Thursday, February 24, 2005


New Hampshire cops prepare to cash-in on motorcyclists

It looks like the proposed New Hampshire noise legislation aimed solely at motorcyclists will indeed be drafted. In addition, the fines will increase 6-fold. This is going to be a disaster for motorcyclists, and a veritable cash cow for the police and government. Let's all pray it doesn't pass into law:
"...a stipulation in the bill that would prohibit riders from modifying the exhaust systems on their bikes (even if the modified system measured to under 110 decibels) was criticized as unfair. Many riders make modifications to their exhaust systems when parts become outdated or too expensive, said Ed Hughes, a representative from the New Hampshire Motorcycle Rights Association. Sherman Packard, the committee chairman, agreed with those who said the new testing process left room for confusion. After conferring with Hughes and the police officers who had attended the hearing, committee members agreed to draft an amended version that will strip the modification clause from the bill but also make straight, un-muffled pipes illegal."
Can you imagine the first Laconia Bike Week after this legislation potentially passes? Probably half or more of the visiting bikers run straight pipes. I predict that at least $300,000 in revenue will be stolen from out-of-state motorcyclists during the initial year.

Hopefully, New Hampshire will pay the price economically for their actions as attendence at LBW decreases. The owners of the businesses in Laconia and along Weirs Beach better start making some noise now before it's too late to stop this socialist nonsense.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Chickenstrip mania!

Geeez, the squids of 2005 are already starting to proliferate. They're young, they're inexperienced, and they're all riding R1s and GSXR1000s.

I went out for a short ride last night and ended up stopping by a certain Seattle-based coffee establishment which needs not be named, where I met a few of these super squids over a Breve. Super nice guys, but greener than freshly-picked ocra. The following is a basic account of how part of our conversation went:

Squid #1: "I like your bike, man. What is that?"

Me: "It's a ZX7R." [I've removed most of the decals.]

Squid #1: "It's a 750?"

Me: "Yep."

Squid #1: "I've seen a few of these around and wondered how big the engine was."

[First red flag: They don't know what a ZX7R is.]

Me: "It's based on an older superbike design that Kawasaki raced until 2003. It won a lot of championships."

Squid #2: "Really? My cousin has a superbike."

Me: "A factory superbike?"

Squid #2: "Mmm-hmmm. You ever heard of a Hayabusa?"

[Second red flag: They don't know what a superbike is.]

Me: "Errr. Suzuki doesn't race Hayabusas in the Superbike class. They aren't allowed. They race GSXR1000s, vaguely similar to the 600 you're riding."

[Third red flag: As I look at Squid #2's GSXR600, I notice the 3-inch wide chicken strip on his rear tire.]

Me: "I like your bike, man. You must've just bought it."

Squid #2: "yeah. I've had it for about 3 months. Why?"

Me: "Your tires aren't scrubbed in."

Squid #2: "Scrubbed in?"

Me: Yeah, you know, like mine."

[I point to my back tire, with its 2mm-wide outer penstripes of untouched cosmoline near the sidewalls.]

Squid #1: "Dude! Look at his tires!"

Squid #2: "Man, how do you turn that much?"

Me: [In full preacher mode] "Well, I've been riding motorcycles since I was 8 years old, and I've been riding on the street since I was 17 or 18. I've also had training. You guys should think about taking an MSF class, then maybe go to a racing school later on. In the meantime, guys, keep in mind that it isn't twisting the throttle that makes you a skilled rider. By the same token, it isn't just tight turning, either. I still try to learn every day. It's a constant process, which is part of what makes motorcycling so rewarding."

They seemed to understand, and I hope they'll be okay. It's just frightening at times to see these neophyte riders on such outrageously powerful machines.

Friday, February 18, 2005


Good news, kids -- it's almost motorcycle racing season again

I know I've been neglecting the ol' superbike blog a bit lately, but quite frankly, there hasn't been much to write about. Sure, there's been tire testing, there's been the usual meandering of riders from one team to another, and there's definitely been all the boringly predictable predictions that moto writers get tempted to bang-out this time of year (and yes, I acknowledge my own guilt regarding this practice). But aside from the changes at Daytona and the closure of Brainerd, this has been a pretty quiet off-season.

So am I excited about the coming season? Yes. Why? Because motorcycle racing is one of the few things that gives me hope for mankind. In case you just arrived on planet earth, here are a few of the things going on in the world right now that should make you anxious to enjoy the sheer beauty of motorcycle racing:
1. No hockey. Bettman and Goodenow should be ashamed of themselves for what they allowed to happen this year. That loud thumping sound you've been unable to locate is Lord Stanley rolling in his grave.

2. Good morning Iraq! President George W. Bush continues to dump great sums of the US GNP into a freedom effort that will never be fully and permanently realized. Any American who thinks Iraq will ever become a western-style, non-theocratic republic probably deserves to have George Bush squander away his/her hard-earned prosperity. Unfortunately, those of us who aren't stupid are forced to go down with the ship, too.

Oh, by the way, Osama BinLaden is still a free man.

3. Speed traps, gatsos, and the Orwellian surveillance culture. As various local governments across the world continue to spend out of control, they have seen fit to resort more and more often to theft as a means by which to make up their deficits. This story is a pretty good example. I won't go into a diatribe about how most rural and highway speed limits are bogus. You can read more on that fact here.
I know it's all very horrifying, but chin-up, folks. Soon, the 2005 racing season will begin and you can forget for a few months about all the things that are wrong in the world. We may be surrounded by trouble at every turn, but we also have the opportunity to watch some talented racers do their thing. For that, I am truly thankful.