Thursday, March 29, 2007

Motorcycle Video Clips

Both my wife and I are members of the Polar Bear Grand Tour based in New Jersey. This is our 16th season riding with this motorcycle group and it's also the 29th anniversary of the founding of the group. I happen to be the Webmaster for the Polar Bears and I spend quite a lot of time taking pictures and videos of the various runs.

I'll be featuring these videos in a new feature, Polar Bear Grand Tour - Motorcycle Video Clips. I expect that more motorcycle videos will also be finding their way into this feature in the coming year. For the time being, it's mostly about what I've observed over the past few years as a Polar Bear member.

Take a look at these Motorcycle Video Clips. They're very short. It's too soon to tell whether I want to start featuring motorcycle video clips submitted by visitors.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Old Motorcycles - Picture Gallery

I just released my Old Motorcycles Picture Gallery. This gallery contains pictures and descriptions of motorcycles manufactured up to and including 1953. All motorcycles in the gallery will be at least 50 years old. I'm lumping antique, vintage, and classic motorcycles into this group without regard to the special distinctions that many people may have on what an antique, vintage, or classic motorcycle is. To me, it's any bike more than 50 years old.

Again, I depend on you to help me populate the gallery. Send me a picture and description of your old motorcycle. The submission information is in the Old Motorcycles - Picture Gallery feature.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Motorcycle Audio Clips

I have just released my Motorcycle Audio Clips feature. It contains short audio clips of motorcycle engines and exhaust sounds.

I have my own motorcycles in there too as well as some engine sounds submitted by others.

If you like making short audio clips of motorcycle-related sounds, send them to me for inclusion in the feature.

Here are my Motorcycle Audio Clips.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Honda Recalls 2007 CMX250C for Crankcase Breather Defect

Honda has issued a recall of certain 2007 CMX250C motorcycles.

On certain motorcycles, the crankcase breather separator may be defected. During the molding process, the breather passage may have been blocked by a thin layer of the injected plastic material. This blockage will create a build-up of pressure inside the crankcase and may cause the left side engine seal to be pushed out of position and an oil leak will occur.

6784 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Antique Motorcycle Ads Gallery

One of my forum members, MadMichael, has a collection of antique motorcycle advertisements that appeared in magazines many years ago. These ads are pretty interesting and reflect the times they appeared. You'll find ads from WWI and WWII.

The prices were very low in those days as you'll see. There are many Harley-Davidson ads, a few Indian ads and then some ads for obscure makes. Take a look at my Antique Motorcycle Ads Gallery.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


A friend (thanks Pete!) forwarded an email from a collector in Australia who needed to lighten his garage a bit; mostly he had pre-1916 bikes which needed vast amounts of work to finish or complete. But, nestled amongst the Veteran Triumphs and Rudges was a VINTAGE Rudge, which looked most intriguing. Of course, this was the bike he really didn't want to sell, but it attracted the most interest (it seems to be harder to sell the really old motorcycles nowadays, and the older collectors are passing on).
I put in my bid, and the Rudge may well end up in San Francisco. It's a '29 Ulster, which is a pukka TT Replica machine, a faithful copy of Graham Walker's 1928 Rudge (second pic) on which he won the Ulster TT at a 'world's first' road race average of 80mph. The factory wisely sought to capitalise on Graham's success by building a racer for sale, and the infamous Ulster was born.

The first year Ulster ('29) was a unique beast, and was essentially a one-year model. The engine had a total-loss oiling system, meaning it had no oil pump per se, but rather an oil metering device, and the oil was allowed to burn off/drip out rather than being returned hot to the engine. 'A constant supply of clean oil' was the thought, but properly circulating oil really helps keep an engine cooler! There are other features of the bike which are unique to the year, such as the twin-filler gas and oil tanks and large diameter wheels; in 1930 the tanks changed, the engine gained an oil pump, and the wheels got smaller. Ulsters were still top of the heap until about '34, when they began to add weight and complexity with no additional power (a very typical story of 30's bikes actually - they got heavier as the 30's wore on, with no gain in hp).
Regarding the poster of Graham Walker's machine; the owner has it attached to his garage wall - a pinup! Let's hope the Ulster looks as good as the calendar girl sometime soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

BMW 101 for Cagers

Just saw this posting on the BMWBMW forum. Apparently, some people still don't know that BMW makes motorcycles, even though BMW started making motorcycles in 1923, long before they started making cars. Be sure to check out my BMW and a Quiz Too for some history about BMW and a short quiz.

Here's an excerpt from the posting:

"While stopped at a traffic light on the Reston Parkway a woman, driving a BMW 7 series car, puts her window down and shouts at me: Something like this;

Woman: You should remove those stickers

Me: What stickers?

Woman: Those BMW stickers. Everyone knows BMW does not make motorcycles. How dare you put those on..."

