Church of MO: 1998 Yamaha YZ400F

July 22, 2018 John Burns 0

And in those days of King Jeremy and the two-stroke armies, there appeared from the east a revolutionary four-stroke MX bike. Surely this heavy, complex DOHC Philistine won’t catch on among the premix masses? No one can nac-nac such a gnar machine? Ahhh, wrong again. Our MO correspondent was already bored at first ride. 

1998 Yamaha YZ400F

A Hot Start

By Bryan Roberts, Contributing Writer , Jul. 19, 1998, Photography by Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA
“Blah, blah, blah, bore and stroke, Genesis valve system, blah, blah, blah…”No offense to Ed Schielder, but I wanted to tell him to shut up. I could read the tech stuff later and the rain clouds were rolling in fast. The world-famous Carlsbad Raceway is not a place you want to test a new motorcycle in the rain. Anyway, I couldn’t hear him very well and I was busy staring at the beautiful blue 1998 YZ400F and trying to pick out the one for me. This is going to be good. Ed began to mention the starting procedures so I listened closely because I knew track time was close.

A twist of the throttle and the 39mm Keihin with accelerator pump squirts a blast of 92 octane gas into the intake system. Don’t run race gas as it can harm some internal parts of the carb. Pull the choke out, remove your hand from the throttle to keep from doing the “two-stroke twist,” kick the lever slowly until it stops, pull in the compression release lever and bump the lever past the hard spot. Return the kick lever to the full upright position, release the compression lever and kick.

‘…when the track broke in and I became more accustomed to the motor characteristics, my lap times shrank and my smile grew’

If done correctly, you should then hear the sweetest sound. The YZ400F will start on the first or second kick, hot or cold. You just have to learn the routine. The YZ400F has a “hot start” button on the carb to aid starting when the engine has been running a while. It lets cold, fresh air directly into the intake manifold, but I never found the need for it. That doesn’t mean it won’t come in handy some time.

On the track the YZ400F started to shine in just a few laps. At first, it was wet and slick, but when the track broke in and I became more accustomed to the motor characteristics, my lap times shrank and my smile grew. I was amazed at how easy it was to ride the bike. The motor is so unlike any four stroke I had ever ridden. For starters, the stock engine pumps out 42 horses and does it with a red line at 11,200 rpms. A stock YZ250 puts 43 ponies to the ground but signs off before 9,000.

The 400F also has almost non-existent engine braking. The light flywheel and short stroke combine to let the YZ400F freewheel almost as much as a two-stroke, which made me a lot more confident when I miss-timed jumps and received no scary or weird behavior from the flight of the bike. I have heard some say there is a hiccup at 4500 rpm, but I couldn’t find it. It may take a faster, more receptive rider to notice it. .

Using the clutch was a rare occasion, although I never once killed the motor while braking too hard into a corner. You can abuse this clutch fairly quickly, which is pretty standard on four strokes if they are used too much. So don’t use it too much. The seat and tank junction is very slim. It is slimmer than the YZ250, but the frame behind the motor is very wide. You get use to this and can actually use this to your advantage on long up-hills.

All the controls felt correct and nothing seemed out of place, but I would like to try other bar bends to see if the cockpit can be opened up a little bit. The suspension felt safe and sane. It required no adjustment in the short time we spent on the track, although the fork seemed to dive through the stroke when the full weight of the bike rested on it and I had to absorb a sharp-edged bump. This happened very few times and it could also have been any number of reasons and cures. As I said, I adjusted nothing and still had very good results.

The rain finally showed and so did the weight of the YZ400F At almost 260 lbs in ride trim the 400F got very heavy when traction was lost and you had to stab your foot on the ground to keep the bike upright. Try any leg save and you will know you are on a heavy motorcycle.

During the drier parts of the test the bike was magical. Whether the motor sang along at 10,000 rpms and chugged by at 4,000, the YZ400F seemed to go wherever you wanted to point it. In slicker, wet conditions the 400F seemed to have a mind of it’s own and searched for it’s own way. Not bad, but I prefer to do all the steering.

The rain came down harder and the famous “baked adobe” at the track started to run down the “freeway” and made getting to the top a joke. That ended my day on the YZ400F. It was too short of an experience. I vow to make Ed Schielder and Terry Beal to give me another (longer) shot on this bike on a dry track to see what it can really do for me. This bike is too fun to ride for such a short time.

