I just wanted to say “thank you” for continuing to put out a magazine that still looks like it is being published by motorcyclists, for motorcyclists. I’m not going to mention the one that has changed its format to the point that it looks more like something that I would find in the pocket of the seat in front of me during a flight, or sitting on a table in an overpriced coffee house. Maybe I’m just not hip and my 40-plus years of motorcycling places me in the dinosaur category, but to me bikes are still machines. Sometimes clean, sometimes dirty, some are fast and others slow (I’m big into vintage/antique…like myself), and all are made to be ridden. The people in my riding circles are not all trendy Millennials but riders and wrenchers of a variety of ages, and my bike magazines are well-thumbed (personally, I read them from cover to cover), have a few greasy finger prints on them, and can be found lying around on my work bench or the table in my shop that sits between my wood stove and the TV/refrigerator area. To me, that’s the way it should be.
Rodger Duncan, Faith, North Carolina
Just finished reading “The Pleasure of Enforced Slowness” (Riding Around, February 2018) and had to respond. In the 1990s it became obvious to me that sport bikes of the day were pushing the limits of human abilities in performance. Today I enjoy racing around on my ‘02 Sportster, my ‘07 Bonneville or even my ‘96 BMW R850R, and pushing those bikes to their limits. Playing street Rossi on those bikes is fun and within my capabilities. But when I mount up on my Hypermotard or my R6 it’s a totally different story. I completely understand what Drake is talking about when he feels his VFR scoffing at his riding abilities. But when some cell phone dazed clown in a Lexus pulled out right in front of me the other day, I recognized the real value of the “new bikes.” I laid on the brakes on my R6 and braced for the inevitable impact that was nanoseconds away from happening. When I opened my eyes, the Yamaha was stopped in the middle of the road and the Lexus was driving off. My modern sport bike had come to a complete stop in an impossibly short distance, avoiding an accident that would have been certain on any of my more “classic” bikes. Ever since that moment, I have felt much more comfortable riding the Yamaha than any of my old school mounts.
Rick Averill, Margate, Florida
I registered my first motorcycle 28 years ago, and after reading Geoff’s pleasant take on the pleasure of slowness, I wholeheartedly agree. After a half-dozen speeding tickets (all in my first two years of riding), Massachusetts state troopers have cured my silliness. Now I never listen to the laughter of my machine anymore. I do listen to my wife, who said if get another ticket the bike goes. ‘Nuff said. Thanks for a great mag!
Ken Jones, via email
“The Pleasure of Enforced Slowness” was one of the best articles I’ve ever read. That’s me in a nutshell. I too have an older Triumph (1972 TR6) and am perfectly happy keeping it under 60 mph, knowing from experience what parts might exit the vehicle at any higher rpm! I’ve had squirrel cage air filters unscrew themselves on the highway, mirrors loosening up to the point of uselessness and the worst, a center stand dropping off the frame at 55 mph! A local farmer was none too enthused when I removed the flannel shirt off of his cornfield scarecrow to wrap up the greasy stand and bungee it to the pillion portion of my seat. My throttle subsequently became almost too slippery to use due to the filth on my hands—we were too absentminded to wear gloves in the summertime back then!
P.S. Eric “talking back” to his GPS lady in Riding Around was a gut-buster also…I’m still holding my aching stomach!
Joe Acampora, via email
I just noticed an error in the “Small Bikes Rule!” story (December 2017). When looking at the TW200 specs on page 40, it says that it’s liquid cooled. Also, on page 45 it says the VanVan 200 is liquid cooled! I am not worried about it except that I really trust you guys for technical info on various bikes and when I saw this double glitch I just had to let you know.
Kevin Rollman, Gulf Breeze, Florida
Thanks for being a longtime reader Kevin. We take great pride in the accuracy of Rider magazine, but also greatly appreciate that at least one sharp-eyed reader will have our backs when we slip up. –EIC
“Recalculating” (Riding Well, February 2018) is just another example of why, had Eric Trow been a MLB player, pitchers would have always been intentionally walking him. It’s another home run for motorcycle safety at its best. I had the pleasure of meeting Eric at the AIMExpo in Orlando some years back, while I was in conversation with Kevin Rhea, founder of Olympia MotoSports. The three of us enjoyed a collusion of the minds, and Eric’s grip on “stayin’ safe” was as firm as his hearty handshake. As the lead motorcycle instructor at Road America, I am involved almost daily in mentoring new riders. I have my anecdotal commentary, my pithy advice and my slogans of safety. However, I pale in comparison to the useful information dispensed monthly in Riderby this unassuming asset. My Rider subscription is considered an essential source of product information and riding education. Well done, Eric and team.
