Author Archives: Bruce
By Guido Ebert
I have always wanted to ride a Can-Am Spyder – you know, that three-wheeled vehicle made by our French-Canadian friends at BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products).
My friend, Jeffery, was a part of the marketing team that traveled around the country and offered consumers test rides upon the Spyder’s introduction in 2007. While I have had an interest in riding the Spyder ever since the three-wheeler came out, the numerous humorous stories he regaled me with about test rides gone wrong further stoked my interest in the machine. Could it really be as queer an experience as I was hearing?
Finally, last month, the good folks at St. Boni Motorsports invited me to take a spin on a 2014 Spyder RT Limited ($30,499), the luxury-touring version of the trike that’s also offered in Touring trim as a base RT ($22,999) and RT-S ($26,449). Like all RT models, the Limited comes with a newly designed 1330cc Rotax ACE engine, massive storage ability (41 gallons!), and a long list of bells and whistles to ease a long-haul experience for operator and passenger.
These three RT models complement a pair of lesser models, the sport-touring ST ($18,999) and sporty RS ($14,899), which still remain powered by a 991cc lump. Plus, by the time you read this, BRP will have introduced yet another model, the performance-oriented 2015 Spyder F3 that offers a radically different design and styling.
By Guido Ebert
In Minnesota, a motorcycle is legally considered a “Collector” if it is 25 years old or older.
Harley-Davidson, Indian, Henderson, BMW, DKW, NSU, Norton, Vincent, BSA, etc. – all are among the brands of motorcycle that have served as favorites of collectors.
While those marques command high levels of respect in the world of collectible two-wheelers, there’s a “new” breed of classics finding their way into garages and living rooms across America – all of those Honda CB, Kawasaki KZ, Yamaha XS and Suzuki GS models of the 1970s and 1980s.
On top of our all of our negative image problems, motorcyclists are often hoarders. Yeah, I know, it’s a “collection.”
In my experience, there are two polar-opposite examples of collectors who own (and sometimes ride) dozens of motorcycles. The most obvious is the rich collector/archivist.
Over my six decades, I have bumped into a couple of types who collect expensive motorcycles. One of those was the type who owns a sterile showroom that is neatly lined with perfectly restored bits of artwork, polished and oil-free to keep the hardwood floor spotless. At the more sane end of this type is a friend who buys incredibly expensive motorcycles in mediocre-to-good shape, restores them to better-than-factory finish, hangs on to them hoping the bikes’ prices will go stratospheric, and tries to sell them for a medium fortune.
After a summer with very limited road riding and no trail riding, I’m finally going to get some trail riding in. My wife and I and a group of friends are headed up to Gilbert for the weekend. I love Gilbert’s off-road vehicle park. This will be the first time trail riding for my wife and another friend of ours. I’m anxious to see how she likes it. It’s good for us to share interests and I’m hoping this will be one we share for a long time.
If you have never been to Gilbert’s OHV park you need to check it out. It’s official name is the Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area. It’s located in St. Louis County just east of the city of Gilbert on highway 135. There are 36 miles of trails that include multi-use as well as ATV, OHM and ORV only. They range from easy to more difficult to most difficult. To ride in the park you need to pass the noise level test and have a current state trail sticker. The park is open 8:00 am to 5:30 pm and they do the noise level test when you check in. The noise level sticker is good for one year.
Go to any gathering of stunt bikers, and you’re likely to see products from Minnesota-based Convertibars being utilized. The same can be said for long-haul events, where riders do what they can to attain maximum comfort.
What are Convertibars? Basically, they are billet aluminum risers that allow you to raise your bike’s handlebar grip location. Convertibars’ real benefit, though – they also allow an incredible range of adjustability; up or down, forward or back, they allow you to choose your own best riding position.
The application’s important parts include a proprietary clamp called the Cyclops, a riser, and a collet that mates the riser to the actual handlebar. The clamp can be adjusted, the riser can be adjusted, and the handlebars can be adjusted, all together offering a wide ergonomic range.
Convertibars offers it riser kits for motorcycles from Aprilia, BMW, Buell, Ducati, Honda, Hyosung, Kawasaki, KTM, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha, as well as universal fit kits for bikes with fork stanchions from 35mm to 54mm in size. Available in black or silver, kits contain all the hardware needed to complete most installations, however longer lines and other components may be required on some motorcycles.
The Kawasaki ZX1100 Ninja is a rarely seen beast these days. A descendent of the ground-breaking GPz900 Ninja, via the ZX10, this bike was the Kawasaki powerhouse flagship from 1990 (as the ZX1100 C series) through 2001. In fact, up until 1996, it was the fastest, standard motorcycle in the world.
This street missile of a motorcycle featured a liquid cooled 1052cc inline four cylinder motor with the usual 16 overhead valves and Keihin CVK carburetors, which ducted air from the front of the bike and pressurized the airbox to create supercharger like characteristics at certain buttock-clenching speeds. The whole gambit was held together by a robust pressed aluminum perimeter frame and enclosed by an aerodynamic cowling with the Kawasaki “Ninja” logo flashily applied for full stars in the eyes effect.
As an older bike though, how does this powerful heavyweight fit in to the modern world of motorcycling? In January 1996, Motorcyclist magazine reported a standing ¼ mile of 10.25 seconds and 135.7mph, with a top speed of 175mph – the fastest bike in the test that month. So its straight-line performance is closely trailing some of the current superbikes.
Designed to be versatile, rugged, and ever so slightly evil, the Genuine Hooligan dares you to NOT smile while riding it.
Genuine Scooters has a history of working with PGO Scooters of Taiwan to manufacture some outstanding machines for the North American marketplace. The Hooligan is a combination of the PGO X-Hot and Libra scooters with some U.S.-only modifications.
Ultimately, the Hooligan features the same 169cc fuel-injected powerplant as the Genuine Buddy 170i, just with a longer drivecase to make room for the larger twelve-inch wheel. The 169cc motor has a claimed output of 15hp. Doesn’t sound like a lot until one considers that most comparable scooters have to get by on 10 – 12 ponies. An automatic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gets that power to the rear wheel. Dual disc brakes slow down the 12 inch wheels.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) amended rules regarding the Minnesota Motorcycle Road Guard Certificate Law (enacted in 2012), adding a new chapter to regulate and administer the Motorcycle Road Guard certification and qualifications requirements by establishing the safety, equipment and program curriculum requirements and the procedures for the certification process.
The new course will be a total of three hours: two hours of classroom followed by one hour of practical training at a live intersection near the college. Cost: $30.
Participants will receive a Road Guard Field Manual, which will be provided by MMSC during the classroom portion of the training course.
The plan is for road guard training classes to begin in April 2015. The courses will be available the second Saturday of every month at the regional locations, April through October. The class size will be limited to 12 and each training site will have the capacity to run up to four classes on Saturdays.
Course locations include Minnesota State Colleges in Detroit Lakes and Marshall, as well as at Lake Super College in Duluth, Rochester Community & Technical College and Dakota County Technical College.
The Motorcycle Road Guard Rule is published in the August 4, 2014 State Register.