Category Archives: Motorcycles

“I don’t like big bikes”


Some time ago I was sitting with my father on the back patio at The Farm.  I had ridden there on the Ducati Multistrada Enduro, a big 1200cc Warhorse of an Adventure Bike.
He made a statement that has been on my mind ever since.  “I don’t like big bikes.”  He said, half disapprovingly and half off the cuff.
My knee-jerk reaction was to say, “I don’t either.”  And then I jumped on the Enduro and took off back home… thinking the whole time, “Do I really dislike big bikes?” Continue reading “I don’t like big bikes”

Harley Sportster or Triumph Bobber?

Talk about “Two Peas in a Pod”.  No two motorcycles are as similar, yet as different as these two.  On one hand, we have the classic Harley Davidson 1200cc V-Twin Sporter Forty-Eight.   Simple.  Burly.  Cool.   It’s been around for ages.
On the other hand is the new Triumph Bobber which came out in March of 2017.  It’s a 1200cc Parallel Twin that looks simple, burly and cool… yet hides a lot of technology inside.  Where the Harley has electric turn signals and fuel injection, the Triumph has a Ride by Wire throttle, Traction Control, switchable ride modes, and ABS.  It’s an actual modern motorcycle and not any ancient agricultural hold-over from the days of horse-drawn plowing.
Continue reading Harley Sportster or Triumph Bobber?

My favorite Sport Bike: The Thruxton R.

Bar none, the Triumph Thruxton R is my favorite Sport Bike on the planet.   First off, let’s talk about the Looks.  This bike is drop dead gorgeous.  It looks like what a motorcycle should look like.  This is the modern quintessential Cafe Racer, from the company that pretty much invented the Cafe Racer.  This is a two-wheeled Audrey Hepburn… always good looking, never goes out of style, and will still be good looking 200 years from now.     But under that classic good looking exterior, this bike is truly a modern machine.

The 1200cc Parallel Twin is a pleasure at every position of the Rev Meter… it has plenty of usable power, and I’ve never felt the bike lacking in Pull.

Continue reading My favorite Sport Bike: The Thruxton R.

Bucket List Bikes

These are the bikes on my Bucket List.  Bikes that one day I will have.
Triumph Rocket III Roadster.
British humor is based on exaggeration.  When I first straddled a Rocket III, I thought it was a joke… a two wheeled Monty Python sketch.  It’s just so huge.  It’s a massive bike!  But at the same time, it’s very well balanced, it handles beautifully, its brakes are strong… and that torque!  That torque is phenomenal.  There is just something undeniably cool about this machine… and that something is the 2300cc Triple engine.  2.3 Liters.  It’s fantastic. And these bikes are not priced unreasonably… They retail around 17 Grand.

Ducati Multistrada Enduro

This is the hotrod of the big 1200cc ADV bikes. 160 horsepower, tons of torque, stunning good looks, and fully capable rider assist technology that I’ve seen and felt work first hand.  This bike is one of the bigger Wants on my list here.

Ducati XDiavel S

This isn’t Ducati’s Cruiser.  No.  It’s not a Cruiser.  It’s a foot forward positioned sport bike.  Ducati’s quickest bike 0-80MPH.  It’s very powerful… but it’s power in control.    It’s very cool, fists in the wind, power cruising… badass.  You can pitch it into the twists like nothing else with your feet out in front of you.   It’s the most unique motorcycle on this list… and somehow… the best looking.

BMW R Nine T Scrambler

Great looks… solid engineering background… but there’s something more passionate about this bike other BMW’s.   I’ve taken one home as my weekend bike a few times… and each time I get on it, I just cruise till I get lost… not even caring where I go.  Few bikes do that for me.  This is one of them.

 

Triumph Street Triple 765 RS

The new 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS is going to turn out to be the Bike of Choice for the Rider Aficionado.  It will be one of the best new motorcycles of the year, and it’s going to be… already is… a huge Home Run for Triumph Motorcycles.  Now, let’s look at the numbers a bit… This bike has 123 horsepower, which is a big increase for the Street Triple… and it’s 5 pounds lighter than the outgoing bike.  Lighter, with gobs more power.  But at what expense?   Continue reading Triumph Street Triple 765 RS

Motus MST: Utter Disappointment

Motus MST.  It’s all about the engine.  The engine is the business.  The engine is fantastic.

The rest of the bike leaves much to be desired…  Such as traction control, ride modes, ABS…  For the price, it needs those things.

The Rep said “Well, some guys don’t like those things.”
I say bullshit to that.  Because this bike is $37,000.00 USD.

Continue reading Motus MST: Utter Disappointment

Bike Review: BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

BMW Invented the modern Adventure market when it comes to Motorcycles.  They made it, and they own it, and despite what everyone else says and does, nothing has changed that.  Because of the GS.

When I first came to Motorcycles of Charlotte, I had never ridden a BMW R 1200 GS before.  And to be honest, it was intimidating.  These bikes are huge.  And the GS Adventure version, what we call the “GSA” is even more so.  I had never even really looked at one up close before… and initially my impression was that “it’s a water buffalo”.  I had no interest in even throwing a leg over a water buffalo, let alone take one out for a ride.

Continue reading Bike Review: BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

My Triumphant Trip to the Conch Republic

Triumph Motorcycles had a nice event planned for it’s Triumph Champions, and I was invited to go to represent Motorcycles of Charlotte.  I happily agreed to attend.   The event started in the Florida Keys, all the way down in Key West.  “Key” is evidently Floridian for Island.  Key also means critically important, so it’s a little self aggrandizing for them to call their islands keys.


This is me, having just landed at the world’s smallest airport.  We actually had walk between different aircraft to reach the terminal.