I sat under the rain soaked EZ-up and stared at the mud clods stuck to the sides of the blue beauties and wondered how much the bikes weighed now. In the background I heard Ed saying “Blah, blah, blah…”

Specifications (1999 Model):

Price: $5799.00 (USD)

Engine: liquid-cooled, twin-cam, five-valve, four-stroke

Displacement: 399cc

Bore and Stroke: 92 x 60.1 mm

Carburetion: 39 mm Keihin

Transmission: Five-speed

Wheelbase: 58.3 in (1481 mm)

Ground Clearance: 14.7 in (373 mm)

Front Suspension: Inverted telespopic forks, 11.8 in (300 mm) travel

Rear Suspension: Single rear shock, 12.4 in (315 mm) travel

Claimed Dry Weight: 231 lbs (104 kg)












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HJC Releases New Star Wars Helmet Graphics

July 21, 2018 Press Release 0

Sweet new Star Wars Helmet Graphics from HJC!

Begin Press Release: 

Rule the road and bring order to the helmet galaxy!

Star Wars Helmet Graphics

Darth Vader themed RPHA 90 and Stormtrooper themed CS-R3 helmets

Finally, Star Wars’ most iconic characters are available from HJC’s licensed helmet line. Ride to the dark side with Darth Vader themed RPHA 90 and Stormtrooper themed CS-R3 helmets.

Both inspired by the original Star Wars trilogy, the Stormtrooper design replicates the original, white combat helmet, with blue stripes to mimic the air-supply hoses.  The motorcycle helmet appears to be fresh out of the battle with its distressed markings.

The Darth Vader RPHA 90 helmet captures details such as atmospheric sensors, low-power relay transmitters and the breath mask.  The mouth vent art is even placed on a functioning helmet vent.  The nearly all-black helmet includes a red lightsaber glow and Aurebesh phrases, as well as a red interior exclusively designed for this helmet.

To add variety to the helmet models in HJC’s Star Wars product line, the Darth Vader graphic is featured on HJC’s RPHA 90, a brand new, high-end modular helmet, and the Stormtrooper graphic is featured on the full-face CS-R3 at an accessible price.  The PRHA 90 is the most compact modular motorcycle helmet; resembling a full-face helmet through weight and appearance, yet functioning as a modular helmet for convenience.

Get into formation with the Stormtrooper CS-R3 helmet, or lead the Empire with the Darth Vader RPHA 90 helmet. The choice is yours.

Star Wars Helmet Graphics

RPHA 90 Darth Vader

RPHA 90 Darth Vader
DOT & ECE, Sizes XS-2XL, $699.99 USD
ECE, Sizes 2XS-2XL, €699.90 EU

Star Wars Helmet Graphics

CS-R3 Stormtrooper

CS-R3 Stormtrooper
DOT, Sizes XS-2XL, $169.99 USD
CS-15 Stormtrooper
ECE, Sizes XS-2XL, €179.90 EU

STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates.  © & Lucasfilm Ltd.

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Kawasaki Ninja H2 Looking to Set Record Run During Bonneville Speed Week

July 20, 2018 Press Release 0

The Kawasaki Ninja H2 will return to the Salt Flats with intentions of setting record-breaking runs during Bonneville Speed Week. 

Begin Press Release: 


Kawasaki’s Team 38 ready to set record during Bonneville Speed Week on Kawasaki Ninja H2

Foothill Ranch, California – The Kawasaki Ninja H2 is built beyond belief and starting August 11, 2018, Kawasaki’s Team 38 is looking to go #beyondspeed during the famous Bonneville Speed Week. Team 38 will be competing on a specially prepared Ninja H2.

2018 marks the second chapter in Team 38’s pursuit of a record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Two years ago the team learned a lot in their maiden trip to the ancient lakebed on a Ninja H2R.

Team 38 is a key component of Kawasaki’s rich racing heritage. Kawasaki first hit the salt bed of Bonneville in 1967 and set 14 new AMA speed records, which was the most records ever established in one year by any motorcycle manufacturer Team 38 was later formed from employees in the Kawasaki Experimental Technology and Engineering department and named after the building they were housed in at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) Akashi Works Plant in Japan. The team is comprised of Japanese employees focused on continuing the racing legacy of Kawasaki while also pushing the development of Kawasaki models.

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2018 Isle of Man TT Video Highlights

July 20, 2018 admin 0

The 2018 Isle of Man TT turned out to be one of the most spectacular fortnights in the storied history of the meeting. Virtually every race saw new lap records set, at speeds that were unthinkable a decade ago. The weather was glorious, and a host of new dining and imbibing options have proliferated. There were some tragic losses to go with the glory, but that is part of the unparalleled history, character, and danger of this extraordinary contest.

Other than the 40,000 visitors to the TT, though, millions of additional motorbike enthusiasts around the globe settled for watching the race coverage in the comfort of their homes. But not live. Instead, the TT programming is distributed as a set of same-day highlights programs, which spawns considerable production challenges.