Read the rest of the posting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Motorcycle Road Tests Index

Most riders want to be pointed to articles about a particular bike to find out what professional testers think of the bike. Since the motorcycle magazines tend to take a very long time to get a test published, more and more riders are turning to the Internet for bike evaluations. Many of the motorcycle electronic magazines listed on the Motorcycle Views site do give these more timely reviews.

The problem still is finding out if a particular bike has been tested, what magazine or electronic magazine it's in and the date of the publication. Often members of motorcycle forums post messages asking if anyone has seen a road test for such-and-such a bike. There is no simple index of these road tests.

To provide a means for these road tests to be indexed, I have created an index on the Motorcycle Views site called Motorcycle Road Tests Index. This feature lists the various motorcycle makes and models alphabetically on an index page. Clicking on the model of interest takes you to a separate page of information about that bike. This information includes the motorcycle magazine containing the test and the month and year of publication. Information is given so you can order back copies of the magazine. If any electronic magazine articles have been found for the same model, they are also listed.

So far, I have listed tests for 2006 models and for some 2007 models. I have a few more to add for 2007 to catch up with what has already been published. 43 tests are in the index at this writing.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


The illustrious TT races owe their beginnings to a stodgy and horse-minded English government. Public road competitions were banned in England by an act of Parliament, and its roads were saddled with a 20mph speed limit. The Auto-Cycle Club (later the ACU), believing that ‘racing improves the breed’, wanted a rigorous test of standard as-manufactured machines. The Isle of Man, while a part of Great Britain, was not subject to England’s traffic laws, and local politicos saw the value in hosting such a contest of riders and machinery, with perhaps equal concern for Tourist dollars and Trophies. The wisdom of their decision has been borne out over the last 100 years, as the TT races became the gold standard of motorcycle road racing the world over, and thousand of visitors from all points arrive for a motorcycling holiday every June. True, other countries have held significant and important road races (the Ulster GP, the Nurburgring, etc), but the IoM TT rose to the very pinnacle of all races for the notorious difficulty of the course, with its 37 1/2 miles of narrow roads, stone walls, steep and often fog-shrouded mountain climb, and quaint villages.
The first TT races were held on May 28th 1907, over a 15 3/4-mile course, which did not include the mountain road over Snaefell, as the motorcycles were all single-speed, clutchless, virtually brakeless, and incapable of such a climb, or descent! Two classes, for single- and multi-cylinder machines, had to abide by 90mpg fuel economy (for singles, 75mpg for multis). Famously, Harry Collier, an organizer of the race, on the Matchless single of his own make, and Rem Fowler on a Peugeot-engined Norton (top pic), won their respective classes in just over 4 hours time, at average speeds approx. 42 mph. They each received a 3-foot tall sculptural trophy of Mercury atop a winged wheel, donated by the Marquis de Mouzilly St. Mars, replicas of which have been handed over to brave TT winners for 100 years.
The early races were run over gravel farm tracks at speeds touching 70mph, when punctures, crashes, flaming machines, and livestock encounters were common. Boy Scouts with flags marshaled the course, waving frantically to warn of upcoming dangers. The need for improved machines (and roads) was dramatically emphasized by the death in practice for the 1911 TT of Victor Surridge on a Rudge, outside the Glen Helen Hotel. Thus was born a chorus of objections to the races by the safety brigade, as the treacherous nature of the road course claimed a mounting share of victims.
In 1911, the race moved to the current 37 ½ mile ‘Mountain’ course, to create a greater challenge to the motorcycles, which were becoming faster and more reliable, but still needed development in braking, gearing, and handling. In that year Indian ‘motocycles’ had all these things, using all-chain drive with a clutch and two-speed gearbox, and an effective drum brake on the rear wheel instead of the usual bicycle-type stirrup. Their reward was a sweep of the Senior races, which lit a fire under British and European manufacturers to rapidly modernize their designs. Indians did well at the TT for another 12 years, with their last podium placement in 1923, as Freddie Dixon, the legendary racer-tuner, took 3rd place (pic 2).
By the 1920’s, every competing manufacturer had developed recognizedly modern designs, with brakes on both wheels, suspension (at least up front), clutches, and multiple gears. More entries from Europe began to appear (Peugeot, FN, Bianchi, Moto Guzzi, etc), the road surface had improved, and by 1922 the course was almost fully paved (!); race averages crept up into the 70mph range. The great variety of engine configurations in competition (side-valves, inlet-over-exhaust valves, overhead valves, overhead cams, and two-strokes) made for a fascinating study in the possibilities available to the motorcycle designer. The keenness of competition was reflected in the sheer number of different TT makes; AJS, Levis, New Imperial, Sunbeam, Rudge, Rex-Acme, Velocette, Douglas, DOT, Cotton, Scott, and HRD all won top honors.
By the 1930’s all winners of the Senior (500cc) and Junior (350cc) TT’s had camshafts on top of their engines, and lap records touched 90mph. Only in the Lightweight (250cc) class was mechanical variety maintained, with ohv, ohc, and two-stroke machines nudging their way to the podium. Race machinery had strayed from the original intention of ‘same as you can buy’ machines, as European uber-bikes (Gilera, Moto Guzzi, NSU) with multiple cylinders and superchargers began menacing the track. Still, Norton, with its 500cc Model 30 (‘Manx’), and Velocette’s KTT (350cc - pic 3)

