When I read Mark Tuttle’s One Track Mind article last month entitled “Open Their Eyes,” I could not help but remember my friends suggesting that I should begin riding at the age of 50 during the midst of a terrible divorce. I had never ridden any motorcycle other than small dirt bikes on a handful of occasions. In addition to Mark’s suggestion about talking to the neighbor or friend that may have a casual interest, I’d like to also suggest mentioning the benefits of motorcycling to anyone going through a life changing event, such as a divorce. Riding allowed me to partially escape the pain of not seeing my children and to fill my lonely days with adventure, and opened my world to new friends. If you cannot attend the motorcycle shows referenced in Mark’s article, you could gently “push” the idea by offering to take a beginner motorcycle course with your friend. Seven years after my first ride, I am now on my fifth motorcycle and I ride more than ten thousand miles a year. Where would I be but for my friends’ gentle but forceful persuasion? I could not imagine my life today without riding.
Fran Murrman, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Rider safety is the primary reason I am a religious reader of Rider. Decades ago, I took the most significant step in rider safety when I admitted to myself that riding is a dangerous sport, so I should do all I could to reduce that risk. Now, after four MSF courses and attention to safety and technique on every ride, I continue to work towards that goal. Tuttle’s article “The Next 50 years” cautioned those of us who have been riding for 50 years or better to consider carefully the steed we choose and company we keep, and was a significant contributor to my recent switch from a 2007 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom to a 2016 Gold Wing. The other factor was my wife’s desire for a more comfortable ride. While I miss the amazing power-to-weight ratio and go-anywhere versatility of the V-Strom, I am enjoying the velvety smooth shifting, acceleration and low speed maneuverability of the Gold Wing. I read Eric Trow’s Riding Well article every month. His October 2019 article, “Accidents Happen — Or Do They,” masterfully described how to reduce the risk of accidents. Also have to give a shout out to Jenny Smith for her insightful “Sticking Together” article in the same issue. I will keep and reread that one before each group ride.
Richard Thomas, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I just finished reading the November issue, and it may be my favorite one yet. While I’ve never owned a Harley or Indian, I love reading about them and was pleased to see their new lineups. Then came the article on my home state of Iowa, and riding its roads in the northeast, something I had long wanted to see in your magazine. The Gold Wing article was also of interest, as I love that bike, and the article on the ride to Deadwood. And to top it off was the Retrospective on Honda’s rocket of a cruiser in the ‘80s, the V65 Magna. I had the extreme pleasure of owning a (“mere”) V45, and that may have been my favorite bike ever. It was so coolly styled, blazing fast and, of course, had Honda’s dependability. Twist the throttle and you were gone instantly. I loved that bike. With this issue, you were truly hitting on all cylinders!
Craig Rupert, Richmond, Virginia
Just reading Retrospective (November 2019), where you said the V65 had an under-seat fuel tank and the one up top was fake. In fact, the normal fuel tank was real and there was another sub-tank. No “fake fuel tank.”
Kurt Grife, via email
My bad! I must have been thinking of my ST1100 when I wrote about the “fake gas tank” and “4.5 gallons sat under the saddle.” The V65 Magna had two gas tanks, a real one up top, and a smaller tank under the saddle with a fuel pump. Can’t find the capacities, but think the top tank was about three gallons, bottom, 1.5. –CS
Thank you Rider for not changing your format to big pictures on fancy paper with little to read! Thank you Rider advertisers for continuing to buy ads in the printed magazine! This magazine is where I find out about your products via the ads and reviews. It is also where I am most likely to find your web address or to know your name to use in a web search.
David Lay, Cumberland Center, Maine
I recently read fellow subscriber Alan Paulsen’s touring article, “Stage Route to Deadwood” (November 2019). While very informative for the most part, there was one notable segment of the piece that made me cringe. My own ancestry does not include any indigenous Americans, but if it did, I would have taken particular offense to the author’s terminology in referring to the military clash between the forces lead by Red Cloud against the U.S. Army. As depicted in the article, the Army did suffer a disastrous defeat, by an armed opponent of overwhelming number and force. However, to use the terminology “slaughter” and “massacre” in describing this battle is quite distasteful and inaccurate. Such terms are far more accurately used to describe events such as the wholesale killing of non-combative indigenous Americans at an event which has come to be known as the Marias Massacre in the (then) Montana Territory on January 23, 1870, or at Wounded Knee, which took place on December 29, 1890. In both instances, the U.S. Army wantonly gunned down hundreds of defenseless old men, women and children.
For fellow Rider subscribers interested in an insightful summary of the battle referenced in your story, I highly recommend reading an article by Shannon Smith at WyoHistory.org, titled “New Perspectives on the Fetterman Fight.” I studied American History as an undergraduate and have enjoyed a lifetime of reading and learning about our country’s fascinating and often complex Westward expansion. I know our society is often accused of being overly sensitive, but in this case I feel more care could have been utilized.
