Jamie and I got to ride some today! It was the first time in 2021 that we were both able to get on the bike together. We are so excited and looking forward to the Ozark Escape on April 16 – 18, 2021. It looks like the turn out is going to be amazing! Let’s just hope that the weather holds out and we get a great 3 days of sunshine and decent temps.
News from this weeks Cycle News – Some great news, Ducati V4s and Harley Pan American finally a reality!
First of all I get this great magazine free from Cycle News. You can as well, just follow this link and sign up. I am thinking of writing a quick response to each update. What do you think? Leave me a comment down below.
THE PAN AMERICAN IS FINALLY HERE! THE NUMBERS LOOK GOOD, DID HARLEY DO IT RIGHT? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.
Well it looks like the Pan American is indeed a real motorcycle. Many of us had our doubts that we would ever see this long talked about machine. I think I saw the first hint of this at the Dallas Motorcycle show back in 2019.
According to the Pan American website the bike will be available in May of 2021. I have to admit, looking at the site I am intrigued and I want to see it up close. It seems to have all of the bells and whistles of todays adventure bikes and it is listed for a price that is comparable as well. I am not a huge fan of the looks of the machine, however if the Harley is everything advertised, it could make an impact in the adventure bike crowd. Only time will tell.
IF ZACH LIKEY…. I LIKEY! THE NEW V4S LOOKS AMAZING!
After reading the article in the Cycle News and watching Zach’s video review of the V4s, it looks like Ducati has hit another homerrun! The V4s looks amazing and the numbers only back that up.
The Ducati is filled with tons of wiz bang gizmos, non more highly discussed than the Adaptive Cruise Control system. Personally I am not a proponent on cars, so I don’t know if I can be sold that it will be a huge benefit on a motorcycle. I could be wrong, but I will wait until I hear and see more about it in the real riding world.
The Bike looks amazing and from what Zach says, it goes like stink, stops on a dime and makes a good all around machine. He has rated it #1 on his Daily Rider scoreboard! That is very high praise. Check out Zach on Instagram. If money were no object, this machine would probably make it to my garage. I could see Jamie and I doing some spirited two up touring on the V4s. The bad news is, money still matters so I will sit back and read more about it, watch more videos and just sit back and dream Italian dreams.
great news! buell is back!
10 new models by 2024! It looks like Buell could be back and ready to tackle the American market. It is always exciting to have an American made motorcycle and it sounds like they will be making sports machines along with touring and adventure bikes. I have always liked the look and sound of a Buell and the thought of an adventure bike sounds appealing! I will never forget back in 2008, we were at Deals Gap and we ran into a group of Buell riders. They were all so friendly and looked like they were having the time of their life. maybe this is one reason I like the thought of a Buell.
That wraps up this weeks Moto News. Do you like this idea? Should I continue to do it? I was thinking about doing a little video each month going over the 4 weeks of the Cycle News, something like The Missenden flyer does for the MCN in the UK.
Is downsizing the wave of the future? Proof that less can be more!
I remember when I started my motorcycle journey. My dad signed me up for a motorcycle safety course and said that when I graduated he would give me his Honda 500cx Custom. At 16, all I could think about was the fact that I would have my own motorcycle and a 500cc bike to boot. Times sure have changed. Today we all want bigger and faster machines. After seeing the new crop of middleweight machines ready to hit the market, I am wondering if we can be coaxed to go back in time.
Most of us remember a time when the middleweight motorcycle market was a dog eat dog battle for supremacy. All the big manufacturers were players in the game and the bikes were amazing! Well the good news is this market is making a comeback in a big way. Why is that, you may ask. Here are my thoughts:
We might not want to admit it, but the majority of the riders that have the means and the want, to buy motorcycles are older riders. We all know from experience that big liter machines are harder to ride, take more effort to ride and to be honest, most riders will not even come close to riding these magnificent machines close to the level that they deserve. They are larger, weigh more and demand your full attention. The new middleweight machines, offer plenty of usable power with world class technology in the areas of suspension and rider aids. They give the experienced rider everything needed to have a great riding experience with less weight. A win-win situation.