began a long string of success on the Island, which would last until the 1960’s. Race watchers were used to British wins in all but the lightweight classes had regularly broken into the top 3, so it was a shock when Moto Guzzi in 1935 won the Senior TT, wiht Stanley Woods (10-time winnner) at the helm. His mount was notable not only for its wide-angle ohc v-twin motor, but also for the effective rear suspension. By the next TT, all serious contenders had rear shocks!
AJS and Velocette had their own answers to the 'multi' brigade in their v-4 and Roarer twin, but BMW, using its characteristic flat-twin (but with an ohc, supercharged engine) won the Senior TT in 1939, on the very eve of the WW2. Supercharging was henceforth banned from the races.
Racing resumed in 1947, with the essentially pre-war designs of Norton, Velocette, and Moto Guzzi dominating their respective classes for a few years as the rest of Europe rebuilt.
In the 1950’s though, Italian (Guzzi, Gilera, MV) and German (NSU, BMW) machines came to the forefront with new and sophisticated multi-cylinder designs, culminating in the amazing Guzzi V-8. Bob McIntyre made the first 100mph lap in 1957, on a 4-cyl dohc Gilera. By the late 50’s British firms allowed their factory teams to languish, refusing to spend the vast sums demanded by race programs bearing no relation to consumer motorcycles. In 1957, most European manufacturers concurred by closing their race shops, leaving MV and BMW to battle private racers using ‘Manx’ Nortons and AJS/Matchless machines
By the 1960’s, Japanese machinery, led by Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha, virtually took over the Lightweight TT. Honda began contesting the larger classes as well, using technically superior 4- and 6-cylinder double-overhead-cam engines, and the battles between Honda and MV became the stuff of legend. Honda quit racing in ’67, leaving Agostini on the MV to win all Senior and Junior TT’s from ’68 to ’73 (minus the ’71 Junior).
The ACU introduced the Production TT in 1967, and later Formula One and 750cc classes among others, to maintain variety in what had become a Japanese and MV benefit. Racing in these new categories became as closely watched as the ‘classics’, especially the 750cc TT, where one could watch similar-to-standard Superbikes from Norton, Triumph, and Honda duke it out. The Senior and Junior races were dominated from 1974 by Yamaha two-strokes, challenged by Suzuki later in the decade. Lap averages hit 110 mph, and a clamor from top riders such as Agostini, Phil Read, and Barry Sheene, resulted in the TT losing its World Championship status in ‘76. A high note in 1978 was the comeback of Mike Hailwood, riding a Ducati to win the Formula 1 race after a 10-year absence; good publicity for the TT at a time when calls for its total cancellation had reached a peak.
In the 1980’s and 90’s, race averages began to reach 120mph, and Joey Dunlop began his remarkable run of 26 wins. Lap speeds now stand at almost 130mph, and the increasing number of spectators and participants show the irresistible draw to motorcyclists across the globe, who want to experience the legendary race course and steep in its century of speed.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ural Recalls Motorcycles for Improperly Installed Wheel Bearings

Ural has issued a recall of certain 2006 Gear-Up, Patrol, Raven, and Tourist motorcycles.

On certain motorcycles, the wheel bearings may have been improperly installed at the factory. This can cause loose wheels or wheel lock up increasing the risk of a crash.

33 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Friday, March 16, 2007

21 Years of Honda Shadow - A Gallery

Honda began selling the Shadow motorcycle in 1983. It has continued in production ever since.

We present here a look at Honda Shadow models from the first model in 1983 to the year 2003 as provided in pictures submitted by visitors to the site. A gallery called "21 Years of Shadow: A Gallery" is provided that gives a picture and description for each model for each year from 1983 to 2003.

The gallery still has some models not represented. If you own one of these models, send me a picture and description of your bike and I'll include it in 21 Years of Honda Shadow: A Gallery.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

One-Stop Motorcycle Page

I've just created a One-Stop Motorcycle Page for the Motorcycle Views site. It contains links to information that riders seem to want to know. That information is all over the site so I've culled the major stuff onto this One-Stop page.