Rich Stern, via email
After rereading “Best Budget Brake Mods” in the November issue, I noticed an important step for any brake job not being mentioned: using an aerosol brake cleaner on the rotors and new brake pads. Either sprayed or rubbed on with paper towels, it will remove, or at least loosen, any brake pad residue or road grime from the rotors that the sandpaper may have missed, and will also remove any manufacturing residue from the new brake pads.
Bill Dennehy, Hanover, Massachusetts
My November issue arrived a day ago and I picked it up this morning. Right at the start I see Tuttle’s One-Track Mind reminding me of the motorcycle show I used to enjoy. After attending for many years at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show dropped the visit to northern California a few years ago. Something like 7 million people live in this area and the people who put on this show cannot be bothered. When I see their ad in your magazine now I check the other side and rip it out. If they can get to smaller markets like Cleveland and Minneapolis, they can get to my more populous area too.
Tom Miller, via email
As I was reading Clem’s Retrospective about the Honda V65 Magna in the November issue I noted an incorrect statement. He notes that the redline is 10,000 rpm and then comments that, “A lot could go wrong with 16 valves popping up and down 10,000 times per minute.” In all four-stroke engines with both intake and exhaust valves, each valve cycles at one-half of the engine speed, so in the Magna at 10,000 rpm, each valve is cycling at only 5,000 times per minute. There is still a lot happening. Each piston is cycling up and down 167 times and each valve is opening and closing at 84 times per second. Now we know why oil is so important to keep an engine healthy.
Kern Fischer, via email
I was surprised to see Eric Trow write in his November Riding Well column, “I routinely employ observation, logic and intuition on every ride….” Why surprised? Because several years ago, Eric used the same terms in a different sequence — “observation, intuition and logic” — and collapsed those words into the memorable and moto-appropriate acronym OIL. Ever since then, I’ve recalled Eric’s clever OIL mnemonic on many rides. No need to change the OIL, Eric! Thanks for your consistently excellent and valuable columns.
Mark Hammond, Mohawk, New York
Until Honda launched the all-new 2018 version, I wasn’t interested in the Gold Wing as it was too large, but this new model is great. The double-wishbone front suspension is amazing and soaks up bumps like an accordion. It’s much easier to maneuver at low speeds compared to most big bikes or my ST1300. I encourage all riders to not think of the DCT automatic like a car. It’s smooth, quick and exciting to use. It’s also intuitive and can be tweaked to some extent to fit your riding style and shift accordingly. When riding, I’m not thinking about shifting, I’m paying attention and enjoying the ride. If you want to add additional excitement, start playing with the paddle shifters, hang on and listen to the sweet sound of the exhaust. Regarding gas mileage, I consistently average in the high 40s. I feel Honda not only hit a bull’s eye, they reset the benchmark for all models to follow.
Pete Rancourt, via email
Having lived in the Black Hills for 25 years, I read Alan Paulsen’s article with great interest. In many situations those writing about the Hills scarcely touch on the heritage there. I hope Alan’s article brings more riders during the “off time” (not the Sturgis rally) to enjoy some of the best riding in the U.S. My wife and I have traveled the United States and Canada since we started riding together in 1980, and have doubled our riding efforts since retirement in 2007. I always look forward to the riding articles in your mag; many we have already gone on but consider doing again. The wisdom of Eric Trow is always shared and discussed with fellow riders and Mr. Salvadori’s wit and wisdom often brings some stimulating conversation around the dinner table. I can’t say enough good things about your mag.
On a side note, Alan and I spent many a day taking apart and reassembling many motorcycle engines and agonizing over electrical trouble shooting some 40-plus years ago. It is always good to hear that others in our class are still out there riding and enjoying this great continent. I can’t help but comment that most long distance riders seem to lean toward the philosophical. My guess is that many of us ride without the benefit of music, radio or other forms of communication, just the sound of our motors, the wind in our ears and incredible scenery. Give Alan my very best, and see you all on the road.
Bruce Stinson, Prescott, Arizona
I enjoy your magazine above all other motorcycle magazines. It really is for people who enjoy, ride, respect and revere motorcycles. All that is evident in each issue. The two-page ad just inside the November issue’s front cover for a certain petroleum product shows a picture of a gentleman who I’m not sure is dressed in a manner that coveys much of that. That company may know more than most of us about engine protection, but it seems to know practically nothing about rider protection.
Belson Jones, Abbeville, South Carolina
Thanks for the kind words, Belson. Regarding the Chevron advertisement, you may have noticed that the company changed the image in the ad for the next (December) issue. Though we gave it our best shot, it was simply too late to change or remove it for the November issue by the time the editorial staff saw it. Kudos to all of you who wrote to express your concern, and to Chevron for being so receptive to our suggestions for the following issue. –EIC