What Motorcycle Fits Your Style?

  

“Maybe I should get a motorcycle”

Those words ring in the wind noise dimmed ears of men and women of the cult of two wheels, immediately causing their fuel soaked brains to race and scan over the wide and varied assortment of motorcycles that would best suit a new rider. A glistening array of 250 CC light and easy to maneuver bikes are always the go to group; however, with some of the larger, yet lighter, bikes on the market today the selection quickly grows.

Now there are those, like our friend James, who dove in the deep end and started with a Mac truck on two wheels. He selected a chrome moose with over a thousand CCs for his first bike, but James is a mutant. Love him, but that is not the path recommended for sane folks.

So for a lady rider what are we looking for? Well, the same things as a male rider (you sexist pig!). Lightweight, easy riding, good looking and, since some of the lady folks aren’t as tall, seat height. I have assembled a list of what I think fits the bill, but the bottom line is choosing a motorcycle is a personal decision. Find the bike that speaks to you. Visit a dealer and see what feels good under you and makes your heart race just a little when you look at it. This is your ride, enjoy the adoption process and go find your new two wheeled friend.

Okay, enough of that, on with the list!

  

Suzuki GW250

403 lbs
30.7 seat
$3,999

Read more at Motorcycle Daily or Webbike World.

Two nice video reviews
Overdrive and Bike Ride TV

  
Suzuki Tu250
325 lbs
30 seat
$4099

Reviews From Popular Mechanics and Back Road Motorcycling

Duel sport

  

Honda CRF250L
320 lbs
34.7 seat
$4,999

Adventure Motorcycle Review

  

Yamaha XT250

291 lbs
31.9 seat
$5,190

Top Speed Review
  

Suzuki DR 200

278 lbs
32 seat
$4,199

Top Speed Review
  

Kawasaki KLX250S

32 inch seat
300 lbs
$5099

Ultimate Motorcycling Review
  

CSC Cyclone RX3

250
Full luggage
359 lbs
31 inch seat
$3495

Adventure Motorcycle Review

ADV Pulse Review 

Larger but light

  

Yamaha SR400

Kick start
384 lbs
32 inch seat
$5,990

Motorcycle.com Review

  

HONDA CB500X

ABS brakes
430 lbs
32 inch seat
$5,999

Top Speed Review

  

KTM Duke 390
306.4 lbs – dry
31.5 inch seat
$4,990

Cycle World Review
Cruiser
The Suzuki gz250 and the Honda Rebel are both cruiser style bikes with a more feet forward style. Personally, with my aging back, I prefer a more upright riding position. But to each their own. Both are great bikes and the Rebel was the bike of choice for beginner riding courses for years, so definitely a solid option.

Sport bike
Honda CBR250R and the Kawasaki Ninja 250 R – again two great bikes and favored by beginners. But with sport styling and a head forward feet back style of riding. Not on my list but there is no reason they shouldn’t be on yours.

Also, if you like working on motorcycles, by all means join the growing number of riders fixing up vintage bikes and taking then to the streets! I love the look and feel of these older bikes! But keep in mind they will require a little more TLC to keep you on the road.

Okay that’s the run down of beginner bikes that caught my eye, I hope you found it helpful. I would also suggest taking a beginner safety course. It’s a fun day, you learn a lot and for some courses you will be provided with a bike to learn on. This will give you a chance to get a feel for a motorcycle of that size and power. Also, safety courses in some states will count as the driving portion of your motorcycle drivers test. That makes getting your license easier and you on the road faster!

Last note, check out this great list from Women Rider for da lady folks!

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THIS is How You Reveal a Legend

– Caked in Mud!!


The fine folks over at ADV Pulse were there for the revealing of the New Honda Africa Twin!!

Well… almost a reveal, we are still in prototype mode.

Read more from our gear head friends over at ADV Pulse

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5 Reasons to Go Motorcycle Camping this Weekend


1. The Beautiful Winding Roads.
 If you read my blog, yes both of you, you have heard me wax poetic about the meditative qualities of a remote country road winding its way through a never-ending display of scenic beauty (and the occasional meth lab trailer). So it will come as no surprise when I tell you that roads that lead you to great camping are always a treat.
 
 

 2. Road Food
 (Deep breath, here we go!) BBQ, Meat and three, homemade biscuits, pecan pies, hot chicken, mustard greens, cornbread, home grown tomatoes and last but not least the blessed charms of locally brewed beer, all await you on the open road.
 
 


3. Camping
 I love the feeling when you have set up your gear, opened a beverage, and begin to feel time slow down. Feel the breeze and look around and just “be” for a while. It’s a decompression that I have to have from time to time in order to keep life’s aggravations at bay and maintain my charming Buddha-like disposition. (No, there is no need to check to see if that’s true. It is. Don’t make me slap you.)
 
 Quick tip, check online to see if the park has photos of campsites. If not, call and ask a ranger for the best spot. Also, if you’re like me and sleep in a hammock, ask if there are trees on the site you can snooze under.
 