You should be able to find almost anything about motorcycles by looking at the Main Menu on Motorcycle Views. Subjects are arranged on the left while the most requested items are explicitly listed on the right side. Even the top 10 most popular articles are shown in a special box at the top.

However, there are some items that keep being requested over and over. Those items will be found on this One-Stop Motorcycle page.

Monday, March 12, 2007

It's a Two-Way Street

Over the past eight years I've written a lot about motorcycles both on the old site and on the Motorcycle Views site, forum, newsletter, and this blog. However, writing can be like riding down a one-way street. I want it to be like riding down a two-way street being able to see my readers waving at me on their oncoming motorcycles. I want to be able to stop at a watering hole and get feedback on what I'm doing right and wrong and have riders submit articles, pictures, comments, and discussions to help the total site grow. I need submissions.

This is not a site in a vacuum. Never was before and won't be in the future. It's a site that depends on you.

At yesterday's Polar Bear run, I had several people come up to me and talk about this new site. They liked it better than the old site. It still has much of the old content but it's much simpler to navigate and is not cluttered with ads. It was nice to hear people talk about the new site in such glowing terms. However, success of the new site depends basically on three things: Search engine placement, User Submissions, and forum growth.

Search engine placement is a complicated process. I'm doing about all I can to foster this process. However, search result ranking often depends on having other sites linking to a site. That proves that the site is important enough to others that many other sites want to link to it. It seems to have the effect of raising a site's ranking in the search results. So, if you happen to have a motorcycle site and like what you see here on Motorcycle Views, consider linking to the main site. As always, I will provide a link back to your site as I always did on the old site.

I have seven items on my Submissions page. These include User Reviews, Motorcycle Pictures, Tattoos, Haiku Poems, Forum Participation, Newsletter Subscription, and Blog Comments. Take a look at my Submissions page to see where you can contribute most to the growth of the site. Nearly eight years of doing this has made it readily apparent to me that "It all depends on you." I enjoy reading the submissions and processing them to appear on the site. Help me out by writing a great user review of your own bike, submitting a picture of you with your bike, showing me your motorcycle-related tat, writing a simple haiku, becoming active on my forum -- it's FUN, subscribing to my newsletter, and commenting on this blog. What could be easier?

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Wild Hogs - Motorcycle Movie Review

I finally got around to finding time to go see the new motorcycle movie: Wild Hogs. I'm not one for going to a movie when it first opens, especially one that has been so hyped on TV. So I waited until the first snowstorm after the opening and my wife and I joined maybe 10 other people for a Wednesday afternoon showing.

It was pretty good. Not Academy Award material but a nice way to spend a snowy afternoon.

Here's my review of Wild Hogs.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Motorcycle Industry Council Comments on Wild Hogs Movie

Wild Hogs, the new movie starring John Travolta and Tim Allen, opens today. I saw a review on TV today that said to forget it. Another review in the paper gave it two stars out of four. So the reviews keep coming in. Of course, the true test is what the fans think and the box office take will be the final test.

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) says, in a release to Business Wire, today that the reviews are mixed. Here's an excerpt:

"We want to give ‘Wild Hogs’ a thumbs-up for inspiring even more Americans to take a look at motorcycling and everything great it has to offer, the sense of freedom it provides, the adventure,” said Tim Buche, president of the MIC. “At the same time, we want to continue to encourage new and returning riders to go about it the right way. After you’ve taken the ride vicariously in the movie theater, enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCourseSM and learn about two-wheeling in the real world."

Read the complete article.

Of course Motorcycle Views wants to encourage everyone thinking about learning to ride a motorcycle to do so but it has to be done right. That doesn't mean running out after seeing a movie like this and buying a new motorcycle and then trying to learn to ride it on your own. Check out my step-by-step procedure to do it right by reading You CAN Ride a Motorcycle.

I also have a Motorcycle Views Forum where you can ask questions about learning to ride and receive answers from our expert riders. Check out the Motorcycle Views Forum.

As I said before in this blog, I will be giving you my review of this movie soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Wild Hogs Suits the Fancy of Bikers

Almost every day there's another story or TV interview about the new motorcycle movie, Wild Hogs. Tomorrow's the opening day for the movie starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, William H. Macy and Martin Lawrence.

Motorcyclists are tough critics of movies that try to explain the biker experience. They are even harder on TV shows that misrepresent motorcycling. However, the early returns from riders who have seen the sneak preview of Wild Hogs have been favorable even to the point of recommending that their buddies go see the movie.

I plan to see the movie and write a review. In the meantime, here's a story by Scott Bowles of USA TODAY that describes a trip up the Pacific Coast Highway with John Travolta, Tim Allen, and William H. Macy as they ride their Harleys in real traffic and encounter real people along the way. The article, From Hollywood to hog-wild, also has a great picture of the four riders.

Also, check out my previous movie review of Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage.