Thursday, May 26, 2005

Alice Sexton Blogs Across the Nation

Via Motorcycle Misadventures I learned about Alice Sexton's excellent Vroom! blog, a daily recounting of her trip from from Los Angeles, CA to Wierton, WV for the Moto Guzzi National Rally.

She's a brave woman, making the trip on a Moto Guzzi Breva 750 and pulling about 500 miles per day. It's currently Day 5 of her cross country ride (she's made it to Nashville, TN in one piece). Get over there, catch up on her ride, and wish her luck.

Not that she needs it. Alice is a veteran rider who, according to her bio, "commutes to work daily in Los Angeles on a 2000 Suzuki SV650, races a 1987 Cagiva Allazzura with WSMC, and takes her 1978 Moto Guzzi Lemans for touring and weekend rides."

Now that's a woman. I wonder, does she have a sister?

Suzuki Boost King Rumors

Via Motorcycle Daily.
There are now reports that Suzuki is nearly ready to introduce a production version of the Boost King... without the boost. Likely to feature a normally aspirated 1300cc Hayabusa motor, rather than the turbo engine used in the concept, it will still pack plenty of punch for naked-bike enthusiasts. If it shows up as a 2006 model from Suzuki, expect an announcement in the September time-frame.
The Boost King (or Boost Earl, I guess, without the turbo...) is one hell of a good looking naked, but the Darth Vader of motorcycles? Nah. Looks more like a Cylon to me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Norton 952 Commando

The new Norton 952 Commando is, for myself, the thing that dreams are made of. From the Norton website:
This modern roadster reflects the soul of the original machine. Classic sculptural forms are combined with raw functionalism, laying beautiful shapes over a structural frame and muscular motor; resulting in a visual language that is both sensual and purposeful. With a very narrow waist and curves in just the right places, the 952 is a bike that feels as good as it looks.
This is the kind of project that makes other vintage re-workings such as the new Triumph Bonneville seem sub-par by comparison.

While I have seen one review of the new 952 (it was of a pre-production model) in my monthly dead-tree magazines, a cursory web search hasn't revealed too much more than what can be found on the Norton homepage. More updates as they become available.

2005 Suzuki SV650 Review

One of my favorite naked bikes on the streets right now is the Suzuki SV650. has a review of the 2005 model that's well worth the read.
It’s quick, nimble, and precise, making the SV as good as any entry-level bike out there - and a number of the mid-range bikes too. In-city maneuverability had me confidently whipping the SV650 through traffic before the tires were fully scrubbed – agile and questionably legal traffic filtering fun. The SV650N seduced me again. All this handling joy is, in large part, thanks to a short chassis, the small Dunlop Sportmax 120/60ZR17 in front, and narrow 160/60ZR17 rear. When it comes down to real riding, the little bike is a gas; quick to turn in, light and flick-able strafing runs of the twisties are as irresistible as a free shooter. The upright sitting position and ergos give one good leverage against the bars, making the naked SV650 exceptionally easy to ride.
Visit the Suzuki page for more info. With sub-$6,000 MSRP, it seems you get quite a lot for your money. If I could afford a stable full of good bikes, this would certainly be one of them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Site News: Out with the Old...

I'm making a couple of significant changes here at 1down4up and wanted to let you guys know what's going on.

First of all, I've started using my first name to sign all of my posts instead of B. For some reason, I wanted to be somewhat anonymous when I started blogging a couple of years ago, and I don't feel the same way now.

Second, I'm not going to open a new window every time a link is clicked. That's questionable web design at best, and I've decided to kill that. Please forgive old articles in the archives or even here on the front page if they still open new windows when you click on links. I may miss a link or two in the revamp.

Lastly, I've added comments. I've always wanted to interact with you guys, and now I've got the opportunity. Keep comments on topic and polite. We're all adults here.

What Happened to Beginner Bikes?

Beginner Bikes website is no longer, and is apparently for sale for over $26K. Did I miss an announcement or a post somewhere detailing what's going on?

Man, I really hate to lose them. What a great resource for new bikers, and a fun place to visit regardless of how long you've been riding. I hope those folks have a new project somewhere. If anyone knows anything, shoot me an email or leave a comment.

UPDATE: In the comments section, Mike Werner of Bikes in the Fast Lane points out that there's always Thanks Mike!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Kellen Winslow Update

From CBS Sportsline:
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. will be charged with disregarding safety in the motorcycle crash that put his 2005 season in jeopardy, police said.

Police in suburban Westlake will issue a citation Friday afternoon, Lt. Ray Arcuri said. The charge carries a maximum fine of $150 with no jail time.

Winslow tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he crashed, two sources within the league told the Associated Press. An injury such as Winslow's typically requires 10 to 12 months of rehabilitation.

Winslow also sustained unspecified internal injuries when his motorcycle hit a curb at 35 mph and he flipped over the handlebars while practicing in a parking lot near his home May 1.

The Browns have Winslow's medical test results but the club cannot disclose the nature of his injuries because they have not received permission from Winslow or his family.
"Unspecified internal injuries" sounds pretty bad. I'm thinking Winslow won't be playing again this season.

Things I Have Learned, II

If you value your eyes, always ride with your face shield all of the way down. Or maybe wear sunglasses.

Unless, of course, you've successfully completed your Secret Ninja training. Then you could probably just catch those eye-gouging rocks in your teeth.

