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The End Is Near

Reflection

Burning In The Sun Reflection

I’m talking about burning in the sun and the end of summer.

Many consider Labor Day to be the last hurrah of summer. School is kicking off and the football season is launched.

Yet, Labor Day is really just a symbolic end to summer. Traditionally, fall begins at the “time of equal days and nights” or known by many as the equinox which occurs around September 22.

The history of Labor Day seems unimportant for what has become the de-facto end of summer for the American public.  As the carefree days and warm nights of summer come to a close, so do those seemingly unlimited blue sky days of freedom in the wind, riding with friends.

Each summer – on one specific day, at least here in the northwest, you’ll notice the light changes.  Sure, I know that’s not how it works, that the angle of the earth to the sun is constantly changing, but for some reason there’s one specific day it becomes most noticeable, and then you realize – fall is coming.

And it’s at about that same time you realize all those riding trips you thought about doing over the summer are being extinguished. That it’ll be another year before you make it to Glacier National Park or ride the Sawtooths or cruise down Route 66.

Fall is so different from summer. Everybody’s so serious, buckling down and making everything count by Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then the year ends. After that, it’s the January doldrums.

I was reflecting on my motorcycle rides this year during the commute to work and remember that when you’re young the summer is an eternity.  It was long enough to be bored, not realizing those days will fade and never come back.  But, as you age it slides by so fast that if you don’t stop and take it all in, you miss it.  And like many of you, I distinctly remember when summer meant work.  Back then it was all about nights and weekends.  And now, it’s just a season.

So, before we say goodbye to the long days.  Or so long to those nights without a jacket and the optimism of summer…

Let’s remember that we’ve got the new 2015 Harley-Davidson models to ogle at in the dealer.  And here in the northwest we’ve got the Street Vibrations Rally to look forward too.  It happens in Reno in less than a month which from my vantage typically marks the end of consistent riding for the year.  It’s always a good event, especially when there isn’t a club shooting and on even or is it odd years the weather can be awesome through Lassen State Park.

Lastly, please remember that the Labor Day holiday weekend is the second deadliest holiday period for highway travelers in Oregon.  July-August have been extremely deadly this year for motorcyclists so please ride safe as you cruise with the “End of Summer” music blasting.

Photo taken by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

2015 Freewheeler™ Trike

2015 Freewheeler™ Trike

The wait is over!

According to the Harley-Davidson press release here’s what’s new in 2015:

Freewheeler™ Trike – From its mini ape-hanger handlebar to its bobtail fenders, the Freewheeler trike fuses custom style and easy-handling performance. The all-new rear body shape gives the Freewheeler a low, lean profile.

Braking System for Softail® Models – A new braking system for Softail models delivers improved modulation and responsiveness and decreases hand lever effort by 40 percent. ABS is now standard on all Softail models and optional on the Slim. New front brake components include a rigid four-piston fixed front brake caliper with 34 and 32mm pistons coated to minimize initial displacement, brake pads with high-output friction material, a new master cylinder with a higher mechanical ratio, and a new 300mm front brake rotor. The caliper and master cylinder have been restyled to enhance the looks of each model.

Electra Glide® Ultra Classic® Low / Ultra Limited Low Motorcycles – A package of ergonomic enhancements that offer the lowest seat height and highest rider confidence available in a premium touring bike, combined with a full complement of Project RUSHMORE features and classic Harley-Davidson style.

2015 Street Glide

2015 CVO Street Glide

CVO Street Glide Motorcycle – It’s back!  The CVO Street Glide has a new Boom! Audio system with 600 watts of power streaming through four bi-amped front and rear three-way speakers.  It’s a limited-production bagger to achieve that rolling concert “bubble” with volume and sonic quality that will shock the neighbors. There will be four color options with an intricate paint scheme.

CVO Road Glide Ultra Motorcycle – This was a CVO surprise given the new release of the new 2015 Road Glide and many thought it would be a year before a CVO version would launch.  This a super-premium touring motorcycle with world-class aerodynamics, luxury touring essentials and the performance of a Screamin’® Eagle Twin-Cooled™ Twin Cam 110™ engine.