Kevin Greenwald, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
While in high school, I bought a used Honda CL77 305cc Scrambler like the one pictured in Retrospective (January 2018). The only obvious difference was that the previous owner had cut off the muffler and installed Snuff-or-Nots. This motorcycle was a big step up from the Honda Sport 50 that I shared with a friend, however it was not nearly as trail worthy as the 1968 Triumph 500 Trophy that eventually replaced it. Unlike the Triumph, the Honda could not take a fall in the dirt without breaking something. Now I ride a 1996 Suzuki DR650 dual-sport, which is too heavy to be considered a serious dirt bike but it is great for the kind of recreational riding I enjoy here in Michigan.
Thomas C. Wells, via email
How many of the readers noticed that in the January bobber comparison (“Non-Sensible Fun”), all three riders were women? I’ve been riding since 1970 and I’ve always welcomed women riders to enjoy this great hobby, and now I finally saw my first article that was done completely by women. Thank you Rider magazine!
“Ojai Roy,” via email
Being a smaller rider (5-feet, 5-inches), I was excited to see the article on the new Yamaha XSR700, thinking it being of smaller displacement and not an adventure bike it would have a reasonable seat height. But 32.9 inches? Seriously? Why don’t the motorcycle manufacturers give some thought to the smaller rider? I don’t think I am the only one out here.
Robert Copeland, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee
I’m a fan of your Retrospective feature, since I’m a sucker for the older bikes. Show me some history as well, and I’m in hog heaven (please don’t sue me, Harley). But in the February issue, I believe an error has been made. The Bultaco Alpina shown is said to be a 1972 model. I don’t think so. I’ve had a couple of Alpinas from the early ‘70s and they contained elements not found on your featured bike. The lovely, if hard to work with, one-piece tank/seat unit is not there, the built-in chain oiler is gone and, horrors, it appears to shift on the left. In a world where “fake news” has become a dog whistle, I prefer to take the high road and assume your fine staff and talented editors have committed a simple typo, for which you are suitably chagrined. By the way, if I had to guess, I would say your bike is a 1976 or 1977 model.
David Diehl, Asheville, North Carolina
Thanks for catching the Alpina error—it is a ’76, not a ’72. –Clem
Greg’s review of the Edelweiss Canada West Tour (“North of the Border,” February 2018) was spot on, especially his declaration that the Icefields Parkway was “at the top of the list” of the tour’s highlights. But I hope he and Carrie didn’t miss Athabasca Falls, an incredible display of the forces of nature as the Athabasca River cascades through an unbelievably small gap. The river has forged a series of small canyons as it cuts its way through the rock, leaving a noisy testimony to the power of water under pressure. The falls are about 30 kilometers east of Jasper, just off Highway 93A.
Russ Locke, Lakehills, Texas
Like EIC Tuttle (One-Track Mind, October 2017), I can also relate to the “life-changing” discoveries that occur as the body ages. One “discovery” almost caused me to give up riding. In 2015, my left pinky and ring finger started curling up during long rides, making it hard to use the clutch. That winter, I tried strengthening exercises thinking that would solve the problem, but when the 2016 riding season began it was still there. So I loosened the handlebar clamp bolts and rotated the handlebar back, hoping the lower position would help. It worked! Lesson: even if you’ve been riding the same bike for decades, what felt comfortable years ago may not be right for you as you age. Just like old motorcycles, our bodies need some tinkering to get things right.
John Elvehjem, Wadena, Minnesota
My father and I love your magazine and journey through life and great adventures on our motorcycles. While going through a rough time in my life a while back, my father wrote and sent this to me in the mail:
Recipe for a Great Ride
- Combine one healthy, recently fed and hydrated rider and one clean motorcycle that has been pre-checked (oil, tires, etc.)
- Add one part helmet and two parts leathers and gloves
- Put on roads—your choice
- Bake for approximately 2 hours in full or part sun, keeping shiny side up
- To tell when done, look for slightly red, smiling face
Laura Godfrey, via email