Another Sunday, another Autocross. Like last week, this event was held in the parking lot of the Iowa Events Center which is on the smaller side, lending itself to tight courses. This month’s course included a long 7-cone slalom, which was great for working on getting my slalom speeds up and backsiding the cones.
The day I found out that the V65 Sabre existed, it jumped straight to the top of the “bikes I have to own” bucket list. So I got one. For the first time, I bought a bike that ran, was in good shape, and was actually worth modifying, so I went all out with the suspension – RaceTech up front, CBR shock out back. Brakes rebuilt, tires replaced, and more, all in preparation for my yearly 3000 mile trip to North Carolina to tear up Deal’s Gap and the surrounding roads.
The wonder. The sound. The glory. The majesty. The feel. The sensation. All great reasons to use a bidet. Also great reasons to ride a V65 Sabre.
One of the most fun and rewarding parts of owning a motorcycle is “making it yours”. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is most commonly expressed in one of two ways:
- Purchasing some combination of mass-produced accessories, then bolting them to the bike, thereby making oneself stand out from the crowd…of other motorcyclists that purchase the exact same mass-produced accessories in a slightly different combination.
- Totally devoid of a reasonable budget for mass-produced accessories or any actual mechanical ability, tools such as an angle grinder, Sawzall, and can of flat black spray paint (more recently superseded by the can of Plasti Dip) are used to reduce the motorcycle’s function until the motorcyclist has run out of grinding wheels, paint, or the motorcycle has ceased to work at all. These are called “Bobbers,” and their primary function is no longer efficient, fast, comfortable, enjoyable transportation, but instead to “turn heads”. Unfortunately, judging merit based on the “turns heads” metric would also favor traffic accidents or a bum peeing on a building.
Today I’d like to address a topic that has been weighing very heavily on my heart. No, not the ongoing civil war in Libya and not even the projection that the polar ice caps will be completely melted like…four years ago…but something even heavier. Something that is sure to turn man against wife, brother against brother, Ernie against Bert.
All wheel drive is for suckers.
You don’t need it.
Every era has its legends and for motorcycles it’s no different. The post-war years saw the rise of the American V-Twin cruiser powered by a number of x-head engines, (where x = shovel, pan, flat, or just about any other noun). The CB750 spawned an entire generation of Japanese bikes that were ubiquitous enough to give rise to the “Universal Japanese Motorcycle” moniker. The ’90s was the decade of the sportbike, arguably led by Honda’s CBR900RR, which put liter-bike power in a 600cc-size chassis. Post-2000 was the era of the 200+mph capable hyperbikes like the Hayabusa and ZX-14R. (more…)
What’s RallyCross? Well, it’s like AutoCross – the sport where you spend six hours standing around in a parking lot in exchange for six minutes of seat time. But instead put it out in the middle of nowhere so it’s hard to get to, exchange the nice clean paved surface for grass, dirt, and mud. Add flies, blowing dust, wet socks, and allergies. Cut speeds in half and quadruple the abuse your car takes. Then add the near constant obnoxious BRAAAAP of a mostly uncorked Boxer engine and you’d be close. And you know what? It is SO. MUCH. FUN.
Another Sunday, another autocross event. After replacing my differential bushings and the broken bolt from last month’s event, then also replacing a bent rear control arm and frozen camber bolt/bushing, I had the car aligned on Friday and raced on Sunday. It went well.
Don’t be like Mikael. Mikael is dumb. When someone offers Mikael a free vehicle, he takes it. No one ever gives away a vehicle worth owning. No one ever gives away a vehicle worth saving. Like the ineffective ’80s anti-drug campaign preached, Just Say No™.
Do I take my own advice? Of course not. Like a libidinous teenager playing Truth or D.A.R.E., I jump for dare every time, trembling in anticipation of the potential seven minutes in heaven with a gorgeous, curvaceous beauty. Unfortunately, more often than not, seven minutes in heaven turns into seven years in Project Car Hell – tracking down impossible to find parts and dealing with bodgey, hack repairs performed by a multitude of dodgy, hack previous owners. The one upside to a free car is the inevitable weight loss. Unfortunately, that weight loss is entirely a result of your wallet being continually emptied by a billion unforeseen expenses; enough to part you and your cash just about as quickly as your Dave Ramsey-loving spouse can preemptively chop up all of your credit cards. (more…)
It was February of 2009. I’d been at my first real big boy grown up job for about a month and had recently received my first real big boy grown up paycheck. With some cash burning a hole in my pocket and since I was in “training” still at work (training = “Here read this stack of manuals, you have a month…or two…or whatever”), obviously most of my time was spent cruising Craigslist for motorcycles. Amidst all of the $25,000 Harleys and $10,000 sportbikes, I found the perfect listing – something I could pick up with the first paycheck’s leftovers.