Your first review of the 2019 Yamaha Niken in the August issue stopped my breath. Anticipating a bona fide dynamic riding option to a trike kit or Can Am Spyder, my hopes were squashed when I saw the bike parked with its kickstand down. Rather than sitting upright with three points of contact, the Niken still requires the ability to handle all 580 pounds like any other two-wheeled machine. As my 87-year-old riding partner Ben Nowell said after his last motorcycle ride, “It’s the legs, boy. It’s the legs that go first.” Guess the Niken doesn’t provide the alternative I expected and my 69-year-old legs will have to keep pumpin’.
Chuck Iossi, Victor, Idaho
I read with great interest your first ride impression of the sui generis Yamaha Niken (“Seeing Double,” August 2018). Upon my first curious viewing of this unusual vehicle in the February issue, I knew I had to have one. To prove that I wasn’t just talking through my hat, I made a down payment and told my local dealer I wanted to be their first customer to ride one out the door. You make some very interesting points in your review: “I could push it harder into corners than anything I’ve ridden…low-effort, neutral steering that is smooth and agile…so solid, secure and planted even when you’re fully heeled over it almost feels as if you could take your hands off the bars…and finally, one of the most unusual and exciting machines Yamaha has ever built.”
Wow, I can’t wait for it to get here.
Dave Wilson McLean, Virginia
The July 2018 issue shared an article from our Canadian brothers (“Sagebrush and Apple Blossoms”), detailing their crossing at the Nighthawk (U.S.) border checkpoint and the level of scrutiny they incurred there (it’s like a military bunker with radioactive materials sensors, bomb sniffers, etc.).
While riding to their side of the border a couple of years ago, experiencing the inverse of their story, the Canada (Chopaka) crossing was little more than what looked like an old 1930s gas station (minus pumps) and a single guard. This checkpoint is only open during daylight hours and just a few miles west of the Osoyoos crossing (more popular yet very busy most of the time). My answer was “the Yukon,” when the Canadian border patrolman inquired about my destination. He looked at my passport and noticed that it had expired, although he said he had no doubts that I was an American citizen, and he was going to allow me to proceed without restriction. It compelled me to ask, however, “But what about getting back into the States?” With typical Canadian manners, he simply smiled and said, “Good luck!” The rest of the story is probably too long to post here, but I can assure you it was an adventure and always recounted with a smile.
Jim Morrison, Yakima, Washington
I have a tip that may have been covered before, but thought I’d share. I’ve had a lot of old British bikes with a wet sump, meaning the oil seeps down from the oil tank into the crankcase after they sit for a while, which makes them hard to kickstart. To remedy that, pull in the compression release and then kick the bike over 20 or 30 times to make sure all that oil is up in the oil tank. Then it should start easily. On bikes without a compression release you’ll have to pull all the plugs instead, which is still easier than draining out the oil and putting it back in the tank. I think a lot of people think British bikes are hard to start mainly because of this problem, but if you follow this procedure they usually start pretty easily.
Andy Ader, Waupaca, Wisconsin
I am a new subscriber to Rider magazine. Upon receiving my July 2018 issue, I eagerly read through the articles and digested the two-wheeled goodness. I am a happy man. I’m relieved that Rideris not another “men’s culture” magazine. Many of your competitors have switched to a lifestyle magazine that is full of fluff. Save me the premium cotton paper and the write-ups on how the mountain air of Wyoming aligns your chakras and connects you to the earth with a greater purpose. You know what connects me to the earth? A fresh set of Diablo Rosso Corsas.
Thanks for the stats and the review-based writing. Keep up the good work and journalism.
Mark Delaney, Raleigh, North Carolina
Okay, it’s official. I have become the old man I used to make fun of. I am 68 years old, with four motorcycles and a big scooter and I hate change. For the last four decades I have subscribed to the “Big Three” motorcycle magazines. No more.
First, one of them came out with an upscale coffee table layout. Great, I thought, better than the weird, frantic layout they tried before. There were great photos, but nothing else that interested me in that issue. Okay, teething pains. But the next issues were no better. Then the Big Daddy of the three rags came out with…a coffee table magazine. Again, no longer a monthly magazine. After receiving two issues I can say, again, it has great photos but the substance was not to my taste. So I am letting my subscriptions to those magazines lapse.
Rider, please do not change. You are my last hope of getting a motorcycling magazine monthly in my mailbox, full of articles, reviews and columnists that I enjoy.
