over the past several years, you’ll want to note the following:

2012 = $195,789,000 or 6.1% of total company sales of $3.2 billion came from motorcycles

2015 = $698,257,000 or 14.8% of total sales of $4.7 billion originated from motorcycles. Estimates are that the Victory brand accounted for $114 million or only 20.2% of all motorcycle sales at Polaris in 2015.

Looking back, one can summize that the arrival of the iconic Indian motorcycle brand at Polaris in 2011 was the beginning of the end for Victory motorcycles.

According to published financial reports and insiders in my network, sales and profits from the motorcycle segment increased over the past several years primarily due to aggressive marketing, dealership promotion and company leadership enthusiasm for Indian Motorcycles and Polaris’s new 3-wheeled moto-roadster, the Slingshot.

The Victory brand…Well, retail sales were down a whopping 15% in the fourth quarter of 2015 due to “continued low product availability” and since the arrival of the Indian Motorcycle brand in 2011, there was a real loss of enthusiasm within company leadership to aggressively market and sell the Victory brand, according to my sources. Combine this with the fact that the Victory brand lost money in three of the past five years, according to published reports, and you have a formula for failure. It makes you wonder how much would these motorcycles go for on a site like We Want Your Motorbike if you wanted to sell it.

Media reporting around the industry indicated that Victory Motorcycles accounted for only 3% of the company’s total sales in 2015. ($141 million or viewed another way, Victory accounted for 20.2% of Polaris’s total motorcycle sales in 2015.)

Imagine if Polaris had applied the same marketing strategy and distribution excitement towards selling the Victory story during the first 10 years of the brand’s existence…as it has during the past four years on the promotion of Indian and the Slingshot brands?

This is where I believe the company lost its way with Victory…in the marketing, sales and distribution of the Victory brand going all the way back to 2008 when the company introduced its new motor, the Freedom 106.

From cruiser to tourer, every Victory model was outfitted with the powerhouse, industry-leading Freedom 106ci motor in 2013. The brand was ripe for great marketing and a new distribution strategy to accelerate its sales from all I could tell at the time. I got so excited myself that I bought a new Victory High-Ball in early 2014 just for fun.

My 2014 Victory High-Ball…total head turner. Full of fun torque.

By the end of 2014, reports show that Indian had an estimated 140 dealers in the U.S. and 70 dealers internationally. Globally, Polaris had over 600 Victory Dealers…think about this for a moment. Over 600 established Victory Dealers supposedly selling the Victory brand but sales lagged and did not meet expectations?

While attractive Indian-branded dealerships sprouted up across the U.S. and internationally from 2013 and continues to this day, Victory bikes were lucky to get front door positioning in Polaris’s powersports focused dealerships. Some new Indian dealers also sold Victory bikes but the bikes got mostly back of the showroom floor status from all I saw visiting numerous dealerships across the country. For some reason, the impressive marketing and selling blitz focused on the Indian and Slingshot brands was nowhere to be seen for Victory. I began to wonder back in 2013 why Polaris had decided to not to fully champion the brand.

The key leadership player – Steve Menneto, President of Victory and Indian Motorcycle brands.

If you believe that Polaris had the financial means, engineering prowess and talented executives like Steve Menneto running the motorcycle segment, you got to wonder about the real reasons why the Victory brand got de-prioritized over the past several years?

Steven D. Menneto, has been the President of Motorcycles at Polaris Industries Inc. and around the Victory Motorcycle brand in numerous leadership capacities since 2009 according to his LinkedIn profile.

According to Bloomberg, he gained valuable experience in various other key roles at Polaris; Director of Dealer & Retail Development, Director of Consumer Sales, Regional Sales and he even dabbled in a Dealer Development Quality intitiative. He also gained significant hands on dealership experience during his three-year tenure managing a powersports dealership. Fellow blogger extra-ordinaire, Cyril Huze, interviewed Steve Menneto back in March 2014. Steve’s commitment to Victory at the time seemed positive and even optimistic. Click here to read the full interview on Cyril Huze Blog.