Newer riders are begging for a adrenaline pumping machine, that gets the heart rate up, looks great and does not put them in debt, unlike their student loans. Affordable machines, that the younger crowd can grow with, gaining the experience needed to be a motorcycle enthusiast for years to come. This new middleweight class will be a nice springboard to bigger bikes, with more technology and horsepower. Manufactures are committed to making these machines because they see the potential market share that they are leaving on the table.
The new look Middleweight class is exciting. Everything from Standards, Super Sports, cruisers and adventure bikes are all coming in smaller sizes. They have all the bells and whistles, with much less weight and a price tag that most of us can afford without having to mortgage the house. I am excited to see these new machines at our local dealers, luring the newer and experienced riders to take a dip in the Middleweight pool. Heck I may even jump in. Stay tuned!
So what are your thoughts? What new Middleweight has gotten your attention? Maybe you are not interested at all in these small machines. If that is the case, let me know why? While most of us are stuck in the house during this cold spell, we can all discuss the resurgence of the Middleweight. Ready … set…go!
Rallies are a great way to reconnect with old friends. 2020 was a different year. Many Rallies were cancelled and those that were not, had a much lower turn out due to riders playing it safe and staying closer to home.
This year hopefully we will see more rallies being held and more riders out hitting the road. There are a number of rallies that I have attended, where I would get to see friends, that I had not seen since the last event a year earlier. Due to distance, time and life this was the only time that our paths crossed. I am sure there are many of us who can’t wait to kick some tires with friends we have not gotten to see in months or even years. These rallies are a great meeting place to catch up and reconnect.
#2: The chance to make new friends
One of the great things that happen at these rallies is the forming of new friendships. There is so much opportunity to speak with new folks. When you are sitting in the lobby, chatting with new friends and planning the rides for the next day this is a fantastic chance to start building relationships that can go on for many years in the future. Remember the first rally you attended? Keep that in mind when you are walking around, having dinner or taking part in a ride. Take a chance and go introduce yourself to someone new. It could be a start to a lifelong friendship. To me this is one of the most exciting things about attending a rally
#3- The Great Riding
At the heart of all rallies is the riding! Getting to visit a new location, being able to enjoy roads that may be new to you or roads that you have not gotten a chance to ride in awhile. It is one of the main reasons we all visit these rallies.
Usually there is a local, or many locals that know all of the great rides. They know the destinations of choice, the places where the “locals” eat and the “can’t miss” locations that all riders must visit when in the area. Maps or routes are usually provided and there are a number of smaller groups you can always tag along with. The riding! I don’t think I have to say anything else.
#4- Making Memories
These rallies lend themselves to making memories that you and your friends will talk about for years and at many future rallies. There is always the ride that has some sort of adventure, that could include, but not limited to; scenic lookouts, fantastic roadside conversation, mechanical issues (hey flat tires happen), making the wrong turn, going down a dirt road that looked like a good idea on google maps but is a rutted mess. Hanging out at the rally site, laughing and drinking beverages and telling lies about the day. It’s all about the memories.
Slow down, smell the roses, take pictures. There are times when we all want to tackle a twisty road with a pace that might be spirited for some and too slow for others. It’s all about the ride and making memories and doing it safely! I always like to look back after a day of riding during a rally. I want to make sure I have taken it all in and I have not taken any of the miles for granted! I never know when I will be in this part of the country again. I don’t want to miss a thing.
#5- Hanging out with like minded people
Some individuals see people riding a motorcycle in the rain and they think to themselves “why would anyone do that” ? At these rallies you will find out quickly that no matter where we are from, what you do for a living, no matter our age, color or sex we all have one thing in common and that is this great Passion!
Being a motorcycle enthusiast is a rarity. Look around at your day to day life and you realize that many people will never understand why you ride, they will never understand or get to enjoy the freedom that we feel when we throw our leg over our bike and ride off for an afternoon of twisty roads and good friends. It’s a magical combination.
