¡Feliz Navidad! y’all.

Feliz Navidad

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Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT review

Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT

The Versys 1000 LT came to the United States in 2015 after being first available in Europe. As a long-time Versys 650 owner, I spent a week on the big brother to see how it measures up. Photo by Scott Sorenson.

About 13 years ago, my wife saw a TV travel show about a place in Saint George, Utah, called the Red Mountain Resort. At the time, she was a mid-life grad school student dreaming of a spa getaway with her girlfriends. Now that she’s the associate provost of her college, she decided it was finally time to indulge that old fantasy, so we planned a trip around her birthday.

Of course I had to find a way to squeeze some motorcycling into the excursion, so I hatched a plan that involved me flying to Southern California before heading east to meet her. From the start, I knew exactly which motorcycle I wanted to borrow for this mission: the Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT.

Why? Several reasons.

First, I knew it would be capable and comfortable enough for us to do a little two-up riding, but sporty enough that I wouldn’t feel like I was a barge pilot for the majority of the trip, when I was riding alone. Second, I knew there was interest in the bike among our readers at RevZilla’s Common Tread. And finally, as a long-time Versys 650 owner, I was very curious to see if Kawasaki could supersize a bike known for being nimble and fun to ride without losing those positive qualities.  Continue reading Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT review →

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Alpinestars T-Jaws WP textile jacket review

I have more than my fair share of Alpinestars gear. From my old faithful roadrace boots and one-piece leathers to a pair of SP-1 gloves, two textile jackets, a mesh jacket and pants. If you plot all those products on a spectrum of my level of satisfaction, a pattern emerges. The more track-oriented stuff, I’m content with. That’s why I’m still wearing those old boots and leathers, even though I probably should retire them. The least satisfactory of the products are the two textile street jackets.

Alpinestars T-Jaws WP jacket

The Alpinestars T-Jaws WP is a sporty textile jacket that is comfortable in a sport bike tuck or on an upright bike like my Versys.

The newer of those is a T-Jaws WP jacket I’ve now been wearing for more than a year, in all kinds of weather and temperatures. Is it a failure? Not at all. But it makes sense for a smaller slice of riders than I expected when I first started testing it. Read on for all the details.  Continue reading Alpinestars T-Jaws WP textile jacket review →

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Short shift: Quick review of the 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

As a daily agenda goes, this one was pretty good. The Southern California morning was still young and I had use of a new 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and just two loose objectives: get a feel for this bike, which I’ve been interested in for some time but hadn’t yet been able to ride, and meet up later in the day to talk shop with an old business friend I hadn’t seen in years.

apple pie in Julian

The caramel-topped apple pie at the Julian Pie Company comes deliciously close to being too much.

To facilitate the first objective, I set for myself another totally arbitrary but pleasant goal: Get a slice of apple pie at the Julian Pie Company in Julian, Calif. That would give me the chance the ride the Ninja on everything from traffic-clogged I-5 to the twisty curves and hairpins just east of Julian on Route 78. With just one day to spend with the Ninja, I wanted to make the most of it.

So what’s the verdict? Well, the caramel-topped apple pie is a little over the top but great, just the same. But if you’re here, you’re no doubt more interested in the motorcycle review than the pie review. That’s not such a short story, even though I didn’t have enough time with the bike to write what I would consider a full review. The Ninja 1000, it turns out, was just what I hoped it would be, in some ways, and not what I expected in others.
Continue reading Short shift: Quick review of the 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 →

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Under the helmet, we are one

This video is full of cliches. It’s a promotional video, predictable and sappy.

I love it anyway.

I recently wrote a satirical piece for RevZilla that made a point about the way we motorcyclists divide ourselves into warring tribes over the smallest things, like the color of our leather or the rake angle of our motorcycle’s fork. This video makes the same point in an entirely different way. A visually striking way.

Bajo el casco, todos somos uno.

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The tweet says it all: #summerisgone Part 2

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Nicky Hayden to World Superbikes — two years too late?

Nicky Hayden at Indianapolis

Nicky Hayden signs an autograph for a young fan at the 2015 Indianapolis Red Bull Grand Prix, which turned out to be the last MotoGP race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hayden’s last MotoGP race in the United States.

Nicky Hayden is leaving MotoGP and going to the Superbike World Championship for 2016 and sounds about as happy about it as a little kid sent to his early bed time while his older siblings get to stay up late and continue the birthday party. Continue reading Nicky Hayden to World Superbikes — two years too late? →

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The tweet says it all: #summerisgone

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