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The TT is the world’s ultimate road race, and producing and distributing TV and radio coverage is as big a challenge as exists in sports. The Mountain Course sprawls over an entire island, an almost incomprehensibly huge 37 ¾ miles through villages, open spaces and yes, a mountain. The TT is run as a time trial, over 2 full weeks, and is subject to constant weather and racing incident contingencies. Add to this, speeds averaging over 130 mph and reaching 200 mph on the Sulby Straight, 70-90 bikes in each race, race lengths of up to 227 miles. This ain’t like covering a baseball game.

And, precisely because it ain’t baseball, the TT has gained awareness and popularity around the globe due to the breath-taking spectacle of the races, and superb nightly programming now seen in over 130 countries.

Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes at Union Mills during qualifying for TT 2018. The unique beauty of the TT is on display via the photography and video captured during the fortnight. Photo by

Neil Duncanson is Chief Executive Officer of UK-based North One Television, a global powerhouse in motorsports and entertainment content, the erstwhile TT production company and now worldwide distributor of TT programming. Here in NYC last week for the Formula E race, he told me, “In global TV terms, the event has grown significantly over the last ten years, with more than 30 million watching in 2017.”

Asked about the possibility of live coverage, Duncanson added “We need to maintain and grow the quality of the daily highlight programming, but we’re obviously keen to find a solution for live coverage of the races. But to do that properly is not cheap, with a vast array of course, on board and helicopter tele-cameras to coordinate. It may not happen for a couple of years, but we hope to get there!”

My hunch is that streaming with a subscription plan will be the ticket in the near future.

Aísling Ridout, Production Manager at Greenlight Television. I’d like to work at a company that has a Vincent Comet in the lobby.

Gathering the footage for our sweet little TT video and another motorbike-themed project I’m working on (my primary source of putting food on the table is the business side of TV and digital media, which is also responsible for this being just a little tiny bit late) put me in contact with Aísling Ridout, Production Manager of Greenlight Television, the Isle of Man-based host broadcaster for the TT, and one of the world’s leading motorsport television producers, including the Monaco Historic Grand Prix and the North West 200 Road Races.

Aísling, delightful as could be, despite running on 2 weeks with minimal sleep, told me “Turning around a six-lap race for same-day coverage is an interesting logistical exercise, so when the start of Saturday’s Superbike race was delayed for an hour by weather, the edit team knew that they had to push hard to get the job done for a 9pm playout – a live feed direct from the Isle of Man to ITV and onto TV screens all around the country, and then the world.”

And yes, the viewer expectations for coverage are rising as well; production values and technology are changing the way we watch sports. “While racers are still on the 37.73-mile course averaging 130mph-plus, we are recovering pictures from a dozen cameras around the course, plus curb-cams, onboards and a helicopter, Aísling added. “The races have gotten faster, so we have to move faster too.”

The secret weapon of TT coverage though, is Manx Radio, ‘The Nation’s Station.’ Live, wonderfully colorful coverage of every practice session and race, chat shows, paddock and parc ferme interviews and commentary, led by a team of broadcasters who are as knowledgeable and passionate about their subject as any in the world.

Chris Kinley anchors live coverage of the races on Manx Radio. Here with John McGuinness a few years back.

Tim Glover, Chris Kinley, Dave Christian, and Ramsey Hairpin commentator, Roy Moore, practice their craft for the TT, and the beautiful thing is that you can download the Manx Radio app or go to to stream the wonderful sounds, live timing, and race coverage to experience the glory of the races for free, live, anywhere in the world. I’ve lost countless productive work hours at my desk in The Chrysler Building with Manx Radio coverage of the Southern 100 and Classic TT/ Manx Grand Prix over the years. Do yourself a favor, and listen in come August, you’ll love it.

Cameron Donald, former TT winner and expert road racer is now anchoring television coverage of the TT. Photo by

Duke Video will soon have the DVD and digital downloads of the 2018 TT programs and on-boards available for purchase, and they already have massive amounts of TT-related merchandise and historical video. You’ll not want to miss having them in your collection. Get your credit card out now.

I’m already counting down to my 11th annual visit to the Isle of Man TT in May of 2019, and hit me up if you have any questions on how to make the trip a reality. In the meantime, take a few minutes enjoy our little TT sizzle video here on See ya’ on the Isle of Man!

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2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 Certified by CARB

July 20, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

We saw it at EICMA in concept form but we can now confirm the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 is heading for production as a 2019 model.

EICMA 2017: Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 Concept

The proof comes from the California Air Resources Board which has issued an executive order certifying the Svartpilen 701 for 2019. The “Black Arrow” was certified along with is “White Arrow” sibling, the Vitplien 701 which also debuted at EICMA as a 2018 production model. The executive order lists the same emissions levels as the 2018 Vitpilen 701, suggesting the KTM Duke-based 693cc Single will return unchanged on the Svartpilen.