You might recall that Harley-Davidson previously announced the 2015 Road Glide before Sturgis.  It was also included it as part of this press release:

2015 CVO Road Glide Ultra

2015 CVO Road Glide Ultra

Road Glide® Motorcycle – After a model year hiatus, this bagger is back with a new triple vented, frame-mounted fairing, Dual Reflector Daymaker™ LED headlamps and a new handlebar with reduced reach and a new wrist angle for improved ergonomics.

Road Glide Special® Motorcycle – The Road Glide Special is equipped with premium Boom! ™ Box infotainment, upgraded suspension, and Reflex™ linked brakes with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

So what do you think of the new models?

Photos courtesy of H-D

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

2015 CVO Road Glide Ultra

2015 Road Glide

2015 Road Glide

At the Harley-Davidson dealer show in Nashville…

Well I’m not, but a dealer contact is and I just received confirmation that Harley-Davidson will announce this new CVO model in the their 2015 line later this week.

Informed sources state the new 2015 models will all launch tomorrow.

We wait with baited breath!

Photo courtesy of H-D

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Sturgis 2014 Stats

75th-Sturgis-LogoThe event has come a long way since it was known as the Black Hills Classic when Clarence “Pappy” Hoel, and some friends from the Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle club, decided to hold a racing event.

It’s now known as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the 74th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is in the books.  

Below are the law enforcement statistics as of 6:00 a.m. Sunday August 10, 2014

14-Sturgis-Stats

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the worlds largest and next year is the 75th Anniversary.  This will undoubtably ensure that attendance will break previous records. There is even a special 75th logo being rolled out for such a legendary event and will be emblazoned on every imaginable piece of merchandise for you to spend some cash.

You can thank Paul Resnick of Hot Leathers who designed the logo for the 75th Anniversary. Hot Leathers is the primary licensee for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. 

Previous Sturgis statistics are HERE.

Photo courtesy of Hot Leathers and Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, inc. (SMRi) 

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

The Midnight Riders

Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman

“I’ve got to run to keep from hidin’
And I’m bound to keep on ridin'”

The 1973 reference is when the Allman Brothers were the biggest band in the country.  Duane had died two years before, but the band carried on, ate a peach, and emerged with the “Brothers and Sisters” album that was so prevalent we were all ramblin’ men and women.

Remember 1973…  scratch that, you probably weren’t even alive back then. The preoccupation of young males was the stereo shop on Saturday afternoon followed by some tuning of your ride.  Back in the day music used to be a commitment.  You actually had to step out of the house and go to your local store to buy the vinyl album.  After paying with hard earned cash you returned home to the Marantz amplifier and Advent speakers, dropped the Dual turntable needle and digested it.

America has a bit of an outlaw culture.   Boomers understand this as the great American pastime was to get in a vehicle or put some wind in the face and set off across this great country of ours, where no one knew where you were going, or where you were, which is exactly how you liked it, because we don’t really want to be boxed in, we want to be free.

So, today I’m driving north on the spot where all commuters know traffic grinds to a halt, pushing the buttons on the satellite radio and I hear “Midnight Rider.”   It’s the track that got all the airplay from the “Laid Back” album.  And I’m instantly transported back to that high-school swagger in art class with this playing in the background.  Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’ve become a member of the over-the-hill gang.

Probably, but I’m past the point of caring.

Do we really have any choice but to keep on keepin’ on?  We keep on ridin’ because the road really does go on forever.  Around every bend are not only unforeseen potholes, but a lot of pleasures.  And just like the hopeful grooves in those old vinyl favorites they are as powerful today as it was back in 1973.

Older?  Yes.  Over the hill?  Hardly.

We’re still ridin’ and groovin’.  We’ve got the wind in our face, the power of music in us and no one is going to catch us midnight riders!