At these rallies everyone thinks alike. We all know that feeling of freedom. That feeling of adrenaline when you are pushing your limits. We might not have anything else in common but we have that to share. Being around motorcycle enthusiast’s is one of the reasons I love attending these events. I think you all will agree as well.
Bonus Reason: You could come home a proud new owner of a new motorcycle!
Honda will deliver the bike to you local Honda dealer for pickup there at no charge to yourself. Winner is responsible for all federal, state, and local taxes and fees. Please see order website for details.
Every overland vehicle needs a fridge right? Adding the Camp Chef is a huge win!
Jamie and I have been camping for years, both in vehicles and on the motorcycle. In the past couple of years, the overland phase has really kicked in. At some of the vents we have attended a number of campers/overland vehicles have had a fridge that they can carry in the back of their jeep or truck. We loved the idea just did not love the price of admission. while watching one of my favorite youtube channels – Softroadingthewest. Donald did a quick review and it got Jamie and I thinking that we might take the plunge. We got a great deal on it from Amazon, but unfortunately it looks like it is no longer offered. We got the 24qt version. You can get the smaller one here. We will try it out and post our thoughts in the next month or so. So stay tuned.
We have also been looking to replace our older Coleman stove. It works well and has been great for us, we were just looking for an upgrade. In steps the Camp Chef Everest stove. We are thinking this is going to be a great choice for us. We are looking forward to getting out and trying it on the trail.
Jamie & I want to know if you have either of these products. What are your thoughts? If you have a fridge or camp stove, which products to you prefer? Let us know.
MSTA Star 2021 | June 13 – 17, 2021 | Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center, WV
Well Jamie and I are signed up and our lodging is BOOKED! We will be heading to STAR in June, arriving on Sat June 12th staying at the resort for that evening.
We will then check into our campsite at Blackwater Falls State Park #44 to camp for the rest of the week. We will check out on Friday June 18th to head back home. We will be exploring all over West Virginia that entire week.
So hit us up if you are camping or want to do some good day rides. Let’s Ride! We can’t wait!
We wanted to get a logo designed to help promote our Ozark Escape event. We reached out to Chris Parker of RoadWolf Design to help us with the logo. He did a fantastic job. We will be able to update the city and dates each year. Go to Roadwolf Designs if you are in the need of a world class logo for your event.
This is where the dreams starts to come alive. You need to answer the following questions;
Where do you want to go? What is the objective? Is this a riding trip or a sight-seeing journey or both? It is up to you it is your dream. Is this a basecamp trip or will you be on the go each day to a new location.
How many days are you planning for this adventure to last?
Is this a group ride or will you be solo? This is a big one as you will need to plan the journey differently depending on your answer.
Lodging. Will you be camping? Staying in Hotels or both? Making Reservations or playing it day by day?
#2 – Doing the legwork
Now that you know where you are going and all of the foundation is set, it is time for the legwork. Here are a few things to consider or resources to use to help make your trip planning more efficient.
Visit the tourism site of the state you are visiting or the states you are going thru. These are some great resources. example: wvtourism.com or arkansas.com
Google Maps, Basecamp or any other website that you like for mapping routes. Plan your route utilizing back roads, Highways or a little of both. This will depend on your foundation.
Actual paper maps, Delorme Atlas & Gazette, Rand McNally and my personal favorite Butler Maps.
Book lodging or campsites in advance if you are that kind of planner (Yes I am ) or forget this step and play it by ear. I would say during these challenging times of COVID, the latter may not be the most favorable way to go. Just be careful when planning that way.
Get online and secure tickets to any areas that you want to visit that require admission. This beats standing in line when you get to your destination. One of the best values for travel is the the National Parks Annual Pass. There are many discount ticket sites, so take some time and do your homework.
#3 – slow down and smell the roses
So now you have the foundation and the tools to start mapping out your epic journey. Now it is time to fine tune the details. Are you getting excited? The trip is coming together! let’s continue;
When looking at mapping out your trip, you will need to figure out how many miles you want to put in each day. Will you slab it out to your destination, to set up a basecamp or will you take your time and do the backroads? It all depends on your time allotted for your trip. Remember 300 miles on a highway is much different than 300 miles in the twisty backroads of the Smokey Mountains. Plan carefully. I personally don’t like riding after dark if it can be avoided. Take daylight hours into account when planning the trip.