So, given all of Steve Menneto’s leadership experience with the Victory brand, why was the Victory brand not promoted as an individual, viable, strong motorcycle brand like the Indian brand? Why was Victory allowed to get lost and relegated to the rear of many of Polaris dealer’s showroom floors?

Back in a 2012 interview with About Bikes Magazine, Steve Menneto had a strategy and a plan for growing the Victory brand profitably. What happen to the execution of that plan?

I am hoping to interview Steve Menneto in the near future about the reasons behind the killing of the Victory brand. We Victory fans want to know so I will report to you all when Steve and I connect.

Take note blog fans: Polaris will release its fourth quarter and full-year 2016 financial results and provide 2017 guidance on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

My expectation is that the topic of the Victory brand kill (official announcement here) and its impact on the Polaris brand as a viable motorcycle manufacturer long term will be a hot topic for the Polaris executives in attendance.

Webcast and conference call will be held at 9:00 a.m. Central Time to discuss results. A slide presentation and link to the webcast will be posted on the Polaris Investor Relations website at ir.polaris.com. To listen to the conference call by phone, dial 877-706-7543 in the U.S. and Canada, or 478-219-0273 Internationally. The Conference ID is #45015597. This is one corporate conference communication you don’t want to miss if you care about the future of American made motorcycles.

My bottom line…

I love motorcycles but I really love the American brands of Harley-Davidson, Indian and Victory. I’ve owned all three brands, among others, at one time or another over the past 45 years.

The bottom line is that Polaris Industries is a powersports powerhouse with a powersports-trained distribution system (dealerships). Motorcycles and other hybrid on-road vehicles make up less than 20% of their total revenues. The Victory Motorcycle brand, in my opinion, got lost in dealership showroom clutter and when pinned against lower priced foreign motorcycle brands, it never had a chance.

Why Polaris leaders did not market the Victory brand separately as it is doing so effectively today with the Indian Motorcycle brand we may never know?

I do believe that the Indian brand will benefit from having its step-child Victory model out of its corporate way as long as it continues to be marketed with its own branded, Indian products and services story. For how long, who knows given the demographics buying Indian motorcycles? Me, I own a 2014 Indian Chieftain today with 40,000 miles on it and I love it. Great bagger I do admit.

On the road to Monument Valley, Utah with my 2014 Indian Chieftain.

As for the 3-wheeler, quasi-roadster, registered as a “motorcycle” Slingshot, it too is being promoted through existing Polaris dealership showrooms and parking lots…tucked away amongst the 4×4 ATVs. Some are even getting good front door placements. All the best to Polaris’s marketing pros as they continue to position this innovative vehicle in the marketplace. Click on this Slingshot link to read my original roadtest blog post.

My bottom line…Victory Motorcycles were well-engineered, sleek good lookers and even attractively priced but they simply could not compete hidden amongst the powersports Side x Side 4-wheelers, ATVs, lower priced foreign motorcycle brands and walls and walls of motocross boots, helmets, duffel bags…etc. Add to this that Victory inspired logo wear and accessories were limited until only a few years ago and the brand was clearly handicapped from a marketing point of view.

Furthermore, except for my many positive visits to the Ness Dealership in NorCal over the years, I never did feel dealer passion for Victory Motorcycles from any of the dozens of Polaris dealers I have visited over the years.

Customized cool, right out of the factory. 21-inch front wheel. That’s the Victory Magnum model. Click image for more info.

Talk about a missed opportunity for Polaris to fully develop an excellent motorcycle brand in Victory and to prove to Harley-Davidson that they will be a tough competitor for decades to come. Talk about bad news for us motorcycle riders from a price and product standpoint…Less competition, higher prices.

RIP Victory Motorcycles…you will be missed by this motorcycle enthusiast.

Me and the Magnum – 2015.

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

About Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII). Polaris Industries is a global powersports leader with annual 2015 sales of $4.7 billion. Polaris fuels the passion of riders, workers and outdoor enthusiasts with some of the world’s leading recreational vehicle brands; RANGER®, RZR® and POLARIS GENERAL side-by-side off-road vehicles; the SPORTSMAN® and POLARIS ACE® all-terrain off-road vehicles; INDIAN MOTORCYCLE® midsize and heavyweight motorcycles; SLINGSHOT® moto-roadsters; and Polaris RMK®, INDY®, SWITCHBACK® and RUSH® snowmobiles. Go to www.polaris.com for more information.

