BikeBandit Guest Blogger Series: Appalachian Adventure Pt. 1

The Sena conveys the pain as I hear my riding partner agonizing and see him writhing on the ground. We are in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains with no one around for miles. His muddied bike is on its side with the back wheel still spinning, the rider might be down but the Beemer is still itching to go. As I pull up to the scene… I’m getting ahead of myself here, let me take you back to the beginning.

After months of planning my riding buddy Gabe and I had our itinerary lined up. Eleven days to take us along the Appalachian Range from Ohio to Georgia and back. I mapped out a route that would have us riding around those wonderful green and blue markings on the map, putting two wheels in as many National Forests as possible. My Suzuki V-Strom DL650 and his BMW F650GS would be packed down with camping gear along with our normal provisions and would see us comfortably riding everything from super slab to twisty secondary and tertiary pavers to 2-track forest service roads.

Our first two days of riding would take us into the climbing, descending, twisting, and turning hills of the northern spike of West Virginia and southeast Pennsylvania then back into West Virginia’s Wild and Wonderful gravel tracks of the Monongahela National Forest. Heading into Monongahela a warning sign to larger vehicles at the edge of Hendricks would confirm that an excellent stretch of road for a motorcyclist was impending and it didn’t lie. Heart pounding twisty kickbacks climbing up and down the Cheat River valley walls on WV-72 put a smile on our face and challenged our cornering skills. An impromptu trek into the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area on a few scenic gravel tracks was followed up by an excellent lunch stop at Yokum’s Store and Motel next to Seneca Rocks. After our second day we retired for the night at a dispersed camping spot near Kane Wagner - Appalachian AdventureLake Buffalo and the West Virginia-Virginia border. We found a perfect spot next to Big Run in Toolbox Hollow, unloaded the packed down bikes, set up our tents, and scrounged for firewood as the summer sun slowly set (I always carry a small collapsible hand saw for such occasions). Relaxing in my new ultralight camping chair we stoked the fire, evaluated the days ride, and excitedly dove into the next day’s ride map.

Kane Wagner - Appalachian Adventure
After a hearty breakfast, we did our maintenance on the bikes before setting off to continue our journey.

In the morning we lowered our critter-proof chow bag dangling from a tree to enjoy a granola and fruit breakfast while we broke camp, lubed the chains, and loaded the bikes. After picking a serene spot in the woods overlooking the babbling brook for the morning download, we booted up the kickstands and throttled off. Making our way over to WV-92 we decide to stop for a proper breakfast at Ryder’s Chevron Restaurant in Boyer. Real down home cooking at a reasonable price with that famous southern hospitality

With full bellies we pointed the bikes to Green Bank Rd attempting to find a pass over the Appalachian ridgeline into Virginia and US-250. Where the pavement ends a sign warned us that we are about to embark on a ‘No Thru’ road. With all of my studying of the Google Machine, we decided to push on and see what happens. We climbed past a few houses and the road turns into an unmaintained mess, but continues on. (Sometimes) dodging rocks, ruts, and mud we eventually make it to the top of the ridge and continue past Camp Allegheny Battlefield, a Confederate outpost during the American Civil War, and onto Old Pike Rd down to US-250.

After traversing the timeworn road and riding through a historical battlefield my interest was piqued. After returning from our trip I found out that Camp Allegheny was a strategic defensive outpost held by the Confederates near the overland route connecting the Ohio River with the upper Shenandoah River valley. Union forces successfully controlled most of the mountain ranges in the area and continued to push for more ground. To further solidify their stance and protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad along with the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, Union forces engaged the Confederate army at Camp Allegheny in December of 1861. Despite the Union’s higher troop numbers, the Confederates successfully kept them at bay, but their forces would eventually abandon the camp after the end of the winter. Nothing like a motorbike to really show you the road and ride you into a history lesson.

US-250, dubbed the Highland Turnpike, provided awesome twisys, Kane Wagner - Appalachian Adventuresweepers, mountainous kickbacks, and breathtaking views of the famous valleys and mountains of Virginia. Just before hitting another green section on the map we cut south on Cowpasture River Rd, a dusty gravel road with farmland all around us and the impending ridgeline to our left. We started the climb up Nelson Draft and into Washington National Forest. Traversing the twisty mountain road we had sweeping views of the valley below and the mountain above with big beautiful titanium white clouds on a phthalo blue pallet, Bob Ross couldn’t have painted a better picture! A couple years later this section of dirt would end up being part of the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route (MABDR) that runs from the North Carolina/Virginia border up to the New York Pennsylvania border on mostly forest service roads.

Running north around the next ridgeline, we made it to our next dirt road excursion on Bath Alum Ridge Rd. We knew we were in for a treat as soon as the rubber left the pavement and we climbed up this not-very-well-maintained forest road. Plenty of curvy mountain roads and a couple of water crossings had us grinning from ear to ear. This section would also find its way on the MABDR, it seems I have a knack for finding the good stuff!

Around one of the blind turns Gabe made a sudden stop as a tree had blocked the road. I was riding a bit too close to him (trying to get close-up GoPro videos!) and by the time I heard him say “TREE!” over the Sena, it was too late. I stomped the back break, grabbed the front break, and luckily only lightly tapped my front tire on his back tire. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep the bike upright but was able to set her down gently while Gabe found his way through the leaf covered branches of the downed tree. Luckily it was the only time my trusty steed took a dirt nap on the trip! Running into a dead end we backtrack to the last intersection that, interestingly, did not show up on my out of date GPS. Instead of backtracking 45 minutes to our entry point we decided to follow the road down the hill and into the unknown. A few minutes later we found ourselves back on the pavement of Dry Run Rd.