Remember 300 miles on a highway is much different than 300 miles in the twisty backroads of the Smokey Mountains. Plan carefully. I personally don’t like riding after dark if it can be avoided. Take daylight hours into account when planning the trip.
One of the highlights of road trips for Jamie and I are getting to visit local diners and food establishments. It is a great way to learn about a particular area. Stop and eat lunch where the locals eat. You will not be disappointed!
#4 – putting it all together
The trip is starting to get real. The routes are planned, lodging secured. Your EPIC trip is coming together. Let’s finalize the plan.
Now the hard part is over. You just need to put the routes in the GPS, or mark up your maps so they are ready for the road.
Give your bike some attention. Nothing can put a black cloud on an EPIC road trip, faster than having to stop and get a tire or do some maintenance that should have been completed before you put the kick stand up and headed on your way.
Start Packing! Look at the weather. Remember if you don’t pack the rain gear, it is almost guaranteed that it will rain so hard you will think you need an ark. If close to fall, remember that the heated gear takes up little room. You will thank me when you get stuck in an early sleet storm outside Leadville Co. Yes it happens. It is a memory that I will never forget, but it could have been avoided. I have never been so cold… brrr
Don’t forget the camera! You want to ensure that you can capture this EPIC journey, that WILL offer up great views, stunning sunsets and wonderful images, that you will be able to share with your friends, after you return home from your trip. While on these trips I like to live by the motto;
Don’t answer your phone, but take pictures with it! They will call back later!
#5 – Let’s Ride – Life is short!
I hear so many people, that say they want to hit the road. They want to head out on their motorcycle to lands unknown. To feel what it is like to all of your senses overwhelmed with images and smells that only the open road can offer…. But then they find an excuse not to go or plan the adventure. They say they need a better or bigger machine. They throw out the excuse of not having the time or the money to go on a journey. I get it! I have been there. However there is always a way to get out. Don’t worry about having the latest gear or the newest motorcycle. You can adventure on any machine. Just get out and do it!
I will close out this article by asking you, to comment on the steps you do to prepare for a trip. Tell me about that trip that always makes you smile. In these colder winter months, the only way I can stay sane, is planning the trips that will happen when the days are longer and the temps are a little warmer. So tell me where you are planning to ride in 2021. Maybe our paths will cross. Make sure you stop us and say hi! Ride safe everyone!
The Versys and concours battle it out! Which is the best bike for JAMIE AND i ?
I have been very fortunate to have owned multiple machines from both of these models. Jamie and I started our motorcycle journey together on a Kawasaki Concours C-10. We purchased a 2005 25th Aniversary Concours back in 2005 and we have been riding together ever since. We put 21K miles on that Connie before it met its demise on AR16, right outside of Boston Arkansas. We will always have a special place in our hearts for this wonderful machine.
In 2010 we can across a great deal on a 2008 C-14. It was used, with 500 miles on the clock. We jumped at the chance of purchasing the bike, as it also had a Two Brothers pipe, bar risers and a few other options already installed. Jamie and I had many great adventures with this Connie. We sold her with 74K of smile inducing miles aboard her.
When we sold the C-14 we purchased the new to the States, Versys 1000. I had been keeping track of this bike on the forums in the UK and was really hoping they would bring it here. My wish was granted in 2015 and I knew we had to get one. We purchased the first one sold in the state of Texas. We enjoyed 34K mile son her before upgrading to our current steed.
One day I was watching YouTube and the Kawasaki ad came on shouting out the virtues of the new state of the art Versys 1000 SE LT. All of the new electronics, including suspension, TFT, heated grips and cruise control. It was the total package.
Jamie and I started reading about it, and the more we learned the more we wanted one. So we called our friends at Plano Kawasaki to have them call us when they got one in stock. They called, we jumped in the Jeep and drove to Dallas to purchase the new Versys. We have enjoyed 16K miles of pure joy and excitement and look forward to many more adventures on her.