 


4. Explore Nature
 Everywhere I’ve stayed I’m surprised by something the park has to offer. A short hike to an overlook or waterfall. A long wooden bridge allowing visitors to walk across a narrow section of lake. Or, as I found on my last trip, a craft and local music festival. I found a bench in the shade where I sipped tea and had a private concert by a great bluegrass band. They were warming up before taking the stage. Whatever it is, you will find them, those little moments that will make you glad you came.
 
 


5. Sunrise
 Sure sometimes you sleep through it, but once in a while you look out of your hammock or tent and the sky is on fire. The crisp still air somehow makes you feel more alive. Then you can saddle up for a morning ride in the first golden light of day. Gliding through morning mist while all the cars are still asleep.
 
 


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Ginger Needs a New Pair of Shoes

 The ball is over, I’ve danced Ginger from curve to graceful curve and now the ruby slippers are worn and need a replacement. (FYI I call my Red KLR 650 Ginger)
 
 So what to buy.
 Step 1. Consult the enlightened ones on the online forums.
 Step 2. Conclude they are all full of shit and start your own research. Step 3. Find that a small pocket of well traveled forum folks could be on to something.
 Step 4. Realize that you are a cheap bastard and that if you spend just a little more on a tire it will last thousands of miles more. Yep, thousands! Over twice the miles you put on your now bald-as-baloney stock tire. Sold!
 
 Bonus, all reports say this tire works equally well on Tarmac as it does on turbulent trash.
 
 


So the skinny. I chose Mefo Explorers. And it’s not just because I like saying “Mefo”. Example “Them there tires go like a Mefo!” Despite the silly name, this is a serious tire. Reports from the field say you will get 7 to 10 thousand miles while confidently taking on taking on a variety of terrain. From rain soaked corners to the dirt, gravel and mud you will need to traverse to get to that corner of “where the hell am I?” and “oh this is nice!” you love to find.
 
 So that’s the hype mixed with a heavy dose of I gotta have. I’ll slap ’em on the bike, add some miles and give you an on the ground, round town, outward bound lowdown. (Sorry, I got a tad carried away)
 
 
 More Mefo info
 
 
 
 
 
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High Tech Motorcycle Safety Gizmos

(That will make yo mamma happy)

Tell your mom not to worry. The world of motorcycling is now loaded with items like ABS breaks, headlights that look around corners and now Honda is testing a new vehicle to vehicle warning system that will alert the texting minivan drivers that you are about to mar their collection of honor student bumper stickers with your face.


If that’s not enough to make your darling mom happy, how about an internal suspension helmet.

Or if she thinks you’re too uncoordinated to take corners there’s computer assisted ABS that helps get your goofy butt through high speed turns.

There are lots of ways to make the road a safer place. I like the idea of reducing risk while maintaining the fun. ( you’re happy, your mom is happy, win win) Some of these new items aren’t bleeding edge technology, like crash notification services, but just good old fashioned forehead slapping “Why didn’t we think of that before” items. Like a braking light system that indicates when you are gearing down. That helps drivers know you’re slowing down even though you haven’t hit the break yet. Great idea.

So we have covered the bike and its handling, let’s sooth your mother’s gray and troubled brow with more protection for her precious little angel (that’s you fathead). How about Ducati Wireless Airbag jacket system.

Still not enough? How about a suit that expands to make you a giant ball just before impact. This one troubles me. First of all it’s just silly and second, why do I see my sadistic friends kicking me from the crash sight down the road to the nearest hospital like a motorized game of human polo?

Also in the “um… No!” territory, how about a helmet that gives me the odds on which part of my face is most likely to eat pavement. (No thanks.)


Or, If you’re feeling a bit in the James Bond mood, take a look at Honda’s patent application for a motorcycle ejector seat with lap belt. Personally the thought of this “safety feature” terrifies me!

All in all two-wheeled travel is safer and more mother-approved than ever.

Okay, enough about safety. Get your mother out of the room and take a gander at THIS! A Vespa (wait for it….) with a Cannon!!!


Enjoy!

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Categories: Motorcycle, Motorcycle Gear | 1 Comment

Honda Pipe Dreams?


Why I’m posting? Because I rarely see a new dual sport bike that checks off all the items I am looking for in a motorcycle. Which is good. I have been able to avoid that common rider affliction, called “dagotta haves”. A debilitating disease that empties the wallet and ruins relationships. But this new one by Honda has me starting starting to itch. I’m also tired of the “na, na, na, na, na,” post of Europeans bragging about earlier versions of the bike that have never been sold in the US market. (Yes, it’s petty jealousy. If we haven’t met, hi I’m Michael… an insecure and shallow man) . A large part of my excitement is based on the promise by Honda to deliver a 1000 CC twin Dual Sport motorcycle weighing in at 440 lbs (my single cylinder KLR 650 is 432lbs) thats an attention getter! So, on with the post….I have to go lie down, I feel a case of dagotta haves coming on.

