A year in the life of Felix, a 2014 Yamaha FJR 1300 ES By Norm Kern In January, 2014, I took delivery of a 2014 Yamaha FJR 1300 ES motorcycle, which I named Felix. I wrote a review for the Sweet Rides column last year. Jim Randall asked recently how Felix is working out over the longer term, so here’s an update. Felix finished his first full year of 2014 with 21,000 trouble-free miles on the clock. Nothing broke, came loose or leaked. All of my modifications worked out great and it was a perfect year of riding. 2015 was a bit more complicated. April got the riding season off to a great start- Jeff Dolence, Rob Bowling and I went to the Moonshine Lunch Run in Moonshine, Illinois, and enjoyed the just-for-fun MSTA get-together at Helen, Georgia, later in the month. in the case of a tipover. Unfortunately, this was not a simple tipover- the woman backed her car into Felix, forcefully knocking him over. The momentum caused a rollover that smashed the right-hand rear view mirror and broke a subframe inside the fairing. The right saddlebag lid was scratched. Did the canyon cages and frame sliders fail to do their job? No. Had they not been there, the fairing and saddlebag would have been broken in pieces. I still had a perfectly rideable bike, just with an unusable right mirror. This was a very unnerving experience, but the woman was honest and had good insurance. I was still able to ride routes for the next two days and make it home without further incident. more FELIX on 4 ➲ Moonshine Lunch Run on April 11 was a great way to start the year- a 500 mile one-day ride to eat a hamburger with a couple thousand other people. On April thirtieth, I rode to Virginia for Galen Diehl’s Staunton Spring Romp. Had a beautiful day to ride over and was checking into the Stonewall Jackson Hotel when a woman came in the lobby to tell me she just hit my bike and knocked it over. I rushed outside to pick Felix up. When Felix was new, I had installed front and rear canyon cages, along with custom frame sliders to prevent damage ON THE COVER IN THIS ISSUE Nick Zarras and Gary Kozlowski on 2016 BMW R 1200 RS motorcycles leaving Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. Jeremie Elliot, Photographer. A year in the life of Felix, a 2014 Yamaha FJR 1300 ES . . . . . . . . . 3 View From The Top . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 VP Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Entry-Apex-Exit Points . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Around the MSTA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Event Preview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Just for Fun Gatherings . . . . . . . . . . 10 National Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Riding New England – Stratton Inn 12 ‘Glens, Lochs and Black Puddin’, Riding through the Northern UK . . . . . . 16 Road Test: 2016 BMW R 1200 RS . 23 Las Vegas Patriot Tour Ceremony . 26 SweetRides: 1991 Honda ST1100 . 27 Product Reviews: Clearwater Lights: Sevina HPLED Auxiliary motorcycle lights . . . . 28 Doubletake Mirrors: Enduro Mirror and Adventure Mirror . . . . . . . . 30 Skully AR-1 Helmet . . . . . . . . . . 31 Trail Tech Vapor Digital Gage . . 32 Safety Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Member Profile: Syd Mayes . . . . . . . 34 Road Test Quick Look: 2015 Piaggio BV 350 Maxi-Scooter . . . . . . . . 35 TirStar Event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 MSTA Membership Registration Form . . . . . . . . . . . 38 MSTA Membership Benefits . . . . . . 39 Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 3 ➲ FELIX from 3 The next week, I took Felix to get an estimate- $3700! Clinton County Motorsports, who did the estimate, is much better at spotting scratches and other damage than me. The woman’s insurance company settled without a hassle. I bought a replacement mirror assembly right away so I could keep riding, as I had two more rallies to attend in May. The plan was to get Felix fully repaired in early June in the weeks before STAR when I would not be traveling. On Memorial Day weekend I attended TriSTAR, in Sparta, North Carolina. ings just to be safe. Due to an error at the shop, the parts to do the tipover repairs did not get ordered on time. The repairs had to wait until after STAR (which was fun and no problems), but the shop did a good job and only had Felix for two days. In early June, a Harley rider friend bought me a “guardian bell” for Felix. This little bell is supposed to drive demons crazy and keep them away from the bike. Do they really work? We’ll see. Burkes Garden General Store, where a very nice Amish lady bakes fresh bread and sells sandwiches, fried pies and lots of other treats. With Don Moe and Jeff Dolence. On the ride to Burke’s Garden, Virginia, another disaster struck again while I was leading our group. It was a bright sunny day and I was wearing my polarized sunglasses. There was a very black fresh asphalt patch on the road. I didn’t see a loose chunk of asphalt sitting on it. The chunk was about 4” in diameter and 2” thick and I hit it going about 40mph. Felix jumped and the front wheel lurched at least a foot to the right. The impact shot the chunk of asphalt to the side so it missed the fairing & rear wheel. I didn’t crash, but the damage was done. The front tire still held air, but there was a nice cut on the sidewall. The good news was that the sidewall cord, though visible, was not damaged and there was no effect on handling. I could still ride the rest of the rally and get home. The bad news was that the wheel rim was bent, so it and the tire, which only had about 500 miles on it, had to be replaced. I replaced the tire and wheel myself, using new wheel bear- 4 | www.RideMSTA.com In September, after three more fun MSTA events, I rode Felix to the Bull Shoals Rally in Missouri. On the way there I felt a small vibration in the front end. At first, I thought it was due to the texture of the local roads, but while riding with Mickey Tyler, we got on a freshly paved smooth road and I could hear noise and feel the vibration from a failing front wheel bearing. We headed to the Springfield, Missouri, Yamaha dealer, about eighty miles away. It was ironic that the failed bearing had less than 8000 miles on it, while the ones in the bent wheel (with over 32,000 miles) were still like new. If I hadn’t had to replace the front wheel, there would never have been a problem. The dealer got me back on the road with new front wheel bearings in about four hours, plus the repair was eventually covered under the Yamaha YES warranty. The bearing problem occurred in spite of Felix having a guardian bell. Does it only prevent accidents and crashes and not protect against problems with materials and workmanship? My Harley rider friend’s faith was unshaken. He replied that I could have broken down in the middle of nowhere or been sitting for days waiting for bearings to arrive at some incompetent dealer in the sticks, so perhaps the bell did its job after all. The rest of the riding season was without incident, so maybe guardian bells do work. Felix just completed his winter maintenance and is running perfectly at 41,000 miles. I am still 100% satisfied, and a bit of adversity has made Felix a battle-hardened veteran. Can’t wait for new adventures in 2016.• view from the top Let me be the first to wish our members a ‘Happy New Year’ and make 2016 a safe, enjoyable riding experience. STAR ’16 dates are June 26 - June 30, 2016. Registration is now open, so please make your plans to attend. Our host lodge is the Black Bear Lodge, Stratton Mountain Resort, VT. In addition, don’t forget to click the link to purchase your raffle bike tickets. They are $8 each until April 15, 2016. Please support your club. The STAR ’16 Raffle bike is: 2016 BMW F800GT We have some very exciting activities scheduled for STAR ’16, take a look: MotoVermont Dual Sport Rides Enjoy them on Sunday (26th) and Monday (27th), led by Eric Milano of MotoVermont. The rides will depart at 10 am, will include lunch, and will last 4-5 hours. Cost is a very reasonable $25. If you are riding your Goldwing or Harley to STAR, no problem! You may also reserve a KLR 650 or CRF250L for the ride at a cost of $65.00 for the tour (paid on site). Slots and rentals are very limited (10 riders per day). Eric tells us that big adventure bikes should not have a problem on the tour. If you can’t ride to the rally, Moto Vermont also rents bikes such as the new BMW R1200RT, GS, Africa Twin and more! Fly to Burlington International Airport, rent a bike, and ride a gorgeous 100-mile route to the rally grounds. For more about MotoVermont Motorcycle Adventure Tours & Rentals visit motovermont.com or call 802-860-6686. Stayin’ Safe returns to STAR What’s the best way to enjoy the twisting mountain roads of Vermont? Sign up for real-world, real-time advanced skills coaching from America’s premier onroad advanced rider training program. On Saturday, June 25, the pros from Stayin’ Safe will conduct exclusive halfday versions of their signature on-street advanced rider-training tours. Using the area’s challenging roads as a classroom, expert coaches will help even the most experienced riders maximize the fun— and safety—of riding mountain roads. Using radio commentary, instructors provide constructive input in real-time and lead roadside “chalk talk” discussions. Even the most experienced riders expand their ability to read the road, select optimum corner entry speed and lane position and, most important, eliminate those dreaded “uh oh!” moments. With no other formal riding scheduled for the day, this is a fantastic way to kick off STAR ’16 and get the most from the fabulous routes MSTA has planned for the event. The cost is $250 per rider for four hours of training. As an added incentive, $200 of the mini-session entry fee can be applied toward a future full-length two or three-day Stayin’ Safe training tour. To sign up for this highly effective and fun way to take your riding to a higher level, reserve your spot early at stayinsafe.com or call Stayin’ Safe at 724-771-2269. Rangers. Always working, he’s a regular on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and is constantly touring comedy clubs Dennis across the country. Villarose Before he told his first joke, he was a gear head. MSTA President A lifelong love of bikes from his first, a Honda 400/4 bought in 1980, to his current stable including BMW K1600, BMW GS Adventure, Ducati 1098, Triumph Rocket 3 and a Grom he’s always been riding. Commuting to track days to touring, Alonzo has tried it all. He describes LA riding as a lifesize game of Frogger and 2015 marked his first time riding across the country. Also a car nut, Alonzo’s had everything from a Mazda RX-7 to a Porsche 911, to a Honda Civic and a couple of Mini Coopers. His current ride is a Cadillac CTS-V packing over 500 hp. Catch him in the brilliant riding documentary Why We Ride where he explains, “If you see me dragging an elbow that’s just the first part of the crash.” This year’s lunch ride will be on Tuesday and we’re heading to Lookout Tavern in Killington, VT. Special Guest Speaker For our banquet night, we have scheduled a very special guest speaker — Alonzo Bodden! Comedian Alonzo Bodden was the winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing 3. A regular on the Tonight Show with fellow bike nut Jay Leno, Alonzo has done everything from the movie Bringing Down the House with Steve Martin, to the voice of Thunderon on the Power Make it a great year Our 2016 AMA Sanctioned Event and Just for Fun rides schedules are complete. If you plan to attend any of these events, I’m sure the event coordinators could use some volunteers. Please be safe and let’s make 2016 a banner year for our great organization. Any questions or concerns call me at 561-329-3257 or email me at email@example.com.• Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! Ride Safe, Ride Home when things from all angles begin to volley for prime space on your calendar. Let me know what kind of time or calendar space you can allocate to MSTA volunteerism. As a 100% volunteer organization, we’re always in need of volunteers in small to large capacities and I will get you set up with something you like. The MSTA is all about—and grateful for—your volunteerism. Call me today about chipping in at 248-375-2146 (Michigan).• See you on the road—Ann vP Views 2016 is off to a fresh start and we have a great year of planning coming together. I highly recommend looking over our Events page and putting the events you’d like to attend on your calendar NOW. This allows other events of life to fill in around your bike events instead of viceversa. Sure, it’s no guarantee you’ll get to each of your bike events, but it sure helps Ann Redner MSTA Vice President Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 5 entry-apex-exit points I attended an Emergency Preparedness briefing hosted by NVEnergy and briefed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in Las Vegas, Nevada. They talked about how to setup your Emergency Survival plan and what supplies to have in case of a three day to two-week citywide emergency. Afterwards a local television station asked me several questions and they featured part of the interview on TV. It was hosted in the MOB Museum in Las Vegas. They took the old post office and constructed a three-floor museum of the Mob during the early 1900s in America. It is very well done. They even have a part of the Valentine’s Day Massacre wall there, along with a movie documentary. That briefing mirrored my philosophy on preparedness. When I ride, I carry what I call a plan B kit. I carry food, water, EMT kit w/oxygen tanks, and sometimes-extra fuel. In Nevada, some of the roads are out of the way and out of cell phone coverage. Many times, I ride alone, and if I went down, I would want to have medical and food supplies available until I could get help. My Plan C is I always carry some medical supplies in my pockets for cuts, burns, colds, eyewash along with water and snacks. This is if I cannot get to my bike supplies. So, what is my plan A? I call for a tow truck and emergency vehicle. When I ride most of the riders do not carry emergency supplies. Frequently I open up the Givi top case to hand out water and snacks. Luckily, no one has gone down on the rides I have been on, especially fortunate for the roads to Death Valley can be desolate in many spots. A SPOT or similar satellite emergency communication device is also desirable. Even with that, emergency responders will take a long time to get there. With a severe accident, critical