Once in Warm Springs we decide to fill our bellies again, but this time with something more than our normal jerky and granola provisions. Unable to find a place to eat without waiting for an extended time, we wandered down to Hot Springs and found a lovely bar and grill named Lindsay’s Roost. We parked the motorbikes outside the front window, received quick service, and had our food in no time. Lounging back we enjoyed the A/C with several glasses of cold southern iced tea and dined with Elvis, or at least the abundant paraphernalia of him scattered around the place.

Kane Wagner - Appalachian AdventureWith hunger satisfied we headed to VA-39 and over the mountain passes back towards the West Virginia border. At Ryder Gap runs the gravel of Pub Rd 55, snaking along the mountain woodlands on the border. Google Maps and my GPS show this route climbing into the thick forest before dropping down the ridgeline on High Top Tower Rd back into Virginia to connect with Bolars Draft Rd. The plan was to take this past Lake Moomaw and set up another dispersed campsite off of Big Lick Rd before it runs into Rucker Gap.

I had Gabe take the lead since he is the more conservative rider of the two of us (where I would just go for it, he may stop and take a look prior to crossing any obstacles). The twisting road steadily climbed under the mountain canopy to a group of abandoned looking cabins then banked left and turned into a 2-track. Another bank to the right and the 2-track looked like it hadn’t been utilized in quite some time. The trees and weeds lining the track had started to grow out into the thoroughfare, the tire tracks were much lower than the middle bump which also had grass and weeds growing a couple feet high in some places, and the tracks were covered with various depths of sand. Being the third time in a similar situation on the trip so far, I suggested to Gabe that we just keep going to make sure the ‘road’ doesn’t actually go through.
The 2-track is slowly bending to the left as I peeked down at my GPS to see if it still showed us on a road. As soon as my eyes move back to the front I see Gabe switching from the left track to the right track to avoid a large watery mud pit. His front tire makes it over the middle hump, hits the less muddy right track, and kicks out. He dabs to stabilize the bike and I immediately hear him say, “My knee!” He hits the ground, his bike hits the ground, and he is rolling around in pain.

Kane Wagner - Appalachian Adventure
This is what some people might call the money shot… It was the moment before my riding partner went down.

I stop about 35 feet behind him in a flatter spot, kill the engine, grab my first aid kit, and run over to him. We get his helmet off and he swallows several Advil while I get his Beemer upright. I jump on his bike and ride it out of the muddy area to find that the road actually stops at the top of the ridge about 15 feet away! (Even though the GPS is assuring me that the road continues down the ridge!) I turn the bike around to ride back through Gabe’s muddy demise and park his Beemer next to my Wee. At this point we decide to see if he can stand up, which he can’t without excruciating pain. Not good. I walk back towards the ridge and miraculously get a signal. I Google “hospital” and find the closest one is back in Hot Springs next to Elvis’s restaurant about an hour away.

Now it’s time to make a decision. We talk through the options… Call 911 but we figure they won’t send an ambulance all the way up to where we are and regardless we can’t leave the bike here or leave me here with both bikes. Next option is that I go and get help but we don’t really want to separate in case his condition worsens. Another option could be that he rides pillion on my bike and I ‘leapfrog’ the bikes back to the pavement then call 911 but this plan would take too much time, especially since we are approaching dusk. We can’t stay the night here since his adrenaline was wearing off and the pain was increasing exponentially. The last option we come up with is to try and get him on his bike to see if he can ride to the ED. Seems like the way to go.

After wrapping his knee up with an ace bandage we have a 3-legged race to get him to where the bikes are sitting. Now we have to figure out how to get him on since his bad leg is what he would normally plant to get in the saddle. So, we go to the opposite side and can’t seem to get his leg over without causing agonizing pain (did I mention that Gabe is vertically challenged?). Last ditch effort – I get down on one knee next to the bike, Gabe sits on my shoulder, and I stand up and push his leg over the seat. It works but not without a yell or two in the finest French I have ever heard from Gabe (or should I say Hungarian)!

We get him situated on the bike and he feels like he can ride. With help squaring his foot on the peg, he seems able to work the shifter with minimal discomfort. Initial plan will be for me to walk him up 25 feet, I run back and get my bike, ride 25 feet past him, and we repeat until we get back to the flatter and more well maintained gravel road – the leapfrog method. If he feels good after the first push then I’ll just jump on my bike and follow him. So we get him upright, I boot up the kickstand for him, and he’s off. He’s feeling pretty good so I let go and ride behind him, all the while telling him to take it slow and easy. If he falls again the damage already done will most likely be much worse. It takes us about 30 minutes to get back to the pavement, all the while contemplating all the possible scenarios between our Bluetooth headsets.

There are only two red octagons between us and the hospital so I jump out in front to make sure the coast is clear which enables Gabe to roll through without having to stop. We make it over the mountain passes and valleys and back into Hot Springs over an hour after Gabe’s French lesson, I mean Hungarian. The sunlight is waning as I park my bike next to the Bath Community Hospital’s ED entrance. Meanwhile, Gabe is taking laps around the parking lot so that I can spot him while he parks since he can’t take his foot down off the peg (or risk a misstep). Once we get him stopped and kickstand down I run into the hospital and find… not a soul. Eventually I see a 6’4” ~285 pound security guard so I flag him down and tell him the rundown. He grabs a male nurse, a wheel chair, and we meet out at the bikes.
As the nurse and I contemplate how to get Gabe off the bike the security guard takes matters into his own hands, literally. He basically grabbed Gabe and picked him straight off the bike and set him delicately down in the wheel chair. This rural hospital has limited services so we are told they can X-ray but if nothing comes up, they will have to send him to Roanoke for anything like an MRI or surgery. In between registration, IV’s, and X-Rays, Gabe is contacting his kids, insurance, and AAA.

