New Motorcycles!

Merry Christmas! I hope every gets what they want (A NEW MOTORCYCLE). If you did not get a new motorcycle for Christmas then go out and get it yourself. But what would you buy, there is so much to choose from. For me walking through a dealership is like a kid in a candy shop! I love looking at the new bikes and gear. Although it can be pricey when you add up everything but it all looks so awesome and clean. Since all of my gear looks old and used haha. But gear that is used means that is has miles on it and it has stories behind it. So how do you decide on what you what to get? You could go to the dealership and look which is always fun. But how do you know what to really buy besides looking at it. Just like any product you can do some research and read reviews before you buy anything. Unless you are a dedicated die hard fan like Harley Davidson fans, who are very hardcore and most will buy nothing else. There are some people who are the same for other brands and there are some fans who will switch when new or different models premier. I do not judge anyone for what they ride, I only judge for they complain about. Such as Harley Davidson riders complain about Japanese model bikes and it just the same old garbage talk. For the most like myself, my friends and I give each other shit for what we ride and it is all in good fun! Because at the end of the day we ride and enjoy the time. So just get over it and enjoy the ride!

So after reading some articles and pouring over what is coming out I thought I would list what is considered good buys for 2017. There are many articles out there that give their reviews based off of test drives and prices. The price is good if the motorcycle is quality, type and size you want. For some size matters! Dirty people! So below is a list of bikes based off of the popular mechanics list of the 10 best buys in motorcycles for 2017 (http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/motorcycles/g2309/best-motorcycle-buys/).

1. 2017 Yamaha SCR 950 – Retro style bike with a classy look. It is not a huge motorcycle only being a 949cc engine but it is not small either. It has enough power to get you moving and big enough so you will not get made fun of completely.
a. Base price: $8,700
2. 2017 Suzuki Vanvan 200 – It is old bike that has been put away and Suzuki brought it back although it is just 199cc engine it does not have a lot of power and a small gas tank. Still a motorcycle but not one for long trips, the tank is only 1.7 gallons but the price is nice.
a. Base price: $4,600
3. 2017 Triumph Street Cup – Everyone knows Triumph and there quality of bikes. Usually it is the Bonneville that everyone is familiar with but they do have a nice line of bikes. The Street Cup is a modernize version of the Thruxton also cheaper. Since Triumph is associated with café race style bikes the Cup is along the same line and it looks beautiful.
a. Base price: $10,500
4. 2017 Honda CBR500 – Everyone knows CBR and usually they are filled with power. The 500 is smaller version and not as intimidating as the big ones. Honda was smart and a few years ago came out with 500 for riders who want a sport bike but are not ready for 1000’s which can be scary specially since if are just starting out. 471cc engine which smooth and the bike is comfortable.
a. Base price: $6,500
5. 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro – It is light and compact type of bike. It only weighs 225lbs and it is cheap. It has a sporty look and if you like riding scooters this will be a small step up. I am sure it is good for running errands around town.
a. Base price: $3,000
6. 20167 Victory Octane – Victory motorcycles has made a name for itself. They sell quality bikes but not a cheap price. The Octane is affordable bike at 1200cc’s and it is a sporty looking machine with power.
a. Base price: $10,000
7. Ducati Super Sport – DUCATI is what people think of when they think of sport bikes. 973cc engine that screams power and yet is comfortable to ride. The rider can sit more upright when riding instead of hunched over so you can sustain longer rides.
a. Base price: $13,000
8. 2017 Motorcycle Guzzi V7 Stone II – That is a mouthful for a name. 750cc engine, 6 speed transmission with lowered seat and the engine moved forward which gives more room for the rider.
a. Base price: $9,000
9. 2017 Harley Davidson Road Glide – If you have never heard of Harley Davidson then you need to get out of your closet. The Road Glide is a beautiful bike with a 1753cc engine (107 cubic inch) that is full of American power built in Milwaukie. This is one of the cheapest models they have for its class.
a. Base price: $19,000
10. 2017 BMW G310R – Most people think BMW and think unaffordable. Well BMW made a change with a smaller motorcycle 313cc that weighs 350lbs. Although it does not look like a BMW but it has all the features such as ABS which most smaller bikes do not come with.
a. Estimate Price: $5,500

All wonderful bikes and I would ride any of them specially the Harley and Victory. I love my Yamaha though and I will continue to ride it. If I had a million dollars I would have an awesome motorcycle collection. Riding is one way to truly travel with no distractions since your hands are always busy control the machine. I hope everyone gets what they want and enjoy riding if the weather permits. Remember always keep the shiny side up!