care within the few few minutes could be the difference between living or dying. I always say “In an emergency what you have on you determines if you will survive or not.” Don’t depend on the other rider to carry supplies you should be carrying. As we say in the Boy Scouts, “be prepared.” Another item is vehicle passing laws. Many accidents and deaths in Nevada 6 | www.RideMSTA.com Nick Zarras | Managing Editor have happened during passing situations. I have attached a link for passing laws in the USA. Passing Lane Laws - A State by State Guide (http://www.mit. edu/~jfc/right.html). This month’s Member Profile introduces us to Syd Mayes, Virginia. This month’s Sweet Rides features our Wisconsin’s Mike Baxter’s 1991 Honda ST1100. This month’s Road Test is a dual motorcycle 2016 BMW R 1200 RS test. This is BMW’s top of the line sport touring bike, featuring an upgraded boxer engine and suspension in a lighter weight platform. The Road Test - Quick Look features the Piaggio BV 350 Maxi-Scooter. A great commuter with Mediterranean styling, and good power and handling at normal highway speeds. Doug Westly educates us in the considerations on driving in the winter in Winter Crashes. Feature articles. STAR2016 is only six months away. Check out our STAR2016 facts and signup procedures in Previews and STAR2016 Highlights. The Vermont countryside is a beautiful place to ride. For those wanting to expand their vacation to and from STAR2016, Doug Weir, from Indiana gives us some nice travel tips on riding in the New England countryside in his article Riding New England – Stratton Inn. The Las Vegas City Council (Nevada) went all out for the 2015 Las Vegas Patriot Tour Ceremony, and became the country’s largest contributor to that date. This organization is run by Bill Sherer. The Nations of Patriots gives its fundraising to wounded warriors. The next article is from Ann Redner, our Vice President, who give us a “Bloody Good tour” in “Glens, Lochs and Black Puddin Riding through the northern UK” (United Kingdom). Norm Kern provides a tire kick’n story book on “A Year in the life of Felix, a 2014 Yamaha FJR 1300 ES.” Product reviews: I had the opportunity to try the new AR-1 Skully Helmet that provides an upgradable Heads Up display to increase your situational awareness on the road. Our new Nevada member, Kurt Asplindh, writes us a product test on the 7500 lumen Clearwater Sevina HPLED auxiliary lights. I provide a road test of the very rugged and stylish Doubletake Enduro Mirror and Adventure Mirror on a BMW R 1200 GS. Some special notes: Big news: STAReview will be printed and web developed in full color from now on. STAReview will be published six times a year to more closely align to assigned calendar months. Issue 3501 being JanFeb, issue 3502 being Mar-Apr, and so forth. This has been a request from the membership for easier reference to when published event articles are shown. In addition, the new membership signup is $39 dollars and it includes a printed copy of STAReview. The Membership Value article shows that you receive $128.85 dollars in benefits for a $39 membership fee. And a final note: update your blue book personal data by February 20, 2016 with membership@ ridemsta.com. The positions of Feature Editor and ATM Editor are open. The procedures have been fine-tuned over the last three years and are easy to do. A great opportunity to amp up your resume and link to our great membership. STAReview is not only news but also 35 years of cherished memories. Check out Jim Park’s photo archives of great rides at www.ridemsta.com. Members can submit product tests and showcase their stories and events in STAReview. Send me your article as a word document, and high-resolution photos as attachments to an e-mail, addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. I consider all action photos in high quality portrait mode for cover photos. If you want your favorite ride to be showcased submit an article and photos for our Sweet Rides feature. I will provide you full editorial support. The digital STAReview articles have hyperlinks to link you to web sites for travel planning information, motorcycle, and accessories to lust over. I want YOU to be the star in STAReview! So kick back with a cool one and enjoy this issue of STAReview… • Ride Safe my friend. Clear skies, clear roads… around the msta Nick Zarras | Managing Editor Editor’s note: Many of our members up north are experiencing PMS (parked motorcycle syndrome) until the motorcycle manufacturers come out with a commercial caterpillar tread upgrade. So their bikes are parked in hibernation. Many of our riders use this time to put more goodies on their bikes. South East Region Alabama Florida Georgia Mississippi North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Virginia Florida High Rockies Adventure Ride By Don Moe [Maps and photos by Don Moe unless otherwise noted.] This article covers the two-day “High Rockies Adventure” (HRA) tour on July 13 & 14, 2015. These two days of additional adventure riding followed completion of the Intro to Adventure course that I and several others attended at the RawHyde Adventure Camp near Hartsel, Colorado. There is a separate article with the title “Adventure Motorcycle Training at RawHyde’s Colorado Camp” that I published in the August 2015 issue of this newsletter and is available in PDF format at that link or from my website. Since some of the HRA routes took us over several high passes that were former railway routes that no longer have any tracks, the grades were generally quite shallow. However, some routes were more challenging. All riders were on GStype bikes. Day #1 On the first day, Monday, July 13th, our ride leader, Michael, guided us over unpaved Boreas Pass, paved Hoosier Pass, and unpaved Weston Pass. These passes are located north of Hartsel. Although the weather was overcast or mostly cloudy, we all enjoyed our rides over these passes in remarkably dry road conditions and even under partly blue skies with some sunshine. Prior to departing from the RawHyde camp for the first group ride, Michael explained the rules and other important Our route for the first day. details about our Read the entire blog post and excursion to our entire group of nearly see ALL the photos at 15 riders. http://donmoe.com/blog/ As I managed to other-trips/high-rockiesoccupy the #2 posiadventure-ride/ tion directly behind Michael, my photos taken during the ride show only him in the lead. Additionally I took several photos of the other riders over my shoulder and at stops. Our first stop was for fuel at the sole convenience store/gas station in Hartsel at 9:40 AM MDT. Upon leaving Hartsel, we rode eastward a short distance more ATM on 8 ➲ The view along CR-53 as we headed north towards Hartsel at 9 AM MDT. Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 7 ➲ ATM from 7 along US-24 to CR-15. At 10:18 we all stopped alongside the road for nearly 20 minutes to allow the photographers in the group to take some photos of the scenic view to the north. Upon reaching US-285, we turned left for 0.4 miles and continued north along CR-33 into the Pike National Forest, also called Boreas Pass Road. This took us through the small community of Como. As we passed by one of the few businesses, I took this next photo of the Mountain Man Gallery, which also houses the Como Post Office. Just six minutes later we came to a fork in the road and paused to allow stragglers in our group to catch up and not miss the turn. Thirty minutes later we arrived at the Boreas Pass summit and stopped to take photos, eat our lunches and to chat about the ride thus far. After our half-hour break, we continued towards Breckenridge, which we reached by 12:30. We did not stop there, but continued south along CO-9 towards Alma and Fairplay. While we were discussing the situation, two other riders approached from the opposite direction and paused to answer our questions. In turn we each rode down the steep road covered by many loose rocks. After we had all successfully traversed that somewhat challenging section, we arrived at the junction with US-24 and turned south towards Buena Vista. After a brief stop at a convenience store there, we continued back through Hartsel to RawHyde’s camp. Over several beers and dinner, we discussed the day’s adventure. We were all quite pleased with the experience and eagerly looked forward to another excursion the next day. The view over my shoulder of riders just leaving Hoosier Pass. At Fairplay we followed US-285 south for five miles to the turn-off onto CR-5 towards the southwest. We stopped alongside the South Fork South Platte River in the valley leading to Weston Pass. The telescopic photo shows the approach to Weston Pass in the distance. Upon reaching Weston Pass, some of us posed for a group photo in front of the sign. Just over three miles from the pass, we stopped along the road for a few minutes so that we could each evaluate the rocky road conditions on a steep downhill segment just ahead. 8 | www.RideMSTA.com Our route for day 2. Day #2 This day’s route traversed the unpaved Marshall Pass and Old Monarch Pass, located to the southwest of Hartsel. Initially the weather was nice, partly cloudy and dry. The map below shows our route for this excursion. We started out at 8:38 AM MDT and, just as on the day before, rode along CR-53 to CO-9 and through Hartsel. However, since we had refueled the day before in Buena Vista, there was no need to do so again so soon. The highway passes through the San Isabel National Forest with very nice scenery under the sunny skies. When we reached the junction with US-285 on the southern side of Buena Vista, we turned south towards Poncha Springs. At 10 AM and nearly halfway to Poncha Springs, Coming into Poncha Springs a few minutes later, we stopped at a convenience store/gas station for nearly 20 minutes. After continuing south on US-285 for just over five miles, we turned off onto CR-200, a very twisty, unpaved road leading up to Marshall Pass. At 11:15 AM MDT, we arrived at the summit of the pass and stopped for photos and a short break. Following our five-minute stop there, we continued along the same county road, now keeping an eye on the darkening clouds ahead of us. Just around noon we arrived at US-50 and we stopped for nearly 35 minutes at the Tomichi Creek Trading Post & Café for our lunch break. Several riders also put on their rain gear. After resuming our ride, we headed north a very short distance along US-50 before turning off onto the CR-888, which follows Tomichi Creek. When we reached NF-237, we turned eastward to traverse Old Monarch Pass. Due to the increasing threat of rain, I kept my camera inside my jacket until we reached the summit of the pass at 1:13 PM. Another rider took this photo of me at Old Monarch Pass. Following our break, we continued down the eastern grade of the pass until we rejoined US-50. Since it was starting to drizzle lightly, I again secured the camera inside my jacket for a while. After we headed north along US-285 from Poncha Springs, the weather cleared enough for this final photo. As we reached Hartsel at 3 PM MDT, the clouds did more than just threaten rain. We stopped at the convenience store for a half hour in the hope that the rain would let up, which it eventually did. As we later discovered back at RawHyde’s camp, a rain cell had been nearly stationary over the area and had rained intensively for quite a while. We found very muddy road conditions along CR-53 and especially slick conditions on the side road leading into the camp’s location. Obviously we were about to get our first really serious test at riding in slick, muddy conditions! When the rider in front of me suddenly slowed down, I was unable to maintain and then regain my momentum and became the only rider to fall over into the mud on that final stretch. If my bike had had proper 50/50 knobby tires instead of the 90/10 Anakee-3s, I probably would not have had this tip-over. Thankfully I had plenty of help from the trainers in picking up my motorcycle again. Even so, I felt exhausted, which was aggravated by the high elevation at 9,500 ft. The bike was undamaged and the mud was easily cleaned off at a car wash in Buena Vista the next day. We had a nice evening and another good dinner back at camp. Several of us gathered around the big-screen TV to watch a slideshow of my photos taken over the entire weekend of RawHyde training and excursions. Conclusion That was the final day of our High Rockies Adventure rides. The next day we all departed to our various destinations. I look forward to returning to the West and riding other challenging routes as part of the Backcountry Discovery Routes, after I take RawHyde’s advanced rider course, called the Next Step. My summer tour continued and included riding from Washington through British Columbia and Yukon Territory into Alaska. Although I had decided not to venture all the way to Prudhoe Bay, I did ride up the Dalton Highway, along with three guys from Calgary, as far as the Arctic Circle. Cloudy, dry weather made the trip quite pleasant. My training in the RawHyde course proved very useful in coping with the various unpaved roads on the way there, around Alaska, and coming back. Before leaving the US, I remembered my muddy lesson and mounted better tires. In this case it was a new set of Heidenau K60 Scout 50/50 tires that had just come on the market in the correct sizes for my 2015 BMW R1200GSA. By the time I returned to Washington nearly 6,000 miles later, I had nearly worn out the rear tire. Adventure-riding can be both fun and challenging. Due to the potential hazards or possible mechanical issues, I prefer to be prudent on such adventures and to ride only in a group. South Florida The South lunch ride to Capt’n Con’s Fish House was a banging success!! We had seven Eastsiders make the trip across the state, joining 12 others from around the state for a wonderful time at a new destination! My odometer read 370 miles for the day!! And I wasn’t alone only two riders were under 100 miles one way! The restaurant did a great job accommodating our ever growing crowd, and served up great grub in decent time! Lots of smiles and full bellies West Region Alaska Alberta Arizona British Columbia California Hawaii Idaho Montana Nevada Northwest Territories Oregon Utah Washington Yukon Nevada Christmas season means the Christmas light show is on at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A combined MSTA and MARS group rode through the light show presentation. It is a multimillion dollar production with businesses from the greater Las Vegas Valley donating their displays. Freedom Motorcycles had a 2016 Triumph Motorcycle model lineup event. Participants had a nice briefing and touchy feely introduction to the Bonneville, Bonneville T100, and Thruxton models for 2016. In addition, you did not go hungry as a large spread of culinary delights was abounding. CES hit town. Jeremie Elliot was our CES explorer extraordinaire. More inputs from CES in future issues. Nick Zarras was able to test out the Skully helmet system. Check out his review in this issue on page 31.• Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 9 Event Preview MSTA Events are sanctioned by the AMA. You MUST be (or join onsite) a MSTA member to attend. STAR ’16 June 26 – 30 in Stratton, Vermont. Stratton Mountain Resort 30 Middle Ridge Rd, Stratton Mountain, VT 05155 Register for STAR ’16 event BEFORE making hotel reservations. Online registration is open at http://www.planetreg. com/STAR2016. Instructions will be provided on your event confirmation on how to reserve your room at the Stratton Mountain lodge. Note: You will be making your OWN hotel booking, so if you cancel you must cancel your OWN hotel reservation. You will be directed to call the lodge and book your room via phone. Rates vary from 77.20 to 94.80 (all include free breakfast maximum 2 per room). Rates include taxes and depend on bedding and lodge type. There are several room types and two different lodging options - if you want to check it out in advance: http://www.stratton.com/planyour-trip/lodging/lodging-landing.aspx. Pricing in the main lodge (Black Bear) varies from 79.20 through 94.80 (taxes included). Pricing in the Lift Line Lodge is 77.20 (taxes included) for a room with 2 beds. There is a $50.00 pet fee for the Black Bear lodge, no fee for the Lift Line Lodge. Additionally, the resort is offering some condos (Long Trail Condos) that are a short distance from the lodge. If you are interested in a Condo - do not try to book them yet - send Harry Hemstreet an email and he will let you know when they are ready to book. Please note that the hotel will charge you one-night stay as a deposit. The hotel has a cancellation policy of $50.00 if you cancel up to 3 days before your arrival. Cancelling within 3 days or less of arrival will just for fun gatherings Just for Fun Gatherings are not MSTA/AMA sanctioned “events” These are informal gatherings with no registration, no agenda, no scheduled meetings, no provided meals, and no published routes — just like-minded friends gathering to ride. MSTA membership is not required. Contact the listed coordinator with questions. Big Bend of Texas February 22 – 28, 2016 Dual Sport / Adventure Riding in Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park and other local areas. Free camping spots for dry RV or tents. Roger Hazelwood’s property 150 Goat Track Trail Terlingua, TX Coordinator: Max Hendrix – email@example.com Fool’s Run Dual Sport March 31 – April 3, 2016 Dillard, GA. We return to the mountains of GA and NC this year for early dual sport riding. Lodging: The Gateway Inn (formerly The Holiday Inn Express) Request MSTA room rate. 10 | www.RideMSTA.com http://gatewayinndillard.com/ index.htm (706) 746-3585 Routemeister: Doug Pippin Coordinator: Galen Diehl – firstname.lastname@example.org North Georgia Classic April 15 – 17, 2016 Helen, GA – Excellent street riding in the north Georgia mountains NGC Website: http://msta-se. com/helen/ Lodging: Quality Inn – Helen Request the MSTA room 706-878-2268 Coordinator: Andrey Hubble Moab Mob April 17 – 23, 2016 Dual sport / Adventure riding in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks plus other local trails. Moab Rim Camp Park, Moab, UT RV, tent sites and cabins – 888-599-6622 or 435-259-5002. Hotels available in downtown Moab Coordinator: Max Hendrix – email@example.com cause your whole stay cost to be assessed as a cancellation fee. The full cost of your stay will be charged at the 3-day point (assuming you have not cancelled before). The cutoff date for our block is May 19, 2016 - just make sure your registration is done by that date. If you would like to camp or park your RV, the resort charges 20.00 per day per person for a camping platform or RV space (no hook ups available). This fee includes access to showers at the sports center. Please be mindful of dates: Friday is 6/24, Saturday is 6/25, Sunday is 6/26 (Normal check in date), Monday is 6/27, Tuesday is 6/28, Wednesday is 6/29, Thursday is 6/30 (Normal check out date). Contact Dennis Villarose, president@ ridemsta.com, 561-329-3257 with event questions. http://ridemsta.com/srblog/just-for-fun-gatherings-2016/ Staunton Spring Romp April 28 – May 1, 2016 Street riding and Dual Sport / Adventure riding in the Washington and Jefferson National Forests and around Staunton, VA Stonewall Jackson Hotel 24 South Market Street Staunton, VA 24401 844-206-1320 Ask for MSTA rate Details at http://ridemsta.com/ mstaforums/event-planning/ staunton-spring-romp/ msg7707/#msg7707 Coordinator: Galen Diehl – firstname.lastname@example.org Third Annual Northeast JFF July 7 – 11, 2016 Myer Country Motel Milford, PA Details at http://ridemsta.com/ mstaforums/just-for-funevents/third-annual-northeastjust-for-fun-event-1368/ Eldoncade Silverton Dual Sport – July 24 – 31, 2016 Dual sport riding and rustic camping at its best. Single track, jeep roads and mountain vistas. Hotels and RV hookups available in Silverton, CO. Some will arrive as early as July 20. Coordinator: Eldon Rix 918-864-2208 Rick’s Ride In – Middlesboro, KY Sept 16-18, 2016 Twisty and scenic riding around the Cumberland Gap (KY, TN, VA). Holiday Inn Express Middlesboro, Kentucky 606 248-6860 – Request the MSTA rate Coordinator: Rick Giddish Tellico Plains, TN October 21 – 23, 2016 Street and dual sport riding around Tellico Plains and in the Cherokee National Forest Rustic or RV camping and cabins available at Cherohala Mountain Trails Campground 32 Reliance Rd Tellico Plains TN 37385 423-253-6061 Coordinator: Bill Wilson – email@example.com MSTA events are sanctioned by the AMA. You MUST be (or join onsite) a MSTA member to attend these events. For up-to-the-minute updates on MSTA sanctioned events, check out our web page at http://ridemsta.com/srblog/Events/ 2016 MSTA National Events Schedule Date Event Location Contact Web Address/E-mail May 13-15 T-28 Marble Falls, AR The Hub Motorcycle Resort #1 Dogpatch Drive Marble Falls, AR 72648 870-743-4062 Becky Wing 479-824-5738 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.hubinfo.com MAY 27-30 TRI-STAR Sparta, NC Alleghany Inn 341 N. Main Street Sparta, NC 28675 888-372-2501 Geoffrey Greene 865-922-9887 email@example.com http://www.alleghanyinn.com JUNE 26-30 STAR ’16 Stratton, VT Stratton Mountain Resort 30 Middle Ridge Rd Stratton Mountain, VT 05155 802-297-4000 Dennis Villarose 561-329-3257 http://www.planetreg.com/STAR2016 firstname.lastname@example.org JULY 22-24 BIG LYNN LODGE RIDE Little Switzerland, NC Big Lynn Lodge Highway 226A Little Switzerland, NC 28749 800-654-5232 David Brickner 828-448-5429 email@example.com JULY 29-31 RIVER CITY RIDE Corydon, IN Holiday Inn Express 2449 Federal Drive Corydon, IN 47112 812-738-1623 Don Payne 317-696-2381 firstname.lastname@example.org AUG. 26-28 MAIL POUCH FLY-BY Marietta, OH Jon Campbell 513-465-4755 email@example.com SEPT. 9-11 OZARKS BS RALLY Theodosia, MO Best Western Marietta 701 Pike Street Marietta, OH 45750 740-374-9660 Theodosia Marina & Resort Highway 160 Theodosia , MO 65761 417-273-4444 Quality Inn 540 N. Jefferson St. Lewisburg, WV 24901 304-645-7722 Ed & Linda Young 417-926-3075 www.ozarksbsrally.com Syd Mays 804-721-3399 firstname.lastname@example.org Judi Rowe 469-879-2066 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org SEPT. 30-Oct. 2 AUTUMN COLORS RIDE Lewisburg, WV OCT. 28-30 TEXAS HILL COUNTRY Kerrville, TX YO Ranch Resort 2033 Sidney Baker Kerrville, TX 78028 830-257-4440 email@example.com http://www.biglynnlodge.com firstname.lastname@example.org Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 11 Riding New England – Stratton Inn By Doug Weir, Hayden, Indiana Since STAR ’16 will be in Vermont, I thought I would share some of my riding knowledge of the area. You may think it strange that someone who lives near the Canadian border in Idaho should pen such an article. However, I am from that area, and moreover, have a bike stashed at my brother’s house in Connecticut. I ride New England almost every year. The focus of this piece will be the roads, and to a lesser extent, the scenery. If you are interested in the history or cultural aspects of New England, there are much better sources than me. Getting There Most MSTA members will come from the south and west of Vermont. I will therefore briefly cover the States on the way. Pennsylvania Yup, I lived there also. The quickest way out of PA would be to drone on I-80 and I-81 to Binghamton, NY. However, there are many good back roads in PA. My favorites would be PA 44 and 144 north of Bellefonte. There is also good riding where I-81 crosses the Appalachian Trail near Pine Grove, PA. New York Yup, I lived there too. The quickest way out of NY would be to continue from Binghamton on I-88 to I-87 to NY 7 which becomes VT 9, near Bennington, to VT 100 to Jamaica, Vermont. The best riding in Southern NY, although it can be crowded, is in the Catskill Mountains. NY 28 is the main road, but there are lots of side roads off it. New York 97, which follows the Delaware River south of Hancock, is very twisty. It 12 | www.RideMSTA.com has been used in many car commercials. If you like high speed sweepers, the Northern Adirondacks have some good roads. Again, NY 28, plus NY 30, are the main roads. You can visit the Winter Olympic site at Lake Placid, and/or ride to the top of nearby Whiteface Mountain. If you go this way, you can take the 4-times-per-day Port Kent, NY, ferry across Lake Champlain to Burlington, and ride South on VT 100 to Jamaica, VT. Whatever way you choose, do not take the George Washington Bridge (I-95) to cross the Hudson River into NYC. You could be stuck for hours! Go north, at least to Nyack, NY, or further north. Once on the east side of the River, you could pick up the Taconic State Parkway, which is a little like the Blue Ridge Parkway except it is 4 lanes all the way. This would be a good lead into western Massachusetts. Connecticut and New Jersey Although there are some good roads in the NW parts of these States, there are just too many folks that live there. However, one of the nicest covered bridges is in Cornwall, CT, off US 7. Massachusetts Although the eastern part of MA is flat and crowded, the west has some surprisingly good riding. MA 112 (Exit 2 off I-90), 116 (Exit 25 off I-91), and 8 are all very good and lead to the prime Vermont road, VT 100. If you want a spectacular view of the area you can climb the road up to the 3491-foothigh summit of Mt. Greylock from Lanesborough, MA ($6 fee for parking). If tourist stores are your thing, one of the biggest anywhere is “Yankee Candle” near South Deerfield on US 5 / MA 116. Vermont Northern New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) has good riding for any type of motorcycle rider. Unfortunately, in the 40 years or so that I have been riding in the area, I have seen the quality of the pavement degrade significantly. Also, since the number of dirt roads is infinite, if you have a choice in mounts, an “Adventure Bike” may be the best bet. Before you leave home, I would get a copy of the Official Road Map of Vermont to plan your riding (other New England States have similar offerings). It is available from Vermont Attractions Assoc. by calling 1-800-Vermont or visit their website at VermontVacations.com. If you don’t get one in advance, every Vermont store and gas station has them, and they are free. STAR ’16 HIGHLIGHTS • GREAT ROADS • Raffle Bike: In cooperation with Max’s BMW, the largest BMW Dealership in the country — the raffle bike will be a 2016 BMW F 800 GT! Buy your discount tickets now at: http://www.planetReg.com/MSTAraffle2016 • The celebrity Guest Speaker — Alonzo Boden • Numerous Seminars this year •Vendors • Ice Cream Social after Monday night Member’s Meeting • Lunch ride to Look Out Tavern - Killington, VT • T-Shirts: Top quality, highly breathable, moisture wicking T-shirts available in both men’s and women’s cuts. Purchase on the registration page. I will start with the best. Vermont 100 is THE road in Vermont. It snakes its way all the way from North Adams, MA, to the Canadian border, and usually has limited car traffic. It goes through and along side of the entire Green Mountain National Forest. Stratton is just off VT 100 near the town of Jamaica. If you again are looking forward to visiting another tourist store, VT 100 passes right by “The Vermont Country Store” in Weston. Further north it passes by the biggest ski area in the East, Killington. It then enters Granville Gulch. Look closely for the sign for Moss Glen Falls on the west side. After it crosses I-89 (about 30 miles east of Burlington), it passes by probably the most famous tourist trap in VT, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. From B & J’s, you have a • Super hats. You’re going to love the feel & wear-ability of this year’s hat — breathable, foldable, Tri-fold motorcycle hat. Washable & fits great. Be sure to order yours on the registration page • MotoVermont Adventure Bike Tours and Bike Rentals available • Day ride to Mount Washington in New Hampshire • Stayin’ Safe Advanced Rider Training - 4 hours 8am-Noon – Saturday Nearby Areas of Interest • Mount Equinox. A 45-minute ride from the hotel. Nice private road with great views - http://www. equinoxmountain.com/index.php Small fee to enter. • Kancamagus Highway, NH • Francnia Notch, NH • Ben & Jerry’s Factory and Ice Cream, tour and tasting, Waterbury, VT • Kuerig/ Green Mountain Coffee headquarters and campus, Waterbury, VT • Stowe Mountain Resort, Stowe, VT • Mount Greylock, Adams, MA. choice. VT 108 passes through the twisty Smugglers’ Notch. However, unless you get there early in the day, it will be polluted with cars. Whether you take VT 108, 118, or stay on 100, you will be given a scenic ride through ever flattening farm country all the way to Canada. If you want to have a road essentially all to yourself, continue on to VT 105, which follows along the Canadian border. more NEW ENGLAND on 14 ➲ Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 13 ➲ NEW ENGLAND from 13 In Southern Vermont just about any road that crosses the Green Mountain N.F. will be fun. The best would be VT 11 and 30. VT 9 is also nice, but