FURTHERMORE: It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Then it's just fun.

UPDATE: Jeff at Ride Blog points out that it's not always about losing an eye.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Yamaha Cruisers Become Star Motorcycles

Motorcycle Daily reports that Yamaha is re-branding its cruiser line.
At a glitzy event held at a rather amazing Beverly Hills mansion last evening (the house is worth a story of its own), Yamaha announced the creation of "Star Motorcycles" as a stand alone brand for its cruisers.

Yamaha had this to say about Star Motorcycles in the promotional material handed out to journalists at the event:
The word "brand" is used quite often these days, but not always correctly. A brand is much more than just a name or advertising theme. A brand encompasses every way the rider interacts with the product and the company.

The Star Motorcycles brand will focus specifically on cruiser riders and provide a clear distinction from our other product lines. For Star Motorcycles, the rider's overall experience is fundamental.
Here's the link to Star Motorcycles website which, interestingly enough, is merely another page on the Yamaha website. If Yamaha truly wants Star to "provide a clear distinction from our other product lines", perhaps they should look into buying a new domain name for the marquee.

Perhaps this is a move by Yamaha to try and encroach on Harley-Davidson's market share. Is Yamaha trying to shake the stigma that is sometimes associated with foreign cruisers?

Also, I think it's interesting that the V-Max is to become part of the Star lineup. I've never really thought of the V-Max as a cruiser, even though it's billed as a power cruiser. I see it as a monster naked/standard, and in my opinion it doesn't fit into the Star lineup very well.

Things I Have Learned, I

Don't dump your your choke halfway through a left turn through a busy intersection during the AM rush hour.

Tends to mess up your line a little bit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Kellen Winslow Jr. vs. Curb

The Cleveland Browns 2004 first-round draft choice went head first over his GSXR-750's handlebars after running himself into a curb at 35 mph. Brilliant.

I'm sure you've already heard about it as it happened over two weeks ago, but make sure you check out angrybob's post at and Dave's post over at Canyon Chasers if you haven't seen them already. angrybob has video of the crash, and Dave links to a very weak accident "recreation" by the local police.

UPDATE: Another Browns fan has something to add.

I Thought I Had Seen It All...

A couple of nights ago I was headed home and saw one of the wildest things I've ever seen on the road. I was headed south towards the interstate on Airways (a big six-lane job) and all of a sudden here comes a disembodied wheel rolling towards me through the turn lane! The wheel was on a collision course with my bike as far as I could tell, but thankfully it was rolling slowly enough that some good evasive maneuvering would get me around it without any problems.

A quick look over both shoulders gave me my escape route, and a quick lane change from the middle lane to the right lane took me around the wheel before it had a chance to knock me off the bike. The biggest danger I faced after that was trying to pay attention to the road while I was doubled over laughing at 50 mph.

Thank God the weather was nice, the lighting on Airways was such that I could see the wheel, and the traffic was such that I had an escape route I could use. I should know better than ever thinking I've seen it all. This was a good reminder that I haven't seen it all, and never will.

Do More Ridin'

A few years ago, I saw a sidebar in an Aerostitch catalog called "Top Ten Ways To Do More Ridin'" The thing that stuck out to me the most was a phrase in Number Seven:
Get a ‘beater’ motorcycle. Or make your bike into one. True beaters can be interesting and fun to ride and don’t attract vandals or thiefs. TT500’s, Ascot’s, Sabres, Interceptors, Titans, GS’s, /5’s, etc... Like blue jeans, most cycles are better when they show some wear. (Too much bike polishing leads to idolatry. Moses shatters the original 10 commandments...)
(Emphasis mine). Not that my Concours is a beater bike, but I've made a point over the years with both my CB750 and with my Connie to not clean the bikes up too often. When someone mentions that the Connie may need a wash, I always reply, "Too much polishing leads to idolatry. I care more about riding than the cleaning." (To which a 5 year old recently replied, "I've never heard of bulolatry.")

My point is that I don't ever want to become so attached to any one motorcycle or marquee that it becomes more important to me than enjoying motorcycling. If motorcycling is the proverbial end, any particular motorcycle is simply the means to that end.

I think that the majority of motorcyclists understand this idea, even if they wouldn't phrase it the same way. It's the portion of our community that doesn't understand this concept that refuses to wave to you when you're on a motorcycle they and their buddies don't approve of.

We've all got our knees in the wind. I think that's all that should matter. Hey, put down that chrome polish, spray cleaner, and tire brush. Let's go ride!

UPDATE: Hmmm, maybe I spoke too soon.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

BMW To Release HP2 Enduro

Twenty-five years after it created the 'big enduro' off-road genre, BMW Motorrad will launch the HP2 enduro ('High Performance 2-cylinder') - an uncompromising, sporting and exceptionally light road-legal off-road motorcycle. The HP2 is the first model in a new, independent category of motorcycles being developed by BMW Motorrad.


To highlight the sporting enduro qualities of the new HP2, BMW Motorrad is supporting a private racing team, which will enter HP2s in off-road events such as the German Cross Country Championship (GCC). Outside Germany, the HP2 has been entered in the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000 races, and there are plans to participate in the prologue of the Erzberg Race in Austria. BMW Motorrad will supply the machines, and support and service private teams at these events.
Read the full press release here.

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