The initial X-rays showed a broken tibia right at the ball of the knee. Good news is the break seems to be sitting straight but they don’t want to risk him driving back to The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus to get it fixed (Gabe’s hospital of choice) for fear if something shifts and cuts an artery he would bleed out. Their recommendation is an ambulance ride to Carilion Roanoke Memorial and immediate surgery. Gabe complies and coordinates with his kids in Columbus to meet him in Roanoke. He also gets ahold of his son who lives just south of D.C. to meet AAA to tow the bike to his son’s mother in-law’s house in Virginia about 45 minutes away.

All the while I am unloading Gabe’s bike so he can take all of his gear with him to Roanoke and I’m also trying to contact local motels for vacancies. There are only two motels and one Bed-n-Breakfast in the area (besides the super-fancy Sam Snead Omni Homestead golf resort at $230/night – didn’t even bother to call them) and none of them have openings. My only options are to attempt to find a camping area or ride down to Covington of off I-64, but I’m not making the decision until Gabe is on his way to Roanoke.

So finally around midnight they are loading Gabe up in the back of the meat wagon and I’m waving good-bye standing next to two motorcycles in a dimly lit parking lot. Gabe’s nurse and another employee walked over and we talked about the dangers of riding around these parts at night due to the massive amounts of wildlife and they wished me luck. I decided it was way too late to attempt to camp, it would probably take me more than the GPS suggested 20 minutes to find the camping area and then what would I do if there were no openings? I gingerly took US-220 over a nice mountain pass and down to the I-64 corridor, passing several groups of shining eyes on the side of the road. I averaged around 30 MPH and it took me over an hour to complete the normally 30 minute drive.

My excitement was not done as I walked into the registration area of the America’s Best Value Inn after 1 o’clock in the morning. The only thing in the registration area besides a couple seats was a large screen monitor with Skype and a frazzled clerk with fire alarms blaring in his background. After about 10 minutes of waiting the clerk let me know there was still one room left but it was a smoking room. At this point beggars can’t be choosers, I’ll take it. Next problem, the key was not in the lock box below the monitor so I had to come to him to get the key! “Where are you?!” I asked in obvious annoyance. Luckily he was at another hotel a block away (that had no openings), so I saddled up again and went to get the key. Finally in the room, bike unloaded, it was just about 2 AM. “Dinner” and a shower put me close to 3 before finally calling it a day.

Coming soon… Appalachian Adventure Part 2: The Cherokee National Forest Shoot-out

If you enjoyed this story and would like to follow along on more of Kane’s adventures, be sure to click on his social media links.

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BikeBandit Guest Blogger Series: My Lifelong Journey of Finding My Perfect Bike

When I take the time to look back over my life, and realize the vast number of bikes I have owned, I am amazed at how fortunate I have been to ride as many motorcycles as I have. At 63 years young, I can still vividly remember something special and unique about each of the bikes I’ve owned, regardless of the actual amount of time they were in my possession.

I got my first bike when I was in college in 1974. It was a Yamaha 350 – orange & black. It was my vehicle of choice around campus, with the occasional 200 mile trip home. I was new to motorcycles, and learned a lot from this bike. It was an eye-opening experience when someone showed me how to remove the baffles from the pipes and then I started it up for the first time. My bike had transformed from a street bike to a “Chopper”… (At least in my mind).

After a year or so with the Yamaha, a friend of mine offered me his Honda 500-4 that he was selling. Going from a 2 cylinder to a 4… going from 2 pipes to 4, and going to a true “Chopper” style bike, complete with high rise handlebars (at that time I wasn’t familiar with the term “ape hangers”) was more of a temptation than I could take, so I sold the Yamaha and bought the Honda. I had the Honda for several years, and it saw my first marriage and my first child, while it was a part of the family. It finally reached the point where I was working on it more than I was riding it, so I made an offer to one of our neighbors and it was his.

Perfect Bike - Darrell Holladay
The Yamaha 650 wasn’t the perfect bike for me but it filled the void so I could still enjoy the open road with my wife.

After the Honda, I went back to Yamaha again. This time it was a 650 – 2 cylinder…again, set up like a chopper. Fast and low, but not the most comfortable bike in the world. We had found a great babysitter, so one of our favorite things to do was to just hop on the bike and ride — we didn’t really care where. That year, when I took my one week of vacation, we spent 4 of the days on the bike. We didn’t have a lot of money then, and couldn’t afford any hotels, so we had my Mother-in-Law watch our son for 4 days. On Monday, we headed west and ended up back home after dark. The next day we headed south, again not making it back until well after 10:00pm. That scenario repeated itself for East & North. Other than the gas and the very modest meals we ate while we were out, that was the total cost and extent of our vacation. To this day, it’s one of my best vacation memories.

