Rider Magazine, February 2020

I wish to comment on Rick Stern’s “Complex History” letter in the January Response. I so much agree with him. I wanted to write such a well-composed letter but did not think it would be printed. I am one-quarter Blackfeet, one-quarter Ottawa, otherwise known as a “half-breed,” which I am proud of. I have been riding for 65 years and reading your fine magazine since the early years. You do a great job.
Dan “Redskin” Howe, Apache Junction, Arizona

Hi Jenny, I read your excellent story, “100 Percent,” in the February issue. You mentioned the Hi Jolly monument in Quartzsite, Arizona. I stopped there so many years ago that I forgot where it was. Thank you for reminding me. You might be interested to know that the New Christy Minstrels had a song about Hi Jolly back in the ‘60s:

Hi Jolly, hey Jolly, twenty miles today by golly
Twenty more before the mornin’ light
Hi Jolly, hey-O, gotta be on my way-O
I told my gal I’d be home Sunday night

A story worth looking up, indeed.
Ken Shelley, Sparks, Nevada

I was pleased to see a photo of Hi Jolly’s pyramid monument in Jenny Smith’s KTM tour test article last month. It’s a great story for a history buff. Hadji Ali, a Greek-Syrian camel driver, acquired his nickname, Hi Jolly, when he came to the American Southwest with a herd of camels shortly before the Civil War. The U.S. Army, spurred by then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, imported the herd to experiment with in desert conditions. Camels, they discovered, could work better and haul more than horses or mules, plus they frightened hostile Native Americans. The experiment was abandoned when the Civil War began, and most of the animals were auctioned or turned loose. As recently as 1996, wild camels were photographed in a remote area of Texas. Hi Jolly remained in the Southwest, marrying Gertrude Serna in 1880. Buried with him in the Quartzsite, Arizona, monument, are the ashes of Old Topsy, the last Army camel to die in captivity. For more information on the Army’s camel project, read “The Last Camel Charge” by Forrest Bryant Johnson.
Cathy Seckman, via email

So many times we have read the columns by esteemed editor Tuttle and safety columnist Trow. As a motorcyclist for the past 35 years and long-time subscriber, I have had a few “scrapes” along the way. All of them, thank goodness, did not involve cages but for one reason or another just my singular motorcycle. Not once was I hurt except for a left hand injury a few months ago, while my bike was totaled. I’m still on this side of the tarmac because I wear proper riding gear. Here in Georgia, it gets hot, but proper equipment goes a long way in keeping my keister where it should be. 
Ira Grable, Savannah, Georgia

I was reading Clem’s February Road Tales and it brought back some memories. Back in 1963 as a young man of 12 years old I had a 1959 Harley 165cc they called a Hummer. Just like Clem’s, now and then it would also start up in the wrong direction. I’d leave the clutch out and backwards it would go. Turn it off and kick one more time. Wish I still had that bike, it was my first one. My dad won it in a $100 poker game. 
Dan Mac Kenzie, Burr Ridge, Illinois

I must take the time to point out some factual errors in the Yamaha story in the February Retrospective. As an old guy, it is always the first thing I turn to when I get the magazine in the mail. As a long-time Yamaha guy, I always like it when you feature an old Yamaha. But…the Yamaha shown is not an MX in any way, shape or form. It is just a DT125. (I actually owned a DT175 version in the same era. I think it was a 1976 model.) Also, the MX designation had nothing to do with Monocross rear suspension. Yamaha had DT-MX models long before the monoshock YZ was introduced in late 1974. Thirdly, the last sentence says that two-stroke street bikes were made illegal in the US after 1981. Two-strokes have never been made illegal here. In fact, I owned a 1985 Yamaha RZ350 two-stroke back in the day. (Sold it for $1,500 in 1988, what an idiot!) The manufacturers stopped importing them for the street, but they are not illegal. In fact, the latest two-stroke transfer-port injected KTM and Husqvarna Enduro bikes may point the way to them making a comeback. Anyway, I enjoy the magazine always, and keep up the good work!
Bill Crisan, Indianapolis, Indiana

Just finished reading your article on carbs and ethanol. Good stuff. My two road bikes sit from November until March/April. (Depending upon good ol’ Michigan weather and this old guy’s bones.) I do two things. First, I drain the carbs if the bike is going to sit more than three days—anytime of year. It’s a 10-minute job. Second, for winter storage, after draining, add three times the prescribed amount of Stabil to whatever is in the tank. (Usually about a half tank.) At the first start in spring, add half a bottle of Techron to the tank. So far, for forty years, I’ve never had a carb issue. Bikes start first thing and run and idle like they were just run yesterday. Then befor the first ride of the year, top off the tank along the way. (I use premium—any brand will do.) One other note: you guys, and lady, are the greatest. Keep the good things going.
Larry Zimmer, Brighton, Michigan

I read your “Got Carbs?” article in the February 2020 issue and have to take issue with your assessment of fuel stabilizers—the StarTron in particular. StarTron is an excellent marketing company—to motorcyclists, especially—but their product didn’t serve me very well. One thing you neglected to mention in your article is the devastating effect ethanol-infused fuel has on plastic or composite gas tanks such as found on Aprilias and Ducatis. It was a known issue and Aprilia for a time was replacing distorted tanks under warranty, including my 2009 Tuono Factory tank.  

The problem I had regarding the use of StarTron—based on their marketing in magazines such as yours—was that I used it each and every time I filled the tank with fuel that had 10% ethanol, hoping to avoid the distortion. And even though I did this religiously, my tank distorted anyway, the gas cap sinking more than ¼-inch into the tank. I’ve never bought it since and have advocated against it to those seeking a solution. It was a very expensive non-solution. After replacing the tank, I went out of my way to find non-ethanol fuel and never ran the bike without it. No more distortion. Regarding actual fuel stabilizers, I have found that the marine version of Stabil (blue in color) works very well. I use it to stabilize the non-ethanol fuel I feed my Waverunners and yard maintenance machines, as well as my motorcycles if they have to sit more than a month. 

One other point regarding composite fuel tanks: the fuel destroys the fuel sensor gauge in the tank. I am on “version F” of this sensor, having had it replaced three times, twice under warranty. Ducati has been searching for a long-term solution to the problem and my understanding from my Ducati dealer is they feel they may have resolved the problem with this “version F.” Let’s hope so.  

At a 10% ratio, that means there is at least half a gallon of ethanol in a five-gallon gas tank. I just don’t see how a couple of ounces of some highly advertised stabilizer are going to negate the effects of that half-gallon of ethanol. In my case, in two bikes (Aprilia and Ducati) it did no good at all. Best just to get pure gas!
Wallace Rowan, Hartwell, Georgia

Point taken Wallace, but I have to ask: Did you buy the stabilizer expecting it to protect your tank from distortion? Because no stabilizer I’m aware of claims that it’s capable of that. They’re basically meant to prevent ethanol and water from separating out in the fuel and causing corrosion and other drivability problems. But the ethanol is still there, and fully capable of being its nasty self when it comes to consequences like distorting Ducati fuel tanks. Seems to me the culprit here is Ducati….unless the stabilizer also failed at one or more of its prescribed task(s). –EIC

I was pleased to see the shot of the mission church at Tumacacori National Park, where I am a volunteer. I flipped back to the first page of the article to look at the KTM and then looked at your website to confirm that I had indeed talked to Jenny Smith at the park. I remember suggesting that she ride Box Canyon, one of my favorite close-to-home rides on her way east. If she rides to New Mexico again my suggestion is that she ride a little dirt, Highway 62 from Continental through Box Canyon to Highway 83, and then through Empire Ranch to Highway 82, on her way to Tombstone. If the waterfall in Box Canyon is flowing it makes for a Rider-quality photograph.
Mike Biller, Sahuarita, Arizona 

Mark Tuttle’s February editorial on “De-Localizing” hit the nail on the head for me personally. I’ve ridden off and on since my early 20s (I’m 77), and have recently sold my 1998 V-Max 1200 after a tip-over in gravel, and given my increasing inability to feel secure holding up 620 pounds, I bought a 2011 Suzuki LS 650, which has been a major adjustment (381 pounds but low power). I, too, found myself not looking forward to a ride, using the familiar excuses: no longer exciting, over-familiarity with the local roads, takes too long to put on ATGATT (no shortcuts!) and so on. Like Mark, I too found a cure. Since long and/or overseas tours/rides are basically out for me (I also had a mild stroke), I have found other ways to “de-localize.” I take a small folding camp chair and use it at the destination or along the route, at some small lakes and a red rock canyon near home. I also have some destinations where I can enjoy the ambiance, like a rural country store at a crossroads, 54 miles out, or a tourist shopping area done in a pueblo style 10 miles out, where I can stop, get a coffee and just sit and enjoy. I also stop at some open or vacant parking lots along the route and practicing figure-eights, U-turns, panic braking and slow riding, e.g., basic motor officer techniques. This is rekindling my enjoyment of riding by merely changing my perspective and actions on the same rides, rather than the actual physical locations of the ride. 

BTW, I love your magazine. I’m always learning something in Rider, and not always dealing directly with motorcycles, but life in general. Thanks to you and your team for turning out a valuable resource each month. It is the MC magazine I most look forward to receiving in the mail each month.  
John E. Lincoln, St. George, Utah

You wrote about “De-Localizing” in your in your One-Track Mind column. I guess I can see how someone could start doing that, but I think that depends on your frame of mind. Be it good or bad, the roads, views or destinations are really not the point for me, it’s just getting on the bike and riding. While on the bike, I don’t listen to the radio, my phone or my wife for that point. I ride for the joy, peace, and contemplation. Ten years ago, my wife and I were one cross-eyed look away from a divorce. Our kids had left home and we had slowly drifted apart. We had gone to counseling and it had not worked. I did the Iron Butt’s National Parks Tour (50 parks, 25 states) in 14 days. During that time, I just rode, talked with God, worked through the situation and talked with my wife each night. When I got back, I had a renewed focus, we went to counseling again and we will celebrate our 39th anniversary this year. If I had not had my ST1300, I doubt we would be married today. The roads are almost (almost) immaterial. It’s just the ride.

By the way, pie is good 24/7.
Jeff Snook, Charlottesville, Virginia

I have been enjoying Rider magazine for years now. On page 42 of the February 2020 issue, in the KTM 790 tour test author Jenny Smith has a picture of the Longhorn restaurant in Tombstone, Arizona. The caption states this is the site where Virgil Earp was shot. Being a history buff I believe that Virgil was technically shot from a window at this establishment as he crossed Allen Street. It is also stated that this act triggered the vendetta ride by his brother Wyatt against the perpetrators. This was certainly part of the build-up to the retaliation by Wyatt, but the actual final straw was the killing of his brother Morgan while playing pool in Campbell and Hatches saloon.
Patrick Murphy, via email



    • Hi Richard, our apologies for the delayed issues. The lockdown has indeed affected our printing schedules. Please call our customer service folks at 763-383-4492 and they’ll get you sorted with some options.


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