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Impressions

You know what they say! First impressions are everything and most of us are stressed to make a good first impression. Most people do not want to be seen as a hot mess when they first meet someone but standards vary and ideas of a hot mess also vary. If I am going for a job interview or something like that then yes I want to look my best. If I am out riding my motorcycle or fishing then I do not have a care in the world what I look like. Well really most of the time I do not care what I look like because I am usually not trying to impress anyone, I am happily married so the only one I am trying to impress is married to me. So I am good, I do not Know about the rest of you but I am sure you will figure it out.

Ever fantasize or think about reinventing yourself or really just being who you really are. Let’s say you wear a suit and tie to work Monday through Friday but on the weekends you just want to be the guy in t-shirt and jeans. You don’t shave or maybe just maybe don’t shower and get on your bike and ride! Now your not the formal everyday worker, you’re the Bob or Sally the biker with the free spirit ready to roam! Honestly you can ride a motorcycle in any attire trust me I have done it all except shorts. I refuse to ride in shorts or flip flops for obvious reasons. I have seen people ride in every sort of fashion from the full leathers to the dreaded shorts and flip flops. Sport bike guys put on the full suit with Kevlar padding. Safer is always better but it is your body do what you wish. I am not a leather wearing type of guy, I usually wear a long sleeve t-shirt, jeans and boots. I wear a half helmet and sunglasses. Oh and  gloves, cannot forget the gloves. A good pair of riding gloves go a long way specially when riding in the summer and the temps are high. I also ride wearing a reflective vest and I know most riders reactions and the most common repsonse is that is stupid and it looks retarded. Well it might not look cool as you think, I have sewn patches on mine and made it unique but it works. You are on two wheels so why not make take all the help you can get.

There are a lot of myths about motorcycle riders. I am not saying all motorcycle riders just some people look at the rider and the type of bike and immediately assume they are a criminal of some sort.. I am not vouching for all people who ride motorcycles just as I would not vouch for for everyone driving a car to say they are not criminals. People see a man with a burly beard, loud bike and tattoos and WHAM outlaw biker! NOT TRUE all of the time but if you talk to the guy with the burly beard and wild tattoos he is probably one of coolest people you will meet. I used to ride with an friend of mine and he had a full beard and loud Harley Davidson. He was one of the nicest guys I have ever met and you would never know he lived in the suburbs and his wife was a successful banker. Great people and I would ride with him any day. First impressions are everything and at the same time not everything. People who own bike want to look and feel the part which can be fun and add to their experience. It is fun to embrace and enjoy everything in life so why not have some fun! Riding a bike is a great life time experience that should be enjoyed so why not go all out and fun!

Sons Of Anarchy was a great show and I loved it! I was really disappointed when it ended, how could it only go seven seasons and end that WAY! But it ended and everyone recovered from the tragedy. Thanks to SAMCRO and company a lot of motorcycle clubs popped up and people started to flock to them. Again not a bad thing but society assumes that motorcycle clubs are a bad thing, SSSHHH do not tell anyone but they are not all bad. You do have the Hells Angels, Pegans, Bandidos, and a few others who are considered outlaw motorcycle clubs. I cannot say if they are or not other than what I have seen on television. I have run into some Hells Angels on the Jersey Turnpike when I was riding my Yamaha and just like everyone else the first thought that ran through my mind was “oh shit”. On my reflective vest I have military patches and when the pulled up beside me they were cool and gave me the normal motorcycle salute. I thought to myself after I went “phew” and felt relieved and afterwards thought it was cool. The plus side is that clubs do a lot of charity work raising money and awareness. I have been asked to join clubs but have always refused to join because I feel I do not need a club to ride, I just love to ride. I have rode with many clubs as a friend because of the people, but as far as the social aspect I am not very social all the time. I also do not want to be a prospect either, being someone else’s servant is not my idea of a good time. I just like riding and will continue to do so. Just remember to keep the shines side up!

First Motorcycle!

Ok so you have your motorcycle license and you are ready to get out on the open road. But there are a lot of questions that need to be answered first. What kind of bike do you want? Do you buy new or used? How do you get it home? Do you ride it home? HELL YES to the last one! That is just my opinion but everyone is different. You might be nervous and scared to ride it home which is ok that is normal. Some dealers deliver if you buy it from a dealer, some do not. If you have a truck you could load it into the bed or trailer it, a friend could ride it home. If you feel up to it you could ride it home and have friend ride with you. A friend of mine who was new to riding bought a motorcycle and decided to ride it home from the dealer asked me to ride with him. I knew the backroads from the dealer to his house which was good because if he had issues with riding the bike, which he did have issues, kept stalling it. I knew that the roads we were on had light traffic and it would not be dangerous. He stalled it a few times but it worked out and it gave him some experience and confidence. The only issue is to not have to much confidence which can lead to trouble. There is no point to buying a bike if you are not going to ride it, so why not ride the right away and have fun!