sees a lot of car traffic. US 4 makes a nice climb out of Rutland to the Killington Ski Area, but is overly improved. East of Killington, US 4 passes over Quechee Gorge. For those who have been to the canyons of the West, it is no big deal, but this is about as good as it gets in the East. Just about any road that crosses VT 100 North of Killington will be good or very good riding. My paved favorites are VT 73, 125, 17, and the Camp Brook Road connecting Rochester to Bethel. If you don’t mind a very steep dirt road, you should try the Lincoln Gap Road. It starts or ends just south of Warren. The east side is paved, but it turns to dirt at the top. It is doable by any street bike unless it has been raining. You can zig zag back and forth on all these roads between VT 100 and US 7. There are many other attractive roads in VT. However, I would avoid US 7A, unless you like lots of traffic and tourist stores. One of my other favorite roads is the short VT 66 from Randolph. Covered bridges are all over Vermont. They are shown on the Official Map, but some of the highest concentrations are on VT 14 and 110. The longest U.S. covered bridge crosses the Connecticut River from U.S.5 at Windsor. If you would like to know more about these bridges, there are numerous books available on their history and construction. As I mentioned before, there are an infinite number of dirt roads in Vermont. Most, but not all, are shown on the Official Map. One of the favorite games my brother and I like to play goes as follows: From wherever you are, find a small town on the map, like West Corinth (SE of Barre), and tell your GPS to take you there via the most direct 14 | www.RideMSTA.com route. Most GPSs know the small, semi-abandoned roads that don’t appear on most maps. Whether you can actually follow the GPS depends on how much rain there has been recently. They don’t call the spring in Vermont “The Mud Season” for nothing. In summary, you can’t go wrong riding just about anywhere in Vermont. One warning: For those who come early or stay after, there are surprising few reasonably priced accommodations in Vermont. Clusters are located in Rutland, White River Junction, Barre-Montpelier, Burlington and Brattleboro. Further Afield If you have come this far, why stop at Vermont? Quebec Montreal, Quebec, is only about 200 miles from Stratton. However, Quebec City, which some say is more French than France, would be my first choice, and is only a little more than 350 miles away. Why stop there? The end of the scenic road around the Gaspe Peninsular is only another 400 miles further east. Don’t forget your Passport, and be aware that Canada is not firearms friendly. But then again, neither are Vermont’s neighboring states. New Hampshire Southern New Hampshire is flat and crowded. Northern New Hampshire is more rugged than Vermont, especially north of Plymouth. My choices for the best M/C roads are NH 118, 116, and 112 (also called the Kancamagus Highway). You can ride the Mt. Washington Toll Road ($16 for M/Cs) to the 6288-foot summit. In addition, any road around the White Mountains will be pretty good. NH 26 is pretty neat, and it goes through the little town of Dixville Notch, which is famous for voting for President at 12:01 AM on Election Day. For a tame adventure ride you can take US 3 North to follow the headwaters of the Connecticut River. You should be aware that the Laconia Bike Week (Sturgis East) is June 11-19. Maine The White Mountains of New Hampshire extend into Maine. When visiting the Whites, I like to stay in the little town of Bethel, ME. The best roads in NW Maine are 113 and 17. However, the main attraction here is the seacoast, which is some 200 miles east. This culminates at the spectacular Arcadia National Park. For the truly adventurous, the logging roads north of Millinocket might look inviting on the map. However, motorcycles, even street bikes, are not allowed on these private roads or in Baxter State Park. Contact: Northmainewoods.com for info. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia New Brunswick is like an extension of Maine. The primary attraction there is the huge tides of the Bay of Fundy. The best place to witness these is at Hopewell Rocks. New Brunswick also has a lot of covered bridges. The longest covered bridge in North America crosses the St. John River near Hartland. Nova Scotia, especially the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, is world famous for M/C riding. The combination of sea coast and mountains is very similar to California Route 1. To shorten the riding getting there (it is about 800 miles from Boston to Cape North, NS) you might be able to take the ferry from Portland, ME, to Yarmouth, NS. Operation of this ferry is year to year, so know before you go. The 2015 operator is called “Nova Star Cruises.” But remember, the further north and east you go, the colder and wetter it gets. Summary There are many reasons come to the Northeast. Hope to see you at STAR.• Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 15 ‘Glens, Lochs and Black Puddin’ Riding through the Northern UK By Ann Redner, MSTA Vice President Photos by Ann Redner, unless otherwise noted It’s black because sheep’s blood mixed with barley and oats turns black when it’s boiled. And there it was on my plate: the infamous black pudding. Accompanied with eggs, haggis, sautéed tomatoes, mushrooms, sausage, baked beans and toast, it makes a proper northern UK brekky (breakfast)—one that I’d enjoy more than once while on this land. A proper northern UK brekky. Photo by Mike Taylor. 16 | www.RideMSTA.com Scanning the crowd in England’s Manchester airport, I spotted the subtle smirk from English pal and founder of UK Adventure Riders, Chris Jones. We traded updates as he drove me to his family’s Lancashire home in the north of England, close to the Irish Sea and Scottish border. The Jones household would be the start and end point of Chris’ fantastic route through Scotland and England’s famed Lake District. We would traverse emerald green valleys dotted with sheep, cross mountain passes on remote single-lane roads, and pass ancient stone bridges and generational farms. We’d explore mysterious castle ruins, pick our way through herds of wild deer, and roll onto overnight ferries. Highlighting the ride would be visits to the homes of three Scotland-based riders with whom I’d been communicating for months. First order of business was the arrival of Paul Hughes at Chris’ home. Paul owns Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire, and he personally delivered the BMW F800GS I’d arranged to ride for the next 9 days. The pristine white bike sported a brand-spanking-new rear tire and nearly new front, plus BMW’s hard plastic panniers and expandable top box. It pays to research! After inquiring to nearly every motorcycle rental agency in England, Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire quickly rose to the top. They offered an attractive price for the best-looking package, which included unlimited mileage, breakdown coverage, insurance valid in all of Europe (uncommon), and not least: personable communication. For an additional, reasonable fee, Paul was able to both deliver and retrieve the bike at Chris’ home, a convenience that saved me considerable time. In a nutshell, Paul and Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire were ace. They’d be my first choice again for bike rental in the UK, so save yourself some time and call him first when you make plans to ride through England, Scotland or Isle of Man (resources to follow). The adventure began the moment we rolled out of Chris’ driveway on the wrong, er… left side of the road. At first, intersections and traffic circles (which rotate clockwise) were uneasy experiences that made me glad to be following Chris’ taillight. With time, I got the hang of clockwise traffic circles and even the art of blinker management while on them (required by law), but I never fully rid myself of an instinctive “flinch” that came each time I was leaned over to the left and an oncoming car passed to my right. A natural sensation from a lifetime in the “right” lane kept trying to tell me I was in the wrong place. I reverted only twice to my right-lane Yankee habits, both being uneventful slow-speed maneuvers that were worth Chris’ belly laugh. In no time, we were in Scotland and began a clockwise circuit around the country on double- and single-lane roads. At least one of the routes along a tumbling icy stream is held close to Chris’ chest, and promising on my Girl Scout’s honor to not reveal the location of said routes was enough to keep us rolling forward through jaw-dropping beauty. We visited the popular summer destination of Loch Lomond and curved through the epic, peak-flanked Glencoe valley. We stopped near a pathway and walked to the quiet shore of Loch Ness. I couldn’t help gazing across the foggy water in search of something undulating and scaly and my blossoming imagination nearly created a sighting. We eventually pitched camp in Fort William beside Scotland’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis. Here, I inhaled a hot dinner, my first taste of savory haggis mash. Topped with roast chicken, it was delicious. Around midnight, an ethereal vision unfolded: tiny, distant headlamps flickered in the blackness like a long string of fireflies as dozens of climbers slowly ascended Ben Nevis in hopes of reaching the summit for sunrise. With twinkling stars behind the mountain and above the sleeping campground, it was a magical sight to behold. It delightedly reminded me I was far, far from home. Moving on the next day, we rolled up and over hills of heathered pasture, regularly slowing to avoid sheep wandering the road. This became a source of guttural laughter, since the dilemma of who or what would yield first was always settled by the well fed creatures suddenly alighting into a full-bore run for the heather … their oblong, woolen bodies jiggling unashamedly like huge vats of Jello®. “Getting away from it all” and outrunning the steady expansion of cookie-cutter commercialization and attentionsucking electronic devices is tougher and tougher to achieve. Riding the back roads of Scotland offers precisely this—a broad intake of fresh, crisp air, a visual feast of green glens more UK on 18 ➲ Majestic scenery abounds in Glencoe. Ann at the base of Bealach Na Ba. Photo by Chris Jones. Paul Hughes and the pristine BMW F800GS from Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire. Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 17 ➲ UK from 17 and magnificent castles, and a hardy, warm culture … all while you connect with a machine that strums your soul and invokes reflection upon the real things –cherished people and quiet nuances– that make life so meaningful. Leaning around switchbacks and up and over the high pass of Bealach Na Ba on a rainy, foggy day took us to the tiny west Highlands village of Applecross, the friendly Applecross Camp Site and a welcomed pub dinner within walking distance. How many campgrounds do you know of that serve fabulous fresh smoked Scottish salmon, cream cheese and fluffy bagels for breakfast? Well, now I know of one. Fresh smoked Scottish salmon for breakfast at Applecross Camp Site. It rains a lot in Scotland. Our lucky timing put us smackdab in the midst of rain and flooding intense enough to make international news. On the flip side, this is what maintains Scotland’s vivid green landscape and rich black peat. And frankly, no one’s too bothered by the wet. For the moto-traveler, the mantra is simple and familiar: be prepared! The Klim Latitude® jacket and pants with Goretex® kept me dry and comfortable. With a lifetime waterproof guarantee and broad layering versatility, I’m sold on this gear from the Rigby, Idaho based company. Ditto for the waterproof leather Sidi Canyon® Goretex® boots, still keeping my feet completely dry after 5 years of, shall I say, interesting two-wheeled weather. The “waterproof/breathable” glove covers from Roadcrafter®, however, completely lost their waterproof characteristic after only the third wearing. This allowed both pair of riding gloves to become soaked, so I wore the glove covers as a windbreak on cooler days. Outfitting my Arai® helmet with a new Pinlock® thermal face shield was a brilliant move. No surprise that I learned about this product through Chris Jones, for whom riding in the wet is about as commonplace as the rest of us posting on Facebook. I treated the inside of the shield with Anti-Fog by RainX™ and it was glorious to be free of face shield fogging in Scotland’s damp weather and varying temperatures. Major kudos for the Pinlock thermal face shield! As we continued north through the Scottish Highlands, we passed fewer and fewer vehicles. Stopping to see the 13th 18 | www.RideMSTA.com century Eilean Donan castle (the world’s most photographed castle) and then many miles later, climbing around the more mysterious and remote ruin of Ardvreck castle, sent the imagination reeling. What was it like to live in a castle? Did all that cold-looking stone really afford a luxurious existence? What was it like to be cast into the dungeon?! Admittedly, after climbing into the dungeon at Ardvreck castle, I decided it was okay to live life without a real dungeon experience … despite this particular dungeon’s amazing view. Ann at the ruin of Ardvreck Castle. The surprisingly nice view from the dungeon at Ardvreck Castle. Scotland’s narrow, single-lane roads provide Pass- Resources ing Places that allow extra • Chris Jones, Northern space for the occasional UK moto-guide services: oncoming vehicle to pass. chrisjones350@yahoo. The best practice here is co.uk to look ahead and pull into • Paul Hughes, Bourthe first Passing Place upon nemouth Motorcycle Hire: seeing an oncoming vemotorcycle-hire.co.uk hicle. Sometimes, both ap• Klim motorcycle gear: proaching vehicles pull over klim.com and it becomes a contest of • Pinlock product informawho insists on politeness tion: pinlock.nl by staying put, requiring • Great roads in Scotthe other driver to pull out land: wildaboutscotland. and pass. In my history of com/2014/05/15/top-10assertive Detroit-area drivscenic-roads-in-scotland/ ing, this was bewildering and then refreshing! With miles between vehicles and much further between villages, I couldn’t help but wonder where they were going. Heavy rains came and we pressed further northwest into the remote Highlands. After not seeing another vehicle for many miles of throttle happiness on velvety and wondrously curvy road, we suddenly came up behind a long line of stopped cars. Motoring