Judging from Husqvarna’s other models, we expect the Svartpilen 701 production model will look fairly close to its concept, naturally with the addition of street-legal necessities. The license plate holder, turn signals and instrumentation will likely be similar to those found on the Vitpilen 701. As we saw with the smaller 401 models, the Svartpilen 701 will have more of a scrambler or flat tracker style than its sibling. We can expect an 18-inch front wheel with a 17-inch wheel at the rear, though the concept was equipped with cast wheels and we don’t expect the production model to swap those for wire spoke wheels.

We expect the 2019 Husvarna Svartpilen 701 production model will be formally introduced at one of this fall’s big European shows, either at Intermot in early October or a month later at EICMA. Check back here on for the latest information as it becomes available.

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RawHyde Adventures Expands its Off-Road Motorcycle Training Operations

July 20, 2018 Press Release 0

The adventure doesn’t have to stop once the pavement ends. Riders looking to improve their skills in the dirt should check out RawHyde Adventures, which has two riding campuses in Colorado and now California.


LAS VEGAS, NV – July 19, 2018 – RawHyde Adventures is expanding its operations in the United States with the acquisition of new properties and a growing fleet of BMW Motorcycles. The Official Off-Road Motorcycle Training Center of BMW Motorrad, RawHyde trains thousands of motorcyclists each year at its facilities in California and Colorado.

RawHyde Adventures

RawHyde Adventures recently doubled its footprint in Colorado to a total of 80 acres.

In 2017 RawHyde acquired land to expand its Colorado property to a total of 80 acres. The new land is now home to the country’s first terrain park for adventure motorcyclists. RawHyde training courses have always been performed on RawHyde land, but the new addition allows for entire classes to work on riding drills simultaneously, drastically reducing downtime and maximizing riding time.

In addition to expanding their Colorado facility, RawHyde has acquired a new piece of property in California City, CA and is in the early stages of developing a new location for training courses and events. Whereas the original RawHyde training center just north of Los Angeles offers riders hilly terrain typical of Southern California chaparral, the new California City facility will offer easy access to the nearby desert terrain.

RawHyde Adventures

A student at RawHyde’s California training center practices riding through sand.

“Motorcycling is about freedom and exploration, and riding on paved roads is really just scratching the surface of what’s possible on these machines. Our mission is to train riders and empower them to venture off the beaten path,” explains RawHyde Founder and Director, Jim Hyde. “The best way for us to serve the adventure riding community is to invest back into our business to continually improve the services that we are able to provide. Our courses and our tours are all about experience, and we are determined to build the best possible experience for riders of all motorcycles and ability levels.”

RawHyde Adventures

Part of RawHyde’s fleet of 2018 BMW GS Motorcycles at its California Training Center.

This year, RawHyde has expanded its motorcycle fleet with 50 brand new BMW GS models, enabling riders to use RawHyde bikes for training courses or get familiar with one of the models on off-road terrain. These training courses are performed entirely on RawHyde land at their California and Colorado training centers. Participants are provided with onsite accommodations and meals prepared by trained chefs, allowing riders to focus entirely on the training that they are undergoing.

For more information including listings of upcoming training courses and guided tours, visit Follow RawHyde Adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest updates.

About RawHyde Adventures

Since 2002, RawHyde Adventures has been conducting adventure-oriented training courses and guided motorcycle tours throughout North and South America. RawHyde was officially endorsed by BMW Motorrad North America in 2008, making it one of nine official BMW training centers worldwide. The endorsement also makes RawHyde the only privately-owned training center in the US to be sanctioned by BMW Motorrad. RawHyde also organizes an annual adventure motorcycling rally called Adventure Days, with riders and companies coming together for a weekend of education, riding, and camaraderie. Learn more at

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Progressive Insurance and Indian Motorcycle Team Up for National Demo Tour

July 20, 2018 Press Release 0

Progressive Insurance and Indian Motorcycle have teamed up to bring a national demo tour to nearly every Indian dealer in the country as well as other key events. 

Begin Press Release: 


Indian’s Cruisers, Baggers & Touring Models Go Coast-to-Coast to Reach Riders at Events & Dealerships Across the Country

MINNEAPOLIS (July 19, 2018) – Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company founded in 1901, and Progressive Motorcycle Insurance, the leading provider in motorcycle insurance, today announced a collaboration to showcase Indian’s 2018 model lineup.