The next bike is the only “hiccup” in this equation, which requires just a bit of explanation. I sold the 650 to a friend who had been trying to buy it from me and replaced it with a Yamaha 250 Enduro!!! Here’s why. My father, who was 50 at the time, decided he wanted a motorcycle. Had never had one before, and as far as I knew, had never ridden one before. A friend of a friend had this “great” deal, and it was perfect for a “first time” rider. Dad bought the bike and had it delivered to his house. He was going to ride it around the neighborhood, until he got used to it, and then go for his test. After three weeks, the bike was still sitting in the same place. I found out he couldn’t even get it started!! No electric start back then, and he had just decided that this “wasn’t for him”. I personally think that the “wanting” the bike turned out to be better than “having” the bike. He made me an “offer I couldn’t refuse” and I ended up with the 250. My only memories of this bike were “Why did I agree to buy this??” The one advantage of a bike that size — both of my kids rode on the tank, in front of me, for their first bike rides…..

Without going into a long, boring detail on each of my bikes, let me just list the ones (that I can remember) that got me to where I am now………

  • 1978 Kawasaki 750
  • Honda 750F
  • Honda 750K
  • 1978 Gold Wing
  • 1984 Gold Wing – 2 (red one and a blue one)
  • 1988 Vulcan 750
  • 1997 Honda Shadow 1100
  • 2004 Yamaha Virago
Perfect Bike - Darrell Holladay
The Honda 750F had to have been one of my best investments and shortest time to own a bike….. EVER.

Before I get to my last bike, a very interesting thing happened with the Honda 750F. I had been looking for a bike for several weeks, and came across this one. We negotiated the price, and I ended up giving him $800 and riding the bike home. We stopped at the bank and got the title notarized. This was when the banks were open on Saturday mornings. I had it sitting in my driveway, starting my “anal” cleaning process, when A guy drove by in a truck with Tennessee tags (we lived in Austin, IN). He stopped, rolled down the window, and said “Nice bike. Is it for sale?” I just replied that no, it wasn’t for sale, and drove on his way. About 15 minutes later he was back and again asked me if I was SURE the bike wasn’t for sale. I laughed and told him that I had just brought it home, and that I was quite sure it wasn’t for sale. He looked over the bike, thanked me for my time, and drove off again. I was still thinking how unusual that encounter had been, when I look up and the same truck is coming back down the street. He stops again, gets out and walks up to me and says – “I’m from Tennessee. I really like your bike, and I’d like to take it home with me. What is it going to take for you to sell it to me?” I sat there just looking at him, and he said “Just quote me a price, at least.” Without thinking about it too much, and realizing that if he wanted the bike THAT badly, I could start with a ridiculous price, I doubled what I just paid and told him “$1,600”. He said that he appreciated me giving him a price… reached in his wallet and pulled out sixteen $100 bills… and asked me if I could help him load it into his truck!!!! When I told him the title has been notarized by the seller, but that I didn’t have a title in my name, he looked at the title and said it wouldn’t be a problem. He drove off with the bike and the title, and I walked inside with $1,600 in my hand. My wife looked at me and asked “Where’s the bike?”

Perfect Bike - Darrell Holladay
She’s likely the last motorcycle that I’ll ever own and is perfect for me. It took me years to find “the one” and once I did, I’ve given her the personal touches that make it the perfect bike for me.

And that brings this story to the present day. In 2014 I was in a position to buy my 2007 Honda VTX 1800-T.

When I bought the bike, it only had 523 miles on it…. in SEVEN years!!!! I bought it bone stock, and over the last 4 years I have added, changed, upgraded and customized this bike until it is an absolute reflection of ME…. My wife buys me one thing each year, either for my bike or for my gun collection. For the last three years, the gifts have been – 1) Honda Line light bar; 2) Progressive 430 shocks; and most recently 3) Ultimate Big Boy seat combination. I realize how fortunate I am to have this bike, and to be in a position to dress it up to suit my fancy. This will be the last bike I own… until I’m either too old to ride, or not strong enough to hold it up… and then I might downsize to a smaller bike or even a trike.
But for now… needless to say…I am one happy biker…..

Honda Announces 2019 Honda CRF450L

This is the bike so many have been waiting for. The one serious riders have dreamed about. A true street-legal dirtbike that offers the reliability, refinement and quality of a Honda, along with the light weight, handling, and power of our best off-road machines. Introducing the new 2019 CRF450L.

Developed in tandem with the all-new 2019 CRF450X, it features a powerful 449cc Unicam engine, twin-spar aluminum CRF chassis, six-speed transmission, and premium suspension. Electric start? Naturally. All-LED lighting package? Of course. Until now, you’ve always had to choose between performance and reliability. No longer—with the CRF450L, you get the best of both worlds. And “best” is a word you’re going to hear a lot when you’re talking about this bike.

The CRF450L is equipped with a catalytic converter and is fully street legal in all 50 states. That means you can ride it wherever it’s legal to operate a motor vehicle—in state and national parks, on the road, on public lands. Plus, you don’t need to haul your bike to the trailhead in a truck or on a trailer. Best of all, it makes finding gas a breeze.

An electric start system ensures trouble-free starting in all conditions. The electric starter also drives the clutch side of the crankshaft to provide superior lubrication to starter gears while producing a narrow engine with a short, strong crank.

Honda’s Unicam cylinder heads combine the best of single- and double-overhead-cam designs. The configuration contributes to a compact engine that saves weight over a comparable dual-overhead-camshaft motor and also permits a narrow included valve angle. This flattens the combustion chamber to facilitate ignition flame propagation, allowing a high compression ratio. Since less space is taken up in the cylinder head, the camshaft sits lower in the head for a more compact engine and a lower center of gravity.