up to the front of the line revealed a busted riverbank that was diverting fast-moving water across a bridge. Yes, now the water was so high that it was flowing over a bridge. A tour bus was stranded on the bridge in the midst of the torrent and crews of emergency workers were trying—with little success—to make progress. We milled around and chatted with locals and constables, myself struggling to understand their soft-spoken yet thick northwestern accent. Chris said we mustn’t ride in the dark: The northwesterly and remote Rooftop of Great Britain. In the twilight, I discovered why. Deer. Dozens upon dozens of red deer. They were running wild across the hills and the road of Scotland’s most northwestern no-man’s land. Darkness fell along with the rain and our route was reduced to the constant spook of reflecting deer eyes and moving legs captured in the only light to be seen in any direction: our tiny rain-dimmed headlights. At one point I could make out the faint image of a handful of bulls running alongside us on top of a 10’ berm at the edge of the road. If just one of them decided to dart down the berm and into the road, there would be a different kind of story to tell … complicated by many miles until receiving cell service, let alone emergency response. I felt so small and inconsequential in this place. We were two specks in the darkness surrounded by wild deer; chilled by spooky hills to the right and an ominous black Atlantic to our left. Even so, in the way that only nature can orchestrate, it was a daunting, very adult kind of beauty that night. We conjured up additional threads of energy and kept the high-alert ride focused and safe. Chris had the smart idea to stop midway across a long causeway to look down over the railing for a notable whirlpool in the blackness. We didn’t see the whirlpool, but it was a well-deserved stress break that helped lighten the mood. I think I even did a dance. Finally, in the wee hours, the north coast glow of civilizamore UK on 20 ➲ Flooding blocked our route and stranded a tour bus on a bridge. A detour for Chris and I would mean backtracking 90 miles on this (our highest mileage) day. Soon, it became clear that the gushing water from the recent onslaught of rain was not going to subside on this day. So backtrack we did, not once, but twice when ‘Plan B’ was also diverted due to flooding. 120 detour miles later, the day was fading and we had yet to traverse the one region that Partially excavated ruins of the Neolithic village called Skara Brae on the isle of Orkney. Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 19 ➲ UK from 19 tion (the town of Thurso) came into view. At last, we were in the far north of Scotland where we would temporarily swap tarmac for sea legs. After a stop on the mainland at Land’s End (a.k.a. John O’Groats, where Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor began Long Way Down), a short ferry ride took us to the nearby isle of Orkney. Here, we rode to historic sites like the Stones of Stenness (think Stonehenge) and the ancient, Neolithic village of Skara Brae before planting our bums in an American-style diner … where my head nearly knocked down from the wall a bicentennial car license plate from my home state of Michigan. Really now, what were the chances? The northern British Isles includes the notable Shetland archipelago. This is home of the Shetland pony, fair-isle sweater, Scottish Fold cat and award-winning Scottish salmon. And it was our next stop! From Orkney, we boarded a large, overnight ferry to Shetland—but not before eerie interaction with an odd, selfproclaimed “homeless” bicyclist who was riding around the UK on a vintage bicycle. I quickly got a bad vibe that couldn’t be pinpointed from this “homeless” dude. He was decked out from head to toe in new North Face gear and had managed to buy expensive passage on the Northlink ferry. Turned out, Chris too got a dodgy vibe from this guy so we cut our friendliness short. Only once in the night did I awake on the ferry to feel my head tipping below my feet and then rising above my feet again (over and over) as I lay in the bunk. We were in heavy seas and I simply would NOT allow myself to visualize the video that one of my Scottish correspondents (John!) had so kindly sent me of this very ferry nearly capsizing in suspensethriller rolling seas not uncommon to this stretch of the north Atlantic. I felt my face flush hot while the other women in my (women-only) cabin slept and I realized this moment was mine to make or break. So consciously and very sternly, I talked myself down from panic (and worse) until sleep – SOMEHOW– took me again. The morning came, I gathered my overnight things and escaped the cabin to meet Chris below deck and ready our bikes. We had arrived in Shetland! I was super excited to meet my virtual correspondents and Shetland residents: John and his lovely wife, Annabel. Riding off the ferry, I spotted John patiently waiting beside his parked BMW GS650 to greet us. Giddiness pushed squeals out of my helmet. I couldn’t believe I was actually, finally on this small isle. Milling around next to John was the dodgy bicyclist with his odd, parasitic friendliness. We made proper hellos but as soon as the bicyclist departed, John exclaimed, “I don’t like that guy!” making three individual bad vibes. Nothing negative ever happened as a result of the bicyclist, but perhaps it was due to our keen awareness. Especially when traveling internationally, always listen to your gut feeling. On Shetland, John and Annabel redefined warmth. Being able to share Annabel’s homemade, proper Scottish breakfast followed by a private accordion performance topped my heart. After seeing John’s moto-garage, he led us on a tour around 20 | www.RideMSTA.com Chris and Ann with John’s wife Annabel (center) at their home on Shetland. John in his bike garage, on Shetland. the 373-square mile island. We visited the Sail Loft where he and Annabel first met and had a tasty lunch of fresh fish ‘n chips. Sadly, our visit on Shetland would be only one day. Due to the Northlink ferry’s sailing schedule, we needed to return to the ferry that evening to reach the mainland by morning … but not before first sampling Annabel’s warm spice bread. Shetland is a place I had previously not known anything about. From connecting with John through an online ride group to learning about John’s livelihood as a salmon fisherman on this distant isle to visiting in the flesh made for an experience even better than expected. This time, John accompanied Chris and I onto the overnight ferry, in order to ride with us and accomplish some necessities on the mainland. We sailed south, this time disembarking at the port of Aberdeen on Scotland’s east coast. From here, the three of us enjoyed blissful riding through winding roads and rolling hills of ski country. After skirting Edinburgh, we headed for one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs in the world: St. Andrew’s Old Course. I hoped to pick up a souvenir for my 82-year old Mom, a member of two golf leagues. The hi-brow Pro Shop was uncomfortably silent as I browsed shocking price tags on the small selection of women’s golf attire. I knew Mom would be surprised with an authentic souvenir. Figuring I’d never come this way again, I walked out with a stylish women’s golf shirt, visor and ball marker. Sometimes, a simple pleasure trumps sticker shock. As I left the Pro Shop and walked to our parked bikes, I discovered Chris happy to have gotten some shut-eye while I shopped, having stretched out on the pavement beside our bikes in the posh parking lot. We rolled east through small villages of scenic Lothian, toward Scotland’s southeastern shore and a harbor side lunch at Ebbcarr’s Cafe. The outdoor tables displayed signs warning against seagulls’ cunning thievery of chips and sandwiches. It was duly noted, as the birds perched strategically in hopes of someone losing attention over their lunch. We rolled out in the awe of a little boy who stood frozen in place, mesmerized by our big bikes and the girl rider who spoke funny. Chris Neil, Chris Jones, Ann and Zak the wonder collie at Chris Neil’s farm in southeast Scotland. Photo by John Ingram Smith. Dinner was in town and I got to meet a few riders of the tightly knit Winton Massif boys, who specialize in most things Scottish including adventure riding, chiding and imbibing – though not necessarily in that order. More good cheer was followed by a deep night’s sleep in the old farmhouse. Rolling out the next morning from Chris Neil’s farm didn’t happen without first learning how to drive his computerized, climate controlled JCB farm tractor with an extendable boom. Surprised at the offer, I quickly realized that Chris Jones had kibitzed in advance with Chris Neil about my fascination with farm tractors. I learned how to maneuver this machine in each of its three drive modes, including the crab walk, which had a particularly high “kewl” factor. He tested me with commands, like raising the boom and then creeping forward to almost touch the high wall of one of the old stone buildings. I thought he must be nuts to trust me, since it appeared that one screw-up might topple the old building. But Chris Neil was an excellent teacher, the mamore UK on 22 ➲ Ebbcarr’s Café at a harbor on Scotland’s southeast coast. We ramped it up through sweet curves along cliffs of the North Sea. Once again, giddiness set in as we rolled up the gravel drive of Chris Neil’s farm in Dunbar. His immaculate courtyard is flanked with a centuries-old farmhouse and golden, stone out buildings that looked more to me like old Italy than Scotland. Stunning views stretched beyond his fields, out across the North Sea to distant squalls taunting the icy blue. Again through an online ride board, I had connected with Chris Neil and began learning about his collection of BMW bling plus his work as a Brussels sprouts and barley farmer. I was delighted to meet him in person, along with wife Anne and Zak the wonder collie. Chris Neil teaching Ann to drive his computerized tractor. Photo by Chris Jones. Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 21 ➲ UK from 21 chine had exacting control, and I passed the test with a big grin. Reluctant to leave, we eventually did so, aiming for the Scottish Borders. A stop in Melrose to visit Melrose Abbey unveiled centuries of life and death within her stone arches and walls that rest in solemn yet stately ruin, following multiple wars. The intense history here was both daunting and meaningful, and I recalled the portion of my former church in Michigan that was architecturally modeled after this particular abbey. Amber with her refurbished 80cc bike. We clean up pretty well when needed. L to R: John, Ann, Anne and Chris Neil, and Chris Jones. Photo by The Bartender. Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders. Nearby was the last of our personal stops, this time at the home of traveler Iain, his teen daughters Claudia and Amber, and their Granny. No sooner had we stepped inside their house than did the girls begin cheerfully scurrying about the kitchen to cook up a hearty Italian lunch. I heard about Iain’s sport (car) driving, learned about Claudia’s zeal for mountain biking, and saw Amber’s drawing skills plus her refurb project of an old 80 cc bike. The visit was a complete delight and a rare time that I wished for having daughters. It should be said that meeting people is perhaps the biggest joy of travel. While Americans tend to be reserved toward meeting international travelers, I attest that great gifts await! Now is always a good time to begin planting potential friendships and making yourself available to return the warm hospitality that is so easily handed to us. Back on the road, Chris Jones deftly led the way through 22 | www.RideMSTA.com curves and steep ascents of the gorgeous Lake District. It wouldn’t be complete without stopping for a bite in the biker’s haven of Hawes as we continued toward Chris’ Lancashire, England home. Sure enough, there were lots of riders at Hawes and a variety of bikes lined the street. It’d been a fantastic 9 days of riding, even with the rain and flooding. The BMW F800GS was a refreshing travel partner that performed consistently, responsively and seemingly effortlessly on the roads, ferries and through the extreme weather we experienced. The ergonomics fit my 5’8” frame well and I was even heard to say it was “the most comfortable bike I’ve ever traveled on.” Once back at Chris’ house, I set out to clean up the worst of the messy bike when Paul Hughes of Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire appeared to retrieve it. Expectedly, it was kind of sad saying goodbye to the bike, but more so to Chris and his family. A priceless experience like this simply fuels inspiration … the inspiration to chase the next great adventure within the world of two-wheeled friendships and a life fully lived. Big thanks to Chris Jones and his family for friendship and much generosity; to John and Annabel, Chris and Anne Neil, and Iain and family for so much kind hospitality. To all whom I met, Cheers for your ongoing friendship. [Editor’s note: John unexpectedly passed away right before this went to press; a further testament to cherish those around you and make a point to ride with your favorite riders at every opportunity. Sincere condolences to the family of John Ingram Smith.]