The Indian Motorcycle Demo Tour, sponsored by Progressive Motorcycle Insurance, will travel to key events and dealerships around the country to provide riders the opportunity to test ride Indian motorcycles. The demo tour visits nearly every Indian Motorcycle dealership in the calendar year, along with 18 of the major motorcycle rallies in the U.S. Demo rides are free of charge and riders can ride as many models as many times as desired.

Indian Motorcycle on Tour is a traveling display that showcases select models at various motorcycle and lifestyle events, including boat shows, air shows, festivals and more.  It allows the brands to connect with both existing and new riders in a very grassroots and approachable manner.

“We’re excited to be collaborating with Progressive on our display and demo tour,” said Reid Wilson, Senior Director of Marketing and Product Development, Indian Motorcycle. “Our newly-forged relationship creates a unique opportunity for riders to engage with both brands, and not only test ride any of our 2018 models, but also learn more about Progressive’s robust coverage options.”

“As America’s #1 motorcycle insurance company, we understand the passion of the motorcycle community and its incredible excitement around the return of Indian Motorcycle over the last several years,” said Eric Doubler, Progressive’s Recreational Vehicle Business Leader. “Teaming up with Indian provides Progressive a unique platform to engage with riders across the country passionate about Indian Motorcycle and eager to check out its 2018 lineup.”

To learn more about the Indian Motorcycle demo tour and its test ride schedule, visit To stay up to date with the latest news and events from Indian Motorcycle follow along on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. For information on Progressive Motorcycle Insurance, visit

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Shipping a Motorcycle Across The Country Is Easier Than You Think

July 20, 2018 Troy Siahaan 0

Pardon me for a moment while I take you down memory lane. The year was 2007. I was racing my beloved Suzuki SV650 at the Barber Vintage Festival in Alabama, with intentions of going further east afterward and tackling the high banks at Daytona International Speedway with the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA). The Barber round was great – I had some decent finishes to my name, and better yet, I came away from the event in one piece and with so many happy memories. Meanwhile, one kind competitor even agreed to take my SV to Florida!

Fast forward a few weeks, and the situation has unraveled. I accepted a job in Los Angeles – and my motorcycle was waiting for me in Florida. Needless to say, I never did make it to Daytona. And for the past 11 years life has taken me on several other twists and turns. All the while, my poor SV650 sat in a basement in Pensacola.

The last time I rode my SV650. Barber Motorsports Park, 2007. She wasn’t pretty then, she’s even worse now. Photo: Laura Trigg

I thought about that bike often – it was the motorcycle I lusted after when I got my license. It was also the motorcycle I rode the first time I touched a knee down. At one point, I could practically pull it apart and put it back together. Almost everything I know about two wheels I learned on that bike. Needless to say, I have a soft spot for middleweight twins, and whenever I test one for MO, I always think back to my SV.

I figured my bike was long gone. I had given my buddy in Florida permission to do with the bike as he pleased. I’m a motojournalist now. I get to ride everything! There’s no reason to have my SV anymore. Eleven years on, and I had a wild thought to contact my friend to see if he still had the bike. I’d been getting sentimental about it, but surely my 18 year-old motorcycle had moved on to greener pastures. I was hoping it had, so I could have some closure and move on.

“Yup, still here,” read his text. “People have asked about it over the years, but I didn’t want to let it go without your permission.” Clearly he forgot my prior blessing to do with it as he pleased.

Now that I’m at a more stable point in life, those sentimental thoughts took over. I returned his text.

“Ok. I’m getting it back.”

Who ya gonna call?

Enter Clint Lawrence, founder and CEO of Motorcycle Shippers. He’s been moving motorcycles around since the early 1990s, and started Motorcycle Shippers in 1994. Originally, his business model was to facilitate the sales and transport of motorcycles all over the country in an age before the internet. Today, Motorcycle Shippers still helps people buy, sell, and transport motorcycles to and from far away places, but Lawrence also says he’s seeing business from folks who’d rather ship their motorcycles to rallies. Other clientele include movie sets, celebrities, and even OEMs. With a network of trucks and drivers across all 50 US states and Canada, with the ability to ship a single motorcycle, or an entire fleet, Lawrence is able to transport motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, and even snowmobiles and jet skis.

There’s my trusty SV650 now, in its Pensacola home of 11 years. Probably the first time it’s seen light in some time.

In talking with Lawrence, it was clear his heart is in the right place. Motorcycle shipping isn’t exactly glamorous, but this company has survived for 24 years (and counting) because the guy on top cares. Lawrence and his team developed a special skid to transport motorcycles quickly, easily, and safely – it doesn’t matter if it’s a sporty bike like my SV, an adventure bike, or a chopper. They’ve seen – and transported – them all. On top of that, they’ve developed a sort of curriculum for its drivers so they know the unique challenges that come with transporting a motorcycle.

