Our own Louis Cypher’s take on what’s hot and what’s not at this year’s Florida Festivities. MMM guys (and gals), no catchy intro, no “Best of Times, Worst of Times” babble, just the latest scoop on the ’02 Daytona scene:
1) In one of the most disturbing trends to develop in years, choppers are making a comeback, and in a big way. Now instead of just annoying the hell out of the public with obnoxiously loud pipes, riders will have some real opportunities to harm themselves as they try to control these poor handling, pathetic braking and unbelievably dangerous contraptions down our streets and highways. A notable demographic of this crowd is the fact that virtually no one over 40 was seen on one–meaning that the baby boomers either all hurt themselves on them 25 years ago and stopped riding, or aren’t stupid enough to ride one of them again. Every time I see one of these clown-mobiles, I make a mental note to someday punch Peter Fonda in the face.
2) Ego check time. So there I was Sunday afternoon, riding down Atlantic Avenue towards Main Street and EVERYONE was pointing and waving, whistling and clapping. I had my scoot all polished up and looking good, so I tried to play it cool with only the token head nod to acknowledge the masses. The noise and pointing kept building, so I finally gave the crowd a few waves back, only to hear the screams get louder. The traffic finally came to a complete stop, and the crowds came swarming off the sidewalk–and right past me–to the bike in the next lane over, which was being ridden by John Travolta.
3) She lives to Ride. The sheer number of women riders is growing exponentially–and that’s a GOOD THING. Also notable was the growing number of women not interested in the “cruiser” bikes and switching to sportbikes instead. There’s something about a woman on her own Ducati.
4) Good guys finish first. Nicky Hayden won the Daytona 200, with his family there rooting and cheering him on. Seeing a family support their own (and his dad’s tears of joy as his son won it) was a wonderful way to end the week.
5) Bad guys don’t. As if scripted for a movie, noted all around jerk Kurtis Roberts was challenging Nicky and had a fluke tire failure. Kurtis wasn’t hurt, but it did take him out of contention to win the race, which is good for motorcycling. Another round of this guy showing up, earning a big payday and then using the spotlight to announce how the promoters are stupid, the AMA doesn’t know what they’re doing, etc. is something no one needs. It’s time the AMA bounces this horses-derrière for good–I suspect the only reason they haven’t so far is because his father is King Kenny.
6) What’s in a name? I’ve decided that “apehangers” are the most aptly named item in motorcycling. Watch a bike with a set of these things try to negotiate a corner sometime–don’t these riders realize how foolish they look? Hey guys, we’re not laughing with you…..
7) The more things change…, The new Harley-Davidson V-Rod is a mighty fine bike. Kudos to Harley for stepping up to the plate, taking no prisoners, and showing the world they know more than a little bit about making a fast bike. It’s kinda ironic that the complaint for years of HD’s “not being to keep up with bikes half their displacement” is now reversed. Expect to see this bike’s technology spread across the HD line.
8) …The more they stay the same. Over at the Buell demo rides, the all-new Firebolt was being debuted and riders were lining up. Within 2 days, there was a growing line of broken bikes inside the trailer. One notable is that there were easily 3 or 4 bikes taken out by broken drive belts the first 2 days. Employees there denied that it meant there was a problem with the belts, despite some 30% of their fleet out of commission for that very reason.
9) Stupid Hurts. 11:30 p.m. Sat. Evening Int’l Speedway Blvd. Right in front of Daytona Racetrack. A horrific accident involving 2 Star-Boyz wannabe stunt riders left 1 dead on the scene, and the other critical and failing fast. The “Las Vegas Extremes” staff/film trucks never even stopped rolling film long enough to see if they could help. Take notes of this–these types of riders are extremely detrimental to the future of motorcycling–both literally and figuratively. How many more riders will be hurt or killed making these videos, or attempting what they’ve seen? Dealers–Do you feel you’re benefiting motorcycling by selling videos of people committing criminal acts? You’re contributing to a problem that’s affecting ALL of your customers. WHY? It’s not cool.
10) Answering the question no one asked. As if the act of putting a car engine in a motorcycle frame wasn’t stupid enough, now people that have bought these overweight, poor-handling abominations have discovered that they’re overweight, poor handling and unmanageable. The solution? Convert it to a TRIKE. I hadn’t thought they could make a Boss Hoss a more worthless vehicle–I was wrong. These things are actually laughable (unless you consider the poor sod who shelled out HOW MUCH money because they were convinced these were somehow “cool”). I’m recalling the words of PT Barnum…..
11) It’s about time. After years of consumer begging and pleading, Yamaha is bringing a sport-touring bike to the US, the FJR 1300. A 145 hp, electric windshield, shaft-driven, saddlebag-equipped sport tourer with a 6.6 gallon tank for $11,500? Sign me up, and I do mean pronto. Note to you Minnesota 1000 riders–I expect to see this bike well represented in the winner’s circle next event.
12) Veni, Vidi,…uh, vicarious….? One of the more amusing things during the week was the sheer number of people walking in and out of the Daytona CAR PARKING ramps with their full regalia (chaps, leather jackets, finger-less gloves, etc.) on. Upon seeing 4 burly “bikers” in a Yugo (“Sport” model, no less) I earned me some very vocal threats when they realized we were taking their photo and laughing. Live to Ride indeed………
Louis Cypher is a tattoo-free Harley, BMW and Honda rider who still lives with his wife Di in the Coon Rapids area (and is almost done with his annual “Why do I live here” winter-long chant.) Di reports that he actually got to ride each of the 3 bikes every month of last winter–which made living with him only slightly more bearable. Louis is a self-proclaimed Know-it-all who, unfortunately, is usually correct. His wife Di has our sympathy.