This is the terminal.  It has statues on it.  The statues have more clothes on than most of the people on the island.

That’s the aircraft I flew in on.  It’s made in Brazil.  So it’s basically a Taurus of the Sky.  Half of them have to go back to the factory for a Fluff and Buff, under warranty.  But they have great customer service.  And no resell value to speak of.  But I did land safely.  So I go that going for me.  Which is nice. 

Continue reading My Triumphant Trip to the Conch Republic

Ducati Multistrada Enduro

I’ve talked about the Ducati Multistrada before.   But this one is a bit different.  This is the Enduro version.  Now, everything in the Enduro is based on the 1200 S version.  The 1198 CC V-Twin is on board, cranking out the same 160 Horses of Power pulling the same 87 Foot Pounds of Torques through the same 6 Speed transmission.


The differences come in all the areas making the Multistrada more Off-Road Capable.  Now, it was alright off road.  As long as that off road wasn’t too off the road.  But it was lacking… The Enduro fixes all that.
New on the Enduro is larger spoked wheels, taller ground clearance, a heavy duty bash plate under the engine, and new suspension programming and calibration.  There’s also a different seat and handlebars… and a shorter first gear.  The changes all add up to make the Enduro almost a completely different bike.   The 1200S is a great bike for anything on the road.  The Enduro is just a great bike for anything.   I put a lot of miles on one this weekend, and that included some off roading… and any shortcomings it had before are all gone.

The Enduro isn’t just a motorcycle like the 1200S is.  The Enduro is a full grown, well trained, War Horse.

What sitting on the Enduro Feels Like.

Continue reading Ducati Multistrada Enduro

2016 Triumph Scrambler


One of my favorite Motorcycles… the Triumph Scrambler.

Just rode this one…  It’s a 2016 model with the well known and battle proven 865cc Oil-Air Cooled engine.  This engine produces as modest 58 horses and 68nm of torque moving a 500 pound bike… so that sounds like it’s not enough.  Sounds as if it’s going to be a dog.  But this is one of those bikes where Numbers don’t Matter.

One thing that stands out to everyone looking at the Triumph Scrambler is the Pipes.  No, they wont burn you.  Yes, you will feel the warmth from them on a hot day if you are not moving.  This is like any Air Cooled twin… You are going to feel the engine heat no matter what.  These pipes have two layers of Heat Shielding over them.  The first plate is angled to funnel air under the heat shields to keep them cool.  I’ve ridden these enough to where I know that if it could burn you, it would have burnt me.  I don’t even know anyone that has had a burnt leg because of the pipes.  I do know one guy that fried his hand when he grabbed the pipe in front of the heat shield… because he wanted to know if it was hot.  Turns out, yeah.  It was.  Don’t do that, and you’ll be fine.

It is such a great bike. There’s something about the classic Triumph Scrambler that really speaks to me.   See, the engine is not all that powerful. The bike isn’t really light at all.  It even has far too much chrome on it for my personal tastes… and the suspension really isn’t even all that great.  But the bike is more than the sum of it’s parts. Everything about it FEELS RIGHT when you ride it. Not looking at it, or sitting on it in a showroom… It Feels Right when RIDING.   It feels like this is what Motorcycling should be.  What it’s all about.


The bars are at a good height and it gives you a very Fists in the Wind positioning, but with good width for leverage.  This makes the bike feel very agile for it’s size and weight.  Low speed maneuvers is easy and the bike’s good sense of balance helps that.  For going where the pavement ends, standing up on the pegs feels almost as good as on a BMW GS.  The bars have enough height, even for a Six Footer like myself, and the big fat rubber sleeved pegs give you plenty to anchor on.  The big rubber welcome mats on the sides of the tank give you even more to grip on with your legs… so standing is easy.  Which is good.  Because I love standing up on a bike.

The engine has enough torque to get you moving… it’s no Rocket III, but it’s more than enough to get the job done.   One of the things that helps with this is the ease of shifting.  The Shifter feels very good, and communicates well.  Unlike on any given Ducati, this one never gives you a false neutral.  The shifter it’s self also doesn’t tear up my boot leather.  It’s just “Nice”.

I do wish it had better brakes up front.  It’s only sporting a single rotor up front, and I would be happier with two.  However I do not feel like the bike is really lacking in actual stopping ability.  And of course, this model doesn’t have ABS or any Traction Control… this is the last of the Caveman Simple motorcycles from Europe.  And I think that’s one of the reasons I really dig it.

When you ride these Scramblers, you get a sense of understated competence from the bike.   It’s ruggedly handsome, but not flashy. It’s just simply able to do everything you want it to do… and it does so without any undue drama.  It doesn’t cry out for attention. It doesn’t need screaming exhausts, or blistering acceleration or Buck Rogers Fairings… It’s just a good solid motorcycle. And I LOVE THAT. Because after all… It’s a TRIUMPH.

Now I’ve heard some people say that they just “Don’t get the point of a Scrambler”.  I feel sorry for those people… The Scrambler, more so than any other type of Motorcycle is a Jack of All Trades type of bike.  Meaning it can do anything that you want to do on a bike.   It’s a both a great City Bike, Urban Explorer, and it’s also a great Adventure Bike.  I’ve seen them in the Uintah and Rocky Mountains, high up on single track trails.  I’ve seen them cruising down city streets at night.   You do not need a specialized machine for each task… and really the Scrambler is competent at both in the same way that a specialized machine sacrifices one type of riding to better at the other.  The Scrambler lets you have your cake, and lets you eat it.

Triumph’s Scrambler is not a perfect motorcycle… and at the same time, it is the Perfect Motorcycle.