Archive for June 18th, 2009

xtreme-pacsFor some there are not many things that get better than a scenic motorcycle ride with the added enjoyment of pulling off the tarmac to overnight under the stars.

I received several emails in regards to my outdoor experience during a recent trip to the Hells Canyon Rally.  I’m talking camping here and getting back to nature.  Touring motorcycles offer a lot in the way of storage because you’ll need a good tent, a better sleeping bag, an air-mat and a “butt buddy” i.e. chair!  But before you embark on that next camping trip you’ll have to decide what is or isn’t important to take because space is always a premium.

As I noted in the Hells Canyon post I went down the path of piece parting over a few years to fulfill the requirements of camping.   But, I came across an all-in-one system that looks like a good alternative for those looking for a one-stop complete package.  Made by Napier, it’s called the Sportz X-Treme PAC. It’s a complete camping package designed with everything you need (except air-mat) for a “comfortable” stay in the outdoors. A very compact 3 season package which includes tent, full rain fly, 2 stools, 2 sleeping bags and a carrying bag which can be easily attached to a motorcycle.  For about $250.00 it features a 7.5’ x 6.5’ tent which sleeps two people; a full tape seamed rain fly with side extensions; 2 heavy duty stools and 2 mummy sleeping bags. All of the items pack into the carrying bag.  They also make a one-person version which will save you $100.00 when you heed the call of the open road and nature.  The product has been shipping more than 3 years and there are a number of product reviews and blogs that have covered the usage.  You’ll be hard pressed to find anything other than positive ratings.

Another bit of advice from your motor-camper extraordinaire… before entering your portable nylon estate I suggest having a plan.  Are you taking all your stuff and storing it in the tent or just the items you’ll need for the morning.  For example storing your helmet in the tent will avoid moisture and critters accumulating.

Photo courtesy of Napier.

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Honda_LALast week the 50th celebration of American Honda Motor Company went largely unnoticed.

It was fifty years ago in a small storefront in Los Angeles that the company opened its first U.S. based operation selling the step-through Honda 50 and developing the tag line “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”  It would be 20 years later, but Honda started production of motorcycles in a U.S. based production facility (Marysville, Ohio) in 1979.  Today the company employs over 27K in the U.S. in the design of automobiles, motorcycles, ATV’s, water crafts and power equipment.  They operate ten U.S. manufacturing plants along with 14 R&D facilities.  June also marks fifty years of Honda racing activities.  The 1959 Isle of Man TT was the first entry of a Japanese team.

It’s ironic given that 2009 is an important and historic year for the motor company that it would find it an ideal time to enter the “chopper” segment while at the same time withdraw from the U.S. road racing activities, end motorcycle production at its Marysville plant, cancel the Honda Hoot motorcycle rally and cease production of the ATV’s and watercrafts at the South Carolina manufacturing plant for 3 months.

True times are difficult, but the companies network of U.S. parts suppliers comprises 545 companies in 34 states with annual purchases over $17.5 Billion last year.  The company sold 320K units in North America in the last fiscal year down 133K from the year prior.

Since the day I started trying to convince my mom motorcycles are good and later on being introduced to the CT-70 “Mini Trail” and the hours of riding… I’ve always had a certain level of fondness of Honda and owned my fair share of these high quality motorcycles.

Congrats on 50 years!

Photo courtesy Honda web site.

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