• ROAD TEST 2016 BMW R 1200 RS A Tale of Two RSs By Nick Zarras Managing Editor I have an older bike in my garage. It is sort of a sport and sport touring machine. It is old tech but seems to fit my riding style. But as riders we always want to fit into a similar category machine but with upgraded electronics, engine, and suspension systems. Gary Kozlowski has a BMW R 1200 RT. It is a good long distance machine but he was looking for a more sport touring focused motorcycle. He rode the BMW R 1200 RS and was sold on it. It has the familiarity of the RT engine, but upgraded performance characteristics. The RS also is a lighter platform, making it more playful in the curves. The new styling sold him on the RS and as they say the rest is history. When one was available for my road test, I recommended we do a dual ride. The RS is more focused in the Sport Touring mode. But this motorcycle is also a BMW geared for the long touring rides that our MSTA members are famous for. 400 miles for a burger, no problem. It also has the latest “rider forgiving” electronic programs that provides the rider of any age a safety edge. The ergonomics are not sport bike, and not touring bike, but a comfortable in-between. more ROAD TEST on 24 ➲ Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 23 ➲ ROAD TEST from 23 Style: I first got a taste of this conversion style in the BMW R 1200 R. The RS is a faired R, but that extra protection greatly increases the utility and enjoyment of a ride. The front fairing is large with a manual adjusted large windscreen. You just grab it and pull. The half fairing features the symmetrical headlamps from the previous generation S 1000 RR. The 2016 color choices are Lupin Blue/Light Grey Metallic and Granite Grey Metallic Matte. In this test both color choices are featured. Basics: The new air/liquid cooled flat twin engine 4-stroke double overhead camshaft produces 125 HP at 7,750 rpms. The maximum torque is 92 ft-lbs at 6,500 rpms. The RS engine is optimized for more lower end torque, than previous boxer platforms. Premium fuel consumption is improved to a published 57 mpg at 55 mph. Fuel capacity is 4.7 gallons (1-gallon reserve). The R 1200 RS total wet weight is 520.3 lbs. Its payload is 471.8 pounds The left switch array includes the following: Cruise control, trip/info, ABS/ESA, hazard switches, turn signals, headlights, and horn. Press the Trip button and the rider toggles between total miles, range remaining, Trip 1, Trip 2, average MPG, and average MPH, tire pressure, date. Ambient temperature, water temperature. The current time displays continuously. The data select thumbwheel that is used to select screen options on the RT/GT series is used on the R 1200 RS used to control the BMW Motorrad Navigator V GPS. On the right switch array are the the two position heated grips and engine mode selector, plus the start button. The engine mode switch selects Rain, Road, or Dynamic engine performance modules. The selected mode is displayed on the lower right of the console instrument LED. The new instrument panel has a much clearer display. There is a bar graph for RPMS and a digital rpm on the right of the bar graph. Engine start is via an FOB. You place it in your jacket, then press the start button in where the key used to be. You wait for the speedometer to cycle, then hit the start toggle. Tires: The front tire size is 120/70 ZR17 and the rear tire size is 180/55 ZR17. Ride modes: Automatic Stability Control (ASC) is stan- L-R: Nick, Gary, Jeremie 24 | www.RideMSTA.com dard. My test vehicle has Dynamic, Rain and Road riding modes. How is it to ride? I put on 179 miles on the RS. The ride was in two parts. The first section was with Gary Kozlowski and Jeremie Elliot for the dual bike shoot. The R 1200 RS performs in a familiar water boxer manner. It feels very light and stable, for a more compact feel. The seat at 32.3 inches felt good for my 32-inch inseam. For the taller rider a 33.1-inch seat is available. For the shorter rider a 29.9inch seat is available. Seat comfort was very good. The engine sound was mellow. It did not seem as pronounced as other models. Engine vibration was standard BMW boxer engine, quite smooth. On the road, the leg and arm ergonomics were very good. The handle grips put you a bit forward vs an RT, but I just shifted against the tank and it fit me spot on. The second part was a solo ride to Red Rock National Conservation Area then out to Jean, Nevada to check out the low speed handling, and then handling in the higher wind areas around Jean. Running through the gears with rapid acceleration is a simple task. The new HP Shift Assistant Pro enables the rider to shift up or down without using the clutch through the 6-speed gearbox. This vastly reduces shift time. This also provides better directional stability. The up and down shifts are crisp, and no throttle changes are needed or desired, during the gearshift process. If you chose to be a traditionalist and shift the clutch, it feels very light with great friction control. The engine power curve is linear and the rider can tailor engine performance to be moderate or aggressive. With the engine being reengineered for increased low end torque, you have real world usable power at any speed, with great midrange, and a very strong top end. First gear, as in most boxer platforms is a smooth controlled pull, second gear is more aggressive with fast acceleration to speeds well past the double nickel. User blogs state the top end of the RS is in the 150 mph range. The 2016 R 1200 RS ride-by-wire throttle control provided excellent throttle control. This greatly added to smoothness during corner runs. The Dynamic ESA suspension (two position), is a semiactive suspension that adds a whole new feel to the road. I kept it in Dynamic for most of the session. The rider selects three preload options, for a single, or dual rider, and with baggage. Then the rider selects either the Road or Dynamic setting on the D-ESA. Road is more relaxed, Dynamic more aggressive. The suspension is very well composed. It responds to the rider inputs with a high degree of precision. The R 1200 RS is very comfortable at speed, allowing you a ZEN experience on your favorite twisties. Braking is also upgraded to another level. The rear brake is a single 276 mm Brembo 4-piston caliper w/ ABS (partintegral-switchable/can be switched off). The front brakes are dual floating disc brakes, 4-piston fixed caliper on a 320 mm disc. Only light pressure was needed to provide very controlled braking at any speed. The manually adjustable windshield provides good wind protection. I liked it in the up position. The wind blast hit me mid helmet, with no buffeting. I tested the cruise control and it worked as per BMW standards. The heated grips are standard BMW – excellent performers. In 60-degree weather leave it on level 1, and it was toasty. The R 1200 RS electrical system puts out 508 watts which will power additional lights and heated gear. The center stand is easy to use. Saddlebag mounts easily mounted my 58-liter rear bag with camera gear, med kit, and fluids. I saw 41 mpg average on the test run. I had some time at night with the RS, and found the lights to be strong, with good coverage. The 2016 R 1200 RS with a base MSRP of $14,995 (which includes ABS) is a great value. The motorcycle I rode had the Premium Package which includes: Dynamic ESA, Keyless ride, Gear Shift Assist Pro, Ride Modes Pro, GPS Preparation, chrome exhaust, heated grips, Tire Pressure Monitor, cruise control, center stand, luggage grid, and saddle bag mounts for more ROAD TEST on 26 ➲ Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 25 Las Vegas Patriot Tour Ceremony By Nick Zarras Managing Editor The Patriot Tour is a national event which consists of passing one American Flag around the entire country. The Patriot Tour starts in Madison, WI and travels through all 48 contiguous states, traveling over 14,000 miles over 100 days until it returns right back to Madison, WI. The Nation of Patriots is an all-volunteer 501(C)3 nonprofit organization that was formed to bring financial support to wounded veterans with families that are struggling to make ends meet. They seek out wounded veterans that need assistance through the VA system and other credible veteran and military organizations. On July 20, 2015 a 2015 Patriot Tour ceremony was held at Las Vegas City Hall, 495 S. Main St., Las Vegas, Nevada. City Councilman Stavros S. Anthony led approximately 50 motorcyclists west on Clark Avenue under a huge American flag that hung above the street between two Las Vegas Fire & Rescue fire engines. During this ceremony they raised their ceremonial flag at City Hall. Councilman Anthony was joined by Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, and City Councilmen Bob Beers, and Steven D. Ross. In addition, the Las Vegas Fire Department and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department came out to support this great organization. Las Vegas has been the most generous of all cities visited. I donated an EPIC-id, which is a wristband that has four medical screens to provide first responders a USB friendly download of the user’s medical data. In the top photo I was also joined by Larry Kusler (to my immediate right). He is a Regional Commander for The Nation of Patriots and one of the main event coordinators for the several legs of The Patriot Tour from Kingman, AZ through Las Vegas and into Lancaster, CA. The Las Vegas City Council put on a first class ceremony to support our soldiers. You can learn more about the Nation of Patriots by contacting Bill Sherer, Nation of Patriots, Executive Director/Founder at www.nationofpatriots.org. Ride Safe my friend. Clear skies, clear roads… ➲ ROAD TEST from 25 $18,295. The BWM Motorrad Navigator V is $799, touring case is $1,043, top case is $587, and tank bag is $315. The option list has many more choices to make. I would like to thank Gary Kozlowski for this dual RS ride. I would also like to thank Jeremie Elliot for taking the action shots. The BMW R 1200 RS is engineered to excel in the sport/sport touring area, providing very high sport per26 | www.RideMSTA.com formance with easy day-to-day touring livability. My thanks to Steve Avalos, Director of Marketing (e-mail: savalos@ bmwoflasvegas.com) for the use of the 2016 BMW R 1200 RS for this road test. The BMW Motorcycles of Las Vegas contact information is: phone: 702-454-6269, web: www.bmwoflasvegas.com, and address: 6675 S. Tenaya Way, Las Vegas, NV 89113. Stop by and demo a BMW. They also have a full rental facility on site.• Ride Safe my friend…Clear skies, clear roads…. Sweetrides By Mike Baxter, Wisconsin When I read the road test on the new 1991 Honda ST1100 in the July 1990 issue of Cycle Magazine I was smitten. I felt Honda had really nailed the balance of sport and touring with this clean sheet design. I had ridden my uncle’s Honda V65 Sabre and loved the V4 engine. Two of my riding buddies purchased new ‘91 ST’s so I got to check them out first hand. One of them was silver and the other was black. I told my buddy who owned the silver ST that if he ever wanted to sell it to give me a call. To the best of my knowledge, 1991 was the only year Honda produced silver ST’s. He called in December of 1996 and I have owned it ever since. It had 5000 miles on the odometer. The first thing I did to personalize the bike was to purchase a Corbin rumble seat with flip up backrest and matching grey piping. Honda offered a backrest but you could not mount a top box with it. The Corbin catalog showed a top box mounted with the rumble seat but they did not sell it. They told me it was manufactured by Krauser in Germany. I was able to locate an importer for Krauser in New Jersey and had one shipped over. It is 46 liter capacity, had matching grey trim and was easy to install and remove. I was accustomed to riding motorcycles that had a pleasant exhaust note. I found the ST to be too quiet for my 1991 Honda ST1100 tastes as all I could hear was the intake and valve train. I learned about the mufflers offered for the ST by Two Brothers Racing. A rider in my area had just purchased a pair and I learned through my dealer that he wanted to sell them because he thought they were too loud. I picked them up essentially new for half price and they are still on the bike. Shortly after that I added Heli Bars to optimize the riding position and a tinted Clearview windscreen with Sang edging to optimize the view and reduce wind buffeting. Later I replaced the rear shock with a Progressive Suspension unit that lowered the riding position a bit and highway blades for an alternate riding position. A few other additions include two lockable license plate mounted helmet locks, cruise lock, knee pads, sponge grips and an inconspicuous deer whistle under the headlight. I also added a rally pack for additional luggage capacity that also serves as a backrest when touring solo. I primarily use the bike to take two or three road trips every summer and have toured most of the US. It currently has 45,000 miles so I guess I have 200,000 to go. The bike has been bulletproof and does not show its age – Sweet ride. I attended my first STAR this year and experienced sensory overload when observing the variety of machines and aftermarket accessories exhibited. So you begin to think, if I didn’t ride the ST, what would be my next bike? I’ve got a couple in mind, but on the way home I felt the same sentiment I always do – this bike is perfect for me.• Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 27 Product Reviews Clearwater Lights: Sevina HPLED Auxiliary motorcycle lights By Kurt Asplindh, Nevada Stock motorcycle headlights historically provide less than adequate light coverage. Even newer motorcycles with their HID or LED units, although better, still fall short of “amazing.” This is where Clearwater Lights come to the rescue. Clearwater Lights are designed by a motorcycle rider, for motorcycles. These are not “truck lights” that you have to cut, splice and adapt to make fit on a motorcycle; Clearwater Lights are engineered from the ground up FOR motorcycles. In fact, they have mounting brackets for over 600 different bike applications and they are always adding more as new models are released. The Clearwater factory is located in Rancho Cordova, California. This is where the lights are designed, engineered and manufactured; and you can also have them installed there as well. I’m no stranger to the brand as I have had Clearwater Lights on my BMW R1200 GS for about six years now. I have a set of Erica’s and Darla’s on my bike already. When I heard they released a new “extreme” high power LED light (HPLED) I had to go see what all the fuss was about. So a road trip to “Rancho” was planned. Arriving at Clearwater Lights I was greeted by Jolin (the really nice woman on the phone) and Glenn (the owner). Glenn introduced me to the new HPLED called Sevina (all Clearwater Lights have women’s names). She is one impressive lady. With 7 - 10 watt HPLED’s in custom tooled optics and a slightly rubenesque figure that measures 4.7 inches in diameter and 2.9 inches in depth. She’s also very bright, with an incredible 7,500 lumens at full power. Glenn gave me a tour and educated me on how the lights are made. What surprised me is the attention to detail and that they are produced one at a time. Every light is quality checked for fit and finish, light output and thermal feedback control 28 | www.RideMSTA.com (each light sits in a holder and gets its temperature taken every 10 minutes for 30 minutes at full power) and leakage (they sit in a foot and a half of water at full power for 30 minutes). Once the lights have been dried off and inspected again, they get packaged and shipped all over the world to dealers and customers. Now given the fact