The comparison of the “Titans of Touring” (April 2018) was in my opinion very fair and complete. I was surprised you did not pick the Harley as most magazines always favor H-Ds when talking V-twins. Of course I should not have been surprised because you guys always have upstanding and fair evaluations. I did, however, find an incorrect statement on page 36. It is stated in the first two sentences that your last comparison test with the Star Venture was back in 2009. Then it is stated that the model was dropped from the Star Motorcycles lineup the following year. I own a 2012 Royal Star Venture S (bought new in March 2015). There were also 2013 Royal Star Venture S motorcycles. As far as I know Yamaha still listed them under the Star banner. Granted, they did not change those last few years.
Jerry Stevens, Flower Mound, Texas
You’re right, Jerry—the Royal Star Venture/S was in Yamaha’s lineup through the 2013 model year. It was dropped for 2014-2017, then the new Star Venture was introduced for 2018. –GD
My wife and I have spent 30 years touring the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho by motorcycle from our home base in Western Colorado. Mr. Gingerelli’s depiction of the Nebo Loop in the Uinta Mountains (Favorite Ride, April 2018) expresses the awe and wonder that many visitors feel when they first experience the high Western Rockies. It is truly an amazing place to spend time on a motorcycle.
In part he stated that “the oak trees give way to pine and other evergreens until eventually you reach the white birch that shares the landscape with small meadows….” In fact, those white-barked trees are groves of aspens. A clonal aspen grove is one of the largest living organisms on the planet, being comprised of a single root system bearing many trees that can cover more than a hundred acres of land. Having relocated to North Dakota, my wife and I long to return to the mountains where every ride is a ride to remember. Kudos to Gingerelli for a well-written article.
Tom and Lea Clement, Hazen, North Dakota
Enjoyed reading Mr. Tuttle’s column about the ones that got away (One-Track Mind, April 2018). I, too, came to the conclusion that I had to thin down the herd a bit. My problem was I couldn’t bring myself to sell this one particular bike. What it boiled down to was, I didn’t feel that it would be looked after and cared for as well as I had done. My solution was to send an email with some pictures and a video clip of the bike running to the Barber Motorcycle Museum to see if they would be interested in a donation. They were and I delivered it to them. I am very happy to say that it is now on display in the new addition. It is rather funny that the security guard reminds me not to touch it when I am there.
Tim Cunnien, Summit Point, West Virginia
I really enjoyed the article “A Ride on the Wild Side” in the April issue; it made me wish Pennsylvania was closer. My eyes are playing tricks on me as I get older but it looks like I see a BMW roundel on the Honda ST1300 in the opening page photo…. I mean, come on, I’m not embarrassed to ride the ST—in fact it’s my ride. Why not put a Honda sticker on the BMW and confuse all of us? Otherwise, maybe this is an April Fools’ joke, and in that case I win! Wait…what did I win? I’ll be watching the mailbox patiently. Keep up the great rides.
Mark Patillo, Walnut Creek, California
Mark: your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, it’s a roundel, but if you could see it up-close you’d notice it says “HMW.” As I recall, years ago they were made by an ST1300 rider as a tongue-in-cheek response to the many people who misidentified his Honda as a BMW. I had an ST1300 for 12 years and people routinely remarked, “nice BMW,” despite “Honda” clearly appearing on the nose, the tail, the tank, the panniers…. –SW
Mark Tuttle, man…you hit it right on: “The Misfit Carburetor” (One-Track Mind, March 2018). I ride a 2007 Harley Road King that I purchased used just over a year ago, and it acts just as you described: “herky-jerky” throttle response. It is especially noticeable when slowing to a stop or, as you also described, when cornering. Is there any cure? After reading your article, I don’t think there is. And I’ve inquired locally…no luck. It really messes with my sanity. Oh the days of my S&S carburetor. Smooth sailin’!
JP Brady, Marietta, Georgia
Eric Trow’s column, “The Player Motorcycle” (Riding Well, March 2018), reminded me of a similar article I read in an aviation magazine. Its author noted that airplane mishaps had decreased with the advent of electronic aids for autopilot and navigation systems. However, after some time, mishaps unexpectedly increased. The author’s observation was that these electronic aids initially benefited the pilot. But after succeeding generations of new pilots took over, mishaps increased because, the author concluded, the new generation of pilots didn’t know how to fly in emergency situations. Pilot training and practice now emphasized systems management over basic flying skills. As long as systems functioned properly and flight situations remained within parameters, everything was OK. But when a situation required a pilot whose skills had been honed by practice and experience, there was a problem. I want to be in charge of, and responsible for, the operation of my motorcycle, not the “phantom hands on the brake and throttle.” Mr. Trow is correct—develop the skills to competently handle your motorcycle.
Wayne A. Corbin, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
An additional tip for your April “Transporting a Motorcycle” article: when unloading the bike, put it in gear and use the clutch as a secondary “brake” to control your speed as you back down the ramp. Often it is easier to reach the clutch lever than the front brake and the rear tire is less likely to slide than the unloaded front tire.
Hugh Kenny, via email
I would like to point out an error in the March 2018 One-Track Mind. Harley-Davidson was not the first to “jump in” on fuel injection. You should recall that BMW first offered its K bikes with Bosch fuel injection in late 1984 in Europe and in 1985 in the USA. You might also remember that Moto Guzzi incorporated Weber-Marelli injection on its motorcycles in the early 1990s and that Honda’s first production vehicle with fuel injection (car or bike) was the CX500TC (turbo) in 1982. Had you written that H-D was the first American manufacturer to “jump in” you would have been correct.
Paul Wojciechowski, Erie, Pennsylvania
My apologies to BMW and our readers for that gaffe. I think I covered the Japanese and Moto Guzzi adequately by saying that several manufacturers had been experimenting with fuel injection since 1980. But I have no excuse for simply forgetting about BMW being first with fuel injection on all of its production bikes, as it has been with many technological firsts. If memory serves, in my reference to Harley-Davidson being first I was thinking “in response to the new emission regulations of 1998,” forgetting that BMW was already there.
I guess I’m fortunate that after 33 years I can still count the number of serious mistakes I’ve made in Rideron two hands. Every time I make one though it still feels like I accidentally cut off a finger. –EIC
From a 60-years-plus lifetime motorcyclist and long term Rider reader, congratulations on your many years of success. However, I wish to voice concerns about the future of our passionate sport. As you know, we are experiencing age and gender demographic shifts, with economic realities thrown in for good measure. I’m glad to see Rider addressing these important issues with recent changes in content. Features that disproportionately focus on bigger, heavier and more expensive motorcycles don’t help us grow—as exciting and unattainable as they may be. No doubt “Titans of Touring” greatly interests manufacturers and advertisers, but it doesn’t help us grow motorcycling with younger, diverse and less wealthy riders. As technology, marketing and prices all increase, it makes our sport more exclusive (aside from older used models, and the used market is booming right now). The writing is on the wall, so to speak. Therefore, many thanks for re-thinking recent Rider issues, which feature smaller, less expensive, yet very desirable motorcycle models. Please keep focusing on those who will be our next generation of riders.
Keith Tait, North Creek, New York