The booking process was incredibly simple. A dedicated page on the Motorcycle Shippers website asks four basic questions: Where is the bike currently located? What kind of motorcycle is it? Where is its final destination? And how did you hear about the company? Talking to a live human is also an option, which was what I did because I wanted the full experience.

Awoken from its slumber, it’s time the ‘ol girl came home.

This is where Ed Merati comes in. A true professional, Ed asked me all the questions above, then eased my fears and answered my questions about the process. Seeing as how my SV had been tucked away for more than a decade – and it was put away already banged up – I wasn’t concerned if there were a few marks. However, most customers rightly expect their pride and joy to show up pristine. Ed explained that the drivers attach the bikes to the special skid with soft ties around the triple clamp and that a $7000 valuation is included with each shipment with no deductible. Higher valuations are also available.


Feeling good about the process so far, the inevitable question about price came into the picture. The cost will obviously vary depending on the distance between point A and point B and the type of motorcycle being transported, but for a small motorcycle like the SV650, the cross-country trek from Florida to California would be roughly $700 (before tax) – extremely reasonable in my opinion. Cheaper, in fact, than me trying to drive my own vehicle out there and back. Better still, the cost quoted is the cost paid for door-to-door service. There are no hidden surcharges, fuel charges, or toll fees. Transparency is the name of the game.

No, the forklift was not taking the SV to the trash heap.


With cost agreed to and paperwork filled out, all that was left was the actual transport. For a trip across each side of the country, Merati estimated about five working days once the motorcycle was loaded and on its way. It’s asked that both the pickup and drop-off party allow a three-day window prior to arrival in the event of unexpected delays. A phone call is placed 24 hours before pick up and drop-off to ensure someone will be available when the truck arrives at both locations. Pretty standard stuff, really.

What caught me by surprise was the tracking service offered. Much like you would get when shipping anything else, my package was assigned a tracking number, so I could go to the Motorcycle Shippers website and see exactly where my SV was on its journey. It’s a nice touch adding extra peace of mind for those anxious worry-warts out there.


Five days after leaving Florida, this nice man rolls up to my house at 8:30am – a half hour before he was scheduled to – with my motorcycle. Talk about timely.

Once the truck was on its way from Florida to California, all that was left to do was wait. True to Merati’s estimate, I got a phone call from a dispatch office on day four to confirm I would be home the following day between 9am and 4pm. I cleared my schedule to ensure I would be around. Seeing as I live on a narrow, dead-end street, I asked the dispatcher if this would be a problem. “Not at all,” they said. Sweet.

Lo and behold, the next day – day five – my phone rings at 8am from the driver. “I’m 30 minutes away, will you be home?” A little earlier than I had expected, but having my motorcycle delivered to my house early is much better than waiting all day like I do for the plumber or cable guy… The drop-off process was a breeze. My SV was the only bike in the truck, and the driver clearly had loaded and unloaded motorcycles before. He knew what he was doing.

The special skid Motorcycle Shippers uses, soft ties are used around the triple trees in front and typically the subframe for the rear. Lockable casters in all four corners allow the entire skid to move or stay in place during transport.

With a copy of my autograph, the cross-country shipping of my SV650 was complete. I couldn’t have asked for a more painless and easy process. I realize most of us would rather ride their motorcycles wherever they need to go, but that’s not always possible. In those cases, I can’t recommend Motorcycle Shippers enough. Fast, friendly, efficient, and reasonably priced, I’ve seen first hand the reason why Clint Lawrence and his team are still going strong after 24 years.

Project SV

Eleven years on and I’m happy to have my SV650 back, but as you can see here she’s missing a few pieces – bodywork, fuel tank, carburetors, and exhaust chief among them. This isn’t any fault of Motorcycle Shippers, but rather the result of me giving a shop across the country permission to do with my motorcycle as they wanted. I allowed this to happen, so I’m not mad about it.

I had no idea this could happen to a brake caliper from just sitting in a basement for a while.

Meanwhile, more than a decade in a Pensacola basement has taken other tolls on my bike. Rust has found its way to nearly every bolt, the Öhlins rear shock I installed years ago looks petrified, and even the anodizing on the GSX-R brake caliper is peeling away. Needless to say, I’m wearing gloves when I start working on this bike.

While some may get angered, for me this is actually a blessing in disguise. All along, my plan has been to restore my bike into the SV I’ve always wanted it to be. I was going to replace the missing parts anyway (they were all fairly damaged and destined for the trash), and the items still remaining are the ones actually worth something (at least to me). This is going to be a big undertaking, but there’s something poetic about getting reacquainted with an old fling.