About Arlen Ness Enterprises – Arlen Ness Motorcycles is the motorcycle dealership associated with Arlen Ness Enterprises. They have one of the best reputations anywhere for personal customer service and standing by their wide variety of products. The dealership will continue to service your Victory bikes so there’s no need to worry about that. As you can imagine, given the elimination of the Victory brand by Polaris, all Victory brands at Arlen Ness Motorcycles are on clearance with limited inventory available. Once they are gone off the showroom floor that’s it. Best to get to the dealership asap!

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 their Manufacturer/Owners. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.

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 party-ready bikers totaling 750,000+ in a week’s time. Unbelievable right?

The Rally, in its 75th year, was held from August 3 to August 9, 2015…and I was there. According to reports, it was the biggest and baddest gathering of motorcycle riders of all time. Best estimates are between 750,000 – 1,000,000 attendees.

During Sturgis week, I visited the legendary Black Hills and rode to several of my favorite American landmarks, including Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park.

Click on the following link if you want to quickly find out about the Top 13 Motorcycle Rides Around Sturgis…read on for a taste of my Sturgis 2015 adventure.

 

The Motorcycle – A Custom Bagger from Victory Motorcycles.

I rode a 2015 Victory Magnum to the rally this year. It’s the industry’s coolest, out-of-the-box custom bagger. Meaning, it comes out of the factory looking like the owner added all kinds of aftermarket accessories to it…like pullback ape hanger bars, a 21-inch front wheel, a cool looking low windshield, a great audio sound system, a powerful motor, a sleek seat and custom-designed footrests.

Just to make sure the factory Magnum would fit me perfectly for my 2,000+ mile ride to Sturgis, I rode to my local dealership in El Cajon for some advice on taking this bike on a long distance ride.

They team recommended I switch the low-cut factory windshield to the Flare Windshield from Klock Werks and that we replace the short 6-inch Ape Bars with Victory’s cool 12-inch Apes. This turned out to be an excellent recommendation which made the bike totally comfortable for my 6′ foot frame.

Photo below shows the new bars and windshield on the Magnum.

 

THE VICTORY MAGNUM…ROADTRIP READY. MJBphoto. Note: It was good while it lasted. Victory Motorcycles shut down operations on January 9, 2017. Click image for formal announcement. Wow! Sure caught me by surprise.

 

I left San Diego, California on August 1, 2015 and enjoyed heavy rain, thunder and lightning for the next three days as I explored Utah and Wyoming…challenging riding but still fun! The Magnum ran well throughout the wet weather and was a real road hugger on wet roads. The front fairing, teamed up with the Klock Werks windshield, did a fine job keeping rain away from me.

 

RidingInTheRain - Sturgis75

DOES MY RAIN SUIT MAKE ME LOOK FAT? My rain suit saved my ride and kept me dry throughout the roadtrip. The first 1,000 miles through downpours…my 2015 Sturgis ride was a wet one.

 

The map below shows the states I rode through on my way to South Dakota.

 

ROAD-TO-STURGIS- 516x290 map

 

You meet all kinds of people on road trips...

 

You meet the nicest Russians on America's roads to Sturgis. World bike tourers include Black Hills in their plans.

THE RUSSIANS – You meet the nicest Russians on America’s roads. On a 6-month world tour, they were so excited to be attending Sturgis’s 75th Anniversary.

 

 

THE CHAPLEAU RIDERS.

THE CHAPLEAU RIDERS. You meet the nicest Canadians too.

 

                    Here are the highlights of my 2015 Sturgis Ride.

 

Devils Tower, Wyoming

 

Devils Tower Magnum 640x360

DEVILS TOWER – AMERICA’S FIRST NATIONAL MONUMENT (1906). Northeast Wyoming. Sacred monument to the Lakota and other Indian tribes from the area.

 

 

Granite Spires along Needles Highway

Granite Spires along Needles Highway.