that I already have the 6,000 lumen Erica lights on my bike, I was curious to know what I was getting with Sevina. The custom designed optics on Sevina throw about 80 percent of the light down the road in an 8-degree pencil beam and the other 20 percent feathers off to about 15 degrees. My existing Erica lights put 75 percent of her light down the road in a 15-degree beam and the remaining light feathers back to around 45 degrees. Total Coverage! I can’t wait for night, but first things first, I need to get the lights installed. I pushed my bike into the install bay and let Glenn and Billie do their magic. They even tidied up the wiring from the Erica install I did. (Thanks guys) Within a couple of hours my GS was ready to roll. I said my goodbyes and hit the road, never being more excited for darkness. I had a few hours to ride before it got dark but I would flick the high beam switch every once in a while when the road was clear of traffic and light up all the reflective road signs as far as I could see. This was going to be good! It was finally dark near Hinkley on highway 58 and up ahead was a side road. BMW stock Headlight Only coverage Sevina and High Beam coverage on the road Blinker on, check my mirrors and one right turn later, I was on a clear road with no cars and no street lamps. Flipping the high beam switch for the first time at night was truly unbelievable. It was as if my bike was the source of all light itself. Now to turn on the Erica’s… Good Lord, I would never be at a loss for perfect illumination at night again. I flipped the high beam switch off and used the lights “volume knob” to adjust the brightness down to a non-blinding 15% then adjusting it up to 55%, then back to 100% with my horn this time. With all Clearwater Lights, you can adjust the brightness from 15% to 55%, then when you flip the high beam switch or honk your horn, the lights go to full power no matter where you have the adjustment set. Note: On BMW motorcycles with the “Wonder Wheel” brightness adjustments are made using it instead of the volume knob supplied by Clearwater for motorcycles not equipped with the BMW wonder wheel. The Clearwater brightness settings from 10% to 100% and the high beam and horn feature work the same using both controllers. The ride back to Las Vegas was uneventful, but riding through Mountain Pass, I was blessed with a vehicle free road in front of me. It was time to let Sevina shine. I flipped on the high beam and realized at 75 miles per hour I was not even close to out running these lights and I never will. Glenn told me that he designed these lights at the request of Iron Butt riders and I can see why they love them so much. When you’re riding as long and far as Iron Butt riders do, safety is the main concern and these lights not only provide conspicuity during the day, but the ability to see far down the road at night, with no eye strain, as the color temperature of the LED’s mimic daylight. My overall impression of the Clearwater Sevina lights are that they have the build quality, light quality and light output adjustments that outshines any other lights on the market. One additional purchase I made from Clearwater Lights was their Andie II flashlight. A beautify machined light with 1000 lumens of darkness eliminating brightness on the high setting and 50 lumens on the low setting, a scalloped front bezel and a positive click on/off button. Andie II toggles between her high/low setting with just an easy press of the on/ off button, has the most useful beam pattern of any other flashlight I have ever owned and is used by law enforcement officers. To learn more about the incredible lights from Clearwater, visit them on the web at https://www.clearwaterlights. com/. To purchase Clearwater Lights, see your local dealer or call them directly at 916-852-7029.• Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 29 Product Reviews Doubletake Mirrors: Enduro Mirror and Adventure Mirror clamps can custom fit the mirrors to a variety of motorcycles. These two models use SAE spec glass for maximum visibility and clarity. The mirror housing structure is made in the USA in Colorado Springs from a super tough nylon that carries a lifetime warrantee on the housing. The glass, if broken, can be replaced for $10. During the test I linked up with Kurt Asplindh who has the Adventure mirrors on his BMW R 1200 GS. I left his Adventure mirror on the left side, and installed the Enduro Mirror on the right side to show the comparison between the two. You will note the different RAM arm sizes. The lonBMW R 1200 GS with Adventure mirror on left, and Enduro Mirror on the right. ger on the Adventure and the shorter one on the Enduro. By Nick Zarras Managing Editor On the road, both mirrors give you great rearward view OEM mirrors are a function of design, with excellent clarity. There is no difference between models style, and marketing. Aftermarket mirrors for utility on the road. Each is a very solid, practically indeare a function of form follows function of structible construction. Kurt said he has tested that theory necessity. Doubletake mirrors started when many times off the road on his GS and the mirror have held the owner dropped his bike and destroyed up to the punishment. The ball design at the base allows you a two master cylinders. How is that relevant? large amount of flexibility in mirror placement. Most factory Doubletake designed their mirrors for mirrors can only be adjusted a little mostly in the horizontal excellent rear visibility, and near indestrucposition. The doubletake mirrors can swivel through many tibility. This provides protection to other angles. components nearby. When not needed they fold away. Two So which one do you chose? If the mirror is extended most designs exist, the Adventure and the Enduro. of the time for on-road use buy the Adventure. It is more staThe Adventure is a rectangular design (MSRP $30 each). ble at highway speeds. If you plan to spend most of the time in It measures 5.25 inches by 3.5 inches, with stock RAM arm rough terrain and have the mirror folded, buy the Enduro, as it measures 7 inches long. The Adventure Kit comes with two it will tuck behind the headlights. Both are a great buy – you mirrors (2 x $30), two 6-inch XL RAM ARM (2 x $20), two can’t go wrong with either one. Ball Stud Base (2 x $10 each) and one Base Extension ($5). For more information check out the Doubletake website at The full package MSRP price is $125. www.doubletakemirror.com. Their mirrors fit Beta, Honda, The Enduro mirror is of a 4 inch circular design and with Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha and stock RAM arm has an over length of 8.5 inches. The Enduro can be adapted to nearly any bike. They can be contacted at Mirror package comes with two Enduro mirrors (2 x $25), Adventure Mirror, LLC PO Box 224, Colorado Springs, CO two Long Ram Arm 3 inch (2 x $13), two Ball Stud Base (2 80901, and phone: 888.501.0599. My thanks to Ned Suesse x$10) and one Base extension ($5) for a package MSRP price from Adventure Mirror for the use of his fine product for of $101.00. this test. Different optional RAM Arms from 2, 3, or 6 inches Ride Safe my friend. Clear skies, clear roads…. long can tailor the mirror extension to your liking. Different 30 | www.RideMSTA.com Skully AR-1 Helmet By Nick Zarras Managing Editor Technology is a wonderful thing. It can provide increased safety by increasing situational awareness. One such technological enhancement to a major part of our “All The Gear All The Time” mantra is the carbon fiber inlay DOT/ECE certified Skully AR-1 helmet. The helmet has an aerodynamic shape with a carbon fiber reinforced shell. The AR-1 technological package links advanced optics with a network of intelligent camera, sensor and microprocessors. A key component of the safety issue is awareness of vehicle threats behind you. The AR-1 has a 180-degree blind spot camera that streams wide angle rear view images to the integrated heads up display (HUD). This allows the rider to view vehicles in what would have been a blind spot without taking their focus off the road in front of them. The system has infinity focus which adjusts to your eye allowing focus on an object in front of you, then to the HUD without refocusing. Another safety aspect is the Photochromic visor. Current helmets either are locked into a clear or tinted visor, or have the option of having a clear, and manually drop down tinted visor. The AR-1 visor detects outside light conditions and transitions from clear to tint to clear to optimize environmental lighting. Riding in heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas can lead to increased stress. The AR-1 has GPS with audio and visual turnby-turn directions. The AR-1 also can stream music via its Bluetooth audio. The GPS, music and communications have voice control links. The system also connects to the internet for downloadable software updates. I was able to test out the AR-1 at a demo at Las Vegas Harley-Davison (519 Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada, http:// www.lasvegasharleydavidson.com/www.lasvegas1). I normally wear a XXL but the XL helmet fit me. It is very form fitting. The Outlast® Technical Liner, which is an offshoot of our NASA program space gloves, helps regulate interior helmet temperature. I found the fit very comfortable. The helmet opening provided a wide field of vision. The helmet feels lighter than many of its competitors. The HUD was in the lower right side of the helmet and easy to provide a glance to gather posted information. Most motorcycle technology in the past dealt with survival of an accident after the fact. The AR-1 provides excellent technology to increase situational awareness to prevent the accident in the first place. My thanks to Bobby Penn, Executive Director of Sales at Skully (www.skully. com) for an excellent briefing and demo. I had a great time talking with him and his technical staff about the AR-1 and its development process, regulatory requirements, production schedules, and future possible upgrades. The helmet comes in two colors, Anthracite-matte (black) or Artic White-Gloss, available sizes are S-XXL. Ride Safe my friend. Clear skies, clear roads…. Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 31 Product Reviews Trail Tech Vapor Digital Gage By Nick Zarras Managing Editor Proper instrumentation must be highly visible and provide key feedback to the operation of your motorcycle. However, many older bikes or rebuilds require expensive instrumentation pods. Some riders complain their instrumentation is incomplete, or the display is hard to see. Trail Tech has come up with a low cost solution. They have a full line with models like the Voyager, Vapor, Striker, Endurance II, and TTO (non-tach gages). They also feature HID, LED and halogen lighting. The model I tested is the VAPOR. The VAPOR has a MSRP of $139.95. Trail Tech is a Washington State based engineering company that produces affordable instrument displays. Their focus was in dirt bike and ATV gauges. Over time, their product became famous for its flexibility and riders of street bikes chose them also. Trail Tech makes displays/installation kits bike specific and they have generic kits. You can use as a stand-alone display or to augment an old display that is less user friendly. The speedometer shows current speed and maximum speed and is selectable to MPH or KMH display. The Tachometer is a bar graph, a numeric RPM readout, and dual programmable shift LEDs up to 20,000 RPMs. The temperature function shows air temperature and engine temperature in Fahrenheit or Centigrade and has dual programmable temperature LEDs. The clock has a 12/24 display, stop watch, ride time, accumulated ride time, and a permanent hour meter. There is an odometer, and adjustable distance display. The unit runs off of AC or 32 | www.RideMSTA.com DC power, and has auto switch to internal power if power is lost. It also has permanent data memory. A full installation kit is included with waterproof connectors. On the display, there is a left and right button and mode button. They are used to select and modify computer settings. The Vapor comes with a one-year warrantee and unlimited free Trail Tech support. Mounting the gauge is bike specific. The attached mount is great for a street machine. User feedback states that if you plan on using your bike in very rough terrain a stronger mount may be desirable. The kit comes with dimensions and vibration damping grommets. Detailed instructions are included. You can use the speedometer pickup off the front or rear brake. Upon installation, you remove one of the stock rotor bolts and install one of the supplied bolts that have a rare earth magnet in its head. If you’re planning heavy off road use zip-ties may provide added security. The RPM sensor has four options for hookup, a capacitive coupling to the spark plug wire; direct connect to coil spade connector, and two options for a coil over plug connections. For the water temperature pickup, you cut the water line and splice in the radiator sensor. A thermistor bolt temp sensor option is also available for radiator applications. For air-cooled engines, a temperature sensor attaches to the underside of the spark plug. This is a great low cost multifunction digital display that equals or surpasses most motorcycle displays. The only thing missing is a gear indicator. For more information contact your nearest Trail Tech authorized dealer or call 360-687-4530. Their website in the US is www.trailtech.net, and in Europe www.trailtech.eu. While there check out their other models.