To quote The Six Million Dollar Man, “We can rebuild him. We have the technology.”

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10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

July 20, 2018 admin 0

There are a lot of ways to go for a long distance tour. These days, offerings are plentiful when choosing a steed to gallop your way across the country. There are even a few liter bikes that come equipped with cruise control, if you’re into that sort of thing. From dedicated six-cylinder sport tourers, to Dakar inspired adventure bikes, there has probably never been a better time to choose a touring motorcycle.

We’ve put together a list of the 10 best motorcycles for long distance riding. If you think we’ve left anything out, which is bound to happen when choosing only 10, leave them in the comments section below.

1.) KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

KTM’s lineup of what the company categorizes as Travel consists of the 690 Enduro R, 1090 Adventure R, 1290 Super Adventure S, and 1290 Super Adventure R. The two 1290s are equally set up for touring though we opted to include the R version in this list to differentiate it as not only a touring bike for long distances, but a motorcycle that will take you further than the pavement allows.

With its off-road focused 21 x 18-inch wheel combination, there are plenty of tires from street-biased to pure knobbies that you can fit onto the big Katoom. When it comes to eating up miles, the Adventure can hang with the best of them, on or off-road, with its neutral seating position and laundry list of touring features including a 6.1-gallon gas tank, adjustable windscreen, cornering LED headlight, big ‘ol TFT display from which you can view plenty of trip info, connect to your phone, and use the KTM My Ride feature, and of course, cruise control. You’d be a fool not to consider this bike for your next transcontinental excursion, unless you’re just not comfortable with a 35-inch seat height.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R Review: First Ride

2.) BMW K1600GTL

Lux touring at its finest. The BMW K1600GTL exudes luxury sport touring while feeling like a precisely engineered German machine. The star of the show, the 1,649cc inline-Six, is smooth and ready to deliver a claimed 160 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque at the twist of a wrist. The GTL is equally adept on twisty canyon roads as it is gobbling up miles down the highway. The electronically adjustable suspension soaks up road irregularities with ease, providing one of the most compliant and cush rides we have experienced, all the while allowing the ride to be tailored to the pilot’s preference at the push of a button, er, wheel in the BMW’s case. Navigating through the plethora of adjustments and information is mostly done with a rolling wheel interface on the left-hand switchgear. The K1600GTL dethroned the Gold Wing in our last big touring shot, and it’s pretty easy to see why.

2014 BMW K1600GTL Exclusive Review – First Ride

3.) Honda Gold Wing

10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

Ah, the Honda Gold Wing. A juggernaut in the touring market since its inception in 1975. The Gold Wing has long been held as the gold standard in touring motorcycles, providing its riders with the utmost comfort and wind protection while offering Honda’s exceptional engineering to keep the behemoth feeling much lighter than it should. Now in its newest iteration, the Gold Wing can be had with Honda’s automatic transmission, known as DCT which is particularly convenient for touring.  Evans Brasfield and our dearly departed (from MO) Sean Alexander spent quite a bit of time on the new Gold Wing, Alexander at the press launch two-up with his wife, and Brasfield on the Nuclear Tour bringing the Wing home from Texas. As Evans states in the dual-story write-up: “impressions of the Gold Wing Tour stand out as remarkably positive”. The only flack the new Wing seems to be getting is for the reduction in storage space, an odd choice for a touring bike until you consider Honda shrunk the entire machine.

2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour Review

4.) Yamaha Venture Transcontinental

10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

Having spent a fair amount of time both solo and two-up on the Yamaha Eluder – basically the Venture sans trunk and a few features – I would be happy riding either model for months on end, of course the extra storage and backrest would be preferred for a passenger. The 1,854cc beating heart of the Yamaha Venture is addicting. The low rumbling bass coming from the exhaust is unmistakably V-twin, yet in a class of its own. The massive torque delivered smoothly through the shaft drive is more than enough to pull you and your passenger up winding roads in to Yosemite or the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Though the front of this bad boy looks like a `60s muscle car, modern niceties can be found behind that monstrous nostalgic fairing in the way of a large central screen giving access to navigation, Bluetooth, trip info, Sirius XM and all sorts of other information. Also found on the big touring machine are two alternators delivering 750 watts, heated everything, four speakers with dual-zone audio control, storage cubbies all over the place, fog lights, and a security system. If you fancy yourself some V-twin touring, this is the most high tech way of doing it.  

