You mention in Road Tales (“Ten Million Motorcycle Enthusiasts? Wow!,” July 2019) how complicated the motorcycle scene has become. After getting out and riding, I on the other hand am more focused on how healthy our pastime is. Granted, it’s summertime here on the East Coast so more riders are out and about. I recently attended the Americade Rally in Lake George, New York, and was astounded at the turnout, which numbered in the thousands. The manufacturers were out in force with their newest models, each not wanting to be outdone by the competition. Vendors were everywhere. Not to mention the clubs and organizations.
Meanwhile, while attending two open houses at my local dealership I got firsthand experience with the trend towards smaller, lower-displacement bikes as a swarm of Honda Groms lined up for the ride through the countryside. I bore witness to the “Grom Nation.” These kids were just as enthusiastic as I was at their age. Perhaps, as I did, they will outgrow their bikes and trade up, maybe forming their own clubs and doing charitable events. What’s important here is these guys and girls get it. The torch is lit and being carried on!
George Murray, via email
Clem Salvadori’s interesting article about the millions of motorcycles in America makes me think there must be thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of old motorcycles rusting away, collecting dust in garages and barns, never to be ridden again. Their owners don’t know what to do with them. Nobody will buy them, junkyards won’t take them and, for nostalgic reasons, the owners don’t want to destroy them. At the same time, poor people all over the world would be overjoyed at owning one. With a little effort these bikes could become transportation for people with none. It would be great if some philanthropic organization would arrange to collect these bikes and distribute them where they would be used and appreciated.
Don Gately, Valencia, California
Reading Mark Tuttle’s column on “The Joy of New (to You)” (One-Track Mind, July 2019) struck a familiar note. This year I am enjoying the company of my old, carbureted Triumph America every chance I get. But I have plans for her this winter. She will go in storage, where she will be in the good company of two of her older cousins, both old Hinckley Triumphs. Plans are to give the America a brake upgrade, some electrical modifications, a good servicing and whatever else comes to mind. In the meantime I will bring out something to replace the America from my stash. It will be my “new bike” for next summer. Parts are on the shelf to put my 2000 Triumph Legend Deluxe back into service. A new starter motor, an improved headlamp, some bar-end mirrors and a different handlebar are in the plans. An old Triumph Sprint 900 is awaiting its turn in the sun as well. A new throttle cable and clean carburetors are on the punch list for that one. I just keep rotating them around. When you haven’t ridden it in a while, each time it’s like having a new toy, especially if you gave the bike some upgrades in its down time.
Jim De Shon, Hesperia, California
Loved Jenny Smith’s new-to-her ride in One-Track Mind, a Nighthawk 700S that back in the day I nicknamed “Harley Eater.” At one time, I had all three colors: black/red, red, white and blue, and the 1984 black/blue one I bought new and that now has 36k on the odometer. With some richer carb jets, a timing bump and sticky Pirelli rubber it will scare the “yell” out of you in corners. It is a thing of beauty, with metal containers for brake and clutch fluids, not the plastic ones like those found on bikes costing ten times as much. Every wire is tucked in tight and it is usually problem-free, unless I get too ambitious. I’ve been down four times and every time, the bike ended up on top of me. The last one hurt…300 bucks in good riding gear because I lost control wheeling it up the driveway! Hey, I’ll be 83 this time around and can still run and gun with four grandsons – who still expect me to do so when they say, “Come on Papa, let’s go!” Yep, we do.
Burdette “Pete” Payne, Tulsa, Oklahoma
I must applaud the two riders who crossed sixty passes in nine days in Colorado. These two gentlemen did something most riders would only dream of doing. And the hardest part of the journey is dealing with climate conditions that can drastically change from warm and sunny to cold and rainy with no warning. Being prepared for changing weather conditions can make the journey a much easier and more enjoyable ride. I totally agree with Mr. Entrop, that the ultimate motorcycling experience is riding the winding roads of Colorado that merge with some magnificent vistas. Every motorcyclist should experience riding some of Colorado’s tapestry of mountain roads while enjoying our beautiful, majestic mountain views.