Indefinitely Wild’s Post

ADV Pulse’s Post about it

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10 adventure motorcycles you can’t get in the US.

As a follow up to my post about the motorcycles of Costa Rica, here is a link to a great article from ADV Pulse about 10 adventure motorcycles you can’t get in the US.

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Motorcycles of Costa Rica


Outside the United States the world of motorcycles is quite different. For most of the world the motorcycle is less a recreational vehicle and more an affordable means of fuel efficient transportation. For this reason the larger bikes over 250 CCs are less prevalent and smaller commuter bikes rule the road. (Or what passes for roads).

I was reminded of this on a recent trip to Costa Rica where, not only were the bikes all 125 – 250 CC, but most of them I had never seen before. I saw versions of big brand name bikes, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, not sold in the states. I also saw brands of motorcycles I have never even heard of, but once I did a little Googling I found they are well known to other parts of the planet. I guess travel does broaden your perspectives.

Below are a few hastily taken photos and links to some of the motorcycles I witnessed running the untamed roads of Costa Rica.


Genesis

Formula

Thunder

UM

SYM

Serpento
I didn’t find much on this bike, but I did find this short video with the bike and a strong chicken logo… Soooo.. Here’s that

CR Motors (lots of brands)

And…More

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Lotus Motorcycle


Lotus, yes That Lotus, creators of some of the best balanced cars in automotive history have decided to make a Lotus motorcycle. Now I could at this point geek out about the 200 horse powered, 75 degree v-twin Rotax motor like the one used in the KTM RC8R superbike or that the design is by Daniel Simon, the futurist designer who created the neon bikes for the movie Tron. But you can follow the links for all that. I just want you to look. Just look at the two wheeled sculpture and imagine rolling up to your local bike watering hole on that! ( yes you will need a better riding suit and lose 40 pounds to pull it off, but still! Imagine it!)


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Your Great Motorcycle Road


The Road, oh you know it, that perfect road you stumbled upon after that left turn in the middle of “where the hell am I” hollow. That one you have found your way back to a few times for the turns, scenery and feeling that this is MY road. Open and uncluttered by every weekend warrior, Son’s of Anarchy, want to be biker in the state. It’s just you, and the road and you want to keep it that way.

I had MY road. It was a beautiful dancing snake of secluded country tarmac. Winding by creeks, picturesque farms and rolling hills. Rough in places to keep you focused but smooth in the rest so you can glide with speed from turn to turn.

Had. I had a road, but my pride got the best of me and I bragged about it one time too many. I was pressured to lead a “ride” there. To preface this story let me be clear. I ride alone. I dislike others’ pace or having to set one. If I pass a small dirt road that obviously leads to somewhere I have no business being… I take it. I love getting lost. I will take unknown roads, and make random direction changes just to see where I end up. This en route entropy is how I found MY road. I was lost, wandering around back roads, when there it was, riding bliss! Like something out of a Greek myth that only reveals itself to those who choose to abandon the compass and give in to the sirens’ song of aimlessness. A gift bestowed by the Goddess of Gone Astray. I love that, I love giving in to “wherever”. Sure, you run across a few trailer trash meth labs, but that’s all part of the fun, just don’t stop and shop, eyes front, gas and go!


So the very idea of me leading people to MY road was an appalling thought, but the beer spoke before the brain got its pants on, so the deal was done. We met at a beer and burrito dive that wasn’t far from a good road that would eventually lead us to THE road. I pulled in, pulled off the skull bucket and went in to meet the pack. I was expecting 2 but found 5. One of the guys asked if he could bring friends, “sure, the more the merrier” (What did I just say? What has happened to me?) So it was a group. We have the core, the two I knew, James and Chuck (an auditor and a professor), and James’s friends, two musicians, one of whom brought his wife. I have to begrudging admit I’m glad they were riding with us. They had vintage motorcycles, tattoos, and added a level of biker cred I feel we otherwise sorely lacked. And once I got to know them, they were very interesting and charming folks.

I didn’t take photos on that day (I didn’t want to be THAT guy) so I will use photo stand ins to represent those attending.

The professor


The Auditor


The Two Musicians and Wife


Oh, and me


You get the picture.

On with the ride. We did what I’m assuming is a preride tradition, look over the machines, talk some smack, gear up and go!

It was a beautiful day and, as expected, a great ride. We stopped at another beer and burrito joint to talk after the ride. At the end of the day, despite my reservations, it was a fun day. I have learned that sharing an experience is rewarding. (Who knew all those kids’ shows I forced my child to watch were right!) Not only did the group’s reaction to MY road feed my ever growing ego, but I truly enjoyed the conversation and riding stories of the group when the ride was done.

Note: the road photos that accompanied this post are from MY NEW road. Still mine… For now.

Directions to MY road (mentioned in the post above) are available upon request. There will be a vetting process and will require a signed letter from your mother.

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Categories: KLR 650, Motorcycle Story, Tennessee Roads | Leave a comment

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