Several ways to get a motorcycle, buy it from a dealer, buy it from a private sale or maybe inherit it from someone you know. Buying a motorcycle from a personal sale can be tricky. People modify motorcycles and not all modifications are obvious. Unless you are a trained motorcycle mechanic or have a lot of experience with motorcycles some modifications are hard to spot. I am not saying modifications are bad it is just if you find a motorcycle you like and the seller does not state the modification because it has gone bad. That could lead to problems and you buying a lemon. Nobody wants a lemon unless you like lemonade and on a hot day after a long ride can be good. So if you are going to buy from a private sale instead of a dealer bring someone who knows motorcycles if you do not. I have always bought from a dealer and that way I get a warranty and I know the bike has been checked out. Just make sure you work with a reputable dealer.

Another question to be answered is what insurance company do you use? I used progressive and they have always treated me well. The prices are low but then again I am forty years old so my insurance is going to cheaper then the younger crowd. Now it is story time. When I lived in New Jersey the land of the crazy drivers, I bought a new Yamaha V-Star 1300 Deluxe brand new out of the box. I was days from heading out to my best friends wedding to be his best man. I left my flight itinerary on my desk at work and I did not need it because everything is electronic but it was an excuse to ride my new bike. I lived about fort five minutes from work and it was July so it was a great day to ride. My new Yamaha had less than 100 miles on it, I made it to my office grabbed my itinerary and off I went back home. Since my back had GPS on it I decided to take a different way home. I was riding down a road where the speed limit was 50 mph and I was going between 50 and 55 mph because doing the exact speed limit is difficult. But I was not flying by any means. There was a road coming from my left where I saw a car sitting at the stop sign there was moderate traffic on the road and when I was 10 feet or so from the car he decided to go and I had to stand on my brakes to slow down since there was a car coming from the other direction I could not swerve to avoid the jackass who decided to cut me off. As my brakes began to lock up and I was losing control of my motorcycle I decided the best thing to do was jump off and roll off the road. This was not a detailed decision making process, this was a impulse which saved my life because my motorcycle almost went all the way through his car. I was fine with road rash and a partially separated shoulder. The driver of the car said he did not see me, which I find hard to believe since I had a big blue motorcycle, bright green reflective vest and loud music blaring. I did get a free ride to the hospital and I did attend the wedding even though I was in pain for the flight to California. But progressive did replace my bike and all of my riding gear. They were huge help in the process, I am not advertising for progressive I am just telling my story.
I am not trying to scare anyone or stop anyone from buying a motorcycle I just want everyone to ride safe and keep the shiny side up. Riding is a great experience and should be enjoyed and looked at as the pass time that will kill you as some people put it. People fear what they do not know and you add in the horror stories, now you have all the excuses and reasons not to do something. The proper gear and training can save your life plus paying attention. So enjoy the ride on the open road!

