Sep 24
True crotch rockets
icon1 Guy | icon2 Bikes | icon4 09 24th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

I ran across a YOUTUBE video about a jet-powered motorcycle. It’s the Y2K super bike.

This thing has the Rolls Royce-Allison gas turbine engine out of a Bell Ranger helicopter, producing more than 320 horsepower. It’s a production bike made by the south Louisiana company MTT. One proud Y2K owner is Jay Leno of Tonight show fame. Anybody with $182,000 can join Jay for a jet-powered romp. The Y2K is fully street legal, and makers claim that at 250 miles-per-hour this is the worlds fastest production bike. Well, maybe.
While you’d get to the grocery store pretty quick at 250 mph, you’d still be second in line if your neighbor was going to the same store on a Dodge Tomahawk.

The Tomahawk doesn’t have a jet engine. It uses good old-fashioned pistons. Ten of them in a Dodge V-10 viper engine producing 500 horsepower. The Tomahawk was first built as a concept bike. The claim to be a production bike is because they were reportedly available for sale though Nieman Marcus at the bargin price of $555,000.
It’s true the Y2K would get off the line a little faster with it’s 0-60 time of 2.2 seconds, beating the Tomahawk’s 2.6 second specs. But the Tomahawk would quickly make up the ground, passing the 250 mph Y2K at a relative speed of 50 mph as it hit its 300 mph top speed.
The Y2K is street legal, while the Tomahawk is not. But that really shouldn’t be much of a problem. If you’re ripping up the road on a Tomahawk and notice blue light flashing behind you, just go to second gear.
Tomahawk or Y2k? Either way, I doubt the ice cream will melt before you get home.

— Guy Wheatley

Sep 21
Running around the rain
icon1 Guy | icon2 Rides | icon4 09 21st, 2009| icon31 Comment »
Friends were badgering me to get up early Sunday morning and take a ride. They wanted to make a run up to Queen Wilhelmina Lodge. The first problem is that I would have to be back in town by 5. That means we’d have to leave no later than 9 that morning. Additionally the lawn needs to be mowed, the house needs to be cleaned, I need to fix the screen door, and … I really just want to sleep in. But we decide to give to give it a shot. My wife and I leave their house about midnight, promising to be back no later than 8:30 the next morning. We get home that night and haphazardly do a few chores before hitting the sack.
Up the next morning and get ready to go, we only have coffee for breakfast because we didn’t get to the the grocery store on Saturday. We get to our friends house at 8:25, much to their surprise. They weren’t expecting us for at least another half hour. Our usual procedure would been to have called them about 8:35 saying we were running late. The fog is thick enough to swim in, and my stomach is growling, so we deicide to head for the north side of town and grab a quick breakfast. We had called another friend who said that if we were still in town at 9, he might join us. We wash greasy bacon and eggs stuffed in a crumbly biscuit down our gullets with weak, burned coffee while waiting to see if anybody else shows up.
The food gone, the other rider was a no show. About a quarter after 9 we head out. The fog is thinning quickly, but the sky is still overcast. I’m wearing a long sleeved shirt and the heavy damp air is cool. The other riders are wearing light coats. Nobody takes anything off for a while.

RR bridge over the highway.

The road diving under a railroad track.

We occasionally ride under a hole in the clouds and the sky turns blue. The sun almost looks strange. It’s been so long since I’ve seen it. But the holes are too small, and we’re quickly back under the clouds. The air is heavy and damp. Moisture collects on the windshield as we ride. My hands get damp on the bars. The sky is threatening, but it never actually rains.

Cadillac zipping around me.

When I let off the throttle for a second to snap a
photo, this antique cadillac zips around me.


We eventually get to the lodge at 2,681feet on the top of Rich Mountain. The sun has again made a quick appearance. Somewhere in the loose jumble of ideas we use as a plan was the intention of following the pigtrail back into Oklahoma. Looking back to the west from the mountaintop we see a vertical wall of water standing on the 30 miles of mountain twisties we’d be traveling. That idea is out. We’re not riding down a mountain in that.


Checking the map for the fastest way down the

As we watch, it’s getting closer. We decide to get off the mountain before it gets to us. Instead of following the 13 miles of Skyline drive back to Mena, we elect to take the more direct route down following 272 back to 270. Dropping just more than 1,000 ft in less than 2-1/2 miles, this is not a road you want to take on motorcycles in the rain, so we have to get moving fast. Fat droplets occasionally smacking the windshield urge haste, but the unguarded dropoff at the side of the road demands caution. Rain drops spatter the windshield threateningly as we negotiate the steep winding road, but the deluge never catches us. The road finally straightens out for its final run to the intersection with the main highway.

Rain on the mountain.

Our preferred route down the mountain is under
the deluge.