Like our CRF450X, the CRF450L rocks a six-speed gearbox. That gives you a low gear perfect for tight, slow situations, and a top gear that’s tall enough for highway riding to the next gas stop or trailhead.

2019 CRF450L SPECIFICATIONS

  • ENGINE

Engine Type

449cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Bore And Stroke

96mm x 62.1mm

Compression Ratio

12.0:1

Valve Train

Unicam OHC, four-valve

Induction

Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), 46mm downdraft throttle body

Ignition

Fully transistorized with electronic advance

  • DRIVE TRAIN

Transmission

Close-ratio six-speed

Final Drive

#520 Chain

  • CHASSIS / SUSPENSION / BRAKES

Front Suspension

49mm leading-axle inverted telescopic Showa coil-spring fork with rebound and compression damping adjustability

Rear Suspension

Pro-Link Showa single shock with adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability

Front Brake

Single 260mm disc with twin-piston caliper

Rear Brake

Single 240mm disc

Front Tire

IRC GP21 80/100-21 w/tube

Rear Tire

IRC GP22 120/80-18 w/tube

  • DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase

58.9 inches

Rake (Caster Angle)

28° 20′

Trail

4.6 inches

Seat Height

37.1 inches

Ground Clearance

12.4 inches

Fuel Capacity

2.01 gallons

Curb Weight

289 pounds (Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.)

Miles Per Gallon

TBD

  • OTHER

Available Colors

Red

Model ID

CRF450L

BikeBandit Guest Blogger Spotlight: Ted Edwards

It wasn’t long ago that we put out an open call for guest bloggers to help create unique content for our readers to enjoy. To my surprise we got an overwhelming response from people that wanted to share their experiences with the rest of the BikeBandit.com community. A few have submitted a single story that left an impression on readers but we’ve also had a few that submitted stories that sparked something inside them to keep pounding the keys. One of these contributors is Ted Edwards.

When I read his first story, “The Observer Effect,” I knew we had a writer that was truly passionate about what he was doing. What made it even better was that we readers could tell that he enjoyed this with a very close knit group of riders, which included both his father and his son. We could also tell that our readers were really receptive to his stories from the amount of comments that were being left as well. With that kind of reception, it wasn’t long before Ted wanted to share even more of his 2-wheel adventures with “When Going Wrong, Goes Right” Right out of the gate this was another hit with our readers.

Guest Blogger Spotlight - Ted Edwards
Say hello to the Mild Hogs.

Knowing that we had two hit stories, I wanted to follow up with the Honda VFR fanatic out of Wenatchee, WA to see who the man behind the helmet was. His passion for riding motorcycles started around the time when he was 9 years old on an old Honda Trail 90. He questions whether or not he was even that old when he first threw a leg over a motorcycle. “Ever since that day, I’ve been hooked and it’s something I love to do.” If you live in the Pacific Northwest and hear the sound of a Honda VFR, it might just be Ted out with riding group the Mild Hogs. He’s been chronicling their misadventures and is even the current VP of its offshoot, the Wild Rose Squad.

Guest Blogger Spotlight - Ted Edwards
Ahh… The Honda VFR. It’s V-4 engine make a great exhaust tone that Ted loves to hear when he’s able to crack the throttles open and let the motorcycle stretch its legs.

If you’ve not figured it out, he has a fond love for his Honda VFR and the distinctive sound of its V-4 exhaust notes when he’s given the opportunity to twist the throttle and let it stretch its legs. It’s obvious he’s a motorcycle nut, but what does he do when the roads are covered or it’s too cold to get out and ride? Is it possible for it to be too cold?

He’ll be the first to admit that even with his heated gear that it can get too cold to be flying out on the open road so he takes up skiing during the winter months. He’s actually a ski patroller at one of his local ski resorts, which has its benefits when he’s out on the highway during the warmer months. “In my experience as a ski patroller, I’ve seen and had to tend to many various injuries. This is good because in the event that something happens out on the highway, I’ve been exposed to the trauma side of things and am capable of handling some medical emergencies if the situation ever arises.” His other interest include going to the gym, hiking, camping, spending time with his family, which includes his chocolate lab, writing and even wrenching on his ’66 convertible Mustang.

Guest Blogger Spotlight - Ted Edwards
Ted snapped this pic of the Lima Mountains on his way to KLIM HQ for a tour of the facilities as he was road testing some of their new Latitude gear for us here at BikeBandit.

I personally am a fan of his stories. He gives great detail, but does it in a way that is very entertaining and makes me feel that I’m missing out by being behind a desk and not out on the open road. I was really curious as to whether or not he has a favorite riding trip that trumps all the others. “Honestly the best trip is one that I just returned from. I was given the opportunity to review a set of Klim Latitude pants and jacket, which snowballed into a 4-day motorcycle trip where I rode out to Klim HQ in Rigby, ID, was given a tour of the facility and got to spend time with Dustin Pancheri their Brand Training Manager. I rode some of the most beautiful roads in the west, camped in freezing conditions, saw how some of the best gear ever gets tested and got an amazing set of gear for all of my future endeavors. Sure the free gear is great, but overall the experience is the best thing about it. Honestly as long as I’m on the road exploring, I am in my element. I just hope to get the opportunity to travel in other countries sometime.”

Guest Blogger Spotlight - Ted Edwards
While he appears like Top Gears silent test driver The Stig, he’s far more approachable and is always willing to talk shop.