The Needles Highway.

 

Lots of scenery to absorb on this beautiful ride…in fact, it’s one of my favorites.

 

Narrow, winding roads make their way up the hillsides taking you through one-lane tunnels and past huge needle-like stones.

There are overlooks along the 14-mile ride that offer spectacular visions of canyons, cliffs and buttes. Take this road to see the Black Hills area at its best.

 

 

 

Mount Rushmore.

There’s nothing like seeing this monument from the seat of your motorcycle. The faces of four American Presidents are literally carved out of the granite mountain. Mount Rushmore is only 17 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota. One can’t help but feel a strong sense of national pride at this monument. Truly an awesome feat of engineering art.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, USA

THE MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL.- Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.

 

The Crazy Horse Memorial.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction on privately held land in Custer County, South Dakota. It depicts Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. Click here for more info from Wikipedia.

The statue in the forefront of the photo below is literally being carved into the mountain you see in the background. Truly an amazing undertaking and a spectacular memorial to the brave Indian warrior, Crazy Horse.

CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL. World's Largest Carving. Black Hills, South Dakota

CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL. World’s Largest Carving. Black Hills, South Dakota

 

Custer State Park

Custer State Park is South Dakota’s largest and first state park and game preserve. It is named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The infamous Custer, along with 210 of his men, died in 1876 at the battle of Little Big Horn.

Custer State Park offers great scenery and one of the largest herds of free-roaming buffalo. The Wildlife Loop Road, about 20 miles long, had plenty of pull-off areas to take in the great scenery.

THE AMERICAN BUFFALO. At one time numbered in the millions.

THE AMERICAN BUFFALO. In the mid 1800s, covered the American Plains numbering in the tens of millions.

 

The Hills Around Deadwood, South Dakota.

 

RIDING THE HILLS AROUND DEADWOOD, SOUTH DAKOTA.

RIDING THE HILLS AROUND DEADWOOD, SOUTH DAKOTA.

 

Deadwood Saloon 10 sign

SALOON NUMBER 10…Most famous watering hole in Deadwood, South Dakota.

 

Saloon #10 – This famous saloon and museum is where Wild Bill Hickock bit the dust on August 2, 1876.

The legend of this frontiersman and gunfighter, Wild Bill Hickock, is sure an interesting one. Click here to read all about it.

 

 

The Bottom Line.

My ride from San Diego, California to Sturgis, South Dakota, despite a lot of rain, thunder and lightning, was amazing. My week in Sturgis and my daily rides exploring the region were spectacular. Meeting up with old friends and meeting new ones was a bonus.

The Victory Magnum handled beautifully. This is a comfortable and sleek looking custom bagger with a powerful engine (The Freedom 106). The Victory Magnum is one good looker. I recommend you take a serious look at this motorcycle if you are considering a custom bagger. It’s the coolest, factory custom on the market today in my opinion.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

 

VOGPIC 2015

Thank you for reading my blog folks. – Motorcycle Marc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement intended. All references, images, technical data and general information relating to Victory Motorcycles is the property of Polaris Industries, Inc., unless specifically noted otherwise. Always wear a approved helmet. Never ride under the influence. Motorcycle Marc’s Magnum Motorcycle provided by the Victory Motorcycle Company. Ride sponsorship provided by Indian Motorcycles of El Cajon, California. Special thanks to Nate Wek at South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) for compiling the Top 13 Rides information from the good folks at “Ultimate Motorcycle Rides“. This info was invaluable to me as I planned my daily rides around Sturgis.

Big Twin Milwaukee-Eight Engines…Harley-Davidson Scores!

 

BIG NEW HD MOTOR…The all new, big displacement motor from Harley-Davidson is impressive I tell yas. Here’s my take on the Milwaukee Eight motor.

 

The Milwaukee-Eight engines power the 2017 model year Touring and Trike motorcycles.

Source: HDmedia 107ci Engine. No Air Cleaner View Milwaukee Eight.

Source: HDmedia 107ci Engine. No Air Cleaner View. Milwaukee-Eight.

The motor’s styling is sleek, modern and continues to show off that classic Harley-Davidson V-Twin power look that many of us have grown to appreciate and even love over the years.