• Ride Safe my friend. Clear skies, clear roads…. Safety strategies IMPORTANT NOTICE: Ultimately, the safety of motorcycle riders and their passengers is their own responsibility. Nothing presented in the column supersedes, negates or relieves a motorcyclist and/or passenger from assumption of personal responsibility for their actions and safety. Winter Crashes Nick Zarras, our fearless Editor, put an interesting question to me the other day. He wants to know if winter weather and its associated factors (cold pavement, slick roads, hypothermia, etc.) play any statistical part in the number of motorcycle crashes. From a personal perspective, I spent about 5 years living in southern Maryland, commuting year round on my bike into Washington, D.C. everyday. The trip was about 50 miles and it usually took me about an hour each way, leaving the house at 5am and returning about 5pm (Flex time saved me from the worst of the traffic!). I rode throughout the winter months regardless of temperature, the only limiting factor being the actual road conditions. Only ice and snow kept me from motorcycle commuting. I lived in Alaska and Montana for a couple of years each, and rode there as well, whenever road conditions permitted. I also had a memorable road trip that saw me waking up one morning in Santa Rosa NM to 30 degree temps and blowing snow, and setting out on the bike following the tire tracks made by the semi-trucks, cutting through the snow and ice on I-40, heading into Albuquerque. I rode through snow, ice, freezing rain, rain, hail and ended up in Kingman AZ that afternoon in sunny, 80+ degree weather, so I have my inclement weather riding badge and can hopefully add some personal insight to this discussion as well. Anyway, Nick’s initial inquiry sent me on a search of my usual and other crash statistics sources for the answer to this one. Here is what I came up with: According to various sources (listed at the end of this article), the actual number of motorcycle crashes in the U.S. decreases during the winter months. This only makes sense, as the majority of northern riders are usually putting their mounts into hibernation in the winter and simply not riding as many miles. I was not able to find any recent statistical data suggesting winter riding conditions are a significant factor in motorcycle crashes. Failing the availability of current data, I returned to the landmark Hurt Report. If you haven’t heard of the Hurt Report, please take the time to research it. In any case, the Report noted that the largest percentage of crashes in the study (38.2%) occurred when ambient temperatures were in the 61-70 Degrees F range. Below this temperature range, the statistical number of crashes decreases dramatically, with 16.1% in the 51-60 Degree range, 4.5% in the 41-50 Degree range, and just 0.7% in 31-40 Degree weather. (Source: Hurt Study, Table 10.4.2.). There were no recorded crashes below 31 Degrees. Interestingly, the Hurt Report also indicated that the large majority of motorcycle crashes occurred during clear weather, 79.4%. (Hurt Study, Table 10.4.1.) Now, does all this mean winter riding conditions are not a factor? Of course not. What it tells us is that statistically, there Doug Westly | Safety Editor are fewer motorcycle crashes during winter months and/or in cold weather conditions (temperatures < 61 Degrees F). I can opine a number of factors for this conclusion and why winter conditions aren’t usually cited as a crash factor. First off, we know there are fewer riders on the road (except probably in Florida, where the state population actually grows by over 1 million people during the winter months, as the snowbirds arrive, many bringing their motorcycles with them…). Next, riders that are on the roads in less than perfect riding conditions are probably very aware of these factors and are probably even more careful than usual in terms of their riding and road conditions. Finally, it may be that weather conditions have played a factor in a crash, but are not being cited as a primary cause of the accident by the investigating or reporting agencies. So what do we draw from all of this, in terms of safety? We all know that driving in cold weather conditions, even if it’s only in a car, requires a different set of control considerations. Does it mean we can’t ride safely in cold weather? Of course not. However, cold weather riding considerations differ dramatically from going out and hopping on your bike on a nice Spring or Summer day. Here are just a couple of thoughts: Rider Preparation: Being prepared to ride in cold weather is both physical and mental. The physical part is not only the right kind of gear (you do have heated gear for low ambient temperature riding, right?), but also simply being in shape to ride. Mentally, you have to not only be ready to ride, but be focused on the riding conditions, and be able to do good onthe-fly analysis of riding conditions, which can change dramatically and without warning in the winter months. Bike Preparation: Sure, your bike won’t perform any differently in low temperatures, will it? Well, maybe it will. First off, tire pressures won’t increase as much, as the tires won’t be as hot during a cold ride. In fact, if it’s cold enough, you may experience lowering tire pressures as you ride. More than once I’ve come off a cold day’s ride and found my tire pressures lower than when I started out. In any case, even if your tires warm up, it takes them longer to do so, particularly if you have had the bike parked outside or otherwise in an unheated area. Traction is key, and it won’t be the same with cold tires. Will your bike otherwise perform differently? Well, cold bike components may not respond the same way. Your fork oil, when cold, doesn’t flow the same way as when the components are hot. If you have valved forks or shocks, this could make a difference in suspension response. How about something as simple as your seat? If your seat is cold and stiff, it may mean you slide on it, instead of staying seated in place. It may sound silly, but keeping your butt planted during an emergency maneuver is kind of important. Riding Conditions: Whoa, where do we start? Cold pavement doesn’t stick like hot pavement. That means the traction environment is completely different. Cold air causes breath condensation on the inside of your face shield, potentially impacting your vision. I’ve ridden in temperatures so cold that more SAFETY on 34 ➲ Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 33 member profile Syd Mayes Hometown/State? I live in Sutherland, Virginia. What was your first motorcycle? My first motorcycle was a 1968 Honda 305cc Scrambler. Current motorcycle(s)? My motorcycle stable includes a 2012 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom, 2008 Yamaha FZ6, 2006 Piaggio BV500 scooter, 2004 Aprilia Scarabeo 500 scooter, and a 1981 Honda GL1100 Gold Wing. What is your all-time favorite motorcycle? My all-time favorite would be a 1983 Suzuki GSX1100E painted in Corvette yellow. I liked this bike because back then I still had testosterone and liked playing with its power curve. How long have you been riding? I’ve been riding motorcycles for 49 years. When did you join the MSTA? I joined the club in March, 2005. How did you hear about the MSTA? I found the club via an online search. I didn’t know anyone in the club at the time I joined. But after I won the STAR raffle bike in 2008, I decided to become more involved and attend more events. Who or what was your biggest influence in motorcycling? My younger brother Mike influenced my decision to embrace motorcycles and touring. What are your favorite places to ride? I like riding the mountains of Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia. Describe a memorable motorcycle adventure? I rode to STAR 2010 in Taos, New Mexico, with member Dave Brickner. I had a new seat made especially for my V-Strom because of the long ride from VA to NM. All too soon I realized that the new seat was making my butt raw. It got so bad that I stopped at a Walmart store, picked out a kitchen chair seat that looked comfortable and strapped it to my bike. The rest of the ride to Taos was much nicer. (I later ended up with a Sargent seat that fits my butt and my needs very well.) ➲ SAFETY from 33 my breath not only condensed, it instantly froze into ice when it hit the inside of my face shield (it was about 15 degrees at the time). At that point the only choice is to crack open the face shield to help clear it. Wind chill isn’t even funny at these temperatures, but a matter of life and death. Finally, the smart rider needs to know when to say “Enough.” You are not proving anything by trying to follow the semi-truck tracks in the wet snow on the Interstate. You are on two wheels, which rely on a set amount of traction to simply stay upright. You need to know when to call it quits. In the end, cold weather riding requires a completely different (additional) set of considerations. We don’t see a lot of 34 | www.RideMSTA.com What is the best motorcycle advice or tip learned through the years? Be bold, put yourself out there to meet more motorcycling friends (create some fellowship). Make yourself available to others who like to ride like you do. Don’t be afraid to ask someone at an MSTA event if you can join their riding group. Ride your own ride, don’t get in over your head. What turns you on about motorcycles or riding? I love the people that I have met through the sport. I love the places that I’ve seen while astride a motorcycle. Riding my motorcycle adds to the enjoyment of seeing new places. What do you get out of your MSTA membership? Friendship . . . and I coordinate the Fall Colors Rally that occurs in late September. I enjoy the appreciation shown by members for my efforts. It feels good to be appreciated for one’s efforts. What are your hobbies and interests outside of motorcycling? I enjoy outdoor grilling and cooking in general. I enjoy boating on the James River with my children and grandchildren. I enjoy traveling with my wife. crashes due to cold weather conditions, but then again statistically we don’t have a lot of bikes on the road when the snow starts falling (a few of us insane riders excepted, whenever we find ourselves in those instances). If you’re going to be a cold weather rider, make sure you prepare yourself and your bike, and know when you reach the limits of safe riding!• Ride Smart and Ride Safe! Sources: Motorcycle Crashes, Insurance Information Institute, December 2015 Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State, Governors Highway Safety Association, 2011 NHTSA Motorcycle Crash Statistics, www.nhtsa.gov/safety Hurt Report, 1981. Quick Look Road Test: 2015 Piaggio BV 350 Maxi-Scooter By Nick Zarras Managing Editor I was surprised when I was offered this machine for a road test, as I did not know they had one in stock. You would not see many of these at a local bike meet unless it was in Europe. In America, we look for the high performance, sport bike, or classic cruiser like styling in our 300cc plus motorcycles. However, in Europe or at an area that is mostly cosmopolitan where traffic is heavy, and distances are short, a maxi-scooter like this can be very user friendly. Your thoughts are more for utility as a commuter than a high performance machine. However, I was curious how a motorcycle with a 350 cc engine in this generation would be. One of my first motorcycles was a 350cc Yamaha R5C. It was a fast two-stroke machine that would give the Kawasaki 900s a run for their money up to 85 mph. Going into the road test I knew not to expect that level of performance, but I was curious how the BV 350 would perform. The Piaggio BV 350 is engineered as a great entry-level maxi-scooter for the rider who wants to twist the throttle and go. No shifting is required. The BV 350 features a four stroke, single cylinder, four-valve, liquid cooled, electronic fuel injected 350 cc engine. At 32.8 hp, they advertise the engine having the power of a 400cc with the dimensions of a 300 cc, and being the most powerful in its class. The BV 350 also comes in at a comfortable $5499 MSRP (excludes destination & vehicle preparation charges). They provide a 2-year unlimited-mileage warranty. One free year of roadside assistance provided by Road America. The Piaggio BV 350 comes in Shiny Black, or like my test bike, Matte Silver. When you first approach the BV 350 you notice the unique European styling, a large seat of 31.3 inch height, and fine fit and finish. The seat is very comfortable and the ergonomics are quite good even for my 220 pound, six foot frame. The seat opens up and fits a helmet and gear in an under the seat compartment. One storage compartment has a 12-volt power outlet. The fuel tank capacity is 3.4 gallons, which at the observed 66 mpg will travel 166 miles to the onegallon reserve. The instrument cluster features large easy to read gages with a data LCD panel below the speedometer. Twist the throttle and the engine engages the Automatic CVT smoothly and provides surprisely quick acceleration. The bike rides on Michelin 110/70 16-inch front and 150/70 14-inch rear tires. The tires grip very well on the highway. In addition, at only 390 pounds, this maxi-scooter is tossable. more QUICK LOOK on 36 ➲ Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 35 On the curving roads of Red Rock National Conservation Area, the BV 350 carved quite well, and the throttle was easy to modulate in the curves. For a commuter this can be a fun bike on twisty roads. It stays planted, and is very stable. It will surprise you. Will you trade in your sport bike for it? Probably not, but if you are looking for a fully automatic commuter for the city, or longer countryside ride out to a picnic area, this may fit the ticket. It is a great entry-level bike for those who don’t need the style or performance of mainstream motorcycles. For 2016, Piaggio features a BV 350 ABS & ASR Traction Control model for an MSRP of $6199. ➲ QUICK LOOK from 35 The front forks have 35 mm tubes, with 90 mm of travel. The rear suspension uses dual preload adjustable hydraulic shocks that provide a very good ride. The front 300 mm disk with three-piston floating brake caliper and 240 mm disc brake with two-piston rear caliper provided strong stopping power with good modulation. On the highway, this is a surprising performer up to its 70 mph plus speed. The larger windscreen provides good protection with no buffeting. Mirrors are large and provide good rearward visibility. I saw 75 mph; they advertise 86 mph, which may be feasible with a lighter rider. 36 | www.RideMSTA.com I would like to thank Freedom Cycle Triumph Las Vegas for the use of the Piaggio BV 350 for this road test. They feature Triumph, MV-Agusta, Vespa, and Piaggio motorcycles for sale. They also rent Triumph motorcycles and Vespa scooters. Contact Craig Knapp for more information on their fine line of motorcycle products at phone: 702430-3500, cellular: 702-901-2044, web: www.freedomcycleslasvegas.com and address: 5031 Wagon Trail Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89118 (South Decatur Blvd and I-215).• Ride Safe my friend. Clear skies, clear roads…. Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 37 38 | www.RideMSTA.com Great Riders. Great Roads. Join Us! | 39 STAReview Vol. 35 No. 1 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED POSTMASTER, SEND TO: MSTA P.O. Box 7697 La Verne, CA 91750 www.traxxion.com COMFORT (770) 592-3823 CONTROL CONFIDENCE Crossing Town or Crossing a Continent… All We Do Is Suspension!
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