2018 Yamaha Star Venture First Ride

5.) Harley-Davidson Electra Glide/Touring line

10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

Nothing will make you feel more American than rambling down a lone highway with a pulsing Harley-Davidson V-Twin rumbling beneath you. H-D’s new Milwaukee Eight can be found in 107 cu in and 114 cu in variants and provide ultra-smooth torque synonymous with the brand. The classic Harley Electra Glide has been a staple of American motorcycle touring for decades. Companies like EagleRider Motorcycle Tours & Rentals have sculpted their business around the world’s interest in riding American motorcycles in America, and it’s no surprise. I’ve never owned a Harley, yet I still get excited to ride one any time I get the chance. It’s an experience of its own.

2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited First Ride Review

Harley-Davidson Fairing Comparison: Ultra Touring Glide-Off

6.) Kawasaki H2 SX SE

10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

Not really a touring guy? More interested in sport, than sport touring? The Kawi H2 SX SE might be the perfect blend of supercharged performance with touring accouterments. It’s a touring bike with a supercharger, launch control, and a quick shifter, or maybe it’s a sport bike with a larger windscreen, LED cornering lights, comfortable seat, heated grips, and centerstand. If your idea of touring involves warp speed, the H2 SX SE will have you doing so luxuriously.

2018 Kawasaki H2 SX SE First Ride Review

7.) Ducati Multistrada 1260

The Multistrada is Ducati’s answer for those Ducatisti looking to travel in comfort with all the raucous performance that the unrelenting Italian manufacturer has built into its bikes since the beginning. As you first flick the Multi 1260 onto its side through a corner, you’ll be amazed that a motorcycle the size of this could possibly handle so closely to its sportier counterparts – and don’t get me started on the engine. It has performance for days with torque to make it all practical or at the very least to launch you out of the tightest hairpin corners with ease. The ability to adjust the engine character and suspension coupled with the laundry list of acronyms used to describe all of the tech crammed into the Multistrada make this truly the Swiss (Italian?) army knife of Ducatis.

2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260 First Ride Review + Video

8.) Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS

10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

The Turismo Veloce is another long-legged Italian stunner in the touring realm. It’s the lightest, most agile touring bike on this list and the Turismo also comes in with the least cubic centimeters, though if you’re a fan of Italian sportbikes and intoxicating exhaust notes, the MV is worth a look. We included the all new Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS because it is the company’s top-of-the-line touring model – equipped with luggage, heated grips, electronic suspension, and adjustable ride modes among other touring bits.

What also makes the Lusso intriguing is that little red circle visible through the lexan clutch cover. For the first time ever we see the American company, Rekluse who is well known in the off-road segment, team up with a manufacturer to develop the Smart Clutch System (SCS) found on the Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS.

2018 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS First Ride Review

9.) Indian Roadmaster

10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

For a long time, if you wanted an American touring bike, you had one option. Ever since Indian burst back onto the scene in its most recent iteration, the company has been producing great bikes with even better motors. Backed with the R&D department only a large company could provide (Polaris), Indian has produced two fantastic motors and built a model range around those two to rival its competitors. The Roadmaster is an undoubtedly big touring machine, but it will eat up a thousand miles for dinner and go back for seconds, all the while having the latest and greatest available for sound, ride and bike information, and navigation all available in the fairing mounted screen. Going two-up? There’s a big cushy seat for your passenger, too.

2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic Review: First Ride

10.) Triumph Tiger 1200

10 Best Motorcycles for Long Distance Riding

I’ve spent hundreds of miles on the Tiger touring two-up to solo riding through Jeep trails and I’ve come away very happy with the Tiger 1200. The 2018 XCa model is certainly one of the more road-biased adventure bikes, and that’s just fine because you can adjust power modes and suspension for touring or sport on road, then flip to off-road setting when the pavement ends. It’s an adjustable steed with a fantastic Triple engine and relatively maintenance-free shaft drive. The model we rode came equipped with heated seats fore and aft, heated grips, fog lights, skid plate, and a beautiful TFT display from which to read all sorts of information. One of my few gripes is the small-ish (in relation to other ADV bikes in the category) gas tank. It’s so comfortable, you could definitely keep riding further than the tank will allow.

2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa Review

Riding The Triumph Tiger 1200 To And Fro

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Alta Was First Electric to Qualify for Erzberg Rodeo Last June

July 19, 2018 John Burns 0

The Erzberg Rodeo is the toughest enduro in the world, and Alta took two riders to Austria last month to compete. Ty Tremaine qualified 43rd in his first ever attempt at Erzberg, and Lyndon Poskitt might’ve done much better than 113th if his race bikes and gear hadn’t been stolen out of his van at a rest stop dammit! As it was, Poskitt qualified on Ty’s back-up bike and then sat out the race. All you have to do is cover 22 miles in four hours to finish Erzberg; the Alta team came up just a bit short, but with what they learned this year, Husqvarna, KTM, Gas Gas and Beta could be in for a shock in 2019.

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