One of my final questions to Ted was, “What is your dream bike?” I could have guessed his answer but he elaborated. “My dream motorcycle would be my 5 Gen Honda VFR bumped up to 1000cc with about 30 more HP and 20 more ft lbs of torque, built in beverage cooler and a trailer hitch so I can pull my personal taco truck behind me on trips. Are you listening Honda? I know you can make this happen!” We also know that he’s a beer connoisseur, so we’re guessing that taco cart might have a kegerator for those overnight stops.

What it comes down to is that Ted is an average ordinary guy that like you or me that shares our passion for riding motorcycles. He even recounted a recent experience where he was recognized by someone who had read one of his pieces we posted to our site.

“So, I just went to lunch with our team. While I was handing my plate to the fry cook at our Mongolian grill, he paused, looked at me and said, “Hey, are you Ted Edwards?”
“Yeah,” I replied puzzled.
“You write for Bike Bandit, right? I just read your article about going to Canada and having your bikes break down the whole time.”
Stunned silence on my part.
We then chatted about the other stories, his upcoming bike purchase and he asked me for some gear recommendations, to which I could give him plenty, but I kept it short so I could keep the line moving. And I was hungry.”

He’s approachable and willing to talk about all things riding related…. Even when he’s hungry. He’s also made it clear that if you leave a comment after one of his stories, he will personally respond because if you’ve taken the time to write, he’ll do the same in return. This is especially helpful when his gear reviews start to get posted.

Do you want to be a guest blogger like Ted? We can’t guarantee any kind of celebrity status, but we can assure you that you’ll have a great audience that loves to do what you do. You can also get the opportunity to test and KEEP some great gear when we have it available to test. Send an email to [email protected] and put GUEST BLOGGER in the subject line and we’ll follow up with you on how to get you on your path to stardom.

Moose Racing Hybrid Peg Review

I have been testing the Moose Hybrid Peg with the 1/2″ offset on our 2018 KTM 350XC-F project bike. My goal is to lower and move back the peg position because my knees are cramped with the stock KTM pegs.

Moose Hybrid Footpegs with 1/2″ Offset
Product testing on 2018 KTM 350xc-f in Baja

Here is my video review

The Good:

  • Wide platform
  • Good grip, feel
  • Sturdy construction

The Bad:

      • Not as far offset as advertised
      • Outside cleats seem far too tall and sharp, need modified
      • Heavier than OEM KTM pegs

There are available for all full size KTM’s. 2017 and newer models are a new design. The old style KTM pegs fit all full size models back to 1991.

Pastrana To Recreate Evel Knievel Jumps

Nitro Circus and Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, announced today that Travis Pastrana will be jumping an Indian Scout FTR750 when he looks to pay tribute to Evel Knievel, the founding father of motorcycle stunts, and surpass America’s most iconic daredevil.

“Evel Live”, an unprecedented three-hour live event premiering Sunday, July 8th at 8PM ET/ 5PM PT on HISTORY® in partnership with Nitro Circus, will see Travis Pastrana attempt three of Knievel’s most famed jumps on the Scout FTR750, including jumping the length of 52+ crushed cars, 16 Greyhound buses, and the ill-fated Caesars Palace fountain jump that left Knievel grasping for his life. If successful, Pastrana will be the first individual to complete all three jumps in one three-hour timespan and on a motorcycle similar to those Evel used.

The Indian Scout FTR750 is a flat track racing motorcycle designed to push the boundaries of speed and redefine control with two wheels firmly on the ground. Rewinding time, you find the motorcycles Evel jumped were designed for similar purposes. However, neither were intended for jumping.

“It was extremely important to use a motorcycle similar to the ones Evel jumped. The Indian Scout FTR 750 is just that, a modern-day evolution of the flat track motorcycles of the past,” said Pastrana. “It has the power I need and handles well, but I’m only going to have a few days to get comfortable on it, not to mention I’ve never jumped a V-twin before. I’ve got my work cut out, but we’re used to going big at Nitro Circus, so we’ll make it happen.”

The Indian Scout FTR750 is far different from the lightweight motocross bikes you would typically find Travis Pastrana jumping. The engine of the FTR750 features a powerful 750cc 53-degree V-Twin and utilizes 43mm conventional front suspension with an adjustable Ohlin’s mono-shock on the rear. Introduced in the American Flat Track racing series in 2017, the Indian Scout FTR750 secured 14 victories along with the manufacturer’s and rider’s championship in its first year of competition.

“We couldn’t be more excited for Travis to be piloting the Scout FTR750 as he looks to make history by recreating three of Evel Knievel’s most historic jumps in a single evening,” said Reid Wilson, Senior Director, Marketing and Product Development for Indian Motorcycle. “Evel Knievel is truly a global icon, and we’re proud to be a part of this incredible event that pays homage to his legacy in such grand fashion.”

Will Travis Pastrana successfully complete all three jumps on the Indian Scout FTR 750? Tune-in to HISTORY on Sunday, July 8th at 8PM ET/ 5PM PT to find out.

To learn more about the Indian Scout FTR750 and Travis Pastrana’s attempt to make history with it on “Evel Live,” as well as for periodic updates leading up to the event, visit IndianMotorcycle.com or follow along on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

# # #

Dunlop’s New Q4 High Performance Track Day Tire

Dunlop Expands Sportmax Line with the Addition of the Track-Day High-Performance Q4

Buffalo, NY: Here’s the first thing you need to know about Dunlop’s all-new Sportmax Q4®: This purpose-built track day tire achieves lean angles up to 62 degrees*, more than any other street-legal tire Dunlop has ever made.

