Never Too Old to Skate

Jim and I skated a LOT through high school. Pretty much every day we were driving from spot to spot, getting hassled by police, and basically having a ton of fun. Recently, we’ve re-connected and have been skating more. It’s good to skate without a bunch of little kids (sorry guys) or teenagers that are actually good. When we’re skating together, it’s at our own pace and style and it feel awful good.

Here’s a quick edit from a few little tricks today. Jim hitting a fakie to nose slide, me ollieing a 3 stair, Jim doing a 50/50, and me … on the 3 stair again.

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Victory Demo

I’ll say right up front, I don’t like cruisers. The way I like to ride and the ergonomics that I like are anathema to the way cruisers are designed. But, I love bikes and will take any opportunity to ride something new or different.

This demo was on a Tuesday so attendance was pretty light, which made getting the bike you wanted easier. Other demos made you sign up for a certain bike at a certain time. Here, you put your helmet on a bike to claim it.

This is the only demo I’ve been on that hit the interstate. It made for some interesting problems trying to stay in a group of 10-15 bikes while avoiding the other interstate traffic.

victory - 1The first bike I rode was the Gunner. Once I sat down, I was immediately reminded of a Honda VTX 1300. Everything was very nicely put together and felt well built, but it was not really exciting. The motor sounded really nice and had the typical V-twin cadence. Everything felt oversized, the grips, the lever the pegs the pedals. Even the throw of the shifter was big and heavy.

Like all low cruisers, I would change a few key things. First, get the ass in the air. This is just too low. I’ll happily give up “flat-footing” at a stop for better handling and visibility. Second, I like the pegs under me. The foot forward position kills my back makes me feel like I have less control.

The motor felt nice. It’s not a paint shaker like a Harley (good and bad) but it’s got a familiar laid back gallop. Power was surprisingly good, it really reminded me the V-rod. A good, powerful motor that needs a chassis.

victory - 3Next up was the Hammer 8-Ball. Basically the same bike as the Gunner, but dressed up a little different. Especially at the back with a ridiculous 250 mm tire.

I’d never ridden one of the super wide rear tires. I don’t like the look and I couldn’t imagine they would handle well. I was right. By the time you’re leaned enough to get to the radius of the shoulder, boots or pegs are dragging. It’s like wrestling a bear to get off the center of the tire … and then it get light and loose feeling once it gets over. I about tapped out after the first few turns as I didn’t feel like I had control over this thing. I stuck it out, but I didn’t like it at all.

Somewhere deep down, I want to like cruisers. It’s what I grew up around and some of them seem pretty cool. I just can’t seem to find one that works the way I think a bike works. This is my hangup as there are plenty of people that ride these bikes and love it. Maybe I’ll slow down and relax as I get older. But for now, I’ll pass on this class of bike.

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Silly Motorcycle Dealers

Every day that I commute I drive past a Victory dealer. I’ve been slightly intrigued by some of their bikes, but never serious enough to waste a sales person’s time with a test ride.

Last week, I drove by Austin’s Trailers and Motorsports and saw the Victory demo truck. I gave them a call and was informed that the truck was packed up and heading out. There wasn’t any indication that there was going to be a demo event prior to me actually seeing the trailer.

I love demoing new bikes, so I looked at the next Victory event, which is farther away, but still reasonably close. I hit up the Shawnee Cycle Plaza website and … see absolutely NO MENTION of the Victory demo truck.

As a consumer, the test ride is the most important part of purchasing a motorcycle. The stats are out there. The wonderful images of how cool a bike is or what dress up parts can be added are there. But getting butts in seats is important.

I’m shocked at how terrible dealers (and manufacturers) are about getting the word out about demo events like this. This lack of marketing ability is just another thing that makes motorcycling a hobby and not a valid form of transportation.

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This Is What My Ears Looks Like

This is what my ear looks like.
My ears ring. Actually, they’ve always had a ring to them. As early as I can remember I had a faint little whistle in my ears any time it got really quiet. As I got older all-ages shows and band practice took hold and my ears have taken a beating. Pretty much every hobby I have is bad on my ears. Motorcycles, music, guns, baby-making … those things are loud!

I’ve been buying the normal foam earplugs in bulk packages for years and they are always fine. But there’s a lot on nuance lost and they eventually get uncomfortable. Today, Engle Motors had their spring open house and had Mary and Gary Droege with Big Ear on site making custom molded ear plugs.

This is something that had been on my TODO list for a long time. These things sit ALL THE WAY in the ear and attenuate the frequencies in a more linear fashion. The foam plugs really dull the high frequencies. On the motorcycle this isn’t terrible, since it’s that high frequency wind noise that really gets your ears, but for other things … I like the balance.

Another advantage here is that these don’t require the awkward “roll up the ear plug, pull the ear up, repeat” action. They slide right in with a twisting motion and just sit there like they’re supposed to.

Red is RightI paid $5 extra to get them in different colors so I can easily tell which one goes in which ear. I picked red for right (just like RCA cables) and went with blue for the left.

Right now, I’ve worn them while driving my van and briefly while playing drums. They really attenuate the sound, much better than anything else I’ve used. I’ll be updating as I use these on and off of motorcycles, but the first impression is that these are stellar!

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