The Plunge

I assume you are ready to take the plunge and get on two wheels. So we discussed how to get started which is easy enough to do right? But maybe you are still unclear if you still want to buy a bike and ride because it is a big purchase. It is not buying a house type of big purchase but it also not like buying a Huffy. So let’s discuss the reasons to ride or not to ride because there are many and everyone has an opinion. First I will mention why I ride and the reasons why I love it. Riding a motorcycle is about freedom, when you are on a motorcycle you see what’s around you more as you travel. You pay attention to everything see everything clearly plus you have the bonus of fresh air and the elements good or bad. Some of my favorite times riding has been in the rain. Of course summer rain because winter rain sucks! Buying a motorcycle is huge deal and great investment if you want it to be. There are people who buy a bike and never ride it, they choose to let it sit in garage and let it rot. A beautiful motorcycle left sitting collecting cobwebs and not gaining any miles is a shame and we should not let that happen! So I will stop ranting and get to it.
I always like to start with bad and end with the good. So I will start with the reasons not to ride and of course debunk them. We as people will always play devils advocate against our own thoughts to keep ourselves from making a bad decision. I know when I decided to get back on two wheels again I did not have one negative decision to do so. My wife on the other had had pages of why not to. The most popular reason why people tell you not to ride a motorcycle is “you will kill yourself”. It is not you are committing suicide, how many people say let’s buy a motorcycle and die! Really it is not the first thought or second or third and really it is not even a thought at all. But let’s be realistic if you ride a motorcycle is New Jersey you might be committing suicide, I had two accidents in New Jersey within a year and half so if you live in Jersey then you might be committing suicide when you buy a bike. My list of reasons not to ride will not be very long since I love to ride.
– Dangerous
o Not only crashing the bike but you have to watch out for other riders
o You also have to watch out for animals
It can be dangerous specially with people who are their cell phones and not paying attention. You have to pay attention and almost anticipate what they are going to do so you can make the right decision. For the animals besides dogs who may try to chase you, deer can be dangerous. You know what they are able to do to cars? Picture a motorcycle they can take out a rider with ease. You have to pay attention to your surroundings.
– Expensive
o Purchase of the bike
o Insurance
o Proper riding gear
Sure starting out can be expensive since motorcycles are not cheap but you want quality right? Same with the gear such as a helmet, gloves, jacket, eye protection and what ever else you want. I suggest not skimping on equipment specially the helmet always make sure it is DOT approved. Insurance in the United States is fairly cheap depending on your insurance company and your age. If you have taken an MSF course some insurance companies will give you a discount usually 10-15% off. In Europe though insurance for a motorcycle is more than a car which blew my mind.

Now for the reasons to ride which there are and please check all that apply to you. I guarantee that once you get up on two wheels you will not want to go back to four wheels.
– Freedom
o Open air and free of all distractions
– Cheaper insurance
o Most states motorcycles are cheaper than cars unless you in Europe
– Cheaper on gas
o Motorcycles get better gas mileage than cars and smaller tanks
o I can go 200ish miles on my bike before filling up
– Easier to maintain than a car
o Maintaining a motorcycle is very important for obvious reasons
– Most motorcycles are cheaper than cars
– You will look cool
o Everyone notices motorcycles
– You can belong to something
o If you like clubs and events then owning a motorcycle is for you
– It will open your eyes
o You will notice more of what is going on and make you a better driver

Ok I can go on and on of why to ride a motorcycle. To me the fun part is shopping for a bike. Some people say if you have never ridden a motorcycle you should buy a used one and or a small one till you get comfortable with riding. I have seen people do that and they regret buying a smaller bike or a bike they do now want. They bought it because it was cheap and then they felt like they wasted money. I say buy the bike you want to buy do not be afraid of how big it is. The weight and size can be intimidating but when you are up on two wheels and riding the you will not even feel the weight. Most of the bike is plastic, the meat and potatoes of the bike is really small. Think of your ten speed with bunch of plastic around it to make it look cool and appealing. Sure you would probably get made fun of but it would not change how the bike is controlled when moving. Motorcycles are fun and great way to relax and enjoy life. I use my bike as daily driver and I always enjoy a long commute, that is one difference between people who drive cars and people who ride motorcycles is we enjoy the ride no matter the distance. I always hope for long distance rides.

So what are you waiting for? It is time to do some shopping and find that perfect bike! You have to decide if you want a sport bike or a cruiser. The type of bike would depend on what you want to do. Do you want to ride long distance? Do you want to just ride around town? Harley Davidson’s are nice bikes they are just really pricey unless you buy the base model the Sportster which is not my favorite and not a quality motorcycle in my opinion. I have always loved the Ultra Glide but that is a really expensive motorcycle but a beautiful bike. Honda, Yamaha and Suziki make nice bikes as well. There are plenty to choose from you just have to pick the one you want that will fit your needs and is capable to do what you want it to do. I use to make fun of the guys who rode the Honda Goldwings but then realize they do not need backpacks when they go anywhere they can carry it all on the bike, I always say they have a coffee pot somewhere in there. So I followed suit sort of with my Yamaha deluxe. I have hard cases that can carry my stuff. Sure the younger guys I ride with pick on me saying I am riding a grandpa bike but when we go places and they ask me to carry something they purchased they change their tune. I would purchase a Goldwing if could afford one and someday I will or an Ultra Glide.

Ready to Ride!