Utilizing technology shared by Dunlop’s cutting-edge MotoAmerica road race tires, the Q4 is made in Dunlop’s Buffalo, New York, plant on the same proprietary equipment as the racing products. Only Dunlop makes sport tires in America.

The Q4 is not a replacement for Dunlop’s popular Q3+, but instead adds depth to the Sportmax family lineup to accommodate track-day-level riding like no other Dunlop DOT street tire has before.

The Sportmax Q4 will be sold through all Dunlop retailers, as well as race distributors, so it’s easily accessible to all riders.

At a glance, the all-new Q4 features:

  • Dunlop sportmax q4Bold on-tread branding that’s remarkably detailed.
  • New tread pattern with low groove density that puts down a massive footprint, especially during maximum lean angles.
  • Street-friendly performance—does not require tire warmers, and minimizes the need for chassis adjustments.
  • Designed in new sizes such as 180/60ZR17 and 200/55ZR17 to work on sport bikes with sophisticated electronics packages. These new sizes also offer a more aggressive profile option for track use for many sport bikes.
  • The rear tire features Dunlop’s Jointless Tread (JLT) technology, the same process used in Dunlop’s racing slicks. JLT applies a continuously wound tread strip over the carcass to achieve the ideal stability, flex, and grip across the tire’s tread profile.
  • Dunlop’s proprietary Carbon Fiber Technology (CFT) in the sidewalls for even greater stability.
  • Dunlop’s proprietary Intuitive Response Profile (IRP) for ultra-linear and responsive steering.

Availability
The Sportmax Q4 will be available in May 2018 in an expanded size range to cover a variety of Japanese and European sport bikes.

Sportmax Q4 Front
Size (Load Speed)
120/70ZR17 (58W)

Sportmax Q4 Rear
Size (Load Speed)
180/55ZR17 (73W)
180/60ZR17 (75W)
190/50ZR17 (73W)
190/55ZR17 (75W)
200/55ZR17 (78W)

*As tested by Dunlop on a 2017 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 RR on a closed track at Barber Motorsports Park.

About Dunlop Motorcycle Tires
Dunlop is the largest supplier and manufacturer of original equipment and replacement motorcycle tires in the U.S.A. For more information, visit www.dunlopmotorcycletires.com.

KTM Announces 300xc-w TPI and 150xc-w For 2019

KTM’s announces 2019 offroad lineup that will include the new 150xc-w and expansion of the TPI lineup. The 300xc-w will join last years revolutionary 250xc-w TPI.

2019 KTM 150xc-w

 

Thanks to a long history as part of the foundation of the company and with many milestones achieved in producing READY TO RACE, world-beating enduro machines, KTM’s strive for excellence has ensured the orange brand remains the market-leader in the segment with the KTM XC-W and EXC-F lineup. Last year the Austrian manufacturer announced the world’s first serial-production, fuel-injection 2-stroke offroad competition machines with the KTM 250 XC-W TPI and KTM 300 XC-W TPI models that have taken the possibilities of enduro to new heights, whilst complimenting the high-quality, high-performing 4-stroke models within the range.

2019 KTM 300xc-w TPI

However, the KTM R&D department in Mattighofen never rests; the latest generation of KTM XC-W enduros and EXC-F models receive updates for model year 2019 with improved WP fork settings, and a reworked WP shock absorber with a re-designed main piston and settings for improved, confidence-inspiring damping characteristics. A new seat cover, stronger battery and new graphics with a READY TO RACE factory-looking orange frame compliment the high-quality Brembo brakes, No-Dirt footpegs, NEKEN handlebar, CNC-milled hubs with high-end black Giant rims and more that comes as standard on these championship-winning machines.

For model year 2019, the KTM 150 XC-W 2-stroke, designed for closed-course use, receives a new cylinder with a machined exhaust port and a new power valve for high-end performance. An optimized kick-starter seat along with an ultra-compact, newly designed DS clutch with a new clutch cover reduces overall engine width over previous models. In addition, a re-worked 6-speed transmission offers better function and improved reliability.

2019 KTM 500exc

“The last two years have been incredibly exciting for our Enduro machine development here at KTM. A brand new ground-breaking generation for model year 2017 that had been re-designed from the ground up, followed by a world first for model year 2018 thanks to the serial-production fuel-injection 2-stroke offroad competition models with the KTM 250 XC-W TPI and KTM 300 XC-W TPI; it’s been an incredibly fast-moving but fruitful few years in terms of development for this segment in which we remain the market leaders. Model year 2019 sees some key adjustments across all models, along with more in-depth refinements for our KTM 150 XC-W machines. As we step into a new era of enduro as a whole, we are looking forward to the latest KTM XC-W models reaching dealer floor,” commented KTM Senior Product Manager Offroad,” Joachim Sauer.

BikeBandit Guest Blogger Series: Honda’s 2018 Gold Wing and The Opinion of A Gold Wing Diehard

Doing some research on the new Gold Wing and listening to the opinions of current Gold Wing riders, reading the cycle magazine tests and comparisons, talking with close Gold Wing riding friends and following the GL1800 forum I have formed an opinion and overview that may help you think differently about the new 2018 GL1833 and I would like to share.