Every part of these motors is new. Yes, a clean-sheet design from the talented engineers and designers at the Motor Company. According to Harley-Davidson, they are the most powerful, coolest-running motors they have ever built and come with crisper throttle response and a truer, cleaner rumble-sound.

 

Massive rocker covers, big cylinder fins.

Source: 107ci Engine. Milwaukee Eight. Note fins & rocker covers.

Source: HDmedia – 107ci Engine. Milwaukee-Eight. Note fins & rocker covers.

As you can see in the photo on the right, the rocker covers and cylinder air fins are massive. With 4-valves per cylinder, there’s a lot of action going on under those engine tops but word is that engine noise is reduced compared to the Twin Cam.

The new Milwaukee-Eight motor is quieter, yet still provides a rich, quasi-loud exhaust tone. There’s no mistaking the traditional Harley-rumble from this powerplant.

The all new Milwaukee-Eight 107 and Milwaukee-Eight 114 engines are all Harley-Davidson.

 

These Milwaukee-Eight V-twin motors are about power.

According to Harley-Davidson’s press releases, each new Milwaukee-Eight engine produces 10% more torque than the Twin Cam engine it replaced.

 

Source: HDmedia - 2017 Road Glide Special.

Source: HDmedia – 2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special with new Milwaukee-Eight Motor.

 

The Milwaukee-Eight has quicker acceleration.

The Motor Company spec information indicates that the 107ci accelerates 11% quicker 0-60 mph and 11% quicker from 60-80 mph in top gear…significant improvement compared to the Twin Cam 103ci.

The 114ci motor accelerates 8% quicker 0-60 mph and 12% quicker 60-80 mph…significantly faster than the Twin Cam 110ci it replaces.

 

Source: HDmedia - 2017 Street Glide with Milwaukke-Eight

Source: HDmedia – 2017 Street Glide with Milwaukee-Eight

 

The Milwaukee-Eight has Reduced Vibration

These new engines are rubber mounted so some vibration will be always be noticeable but, the engineers at Harley-Davidson use an internal counter balancer that now cancels 75% of primary vibration at idle. The feel, while still classic Harley-Davidson, is more refined and more comfortable.

 

The Milwaukee-Eight motor is offered in two displacements and three variations:

107ci Displacement – Oil-Cooled – (1750cc, 92.5hp) featuring precision oil-cooled cylinder heads for the Street Glide®/Street Glide® Special, Road Glide®/Road Glide Special®, Electra Glide® Ultra Classic®, Road King® and Freewheeler® models.

107ci Displacement – Liquid-Cooled – (1750cc, 92.5hp) featuring liquid-cooled cylinder heads for the Ultra Limited/Ultra Limited Low, Road Glide® Ultra and Tri Glide® Ultra models. The liquid-cooled engines are branded by Harley-Davidson as “Twin-Cooled”.

114ci Displacement – Liquid-Cooled – (1870cc, 100.6hp) featuring liquid-cooled cylinder heads for the CVO Limited and CVO Street Glide®  models. Also branded as a “Twin-Cooled” Milwaukee-Eight.

 

Source: HDmedia - 107 Engine. Milwaukee Eight Primary.

Source: HDmedia – 107 Engine. Milwaukee-Eight Primary.

My Bottom Line…

From all I’ve seen and read since the unveiling on August 23, 2016, the power characteristics of the classic Harley-Davidson engine culture remain…strong low-end torque, broad and flat curve through the mid-range that is ideal for the Touring rider.

To experience the Milwaukee-Eight power of the 2017 Harley-Davidson models for yourself, go to www.h-d.com/demos and schedule the test ride of your life.

Check out the roadtest report I did on the 2017 Street Glide Special…powered by the 107ci Milwaukee Eight.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

MJB July 2015 - 302x302 BLOG

Motorcycle Marc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Notes obtained from official Harley-Davidson Press Releases provided to the U.S. Media on 2017 Model Launch Day, Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

 

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 and events, and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. For more information, visit www.h-d.com.