This brings us here. I get asked all of the time on why I chose the Versys over the C-14. I get that question in person, on the blog and even from my Youtube channel. I thought that the time has come to tell you all our reasons for jumping the “connie” ship. These are “Our” reasons for choosing this machine. This was based on our riding style, mostly two up spirited touring loaded up with gear. It was also about the stage in life we are currently enjoying. So without further delay, lets get on with it.
The C-14 was a great machine and very good on long road trips. It was amazing! A quick twist of the wrist and boom… we were grinning from ear to ear. The electronic windscreen was very convenient and is something we miss. The C-14 had large touring bags and with an additional top case we had space to hit the road for 9 days. Even loaded up with camping gear, the C-14 never missed a beat. That motor is a thing of beauty and was plenty powerful to make get us in plenty of trouble. This bike was fun on long trips and a blast on a sweeping, tight and twisty road. We shared many great memories together on this wonderful machine.
The riding position for me was fine, especially with the bar risers. Jamie was fine for the first 200 miles, but after that she felt cramped up and the seat was not her best friend. Even after having some work done on it, she never felt totally comfortable. We only had one mechanical issue when the starter had an issue and needed to be replaced. All covered under warranty. The C-14 was very hard on tires! Riding two up and spirited would wipe out a tire in 4000 miles. We spent a lot of hard earned money on tires for this big steed. The biggest downfall of the bike was the heftiness. This thing is HEAVY (690 lbs) and not easy to move around. With all of this said, we loved our C-14 and would have no issue riding another one in the future.
Next up the Versys, and true to its name “Versatile System” is just that! The Versys offers a fantastic platform for Jamie and I. The Ninja inspired engine is the heart beat of this machine. It will not thrust you down the road with the beastly push of the C-14, but make no mistake, it will give you all the excitement that you want and still ask for more. One of the reasons the 1000cc motor can still bring a smile to your face is the horsepower to weight ratio. The Versys comes in at 526 lbs, that is a 164 lbs lighter than the C-14. We feel that when it comes to pushing the bike around the garage or pushing the bike through the twisty roads here in Arkansas.
The Versys has a few creature comforts that are also nice to have. The cruise control and heated grips are wonderful. I always thought that these type of features were something I could do without. I was wrong. They are game changing. The technology of the bike is the true winner. The suspension and the braking is world class. The electronics make this bike so enjoyable to ride. They put you at ease and make you a better rider. I have never felt faster or safer on a motorcycle than I do on this Versys.
The Versys is also the most comfortable platform that Jamie and I have ever ridden. The Versys is a tall machine and works well for my 6’2 250lb frame. Jamie enjoys plenty of room on one of the most comfortable pillion seats she has ever ridden on. We both have plenty of leg room. The bike offers great coverage from the elements, creating a nice bubble of clean air. No buffeting for the rider or pillion, I like having the quick shifter, especially when you have the revs up and are enjoying a spirited jaunt down you favorite back road.
As you can tell we love the Versys, but I also do not want to give you all the wrong impression. We loved the C-14 as well. Picking one over the other is all about personal preference. Here are a few questions that always come up about the differences between these machines.
Don’t you miss the ease and lack of maintenance of a shaft drive over the chain?
I have never really thought that chain maintenance was a big deal. Today’s chains are so easy to maintain and if you keep them clean and lubed, they will last 20-30K without needed changed. The shaft is nice and really easy to maintain, however I do not know if the added weight is worth it.
I bet you miss the power of the C-14.
Power is an awesome thing! the C-14 had gobs of it and was so much fun to ride. However when an object shoots down the road at high speeds, eventually you have to stop or go around a corner. The Versys has plenty of power and the brakes and suspension allow for the Versys to be ridden quicker than the C-14. This is the case based on my skill and talent level.
To bring this to a conclusion. The Versys is the best bike for us between the C-14 and the Versys. It might not be the same result for you. however for Jamie and I, the Versys is the best bike for our style of riding.
Tell us you thoughts. Have you ridden either of these great machines? Tell us your experience. Until next time, be healthy and safe.