Back in the plains now on 270, we look back at the mountain top to see it crowned with the storm we’d just skirted. For 115 miles back to Texarkana, we continue to play dodge with the rain. At a gas stop in Mena, the clouds roll in just behind us covering the sun. We head out again, running out from under the clouds into sunlight. The rest of the trip sees us in and out of the sun as the clouds momentarily catch us, then fall behind as we open the throttles. At the last stop in Ashdown, another group of riders take note of the way the clouds seem to be chasing us. They question our virtue, suggesting divine displeasure as the reason for this meteorological display.
It’s 6 by the time I pull into my driveway. It’s been a little more than 230 miles since I pulled out this morning. There’s been just enough sun to pink my face, and I’m tired. But it’s been a good day and a good ride. Being chased by the rain has actually added to the fun. The grass is tall, the house is dirty and the screen door is still broken, but I’ve had a great day

— Guy Wheatley

Sep 16
Rain rain, go away
icon1 Guy | icon2 Rides | icon4 09 16th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

I weenied out of going to the Hot Springs Rally last weekend. I’d said I was going, even if it rained. But I was thinking of a few showers on the way up or back, not a deluge lasting the whole trip. Adding to the deteriorating weather was my wife’s declining health. She wound missing a day of work, so I was glad that I hadn’t dragged her out in the elements and exacerbated the situation.
Several of the tougher folks from our group did go.
One couple had a room for the night, so once they got to town they were able to find a dry place to sleep. Sharon and I were going to take a tent and find a spot somewhere. Again, that plan was laid before the monsoon set in.
The other couple made a day trip out of it. Well, more like a day and a half. They rode through the rain up there, rode in the rain there, and rode through the rain back to Texarkana. It was 3 in the morning when they sloshed into their driveway according to the ride report. Reading their adventures, I wish I’d been there with them. I’m sure they were miserable, cold and wet, but I can’t help but feel I missed out on something.
It probably sounds better sitting here in the dry than it would have wet, on the road.

— Guy Wheatley

Sep 11
HD Phone Home
icon1 Guy | icon2 News | icon4 09 11th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

I ran across an interesting post today. I was lurking on a technology forum and found a post complaining about a specific smart phone. A member complained that the iPhone doesn’t readily interface with his Harley.
Say what? Am I reading this right? Can’t attach your phone to your bike?
I was pleased at the number of responses he got pointing out that motorcycling and chatting on the phone don’t mix. He got little sympathy from either the bikers on the forum, or the iPhone users.
But all is not lost for the iPhone. The MotoCzysc E1pc, an all electric Superbike, uses an iPhone for the instrument cluster. Click here for article at intoMobile
With it’s built-in GPS and accelerometer, the iPhone can calculate and display speed and odometer readings. With it’s handy location at the top of the triple tree, it could easily serve as a GPS as well.
One would suspect the E1′s owners expect the driver to find his way around the track without an electronic navigator. It’s also unlikely he’ll be listening to Enya while tearing up the track. I guess if he gets too far behind, the owners could call him up and threaten to fire him.
Can’t hook you phone to your bike? This ain’t your daddy’s motorcycle.

— Guy Wheatley

Sep 3
Resell value
icon1 Guy | icon2 Uncategorized | icon4 09 3rd, 2009| icon3No Comments »
The first bike I bought was new from the dealership. I wanted a mechanically sound motorcycle that was the appropriate size for a beginning rider. I also wanted to know that I could bring it back to the dealership with problems and questions.

2004 250 Honda Nighthawk

My first bike. A 2004 250 Honda Nighthawk

My second bike came from an individual. I’d actually seen this machine when I bought the first one. It was at the dealership at that time, taken as a trade-in. The sales and service staff at the dealership was surprisingly helpful. The service department gave the bike a quick once over at no charge and assured me that it was in good condition and worth the asking price. These bikes were both Hondas, and to this day I find myself drawn to Hondas. Other brands make good bikes, but to me a Honda feels like coming home.

1994 VF750 Honda Magna

Bike number two. A 1994 VF750
Honda Magna

My third motorcycle was a Victory I got from a bank as a repo. There was a Victory dealership in town at that time and I took it by there on the test ride. The service department was familiar with it, having serviced it for the bank. Again, they assured me that it was in good condition and worth the price the bank wanted.
Since then, I’ve bought one other new motorcycle, and two used ones. Future purchases are likely to be larger machines where cost will drive me to the secondary market. I just don’t have 20 grand to spend on a toy. So, should dealerships and manufacturers worry about my opinion? You bet-cha.

2002 Victory 92 TC Deluxe.

Number 3, A 2002 Victory 92TC Deluxe.

As I lurk on motorcycle forums where members are actively planning the purchase of a new Victory Vision or Honda Goldwing, one line is repeated again and again. “As soon as I sell my bike.” The days when a first purchase is likely to be a $30,000 machine at the local Harley shop are gone. Most of these machines will go to people “moving up” from a previous purchase. And that’s where I come in.
If manufactures and dealers want to move new bikes, they’re going to have to keep the resale value up on the old ones. The best way … nay only way, to do that is to provide a helpful service department and reasonably priced parts.