Where real journalism meets italicized smart-assed comments.

by Gus Breiland

Bike Noise Becoming A Major Issue Nationwide
This summer in Laconia, New Hampshire, home of the Laconia Motorcycle Week, police staffed a noise checkpoint and handed out 41 summons and 27 warnings to motorcycle riders for noisy bikes and expired inspection stickers. In Naples, Florida, a councilwoman proposed banning bikes from a certain street because of complaints about motorcycle noise.

In New York City the City Council proposed a law that could result in the seizure of loud motorcycles and even confiscation in some instances. These are just some of the examples that AMA Legislative Affairs Specialist Imre Szauter used to underscore the fact that communities nationwide are cracking down on loud motorcycles, in a talk to the Centennial Park Harley-Davidson Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.).

“The AMA has worked to oppose proposals, such as the one in New   York, that discriminate specifically against motorcycles”, Szauter said. “If you’re going to say you’re going to make New York the quietest city in the world, fine,” Szauter said, referring to the New York legislation. “But don’t single out motorcycles.”

But at the same time, the AMA is also working with other elements of the motorcycle community to encourage riders to be responsible and considerate on the noise issue. Szauter noted that loud pipes don’t necessarily mean more performance for a motorcycle. And he warned that if riders don’t ride responsibly, that is, keep the noise down in residential areas and at stoplights, for example, then even more government jurisdictions will step in to regulate motorcycles. “Responsible riding is critical not only for current motorcyclists to be able to continue riding, but for future generations to be able to ride as well”, he said.

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly believes one statement was missing from the article. “Loud Pipes Risk Rights”

Viper Cools Engines Motorcycle Firm Calls Off IPO
The Pioneer Press of Saint Paul, Minnesota is reporting that Viper Motorcycle Co. has just about run out of gas, but it plans to refuel and get back on track.

The motorcycle manufacturer withdrew a planned $9 million initial public offering of its stock in early February and has stopped manufacturing its Diablo cruiser just months after starting production at its New   Hope, MN headquarters. Instead, Viper is lining up private financing with new investors that it hopes will kick-start the company by securing production resources and erasing most of its debt, according to John Lai, chief financial officer and co-founder of Viper. The details are still being worked out, but he plans to make an announcement within 30 days.

The deal likely will include an outside manufacturing contract for most production with new protoypes to be made in New Hope, said sources close to the company who did not want to be named. The company must do something fast to stay in business. Viper’s debt level and losses have accelerated, while the IPO and production have screeched to a halt.

Viper ran up net losses of nearly $7 million (about equal to its total assets) from its inception in November 2002 through Sept. 30, 2004, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It shipped 30 Diablo cruisers in late 2004 and sales totaled about $750,000 last year, Lai said. Viper has received about 300 Diablo cruiser orders since mid-2003, according to Lai. It began manufacturing the cruiser last fall but stopped in January because of money problems. None of its 16 employees were laid off.

While Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly has not leapt on the chopper / public cruiser bandwagon we have watched Viper with interest. Excelsior-Henderson left Minnesota with a sour taste in motorcycle manufacturers and to see Viper “go it alone” through private ownership and financing is commendable. Viper has not bellied up to the public trough and we hope to see them make a run for it. Competition for Harley Davidson and Victory is a good thing. It forces companies to be creative and diverse.

Arizona To Recommend Emission Testing of Older Vehicles
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has determined that vehicle emissions testing for motorcycles, collectible vehicles and vehicles more than 25 years old provides a significant air quality benefit and will therefore not recommend that they be exempt from existing state implementation and maintenance plans for air quality. To learn more about the history of this issue and to view the complete report, visit ADEQ‚s website at www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/vei/index.html

Briggs and Stratton breathed a heavy sigh of relief as the the eco-sights have now been retargeted from small lawn and garden equipment to the vast throng of classic bikes. Once ADEQ has run all the H-D Panheads and Scott Flying Squirels off the road retirees in Sun City will breathe much easier and at least one Spotted Owl may be saved.

New York Motorcycles to Pay Half
New York motorcyclists have a victory on tolls for motorcycles on the New York State Thruway. Beginning May 1, 2005 motorcycles will pay about half of what cars pay as long as the motorcyclist has an E-Z Pass. Right now, a car driver with or without an E-Z Pass pays almost four cents a mile. Motorcyclists have been paying the same amount. Come May motorcyclists with an E-Z Pass will pay 1.9 cents per mile. To get an E-Z Pass, motorcyclists can go to www.e-zpassny.com for the application. The efforts of AMA Community Council Capitol Area and AMA District 3, President Lawrence Schwartz assisted in making this reduction possible.

News From Across the Pond – Young Riders
European Parliament has introduced legislation whereby young adults will be banned from riding larger motorcycles. Riders under 25 will have to gain two years experience on a low-powered bike before they can use the road on larger models. The plans are designed to simplify licensing laws across the European Union.

The proposed changes could mean that people will lose the right to ride a motorcycle with an engine size larger than 125cc until they are 19. Older novice riders may not be able to directly gain a full license to ride larger motorcycles after rider training until they are 25. In addition, new car drivers will lose the right to ride mopeds with a full car license, which they can do after completing compulsory training.

Currently, novice riders in Britain can take a motorcycle test at 17 and are able to ride motorcycles and scooters of modest power (approximately that of a 350cc machine) for two years. After this experience period, they can ride the motorcycle of their choice. Novices can opt to take a Direct Access course to ride larger motorcycles when they reach 21 years old. (Motorcycle Industry Association)

Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly Gnome Hunt
Welcome to the 2005 riding season and with that MMM is giving you a reason to ride. Our garden Gnome has already hit the road news73and is looking for some friends. Each month we’ll provide a clue as to his where abouts. Clues will be presented in Haiku, Dirty Limerick or just bad poetry. Each clue brings you closer to finding our little two-wheeled vagabond.

Once you find Ridin’ Gnome, simply take a picture with him, mail it to MMM, and you’ll be eligible to win some great prizes. Look for the first clue and a complete list of prizes in our next issue.

Gnome Hunt Groundrules:
1. Ridin’ Gnome is located within the state of Minnesota
2. Ridin’ Gnome is on public display but may not be 24/7 accessible.
3. Ridin’ Gnome is in plain sight. There is no need to excavate, landscape or otherwise disturb property.
4. The Gnome keeps holy the Sabbath. He asks for one day of solitude, free of gawkers and looky-loos.
5. The Gnome Hunt is purely an excuse to ride. MMM hopes that participants enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the discovery of new roads.
6. Participants will be disqualified if they move, disturb or otherwise molest Ridin’ Gnome in any manner. Jim W. this means you!
7. Employees of MMM, its subsidiaries, and known Gnome-ophobes are not eligible.
8. Suspect prizes eliminate the need for cheating and/or skullduggery.
9. Ride at your own risk.
10. Start Seeing Ridin’ Gnome!



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