 

About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger. 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 gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything there is about motorcycles. #RideSafeOutThere – 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 American Wall of Death Thrill Show

 

Hell Riders, Motor Maniacs, Thrills, Chills and Spills…This is one heck of a carnival-style biker ride!

Imagine if you will…trick riding around the country riding in a wooden silo drome, 30-feet wide, back in the early 1900s.

My research indicates that the very first Wall of Death style riders appeared in the 1911 Coney Island Carnival. The first mention of the name, “Wall of Death”, appeared in the local press around Buffalo, New York in 1915. These barrel-shaped wooden cylinders were also call “silodromes” or “motordromes”.

They averaged 30 feet in diameter and were all made of wooden planks where brave and talented motorcycle riders rode motorcycles up and down vertical wooden-board walls. The riders performed stunts while riding bravely using centrifugal force to their advantage.

The Wall of Death motordrome shows…fun!

I rode in to see the southern California Thrill Show in El Cajon, California on Saturday, September 17th. Hosted by the Motoworld & IndianVictory Dealerships, the show featured the daredevil riders of the American Wall of Death, numerous vendors and a good local rock & roll band…all in support of our Veterans and the USO.

The Team of Professional Riders.

The Wall of Death Riders...Travelin' Hobo Bill, Reckless Rita and Daredevil Charley Ransom.

The Wall of Death Riders…L to R – Travelin’ Hobo Bill, Reckless Rita and Daredevil Charley Ransom.

 

The motorcycle of choice for these brave daredevil riders.

1930s Era Indian Scout…great little motorbike in the day.

 

Round and Round They Go!

packedhouse-1170x500-web-americanwallofdeath-dot-com

 

Motordromes are made of wooden planks, inside which riders and/or drivers of go-carts, travel up and down the vertical wall at thrilling high speeds and perform hair-raising stunts. It is truly a sight to see. Riders are held in place by centrigugal force but man, you can easily imagine them miscalculating a turn and flying off into the audience or coming down crashing to the plank floor below.

charley-ronsom-photo

Charley Ransom…This guy rules the wooden silo…total riding pro! Click image for his Facebook Page.

 

Living his passion…Thrill Ride Owner, Jay Lightnin’

Motordromes were popular in the traveling Circus Shows and Carnivals between 1910 and 1950. It is so interesting to me to have these old style entertainment shows being kept alive by passionate motorcycle enthusiasts like Jay Lightnin’.

Here we are, 100 years later and a new generation of techies can see and feel what real, live and thrilling excitement was really like back in the day.

Old-style classic motorcycles are still the ride of choice for these trick riders. Jay has an amazing collection of vintage rides that he exhibits in his shows.

wod-ride-scout-1930s-640x355

The Wall of Death carnival attraction was very popular in the outdoor entertainment industry with the phenomenon reaching its peak in the 1930s and 1940s. According to Wikipedia, there were over 100 motordromes on traveling shows and in amusement parks during the period.

Thank you for what you do keeping the Wall of Death Show going Jay.

jay-lightnin-600x688-owner-of-the-american-motordromco-wod-thrillshow

 

My Bottom Line…

The Wall of Death Riders…they got balls! Yes, the girl riders too…guts of bravery to spare as they navigate the wooden planks in a whirl of speed doing all they can to defy sure injury and death.

 

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The USO organization does great work for our Veterans.The organization provides programs, entertainment and services at more than 180 USO locations worldwide, including Afghanistan, Djibouti, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy, Japan, Iraq, South Korea and the United States. I want to thank the USO for all they do for our Veterans and their families.

 

poster-packedhouse-elcajonIf you get the chance, make sure to see the Wall of Death riders in action. They do between 18 and 25 shows annually so note when they come to a town near you. Click the following link to contact Southern California’s Thrill Riders…they perform all over the USA.

 

I also want to thank the owners and employees of the Indian, Victory and Motoworld Motorcycle Dealerships in El Cajon, CA for hosting this event for the benefit of our Military Heroes. Good job!

 

 

 

Ride Safe Out There.

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Ndn Dave Frey and Me at the USO Benefit. Dave and his Veterans Charity had a vendor’s booth at the show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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