Original version of “Midnight Rider
Alternative version of “MidnightRider” with Vince Gill, Gregg Allman and Zac Brown

Photo courtesy of Facebook.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

The CanAm Fire Controversy

Can-Am Spyder

Can-Am Spyder

Hype, or is Bombardier taking a gamble?  But, lets start at the beginning.

U.S. safety regulators are investigating two reports of fires in the Can-Am Spyder three-wheeled motorcycles.

The motorcycles are made by Bombardier Recreational Products Inc.  (BRP) of Canada and the probe covers about 52,000 motorcycles from the 2008 through 2014 model years and they are looking into what is causing the fires.

Bombardier has had three recalls to date in 2012 and 2013, and all involved the risk of fires. Last year, the company recalled about 8,200 Spyders because brake fluid leaks could cause fires. In 2012 it recalled about 34,000 because fuel vapors could leak due to an ill-fitting gas cap. It also recalled 9,600 because fuel vapors could exit a vent hose in the engine compartment.

I don’t want to draw any similarities because these are very different situations, but many of you might recall the Ford Pinto.  It was one of the biggest continuing automotive news stories in the late 1970s with dramatic tales of exploding Fords on the highway and considerable awards from civil-court juries that were presented to victims of accidents involving the cars.

At the time, experts calculated the value of a human life at around $200,000, while a serious burn injury was worth about $67,000. Using an estimate of 180 deaths and 180 serious burns, someone at Ford put on paper that the cost to redesign and rework the Pinto’s gas tank would cost close to $137 million, while possible liability costs worked out to around $49 million.

Ford’s corporate legal machine went to work, however, when the memos regarding the liability assessments were leaked and entered into evidence, the cases were as good as over and Ford paid dearly in civil claims, public image and as a brand for product safety.

Former Ford exec Lee Iacocca reflecting on the Pinto incident and Ford’s attempts to control the damage, made this summation in his book Talking Straight“Clamming up is what we did at Ford in the late ’70s when we were bombarded with suits over the Pinto, which was involved in a lot of gas tank fires. The suits might have bankrupted the company, so we kept our mouths shut for fear of saying anything that just one jury might have construed as an admission of guilt. Winning in court was our top priority; nothing else mattered.”

BRP is a world leader in the design, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of motorized recreational vehicles and powersports engines.

The term “transparency” means much more than the standard business definition and its my hope that the company will be candid with the motorcycle riding public beyond the narrow interpretation of legal compliance on the risk of fires.

Photo courtesy of BRP.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

ABS Brake Safety

Harley-Davidson ABS Model List

Harley-Davidson 2014 ABS List

The European Parliament mandated that all new motorcycles and trikes sold in Europe with engines larger than 125cc are required to have ABS by 2016, and because of “global harmonization” – a term to describe manufacturing vehicles to uniform standards – suggests that the requirement will make ABS much more common in the U.S.

I would have anticipated a bigger push for ABS because the rate of fatal crashes is 31 percent lower on a motorcycle with antilock brakes than in the same models without ABS, according to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Thirty-one percent is a big number.  Or about one in three motorcycle crashes that could possibly be avoided.

With ABS, riders stop more quickly and stopping distances improve on wet and dry surfaces. ABS reduces concern that the wheels will lock up, which might result in a skid. Locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control which can easily lead to a skid and crash.  In the often wet northwest riding environment, maintaining control of steering during an emergency stop is most valuable.

ABS is becoming increasingly common on larger motorcycles.  In fact, BMW Motorrad USA started making ABS standard equipment on all its motorcycles beginning with the 2012 model year.  In the above photo is a list of 2014 Harley-Davidson models that include ABS.  One concern is that it’s been difficult to find ABS on smaller motorcycles.  Those smaller motorcycles are often purchased by less experienced riders, who are likely to benefit most from ABS.

From my vantage, if you don’t have ABS brakes it’s one of the best incentives to consider trading/buying a new motorcycle that does.

Chart photo courtesy of Consumer Reports.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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