Ray Salinas, Arvada, Colorado
Over the years I’ve reduced my monthly motorcycle magazines down to one: Rider. And after reading the July issue cover to cover, it is not difficult to justify it! The first thing that caught my eye was the great piece on the Colorado pass adventure. As a native of Colorado and a resident for the first fifty years of my life, I’ve ridden most if not all of those passes, and a bunch more as well, most of which are gravel or dirt. It was with interest that I noted that the authors either got the map wrong or missed a pass or two. Black Mesa Summit is shown on the map as being on U.S. 50 instead of just across the river on State Route 92. Another pass they apparently missed was Cottonwood between Buena Vista and Gunnison. It may have shown on their list as gravel but was paved all the way a few years ago. Great article anyway, those two issues aside.
Then it was on to Clement’s review of the Aerostich Darien Jacket. I own two of them, the newest being almost fifteen years old and my winter jacket of choice for Texas. I bought it in Hi Viz Yellow after being “run over” while wearing my old blue Darien. It survived pretty well but was getting long in the tooth anyway. They are great jackets; I was introduced to them when I learned we could write off the cost of riding gear as MSF instructors! Speaking of motorcycle instruction, two other articles in this issue caught my eye as well. The first was the very well done explanation of the various levels of protection available in body armor (“Level Up!”). As instructors, we were always touting the importance of good riding gear and what made it good, better and best. The other instruction related article was on countersteering by Eric Trow (Stayin’ Safe). Over the years the cornering mantra went from “Slow, Look, Lean, Roll” to “Slow, Look, Press, Roll” to emphasize how countersteering causes the lean.
There were more good things in the July issue as well but I need to get back to reading it!
Russ Locke, Lakehills, Texas
The July 2019 Riderwas like all your issues: sheer reading pleasure from cover to cover. It took me most of this lazy Sunday morning to get through it and I realized that Rideris the only magazine I read in its entirety. The story “Binging on Colorado’s Best” by Robert Boyd Entrop was exhausting but fun and Larry Pynn’s “Duffey Lake Loop” was an excellent choice for a Canadian ADV ride. I saved both articles for my RBL (Retirement Bucket List) that I will start filling next April Fools’ Day.
Speaking of acronyms, I suggest that the UJM in Clem’s Retrospectiveon the XN85 Turbo instead denote Universal Japanese Motor, since the inline four-cylinder, air-cooled (now liquid-cooled), four-stroke engine design was wedged into many different styles of motorcycles, from standards to sport bikes to cruisers. And I might be a little bit biased but I must end with a friendly admonition to Clem for not mentioning the mighty 1983-1985 Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo, arguably the fastest production motorcycle at the time (10.71-second quarter mile) and widely considered to be the best factory turbo produced by the Japanese manufacturers. Little-known fact is that the GPZ750 Turbo, while manufactured in Japan, was assembled in Kawasaki’s Lincoln, Nebraska, plant for the US/Canadian market to bypass the silly 700cc import tax. A turbocharged tariff-buster in the days of a national 55 mph speed limit and 85-mph speedometers! And Kawasaki is the only manufacturer that offers a blown (supercharged this time) production motorcycle today.
And while I’m on my soapbox, allow me to complain about the size of modern motorcycles. The seat height difference between motorcycles in the 80s and the current crop are pretty dramatic indeed, as the Indian FTR 1200 S featured on your cover is a whopping 2 ½ inches taller than the XN85 Turbo. Did the average American motorcyclist grow that much taller in the last 36 years? Again, kudos to you and your crack staff for a really great magazine written for real riders.
Paul Golde, Mission Viejo/Landers, California
I enjoyed Robert Boyd Entrop’s article on binging on Colorado’s passes. I have done 57 of the 60 he covered, but it took me nearly 40 years while living there. I’ve done a few dirt ones on my 1976 Gold Wing “adventure” bike, so I’ll add Cottonwood, Boreas and Rollins. Rollins Pass (also known as Corona) was an old narrow gauge railroad pass that is 11,676′ at its highest. The pass was closed by a rock slide in Needle’s Eye tunnel in 1979, so you can no longer bag that one.
Larry Cole, Redmond, Oregon
Greetings! Wonderful article on the passes of Colorado. As an avid bagger of passes myself, I direct your attention to The PassBagger himself, Randy Bishop. He runs the PassBagger.org website, which is arguably the largest collection of information on rideable passes, gaps and summits in Colorado. He’d have probably told you there are definitely more than 59 paved passes, and showed you how to find them.