 

2018 Honda Goldwing - James Casey
To say that touring is in my blood is an understatement. I was 17 for my first touring adventure and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Thru the years I grown up with the Gold Wing. I have owned 3 1977 GL1000s, a 1983 GL1100, a 1996 GL1500, a 97 Valkyrie, and an 01, 03, and 05 GL1800. My current bikes are the 05 GL1800 and the 97 Valkyrie (I have put over 100,000 miles on the Valk). These are just the Gold Wings I have owned. I started touring in 1972 on a 1971 CB750. I had added a Wixom Fairing and Bates Bags. In the summer of 72 a buddy of mine and I did 3000 miles thru California. From Tucson to San Diego, up the coast to San Francisco, then to Lake Tahoe and down thru Yosemite NP. Then back to San Diego and back home to Tucson. I was 17 years old and that trip totally hooked me on touring. I was at Tucson Honda when they rolled the first 1975 GL1000 off the truck and I knew I had to have one. I had 2 other CB750s before I was able to buy my first 77 GL1000. Had to mention this so that you would understand that I know a bit about touring.

Years later after my first test ride on the 01 GL1832 I went home and put my GL1500 up for sale. I bought one of the first ABS GL1832s in Denver Vin #000043 in Jan 2001.

Now thinking about the NEW GL1833 and hearing views and comments across the board from “I love it” to “Not for me “ I have to share with you my thoughts. This Gold Wing was not built for the aging Gold Wing rider. The GWRRA which I have been a member for 19 years has aged significantly. If you put in a search for a Gold Wing on eBay 70% of what shows up are trikes. If Honda wanted to build a bike for that demographic the new Gold Wing would have had 3 wheels.

I am still riding strong at 63 years of age. I keep in shape by working out, golfing, snowboarding, and bicycling. I hope to have another 10-12 years of 2 wheel Motorcycling. This new Wing was designed for the younger rider moving up to Touring. Much the way I was looking for that “bigger, better, faster, smoother” tourer after my CB750s. They may have started with a Sport Bike. Then they went to a Sport Tourer. Now they are looking for something for touring cross country and it’s “Not your Fathers Gold Wing.” Look at what is happening at Harley Davidson (YouTube… HD sales). They are closing the plant in Kansas City. Their base doesn’t like change but they are an aging breed also, and they are having a problem with who to target for more sales.

The manufactures are looking for their next target audience. Think back to when most of the 50-65 year olds started touring. We dressed a 750 or a Gold Wing. As we aged the manufactures targeted us. They added fairings and integrated the bags and trunk into the body. Well 50% of that audience is now gone (aging out or riding trikes) what would you do??

2018 Honda Goldwing - James Casey
When I had to give up my Gold Wing for a time, this Valkyrie satiated my 2-wheeled needs till I could get another GL.

I think the new Gold Wing GL1833 is awesome. You will always hear negatives as you did when the GL1832 first came out. I have always said that it should be a pre-requisite that the Gold Wing buyers should also own a Valkyrie or a VTX or some other kind of “Motorcycle” as I do. In 2003 when I sold my 01 GL1832 (financial/new business situation) I bought my Valkyrie (which I fell in love with) to get me thru until I could buy another Wing.

2018 Honda Goldwing - James Casey
Is the Honda Gold Wing the perfect touring bike? Some people may say no, but I disagree and can’t wait till I can get in the saddle of a new one for my next long haul.

After riding the Valkyrie that summer I came to the realization that Honda had built the perfect Touring Motorcycle. The GL1832. Those Gold Wing riders who were complaining about “My leg gets hot” or “the wind hits my hands” were totally spoiled. Go ride any other motorcycle for half a summer and then get back on your Gold Wing and tell me you have room to complain. I had to wait a few years until I could buy another Wing because I wanted to keep the Valkyrie and have both. Two years ago I took a trip from Denver to Daytona Bike Week. Even though I had a beautiful 05 Wing in the Garage I took the Valkyrie 4000 miles in 10 days. Just to remind me of what real motorcycling is all about. Then when I loaded up the Wing in July later that summer and headed to California I had nothing to complain about. Perfect Touring Bike!

Will I own a new GL1833? Not this year but I will own one soon (still have to keep my Valk). Maybe for the Gold Wing owner who has their GL1832 all set up the way they want will not buy a GL1833. But for all you younger sport touring riders out there looking for that “bigger, better, faster, smoother” touring bike to go cross country, WOW, does Honda have a bike that will knock your socks off!

New Yamaha NIKEN – First Look

The radical Yamaha NIKEN is on the way. Oddly reminiscent of the 1993 GTS1000, Yamaha ventures into uncharted territory with another head turner.

I am not quite sure what to make of it, but I sure want to ride one. Yamaha refers to it as a “leaning multi-wheeler” (LMW). NIKEN is equipped with LMW  technology to reduce the effects of changing ride environments and to deliver a high feeling of stability when cornering.

Yamaha NIKEN with leaning multi-wheel technology

It achieves excellent performance for spirited and sporty riding on various road surfaces and the capability to freely carve through the continuous corners of winding roads. The body design makes full use of the unprecedented front-end suspension mechanisms pairing 15-inch front wheels with dual-tube upside-down forks to visually accentuate the machine’s sporty performance.

The real question is – just who is the target market? Is this a three wheeler that should be classed alongside a Can-Am Spyder? Is it some kind of hyper scooter? The motorcycle market is notorious for clambering for new designs and technology that then languish on the shoowroom floor.

Will the NIKEN be a new direction for motorcycling or just another sidebar museum piece for history to look back on with amusement?

 

Here is a first look from Motorcyclist Magazine