Al Chircop, Sonoma, California
I have been enormously happy with your magazine. The rides I would like to go on, the rides I will never go on, the clothing and accessories I might be able to buy. When Rider arrives it is the highlight of my week. I talked you up to my wife, telling her the only time you see a woman (other than Progressive’s Flo), she’s directly involved in riding. So the wife picks up your June issue and somehow immediately opens to page 11 and then page 75. So now she thinks the only reason I read Rider is for the attractive women displayed in the ads. I think the ads are tastefully done but now she is on alert when each issue arrives. Don’t worry, no matter what she says, I’ll never cancel my subscription. Keep up the good work.
Lee Gibbons, Redmond, Washington
I have been a faithful reader of “Cycle World” for more than 40 years, and a subscriber for many of those years. I had been growing somewhat disenchanted with it the last few years, but Kevin Cameron kept me as a subscriber. However, the recent overhaul of their magazine was end for me as a reader. I looked at the offerings available and Rider seems to be what I am looking for in a magazine.
Jeff Boyd, via email
I’ve been a subscriber to multiple motorcycle magazines the past few years, sometimes six to seven subscriptions at a time ranging from brand-specific, antique/classics, repair, traveling and culture. As of today, there is only one magazine that is delivered to my house: Rider.
Why? One reason is that it provides all of the above: content on a wide variety of topics occurring in the motorcycle world. Besides the quality of the writing and variety, the primary reason is Rider is one of the few magazines (motorcycle or otherwise) that gives what I believe is an honest evaluation of the product, gear and experience. In the area of testing/evaluating products, most magazines refuse to say anything negative about the products they are testing/evaluating for fear of angering their advertisers/sponsors. I have yet to see this in Rider. If the product has shortcomings, your people will point them out.
So I wanted to say “thank you” for keeping us, your subscribers, first and foremost.
Bryan Reicks, Newton, Iowa
We now benefit from a myriad of electronic and mechanical aids, including traction control, ABS, wheelie control, and more—features that were unheard of years ago. So, I have to know: why do we still have motorcycle horns that are as loud and as intimidating as a bell that would be found on a child’s tricycle?
FJ Arena, Seattle, Washington
While I appreciate columnist extraordinaire Clement Salvadori’s reference to the Mark Twain/Charles D. Warner comment on the weather (Road Tales, August 2018), the quote I remember most comes from Alfred Wainwright, who opined, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” Hence the reason every time I’m tempted to take the rain gear out of the side case for an afternoon ride, I leave it and find space elsewhere on the bike if I want to bring something extra.
David Allen, Gardnerville, Nevada
The August 2018 Retrospective was great. It’s always nice to look back and see where we all started. The first batch of Yamaha DTs had what was called the “Yama whoop.” They had a tendency to flip over if ridden on whoops. Something to do with the frame and steering head. The issue was quickly addressed. I own a ‘74 DT-2 250cc…what an awesome motorcycle.
Gary Renna, via email
I’ve been reading Rider for many years and now it is the only complete motorcycle magazine left in my opinion. “Cycle World” has turned into a periodical and “Motorcyclist” reminds me of the “Sky Mall” magazine you find stuffed in the pocket of the seat in front of you on an airplane.
Mike Campagna, Tonawanda, New York
On Memorial Day Weekend 2003, my wife and I, newly empty nesters, rejoined the motorcycling community with the purchase of a used 2001 Gold Wing. Shortly thereafter Cheryl subscribed me to Rider magazine. I have read every column—some more than once—all of the tests and most of the stories ever since. Eric Trow’s column, “You Never Ride Alone,” (Riding Well, August 2018) has prompted me to write. There have been a few incidents—the tire tread in the road, unseen in the dark and missed by inches only because I changed lanes; a delay just before a driver runs a stop sign in front of us; the startled deer that jumps into the woods rather than the road—that prompt me to remember Job 5:9. “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” So for many years now, I’ve said we never ride alone. Thank you, Rider, for the great advice, tests and stories. Stay the course, and God bless.
Gary Tembreull, Maplewood, Minnesota
Just wanted to thank you for the article, “You Never Ride Alone,” by Eric Trow. An excellent piece that has reset my riding philosophy! Thank you, Mr. Trow, for causing me to reflect. My road safety affects my family and friends no matter if they are riding with me or not. I’ll never ride alone!
Bob Bethel, Radiant, Virginia
I want to respond to Eric’s Road Tales article in the August issue. We all experience the frustration with the slow driver in front of us and respond well some days and with less patience other days. What most of us don’t do, however, is take full responsibility for our actions like Eric has, especially when we can blame the convenient “faults” of the other driver. I want to commend Eric, both for taking responsibility and also for telling us this story. I often ride differently when I’m on my own (if I’m honest with myself) and Eric’s article is a very real reminder that we have a responsibility to our loved ones whether they are on the bike with us or not.