Motorcycle riding has been, for me at least, one of those simple pleasures in life that allow me that small bit of freedom, peace, and unadulterated fun each and every day. When I’ve had a long day at work dealing with tedious, frustrating issues (and people), jumping on my bike and zooming away makes all my worries float away. Revving my engine as I speed away, with the wind on my face and the road ahead of me, puts it all into perspective. It puts me into a good mood and whatever negative thoughts I had before I started the ride are gone when I am done.
Is this something you want? Would you love to be a daily motorcycle rider, but just don’t know where to begin? I want to impart some of the wisdom I have gained being a daily motorcycle rider to you. I will provide you tips on what steps to take to purchase the right motorcycle for you, as well as aid you in getting your license and any other certifications you might need.

When I first decided to get serious about motorcycles and had decided to buy one I was not sure where to start. I had not ridden a motorcycle in over fifteen years and I did not have an endorsement for a motorcycle on my license. But I wanted to ride, so I went shopping for a bike. I know I did not want a sport bike AKA crotch rocket and Harley Davidson’s are really expensive, so  I bought a used 2009 Yamaha V-Star 650 classic. It was a beautiful silver motorcycle. Although it was two years old , it had zero miles on it. It was bought by a woman as gift for her husband and they had returned it so they marked it used. Bonus for me because it was now cheaper and never ridden. Dealers usually do not let you test drive motorcycles unless it is a special event, so I bought the bike anyway and picked it up in my truck since I  did not have the proper license. So now I had the bike and no license. Also, since I am in the military I needed a motorcycle safety foundation card (MSF). So I put the cart before the horse which is really normal for me.  I think I am good at doing things this way.

So, to recap, I had a bike, no license and a pissed off wife. Oh wait I did not mention my wife was really angry. She hates motorcycles and did not want me to buy one so I bought one anyway.  I then took the state permit test so I could ride the bike. Also, the military requires MSF which I also did not have but could be easily attained. I took the MSF course and got my license and have been riding happily ever since. I have since upgraded to a 2013 Yamaha V-Star 1300 Deluxe. Do not get me wrong I loved my 09 V-Star 650 but I felt it was to small and in 2013 Yamaha came out with the Deluxe. The Deluxe had a GPS, radio, and  hard cases which is a huge plus. It is now my daily driver and my pride and joy. Wait kids are my pride and joy or are they? Just kidding I love my kids and I also love my bike. Something like that I think, anyway I really enjoy my V-Star Deluxe and I know many people do because there is a Facebook page dedicated to being an owners of one.

I have heard many theories and stories about what bikes to buy and how to do certain things to bikes to what you should wear. I have also seen many clubs everyone said I should join. I am not going to tell anyone what they can do or not to do I am just voicing my opinion based on my experiences. I have good and bad experiences in the world of motorcycles and would not change anything. Joining a club is not a bad thing but it is not for me. I just like to ride and  if I am riding with someone else then I will enjoy the company but I am perfectly fine riding alone. Motorcycle clubs became very popular when Sons of Anarchy came on T.V.  I am older and do not want to be a prospect or anyone’s servant. But they can rewarding if you like socialing. Motorcycle clubs also do a lot for charity.  Another theory is people will tell you the first motorcycle you buy should be a  less powerful one and then upgrade when you feel comfortable. That makes about as much sense as do not buy an SUV until you have three kids and a dog. Buy what you want and do not regret what you buy. Just ride the hell out it.

So want to ride a motorcycle and you are not sure if it is for you. Some people buy motorcycles get a license and the decide they are not up for it. Now they are stuck with a bike they do not want and possibly a motorcycle payment. Hopefully they can sell it and break even. But it does not have to be all gloomy and agony. Maybe you are not sure what kind of motorcycle you want such as a sport bike or cruiser, everyone has their opinion on this and of course will push want they want. I prefer cruiser but I am old and cannot hunch over for long periods of time. One thing you can do is take the MSF course before deciding they will let you ride on both and you then you can choose which one like and if riding is for you. Some people will take the MSF course and decide they do not want to ride at all. I had two people in my class quit and it is perfectly alright. But always start with MSF, I will always tell every person who wants to ride to take the MSF course because it is not required to ride a motorcycle unless you are military. But it is a great course and you will learn something from the course. The offer beginner course, experienced rider course and sport bike courses. The military makes it required and has to be renewed every five years. I would retake anyway because it keeps me focused on safety and keeps my skills fresh.

Most states will endorse a license for a motorcycle if you pass MSF. If you can pass the MSF riding test then you should be good to go since the state test is most likely simple. Harley Davidson offers the same course  and most courses are for around $250.00. For the military the MSF course is free and is usually two days. For the civilian courses it is usually two or three days on the weekend. But hey you are riding motorcycles for two days which is awesome in my opinion. Once complete with the MSF, have a bike and you have your license now you are able to hit the open road and roam free.