Issue #13 of Grease Monkey Magazine is in the stores now. Be sure to grab a copy and check out my photos of the DoMaCo Norton, as well as re-cap photos of the 2013 Spring Thaw bike and Rat Show. You can view the entire magazine here.
The Ton Up Nashville British Motorcycle Club held their 11th annual vintage bike show on Sunday May 20. I try to make this show every year because it brings out some bikes (all kinds, not just British) that you don’t see at the other shows around town. Here are some of my favorites.
As many of you know… I’m in the (slow) process of “bobbing” my Harley-Davidson Sportster and when I complete it, it won’t exactly be the most comfortable motorcycle I’ve ever owned. I’m not talking horrible, but I won’t be taking any weekend trips on it. So… I’ve been thinking. (A dangerous thing!) What would I really want for cruising or commuting to go along with the Sporty Bob? Certainly my interest in large touring H-D bikes is way-gone so they are out. I’d love to have a Sport Tourer such as the Kawasaki Concourse or Honda ST1300 but a daughter in college rules those awesome machines out on price alone. So what’s left? Of course, it would be the Sportbike family. But that’s a problem too. While I would love the performance and reliability of an R6 or CBR600, frankly… when I sold my Sportbike last year I vowed that I would never again own a bike that forced my body into a racing position. (Old age I guess.) But what if I could find that performance, reliability and wow factor in a more traditional riding position? Do those bikes exist? Yes they do… and they are commonly referred to as “Naked” bikes. These stripped down Spotbikes never quite caught on here in the US like they have abroad but there are some out there on the used market and they offer the ergos and performance I would be looking for at fairly affordable prices. Three in particular have caught my eye… The Ducati Monster, Honda 599 and the Suzuki SV. Here’s a look at all three in their 2004 versions.
2004 DUCATI MONSTER 620: Of the three, I like the looks of this one the best. Something about that tubular frame and racing red color seem to be screaming for my attention. Two things bother me about it though. I don’t know if I could ever get used to the clanky sound of a Ducati engine and my research indicates that maintenance on this bike is significantly more costly than on the other two. KBB Retail: $3570
2004 HONDA 599: Some people feel like this bike looks fat and bulky. I disagree. I like it’s looks and while I have never ridden one, just looking at it, the Honda seems like it would feel more substantial than the others. I also love Honda’s reputation for bullet-proof engines. Performance specs are good as well… the downside to this one? Hmmmm… I’m really not sure there is one. KBB Retail: $3120
2004 SUZUKI SV650: I owned the “S” version (lay-down with fairing) of this bike for a while, and while it performed well, it always felt a little squirrely to me. More than once I was not happy with how it handled when pushing through the curves. Still, I think the non “S” version here might be a good option for what I would want… and it is also the most affordable of the bunch. To bad it doesn’t look better KBB Retail: $2850
Of course, trying to compare these bikes without riding them is somewhat ridiculous but these are my initial impressions. Let me know what you think… and who knows… maybe one day soon I will be riding naked!
I went to a local bike show today. It was at a local Harley-Davidson shop but the bike that caught my attention was not a Harley-Davidson… it was a Honda Shadow that had been customized to look like an old-school bobber. Take a look… what do you think? Does an old-school bobber have to be a Harley-Davidson? This is a pretty good argument that the answer is no… this bike looks great to me.
This weekend was yet another one filled with temperatures that should be against the law… I’m talking 30’s… and to help with my weather induced biker-depression I made my way down to the local Honda dealership just to wander for a while. I’m glad I did because I got to see the new 2010 Honda NT700V for the first time. You may not have heard of this bike yet but I have a feeling it is going to be making a pretty good splash real soon. What’s the big deal you ask? Well, Honda has done something with the NT I have been expecting for some time… they have brought a true sport-touring bike to the market in the 700cc range that can be had for less that $10K. This bike can be used as a commuter and a long-distance touring bike and keeps the cool lines of the ST1300, it’s big brother. What do you think? Here are a few specs:
680cc Liquid-Cooled V-Twin, Fuel-Injected, 5-Speed Transmission, Shaft Drive, Adjustable Rear Suspension, 562lb Curb Weight, Estimated 50MPG
Photo’s courtesy of powersports.honda.com. Click on either photo for more information about the 2010 Honda NT700V.
It’s an obsession I suppose, but I am always on the lookout for interesting 2-wheelers. It’s so bad that I almost always carry a camera with me to be sure I can grab a shot when one crosses my path.
Well… it paid off recently when I came across this pristine Honda CB1000. The “naked” Litre Honda sportbike is one that I had never seen before so I did a little research when I got home. Apparently these bikes were only produced between 1992 and 1997 (before the “naked” craze kicked in) and featured a 998cc DOHC liquid-cooled in-line 4, with 5-speed transmission.
If anybody knows anything more about this cool bike… please comment below.
For a long time we were hoping for rain in Middle Tennessee… now we can’t seem to turn it off. Things have been so bad this weekend that down in Aetna (about 80 miles southwest of Nashville) people are being evacuated in flat-bottom rescue boats. The National Weather Service even issued a statement, warning about “life-threatening” flooding. Crazy!
It’s not that bad where I live but still we are getting a ton of the wet stuff and my riding plans for the weekend have been completely trashed. (Sounds trivial compared to what the people in Aetna are facing… I know.) So… here I sit again on a Sunday morning at the local coffee shop, eating a little breakfast and writing about motorcycles instead of riding them.
To feed my 2-wheeled addiction I thought I would take a gander at the 2009 offerings from five top manufacturers and see which one bike in particular from each is the no-brainer pick for Swag’s garage. You might be surprised at my choices but here are the bikes that excite me the most.
HONDA: Yeah, I know… everyone is buzzing about the new Fury but honestly; it doesn’t do much for me. And of course there is the awesome Gold Wing but if I can’t seem to get past the ST1300. The combination of sportbike looks and performance with touring comfort seems like a winning combination to me. This bike makes me want to take a month off and ride to the West Coast and back.
YAMAHA: I’ve been a distant fan of the mighty V-Max for several years now and the 2009 version is as bad as ever! I mean what’s not to like? Muscle car looks meets better than muscle car performance.
SUZUKI: Check out the new Gladius. An aggressive looking 650 with street fighter looks… this bike seems like it would be right at home… both in the canyons and on the morning commute to work.
KAWASAKI: Hands down… my choice from Big Green is the Ninja 250R. It’s been a long time since I got excited about a 250cc motorcycle that didn’t have knobby tires on it but this thing has all the “cool” of it’s big brother Ninja’s but is entry rider friendly with its 333lb dry weight and easy to digest MSRP of $3499. My guess is that Kawasaki is going to own the 2009 entry-level market… but may also gain a lot of “bike #2” business from the experienced rider looking for a commuter .
HARLEY-DAVIDSON: As I did with Kawasaki… again, I am foregoing the eye candy and all the bells-and-whistles to go with the entry level Iron 883. Are you telling me that a rider can get into a H-D bike that is dripping with Harley attitude for under 8 grand? Uh… yeah. H-D has a real winner here.