Tim De Souza Jensen, via email
I read Clement’s riding stories with great interest. Some I have traveled myself, others I hope to. In the August 2018 issue he visits Esmeralda County in Nevada and, as usual, offers a great write-up. However, one line in his article is incorrect. Tonapah is not the largest town between Reno and Las Vegas. That would be Pahrump, population roughly 36,000 citizens. It is on Nevada State Route 160, a scant 55 miles west of Las Vegas. I’m sure Clement has been through here on his way to or from Death Valley and may have forgotten about Pahrump. We’re proud of our town and its access to Death Valley and the many features of our own state.
Love the articles, Clem. Don’t stop writing. Hope to see you on the road some day…maybe even in Pahrump!
Bob Young, Pahrump, Nevada
I’m a big fan of Favorite Ride. Whenever I’m headed somewhere unfamiliar, I skim through back issues to make sure I don’t miss a hidden gem. To my delight, the July 2018 installment, “Ranging Around Reno,” offered a puzzle in addition to a fun ride. The description of Carson City, Nevada, as “the country’s smallest state capital” had me scratching my head. Having been through tiny Montpelier, Vermont (blink and you’ll miss it), I knew Nevada’s couldn’t have the smallest population, but I checked to be sure. Sure enough, according to Wikipedia, Carson City has more people than 13 other state capitals. So I figured it must be something about the town’s square mileage, right? Nope. Carson City is the ninth largest capital by area. So maybe it’s the state house itself? Despite Googling my hardest, I couldn’t find any list of capitals by size, so I’m officially stumped. Thanks for great read and a fun puzzle!
Justin P. Chapman, Rochester, Minnesota
Once again, Rider proves to have an uncanny connection to my motorcycling escapades. I just finished my first tour, a 2,400-mile journey through Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. The morning of my return, I read the August issue. Just like that month’s Favorite Ride, my trip took me on U.S. Route 50, Colorado Route 9, and the Million Dollar Highway. I also rode over Independence Pass, the highest paved road in North America. I crossed the Divide a total of six times on my trip, and every road left in me laughing in my helmet from the sheer beauty of the ride. Then my route home led me through Needles, California, which Clem mentioned in Road Tales. Too wild! Like I said, we’re connected.
Philip Rebentisch, Redondo Beach, CA
Thanks again to Rider for giving my wife and I the inspiration for a great riding vacation. A bit more than five years ago, you ran a story about Adriatic Moto Tours and the Adriatic Riviera Tour. We did that in May of 2013, and it was the trip of a lifetime. In the March 2018 issue you had Tim Kessel’s story about riding in southwestern Colorado. We decided to do a version of that and just returned. We trailered our Bandit 1200 to Gunnison, then did the loop counterclockwise from there—Montrose, Durango, Chama, a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad, Pagosa Springs, then back to Gunnison. We did it over the space of five days to give us lots of time for sightseeing. Except for the fire smoke in some areas and about a half hour of showers while riding the train, we had perfect weather and wonderful riding. All thanks to your publication.
Brad and Jackie Babcock, via email
Now just hold on there, Eric Tow (Stayin’ Safe, August 2018). Is it a “brottle” or a “thrake”? I suppose it depends on whether you are brakecelerating or you are accelerbraking. Just kidding. Great article.
Malcolm R, via email
In my advancing years, the desire to ride remains but the capability declines a bit. The fascination with all things connected to motorcycles also remains. In the past, five magazines always were anxiously awaited. Now, since my ability to tour is gone, so is a beautiful touring magazine. Recently one magazine switched to a ridiculous large size/small print format with content that is uninteresting and with limited publication, so that one got canceled. Another has also switched to occasional publication with content that also has become less and less interesting for this old fart. That one will soon run out and will not be renewed. Only Rider and AMA will remain to fill my mailbox. Rider is and has always been the best read. Your writers are always interesting, the tests varied and informative, and content just seems to get better. Please, please don’t change your format and content. If you do, I will have little to look forward to when it comes to MC reading. It would be nice if Mr. Salvadori would do a few Retrospectives on Moto Guzzi, and you could even review some of the new ones to make me dream a bit. Thanks again for the dream material.
Keith Hoffman, via email
Time has flown by since my first Rider Rally at Cody. Goodbye to the ‘75 and ‘79 Honda Gold Wings in my 70’s. So long to the Honda ST1300 at 80 and no more two-wheelers at 84 as the Burgman 650 heads to a new home.
I thought I could say goodbye to Rider magazine as well, but quite the opposite is true. Each issue brings me tons of joy and trips down memory lane with even more appreciation for the stories than ever before. At 88, catheters, radiation and an oncologist can do that and I have never lusted more for a bike than I do right now for a Himalayan from the last issue!
Charlie Miller, Waukesha, Wisconsin