Friday, November 12, 2010

Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré

The Yamaha Super Tenere XT1200Z is the latest entry in the Adventuring Touring market, and it's a direct challenge to the bike that has defined the category for three decades. The Tenere has everything you'd expect in a road bike, but what happens when the pavement runs out? And they said Adventure Touring bikes couldn't be ridden off-road... Check out Jeremy Lebreton's take on the Tenere, and be sure to visit Altrider for the absolute best in Adventure Touring accessories.

All riding and interview shots were done on a Canon XH-A1. The close up shots of the motorcycle were done with a Canon T2i sporting a 17-55mm f/2.8 lens. On-board shots were done with a Contour HD camera mounted via Cardellini clamps, available at Cameras, editing and production done by David Aldrich for Peckhammer TV.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Short Track: The Digger Helm National

Eddie Mulder and Digger Helm met after competing in a TT race in Ridgecest, CA. The resulting friendship has lasted for more than 50 years. Mulder and Helm were both touring professionals, and they have long and accomplished motorcycle histories.

Mulder was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999, and he still races at a few special events each year. He's also hosts "Eddie Mulder’s West Coast Dirt Track Series" which is now in its 15th year.

Helm remains involved in racing by sponsoring up and coming riders, and he sponsors an annual race in his hometown of Bakersfield, Califonia. Helm and Mulder combine forces each September to put on The Digger Helm National. This Flat Track race has both vintage and modern divisions, and it's held on a short-track at the Kern County fairgrounds.

Mulder has described this Flat Track race as a fist fight in the bull ring. There’s lots of physical contact, and lots of sideways racing. If you've never seen one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing in this country, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Don't expect to see a bunch of gray haired old farts puttering around in the dirt. These racers move. And there is plenty of young blood out there too, from the youth division right up to contemporary National-level racers such as Joe Kopp and Jared Mees.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

AltRider Reviews: BMW 2010 R1200GS

The 2010 R1200GS is BMW's latest version of the GS models, which have literally defined the Adventure Touring category of motorcycles. BMW understands the multiple roles that and Adventure bike must perform, and they continue to refine their proven platform.

The basic layout of the GS remains unchanged; a tall bike with an upright seating position, plenty of ground clearance, wide bars, and lots of places to mount luggage and accessories. The big change for the 2010 GS is the performance-tuned boxer twin, taken right from the HP2 Sport and specifically tuned for adventure duty.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Strategy For Every Ride

Riding a motorcycle requires both physical and mental skills. Physical skills are needed to operate the bike, and to perform evasive maneuvers like swerving and stopping. Mental skills help you interact with other traffic and avoid hazards. Which skills are more important? How much of riding is physical, and how much is mental?

Experts say that riding a motorcycle on the street is 90% mental and 10% physical. The MSF class that many riders take to get their motorcycle endorsements focuses primarly on the physical aspects of riding a motorcycle. So who is going to help you develop the mental skills and strategies that you are going to ride safely on public roadways?

David Wendell, Pacific NorthWest Motorcycle Safety, and Chris Johnson, Washington Motorcycle Safety Training, have developed a new motorcycle training course that gets you out of the parking and onto the street. The On-Street Course is an opportunity for newer riders to get more confidence being on the street, as well as for more experienced riders to enhance their street riding skills. Class size is limited to no more than 4 students at a time, with 2 instructors, in order to ensure as much personal attention as possible for each rider.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quick Rides: 2010 Royal Enfield C5 Bullet

The 2010 Royal Enfield Classic C5 Bullet is a retro bike more accurately described as "vintage evolution." If you had purchased a Bullet ten years ago, you would have found it to be a nearly exact copy of a 1956 bullet; same soft aluminum cases and timing covers, same points-style ignition, same motor, and same manufacturing methods from five decades ago. That's changed over the last few years, after tough emissions standards prompted Royal Enfield to design a completely new unit construction engine, complete with electronic fuel injection and a catalytic converter.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Managing Team Ride West

This month's webisode is about how Dave Preston created one of the coolest jobs that only he seems to be able to fill.

Dave Preston is a retired English teacher who has managed to create his own dream job in the motorcycle industry. He spends his entire day talking about motorcycles, writing about motorcycles, and of course, riding motorcycles. He even has a BMW K1300S currently assigned to him, a bike that costs more than any car he's ever owned.

What does Dave do besides play all day? He manages Team Ride West, which is best described as a series of motorcycle clubs, events and seminars that use the dealership as their hub. Dave takes care of all club business, organizing and leading group rides to ensure that that everyone has a good time. The benefits of this approach are that Dave has built a terrific group of friends that he gets to ride with, and Ride West BMW has a steady stream of motorcyclists coming through their doors.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Engineering For Adventure

AltRider is a Seattle-based startup that is engineering aftermarket accessories for the Adventure Touring motorcycle market. AltRider’s approach is unique in the age of off-shoring. Most of their products are designed and made in Washington State, utilizing talented individuals in the Boeing corridor.

We spoke with Jeremy LeBreton, President of AltRider, about the complexities of designing parts for motorcycles. LeBreton explained how aftermarket parts need to be designed to fit within OEM manufacturing tolerances, and the challenges that arise in engineering parts to fit within those tolerances. LeBreton stresses the importance of understanding production, and he is using his fresh start in this business to utilize high tech approaches that produce high quality results.

Despite the focus on high tech, automated manufacturing, LeBreton has chosen to employ skilled labor for some parts of the production process. AltRider’s crashbars are hand TIG welded to achieve a “stacked nickel look” that stands out for its fit and finish. LeBreton says it’s one thing to make a one-off piece in your garage, but it’s a whole different game when you are producing accessories that will be installed by end users.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hips, Grips, Bars, Risers and Seats

I usually pick the show topics that we do, but my partner in crime decided she wanted to have a go at it. She's part of the growing demographic of female riders, and she spends time on a variety of street bikes and off-road motorcycles. The one thing that seems apparent about the bikes she has ridden, is that they weren't designed with a woman in mind.

Some manufacturers have made attempts at appealing to female riders, but these attempts have typically involved the color pink. Juliette finds this approach insulting. It's not about the color, Stupid!

Juliette's idea is simple: Her shape, her size, and the amount of weight she is willing to toss around is not the same as the average guy. Being able to comfortably reach the controls or place both feet on the ground at a stop light are small favors to ask. Options like these are not always available from the manufacturers themselves. Thus, you have to know what adaptations can improve control and inspire confidence -- and you have to know where to find them.

To find out what modifications can be done to make a bike “fit” better, we headed over to Moto International, in Seattle, to speak with friend and fellow rider Dave Richardson. Dave demonstrates a variety of changes that can be made to make a motorcycle comfortable for women and others who may be smaller in stature.