Scott Westfall, Falcon, Colorado
That was a great Letter of the Month in the July 2019 issue. Makes me wary of buying a bike with those new key fobs. I have several bikes with the old style keys and no friends to swap bikes with so I am safe for now. I noticed the writer’s hometown of Vernal, Utah, which reminded me of my own calamity in that town. Years ago my brother, some friends and I were riding into a motel parking lot when my brother, on a Honda 1100 Shadow, hit a high spot at the lot entrance. After leaving the motel we noticed a long line of fresh oil leading back to the street. It turns out the Honda had a cracked case at the oil filter flange. A local welding job was insufficient so we loaded his bike into a 24-foot panel truck, the only rental truck available in town, and that is how he got home.
Greg Barbre, Idleyld Park, Oregon
I must applaud the two riders who crossed sixty passes in nine days in Colorado. These two gentlemen did something most riders would only dream of doing – 3,500 miles and 60 passes on motorcycle in 9 days, that’s incredible. And, the hardest part of the journey is crossing some mountain passes where the climate conditions can drastically change from warm, sunny days to cold, rainy ones. Being prepared for changing weather conditions can make the journey a much easier and more enjoyable ride.
I’m from Colorado and have traveled some of these passes. I totally agree with Mr. Entrop, that the ultimate motorcycling experience is riding the winding roads of Colorado that merge with some magnificent vistas. Every motorcyclist should experience riding some of Colorado’s tapestry of mountain roads while enjoying our beautiful, majestic mountain views. But, you must be prepared for changing weather conditions and “gear-up” for one of your most memorable bike rides.
Colorado is having a much rainier season this year and that is turning our landscapes much greener with more robust colors covering our mountainous countryside. Our wild flowers are blooming everywhere and the true beauty of Colorado is showing itself this year. Motorcycle riders who have not traveled our winding mountain roads should take the time to visit our beautiful and colorful state.
Ray Salinas, Arvada, Colorado
I learned how to ride on my brother Mike’s first bike, a 1969 Yamaha 250 Street Scrambler. It started me on my love affair with riding and “new to me” bikes! My first was Mike’s third bike, a 1971 BSA 650 Lightning. It was a great first bike, and in 1975 I’m quite certain the “cool” factor was over the top! 1975 thru 1979 was college and work during the summers that left little time for riding. In 1981 I was single, living the bachelor life, and the road was calling. I bought a brand new 1981 650 Yamaha Maxim. For the next seven years, that bike was my main mode of transportation, although living in Michigan it’s a little tough in the winter. I got married in 1983 and our first of three children arrived in 1988. For the next 24 years, motorcycling was not a big part of my life. From time to time, I would resurrect the Yamaha and ride, but after a while I outgrew it. My brother continued to ride and I really missed it. A good friend of ours passed away suddenly, and Mike bought his 2004 Road King, a “new to me” bike that he still rides today! We got the kids through college and in 2012 I bought a brand new Triumph Thunderbird. I was riding again! I loved that bike, but in 2016 I was looking at the new Indian lineup and fell in love with the Springfield. I got the OK from “The Boss” to purchase it, but had to figure out how to get rid of the Triumph. My oldest brother Steve, who by now was a retired teacher also wanted to get back into riding. What a great opportunity for the both of us. I made him a great deal and he is still riding his “new to me” Thunderbird and the brothers are all riding together again! As for my 1981 Maxim, I brought it back to original, put historic plates on it, and every time I get on it, it still feels “new to me”!
Dan Hoeksema, Richland, Michigan
I enjoyed Robert Boyd Entrop’s article on binging on Colorado’s passes. I have done 57 of the 60 he covered, but it took me nearly 40 years while living there. I’ve done a few dirt ones on my 1976 Gold Wing “adventure” bike, so I’ll add Cottonwood, Boreas, and Rollins. Rollins Pass (also known as Corona) was an old narrow gauge railroad pass that is 11,676 feet at its highest. The pass was closed by a rockslide in Needle’s Eye tunnel in 1979, so you can no longer bag that one.
Larry Cole, Redmond, Oregon